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thumbtack

Toronto parents find thumb tack in Halloween chocolate bar

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 3rd, 2015

Toronto police are warning the public after a thumb tack was found in a child’s Halloween candy on Monday.

Police say the child’s parents were checking the candy when they discovered the tack pressed into a Kit Kat chocolate bar.

They live in the Eastwood Road and Woodbine Avenue area.

Police are reminding parents to check their kids’ candy before allowing them to consume it.

thumbtack

In the Niagara Region, two children also found razor blades in their candy.

In one incident reported on Sunday in Thorold, Niagara police say a child bit into something hard inside his Kit Kat bar. He immediately stopped chewing and took the candy out of his mouth.

In another case, which was reported on Monday, police say a razor blade was found within an O’Henry bar. The child had gone trick or treating in the St. Catharines area.

Back to normal for students as teacher strike action ends

News Staff | posted Tuesday, Nov 3rd, 2015

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It’s big news for public elementary school students: teachers are no longer on work-to-rule after reaching a deal with the province. Support staff represented by a separate union have also struck a deal, ending negotiations that have lasted over a year.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) says it will halt strike action after reaching a tentative agreement with the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) and the provincial government.

“This round of bargaining has been exceptionally lengthy and difficult but in the end we achieved a tentative agreement that ETFO believes is fair and meets the needs of our members,” ETFO President Sam Hammond said in a release on Monday.

“ETFO is a democratic organization and ultimately it is the membership that will determine whether this tentative agreement is acceptable,” Hammond added. “Local leaders will now focus their efforts on reaching agreements in their respective school boards.”

The deal must now be ratified with the results expected in mid-November. The details were not released, and won’t be until the agreement is ratified, but Education Minister Liz Sandals said the terms are similar to those for English Catholic and public school teachers.

Those deals included raises of 1.5 per cent plus another one-per-cent bonus. And, like those deals, Sandals said these new agreements are net zero, meaning any salary increases are offset by savings elsewhere. The savings did not come at the expense of student programming, she said.

One major difference between the deals reached with ETFO and CUPE and the other unions is that these did not come with payments from the government to cover the unions’ negotiating expenses.

Sandals said full student progress reports, including comments, will be completed by December 11.

“I’m really pleased we were able to reach an agreement on producing those progress reports,” she said.

ETFO, which represents 78,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals, has been without a contract for over 14 months.

Earlier Monday, the province announced it had reached a tentative agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), ending a work-to-rule campaign.

The province reached a deal with two unions on Nov. 2, 2015, but one union agreement is still outstanding.
The province reached a deal with two unions on Nov. 2, 2015, but one union agreement is still outstanding.

But school support workers in the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) remain without a deal.

Because they are continuing their administrative strike, the government has given trustee associations power to dock the workers’ pay 10 per cent.

“OSSTF education workers have not reached agreement,” Sandals said. “They are also unwilling to stop their job action, therefore the government is providing…consent to proceed with a five-day notice…that their pay could be docked up to 10 per cent.”

With files from The Canadian Press

ETFO and province reach tentative agreement, ending strike action

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 2nd, 2015

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The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) says it will halt strike action after reaching a tentative agreement with the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) and the provincial government.

“This round of bargaining has been exceptionally lengthy and difficult but in the end we achieved a tentative agreement that ETFO believes is fair and meets the needs of our members,” ETFO President Sam Hammond said in a release.

The deal must now be ratified with the results expected in mid-November.

“ETFO is a democratic organization and ultimately it is the membership that will determine whether this tentative agreement is acceptable,” Hammond added. “Local leaders will now focus their efforts on reaching agreements in their respective school boards.”

Education Minister Liz Sandals confirmed the deal.

“We do have an agreement with ETFO,” she said just before 6 p.m.

Sandals said full student progress reports, including comments, will be completed by December 11.

“I’m really pleased we were able to reach an agreement on producing those progress reports,” she said.

ETFO, which represents 78,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals, has been without a contract for over 14 months.

Earlier Monday, the province announced it had reached a tentative agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), ending a work-to-rule campaign.

Five ways to keep your Remembrance Day poppy in place

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 2nd, 2015

poppy

It’s the time of year once again where Canadians remember the more than 117,000 that have paid the ultimate price in defence of the country by donning a poppy as a symbol of thanks and memory.

However, there is just one problem with the poppy: how do you keep from losing it before Nov. 11?

Here are some tips and tricks for keeping that symbol of remembrance safely fastened above your heart:

1. Borrow a backing. Grab the backing from another pin or even an earring to keep the poppy from slipping off your chest.

2. Erasers. Not just for pencils, an eraser (or at least a piece of one) can be used to hold the pin in place by using it as an improvised backing.

3. Bend it. Stick your poppy in your piece of clothing, then bend the pin up towards the centre of the poppy. Be careful when attempting this!

4. Stick it. Use some adhering elements like strong tape or, if you are so inclined, some gently used gum to hold the pin inside the piece of clothing.

