Improper rental tank installation risked family’s gas supply until they called Global News

A Toronto family on the brink of losing their home heating and hot water with the approach of winter had their issue with an energy company solved, a day after contacting Global News.

The issue had nothing to do with bill payment; their energy bills were fully up to date.

The problem? Four years ago, when the hot water tank was installed by contractors for Enercare, the rental tank wasn’t properly vented and was not up to safety codes.

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Recently, a roofer hired by the family for another reason discovered the problem and relayed it to the homeowner, who contacted Enercare.

“It was definitely surprising, I thought they (Enercare) were coming to fix the problem and instead they ended up reporting me and tagging my (hot water tank),” said Jamie, who lives in the home with her husband and son.

Global News has agreed not to report her surname.

“He (a technician) saw that there was no cap and no liner on my chimney and he said that wasn’t safe,” Jamie said in an interview at her home.

The homeowner said Enercare repeatedly reassured her in a series of telephone calls that the company would take responsibility for the installation issue. But in subsequent visits, other technicians said it was her problem, she said.

After the first visit, a technician placed a tag on her hot water tank, which meant that gas to the home would be turned off if the safety issue wasn’t addressed quickly.

“I found out I have 45 days of gas left and I’m rushing trying to figure out what to do, how to fix it,” Jamie said.

She says she repeatedly called the company seeking a solution and sent emails through the Enercare website.

Then, she contacted Global News, which also approached Enercare about the family’s situation.

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A day later, a group of three Enercare representatives and a contractor arrived at Jamie’s home to assess the venting issue.

One of those who showed up was Dave Gosling, Enercare’s chief operating officer and a member of the company’s executive leadership team.

“Here I am today…. I came out this morning to make sure things go right,” Gosling told Global News when he agreed to stop for a television interview outside the home.

“I want to make sure we get her product reconfigured so we can remove the tag and make sure she’s off and running without any complications,” said Gosling.

He acknowledged that there needs to be “an improvement experience … for this consumer,” explaining that the company has about one million customers in Ontario and that safety is a number-one priority.

Later in the day, Gosling returned a second time with a contractor and the chimney repair was completed. The violation tag was removed and Jamie’s family is guaranteed to have home heating and hot water through the winter.

Asked whether the resolution should have required multiple phone calls, emails and a call to Global News, Jamie doesn’t hesitate.

“It definitely should not have come to this and the COO (Gosling) said that himself.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

From 5 to 48: Feds change pot beverage rules, allowing Canadian to buy more at once

WATCH: UberEats indulges in high times, will make cannabis deliveries

The federal government has approved a change in how the cannabis content of beverages is calculated, pushing the number of standard-sized, canned pot drinks that can be bought at once from five to 48.

The change announced Friday and effective immediately makes one gram of dried cannabis equivalent to 570 grams of a pot drink, an increase from the 70 grams of a pot drink the government currently equates to one gram of dried cannabis.

One gram of dried cannabis is also now equivalent to 70 grams of non-solids containing cannabis like oils.

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The shift in equivalency is important because the Cannabis Act, the federal legislation which paved the way for pot’s legalization, allows Canadians to carry no more than 30 g of dried cannabis or its “equivalent” at one time.

Single cannabis beverages sold in Canada could also not contain more than 10 mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), pot’s psychoactive component.

That left Canadians unable to buy more than five 355mL cans of pot drinks with 2 or 2.5 mg of THC in each, but able to purchase nine beverages that come in 222 mL cans with 10 mg of THC at once or even 100 bottles of cannabis oil spray containing 50,000 mg of THC.

The changes have increased the quantity of cannabis drinks adults can possess at one time to 17.1 litres from 2.1 litres.

Members of the industry have long pushed for this change.

They complained consumers were being inconvenienced by the past formula and kept from buying six-packs _ a popular format for beer drinkers.

“Canadians can finally purchase a six-pack, 24, or up to 48 of their favourite cannabis beverages to enjoy with family and friends, which represents a win for consumer choice as this innovative category takes a leap forward,” wrote David Klein, chief executive officer of Canopy Growth Corp., a licensed cannabis producer, in a statement.

