Toronto and Dallas square off for non-conference matchup

Dallas Mavericks (0-1, 13th in the Western Conference) vs. Toronto Raptors (1-1, ninth in the Eastern Conference)

Tampa, Florida; Saturday, 7:30 p.m. EDT

LINE: Raptors -3.5; over/under is 216

BOTTOM LINE: Toronto and Dallas play in non-conference action.

Toronto went 27-45 overall a season ago while going 16-20 at home. The Raptors averaged 111.3 points per game while shooting 44.8% from the field and 36.8% from 3-point distance last season.

Dallas went 21-21 in Western Conference play and 21-15 on the road last season. The Mavericks averaged 112.4 points per game last season, 44.2 in the paint, 14.5 off of turnovers and 11.4 on fast breaks.

INJURIES: Raptors: Yuta Watanabe: out (calf), Pascal Siakam: out (shoulder).

Mavericks: None listed.

___

The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

U.S. FDA says Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective for kids aged 5-11

WATCH: White House lays out plan for COVID-19 vaccine rollout for children 5-11

U.S. health regulators said late Friday that kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appear highly effective at preventing symptomatic infections in elementary school children and caused no unexpected safety issues, as the U.S. weighs beginning vaccinations in youngsters.

The Food and Drug Administration posted its analysis of Pfizer’s data ahead of a public meeting next week to debate whether the shots are ready for the nation’s roughly 28 million children ages 5 to 11. The agency will ask a panel of outside vaccine experts to vote on that question.

In their analysis, FDA scientists concluded that in almost every scenario the vaccine’s benefit for preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19 would outweigh any serious potential side effects in children. But agency reviewers stopped short of calling for Pfizer’s shot to be authorized.

Read more:
U.S. could approve Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids age 5-11 in October: sources

The agency will put that question to its panel of independent advisers next Tuesday and weigh their advice before making its own decision.

If the FDA authorizes the shots, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make additional recommendations on who should receive them the first week of November. Children could begin vaccinations early next month — with the first youngsters in line fully protected by Christmas.

Full-strength Pfizer shots already are recommended for anyone 12 or older, but pediatricians and many parents are anxiously awaiting protection for younger children to stem infections from the extra-contagious delta variant and help keep kids in school.

The FDA review affirmed results from Pfizer posted earlier in the day showing the two-dose shot was nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infection in young children. Researchers calculated the figure based on 16 COVID-19 cases in youngsters given dummy shots versus three cases among vaccinated children. There were no severe illnesses reported among any of the youngsters, but the vaccinated ones had much milder symptoms than their unvaccinated counterparts.

Most of the study data was collected in the U.S. during August and September, when the delta variant had become the dominant COVID-19 strain.

The FDA review found no new or unexpected side effects, which mostly consisted of sore arms, fever or achiness that teens experience.

However, FDA scientists noted that the study wasn’t large enough to detect extremely rare side effects, including myocarditis, a type of heart inflammation that occasionally occurs after the second dose.

The agency used statistical modeling to try to predict how many hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 the vaccine would prevent versus the number of potential heart side effects it might cause. In four scenarios of the pandemic, the vaccine clearly prevented more hospitalizations than would be expected from the heart side effect. Only when virus cases were extremely low would the vaccine cause more hospitalizations than it would prevent. But overall, regulators concluded that the vaccine’s protective benefits “would clearly outweigh” its risks.

Read more:
Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine: How the shot differs for kids and adults

While children run a lower risk of severe illness or death than older people, COVID-19 has killed more than 630 Americans 18 and under, according to the CDC. Nearly 6.2 million children have been infected with the coronavirus, more than 1.1 million in the last six weeks as the delta variant surged, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.

The Biden administration has purchased enough kid-size doses — in special orange-capped vials to distinguish them from adult vaccine — for the nation’s 5- to 11-year-olds. If the vaccine is cleared, millions of doses will be promptly shipped around the country, along with kid-size needles.

More than 25,000 pediatricians and primary care providers already have signed up to get the shots into little arms.

AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner contributed to this story.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Zach Hyman scores twice as Edmonton Oilers remain unbeaten

The Edmonton Oilers have started 5-0 for the fourth time in team history thanks to a 5-3 road win over the Vegas Golden Knights Friday night.

