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Nova Scotia should lift some COVID-19 restrictions to help businesses, group says

Nova Scotia should lift some COVID-19 restrictions to help businesses, group saysAs COVID-19 numbers remain low in Nova Scotia, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce is calling for the province to relax some of the restrictions to help businesses survive.Patrick Sullivan, president and CEO of the chamber, said Nova Scotia has some of the lowest case numbers in the country and continent."The reality is we need to relax a little bit to allow businesses to operate effectively in what has become a special place in North America," Sullivan said Monday.He noted that now is an ideal time to make some changes, given that as of Monday there was one active case in the province, no new ones had been reported for six days, and Nova Scotia is the only Maritime province with mandatory masking in public places.Restrictions have also been eased to allow groups of 50 people to gather without social distancing for performing arts and sports, as of this Thursday.Restaurants should have more capacityBut, Sullivan said restaurants still have to enforce physical distancing which cuts down on how many customers they can seat at one time.As patios start to close up for the year, he said it would make a big difference to allow more people inside eateries.He would also like to see physical distance rules lifted for elevators. Since some buildings still only allow two people in an elevator at one time, Sullivan said many businesses can't send their entire staff back to their physical office spaces.Earlier this month, the Downtown Halifax Business Commission estimated in an informal survey that only 20 to 25 per cent of the regular workforce has returned to working in the downtown.In the past, Sullivan has called for the Atlantic bubble to be burst. On Monday he said that even with Ontario's current spike, the numbers work out to statistically eight people per 100,000, but he's stepping back from a focus on loosening border restrictions."We've got a great thing going in Nova Scotia. Let's at least relax some of the requirements here," he said.He said that he would still like to see changes at the Nova Scotia border.It would be ideal to see the province spend some of the $77.3 million for more testing and contact tracking that recently came in from the federal government, Sullivan said, to allow travellers to move in and out of the province more quickly.Also, Sullivan said bringing in tests at the airport or land border right away would make a big difference in people's ability to travel inter-provincially.More testing for workers, business travellersHe suggested having people be tested in their home province before travelling to Nova Scotia, then isolating for a few days before a second test a few days later, so they don't have to quarantine for the full 14 days.New Brunswick allows those who work in other provinces to come back without self isolating, while in P.E.I. workers returning home only need to self-isolate until they get a negative COVID-19 test. Newfoundland allows rotational workers to end their isolation after one week if they have a negative test.In Nova Scotia, rotational workers still have to self-isolate for 14 days when they come home. Although the tourism season is winding down, Sullivan has said that shops and restaurants could still benefit from business travellers, who booked 500,000 room nights in Nova Scotia last year.MORE TOP STORIES


Canadian military studies 'moral injuries' that haunt soldiers off the battlefield