“As our sector matures, today’s changes mark a critical next step by the federal government and demonstrate the necessary evolution of cannabis regulations to support a responsible and competitive cannabis industry in Canada.”

READ MORE: Former CannTrust compliance worker says unlicensed growing ‘very openly’ discussed

The change was under consideration since March, when the government published a proposal on the matter in the Canada Gazette. That started a 45-day consultation period, where feedback from stakeholders, public health officials and consumers was collected. It ended April 26.

Cannabis drinks started hitting shelves in most provinces at the start of 2020. They were a hailed as a way to lure cannabis-hesitant consumers into exploring pot usage, but have since generated sluggish sales.

Pot beverages made up two per cent of sales across the Ontario Cannabis Store’s website and the shops it supplies between Jan. 1 and March 31, the most recent quarter it has released data. Oils made up just as small a share of sales recorded by the provincial pot distributor during that period.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 9, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Saint John police search for impaired drivers ahead of holidays

WATCH: As we approach the holiday season, millions of Canadians will enjoy a little festive cheer. The Christmas buzz comes as a reminder from the police, as numbers of driving under the influence of spiked eggnog and Christmas cannabis continue to rise across the country. Zack Power reports.

The Saint John Police Force spent much of Thursday night setting up random check stops around the city looking for drivers who were under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The annual campaign is meant to reduce impaired driving everywhere (R.I.D.E.).

MADD Canada said residents “aren’t getting the message” when it comes to impaired driving. According to the Saint John MADD spokesperson, more residents are expected to be getting out and having a glass of festive cheer over the holidays.

“Unfortunately, people haven’t learned their lesson,” said Karen Dunham from MADD Canada.

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“We do see the numbers increasing. It’s very, very sad because the holidays are approaching, and they’re busy and festive, and everybody is out.”

The most recent data from MADD Canada show charges are laid every six minutes across the country for impaired driving. It also showed that the numbers are rising, which wasn’t the case a decade ago.

In their first two hours of Thursday’s check stop, Saint John police talked to 480 drivers and issued 50 mandatory alcohol tests.

On the first weekend of the program, Dec. 1-4, 1,400 cars passed through the check stops. Two drivers were arrested for suspected alcohol use.

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“I’d like to think people are getting the message, but we wouldn’t be out if there wasn’t continuing instances of people operating while impaired,” explained Const. Travis Jones.

“The numbers certainly don’t point to (driving under the influence) being on the decline.”

The stops around the city are in partnership with MADD Canada, which started its Red Ribbon campaign in November. Like in Saint John, ribbons are placed throughout the country as a reminder to think twice about getting behind the wheel after consuming drugs and alcohol.

A MADD tree in Saint John

Ribbons were placed at the tree for those to take as a reminder not to drink and drive

Zack Power / Global News

“By placing that red ribbon on their purse or backpack or their car, it’s a commitment to driving safe and sober,” Dunham said.

“It’s also a reminder to drive sober and shows respect to those who have been injured or killed by an impaired driver.”

The Saint John Police Force says anyone who witnesses someone driving under the influence should immediately dial 911.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

UN approves 'historic' resolution to exempt humanitarian aid from sanctions

WATCH: UN human rights chief condemns Iran execution of prisoner arrested during protests

The U.N. Security Council overwhelmingly approved a resolution exempting humanitarian aid from all current and future U.N. sanctions regimes, a vote the United States hailed as “historic” that will save lives and address longstanding problems of sanctions impeding aid deliveries.

The legally binding resolution was immediately hailed by humanitarian organizations including the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mercy Corps and the Norwegian Refugee Council whose Secretary General Jan Egeland said “it will protect humanitarian action from the crippling impacts of sanctions regimes at a time when needs are skyrocketing” and will be “the difference between life and death” for some people.

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The vote on the resolution co-sponsored by the United States and Ireland was 14-0 with India abstaining.

