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Friday, September 18, 2020
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South Asian adults & seniors: Yoga classes online

Vedic Seniors Parivar Center of Vedic Hindu Cultural Society of British Columbia invites South Asian adults and senior members to attend yoga classes online through Zoom meetings to be conducted by Sumita Kolppa from her studio on Monday, September 21 and Thursday, September 24 from 10 to 11 a.m. It will be organized on Zoom meetings for which you will be provided with a separate link to click for joining online yoga on Monday and a separate link to click for joining on Thursday. You must have a web camera with a mike installed in your computer or smart phone to have video display of the participating members. Call Surendra Handa, coordinator, at 604-507-9945 for further details.

B.C. Teachers’ Federation files application with Labour Relations Board to address outstanding concerns

Teri Mooring

B.CV. Teachers’ Federation President Teri Mooring in a letter to BCTF members on Thursday informed them that the federation had filed an apllication with the Labour Relations Board to address their “many outstanding concerns.”

The letter stated: “First and foremost, I want to recognize how difficult the last two weeks have been on all of you. As I wrote in my letter to the Minister of Education this week, the employer is taking advantage of your professionalism, the high expectations you put on yourselves, and your caring for students. I know many of you feel unsafe and the government is failing to ensure school districts are doing everything they can to ensure you and your students are as safe as you can be.

“The BCTF continues to push every available strategy to address the inequities of working conditions, the haphazard implementation of health and safety measures, and confusing changes in government messages and documents.

“As part of our strategy, the Federation’s lawyers have been hard at work analyzing British Columbia’s legislative framework to see what we can do from a legal perspective to force changes. Today, the BCTF filed an application with the Labour Relations Board under Section 88 of the BC Labour Relations Code. It is a rarely used provision that we believe can compel the government into a labour relations process to address our many outstanding concerns. Our hope is to get the government to address the many communication, process, and health and safety problems of their restart plan. Critically, our application seeks to enhance the enforcement measures to ensure school districts take all possible actions to keep teachers and students safe.

“We have asked the Labour Relations Board to address our concerns and application as quickly as possible.”

Patio, service area expansions, sale and delivery of packaged liquor extended

THE Province announced on Friday it is extending temporary measures to support the restaurant and hospitality sector.

The extensions allow for expanded service areas, such as patios, and for the sale and delivery of unopened liquor products with the purchase of a meal by food- and-liquor-primary licensees.

In May 2020, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) began permitting food-primary, liquor-primary and manufacturer licensees, such as wineries, breweries and distilleries, to apply for a Temporary Expanded Service Area (TESA) authorization through an expedited, no fee, online process.

All TESA authorizations were originally set to expire on October 31. However, the Province has made amendments allowing for their extension to October 31.

The LCRB intends to extend all TESA authorizations. However, the branch will reach out to local governments to confirm their support for the extension of approved TESA authorizations in their jurisdiction prior to extensions being granted.

All licensees with current TESA authorizations and whose local governments support extension will be reissued authorization letters, automatically extending the expiry date of their authorizations, before October 31. Licensees must continue to comply with all local bylaws.

New applications for TESA authorization will be considered up until October 31. New TESA authorizations for liquor-primary and manufacturer licenses must also receive the approval of local governments.

As of September 11, 2020, 1,073 TESA authorizations have been approved in communities throughout the province.

The government has also approved an extension to the temporary authorization that allows food-primary and liquor-primary licensees to sell and deliver sealed, packaged liquor products alongside the purchase of a meal for off-site consumption.

This authorization, which was set to expire on October 31, has been extended to March 31, 2021, to continue to provide businesses with relief from the financial hardship of the pandemic, while making it easier for vulnerable British Columbians to continue observing the orders of the provincial health officer.

Both of the extensions came after consultation with the Business and Technical Advisory Panel, a group of liquor and hospitality industry representatives, as well as following the input of several local governments, licensees and members of the public.

