Guelph police say woman was assaulted over ex-boyfriend's debt

A woman has been assaulted over her ex-boyfriend’s debt problems, police say.

The Guelph Police Service was called to an apartment complex on Waterloo Avenue around 8 p.m. Tuesday on reports of a woman being assaulted.

Investigators say the woman told officers that a man she knew approached her in the stairwell of the complex.

They say the woman was struck with a metal pipe and grabbed by the throat while the man demanded that she pay money owed to him by her ex.

Investigators say the man fled on foot before officers arrived but was later located and arrested.

They say the woman did not sustain any injuries.

A 39-year-old man from Guelph is facing charges of assault with a weapon, forcible confinement, choking and breaching a court order.

He was being held for a bail hearing on Wednesday.

 

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Police warn public after possible 'hazardous substance' found in Toronto's High Park

Police are warning the public after a possibly hazardous substance was found in Toronto’s High Park.

Toronto police said on Tuesday, officers received a report of what appeared to be dog food and patches of blue snow along the fence line of the off-leash area of the park.

Police said the majority of the food and blue snow was in the forest regeneration zone, which is fenced off and separate from the off-leash area.

“However, some of the dog food and a few patches of blue snow were also found within the ‘off-leash’ area,” police said.

Officers said samples of the dog food and snow have been sent to Health Canada for testing as a precaution.

According to police, the rest of the dog food and blue snow was cleaned up by Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation.

Officers said there have been no reports of sick animals in the area.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

François Legault criticized for Ottawa's 'insulting' health funding offer

A day after Ottawa put their offer on the table, opposition parties are calling François Legault’s negotiation of health transfers a fail.

They say coming back with one-sixth of what was needed is not enough.

“Pull yourself together Mr. Premier and go collect our money,” said Liberal leader Marc Tanguay to Legault at the National Assembly.

Critics say Legault came out of negotiations with Prime Minister Trudeau and other premiers Tuesday afternoon sounding resigned over Ottawa’s offer.

On Wednesday, the opposition let him know he can’t just give up.

“I expect a little fight,” said liberal health critic André Fortin.

The federal government has offered provinces $196.1 billion over the next decade, including $46.2 billion in new money.

But it’s only one-sixth of the increase that premiers originally asked for.

“It’s better than nothing but it’s not enough for sure,” Legault said.

After two and half years of negotiations, Legault said it is Trudeau who has come up short.

The Parti Quebecois blames federalism.

“I really think we need to look at the fact that there is only one genuine solution to this and it is to decide by ourselves,” said party leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.

Quebec solidaire says that with growing health needs and current long waiting lists for surgeries and even cancer treatments, the offer is not only ridiculous, it’s insulting.

“I don’t know what he was doing in Ottawa yesterday François Legault, frankly. But he had a mission and he failed,” said Vincent Marissal, Quebec solidaire’s health critic.

Quebec’s health minister Christian Dubé says that regardless of Ottawa’s offer, Quebecers will not be let down.

He says his plan to reform the health-care system by 2025 is still on track.

“I think we still can make our plan and that’s unfortunate that the federal government has made that decision,” Dubé told reporters. “They have missed an opportunity to help us.”

But Legault says he is not giving up yet.

“We will continue to fight to get more that’s for sure,” Legault said.

The premiers are meeting on Wednesday to discuss whether or not they accept Ottawa’s offer.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Alberta RCMP officer seriously injured during call in Thorhild area

An RCMP officer sustained “serious, non-life-threatening injuries” during a scene call at a home in Thorhild, Alta., on Tuesday afternoon.

Redwater RCMP responded to a call for service at a residence at around 4 p.m., an RCMP spokesperson told Global News.

“During the call for service, an officer received serious, non-life-threatening injuries,” RCMP said. The spokesperson did not provide details about the nature of the call or how the officer was injured.

The officer was flown to hospital by STARS Air Ambulance and remains in stable condition.

A spokesperson for STARS said its team was called at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday to the Thorhild area. They transported a 33-year-old man “with injuries consistent with an edged weapon” to the University of Alberta Hospital. He was in serious but stable condition at the time, STARS said.

A 48-year-old woman was taken into custody, RCMP said.

Thorhild is about 86 kilometres north of Edmonton.

