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Posts Tagged "CBC"

18Aug

Dark web detectives and cannabis sommeliers: Here are some jobs that could exist in the future | CBC News

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What do a dark web detective, cannabis sommelier and therapist hairdresser have in common?

They’re all on a list of professions that workplace experts say could exist by the year 2030.

In a report called Signs of the Times: Expert insights about employment in 2030, the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship — a policy institute set up to help Canadians navigate the innovation economy — brings together insights into the future of work gleaned from workshops held across the country.

The report coming out Monday is part of a bigger project called Employment in 2030. This deep dive into the future of work will culminate next year with a strategic forecast into which skills will be most important in the Canadian labour market in the coming decade.

Held in six locations and attended by more than 120 experts, the workshop asked attendees to address the serious business of assessing future demand for various regionally appropriate occupations, providing data that will be used to inform research for that final report, due out in winter 2020.

But as part of an imaginative exercise geared at exploring the complex ways technological, social and environmental trends will intersect to create new kinds of jobs, the experts also came up with a list of would-be professions — some more fanciful than others — that today’s kids just might aspire to be when they grow up.

‘New opportunities’

Sarah Doyle, director of policy and research at the Brookfield Institute, is careful to note that these aren’t data-backed findings or predictions, but rather a compelling and playful way to look at how work may evolve. 

“It was interesting getting a sense of how experts thought different trends might interact to produce new opportunities, and where they thought there might be different demand and interest from consumers in particular kinds of products and services,” Doyle said.

Brookfield Institute’s previous Employment in 2030 publication, reported on by CBC News in April, documented 31 trends that have implications for the world of work.

These range from disruptive technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, to issues like resource scarcity and the loneliness that stems from connecting digitally instead of face to face.

Our connected-but-disconnected lives could, theoretically, bring about the advent of “wisdom services” for school kids adept at communicating on smartphones and game servers but short on real-world coping skills, said Brookfield economist Diana Rivera, project lead for Employment in 2030.

“Participants felt that kids, in particular, were getting worse at interactions and at knowing how to deal with certain situations.” As a result, schools could morph the usual guidance counselling, which typically centres around helping teens pick classes and career paths, into a more holistic form of mentorship, she said.

Diana Rivera is an economist with the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, and the lead on a project called Employment in 2030. Rivera said factors such as climate change, automation and data privacy issues could intersect in ways we’ve never thought about to create new kinds of work in the future. (Brookfield Institute)

 

And from the time-honoured tradition of sharing one’s troubles with your bartender or hair stylist, sprung the idea of the therapist hairdresser, one who could marry a haircut or blowout with a form of counselling.

Rivera said she found the therapist hairdresser discussions “really fascinating, especially in the age of Queer Eye,” referring to the popular makeover TV show that’s as much about examining your wounded psyche as it is your dated wardrobe.

Given hairdressing conferences already offer sessions in conflict resolution and counselling, “explicitly signalling that ability to offer a more holistic service could become much more prevalent or important,” she said.

“There’s a high level of trust when you sit in that chair, so that’s already a barrier that they’ve already overcome. Given the right training, [stylists are] in a really great position to really offer some powerful advice.”

Dark web detectives and personal data bodyguards

Also related to our connected world, new professions could emerge based on demand for services that range from protecting our data to unearthing questionable activity online. One such example noted in the report: dark web detective.

These investigators could assist police by digging around in the dark web’s criminal underworlds, or be hired as private investigators to plumb a political opponent’s secrets.  

“There are people who are very skilled at finding information, so monetizing that, I don’t think, is beyond the realm of possibility,” said Rivera.

Likewise, the report notes there could emerge a need for personal data bodyguards who protect clients’ personal data against hacking and interference from corporations or governments.

That’s not so far-fetched, said Lisa Kearney, founder and CEO of Women CyberSecurity Society, a non-profit that supports women and girls interested in cybersecurity careers. Demand for people to work in Canada’s cybersecurity industry is expected to reach 28,000 workers by 2021.

Consult your cannabis sommelier?

Just as we tap into the expertise of wine, beer and even water sommeliers to find out what’s good to drink, experts on the Brookfield panels felt it won’t be long before there’s money to be made as an expert on the best varieties of cannabis to consume.

