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New hiring rules for major projects -- how it benefits local communities
Lingxi.Zheng
2018-06-22    0 views
OTTAWA—Cities, provinces, and territories building new roads, bridges, water and transit systems funded with federal dollars will have to let Indigenous Peoples, veterans and recent immigrants have a hand in those projects under new rules being unveiled today.

The idea of so-called community benefits will be a mandatory requirement for major infrastructure projects the federal government will help pay for through its $33-billion spending envelope.

Provinces and territories will have some leeway to decide what projects are to be subject to the rules. Those projects that are will have to explain publicly how far they have come in meeting the government's goals.

Under the new guidelines, provinces, territories, and cities would have to hire apprentices, Indigenous Peoples, recent immigrants, veterans, young people, people with disabilities, and women, or procure goods and services from local small- and medium-sized businesses or social enterprises.

Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi said cities and provinces will early on in a project have to consider the opportunities for training, employment and contracts aimed at groups that have a more difficult time in the economy.

"Unfortunately, not every Canadian has the opportunity to participate in the economy,'' Sohi said.

"We want this type of thinking [community benefits] to become routine for us and our partners to help incent employment for these groups and achieve better results and outcomes for all Canadians.''

Sohi made the announcement in Toronto alongside the MP who first brought the idea to him two years ago—Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen. Hussen's private member's bill introduced in 2016 called for a wider definition of community benefits from federal projects. It included training opportunities, new housing and green space as well as jobs, among the options.

Hussen had to pull his backing from the bill when he was appointed to cabinet, but said "the spirit and the goal of that bill, my bill, is now embedded'' in the policy the Liberals adopted.

Community benefit agreements have been used for years in the United States and were applied to the construction of the athletes' village for the Vancouver Olympics. The agreements require projects to hire locally or create jobs for groups facing high unemployment rates, such as young people and Aboriginals.

The deals are usually negotiated among private companies doing work, the public body funding the project and community groups like unions, faith-based groups, or social services.

The Liberals inserted broad wording about community benefit requirements into infrastructure funding deals that provinces and territories signed over the past year.

Once construction starts on projects funded through those agreements, the Liberals want to see how many hours the targeted populations work, or the value of the contracts provided to targeted businesses, to see how well proponents are doing at meeting their goals.

There will also be requirements to explain the challenges and successes provinces, territories and cities have in meeting the community benefit goals.
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$40 hot-dog water being sold at an event in Vancouver -- here’s the deal
Lingxi.Zheng
2018-06-22    0 views
'Hot Dog Water' seller in Vancouver gets laughs, sales with savvy marketing

VANCOUVER—A Vancouver man who sold bottles of “Hot Dog Water” for nearly $40 each says he was trying to see how marketing of health claims backed by supposed science amounts to quick sales.
Douglas Bevans said he boiled about 100 organic beef hot dogs and put each one in a bottle of the water he sold at an annual car-free day festival event.
Each bottle of the “keto-compatible,” unfiltered water sold for $37.99, but two bottles cost only $75 because of a special deal last Sunday at his booth, where he wore a hot dog onesie and promoted himself as CEO of Hot Dog Water.
Bevans promised the water would lead to increased brain function, weight loss, and a youthful appearance, even erasing crow's feet when applied to the face in the form of a lip balm, which he also happened to sell.
“We noticed that some people were rubbing lip balm on their crow's feet and they were swearing their crow's feet were disappearing before their eyes,” he said.
One man who rubbed the lip balm on his “dome” sent him photos suggesting it promoted hair growth, Bevans said.
While many people laughed, he said others were impressed by the health benefits they'd experience with his unique products, including body spray and “Hot Dog Water breath freshener.”
Bevans said he sold 60 litres worth of the products.
He told people the water creates quicker sodium uptake for good health, uttering sheer quackery: “Because Hot Dog Water and perspiration resemble each other so when you drink Hot Dog Water it bypasses the lymphatic system, whereas other waters have to go through your filtering system, so really, Hot Dog Water has three times as much uptake as coconut water.”
Bevans, who is really a tour operator and a performance artist, said he came up with the idea as he questioned the ridiculous marketing and health claims behind some products and thought to himself: “I bet I could sell hot dog water.”
“We're helping people, empowering them to use informed decisions in their purchasing choices,” he said about his marketing stunt. “That is the message behind this.”
His aim is to get consumers to bypass slick marketing and think about what they're buying, especially in the age of social media clicks and ‘likes’ involving celebrities pitches.
Bevans said he thought of his project as an art performance to create awareness about critical thinking.
“Art, I think, has a way of doing this better than if this was a public service announcement. There's an image attached to it, that it's ridiculous.”
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Fake police ‘arrest’ woman, extort money -- New twist on Canada Revenue Agency scam
Lingxi.Zheng
2018-06-22    0 views
Vancouver police say there's a new twist on a Canada Revenue Agency scam they've been warning the public about and the swindle involves being arrested.