India’s U.N. Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said her country’s concerns stem “from proven instances of terrorist groups taking full advantage of such humanitarian carve outs and making a mockery of sanctions regimes” as well as “several cases of terrorist groups in our neighborhood? reincarnating themselves as humanitarian organizations and civil society groups precisely to evade the sanctions.”

To prevent such activities, she said, India had called for the resolution to ensure monitoring of humanitarian exemptions by U.N. experts monitoring sanctions and “robust reporting,” which were not fully addressed in the text, so India abstained.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council before the vote that as the world’s leading global humanitarian donor the United States recognizes that “we must all do everything in our power to help humanitarian partners reach the world’s most vulnerable, regardless of where they live, who they live with, and who controls their territory.”

“Our goal is always to stop terrorists and human rights abusers by using a legitimate tool to maintain peace and security, but still allow lifesaving humanitarian efforts to continue for those in need,” she said.

But the humanitarian community expressed concern about the impact of sanctions, especially asset freezes, impeding assistance and asked “for a clear, standard carveout of humanitarian assistance and activities to meet basic human needs for all U.N. sanctions regimes,” which is what the resolution does, Thomas-Greenfield said.

It states categorically that activities of humanitarian organizations and workers “are permitted and are not a violation of the asset freezes imposed by this council or its sanctions committees.”

Thomas-Greenfield told The Associated Press that while humanitarian aid exemptions are already included in some Security Council resolutions that imposed sanctions, “it has not been consistent, it’s not been standardized.” The resolution, she said, standardizes the exemption and will help speed efforts by humanitarian workers to provide aid to people.

After the vote, Ireland’s U.N. Ambassador Fergal Mythen welcomed adoption of the “landmark resolution” saying, “With this resolution, we diminish the unintended consequences of sanctions without diminishing U.N. sanctions themselves.”

READ MORE: How are Canada’s terror rules impacting Afghanistan aid? Senate to investigate

He said that as a result of sanctions, sometimes aid can’t be shipped, financed, insured and delivered.

The resolution “provides certainty and clarity” to humanitarian providers, donors and implementing partners that providing aid is permitted. But he cautioned that while it is significant it “is not a panacea,” saying work needs to be done on other aspects of U.N. sanctions including due process.

Today, however, “we can rest assured that the council has taken decisive action in response to appeals by humanitarians worldwide,” Mythen said.

“This resolution will have tangible positive impacts for those working in some of the most challenging environments across the globe, who can now continue helping the world’s most vulnerable in the knowledge that even where U.N. sanctions are in effect, their activities are permitted,” he said.

U.S. envoy Thomas-Greenfield said after the vote that all humanitarian situations the U.N. is engaged in including Afghanistan, Syria and Myamar “will benefit” from the resolution’s adoption.

Mercy Corps Vice President Kate Phillips-Barrasso called the resolution “a game-changer for humanitarian organizations, which have experienced confusion and faced additional risks in providing life-saving aid,” saying “this clarity and the protection it brings are of paramount importance.”

ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric expressed hope that the resolution’s implementation “will significantly assist humanitarian action in many parts of the world.” She encouraged all countries “to put this humanitarian carve-out into practice, including through national laws and regulations.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Prairieland Park engages public for new Saskatoon soccer stadium, seeks concept amendment

Prairieland Park has been working hard to bring professional soccer to Saskatoon through the construction of a new stadium.

The park applied for a concept plan amendment earlier this month to engage the public and see how an influx of people in the area might change the atmosphere.

The budget for the project currently sits at $30 million, with Prairieland allocating $8 million of its own funds. The rest of the funds will be requested from provincial and municipal coffers.

Currently, governments have made no official funding commitments, but Dan Kemppainen, CEO of Prairieland Park said governments are “definitely interested, they are taking a really good serious look at it.”

“We’re very optimistic about it,” Kemppainen said. “There’s lots of interest in bringing a professional (Canadian Premier Soccer League) team, it’s key to the city, the province.”

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Prairieland Park held a concept meeting for the public on Dec. 1 to address the questions and concerns of the community.

“Things went very well, we answered a lot of the questions; people seem generally supportive about the project,” Kemppainen said.

