Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation urges government to act on COVID-19 transmission in schools

WATCH: The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation is calling on the government of Saskatchewan to acknowledge the alarming rate of COVID-19 transmission in schools and take immediate action.

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is urging the government for more support after the Saskatchewan Health Authority reported that around 23 per cent of COVID-19 transmission in school-aged children is happening in schools.

Saskatchewan Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Saqib Shahab said despite these numbers, the focus is on keeping students in schools for their own wellbeing.

“Compared to last year, less schools are going online,” Saskatchewan’s top doctor said Wednesday.

“There’s less disruption and children are able to do a lot of activities in school including sports and after school amenities.”

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The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation doesn’t agree, though. STF officials claim schools are given a lack of information about cases and say the majority of contact tracing is being done by faculty during off-work hours, largely based off of anecdotal information from families.

“We have situations where parents are reporting that they’ve been contacted that a student is positive,” said STF president Patrick Maze.

“We’re not getting the message in our schools and we’re having situations where the friends of those students we know are close contacts aren’t getting letters for a week or two later.”

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The STF wants to partner with the government and reinstate the Education Response Planning Team to get clearer and more timely data on COVID-19 in schools.

Maze says they primarily want better communication on how to stop the spread.

“We know that there is transmission in schools,” Maze said. “But the problem is the health system seems so overwhelmed that we’re not getting that information until sometimes weeks later.”

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Dr. Shahab said the province has a lot to be proud of when it comes to how school cases have been managed without halting in-person learning.

He said school boards, government and public health officials have had weekly meetings and updates.

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Shahab’s main message to parents and students at Wednesday’s briefing was that the focus should continue to be on getting eligible family members vaccinated to protect younger students in schools and daycares.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Theatre Calgary 'thrilled' to stage first show since COVID-19 pandemic began

WATCH: This is a big week for Theatre Calgary. Performers are back on stage for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. As Gil Tucker reports, it means a long-awaited return to work for more than 100 people, eager to once again connect with Calgarians.

This is a big week for Theatre Calgary, presenting a live show on its stage for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

TC is mounting the world premiere of Canadian writer/performer Rick Miller’s new one-man show Boom YZ, covering the period from 1995 to 2020.

“It’s the history, the culture, the politics, so I cover a lot of voices, a lot of characters, a lot of years,” Miller said. “I am just very grateful to be able to perform to anyone because there were questions about whether or not we could do this.”

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The show also marks TC’s first production since new executive director Maya Choldin joined the organization in November 2020.

“I am just thrilled to be able to welcome people back into the space,” Choldin said.

While Boom YZ is a one-man show, staging it means a return to work for more than 100 TC staff, among them technicians and office personnel.

TC will be following the production with A Christmas Carol, its biggest show of the year in terms of attendance and box office revenue.

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But it will be the drastically scaled-down three-person version of the story — offered in 2020 only online, available in that form again in 2021, but now also live in the theatre through most of December.

“We hope that people will come and celebrate Christmas with us again,” Choldin said.

TC will be taking several steps to keep audiences safe.

“Mask-wearing inside the theatre. We have distanced seating, reduced capacity,” Choldin said. “Everyone who attends needs to be 100 per cent fully vaccinated.”

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Boom YZ touches on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In 2020, which is the last year that the show covers, it’s mostly just me standing still and with everything shut down and just trying to cope with the world that more or less held its breath,” Miller said.

Boom YZ is on stage at Theatre Calgary until Nov. 7.

“I want them to come to see live theatre because it’s just so different from what we can get on the screen,” Miller said. “Everyone’s keeping safe, we’re all doing the right thing and hopefully, we’re going to create a really unique experience.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Cyclist seriously injured by off-leash dog in Toronto begs owners to come forward

WATCH ABOVE: A cyclist who was seriously injured by an unleashed dog along the Martin Goodman Trail is speaking out.

Lying in a bed at Michael Garron Hospital, Tedd Dillon shows off a mug his twin sister gave him Tuesday when he celebrated his birthday.

But Dillon said there’s little to celebrate and is upset about the sudden halt to a year that had been going well professionally and was filled with plans for travel, including a fishing trip and a ski trip.

The 69-year-old suffered three fractures to his pelvis, a pulmonary embolism and is struggling to breathe — the result of a collision with an off-leash dog last Friday afternoon while Dillon was riding his bicycle along the Martin Goodman Trail.

