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OPP receive complaints after Thunder Bay Amber Alert sets off phones Ontario-wide

Posted on 17 May 2018 by admin

An Amber Alert for a missing 8-year-old put Ontario’s Emergency Alert system to the test Monday morning after the child was reported missing in Thunder Bay.

The alert was issued around 11:30 a.m. to phones across Ontario. A second alert, this time in French, was sent out shortly after. A third alert rang out around 1:30 p.m. after the child was found safe.

Test alerts were sent out to LTE enabled phones across eight provinces and two territories on May 9. A glitch in the messaging system caused problems for alert’s testing in Ontario, where only a small set of mobile users received the notification. In Quebec, no alerts were received.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ordered wireless providers to implement the system to distribute warnings of imminent safety threats, such as tornadoes, floods, Amber Alerts or terrorist threats.

“There is no opt out,” said CRTC spokesperson Patricia Valladao when contacted by the Star on Monday. “Given the importance of warning Canadians of imminent threats to their safety, life and property, it will not let you opt out of receiving alerts.”

Pelmorex Corp., the company that controls the service that disseminates amber alerts, said on their website that “the issuing government authority” of the alert decides which areas it’ll be sent to. OPP spokesperson Sgt. Carolle Dionne confirmed that the police form sent to the alert system has a checkbox to specify whether or not the incident warrants a “provincial alert.”

“People need to remember that it’s a quick alert that may potentially save a child’s life,” Dionne said. The OPP received numerous complaints from people about the alert causing disruptions.

The message lead to fervent discussion on social media, with many questioning the effect of an emergency alert issued across the province for an Amber Alert in Thunder Bay. Further concerns were raised on the impacts that the alerts may have on drivers who are startled by phones that were intentionally left on silent.

Martin Davies says he was at his work desk with his iPhone set to “do not disturb,” a setting that blocks incoming calls and text messages from disrupting the user. Davies was listening to music when the alert came in — loudly — through the headphones he was wearing. Later, Davies says he was driving to lunch when a second alert came in, this time over his car’s Bluetooth.

“All of a sudden it starts going off like crazy,” Davies said. “If someone was easily startled that could now cause distracted driving.”

The Alert Ready website notes in its FAQ section that a device set to silent will display an emergency alert, though may not play the alert sound.

“The emergency alert sound will usually play at whatever the current volume setting is on the wireless device,” the page reads. “However, this behaviour can differ depending on your wireless device.”

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Power outages continue in Toronto three days after vicious windstorm

Posted on 09 May 2018 by admin

Widespread destruction made process much slower, leaving as many as 600 people still without power Monday night.

The widespread destruction caused by a Friday windstorm made the process to restore power to people’s homes slower, leaving hundreds still without electricity more than 72 hours later, Toronto Hydro says.

“We had over 400 wires down across the city, and at one point we had 1,500 different outage events in the queue at the same time,” spokesperson Brian Buchan said.

Buchan said that the outages are individual incidents spread across the city, instead of a concentrated area, making it more labour-intensive than usual.

He said 630 people were still without power as of late Monday afternoon, and said Hydro Toronto is working to get that number to zero.

Buchan said he hoped to have the majority of people back with power Monday night, but it may take longer for people who have experienced major property damage.

Janine Smith said her apartment building in Downsview had been without power or water since Saturday. While it’s an inconvenience for her, it caused serious issues for elderly and disabled tenants.

“It’s annoying for me, it’s dangerous for other people,” she said Monday afternoon.

One of her neighbours is recovering from cancer, and is hooked up to medical equipment.

“His immune system is just wiped so he can’t leave his apartment,” she said. “And even if he could, he can’t take oxygen tanks and all of his equipment down 36 flights of stairs.”

Smith said some tenants left their apartments to stay with other people. Smith said she had to shower at her sister-in-law’s house on Sunday.

Toronto Hydro said power to her building had been restored by Monday evening.

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Calgary police constable gets jail sentence for assaulting suspect during arrest

Posted on 09 May 2018 by admin

Const. James Othen was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon after Clayton Prince was injured trying to run from police in July 2016.

CALGARY—A Calgary police officer who used excessive force against a suspect during an arrest has been handed a 90-day sentence.

Const. James Othen was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon back in February for his role in a traffic stop where Clayton Prince was injured trying to run from police.

Prince suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a facial cut and significant bruising in the July 30, 2016, arrest.