Police say a 58-year-old woman received a phone call on Wednesday afternoon from someone claiming to be from the agency, who said she owed $6,000 in taxes and there was a warrant for her arrest.

The woman was contacted again by a person claiming to be with the RCMP and he convinced her to give out personal information, including her location.

Police say two men showed up at her door, dressed as RCMP officers complete with what appeared to be firearms, handcuffed her and put her in the back seat of an older-model sedan.

The woman was driven to a Bitcoin machine in Surrey, B.C., to deposit the cash and the two men left the area without the victim.

Const. Jason Doucette says taking control of someone like that can be considered kidnapping and they remind people to hang up if anyone calls claiming to be from the Canadian Revenue Agency.
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Privacy questions linger two years after Canada U.S. terror list deal struck
Lingxi.Zheng
2018-06-22    0 views
OTTAWA—More than two years after Canadian and U.S. security agencies signed an updated agreement on sharing information about suspected terrorists, officials are still weighing the program's privacy risks.

Internal documents and comments from officials indicate there are lingering concerns about privacy and disclosure of personal information under the new version of the program known as Tuscan, short for Tipoff U.S./Canada.

Tuscan, established in 1997, is a U.S. list of names and other basic information about known or suspected terrorists.

It is shared with Canadian border and immigration officers who compare the names of people coming to Canada against the roster.

Public Safety Canada and the U.S. Terrorism Screening Centre signed an updated Tuscan arrangement in early June 2016.

However, Public Safety says officials are still fine-tuning procedures for use of the revised tool, and a privacy assessment was just submitted to a watchdog.
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What makes a beer a beer? Feds brew changes to national beer standards (Beer-Standards)
Lingxi.Zheng
2018-06-22    0 views
OTTAWA—Your beer is about to undergo a government makeover.

Federal officials are proposing changes to national beer standards that would widen the number of ingredients permitted in a pint and could force brewers to list every ingredient on a can or bottle.

Even the Canadian definition of "beer'' would change.

The changes would mark a major overhaul of beer standards introduced more than 30 years ago, but they must first go through public consultations quietly launched days ago and which run until mid-September.

Beer aficionados who have closely watched the industry for years say the proposals would help regulations catch up with an explosion in styles and types of beers. Between 1990 and 2017, the number of Canadian breweries jumped to over 800 from 62, while the number of beer brands has grown to over 7,000 from about 400.

Stephen Beaumont, co-author of The World Atlas of Beer, said there are any number of beers on the market today that violate the existing standards, either through ingredients or fermentation methods.

"This is all stuff that is going on and the regulations just haven't been there to catch up to all of it,'' Beaumont said.

No longer would beer be required to "possess the aroma, taste and character commonly attributed to beer'' or be categorized into different styles or types like ale, stout, porter and malt liquor. Instead, officials are proposing to set limits on sugar content and simplify language around the use of additives that would set define what is a beer.

Added to that would be a wider list of herbs and spices among other ingredients that can be used in the brewing process.

"We're not going to be excluding anything that is currently defined as a beer, but it does provide a criteria for brewers to work with,'' said Luke Harford, president of Beer Canada, a national trade association that represents more than 50 companies that make about 90 per cent of Canada's beer.