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Dillon, who stands six-foot-three and weighs 260 pounds, was riding his bicycle along the paved path next to Kew Beach when he noticed a mid-sized dog, roughly 70 pounds, careening towards him, chasing a squirrel.

“I’m looking and I’m thinking, oh my God. I put the brakes on so I’m stationary and this dog hits me,” said Dillon.

Dillon fell off his bicycle to the pavement below and could barely move as the dog ran off.

Good Samaritans came to his aide, but witnesses told him the dog’s owners, who were on rollerblades, took off.

“I would like them to accept responsibility and their insurance company could help me bridge the gap between the time that I am not working and when I can actually start to work again because this has taken a chunk out of my life.”

Dillon’s sister has put posters up around the beach neighbourhood where the crash occurred in an effort to identify the couple who was with the dog.

Dillon believes the owners must have known he was hurt since people had gathered around, but wonders if “perhaps they didn’t know their dog had been involved in a hit-and-run.”

A member of Cycle Toronto, Dillon advocates for safe streets and believes dog owners need to take responsibility for their pets.

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“That’s why we have regulations that say keep the dogs on a leash because these things happen,” said Dillon. “I pray for them, I think it’s a very uncivil thing to do,” he added, speaking of the dog’s owners.

Dillon said his greatest regret is that after a robust year of acting and voice-over work, it’s now all on hold as he prepares for at least two-to-three months of recovery.

“One of the most heartbreaking ones was a new character they were writing into Paw Patrol,” said Dillon referring to an audition he had coming up which he’s now had to cancel.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Vancouver's Corduroy Restaurant ordered to close for defying COVID-19 vaccine passport

WATCH: Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix were both asked about Rolly's Restaurant in Hope B.C. Tuesday after Fraser Health filed court documents to seek an injunction for it to close. Henry said it is unfortunate it has come to this but it is necessary for everyone and every establishment to comply with the vaccine card requirements to keep everyone safe.

Another British Columbia restaurant has been ordered to close for defying the province’s COVID-19 vaccine passport requirements

Vancouver Coastal Health issued Corduroy Restaurant in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood a closure order on Wednesday. The City of Vancouver confirmed the restaurant’s business licence has also been suspended until Dec. 31.

A person who answered the phone at the restaurant Wednesday afternoon declined to comment.

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But a post on Instagram said the business would be closed for the day to, “strategize how to best move forward without jail time, but still employ our staff, keep a roof over our heads and allow a safe space for those who believe in medical privacy, freedom and non-discrimination.”

Under the BC Vaccine Card mandate, people are required to show proof of immunization to access pubs and restaurants, cinemas, indoor sporting events and a variety of other non-essential services.

Corduroy has refused to check vaccine passports since the vaccine card was implemented last month, and in September a staff member told Global News the restaurant had switched to counter service only, in what appeared to be an attempt to find a loophole in vaccine card regulations over whether table service is involved.

The provincial health order enacting the vaccine passport, however, is clear that it applies to all liquor-licensed establishments, regardless of whether table service is involved.

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Owner Rebecca Matthews has been a vocal opponent of COVID-19 restrictions since at least the spring, when she spoke at an anti-COVID restriction rally in Vancouver and attempted to defy a “circuit breaker” order shutting restaurants at the peak of the pandemic’s third wave.

The restaurant was served with a temporary closure order in April over that dispute.

Another B.C. restaurant fighting the province’s vaccine passport system was in court on Wednesday, fighting an injunction application from Fraser Health seeking to shut its doors.

Rolly’s restaurant in Hope, B.C., has also been ordered to close, and has had its liquor and business licences suspended.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge is expected to provide their ruling on that injunction on Thursday afternoon.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Financial Survey shows parents avoiding the 'money' talk with their kids

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada, and in anticipation of this, a poll was conducted by TD Bank to assess Canadian parents’ thoughts on teaching their children the value of money.

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The survey yielded many interesting results, including:

25% of Canadian parents not regularly talking about money with their children.

63% avoid this talk because they think their child is too young.

33% of Canadian parents not being confident that they’re setting a healthy financial example for their children.

Only 10% of Canadian parents considering their household to be in “excellent financial health.”

45% of Canadian parents not having a household budget.