Court heard that when Prince was in the cruiser, Othen dug the point of a key into Prince’s neck behind the ear.

The injury became infected and required medical attention.

Othen, who is suspended, will begin his sentence later this month and will serve his sentence on weekends.

Two other officers who were charged in connection with the arrest were acquitted.

Prince told the trial that he ran because he had been at a music festival and had been smoking marijuana prior to the traffic stop.

After he was pulled over, he jumped out of his vehicle and ran through a nearby restaurant.

Prince said three officers caught him, placed him in handcuffs and proceeded to punch and kick him.

Othen testified in court last fall that his adrenaline was pumping and he feared for his safety as he and about a half dozen other officers were trying to take down Prince.

He said at one point Prince started to move toward officers, so he thought there was going to be a fight.

Charges against Prince of resisting arrest and possession of marijuana were later stayed.

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Toronto van tragedy bonds city in blood. But no one will say the word ‘terrorism’

Posted on 26 April 2018 by admin

How naive we have been, whistling by the graveyard as carnage was wrought in European and American cities, Rosie DiManno writes.

A sneaker. A purse. A tiny backpack. A cellphone.

Personal possessions scattered along the path of a rampaging, careering white van, the maniacal and homicidal man at the wheel purposefully mowing down pedestrians.

Heartbreaking artifacts now of a weaponized vehicle attack.

And the bodies. My God, the bodies.

Two near a pharmacy south of Finch, one at Yonge and Empress, one close to Parkview.

A trail of blood and wreckage stretching from Finch to Sheppard on a sunny spring afternoon in Toronto.

A day when apparent random terrorism struck in this city.

Any fanciful notion that we are far away from the dogs of war unleashed, from the seething corners of the world where hatred fulminates, buffered from European capitals, from American metropolises where mayhem has been inflicted down through these recent years — that comforting thought died on Monday.

Along with the 10, at least, killed in a mass murder, and the 15, at least, injured, ambulances racing to hospitals and sirens blaring.

An abomination of a day.

How naive we have been, whistling by the graveyard as carnage was wrought in Manchester, in Nice, in Paris, in Orlando, in London, in Madrid, in Toulouse, in Barcelona, in Istanbul, in Berlin, in Stockholm, in Boston. On and on in this new normal. When it’s not guns and makeshift bombs, it’s knives and axes and the thousands of pounds of lurching vehicle steel. Into a promenade crowd, into a Christmas market, into a pop concert, into the subway.

When it’s not a clash of civilization ideology or the desecration of a religion, it’s the madness of a nihilist shooter bristling with assault weapons — Las Vegas, Parkland, Sandy Hook, nursing a grudge.

Maddened or mesmerized or mentally ill. And how can you even sift the difference anymore?

On Monday, the horror rose on its hind legs in Toronto, up onto the sidewalk along the city’s main artery, the pulsing core of North York.

The bedlam began around 1:10 p.m., the van racing helter-skelter, banging into bus shelters and fire hydrants, mailboxes and benches, but mostly, according to stunned witnesses, mounting the curb and dead-aiming at people. Young people, including students. Old people, basking in rare April warmth.

Hours later, in ghastly scenes along the miscreant’s route, lifeless bodies still lay on the ground, tarps thrown over them.

How many fearful families, unable to reach loved ones, must have scoured those photographs of victims, straining to recognize a shoe, a hoodie, an outstretched arm. Please don’t let it be, don’t let it be …

And the countless many who saw it unfold, from the driver of a TTC bus who raised the first alarm, to other motorists who slammed on their brakes to avoid colliding with the erratic van, to scores of pedestrians jumping out of the way, running for their lives.

Another bystander: “It was indiscriminate. He was hitting whoever he could hit. He was hitting innocent people.”

And yet another driver who said he actually caught a glimpse of the suspect, through the window. “He looked really angry. But he also looked scared.”

Rebuking himself, the man admitted to reporters, for not ramming the vehicle when he had the chance. “I regret not doing that. I’m not sure it’s legal. But if I could have stopped him, I wish I would have.”

Screams, chaos, shattering glass raining. some rushing forward to perform CPR, others frozen where they stood with fear. Because you never know how you’ll react and Lord willing you’ll never have to find out.

At Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, which received 10 casualties, one victim was pronounced DOA; others were rushed into surgery. Those who were at the hospital for their own business were corralled into the trauma, distraught by what they were seeing in front of their eyes — mangled bodies and doctors frantically working on them in emergency.