Nicolas Roy gave the Golden Knights the lead on a deflection before the game was four minutes old. Zach Hyman came back with a power play goal for the Oilers. During a scramble in the crease, the puck nudged off Hyman’s skate and over the line. Vegas had a two-man advantage for 1:38 late in the first, but the Oilers killed it off.

“He works so hard it’s contagious,” Zack Kassian said of teammate Zach Hyman. “He just works hard, works smart. His nose is always over the puck. He competes. He’s going to help us out tremendously.”

Listen Below: Zack Kassian:

Read more:
Edmonton Oilers cruise past Coyotes for 4th straight win

The Golden Knights had another tip-in goal to start the second, coming off the stick of Nolan Patrick. The Oilers responded with two goals in 1:12. Hyman blasted home a pass from Connor McDavid, then Leon Draisaitl fired in a feed from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

“(Vegas) had a purpose to come out strong with us playing last night,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “They put a lot of pressure on us. We turned some pucks over to accentuate that pressure a little bit. A powerplay got us a big goal to get us even, get our feet under us.” said Head Coach Dave Tippett.

Listen Below: Dave Tippett

Read more:
Edmonton Oilers rally in 3rd period for win over Ducks

Nicolas Hague blazed a point shot past Mikko Koskinen two minutes into the third to even it up. The Oilers came right back with Zack Kassian sliding a backhand on a breakaway under Robin Lehner. Duncan Keith assisted on the play for his first point with the Oilers. Draisaitl added an empty netter late in the third.

Koskinen made 36 saves to run his record to 3-0.

“We knew they were going to start hard and put the pressure on us,” Mikko Koskinen said. “We couldn’t manage that like we wanted. We responded well, and that’s all that matters.”

LISTEN BELOW: Mikko Koskinen

The Oilers next game is Wednesday when they host the Philadelphia Flyers.

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

'We shouldn't be surprised': Docs show Facebook internal war amid U.S. Capitol riot

WATCH: Status update: Facebook reportedly ready to rebrand, build a metaverse

As supporters of Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6th, battling police and forcing lawmakers into hiding, a protest of a different kind was taking place inside the world’s largest social media company.

Thousands of miles away, in California, Facebook engineers were racing to tweak internal controls to slow the spread of misinformation and inciteful content. Emergency actions — some of which were rolled back after the 2020 election — included banning Trump, freezing comments in groups with a record for hate speech, filtering out the “Stop the Steal” rallying cry and empowering content moderators to act more assertively by labeling the U.S. a “Temporary High Risk Location” for political violence.

At the same time, frustration inside Facebook erupted over what some saw as the company’s halting and often reversed response to rising extremism in the U.S.

“Haven’t we had enough time to figure out how to manage discourse without enabling violence?” one employee wrote on an internal message board at the height of the Jan. 6 turmoil. “We’ve been fueling this fire for a long time and we shouldn’t be surprised it’s now out of control.”

Read more:
Facebook prioritized profits over calming hate speech, whistleblower claims

It’s a question that still hangs over the company today, as Congress and regulators investigate Facebook’s part in the Jan. 6 riots.

New internal documents provided by former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen provide a rare glimpse into how the company appears to have simply stumbled into the Jan. 6 riot. It quickly became clear that even after years under the microscope for insufficiently policing its platform, the social network had missed how riot participants spent weeks vowing — on Facebook itself — to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election victory.

The documents also appear to bolster Haugen’s claim that Facebook put its growth and profits ahead of public safety, opening the clearest window yet into how Facebook’s conflicting impulses — to safeguard its business and protect democracy — clashed in the days and weeks leading up to the attempted Jan. 6 coup.

This story is based in part on disclosures Haugen made to the Securities and Exchange Commission and provided to Congress in redacted form by Haugen’s legal counsel. The redacted versions received by Congress were obtained by a consortium of news organizations, including The Associated Press.

What Facebook called “Break the Glass” emergency measures put in place on Jan. 6 were essentially a toolkit of options designed to stem the spread of dangerous or violent content that the social network had first used in the run-up to the bitter 2020 election. As many as 22 of those measures were rolled back at some point after the election, according to an internal spreadsheet analyzing the company’s response.

“As soon as the election was over, they turned them back off or they changed the settings back to what they were before, to prioritize growth over safety,” Haugen said in an interview with “60 Minutes.”

An internal Facebook report following Jan. 6, previously reported by BuzzFeed, faulted the company for having a “piecemeal” approach to the rapid growth of “Stop the Steal” pages, related misinformation sources, and violent and inciteful comments.