5. Grab a few extra. Toss some extra money in the Royal Canadian Legion collection box and have a few spare poppies with you, just in case. Plus, if the tips above work for you, you can always hand over one of your extras to someone who’s found themselves without one.

Two children bite into razor blades in Halloween candy

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 2nd, 2015

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Two children in the Niagara Region had a big scare on Halloween: they both found razor blades inside their candy.

In one incident reported on Sunday in Thorold, Niagara police say the child bit into something hard inside his Kit Kat bar. He immediately stopped chewing and took the candy out of his mouth.

Luckily, the blade never made contact with his mouth and he wasn’t hurt. He told his parents, who called police on Sunday.

Police say the item looked like a blade from a disposable shaving razor.

The packaging of the candy bar may have been tampered with, police say.

And in another case, which reported on Monday, police say a razor blade found within an O’Henry bar. The child had gone trick or treating in the St. Catharines area.

The child bit down on the chocolate bar, and after removing it from their mouth found the blade inside the candy. No injuries were reported.

Police are reminding parents and guardians to check Halloween candy, looking for any kind of tampering.

Throw away candy that may be a choking hazard for small children, or may cause an allergic reaction, or that is unwrapped.

What to look for in your kids’ Halloween candy:

  • Examine the box to see if it’s been tampered with in any way. Signs include tiny pinholes, tears or other damage on the box.
  • Check for discolouration on the box, indicating it may have once been opened.
  • Discard loose candy or any confections that aren’t wrapped or are home made, unless you’re certain of the origins of the product.
  • Check to see if there’s anything that obviously doesn’t belong, items that are different colours or larger or smaller than the rest of the treats inside the package.
  • Look for ingredients that your child may be allergic to.
  • Check the expiry date. Some people keep last year’s stock that they didn’t give out this time around.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.

Greyhound passengers stranded overnight as buses oversold

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Nov 2nd, 2015

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Bus tickets in hand with no bus to get on: That’s the frustration felt by some Greyhound passengers who were left waiting for hours overnight after buses were oversold.

Long lines were formed at the station on Bay Street, near Dundas Street West, after full buses left the hub on Sunday, leaving travellers behind.

Some passengers said they had been waiting for about two hours for their scheduled departure, with no additional buses in sight.

Greyhound told CityNews there was a backlog because they’re operating at a “high-level volume” as reading week wraps for colleges like George Brown and Seneca.

Riders were given $5 coupons for future Greyhound trips, but they say that’s little consolation for such a delay.

There are few options for bus travellers on some routes in Ontario.

Greyhound holds a monopoly on some intercity lines like the one between Toronto and Kitchener. Such a lock has led to hikes in ticket prices during prime times, often affecting students during busy holiday travel seasons.

Greyhound has also been accused of routinely overselling buses, leaving passengers behind at terminals in Toronto, London, Barrie and Peterborough.

Warning for pedestrians as time change makes for darker evenings

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 2nd, 2015

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The switch back to Standard Time means it will be darker during the evening commute, and that has police concerned for the safety of pedestrians.

On Monday, Toronto police are launching “Step Up and Be Safe” pedestrian safety campaign, which runs until Sunday.

Police said they’ll be paying particular attention to crosswalks, school zones, intersections, and crossing areas frequented by seniors.

So far this year, 30 pedestrians have been killed on city streets, comprising more than 56 per cent of the total traffic deaths in the city in all of 2015.

Out of that number, 17 of the fatalities, or more than half, have been seniors.

“Seniors, in particular, are among the most vulnerable sector of road-users,” police said in a release.

Police said pedestrian fatalities make around 60 per cent of traffic fatalities in the city each year.

Since there are shorter daylight hours, police are warning pedestrians and cyclists to make sure they are visible on the roads and sidewalks. They suggest wearing reflective clothing and to walk with a flashlight at night to ensure you are visible to motorists.

For drivers, it’s important that they avoid distractions and are aware of pedestrians and cyclists.

Watch a pedestrian safety awareness video below, or click here to view it.

Toronto taxis drop base fare to $3.25

CityNews | posted Monday, Nov 2nd, 2015

taxis

Getting around town by cab is about to cost you a little less.

As of Nov. 1, the base fare has dropped by $1 from $4.25 a ride to $3.25.

The decrease was approved by city council last month.

“Toronto should have a competitive taxicab industry that serves both the public and drivers well. That’s why I supported council’s decision to reduce the minimum fare paid by the public by $1,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement.

“This will make moving around the city more affordable for the public, and it will help the traditional taxicab industry compete.”

Base fares were originally raised from $3 to $4 in 2008 after taxi companies complained about the price of gasoline, which had surged to $1.30 a litre.

The city is also issuing 100 new taxi licences to drivers on the waiting list.

Municipal Licensing and Standards is also researching and developing regulations for all ground transportation service providers including taxis, limos, and other drivers for hire such as Uber. That report is due in the spring.

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