The lucky ones, said John Flengas, EMS acting supervisor, suffered fractures.

“On the job for nearly 21 years, I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Most haven’t. Hardly anyone thinks of it happening in their midst. Which is the only way to be, when the odds are infinitesimally teensy. We put our faith in the vast apparatus of national security and shared intelligence agencies, but the lone attacker keeps slipping through, the very randomness of it near impossible to avert. The bitter and radicalized individual who never appears as even a blip on the radar. The mentally deranged loner. The freak fanatic. The angry young man who hates women.

But of course, as the hours wore on, not a single elected official, not a senior cop, allowed the word “terrorism” to cross their lips. Not Mayor John Tory, not the acting police chief. (Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Monday evening: “This incident that happened here on the street behind us was horrendous but it does not appear to be connected in any way to national security.”)

Promptly Tory leapt to the next phase, reminding that Canada is admired for its peaceful multiculturalism. Know what? We don’t need reminding, any more than we did collectively mourning the murder of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial in Ottawa in 2014 and the horrific mass shooting of Muslims at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City last year.

Condolences and assurances, of course. But mealy-mouthed non-speak. Even shorn of death-cult association, devoid of jihad affiliation or political messaging, it’s terrorism.

“From my point of view, it was a terrorist attack,” said the young man who wished he’d crashed the van.

The motive may be unknown, the suspect’s ideology unclarified, if such exists, and thus far the suspect may have been just one more male rejected by women — the Twitter chatter — taking out his grievances on innocents.

But we’ve seen the footage captured on phone video.

A remarkably composed cop, standing mere feet from the suspect where his battered van came to a halt near Sheppard, the man extending his arm, stiff, with something in his hand that could have been a firearm. (It was apparently a cellphone but wielded like a gun.)

“SHOOT ME! SHOOT ME! KILL ME!” he yelled.

All the fingerprints of suicide by cop.

But the officer didn’t shoot and the suspect dropped to his knees, flinging his arms in the air.

The cop de-escalated the melodrama, moving in to take the suspect down, cuffing him. On a day of many heroes, that brave cop is at the top of the list, along with the many first responders, paramedics and hospital resources stretched to the limits.

No identifying him, except that the officer is a veteran with 32 Division. Because this is a country, unlike the U.S., laggard in releasing any information.

“He’s shaken up by the whole thing, and shaken up by the magnitude,” Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, told reporters. “He said, ‘you know, I was just doing my job. I wanted to arrest this guy.’ ”

Police named the suspect as Alek Minassian, 25, taken into custody. Forensic teams are now faced with the monumental task of processing a crime scene that extends for two kilometres, numerous points of impact to meticulously cull for evidence, a frenzied attack to reconstruct, and that battered Ryder van.

For block after block, cops ministered to the shaken and comforted the traumatized, scared-witless kids, senior citizens, merchants who ventured cautiously outside.

We are often described as a cold-shoulder city where neighbours are strangers. But we are bonded in blood and tragedy now, as perhaps never before.

April 23, 2018: A day that will live in infamy, strewn with the dying and the maimed.

 

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Ice storm causes commuter chaos, cancellations and school closures

Posted on 18 April 2018 by admin

With some power outages and school closures reported, freezing rain and high winds have tapered off.

Traffic chaos across the GTA. Tens of thousands waking up without any power. The CN Tower closed, with ice crashing to the ground.

The weekend ice storm raged into its third day Monday, prompting residents across Greater Toronto to wonder: “This is April 16?”

The morning commute was in shambles for public transit users and drivers alike. Numerous delays were reported on the TTC and GO Transit this morning.

As of 2 p.m., train service was suspended between Osgoode and Bloor Stations due to a fire investigation between King and Union Stations. No shuttle buses were running.

Toronto Hydro crews are still dealing with outages, but the number of customers affected is 8,300 people as of early afternoon, down from the 10,000 that woke up without power earlier this morning.

Howling gusts of wind sent trees and hydro poles crashing down in equal measure as city streets were scoured with rain, with as many as 44,000 hydro customers losing power overnight.

Provincial power utility Hydro One said early Monday that its crews were working to reconnect nearly 68,000 customers across southern Ontario.

The city’s Emergency Operations Centre was opened Friday to assist with the storm situation, and it remains open today.

 “Toronto experienced extreme weather conditions that fluctuated widely throughout the weekend,” Mayor John Tory said. “I would like to thank residents for their patience and cooperation throughout this storm. I also want to thank City staff and our emergency response partners for their work to keep Toronto safe and moving.”