Canadian military studies 'moral injuries' that haunt soldiers off the battlefieldOn the streets of Afghanistan in 2012, Canadian soldier Brian McKenna was training international teams to search vehicles for explosives. As his trainees searched, they would find scared children being trafficked against their will to parts unknown — and McKenna was powerless to stop it.  His team was ordered to search for bombs and the components to make explosives, nothing more. So with mounting frustration, his teams would let the cars go, carrying the children away to an unknown fate.    McKenna and his teams had no authority to arrest the perpetrators, as they weren't police officers and had no legal right to detain the people transporting the children. "You're just forced to see and admit that something really, really wrong is allowed to flourish. You can have a gun in your hand and feel unarmed. And that's a really odd situation for a soldier," he said.DND spending millions to study moral injuriesMcKenna has been diagnosed with a moral injury, a form of emotional and psychological damage that occurs when someone goes through a difficult experience that upsets their moral beliefs. And it's something the Department of National Defence is spending millions of dollars to research. DND wants to better understand how to diagnose moral injuries, prevent them, treat them, and learn what situations are likely to cause them.McKenna did his duty, he followed orders, but his conscience still paid the price. "I'm disappointed that I couldn't do anything. I'm embarrassed. It's a feeling of futility, like we're here working on helping build a dam while we're watching this other absolute crime happen," said McKenna, a retired warrant officer, who is now a senior advisor for veterans at the Canadian Centre of Excellence on PTSD. There are concerns that as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, more military personnel, health care workers, and other front line staff will suffer moral injuries, said Eric Fournier, the director general of innovation with DND. "We know a lot about post traumatic stress disorder, but moral injury, we know a lot less. That's why we decided to push forward with this challenge as many people have been encountering this type of situation in this crisis."    Dealing with difficult situationsHe said members of the military may have already been exposed to moral injury when hundreds of them went into long-term care facilities in Ontario and Quebec to help staff deal with outbreaks of COVID-19.  "[They] spent weeks, in some cases months, working in those facilities, and they were part of that response working with first responders, hospital workers, long-term care facilities workers," said Fournier.Many of those military personnel dealt with stressful and uncomfortable situations. Moral injuries can occur when someone doesn't act when they feel they should, when they witness others acting in a way they believe is morally wrong, or when a person feels betrayed in a high-stakes situation. A moral injury can cause a person to question who they are and if their lives have meaning, leading them to become depressed, have trouble sleeping, have difficulty thinking clearly, and have strong feelings of guilt and shame, according to Dr. Patrick Smith, president and CEO of the Canadian Centre of Excellence on PTSD at the Royal Ottawa Hospital. The centre has been studying moral injuries, which he said are different from PTSD.    "It's not exposure to traumatic events that causes fear and anxiety, it's more the existential questioning," said Smith. During the pandemic there are many ways health care workers and soldiers could find themselves in situations that could result in a moral injury. For example, said Smith, some hospital workers may have had to hold the phone for COVID-19 patients as they die, so they can say good-bye to their families.  "For some people that's going to haunt them, that's going to potentially be something that's going to stay with them."  He said there hasn't been enough research done on moral injuries and he's glad to hear DND is looking into it. The Department of National Defence has sent out a call for proposals to research moral injuries under the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security program. The program pays for research by outside organizations, typically businesses and universities. Fournier said about $3.7 million could be on the table for innovators who can help answer the military's questions surrounding moral injuries. So far about 60 proposals have been submitted. Near the end of this month contracts will be awarded to the successful applicants. Fourier expects to have some results from applicants in about six months, at which time DND will decide if those researchers will get more money to continue their work.The results from the research will be shared with DND personnel, health care workers, first responders and anyone at the front lines of pandemic, said Fournier. McKenna is also happy about the new research, but said more needs to be done. "I think we need to get to a place where we realize when we send people to tough spots, moral injuries are part of what's going to happen."  MORE TOP STORIES


Last PMV Canada buildings in Saint John to be demolished

Last PMV Canada buildings in Saint John to be demolishedSaint John Council has ordered the demolition of what may be the final two buildings in the city owned by Fredericton based developer PMV Canada.The adjacent, century old wood apartment houses have been a serious headaches for neighbours and first responders.Firefighters responded to a fire at 123 Main St. as recently as Aug. 28, while 135 Main St. is described as being the scene of 'multiple fires.'Since September, 2018 at least 10 other older wood apartment houses, also owned by PMV, have been demolished by the city in the same neighbourhood. The buildings were purchased as a group two years earlier following the bankruptcy of another company, Phillip Huggard Properties LTD.At the time, PMV's chief operating officer, Dave Loten, said the company would renovate many of the buildings and demolish a handful that were in poor condition.But the company quickly ran afoul of city inspectors after several of the properties were discovered to be vacant, often open, and in disrepair.Over the past two years the company has quietly sold off a long list of remaining properties in the city. In March a commercial plaza at 358 Rothesay Ave. was released for $400,000, $200,000 less than the company paid for it in 2015.And in August a three-storey wood frame apartment house on Bridge Street sold for just $16,000.That leaves the two Main Street apartment houses which are slated to come down within four to five weeks."The building is a hazard to the safety of the public by reason of being vacant and by reason of dilapidation," said Benn Purinton, city technical services officer about 123 Main St. "The building has been abandoned."The process was repeated for 135 Main. The buildings are assessed at just $2,700 each.In December, 2019, Carly O'Toole, the real estate agent acting on PMV's behalf for the sale of the properties, said Thi To, a representative of the family owned company, had hoped to construct something new on the lots at 123 through 135 Main.She released a statement on To's behalf. In it, To blames a former employee for the company's problems to that point."We had good intentions when we invested in Saint John, and we feel we were taken advantage of," said To. "Our company received a lot of negative press because of one person's actions, and they are no longer employed by PMV."The person is not named in the statement. The family won a court judgment in January against former manager Loten for $162,000 dollars including costs, over unpaid personal loans.