Having help to find flavour profiles that suit your personal tastes could make sense as cannabis continues to become more widely available following legalization last year, said Rivera.

The legalization of recreational marijuana consumption could lead to the rise of experts who advise consumers on cannabis products they might enjoy. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

In fact, as pot shops open in the provinces and territories where bricks-and-mortar sales are permitted, cannabis connoisseurs have already been finding work.

“I think there’s a whole country waiting to see what’s good in that space that doesn’t necessarily have that exposure. That whole sector just opened up and it can create a lot of possibility.”

Some other imagined jobs of the future noted in the report include:

  • Virtual stylists who use virtual-reality technology to show clients how various hair and wardrobe styles would suit them, or even how a new sectional would look in their living room. 
  • Mobility facilitators who help address the aging population’s mobility and accessibility needs.
  • Resource/energy diplomats who help broker resource deals during times of international conflict, whether those stem from resource scarcity, or other geopolitical issues.
  • Consumption reduction consultants who help governments, businesses and even individuals to reduce their resource consumption.

Thinking beyond tech changes

Steven Tobin, executive director of the Ottawa-based Labour Market Information Council, a non-profit that helps Canadians access information about the changing job market, said the exercise is useful as a way to consider how forces beyond technology will continue to impact the world of work.

“These changes, be they population aging, climate change or technological developments, are happening simultaneously and interacting with one another.” 

Brookfield’s Sarah Doyle echoes that sentiment. “I think a lot of the conversation about the future of work has been captured by a focus on how automation might lead to job change or job loss … but it’s not the only thing that’s happening.”

17Aug

How did we get here? Failed public policy and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside | CBC News

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Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside has been the epicentre of homelessness and drug addiction in the province for decades. It has also been the focus of public policy to address these problems for almost as many years.

Yet for a neighbourhood in the public spotlight, a walk along East Hastings Street these days looks like policymakers have turned a blind eye. 

Mayor Kennedy Stewart recently acknowledged to Stepehn Quinn, the host of CBC’s The Early Edition, that the notorious neighbourhood is in the worst shape he has ever seen. Homelessness and open drug use are hard to miss on area streets. and people who have been on the front lines of housing, addiction and mental health programming say years of inadequate services are partly to blame.

Donald MacPherson, the former drug-policy coordinator for the City of Vancouver and current director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, has seen a lot of policies introduced into the Downtown Eastside, including the highly-lauded Vancouver Agreement in 2000.

The Oppenheimer Park homeless camp on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Signed by all three levels of government, the agreement was a 10-year plan to improve housing and social welfare in the area. According MacPherson, many of the agreement’s initiatives “came to a crashing end when the Harper Government was elected and did not participate.”

“A well thought-out strategy to provide supportive housing, mental health and addiction treatments city-wide, to provide harm reduction services city-wide, never really actualized,” said MacPherson.

Today, the concentration of homeless people on the streets and in Oppenheimer Park’s tent city shows the problems the Vancouver Agreement intended to fix are far from solved.

 Retired politician Libby Davies, a former city councillor and NDP member of Parliament for Vancouver East who was the federal housing critic, has seen a lot of housing ideas come and go.

 “If you can’t have a sustainable program — and that’s critical for housing —  and if you don’t have the partnership of the federal government … it creates a dire, serious situation.”

Protesters at the intersection of Main and Hastings Street calling for affordable housing in August 2019. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

After the Vancouver Agreement, Davies said the federal government was notably absent from housing initiatives. 

“We had this huge gap where nothing was happening, because the federal government had opted out of and completely abandoned building new social housing,” said Davies. “We’re still recovering from that.”

In 2017, the federal government announced a 10-year multibillion-dollar national housing strategy. Davies hopes it is more than lip service.

“Big announcements are one thing, but getting the money, shovels in the ground … this is what’s urgently needed right now,” said Davies.

A police car cruises an alley on the Downtown Eastside. (Rafferty Baker/CBC News)

Dr. John Miller, former B.C. provincial health officer, said modular housing is one step in helping the homeless and precariously housed, but without “wrap-around’ support services for mental health and addiction, chaos will continue.

He said when Riverview Hospital closed in the 1970s many patients from the  mental health facility gravitated to the DTES and policymakers planned to put mental health services in the community.