Toronto Fire say they experienced a higher than normal call volume this morning, with calls up 437 per cent during the midnight to 8 a.m. period. Usually they receive around 68 calls, and today, they received 297. Since the beginning of the storm, Toronto Fire Crews responded 3,222 times to 1,330 separate incidents over the weekend.

311 Toronto received 3,115 calls for assistance with tree damage, hydro and updates on community activities or classes — an increase of 273 per cent since the previous week. Of those calls, 534 were solely tree-related. A full tree clean-up is expected to be finished Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Environment Canada’s rainfall warning for the City of Toronto continues. The weather agency reports rain is expected to taper off over the course of the day. They say the heaviest precipitation is moving east of the city.

Commuters should be cautious of potentially hazardous roads and highways. Homeowners are also encouraged to clear drainage basins for more effective water flow and to prevent potential flooding.

A look at some of the problems across the city:

Roads

The OPP has reported “numerous reports” of flooding on Greater Toronto Area highways. The mix of snow, freezing rain, ice pellets, rain and powerful winds that battered the region Saturday and Sunday has also driving treacherous, with provincial police reporting more than 1,450 non-fatal crashes over the two days.

In the struggle to clear the roads and make them safe, 6,940 tonnes of salt have been used at this point.

Schools

All schools in Halton District and Peel District’s public and Catholic school boards were closed because of the weather.

All buses for the Toronto District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, York Region, Durham District, Durham Catholic, and York Catholic school boards have been cancelled for the day.

Most major post-secondary institutions in Toronto — including York University, Humber College, Ryerson University and the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus — have said they’ll re-open Monday. But the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus will be closed until early Monday afternoon.

Attractions

The CN Tower has closed due after reports of ice is falling off and striking surrounding buildings. Ice and snow reportedly fell through the roof of the Rogers Centre, and onto right field. The Blue Jays are currently assessing whether tonight’s game against the Kansas City Royals will go ahead. The Jays already had two games postponed in Cleveland over the weekend because of the weather.

The last time a game was postponed at the Rogers Centre was on April 12, 2001 because of problems with the roof. Coincidentally, the game was also against the Royals.

The Maple Leafs also cancelled the viewing party at Maple Leaf Square for tonight’s playoff game between Toronto and the Boston Bruins.

Airports

Pearson airport has cancelled 100 inbound and outbound flights, with other residual delays as other delayed flights arrive. More than 600 flights were cancelled Sunday, while many others were delayed for hours.

Airport authorities warn all the terminals will be very busy today and to confirm flight times in advance.

 

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NDP promises $12-a-day child care and lower deficits if elected

Posted on 18 April 2018 by admin

The child care promise is the cornerstone pledge of party’s ambitious 97-page platform, Change for the Better, launched Monday.

Andrea Horwath is promising affordable child care — free for those who earn $40,000 or less and an average of $12-a-day for everyone else — if the NDP wins the June election.

That’s the cornerstone pledge of the party’s ambitious 97-page platform, Change for the Better, launched on Monday at Toronto Western Hospital.

“Our plan is not based on your little one’s age; it’s based on making sure everyone has childcare they can afford,” said Horwath, taking a shot at the Liberals’ new free daycare plan, which is limited to pre-schoolers aged two-and-a-half years until junior kindergarten.

The NDP chief said change is in the air for the June 7 election after almost 15 years of Liberal governance.

“Who will replace (Premier) Kathleen Wynne?” asked Horwath, warning against right-wing rookie Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford.

“Doug Ford’s billions of dollars in cuts will hurt the very people who need help. He’ll cut hospitals. He’ll cut our children’s schools. He’ll cut transit, child care and so much more,” she said.

“That’s not change; that’s going from bad to worse.”

Horwath vowed that an NDP government would be more fiscally responsible than Wynne’s Liberals.

In that vein, an NDP administration would run a $3.3-billion deficit this year — half the Liberals’ $6.7 billion — and, just as the Grits have, remain in the red for five years.

The New Democrats’ fiscal plan, which was signed off on as “reasonable” by former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page, is helped by higher taxes.

An NDP government would raise the corporate tax rate on profits to 13 per cent from 11.5 per cent, close big business loopholes, increase personal income tax on amounts earned over $220,000 by one percentage point and on earnings over $300,000 by two percentage points.