Facebook says the situation is more nuanced and that it carefully calibrates its controls to react quickly to spikes in hateful and violent content, as it did on Jan 6. The company said it’s not responsible for the actions of the rioters and that having stricter controls in place prior to that day wouldn’t have helped.

Read more:
Facebook puts ‘profits’ over ‘well-being’ of users, feds must crack down: NDP MP

Facebook’s decisions to phase certain safety measures in or out took into account signals from the Facebook platform as well as information from law enforcement, said spokeswoman Dani Lever. “When those signals changed, so did the measures.”

Lever said some of the measures stayed in place well into February and others remain active today.

Some employees were unhappy with Facebook’s managing of problematic content even before the Jan. 6 riots. One employee who departed the company in 2020 left a long note charging that promising new tools, backed by strong research, were being constrained by Facebook for “fears of public and policy stakeholder responses” (translation: concerns about negative reactions from Trump allies and investors).

“Similarly (though even more concerning), I’ve seen already built & functioning safeguards being rolled back for the same reasons,” wrote the employee, whose name is blacked out.

Research conducted by Facebook well before the 2020 campaign left little doubt that its algorithm could pose a serious danger of spreading misinformation and potentially radicalizing users.

One 2019 study, entitled “Carol’s Journey to QAnon: A Test User Study of Misinfo & Polarization Risks Encountered through Recommendation Systems,” described results of an experiment conducted with a test account established to reflect the views of a prototypical “strong conservative” — but not extremist — 41-year North Carolina woman. This test account, using the fake name Carol Smith, indicated a preference for mainstream news sources like Fox News, followed humor groups that mocked liberals, embraced Christianity and was a fan of Melania Trump.

Within a single day, page recommendations for this account generated by Facebook itself had evolved to a “quite troubling, polarizing state,” the study found. By day 2, the algorithm was recommending more extremist content, including a QAnon-linked group, which the fake user didn’t join because she wasn’t innately drawn to conspiracy theories.

A week later the test subject’s feed featured “a barrage of extreme, conspiratorial and graphic content,” including posts reviving the false Obama birther lie and linking the Clintons to the murder of a former Arkansas state senator. Much of the content was pushed by dubious groups run from abroad or by administrators with a track record for violating Facebook’s rules on bot activity.

Read more:
Neo-Nazis are still active on Facebook — and they’re making money

Those results led the researcher, whose name was redacted by the whistleblower, to recommend safety measures running from removing content with known conspiracy references and disabling “top contributor” badges for misinformation commenters to lowering the threshold number of followers required before Facebook verifies a page administrator’s identity.

Among the other Facebook employees who read the research the response was almost universally supportive.

“Hey! This is such a thorough and well-outlined (and disturbing) study,” one user wrote, their name blacked out by the whistleblower. “Do you know of any concrete changes that came out of this?”

Facebook said the study was an one of many examples of its commitment to continually studying and improving its platform.

Another study turned over to congressional investigators, titled “Understanding the Dangers of Harmful Topic Communities,” discussed how like-minded individuals embracing a borderline topic or identity can form “echo chambers” for misinformation that normalizes harmful attitudes, spurs radicalization and can even provide a justification for violence.

Examples of such harmful communities include QAnon and, hate groups promoting theories of a race war.

“The risk of offline violence or harm becomes more likely when like-minded individuals come together and support one another to act,” the study concludes.

Charging documents filed by federal prosecutors against those alleged to have stormed the Capitol have examples of such like-minded people coming together.

Prosecutors say a reputed leader in the Oath Keepers militia group used Facebook to discuss forming an “alliance” and coordinating plans with another extremist group, the Proud Boys, ahead of the riot at the Capitol.

“We have decided to work together and shut this s–t down,” Kelly Meggs, described by authorities as the leader of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers, wrote on Facebook, according to court records.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Canadian military to provide COVID-19 support in Saskatchewan

WATCH; Saskatchewan planning to send 2 to 4 ICU patients daily to Ontario starting next week

Front-line workers battling the fourth wave of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan are about to get some much-needed help from the Canadian military.

In a tweet Friday night, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair stated the armed forces are on their way to the province to provide the necessary support to fight the pandemic.

Blair added discussions are also underway for additional Canadian Red Cross personnel to deploy to the province, which is suffering the worst weekly death rate in the country.

He said the federal government would have “more to say on the situation in (Saskatchewan) shortly.”