3 designs, 1 message: Mi'kmaq printer getting ready for Orange Shirt Day

3 designs, 1 message: Mi'kmaq printer getting ready for Orange Shirt DayAt Mi'kmaq Printing and Design, stacks of orange shirts are folded and ready to be shipped out.The shirts feature an eagle with the words "Every Child Matters." There are three versions — one in English, and two in different Mi'kmaq orthographies."This one is a really sacred animal for us, and it just kind of means our prayers are going up to Creator, so I think it's really impactful that we use this for every child matters," said Misiksk Jadis, who works with the company.The message hits close to home for Jadis.Orange Shirt Day, observed on Sept. 30 each year, is to remember the Indigenous children forced to go to residential schools.Jadis's father is a residential school survivor.'Not just an Indigenous matter'"It was part of my everyday. I grew up with it. From when I was six years old, just learning about it, to having my father who raised me, he told me about it every day, and that was a part of his life," she said."He did tell me a lot about it, but there's some stuff, even as Indigenous people, we'll probably never know." > It's not just an Indigenous matter. It's a Canadian issue. — Deidre AugustineJadis said she's seen non-Indigenous people become more aware of the history of residential schools through initiatives like Orange Shirt Day.Deidre Augustine, who also works with Mi'kmaq Printing and Design, hopes people take the time to learn."It's grown so much because it's not just an Indigenous matter. It's a Canadian issue," said Augustine."And now it's a part of reconciliation too. So the more you talk about this issue and hear these stories, the truth, that's another step going into reconciliation."Remembering residential school survivorsOrange Shirt Day was inspired by Phyllis Webstad, a Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation elder in Williams Lake, B.C. Her first day at a residential school was in 1973 when she was six.Webstad recalls being excited to go to school, and picking out an orange shirt for the occasion.When she arrived at the school, she was stripped of all her clothes, including the orange shirt.The first Orange Shirt Day was marked in Williams Lake in 2013, and it has grown from there."It's grown so much," said Augustine. "They have it in schools, and not only Indigenous schools. They put it in workspaces."Mi'kmaq Printing and Design made 2,000 shirts this year, which have been shipped around the country — but one shirt was sent as far as Louisiana.She said people who buy shirts often ask questions about the story behind them."People always ask us … they want to know the different languages, they want to know the different styles," she said."Or right away, we'll tell them a brief history about it."Printed in English and Mi'kmaqJadis said the decision to print the words on the shirt in Mi'kmaq came from feedback from the community."Previous years we just had it in English," she said. "We did have people asking 'Oh, it would be nice to have it in Mi'kmaq.' So we were like, 'All right, we'll do it.'"The shirts are available in two orthographies — Francis/Smith and Pacifique."Francis/Smith is more contemporary … it's the one that's most commonly used now. But the other one we have too is Pacifique, which is still used, but it's more New Brunswick, and then northern New Brunswick to Quebec area," said Augustine."There's so many different dialects and people write it different. People have different words. It's not wrong, it's just depending on where you're from."Birth of a social enterpriseMi'kmaq Printing & Design started in 2018 out of an idea that came from a social enterprise conference hosted by the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I.The company started selling shirts and bags that July, featuring designs from Mi'kmaq artists."It's cool to see how much the business has grown," said Jadis. "We try to get out to communities and really educate with our shirts and our other lines as well."One of the most popular designs is a shirt that says "Kwe'," which means "Hello.""That again, it is kind of a conversation starter for non-Indigenous people and Indigenous people to kind of bridge that gap and get to know each other," Jadis said."I'll be walking down the street and I'll be like, 'Oh my God, someone's wearing a Mi'kmaq Printing sweater.' I love it."More from CBC P.E.I.