View the updated LCRB policy directives here: 


Thousands more child care spaces coming for B.C. families

Katrina Chen

B.C. families in 35 communities will soon have access to thousands of quality, licensed child care spaces as the Province marks a new milestone in its Childcare BC plan.

“The momentum of our Childcare BC plan continues to build despite the challenges British Columbia has been facing over the past months,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, on Friday. “We have now funded more than 20,000 new spaces in the past two years, and we remain committed to giving families better access to inclusive, quality affordable child care as we rebuild our economy.”

Since July 2020, when the Province announced a child care milestone of nearly 16,800 new licensed spaces funded through Childcare BC programs, an additional 3,634 new licensed child care spaces have been funded through the New Spaces Fund. Since July 2018, the Province has funded about 780 new spaces each month on average.

Among the successful projects for this funding intake, the Peace River North School District’s Board of Education is creating 116 child care spaces on the grounds of four elementary schools in Fort St. John. The district will deliver the child care programs, which are expected to be ready for families by January 2021.

“The board is excited about adding before- and after-school child care at four locations within our community,” said Helen Gilbert, Chair, Peace River North School District Board of Trustees. “Parents will have the convenience of child care in their neighbourhood school. Students will have fewer transitions in a day and life should be easier for many of our families.”

The YMCA of Greater Vancouver is getting funding to create 77 spaces at the Sprouts Child Care Centre, which will be located on the third floor of the Sprouts Early Childhood Development Hub in the Capstan Village neighbourhood of Richmond. This facility will be part of a larger housing development by Pinnacle Living Lands, which will transfer ownership to the City of Richmond upon completion. The centre is expected to be open for families in spring 2021.

“The YMCA is grateful to once again work alongside the Province of B.C. and the City of Richmond to deliver quality child care to families in this community,” said Kim Adamson, general manager of child care development, YMCA of Greater Vancouver. “We know critical learning takes place in the first six years of a child’s life – learning that requires a nurturing and caring environment, and we will certainly have that at Sprouts Child Care Centre. Our passionate and dedicated early childhood educators are looking forward to providing each child with every opportunity to connect with others, learn and develop the skills needed to become confident kids today and contributing, engaged adults in the future.”

An additional 4,110 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, takes the total to more than 24,500 spaces since July 2017.

“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of child care, not just for children and families, but for our communities and the economy,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “These more than 3,600 new child care spaces are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history and show our ongoing commitment to building a child care system that benefits families across the whole province.”

Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

“Quality, accessible, public child care is a crucial component to B.C.’s economic recovery. This investment is needed now more than ever,” said Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley. “Expanding access to public child care and early childhood education spaces has been foundational to this minority government, and the new licensed spaces are one step closer to ensuring all of our children have access to high-quality education and are set up for success.”

For additional information on thousands of new child care spaces coming to B.C. communities, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2020.09.18_NewSpacesFund.pdf

Trudeau announces by-elections for Ontario’s Toronto Centre and York Centre

Justin Trudeau

PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced that by-elections will be held on October 26 in the following two electoral districts:

  • Toronto Centre, Ontario
  • York Centre, Ontario

UFV’s Jason Bains banned from wrestling for 4 years for using banned anabolic agent

Jason Bains Photo: gocascades.ca

THE Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) announced on Thursday that Jasonpreet (Jason) Bains, a U Sports wrestling athlete affiliated with the University of the Fraser Valley, received a sanction of four years for an anti-doping rule violation. The athlete’s urine sample, collected during in-competition doping control on February 21, 2020, revealed the presence of dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a prohibited anabolic agent.

In response to the CCES’s notification of the adverse analytical finding, Bains admitted the violation in a timely fashion, and a hearing was held to determine the sanction length. Arbitrator Jonathan Fidler confirmed the violation and imposed a sanction of four years ineligibility from sport, terminating April 2, 2024. During the sanction period, the athlete, who resides in Surrey, is ineligible to participate in any capacity with any sport signatory to the CADP, including training with teammates.

The full decision can be found at www.crdsc-sdrcc.ca.