As well, a new three-per-cent surcharge will be slapped on luxury cars and SUVs that cost more than $90,000.

“We are going to protect middle- and lower-income families and make sure everyone has better services,” said Horwath.

“To get it done, we will make sure the most profitable corporations and the wealthiest people start paying their fair share,” she said.

“Let’s ask those at the top to pay a bit more.”

Along with means-tested child care, which would be free for lower income earners and an average of $12 per day for others, the NDP is promising publicly funded dental care for the one-third of Ontarians without workplace coverage.

While the Liberals have a free pharmacare program for seniors and those 24 and under for 4,400 medications, the NDP would cover all age groups, but only for 125 prescription drugs.

The New Democrats would hike hospital spending by 5.3 per cent annually and add 2,000 beds immediately.

On electricity, the NDP would buy back the majority stake of Hydro One that Wynne sold off, using dividends from the shares to do so, and is promising lower rates by ending time-of-use pricing.

But the party would cancel the Liberals’ “Fair Hydro Plan,” which has already cut bills by 25 per cent through a costly borrowing scheme.

“It was a desperate move and completely unsustainable,” the platform states.

The NDP believes its own proposals could cut hydro bills by 30 per cent, more than offsetting the end of the Liberal subsidy.

As a sop to teachers’ unions, Horwath would end standardized Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) testing.

“We should focus on improvement without driving teachers to ‘teach to the test.’ We estimate this will save $40 million, which we will reinvest in the classroom.”

The Tories, who have abandoned the 78-page People’s Guarantee program of former leader Patrick Brown, have yet to unveil their new election platform under Ford.

 

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Parliamentary Secretary highlights efforts to help vulnerable Canadians access the benefits they are entitled to

Posted on 11 April 2018 by admin

The Government of Canada is committed to making tax filing easier for the most vulnerable Canadians, and is working to ensure that these individuals have access to the benefits and credits to which they are entitled, including the Canada child benefit. That is why the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is introducing concrete measures to reduce barriers to tax filing.

Today, Kamal Khera, Member of Parliament for Brampton West and Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Revenue, met with a number of community organizations that provide assistance to vulnerable individuals in Brampton. During the discussions, participants presented concrete solutions for the CRA to consider to make the services it offers fairer, more helpful and more accessible to more Canadians. The Parliamentary Secretary highlighted initiatives such as enhancements to the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP), the simplification of the CRA’s communications products and forms, and the launch of the File my Return automated telephone service. The Parliamentary Secretary also presented the findings of the first ethnographic study conducted by the CRA on the experiences of homeless and housing-insecure Canadians in filing taxes and accessing benefits.

Ms. Khera took the time to recognize the hard work and dedication of the volunteers that complete thousands of tax returns for eligible individuals through CVITP clinics. This program is a great example of collaboration between the CRA and community-based organizations from coast to coast to coast. Budget 2018 proposes funding to double the size of the CVITP as well as provide additional year-round clinics to help even more Canadians access the benefits they are entitled to.

 

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Brampton Fire using big data to help save lives

Posted on 04 April 2018 by admin

BRAMPTON, ON – Brampton Fire and Emergency Services (BFES) is using big data to drive its public education efforts and improve fire safety in Brampton.

Using a combination of in-house records, Environics data, and other innovative technologies – BFES has developed a stronger understanding of where fires are occurring across Brampton, what’s causing them and more. Specifically, BFES identified three neighbourhoods with higher incidence of fires and mapped out a five-year plan to lower those rates.

The three target neighbourhoods are Armbro Heights, in the city’s south end, Ridgehill, in central-west Brampton, and City Centre, adjacent to Bramalea City Centre shopping mall. To tell the story of these three zones and corresponding fire safety concerns, Brampton Fire developed a map-based, visual presentation. The presentation is accessible through a computer or mobile device, and the background data is open to everyone.

Between 2012 and 2017, these three zones saw almost 250 fires, representing 32 per cent of all Brampton residential fires. Between 30 and 40 percent of these fires started in the kitchen. Barbecuing or cooking in the garage and improperly discarded smoking materials were also significant contributing causes.

Some of the target neighbourhoods have a large number of high-rise residential buildings, and in general, the GTA has seen a one to two per cent increase in the number of high rise fires every year. There are only 88 high rise apartment buildings in Brampton, but fires at these locations account for 16 per cent of all residential fires.