The move comes as Saskatchewan started shipping ICU patients to Ontario to help deal with packed intensive care units.

Leadership from Saskatchewan’s Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) announced on Friday that “roughly” two to four COVID-19 patients are expected to be transferred to Ontario daily, starting next week.

So far, six intensive care unit patients have been transferred to Ontario hospitals and three more are scheduled to transfer between Friday and Sunday.

Read more:
Saskatchewan planning to send 2 to 4 ICU patients daily to Ontario starting next week

Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency president Marlo Pritchard said in a Friday briefing added these transfers are being made to reduce strain on the province’s health-care system.

As of Friday, there are 80 COVID-19 ICU patients in Saskatchewan hospitals.

Pritchard said the provincial emergency operations centre continues to hold meetings with the federal government, including Public Safety Canada. He said good progress has been made so far.

“I expect to have more information soon about having boots on the ground at some point next week,” Pritchard told reporters.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said Friday it may soon activate the next stage of its triage plan due to the stress on the health-care system.

Derek Miller, the authority’s chief of emergency operations, said a committee made up of doctors and ethicists is set to prepare a formal recommendation to move to the second stage of triage.

The province has been operating under the first stage for several months, which has involved cancelling surgeries to free up bed space and health-care workers to focus on COVID cases.

The second stage involves doctors consulting with ethicists about who and who does not get life-saving care.

Data from the health authority for this month shows Saskatchewan had the most residents in intensive care units per capita than any other province at any point in the pandemic.

Earlier this week, the province released modelling that shows hospitalizations are likely to increase until December, unless restrictions are reintroduced, and health care might not return to sustainable levels until March.

–With files from the Canadian Press

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

University of Manitoba faculty union sets November 2 strike deadline

The University of Manitoba Faculty Association says it is setting a bargaining deadline of October 31 and a strike deadline of November 2 as it continues to battle with school administration over a new deal.

The UMFA says there are issues with faculty retention and recruitment.

“We are frustrated that after 5 years of wage freezes and government interference that the administration can’t recognize why we continue to struggle with issues of faculty retention,” UMFA president Orvie Dingwall said.

READ MORE: U of M faculty vote for strike mandate, union says

The union represents more than 1,200 professors, instructors, academic librarians, and archivists at the University of Manitoba.

Earlier this week, the UMFA voted 85 per cent in favour of calling a strike, should it be necessary.

On Thursday, the University of Manitoba Students Union board passed a motion to “stand in solidarity with the UMFA and students supporting UMFA”.

“UMSU stands firmly with the faculties’ cause,” said a statement from the students union. “A wage increase is overdue for our university’s professors who work hard for their students, especially as they have adapted to online learning.”

In a statement earlier this week, U of M president Michael Benarroch said “I want to assure you that the university will continue to bargain in good faith with UMFA, with the intention of concluding a collective agreement without a labour disruption,” he said.

But the faculty union says the university is falling short right now.

“It’s incredibly disappointing that both the administration and the provincial government continue to put the short- and long-term future of students in jeopardy,” said Dingwall.

“We know that students support UMFA in our fight to protect high-quality public education in Manitoba. We need an administration who prioritizes students and their learning conditions.”

 

 

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

London Knights still perfect to begin the year at 6-0

The London Knights killed off 19 minutes in penalties and got the game winner, short-handed from captain Luke Evangelista as they edged the Owen Sound Attack 2-1 on Friday night at Budweiser Gardens.

The victory gave the Knights their sixth victory in a row to start the year, which now sits as their best start to a season since the 29-0-2 Canadian Hockey League record-setting beginning in 2004-2005. London started the year 5-0 in 2011-12.

The reigning Ontario Hockey League goaltender of the week, Brett Brochu, came up big again, making nine saves in the first 10 minutes of the game against an Attack team that came out hungry and angry after a loss in Windsor the night before, which saw Owen Sound give up five goals in the third period.

Brochu made 36 saves total and was named the game’s first star.

Jim Van Horne / 980 CFPL

Jim Van Horne / 980 CFPL

Jim Van Horne / 980 CFPL

If special teams are key to a team’s success, then they help to explain some of what London has been doing so far. The Knights own the league’s best power play and sit third overall in penalty kill and it was the players who killed penalties against the Attack, who contributed in a large way.