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Guarav Kapoor, who is a parent himself, decided to create an app called Mydoh, that makes money management a fun and interactive experience, something he says is important to keeping kids engaged in the prospect of financial literacy.

When it comes to the right age to start speaking to children about the importance of money, Kapoor believes there is a prime window of opportunity.

“Between 10-15 years old is actually that sort of sweet spot, where they’re noticing a lot and they’re starting to use actual money to buy things. I think that’s the actual sweet spot where the habits are formed. And when they become more independent after 16 or 17, how they’ve approached those previous years when it comes to money is what they carry with them when they actually start making money and spending it,” said Kapoor.

The survey revealed only 11% of parents in Saskatchewan and Manitoba say that they are detailed with their financial planning, which ranks last in the country.

Parent in these provinces are also most likely to admit that they don’t know much about managing finances (24%).

Kapoor says a good stepping stone for teaching kids how to successfully manage money is to teach them the difference between their financial ‘wants’ and ‘needs,’ and encouraging financial independence.

“When it comes to the interaction between parents and kids, while parents are paying for ‘needs,’ they can start encouraging them to save and pay for their ‘wants,” he said.

“Budgeting is not rocket science, you just need to take the time as a family and be willing to talk about money,” said Kapoor.

 

 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

UNBC athletics program unveils new Indigenous logo jerseys

The University of Northern British Columbia has unveiled new jerseys for their athletics teams the school says are a Canadian first.

The new Timberwolves alternative jerseys feature a logo created by Gitxsan artist Trevor Angus, which UNBC says are the first in any college or university athletic program in the country completely designed by an Indigenous artist.

“The sense of pride that I hope every student athlete feels when they put on this uniform is something that they will remember forever,” UNBC athletics director Loralyn Murdoch said in a media release.

Angus is a former UNBC student, and also designed the logo for the school’s First Nations Centre.

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His green, black, yellow and white logo is an interpretation of the Timberwolf logo UNBC has used since 1998, and accompanied by custom Indigenous piping on the sides of versions on soccer and basketball uniforms.

“I loved the whole wolf theme that was already there, and I worked on that. I always thought of the wolf as an animal that works in a pack, or a team, so I thought it was such a good fit,” Angus said.

“I had the vision of what I wanted to do before I ever put pencil to paper. I’m happy with the results. I hope UNBC wins lots of games while wearing these jerseys.”

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Along with the new logo, the uniforms feature syllabics that translate to “En Cha Huna,” UNBC’s motto from Dakelh (Carrier) Elders interpreted as “respecting all forms of life.”

The soccer version of the jerseys will get their first run in competition on Saturday while the basketball version will be played in for the first time on Nov. 6, with both games against the TRU WolfPack.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Undocumented health workers want access to permanent resident program

WATCH: Canada's migrant workers protest, press for immigration changes

Refugee claimants and undocumented health-care workers are demanding they be allowed to apply for a government program that would grant them permanent status in Canada.

The temporary resident to permanent resident pathway program was announced in April as a way to keep skilled essential workers in the country, with a focus on retaining 20,000 hospital and long-term care workers.

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While the government has already received the maximum number of applications for recent university graduates and other essential workers, there have been few applicants accepted to the health-care stream.

The program is set to close on Nov. 5 and has so far accepted only 5,421 applications.

The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change says that’s because refugees with pending claims and undocumented people are barred from applying and many health-care occupations are excluded.

“I felt humiliated when the eligibility requirement excluded me,” said Fasanya Kolade, a Nigerian refugee and developmental support worker in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Kolade works primarily with seniors and adults with physical, developmental and intellectual disabilities, and said he pulled 65-hour weeks throughout the pandemic to care for his patients.

Despite meeting most of the criteria, he could not apply.

“The only criteria that excluded me was just that I am a refugee claimant,” he said in an online press conference Wednesday.

The program is only open to workers with temporary status in Canada, so undocumented people with work permits or those with asylum claims still outstanding cannot apply.

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The program also requires applicants to meet language requirements, and have recent experience in an approved health-care occupation.

Those requirements can also limit eligibility for people who don’t have time to take the proper language tests, the Migrant Workers Alliance said.

The federal government launched a similar pathway program specifically for health-care workers with pending or failed refugee claims late last year, which closed to applications on Aug. 31.