Although the stadium will bring in a CPL team, the facility will also be used for local sports, including soccer, cricket and lacrosse.

“Eighty-five per cent of the facility use is intended for local sports but having a professional sport as anchor tenant is key in the business plan.”

The building will take place at the former Marquis Downs after 50 years of thoroughbred horse racing at the grounds. The disappointed horse racing community was forced to set up alternative tracks to keep the industry alive.

“It’s a very substantial shift in terms of some of the other types of events that are held there. It would generate some new traffic,” said Mairin Loewen, councillor for the Prairieland Park area.

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Prairieland has put in two different requests with city council. The first is the concept plan amendment, which would include a procedural change that would allow the stadium to be built. The second request hopes to bring in the funding for the proposal.

After analyzing the requests from Prairieland, the city council administrator will make recommendations with regard to funding support and city council will weigh its options.

Any amendments to plans must be approved by Saskatoon city council committees before moving forward. Prairieland expects to hear back from city council in the second quarter of 2023 about where the project is headed.

Until then, Kemppainen says they “are still working on the business plan with the different groups that will utilize the facility and just exploring still. There are obviously rising costs in the construction world, so we are trying to mitigate those costs and see what we can do.”

Prairieland is also exploring the possibility of building a covered dome over the facility to make it operable year-round.

The operation and building of the facility are intended to be completely funded by the park and donors, with no property tax impact on the public.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Victim seriously injured after Toronto stabbing

A victim has serious injuries after a stabbing in Toronto Friday afternoon.

Toronto police said emergency crews were called to the area of Dufferin Street and Schell Avenue, just north of Eglinton Avenue West, at 4:05 p.m.

Police said a male victim was found suffering from stab wounds and was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

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Toronto paramedics told Global News the victim’s injuries were not life-threatening.

The suspect was described as a five-foot-ten male with a slim build.

He was wearing all black clothing, a black backpack and construction boots, police said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

COVID-19 cases in B.C. hospitals, provincewide test positivity dip slightly

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry encourages British Columbians on Monday to plan and take precautions for the upcoming holiday season to prevent sickness.

The number of COVID-19 cases in B.C. hospitals edged slightly downward this week as the province continues to grapple with an unusually difficult respiratory illness season.

As of Dec. 8, there were 359 positive cases in hospital, down 10 from the week prior, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. The number of cases in critical care fell by four to 34.

View Link »

The province’s hospitalization model counts all cases in hospitals, regardless of the patient’s initial reason for admission.

For the second week in a row, technical issues resulted in the week’s COVID-19 data release being delayed by a day.

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For the week ending Dec. 3, the province reported a mere 539 new cases, though this figure was derived based on the province’s extremely limited lab testing, which has been accessible only to people at the highest risk since last December.

B.C. conducted just 6,817 lab tests for that week. Test-positivity provincewide dipped to 9.8 per cent from 10.5 per cent the week prior.

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For the week ending Dec. 3, the BCCDC reported 140 hospital admissions, though that figure is preliminary and is typically revised by more than 20 per cent the following week.

Determining how many people are actually dying from COVID-19 also remains a major challenge given the available data.

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The BCCDC’s weekly report counted 17 fatalities, however, this number is fraught with caveats.

Like hospital admissions, it is typically revised upward the following week. But the figure counts anyone who died within 30 days of their first positive COVID-19 test, a metric the province admits significantly overcounts deaths.

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Subsequent review of deaths reported this way since April has found about four in 10 were actually caused by COVID-19. That process takes at least eight weeks.

Of the 1,693 “COVID deaths” reported this way since the start of April, just 682 were found to have actually been caused by the virus, while 876 were from other causes and 135 remained under investigation.

The BCCDC’s latest situation report shows that 89 per cent of those COVID-19 deaths were among people aged 70 and older.

That same report confirmed at least 67 COVID-19 deaths between Sept. 11 and Oct. 8, an average of about 2.3 per day.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Quebec hockey player alleges racial slur hurled his way during game: 'I was in shock'

Quebec provincial police are investigating a minor league hockey incident in Valleyfield, Que. that was caught on camera and included an alleged racial slur directed towards a player.