"It allows them to hold on to what is traditionally thought of as a beer while at the same time allowing them to innovate within that category.''

Brewers could use different fruit, lavender or coriander for instance, providing options to smaller operations which want to test something new in the marketplace, said Dirk Bendiak, technical adviser for Ontario Craft Brewers. He said the proposed regulations won't stifle creativity.

"If anything, they are there to make it more creative for different people.''

Lastly, beer would be subject to stricter labelling rules, which would require a longer list of ingredients on bottles and cans or warnings so the approximately 1.75 million Canadians with food allergies, celiac disease and sulphite sensitivity can better decide what they want to drink.

The labelling rules—and the cost implications—will be on the agenda when an all-party group of MPs meets this fall.

Matthew Dube, a New Democrat on the beer industry caucus, said a key question will be how officials ensure smaller breweries aren't overwhelmed with costs from new labelling rules while still giving consumers more information.

"It's just getting that balance right,'' said Dube, whose Montreal-area riding is home to the Unibroue brewery.

A government analysis says the changes would allow for innovation in the beer industry, but noted small craft breweries could have a hard time meeting the new requirements and some drinks may no longer be considered or marketed as beer—like milkshake IPAs that use lactose to sweeten beer and may blow past sugar content rules.

"The most important thing you could do if you're a craft brewer would be to get a handle on how to add ingredients to these lists,'' said Jordan St. John, co-author of The Ontario Craft Beer Guide.

"The labelling component and making sure people understand what they're getting—that's really beneficial for the consumer. It's just that getting there is going to be a bit of a pain.''

The government is proposing a two-year implementation period starting in 2019. Between then and 2029, the government expects the new rules to cost the beer industry
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Oregon family found safe after abandoning their car in remote northwest B.C.
Lingxi.Zheng
2018-06-21    0 views
DEASE LAKE, B.C.—Search and rescue teams in northwestern British Columbia say a family of four from Oregon has been found safe in a remote and rugged area just 250 kilometres south of the Yukon border.

Dave Jephson with Terrace Search and Rescue says the couple, Jeffery Phan and Michelle Lesaca, both 24-years-old, and their two- and three-year-old children were found Wednesday.

A search had been launched two days earlier after the family's 2018 black Toyota Yaris was spotted on a highway in the extreme northwestern corner of the province, with a note saying it was out of gas.

RCMP said the car was thought to have been abandoned June 10, just a day after the family crossed into Canada near the southeastern B.C. community of Fernie.

Search planes spotted a family group on the west side of Kinaskan Lake on Wednesday and Jephson says rescuers had reached them within hours and all four appeared to be in good condition.

He says there are many unanswered questions about how the family travelled so deeply into the backcountry on foot.
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Ceremony to be held marking grand opening of Nova Scotia Indigenous court
Lingxi.Zheng
2018-06-21    9 views
WAGMATCOOK, N.S.—A ceremony is scheduled for today to mark the grand opening of a unique court on Nova Scotia's Wagmatcook First Nation.

The Nova Scotia Judiciary says the court in Cape Breton is the first of its kind in the province and among only a few in the country that incorporates Indigenous restorative justice traditions and customs through its programs.

Nova Scotia Chief Justice Michael MacDonald and Wagmatcook Chief Norman Bernard are expected to speak at the event today, and Premier Stephen McNeil is also expected to attend.

The judiciary says the creation of the court is in line with a 1989 Marshall Inquiry recommendation calling for more provincial court sittings on Nova Scotia reserves, as well as calls to action outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report.

The Wagmatcook courthouse offers programs including a Gladue court, which refers to a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that requires courts to take Aboriginal circumstances into account when handing down a sentence.

It also offers a healing and wellness court, dedicated to Indigenous offenders who plead guilty or accept responsibility for their actions and are at a high risk to reoffend.

"This court program will look at the underlying factors that contribute to the person coming into conflict with the law,'' the judiciary said on its website.

"The sentencing process is delayed approximately 12 to 24 months to allow time for the offender to proceed through this healing plan.''