Bains won a silver medal in the 100 kg weight category at this year’s U  Sport  National  Championships hosted  by  Brock University in  St  Catharines, Ontario, and qualified for  the  U Sport  Nationals. He has now been stripped of the medal.

Male suffers gunshot wounds in Surrey in targeted incident

SURREY RCMP received calls of shots heard in the area of 194th Street and 34th Avenue on Thursday at around 8:15 p.m. and frontline officers were immediately dispatched to the area.

Officers located a male in the area suffering from gunshot wounds. The victim was transported to a regional trauma hospital where he is being treated for his injuries.

The investigation is still in its early stages. Officers are conducting neighbourhood canvassing and speaking with several witnesses to obtain further information. At this time this incident does not appear to be a random act, but rather targeted at this male, police said.

The area of 194th Street and 34th Avenue will be closed  for the next few hours while investigators gather evidence. 

Anyone with further information who has not already spoken to police is asked to contact Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or, if they wish to remain anonymous, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or www.solvecrime.ca.

Media reports said that a burned out vehicle was found nearby, but police have not said if it was connected to the shooting.

B.C. Liberals: Horgan fails to put forward recovery plan, opts for thinly veiled election platform

Andrew Wilkinson

BRITISH Columbians expected an economic recovery plan, but instead got Premier John Horgan and the NDP’s re-election plan, said the B.C. Liberals on Thursday. This comes nearly seven months after the Legislature, unanimously, approved $1.5 billion in spending to deal with the impact of the pandemic.

“We’re in the middle of a global pandemic with case counts rising, record unemployment, and an economic crisis. The NDP blowing through the $2.7 billion surplus left by the BC Liberals hasn’t helped the situation either. British Columbians have had to rely on the federal government for much-needed supports while John Horgan cooked-up plans for an unnecessary snap election,” said BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson. “Thousands of people are out of work and countless small businesses are struggling to stay open and all they’re getting is an NDP election scheme in disguise.”

Wilkinson said that the NDP’s half-baked recovery scheme features no long-term plans to help people facing the end of federal supports and can’t find work or the small businesses who are fighting to keep their doors open. It also features no long-term plan to ensure our communities stay healthy and safe, and that people have hope that there will be opportunities in the future.

“There’s nothing in today’s NDP plan that couldn’t have been delivered months ago when it was needed the most. As B.C. faces the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, we need real leadership. It’s time for a government with the vision and competence to work to remobilize the economy. We’re not getting that from John Horgan and the NDP,” added Wilkinson. “While public health officials continue to do their best to keep us safe, John Horgan has been busy plotting how to save his job with a cynical election. British Columbians deserve a government that prioritizes people, not the political future of John Horgan.”

Highest one-day total of COVID-19 cases in B.C.

“The restrictions and precautions are not forever, but they are needed right now”

HEALTH Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Thursday announced a record number of new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for one day in British Columbia: 165, including two epi-linked cases, in B.C. The total number of cases in the province is now 7,663.

There was one new COVID-19-related death. The total number of deaths in B.C. now stands at 220.

There are 1,705 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, 2,949 people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases, and 5,719 people who tested positive have recovered.

Currently, 57 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 22 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 2,714 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 3,937 in the Fraser Health region, 196 in the Island Health region, 489 in the Interior Health region, 241 in the Northern Health region and 86 cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

There are two new health-care facility outbreaks, one at Delta Hospital and one at Peace Arch Hospital, both in the Fraser Health region. In total, 11 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and five acute-care facilities have active outbreaks.

There has been one new health-care facility outbreak at Delta Hospital in the Fraser Health region. In total, 11 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and four acute-care facilities have active outbreaks.

There have been no new community outbreaks, although there continue to be community exposure events.

Alerts are posted on the BC Centre for Disease Control’s (BCCDC) website, as well as on health authorities’ websites, providing details on where the potential exposure occurred and what actions to take – whether you need to self-isolate or monitor for symptoms.

For schools, public health teams will contact individuals through contact tracing, and schools will continue to issue alerts when a school exposure has occurred and action is required. Supporting these protocols, the BCCDC website and health authorities are also publishing notifications.