Aiden Chase says no words can stop him from returning to the rink. Not even a derogatory epithet allegedly hurled his way by an opponent.

“My love for this sport is too strong to let something like that affect me,” he told Global News on Friday.

Chase is a forward with the Île-Perrot Riverains hockey Midget A team. The club faced off against the Braves de Valleyfield on Saturday evening. The 16-year-old says an opponent called him the n-word near the end of the game

“At first I was in shock and then I was like, really upset,” said Chase.

In a video taken during the game and obtained by Global News, Chase can be seen skating toward the player he is alleging hurled the racial slur. Chase then breaks away, skating to his bench to tell his coaches, he said in the interview.

Aiden Chase says the support he's received from his teammates and coaches has made him feel much better about the incident.

Aiden Chase says the support he's received from his teammates and coaches has made him feel much better about the incident.

Olivia O'Malley / Global News

Assistant coach Jason McCaig can then be seen approaching the referee. McCaig said he went to the referee to make sure what was allegedly said to his player was listed on the game sheet so a suspension could be levied.

“He told me, ‘I heard everything. It’ll be on the scoresheet,'” said McCaig, who expects the player who made the alleged racial slur to receive at least a five-game suspension.

Aiden’s mom, Laurie Philipps, was watching the game in the stands. While she didn’t hear what was allegedly said, she said as soon as her son reacted, she knew something was wrong.

“My heart sank. Obviously, I was sad for him and I was really proud, though, to see how he reacted,” said Philipps.

When Chase told his coaches, his teammates also allegedly heard what transpired after the final whistle. Both teams cleared the benches and a melee ensued.

“It was really sad to see how, first of all, that it took place in the first place, but that how much it exploded into this big situation,” said Philipps.

In the video, McCaig is seen pulling his players out of the incident before what is believed to be an opposing coach allegedly pushes him to the ground.

“I have a contusion on my hip and a bruise about the size of a grapefruit, but other than that, I’ll be fine,” McCaig said.

Sûreté du Québec officers were called to the rink Saturday night. The provincial police refused an interview with Global News, citing an ongoing investigation.

McCaig said he filed a complaint against a Valleyfield coach at the police station.

Valleyfield Minor Hockey Association refused to comment on the allegations, referring Global News to Hockey Lac St-Louis.

The league, in a statement, wrote, “these are not the actions and values that we wish to transmit to our youth,” adding that, “the people involved will be called before a disciplinary committee.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

'I don't think we're done yet': Winnipeg Blue Bombers coach O'Shea weighs in on new deal

Wade Miller knew he was talking to a winner when he first interviewed Mike O’Shea in 2013.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers president and chief executive officer told the story at a press conference Friday, where he and O’Shea talked about the three-year contract extension the head coach had recently signed through the 2025 season.

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That first interview took place with Blue Bombers general manager Kyle Walters in the Toronto airport, a city where O’Shea had been the Argonauts‘ special teams co-ordinator for four seasons.

“We opened the door for the interview and he said, ‘Should we put on some (football) face masks for this meeting?'” Miller said of O’Shea. “And then it started from there.

“The three of us had a very good conversation. Within the first 15 minutes, you knew. You knew this was the person that was going to come and be the leader of this team for a long time. That was very evident, very quickly.

“He didn’t show up with some PowerPoint presentation and talk about leadership. He is a leader. So, that’s where it started.”

A former star linebacker, O’Shea was named to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2017 after a 16-year playing career with Toronto and Hamilton that saw him earn three Grey Cup rings. He also won the league’s top rookie award in 1993, was the most outstanding Canadian in 1999 and was a five-time division all-star.

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The Blue Bombers are 82-58 in eight seasons under O’Shea, with Grey Cup championships in 2019 and 2021. The team’s quest for a three-peat was nixed when it lost 24-23 to the underdog Argonauts (11-7) in last month’s title match.