Now with nearly 15,000 spots for temporary residents set to expire in just two weeks, the alliance is calling for the criteria to be expanded.

“Changing these rules, ensuring access for migrants, refugee claimants, undocumented people without economic, occupational restrictions and language restrictions is a no-brainer,” said Syed Hussan, executive director of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.

“Otherwise these spots will just evaporate.”

A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said the new pathway program is innovative, and the size, speed and scope are unprecedented.

“As with previous programs we will evaluate its findings, take what we’ve learned and apply it going forward,” said Alexander Cohen, press secretary to Mendicino, in a statement Wednesday.

He also pointed to the Guardian Angels program launched last year, which offered a unique pathway for undocumented asylum seekers who’ve contributed to Canada’s fight against the pandemic in hospitals and long-term care homes.

“These bold initiatives represent a paradigm shift in our immigration system _ one that is more inclusive than ever before,” Cohen said.

Several people without temporary status have applied to the pathway, hoping the criteria would be amended, but have been denied.

“When I first heard of the health worker pathway I knew God had finally heard, not only my cries, but also other people in my situation,” said Jane, a Ugandan refugee and personal support worker in Hamilton, Ont. Her full name has been protected because of her lack of immigration status.

She fled her country after leaving an abusive and homophobic relationship and was disowned by her family when they learned she was a lesbian.

She applied for the pathway program with the help of a lawyer and waited, hoping the criteria would be expanded to include people with failed refugee claims, but she was denied.

There are many people with similar stories, said Florence, a Ugandan asylum seeker who works in a Toronto residential home for young adults with complex developmental and physical disabilities. Her full name has also been protected.

She was denied because she had filed an asylum claim in the United States.

“Our hands are tied up. I cannot get a steady permit to pursue my dreams,” Florence said Wednesday. “I know there are very many of us like me who need papers.”

 

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Driver caught playing flute with both hands in Halton Region, police say

Halton Regional Police say a person has been charged after they were caught playing a flute with both hands while driving.

A post on the Halton police Burlington Twitter account said the driver was spotted while an officer was conducting distracted driving enforcement Wednesday.

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The post said the officer was expecting to discover that the driver was using a cellphone, but instead found that they were using a flute.

Police said the driver was following along to a song on an iPod while playing.

Global News attempted to contact Halton police for further information on the incident, but was unable to reach a spokesperson who could speak on the matter.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Grassroots group of B.C. doctors aims to close COVID-19 info 'gap' between public, province

A grassroots group of B.C. scientists and health-care workers has begun providing independent COVID-19 briefings to close what it calls an information “gap” between the public and provincial government.

Protect Our Province BC alleges that Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, health minister, are not providing enough candid, science-based information to residents about the virus.

“What our group has noticed is that there is this growing disconnect between some of what the government is telling us about this pandemic, the virus and how it works, and what people are seeing and hearing from other sources,” explained Dr. Karina Zeidler, a family physician in Vancouver.

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The group describes itself as a non-partisan collective of doctors, nurses, scientists, and policy experts.

In its inaugural briefing on Wednesday, it focused on COVID-19’s airborne transmissibility and encouraged the public to ensure their masks fit well and have effective filters.

“Even thought it may seem like we’re sort of out of the woods when it comes to our pandemic, I don’t think that’s an accurate picture,” said Zeidler.

“There’s still a lot of death, a lot of morbidity happening that needs to be addressed, and with doing these briefings, we’re trying to explore some of these things and bring a bit more information to people.”

Protect Our Province BC argues that public health officials are not providing sufficient guidance to residents on issues like airborne spread of COVID-19, and the importance of quality masks, ventilation and rapid testing.

“When we look at some of the guidance coming from the province, many of the guidelines still focus a lot of interventions that may only be effective in combatting a pathogen that is transmitting primarily through the droplet and contact route,” said Dr. Victor Leung, an infectious diseases physician and medical microbiologist.

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Pressed by journalists in April, Henry said the province has always focused on both airborne transmission of COVID-19 through small particles called aerosols, and through large particles, like droplets.

“We have recognized that smaller particles can transmit this virus, particularly in situations where we’re talking about which are indoors,” the provincial health officer said in an April 22 briefing.

“When you’re in close contact with somebody, where you’re talking loudly, where you’re not wearing a mask, there’s poor ventilation that is unequivocal.”