London killed off three Owen Sound power plays in the opening period and then a 5-on-3 and a double minor for high-sticking to Evangelista in the second period and then a five-minute major to Brodie Crane in the third period to keep the Attack off the scoreboard with the extra man.

The power play found the back of the net for the Knights when Cody Morgan scored his very first goal as a member of the Knights. The puck got to the Owen Sound net where Sean McGurn took a whack, Colton Smith got in a stab and then Morgan hit paydirt as he flipped it across the goal line past big, six-foot-four-inch Mack Guzda to break a scoreless tie just 49 seconds into period two.

Rookie Attack forward Colby Barlow evened the score standing to the right of the London net later in the same period. The puck found Barlow and he fired home his fourth goal of the year to make it 1-1 at the 8:32 mark.

Read more:
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The Attack scored inside the first two minutes of the third period but the goal was reviewed and disallowed because it was ruled that Brochu had been interfered with trying to get back to his crease after leaving it to play the puck and had no chance to reset himself before Denis Goure fired the puck into the net from the right side.

Just seconds after that, with London still down a man, Sean McGurn got to a puck in his own zone and flipped it ahead to Evangelista, who went in alone and deposited the puck under Guzda for the eventual game winner.

Overall the Knights were 6-for-6 on the penalty kill and 1-for-4 on the man advantage.

Owen Sound outshot London 37-30 on the night.

The teams will meet for the fourth time in the first seven Knights games on October 27 in Owen Sound.

London and Kitchener are the last remaining teams in the OHL. The Rangers edged the Spitfires 3-2 in a shootout on Friday.

Brochu picks up first award of 21-22

If he maintains the pace he is on already London goaltender Brett Brochu could need a bigger trophy case this year.

Brochu was named OHL goaltender of the week. He was in net for a shootout win, a regulation win and a victory in overtime to help push the Knights record to 5-0-0. The Tilbury, Ont. native even picked up an assist. His goaltender numbers were excellent as he stopped 88 of 96 shots for a goals against average of 2.55 and a save percentage of .923.

Brochu attended rookie camp with the Pittsburgh Penguins this fall and continues to get attention from scouts for the way that he competes every night in the London crease.

Up a spot in the rankings

The Knights jumped up to 5th in the weekly Canadian Hockey League rankings. They were 6th in the first list to come out after the OHL season kicked off. Patrick Roy’s Quebec Remparts sit in the top spot. They are 6-1 and have allowed just 11 goals in 7 games.

The high-scoring Winnipeg Ice of the Western Hockey League are ranked 2nd. Winnipeg has outscored their opponents 53-13 so far in 21-22 and they are averaging 6.6 goals for per game. The 6-1 Acadie-Bathurst Titan round out the top-3. They are 6-1 and led offensively by Montreal Canadiens draft pick Riley Kidney who has 14 points already in 8 games.

Read more:
Meet the 2021-22 London Knights

Big starts

Londoner Drew Doughty and former London Jr. Knight and Elgin-Middlesex Chief Jared McCann are racking up points to start the 21-22 National Hockey League season.

Doughty has seven points in just three games for the Los Angeles Kings and McCann is holding down the number-one centre spot for the expansion Seattle Kraken and is averaging a point per game through his first five times on the ice.

Doughty is in his 14th NHL season and has won two Stanley Cups with the Kings. McCann played six seasons in Vancouver, Florida and Pittsburgh before being selected by Seattle in the 2021 NHL Expansion draft. He was the Alliance Player of the Year in 2012.

Read more:
London Knights improve to 5-0 with overtime win in Sarnia

Up next

Take a look at the Ontario Hockey League schedule for the rest of the weekend and you won’t find the London Knights on it. The Knights will be off until Wednesday when, for the fourth time in seven games, they will face the Owen Sound Attack, this time back in Owen Sound.

London defeated the Attack 4-3 at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre Oct. 9 on a goal by Abakar Kazbekov that came with just 4:18 remaining in regulation time.

Broadcast time is 6:30 on 980 CFPL, at www.980cfpl.ca or on the Radioplayer Canada app.

The Knights next home game will be October 29 at 7:30 pm against the Sarnia Sting. Tickets can be purchased at 519-681-0800, in person at the Knights Armouries or the box office or online anytime at www.londonknights.com

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

Workers let go over vaccine refusal may not get EI: What it means for B.C.

WATCH: Canada's employment minister says workers who lose their jobs because they defy their employers' vaccine mandates will probably not be able to collect Employment Insurance benefits. John Hua reports.

