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Military deployment in long-term care homes called ‘traumatic’

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Nov 12th, 2020

Disturbing details emerging from the latest release of transcripts of the Canadian Armed Forces testimony before the Long-Term Care Commission.

In a 61 page transcript released Wednesday from an October 29 meeting, military officials say it became immediately clear long-term care homes were in “crisis” when they were called in by the provincial government during the height of the first wave of the pandemic earlier this spring.

They found a “clear rapid decline in staffing” and that no one was being held to account, there was no oversight to ensure “people weren’t conducting themselves in an unethical manner.”

The report was yet another stark reminder of the challenges faced by members of the military after they were deployed into various long-term care settings.

According to Major Karoline Martin, what CAF members saw in long-term care homes was so bad that mental health teams needed to be brought in to support the military staff in these settings.

“It was very traumatic. It was very devastating to clinicians to see residents passing away.”

The Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission is investigating how the novel coronavirus spread in the long-term care system and will submit its final report on April 30, 2021.

TCDSB votes to sanction trustee Michael Del Grande for breaching Code of Conduct

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Nov 12th, 2020

The Toronto Catholic District School Board has voted to sanction trustee Michael Del Grande for breaching the Code of Conduct for comparing LGBTQ+ terms to criminal acts.

Among the sanctions, the board agreed to censure Del Grande for behaviour which was disrespectful to the LBGTQ community, that he publicly apologize and complete an equity training program.

Del Grande now has 14 days to provide a written submission to the board’s decision.

The move reverses a previous vote on Aug. 20 that fell short of finding Del Grande had violated the code despite a third-party report which concluded three months earlier that he did.

The motion received the requisite eight votes during a lengthy special meeting called by the board on Wednesday night that stretched into the early hours of Thursday morning and often times featured cantankerous discussion. At one point, chairman Joseph Martino exclaimed, “I can’t take this anymore” while calling for a five minute break shortly after midnight as trustees were bickering over various points of order and amendments.

Trustee Nancy Crawford voted against the motion, saying it was “not a good way to resolve the problem” while trustees Michael Del Grande, Teresa Lubinski and Garry Tanuan all elected not to cast a vote.

Crawford added the move sets a “very, very serious precedent” and could mean that trustees will be dealing with reopening complaints regularly.

In voting to reverse the previous vote and for sanctions, trustee Maria Rizzo said “we have to right a wrong” noting that the controversy could have easily been solved with an apology.

The board failed to pass an amendment that any report on breaches of the Code of Conduct be made public.

Former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynn was among the delegations to the meeting calling for Del Grande to be sanctioned and the report be released publicly.

A least several delegates disagreed with the motion to revisit the vote, calling it “a vindictive agenda.”

Del Grande raised issue with the special meeting, saying his charter rights were being violated by the board by having the topic brought up once again adding that he would not participate in any discussion when it came to the motion in question.

In a legal opinion prepared for the meeting, Del Grande’s lawyer Charles I.M. Lugosi said the board had no right to hold a second vote on his clients comments.

“To proceed would be unlawful and amount at a minimum to an abuse of process that will harm the credibility of the Board. The legal issues that apply go far beyond the interests of the adversaries involved, and undermine the integrity of the Board itself.”

Alek Minassian’s murder trial for carrying out Toronto van attack resumes

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Nov 12th, 2020

The trial for the man who killed 10 people and hurt 16 others in a van attack in Toronto resumes Thursday.

Alek Minassian has pleaded not guilty and has raised a defence of being not criminally responsible for his actions.

CityNews reporter Adrian Ghobrial is covering the trial, follow his tweets below.:

He faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.

Minassian’s state of mind at the time of the attack will be the sole issue at trial.

The defence has not yet stated what mental disorder Minassian will argue he suffered from.

Minassian has admitted in court he planned and carried out the attack.

He told a detective the attack was retribution against society because he was a lonely virgin who believed women wouldn’t have sex with him.

West-end McDonald’s temporarily closes after employee tests positive for COVID-19

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Nov 11th, 2020

A McDonald’s restaurant in the city’s west end has been temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for the COVID-19.

The restaurant at 10 The Queensway, just west of Roncesvalles Avenue, was made aware of the positive test Tuesday and immediately closed its doors.

McDonald’s says the employee last worked an overnight shift on Sunday from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

All other employees who may have been in close contact with the employee have been asked to self-quarantine.

The restaurant will now undergo a full cleaning and sanitization and is expected to reopen at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to a sign posted on their front door.

Indoor dining to remain closed as Toronto moves into modified ‘red’ level Saturday

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Nov 11th, 2020

Calling the spread of COVID-19 in Toronto “no less than alarming” Toronto Mayor John Tory said the city would move into the red (control) level of the province’s new coloured COVID-19 response plan on Saturday, but with added restrictions that would see indoor dining remain prohibited for a period of 28 days.