More to come…

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Business confidence hits record low in Ontario, even lower in Hamilton and Niagara: OCC

The non-profit that represents more than 60,000 businesses across Ontario is painting a gloomy picture when it comes to the confidence of its clients.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce‘s (OCC) latest annual economic report says faith in the province’s economy is at its “lowest level” since it began tracking trends almost a decade ago.

OCC senior manager of policy Claudia Dessanti says only about 16 per cent of its clients surveyed have confidence in the overall economic outlook for 2023.

That’s down from the 29 per cent recorded from a previous study in 2021.

Only 16 percent of organizations surveyed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) have confidence in the current economy.

Only 16 percent of organizations surveyed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) have confidence in the current economy.

Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)

“So business confidence is dropping precipitously and it’s not surprising. Ontario’s economy is expected to slow down quite significantly in 2023,” Dessanti told 900 CHML’s Bill Kelly Show.

Dessanti says the main drivers include inflation, supply chain challenges and cost of living causing “pessimism” among not only consumers but businesses as well.

In Hamilton and Niagara Region, OCC data suggests business confidence is even lower, just 13 per cent.

The source of the negativity is pandemic-affected ventures relying on cross-border trade and tourism.

But the OCC also suggests those sectors will pick up as the year goes on, with supply chain backlogs impacted by the war in Ukraine expected to clear up somewhat and travel rebounding following an easing of COVID-19-related closures.

“It may be a little bit dampened because people are tightening their their pocketbooks, but if they remain employed, there should be more travel this year, particularly in the summer,” said Dessanti.

Rising interest rates affected the bottom line for many organizations that needed to take on debt during the pandemic to keep their businesses going.

COVID-19 tax deferrals coming due, the end of the Ontario staycation tax credit and inflation were top contributors to increased operating costs for small and medium businesses in 2022.

Dessanti says some respondants have simply had to take on more loans to compensate, realizing that only so much of added costs can be passed on to customers amid growing inflation.

“One of the questions we ask in our survey is what would you like to see from government?” Dessanti said.

“For small businesses, they’re looking for support with taxes … support with energy costs … really anything that can get them through cash flow day to day.”

Labour shortages present one of the biggest challenges with half of all businesses, 53 per cent, reporting deficiencies.

About 85 per cent of large businesses are reporting labour struggles, with the education, construction, accomodation and food sectors the hardest hit.

The study suggests businesses that required employees to be fully in person were twice as likely to experience staffing issues compared with those that accommodated virtual or remote work.

A snapshot of responses from Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) members when asked in late 2022 if they were experiencing labour shortages.

A snapshot of responses from Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) members when asked in late 2022 if they were experiencing labour shortages.

Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)

“It’s quite stark that one in 10 of jobs in the food and accommodation service sector is going unsold right now,” Dessanti said.

“So vacancies are having an impact on businesses’ ability to run their operations day to day.”

However, OCC members are staying optimistic about their own businesses, with 53 per cent believing they will see increases in consumer spending via rising employment rates and population growth.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Kingston, Ont. hospital says former employee lied about being a nurse

A Kingston, Ont., hospital says it has fired an employee and launched an investigation after it was revealed they lied about being a registered nurse.

Kingston Health Sciences Centre says it has launched an investigation following the termination of an employee found to have fraudulently gained employment with KHSC by submitting false information.

The hospital says the employee worked primarily in the post-surgical unit (Kidd 6) at the Kingston General Hospital (KGH) site from July 22, 2022, to Jan. 27, 2023.

They also worked some shifts on additional units between Dec. 1, 2022, and Jan. 27, 2023, including the Admission and Transfer Unit, Connell 10, Kidd 9, Connell 9, Davies 5, Kidd 5, Kidd 4, Johnson 3, Kidd 3 and Connell 3.

“This individual undertook significant efforts to fraudulently gain employment with KHSC including providing extensive forged documentation of their qualifications and credentials,” says Jason Hann, executive vice-president of patient care and chief nursing executive.

“The fraudulent activity was identified through a routine, scheduled check with the CNO, that is completed for all nurses employed at KHSC and we quickly took action to end the individual’s employment.”

KHSC says it has informed the appropriate authorities, including the CNO and Kingston police. In addition to conducting its own internal investigation, KHSC says it will fully co-operate with any investigation by these external agencies.

The hospital says its internal investigation will focus on determining the impact on patients and their families.