The re-elected federal Liberal government is raising the possibility that workers let go for failing to adhere to an employer’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate could find themselves ineligible for employment insurance.

In an interview for this week’s edition of The West Block, Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said dismissal for failure to adhere to a workplace policy — in this case, vaccination — would likely leave people without EI coverage.

“Because of course a fundamental principle of the EI program is that claimants have to lose their employment through no fault of their own, and this would be seen typically as a choice,” she said.

Read more:
Lost your job over COVID-19 vaccine refusal? You may not qualify for EI, feds say

“Right now we’re still in the middle of this pandemic and we need people to be vaccinated, we need workers to be vaccinated, of course if they can be.”

The policy could have a significant impact in B.C., which has mandated all health-care workers and government employees be immunized against COVID-19.

As of this week, roughly 5,500 health-care workers had yet to be vaccinated, along with 1,800 staff in long-term care and 300 in assisted-living facilities.

There are about 31,000 workers in the B.C. public service, and while their union couldn’t provide a firm number on who had yet to be vaccinated, if it followed provincial averages it would amount to about 1,500 people.

Dan Balkaran, an employment lawyer with Vancouver-based Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, said the federal government was leaving people with few options.

Read more:
Health-care staff shortages could be on the way as COVID-19 vaccine mandates loom

“As far as the Employment Ministry is concerned, that’s what they’re doing and that’s what’s going to happen. The vast majority of people are going to be disentitled to EI,” he said.

“Which means the primary emergency safety net that terminated employees draw on to put food on their table, pay their mortgages, that sort of thing while they look for a new job. That’s going to be eliminated for those people so I think it’s very serious.”

The BC General Employees Union (BCGEU), which represents B.C. public service workers, recently held a webinar for staff including an employment lawyer and B.C. Centre for Disease Control doctor to advice workers of their rights and options, and to try to give members clear information about the vaccines.

Opting not to get vaccinated could be a life-altering decision, she said, and while some members were keen to fight the mandate or the EI policy, it could leave them in a long fight with no guarantee of winning.

“Those who are still hesitant or those who haven’t quite made up their minds yet, they need the facts — they need to know the potential outcomes of any decisions they are making,” union president Stephanie Smith said.

“I am so sick and tired of pseudoscience and pseudo-law negatively impacting people, whether it’s job loss, whether it’s illness, and in the worst of all cases, death.”

Read more:
B.C. outlines steps for schools districts wishing to mandate vaccine for staff

Dan Kelly, president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said the federal policy appeared to “punish people who are unvaccinated,” and questioned whether it would hold up in court.

“They’ve paid into it, they now are no longer working — it surprises me,” he said.

“I suspect that the chances of somebody actually at the end of the day losing their EI coverage or losing their pay as a result of a vaccine mandate, I suspect that’s not going to last very long. I suspect courts are going to reject those kinds of ideas pretty fast.”

But while workers who lose their jobs will have the right to challenge an EI disentitlement, and could also file legal challenges, in the short term they would be left without income, Balkaran warned.

“The purpose of EI is emergency money to help you survive right now, and if it takes you six months to get that money it’s really kind of counter-productive,” he said.

Balkaran said for many of his clients, vaccine mandates are an emotional issue, but he said anyone potentially affected by the mandates and EI policy should take a step back and try and look at their options dispassionately.

“You need to evaluate what’s important to you. If you’re 53 years old with no university education making $85,000 per year and you need to get to retirement, you can’t lose that job,” he said.

“So is there an amicable solution you can come to with the employer such as working remotely? And if not you need to take a hard look at getting the vaccine, because you’re looking potentially at economic ruin.”

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

Thompson RCMP look for missing teen

Thompson RCMP is looking for a missing teen and asking for the public’s help.

15-year-old Suvanna Bonner was last seen in downtown Thompson on Tuesday.

Bonner is 5’8″ and around 140 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Thompson RCMP at 204-677-6911, call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, or secure tip online at www.manitobacrimestoppers.com.

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

Winnipeg police search for missing teen

Winnipeg police are asking for help in locating a 13-year-old boy, who’s been missing for a month.

Joe Campbell was last in communication with his care providers in Downtown Winnipeg on Sept. 22.

He is 5’6″ with a medium build, short brown hair, and brown eyes.

Anyone with information can contact the Winnipeg Police Service Missing Persons Unit at 204-986-6250.

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

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