BFES is responding with a multi-faceted public education and fire prevention effort with a goal to reduce the number of incidents in these areas over the next five years. Key messages include the dangers of unattended cooking and the importance of working smoke alarms.

Over the past six months, BFES increased promotional efforts in Armbro Heights, Ridgehill and City Centre by:

•       geo-located social media advertising

•       advertising in local retail and community locations

•       fire truck messaging

•       television screens in high-rise lobbies

•       visiting houses, apartments, schools and community gathering areas

•       participating in community events

All Brampton firefighters have been trained to the equivalent of a certified level one fire safety educator. Fire prevention officers are stepping up safety inspections, focusing on high-rise buildings and vulnerable occupancies like seniors’ homes.

To date, almost 7,000 elementary and high school students in the three zones have had fire safety presentations. More than 2,500 high-rise residences had location-specific information delivered to them, and more than 1,000 high-rise residents have spoken to fire personnel about fire safety.

More public education is planned for the upcoming months. For information on fire safety, please visit www.bramptonfire.com

Simple fire safety tips:

•       Always stay in the kitchen while cooking, and don’t cook when you’re sleepy.

•       Never use barbecues or other cookers in your garage.

•       Install smoke alarms on every storey and outside all sleeping areas of your home.

•       For added protection, install a smoke alarm in every bedroom according to manufacturer’s recommendations.

•       Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly by pressing the test button. Change the batteries every year.

•       Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms wear out over time. Replace alarms according to manufacturer’s recommendations.

•       If you smoke, stay alert, and use deep ashtrays.

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Another 53 employees leave TTC amid benefits fraud investigation

Posted on 21 March 2018 by admin

A total of 223 workers have left transit agency since probe began in 2014.

Another 53 TTC employees have quit, been fired or retired to avoid being dismissed since September amid a benefits fraud investigation, the transit agency said Wednesday.

A total of 223 employees have left since the probe began in 2014, according to the TTC statement.

Receipts were given to TTC employees by Healthy Fit — a health-care products and service provider — where reimbursements were made but “no product or services were being obtained,” and receipt amounts were “inflated,” agency officials said.

Adam Smith, the proprietor of the health company, was found guilty of two counts of fraud over $5,000 and sentenced to two years in a federal penitentiary. Ten TTC employees faced fraud charges, with four pleading guilty.

The TTC has collected more than $82,000 back from those employees.

“The TTC’s internal investigation continues. Where evidence shows the TTC’s benefits plan was billed inappropriately, demands for repayment are made and employees face discipline, up to and including dismissal,” the statement read.

The agency announced last fall that it was suing Manulife Financial, Smith and Healthy Fit for up to $5 million, “alleging that Manulife Financial did not have appropriate fraud management controls in place nor were there systems in place to detect and analyze unusual trends or patterns that might indicate fraud or abuse.”

“The TTC maintains that Manulife breached its duties of care, which contributed to the losses suffered by the TTC and, ultimately, the public.”

Since the start of their investigation, the TTC said it has seen a reduction in benefits claims costs of more than $7 million.

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LABOUR MINISTER ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FOR NEW PARENTS

Posted on 15 March 2018 by admin

BRAMPTON, ON, March6th, 2018 –The Honourable PatriciaHajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour, joined by Ms. Kamal Khera, Ms. Sonia Sidhu, Mr. Raj Grewal, Ms. Ruby Sahota,and Mr. Rameshewar Sangha, Members of Parliament for Brampton, to announce a new initiative the federal Government has introduced, through Budget 2018, to support gender equality at home and in the workplace.

Our Government has introduced a new Employment Insurance (EI) Parental Sharing Benefit to promote equal parenting roles in families.  The new benefit will provide an additional five weeks of Employment Insurance Parental Benefits to parents that share parental leave.  The program will provide an additional eight weeks of benefits to parents that choose the extended parental benefits option.  This benefit will be administered in a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ system; parents that do not share leave time between the two parents will not be eligible for additional weeks of EI Parental Benefits.

The incentive is expected to be available starting June 2019.  Our Government is investing $1.2 billion over five years in this program.  After the first five years, this program will require an annual investment of $344.7 million per year.

“This benefit will give parents that share parental leave a total of 40 weeks to spend with their newborn; a critical time for both a mother and father to bond with their child.  Shared leave time will keep more women in the work place, while giving fathers the opportunity to further participate in the care of their children.”- Ms. Kamal Khera, Member of Parliament (Brampton West) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue.

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