It is in the process of contacting individual patients and families who were cared for by the former employee, to provide more direct information on its findings.

“We understand the stress and anxiety this news may cause for our patients and other KHSC staff. We will work directly with the impacted patients, families, and staff to address their concerns,” said Dr. David Pichora, president and CEO.

“We are committed to providing patients and their families with safe, high-quality care at all times and we are committed to speaking with each individual that reaches out to us using the contact information that has been provided to the patients who have been impacted.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Construction to begin this month to upgrade the Granville Bridge

Work to upgrade the Granville Bridge, part of the Granville Connector project, is set to begin this month.

The City of Vancouver said this work will create a “safer, more accessible crossing for walking, rolling and cycling.”

Two west-side travel lanes on the bridge will be converted to create separate those separate routes, similar to the protected lanes on the Burrard Bridge.

“Making these much-needed safety and accessibility improvements to Granville Bridge will mean the bridge can truly serve as a vital connection for all modes of travel between the growing commercial and job centres of the Broadway corridor and the downtown core,” Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim said in a statement.

Additional work will include the installation of new traffic signals, wayfinding signage and the creation of an all-ages-and-abilities pedestrian and bicycle connection to the Arbutus Greenway at the south end of the bridge.

According to the city, the loops that connect to Pacific Street at the north end of the bridge will be removed and replaced with “a new street network.”

“The loops were originally designed for a high-volume freeway that was never built. The new street network will create opportunities for housing and local services on the City-owned land currently occupied by the loops,” the City of Vancouver said in a statement.

The first phase of the work starts on the north end of the bridge, with an anticipated completion of the project by fall 2024.

Two lanes of traffic will be retained in both directions on Granville Bridge throughout construction, the city confirmed.

Some lane and street closures will be in effect during the work.

For up to six months, the portion of Granville Street between the Howe and Seymour Street ramps and Drake Street will be temporarily closed. During this time, pedestrians, vehicles and transit will be detoured to the Howe Street and Seymour Street ramps.

  • Winter 2023 – East loop closure
  • Spring 2023 – West loop closure
  • Summer 2023 to fall 2023 – temporary Granville Street closure with a detour in effect
  • Spring 2024 – opening of the new downtown street network

Sidewalks on both sides of the bridge and the Howe and Seymour ramps will remain open as much as possible throughout construction, the city said in a statement.

The Granville Bridge was built in 1954. In September 2020, the council endorsed the long-term concept for the Granville Connector.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Prairie provinces stand to benefit the most from boost to immigration target: report

WATCH ABOVE: (From Jan. 6, 2023) Statistics Canada says there was a significantly larger boost to job openings to end 2022 than initially projected, but there is also data which highlights persisting labour shortages amid a high cost of living. Mackenzie Gray breaks down the numbers from the new report, while Touria Izri explains how a recent influx in immigrants could be crucial to filling Canada's shrinking workforce.

A new Desjardins report suggests Canada’s immigration target increase could spur economic growth, with the Prairies standing to benefit the most.

Principal economist Marc Desormeaux says his analysis finds Canada’s plan to increase immigration could boost gross domestic product per capita if newcomers continue to have the same success getting work that they’ve enjoyed recently.

“That’s significant because there have been questions in the past about whether immigration boosts just GDP or GDP per capita,” he said.

GDP per capita is a country’s gross domestic product divided by the population. Many consider it a better measure of a country’s living standards than the overall GDP figure.

In November, the federal government announced a new immigration plan that would see Canada welcome 500,000 immigrants per year by 2025.

READ MORE: Ambitious immigration targets could help with Alberta labour shortage: report

The Desjardins analysis finds Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba would see the most GDP growth rate boost among provinces.

Desormeaux says that’s because those provinces have higher labour market participation rates and were the first to embrace provincial nominee programs, which allow provinces to select immigrants that match their economic needs.

The report attributes immigrants’ recent success at finding jobs to better integration of immigrants as well as Canada’s tight labour market.

As Canada stares down a potential recession, however, Desormeaux says “it’s an open question as to whether some of these strong labour market outcomes continue over the next year.”

READ MORE: Saskatchewan looks for increased control on immigration

The Bank of Canada’s aggressive interest rate hikes over the last year are expected to slow down the economy significantly in the coming months.