Working from home and Saskatchewan election: In The News for Sept. 29

Working from home and Saskatchewan election: In The News for Sept. 29In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Sept. 29 ...What we are watching in Canada ... A new poll suggests a slim majority of Canadians have some confidence that the federal government's economic recovery plan will strengthen the economy and create jobs after the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.But in the meantime, the poll also suggests the vast majority who can are happy working from home.Fifty-two per cent of respondents to the survey, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, said they are very or somewhat confident that the economic recovery plan, unvelied in the Trudeau government's throne speech last week, will lead to more jobs and a stronger economy in future.Thirty-nine per cent were not very or not at all confident.Fully 89 per cent said they've found working from home to be a very or somewhat positive experience and 82 per cent said they'd prefer to continue working mostly from home, commuting to work when needed, in the coming weeks as a second wave of the COVID-19 sweeps the country.The online poll of 1,514 adult Canadians was conducted Sept. 25 to 27; it cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.\---Also this ...Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he plans to kick off the provincial election campaign today.Moe told reporters in Saskatoon on Monday that he will be visiting the province's lieutenant-governor to ask that the legislature be dissolved.Voters go to the polls Oct. 26.Saskatchewan is the latest province to call an election during the COVID-19 pandemic; British Columbia's vote is to take place two days earlier.Moe has opted for the shortest possible campaign — 28 days, the minimum time allowed — before the fixed election date.The official launch will be without the typical fanfare of past elections, as the pandemic prevents having crowds at rallies.Candidates have already been door knocking for weeks.The Opposition NDP has rolled out pre-campaign pledges that include $25-a-day child care and $100 rebate cheques for drivers. Moe's Saskatchewan Party government has made a flurry of previously committed infrastructure spending announcements.Moe is seeking a fourth term for the party and his first mandate from voters as premier. He got the top job after winning the party's leadership in 2018, when premier Brad Wall decided to retire from politics.\---What we are watching in the U.S. ...Northern California's wine country was on fire again yesterday as strong winds fanned flames in the already scorched region, destroying homes and prompting orders for nearly 70,000 people to evacuated. Meanwhile, three people died in a separate fire further north in the state.In Sonoma County, residents of the Oakmont Gardens senior living facility in Santa Rosa boarded brightly lit city buses in the darkness overnight, some wearing bathrobes and using walkers. They wore masks to protect against the coronavirus as orange flames marked the dark sky.The fire threat forced Adventist Health St. Helena hospital to suspend care and transfer all patients elsewhere.The fires that began Sunday in the famed Napa-Sonoma wine country about 72 kilometres north of San Francisco came as the region nears the third anniversary of deadly wildfires that erupted in 2017, including one that killed 22 people. Just a month ago, many of those same residents were evacuated from the path of a lightning-sparked fire that became the fourth-largest in state history."Our firefighters have not had much of a break, and these residents have not had much of a break," said Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.\---What we are watching in the rest of the world ...The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus has eclipsed 1 million, nine months into a crisis that has devastated the global economy, tested world leaders’ resolve, pitted science against politics and forced multitudes to change the way they live, learn and work.“It’s not just a number. It’s human beings. It’s people we love,” said Dr. Howard Markel, a professor of medical history at the University of Michigan who has advised government officials on containing pandemics and lost his 84-year-old mother to COVID-19 in February.“It’s our brothers, our sisters. It’s people we know,” he added. “And if you don’t have that human factor right in your face, it’s very easy to make it abstract.”The bleak milestone, recorded on Monday in the U.S. by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of Jerusalem or Austin, Texas. It is 2 1/2 times the sea of humanity that was at Woodstock in 1969. It is more than four times the number killed by the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean.Even then, the figure is almost certainly a vast undercount because of inadequate or inconsistent testing and reporting and suspected concealment by some countries.And the number continues to mount. Nearly 5,000 deaths are reported each day on average. Parts of Europe are getting hit by new outbreaks, and experts fear a second wave in the U.S., which accounts for about 205,000 deaths, or 1 out of 5 worldwide. That is far more than any other country, despite America's wealth and medical resources.\---On this day in 2004 ...The Expos played their last game in Montreal, as the club moved to Washington after 36 seasons.\---ICYMI ...EDMONTON - The Tampa Bay Lightning are the 2020 Stanley Cup champions, defeating the Dallas Stars 2-0 Monday to capture the NHL's top trophy in front of empty seats, sprawling tarps, and no fans at Rogers Place.Brayden Point and Blake Coleman scored the goals and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots for his first career playoff shutout.The Lightning players exploded off the bench as the seconds ticked to zero, swarming Vasilevskiy, their whoops and hollers echoing around the arena.The Lightning are the champions of the so-called bubbled NHL playoffs, with players kept in isolation for the past two months. Games were played without fans in attendance in hub cities of Edmonton and Toronto to prevent the spread of COVID-19.The Lightning won the best-of-seven series 4-2 for the second championship in the 28-year-history of the franchise. The first cup came in 2004.Tampa defenceman Victor Hedman was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Hedman scored 10 goals and added 12 assists during the Lightning's run.\---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020The Canadian Press


Tuesday 29th of September 2020 09:24:30

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