Dix and Henry added: “COVID-19 requires compromise and give and take. Today, our focus is to have as much as possible open and functioning in our communities – our essential services, workplaces and schools – while limiting our exposure to higher-risk activities and locations.

“This give and take is a sacrifice for all of us, but is one that will keep us safe in the weeks and months ahead.

“Containing the spread of the virus in our communities is core to our COVID-19 response and that is why getting tested as soon as you have symptoms is so important.

“Today, a new made-in-B.C. sample collection program has been launched for all K-12 students across the province. One of the first of its kind worldwide.

“For school-aged children four to 19, a mouth-rinse gargle is now available at COVID-19 collection centres around the province. Unlike the nasopharyngeal swab method, this new saline method doesn’t require a health-care professional to collect the sample.

“Taking the step to get tested is how you protect your friends and loved ones, and for K-12 students there is now an easier alternative.

“Not only is the new method more comfortable for younger people, a B.C. company will provide the collection tube, reducing the province’s dependency on the global supply chain for this sample method.

“As well, the restriction on gatherings to no more than 50 people is another protection layer to contain the spread. It is important to remember that 50 people is an upper limit that needs to be scaled down based on the space you are in.

“As we have seen, many businesses are only be able to safely accommodate just a few people, and the same applies for our homes – inside or out. Regardless of our location, when socializing with others, smaller is always safer.

“The compromise to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe also includes seeing fewer friends and family members, for now.

“Our small groups need to be the same small groups. Spending time with different friends on different days significantly increases our personal risk and is a continued source of transmission in our province.

“So, when planning our activities, whether is a play date for your kids, or a weekend dinner party, ask yourself if the people are part of your ‘safe six’?

“The restrictions and precautions are not forever, but they are needed right now. By stepping back now, we can protect those who are most vulnerable and keep the people we care about safe.

“Let’s continue to make to September the month to get ready for the respiratory season, to hold steady with our layers of protection and step back from our social interactions and step forward with the routines that will keep our communities and our loved ones safe.”

Assisted living, long-term care homes and seniors’ rental buildings with ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks are as follows:
Vancouver Coastal Health
* OPAL by Element assisted-living facility

* Point Grey Private Hospital long-term care facility

* Royal Arch Masonic Home long-term care facility (second outbreak)

Fraser Health
* Bear Creek Villa independent-living facility

* Cherington Place long-term care facility

* Evergreen Hamlets long-term care facility

* Kin Village assisted-living facility

* Milieu Children and Family Services Society community-living facility

* New Vista Care Home long-term care facility

* Normanna long-term care facility

* Rideau Retirement Centre independent-living facility

Suspect arrested in connection to Westminster Pier Park fire

Westminster Pier Park fire on Sunday night. Photo: New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote’s twitter

ON Tuesday, September 15, the New Westminster Police Department arrested a male for arson-related offences in connection to the Westminster Pier Park fire. The male suspect has since been released from custody on a number of conditions. Based on the investigation to date, the NWPD do not believe the public are at further risk and are not looking for additional suspects.

The NWPD Major Crime Unit is continuing to gather evidence and anticipate forwarding a report to Crown Counsel for the consideration of formal charges.

“This investigation is continuing and we would still encourage anyone with information to come forward and speak with our investigators,” said Sgt. Sanjay Kumar.

Westminster Pier Park on Monday morning. Photos: Rattan

“Fire investigations by their very nature are extremely difficult,” said Deputy Chief Constable Paul Hyland. “And we have had significant resources dedicated to this investigation day and night since the fire began. I am very proud of the hard work and professionalism shown by our members on this file as public safety has been a paramount concern throughout.”

“While I am pleased this investigation is moving forward, I am mindful of the significant impact this fire has had,” added Chief Constable Dave Jansen. “And I would like to thank all the first responders, City staff and community members who have contributed to mitigating the impact on our community.”

Police are asking anyone with information about the fire to contact Major Crime Unit investigators at 604-525-5411.