Economists anticipate that slowdown to increase unemployment, which could change labour market conditions for immigrants.

During the global financial crisis of 2008-09, immigrants bore the brunt of the economic downturn, Desormeaux said.

But that hasn’t been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

“We think that some of the conditions are ripe for strong labour market integration to continue in the next couple of yours, even if there is a downturn in the Canadian economy.”

 

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Regulator gives Imperial weeks to plan fix for months old oilsands tailings leak

Alberta’s energy regulator has given Imperial Oil until the end of the month to figure out a way to fix ongoing seepage at a tailings pond at its Kearl oilsands mine.

The Alberta Energy Regulator says a pond on the site north of Fort McMurray, Alta., has been seeping since May, releasing thousands of cubic metres of wastewater that contains toxins such as arsenic.

The seepage has been recorded both on- and off-site and is considered to have got into tributaries of area rivers.

The regulator says there has also been overflow of tailings water from one of the system’s holding ponds.

The regulator says there have been no wildlife or human impacts from the releases.

Imperial says it is working with the regulator to try and resolve the problem.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Series dramatizing Lac-Mégantic rail disaster divides opinion among residents

A new television series based on the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster is dividing opinion in the Quebec town where it is set.

Citizens of Lac-Mégantic were given a chance to watch the first episode of Mégantic at a screening Monday, several days before the French-language series begins streaming on Quebecor’s Club Illico Thursday.

The eight-episode show comes months before the 10-year-anniversary of the July 6, 2013 disaster, when a runaway train hauling tanker cars loaded with crude oil derailed and exploded in the Quebec town of 6,000, claiming 47 lives and destroying a large part of the downtown area.

Daniel Pilon, a Lac-Mégantic resident, is among those who won’t be watching. In a phone interview, he said he’s uncomfortable seeing a production company “romanticizing” the tragedy.

“We lost 47 people. There are children who lost their parents, people who lost their friends, a mother who lost her son, a grandmother who lost her grandson,” he said in a phone interview.

Pilon says the train passed within 500 metres of his house, and he still remembers watching his neighbours panic and cry as they desperately awaited news of their loved ones.

In addition to the trauma, he said many of the issues and divisions arising from the tragedy are still ongoing, including tensions over a rail bypass to divert trains around the city centre and what he sees as a botched process to rebuild the town’s downtown.

There’s also the December Quebec Superior Court decision December that exonerated Canadian Pacific Railway for its role in the tragedy, which is currently under appeal.

Pilon said that if the series had come in another 10 years, he might have watched. “For now, too many things are unresolved,” he said.

Others in the town who attended Monday’s screening came back with positive things to say.

Nathalie Michaud, a native of Lac-Mégantic who appeared as an extra in one scene, said she found the first episode to be “respectful, and not sensationalized.”

She praised the way the screening was presented, which included explanations from the production team and the presence of support workers from the local public health authority.

She said the collective experience of getting to see the screening with hundreds of members of her community was helpful to her, personally.

While the events and characters are clearly based on real people, their stories were often combined or intermingled, which allowed her to keep “a certain distance” mentally, she added.

While she acknowledged some people might feel it’s too soon for such a production, “I don’t think the time will come when everybody is ready at the same time.”

André Tanguay, another resident, said he was a little apprehensive about the screening, but emerged relieved.

He said what was depicted was a “human” story about “simple people overtaken by a situation bigger than themselves.”

He was glad to see the story done by a Quebec company, with local actors, and hopes it might help speed up discussions on the rail bypass, so that no more trains laden with dangerous materials pass through downtown.

However, he added that the first episode is more of a scene-setter, meaning others to come might be harder to watch for some people, especially those who are more closely connected to the tragedy than he is.

Dr. Isabelle Samson, the director of public health for the Estrie region, said she and other health-care workers were present at the screening to offer support if anyone needed it.

She said her main worry was that a series like this could bring up negative emotions that could cause some people to become anxious. On the other hand, seeing the show can be positive for some people, because it can give them a way to talk about the tragedy.

“Now with the show, it gives them legitimacy to to talk about their emotions, and for those people it could be quite positive,” she said.

The most important thing, she said, is for people not to force themselves to watch if they don’t feel ready, and to reach out and seek support if they experience symptoms such as anxiety, trouble sleeping, or extreme sadness after watching.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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