The 52-year-old won his second consecutive Annis Stukus Trophy as the CFL’s top coach this year after leading the Bombers to a club-record 15 regular-season wins.

He was asked why he didn’t seek a new challenge elsewhere.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea looks on during second-half football action against the Toronto Argonauts in the 109th Grey Cup at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea looks on during second-half football action against the Toronto Argonauts in the 109th Grey Cup at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

“I don’t think we’re done yet,” O’Shea replied.

“I think that the group that we have here, now there’s always additions and subtractions every single year, it’s pro sport, but the group we’ve assembled, the group that’s all thinking the same way, believe that we’ve got a lot of legs left in this so it would be fun to be a part of.”

It was the fourth three-year contract the North Bay, Ont., native has signed with the club since he was hired on Dec. 4, 2013.

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His contract gives him the opportunity to become the franchise’s all-time leader in career coaching wins, surpassing Bud Grant (102) and Cal Murphy (86).

He said that hasn’t crossed his mind for one second.

“There’s guys that spend their careers worrying about their legacy,” O’Shea said. “I think that’s ass-backwards. You work hard every day and then somewhere down the road somebody else tells you what that is.”

O’Shea is the league’s longest-serving head coach, but said that’s “just a number.” He attributed his longevity to Walters and Miller’s belief in the value of continuity.

“You’re surrounded by good people,” O’Shea said. “I’m fortunate enough to survive the first couple years.”

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O’Shea’s teams went 7-11 in 2014 and 5-13 the following year, but have since posted six seasons with double-digit victories to match a franchise-best stretch from 1957-62.

After the season ended, he was approached by fans telling him they wanted him to continue at the helm.

“It’s not hard to sense that,” O’Shea said. “Just being out and about on a more regular basis, just doing regular stuff that dads and husbands and everybody else does, you hear it a lot when you’re out.

“So it’s all very appreciated, it really is.”

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Star Bombers quarterback Collaros ‘ready to go’ for Grey Cup

Quarterback Zach Collaros is also signed through the 2025 season, a year the Bombers want to host the Grey Cup.

“We’re going to submit our bid for that,” Miller said. “We came up short in 2024 and it’s going to be a great game in B.C. We’ll work hard to get that game here for 2025.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Public safety warning issued for ex-cop accused of sexual assault: London police

Police in London, Ont., have issued a public safety warning after a former officer accused of sexual assault and criminal harassment was released from custody following a court appearance on Thursday.

The accused, Stephen Williams, 46, of London, was charged with 12 offences between Nov. 19 and Dec. 8. Those offences are tied to incidents that date back to May 2021, according to police.

The charges include:

  • Four counts of sexual assault;
  • Two counts of sexual assault with choking;
  • Sexual assault causing bodily harm;
  • Uttering threats of death or bodily harm;
  • Criminal harassment by watching and besetting;
  • Criminal harassment by combination of prohibited conducts;
  • Unlawfully in a dwelling house; and
  • Theft under $5,000.

The charges involve multiple female victims and investigators believe there may be more victims, police added. The accused will make another court appearance in relation to these charges on Dec. 22.

Williams resigned from the London Police Service last year as a hearing into professional misconduct charges was set to begin. Prior to his resignation on Nov. 22, 2021, Williams had been suspended with pay since November 2017.

Read more:

Former London, Ont. constable accused of sexual assault, harassment

Police described Williams as a man with blue eyes, a muscular build, a shaved head and possibly a full brown beard. He stands at about 6’1″ and weighs 230 pounds.

Police say he is also known to meet women through online dating platforms and other social media applications under some of the following aliases:

  • Will Stevenson
  • Will Stephens
  • Will S.
  • Will
  • Where there is a Will there is a way
  • Will Si

If Williams is seen, police advise the public to not approach or engage with the accused, and to call 9-1-1 if there are any concerns for public safety.

Police are seeking information on any additional victims and ask anyone who can help to call them at (519)-661-5670 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Information can also be sent anonymously online through Crime Stoppers’ local website.

— With files from Global News’ Jacquelyn LeBel and Matthew Trevithick

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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