Gyms will be permitted to open, but indoor group fitness classes and group exercise classes will not be allowed.

The new protections, which come into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday include:

  • Social gatherings should only be with those you live with and/or one or two essential supports
  • Restrict close contacts only to those you live with and your essential supports
  • Limit in-person activities outside the home to essential activities only – going to work or school, health care, shopping for your household and health needs, and getting exercise and physical activity
  • Businesses and workplaces should implement work from home wherever possible
  • Businesses should review their HVAC systems to ensure they are in good working order
  • Workplaces should appoint a compliance officer to ensure implementation of occupational health and safety and infection prevention and control measures
  • Indoor dining will remain closed
  • Indoor fitness classes are not permitted
  • Meeting and event spaces will remain closed
  • In malls, patrons should not be permitted to consume food or drink while walking through malls
  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments will remain closed

“These numbers set alarm bells ringing,” Tory added, noting that infection rates and hospitalizations in Toronto are spiking dramatically in recent days.

Under the province’s red level, indoor dining is permitted for a maximum of 10 people, and gyms can open with strict capacity limits of 10 people in indoor classes, 25 people in outdoor classes and 10 people indoors in areas with weights or exercise equipment. But following the advice of the city’s top doctor, Eileen de Villa, Tory said the city has decided to forgo the opening of restaurants for indoor dining. Meeting and event spaces will also remain closed along with casinos and gaming establishments.

“The spread of COVID-19 has never been greater in Toronto,” de Villa said.

The province reported 1,328 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, with 520 cases in Toronto.

Peel region is currently the only other region under the province’s red level, but without Toronto’s added restrictions, meaning up to 10 people can dine indoors.

Man injured in shooting near the Stockyards District

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Nov 11th, 2020

One man has been injured after a shooting near the Stockyards District.

Police were called to Runnymede Road and Liverpool Street near St. Clair Avenue West around 11 p.m. Tuesday night to reports of multiple gunshots.

The victim was located suffering from a gunshot wound and officers say his injuries appear serious. He is being transported to hospital by paramedics.

There is no suspect information at this time, but it is expected to released soon.

Investigators say to expect a large police presence in the area.

Remembrance Day: COVID-19 forces many ceremonies to take place online

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Nov 11th, 2020

Canadians will stop to pay tribute to our fallen soldiers Wednesday, though the COVID-19 pandemic means many of traditional Remembrance Day ceremonies are cancelled or are taking place online.

The National Remembrance Day Ceremony that takes place at the National War Memorial in Ottawa is going ahead, albeit on a much smaller scale. The Royal Canadian Legion is asking people not to attend the ceremony, which normally draws up to 35,000 people.

“It is disappointing to discourage people from attending ceremonies this year,” said Danny Martin, the legion’s ceremony director. “However, beyond watching national and local broadcasts, thankfulness is also reflected by wearing a Poppy – a profound gesture. And wherever they may be, Canadians can take two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. on the 11th.”

This year’s National Silver Cross Mother, Deborah Sullivan, will lay a wreath in honour of the families who have lost children in the line of service.

Sullivan, who is from Summerville, New Brunswick, lost her son Christopher Edward Saunders after he was killed in a fire while serving aboard the HMCS Chicoutimi on Oct. 6, 2004.

CityNews will live stream the National Remembrance Day Ceremony at 10:45 a.m. EST on Wednesday. You can watch it here.

The City of Toronto has cancelled all in-person Remembrance Day events, instead opting for virtual commemorations that can be accessed on their website and social media channels.

There will be a small, private ceremony at the Old City Hall Cenotaph Wednesday morning that is closed to the public.

You can watch a livestream of that ceremony starting shortly before 11 a.m. on CityNews.ca.

The City of Toronto sign in Nathan Phillips Square will be lit in red on Wednesday, and all TTC vehicles will stop for two minutes at 11 a.m. in honour of our veterans.

Toronto Liberal MP resigns from caucus after employing sister in constituency office

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Nov 10th, 2020

A Toronto MP says she’s leaving the Liberal caucus over allegations she employed a relative at her constituency office.

Yasmin Ratansi, who represents Don Valley East for the Liberals, says in a statement posted to Facebook on Monday night that she “made an error” by employing her sister.

Ratansi says in the post that she’s informed the Prime Minister’s Office as well as the Speaker.

She apologized to her constituents and says she intends to represent the riding as an Independent.

The issue has been referred to the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and Ratansi says she is waiting to hear their recommendations.

Ratansi has represented the Ontario riding since 2015, and previously held the riding from 2004 to 2011.

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