The judiciary says the court model was developed in close consultation with the First Nations community.

"It will be guided and supported by Aboriginal justice concepts, procedures and resources, which will help ensure it is meeting the individualized needs of Indigenous people coming before the court,'' the website said.

The design of the court is also unique. The bench is shaped like a circle—a symbol in the Indigenous community representing the Aboriginal medicine wheel and the court's restorative justice approach.
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Liberal government announces six member pharmacare advisory council
Lingxi.Zheng
2018-06-21    0 views
OTTAWA—The federal government has tapped a physician, former provincial ministers and policy experts to make up its new advisory council on the implementation of a national pharmacare program.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor announced the creation of the new group alongside the advisory council's chair, former Ontario health minister Eric Hoskins, at an event Wednesday in the foyer of the House of Commons.

Petitpas Taylor says prescription drugs are not covered in a consistent way across the country and too many Canadians cannot pay for medicine they need.

The advisory council will spend the next few months consulting with provinces, territories, Indigenous leaders, health experts and Canadians. Its final report next spring will provide the government with recommendations on how to implement a national pharmacare program.

The members include Nadine Caron, Canada's first female Indigenous surgeon from the University of British Columbia, and Mia Homsy, the director general of the Institute du Quebec.

Camille Orridge, a senior fellow at the Wellesley Institute, is also a member as well as Diana Whalen, Nova Scotia's former deputy premier and finance minister.

Other members include Vincent Dumez, the co-director of the Centre of Excellence on Partnership with Patients and the Public at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montreal, and John Wright, former deputy minister of health and deputy minister of finance for the Saskatchewan government.
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University of Alberta researchers spot new fossil species in Italy
Lingxi.Zheng
2018-06-21    4 views
EDMONTON—University of Alberta researchers have discovered a new species of ancient underwater lizards.

The metre-long predator ate fish up to 75 million years ago in waters that once covered what is now southern Italy.

The fossil is so well preserved that scientists can examine its scales and muscle tissue.

They can even see its lunch—a tiny fish skeleton is preserved in its belly.

Ilaria Paparella, who describes the new species in a new paper, says the dolichosaur has been named Primitivus manduriensis after the local wine where the fossil was found.
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Quebec mosque shooter's sentencing hearing to debate cumulative sentences
Lingxi.Zheng
2018-06-20    0 views
QUEBEC—The sentencing hearing of Quebec City mosque shooter Alexandre Bissonnette will debate the constitutionality of the section of the Criminal Code that allows for consecutive sentences.

Bissonnette, 28, pleaded guilty earlier this year to six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder after he walked into a mosque in the provincial capital in January 2017 and opened fire.

On Tuesday, the Crown formally sought a 150-year jail sentence for Bissonnette.

A single first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years but the trial judge could multiply Bissonnette's sentence by the number of people he killed and order a prison term of 150 years.

On Monday, Bissonnette's lawyer portrayed his client as an anxious and fragile man and suggested he be eligible for parole after 25 years.

The defence has described consecutive sentences—a part of the code since 2011—as unconstitutional and invalid.
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Canadian officials seize eel meat in 92 country wildlife sting
Lingxi.Zheng
2018-06-20    2 views
OTTAWA—Canadian officials have seized 18 tonnes of suspected European eel meat as part of a 92-country sting involving the trade of illegal animal parts.

Environment Canada says officers in several provinces also intercepted shark fins and controlled snakes, as well as products such as briefcases and handbags made from endangered species.

The efforts were part of Operation Thunderbolt, a month-long investigation led by the international law organization Interpol.

The government says federal and provincial officers inspected live animals in transport, responded to complaints of habitat and wildlife destruction, and did hunter and angler checks.

The eel meat, which arrived in Canada from Asia, is from an endangered species and has been banned for export by the European Union since 2010.

Global wildlife crime—including poaching, smuggling and trafficking of animals and plants—is estimated by the United Nations and Interpol to be worth more than $200 billion a year, making it the world's fourth most lucrative form of crime.
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