The next month, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control updated its website to say that COVID-19 is airborne — spread by aerosols, not just infected droplets that can only carry a few metres.

Aerosols are much smaller particles and can drift in the air like smoke. They disperse quickly outdoors, but not in poorly-ventilated indoor settings.

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Dix said the province has been transparent about COVID-19, providing daily and weekly briefings on the virus before a pandemic was declared in March of 2020.

The province has a “science-led strategy” that includes “very detailed” communication on a variety of topics, such as the number of people in critical care who are unvaccinated, he added.

“We have as our provincial health officer an internationally renowned leader in the fight against pandemics,” said Dix. “One the reasons she’s an outstanding leader is because she listens and she learns all the time.”

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Even amongst scientists, the minister said “there is a debate sometimes” and he recognized there is always room for improvement.

Earlier this week, he also said he wasn’t “at all” worried about how Protect Our Province BC’s allegations would impact the public’s views of the government’s weekly COVID-19 briefings.

Protect Our Province BC said it will announce future independent briefings at a later date.

With files from Simon Little

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

McCutcheon among trio of Lethbridge Hurricanes recognized ahead of 2022 NHL draft

WATCH: Logan McCutcheon, Peter Repcik and Yegor Klavdiev of the Lethbridge Hurricanes were named to NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary players to watch list earlier this week. Danica Ferris has more on McCutcheon, and why he might remind some fans of a former favourite.

Lethbridge Hurricanes defenceman Logan McCutcheon knows that at five foot nine, he’s going to have to work especially hard to make his dream of playing in the NHL come true.

But this week, the 17-year-old got one step closer to that dream as he — and teammates Yegor Klavdiev and Peter Repcik — was ranked by NHL Central Scouting on the preliminary Players To Watch list ahead of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.

“It’s just nice for them to be recognized,” said Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio. “It doesn’t mean a lot right now — when you get drafted by a team, that’s when it matters — but we have some guys that are playing hard, they’re doing the right things and getting noticed.”

All three Hurricanes players have been ranked as “C” skaters, and McCutcheon says while he plans to work at increasing his draft stock over the next few months, he was thrilled to be noticed.

“It’s definitely been a lifelong dream for me to try and make it to the NHL, go as far as I can, so just to be recognized is awesome,” McCutcheon said.

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The diminutive defenceman had 11 points in 23 games for the ‘Canes in the shortened 2021 WHL season and then spent part of his summer at Hockey Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team Summer Development Camp.

Kisio says the invitation was well deserved and fast-tracked McCutcheon’s development.

“He’s come back, and he hasn’t skipped a beat. He’s a dependable defenceman that plays the right way, and obviously, his offensive side kind of speaks for itself.”

McCutcheon has two points through five games so far this season — including a goal in the Hurricanes’ home opener on Oct. 1 — and Kisio says he will get every opportunity to set new career high point totals.

“He’s going to play a lot of minutes, he’s going to play on our power play, he’s going to play on our penalty kill, he’s that good,” he said.

But McCutcheon knows he will also face some challenges at his size.

“I’m a smaller defenceman, but I can’t let it hold me back,” said the 17-year-old. “I just have to keep getting better, work hard, get stronger and see what happens.”

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McCutcheon will look to follow in the footsteps of former Hurricanes defenceman — who also coincidentally wore the number two for the club — Calen Addison.

Addison is now playing in the AHL and last season got into a handful of NHL games with the Minnesota Wild.

“It’s definitely somebody that I look up to, to try and play like him,” McCutcheon said.

“Addison was here, and he did some great things for us, and he’s moved on and played some NHL games,” Kisio said.

“So as far as McCutcheon goes, looking at that and realizing that it doesn’t really matter how big you are, there’s an opportunity there, if you work hard enough and develop enough, you have a chance to play.”

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Kisio says he expects a ton of development from McCutcheon through the rest of the 2021-22 WHL season as well as improvement from Klavdiev and Repcik — both in their first year with the club as European imports.

“It’s a tough transition. When you’re a European coming over and playing that North American game for the first time, there are some adjustments for sure, and we understand that,” Kisio said. “We think they’re just going to get better and better as the year goes along.”

The Hurricanes hit the road this week and are set to head to Red Deer on Friday night facing the Rebels at 7 p.m.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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