“The second step never happened and still hasn’t happened,” said Miller. “Mental health services, addiction services, physical disability services, all of these things need to be there, and we haven’t really put them in place thoroughly yet.”

MacPherson, author of the city’s Four Pillars Drug Strategy, which is based on the principals of harm reduction, prevention, treatment and enforcement, said the strategy was “never really implemented” and addicts are not getting the help they need.

“We keep propping up this failed drug policy that we have in Canada that continues to criminalize vulnerable people, push them into the shadows and make them the target of the problem,” said MacPherson.

The Vancouver Agreement signed in 2000 by all three levels of government was a 10-year plan to improve housing and social welfare on the Downtown Eastside that the city’s then drug policy co-ordinator says never really materialized. (Rafferty Baker/CBC News)

16Aug

‘That’ll teach me to lock my doors now’: Video shows B.C. bear easily opening car door | CBC News

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When a Vancouver woman discovered the doors of her car had been opened, she thought someone had broken in — until she saw a giant paw print on the seat.

After seeing security camera footage, Terry McPhail later found out that print belonged to a black bear.

“There was slobber on both handles and a little bit inside,” McPhail said. 

She had been house-sitting in the village of Anmore, near Port Moody, B.C., and had parked her car in the driveway of the remote private property.

She said when the dog she was watching for the owners of the house started barking, she wasn’t too surprised as bears are common in the Anmore area.

She found evidence of the intruder when she returned to her car later that day.

Four days later, when the property’s owners returned, McPhail was able to go through the security footage and confirmed the culprit was a bear:

The bear appeared to have no problem standing up and opening the car doors, she said.

“‘That is not the first time this bear has opened a car door,’ is what went though my mind. And the second thing that went through my mind was: ‘That’ll teach me to lock my doors now,'” she said. 

After viewing the footage, McPhail realized she had missed the bear by minutes after the dog barked enough to send her looking outside. 

“It took [the bear] one minute and 38 seconds to get in the one side and get fully inside and have a look around. And then less than a minute to open the other door, look in and then wander off,” she said.

McPhail says there was no food in the car. 

Apart from the slobber, the bear left the car in its original condition, she said.

14Aug

Huge demand spurs Victoria book store to move to larger location | CBC News

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In a world of tablets and smartphones, it’s hard to imagine a book store doing so well it needs to be relocated to a larger venue.

But that’s what’s happening at Russell Books in downtown Victoria, where demand has prompted a move to bigger digs across Fort Street.

The new location will increase the store’s floorspace by about a third, and will greatly improve accessibility thanks to an escalator and elevator.

Now, co-owner Andrea Minter and her staff are in the process of moving three floors of books — most of them stacked from hardwood to ceiling — to their new home.

“You can never replace a book,” says Minter, describing their appeal as she packs up another box of heavy tomes.

“People enjoy picking up a book. The feel of it, the smell of it.”

Minter, who owns and operates Russell Books with her husband and her brother, says much of the store’s success is thanks to its strong local customer base and its recognition as a tourism hotspot.

‘We specialize in everything,’ says co-owner Andrea Minter about the selection at Russell Books. (Andrea Minter)

“It helps selling a product you believe in, as well,” added Minter. “We take great pride in having a large collection of everything. We specialize in everything.”

Having a large selection of books available for sale is something Minter’s family has taken seriously for generations. In the early 1960s her grandfather, Reginald Russell, opened the first Russell Books in Montreal.

Reginald Russell was a banker with a love for reading who collected many books. He decided to sell his collection to the public and ran the shop with his mother. Decades later, he convinced his daughter, Diana Depol, to open a second Victoria location in 1991.

Depol and her husband ran the Victoria store for many years before handing the business over to Minter, their daughter.

Now another chapter of Russell’s history is about to begin with the move to larger digs.

As she helps pack up thousands of books, Minter is glad the move is just across the street.

“Books are heavy,” she said, smiling.

With files from All Points West

11Aug

No access: what happens to transit users with disabilities when the elevators aren’t working | CBC News

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Port Moody resident Micaela Evans takes the SkyTrain and the West Coast Express commuter train everyday to get to her job in Vancouver as a communications coordinator at a non-profit that helps people with spinal cord injuries.

Typically, Evans’ daily commute to the Spinal Cord Injury BC office in South Vancouver takes her just over an hour each way.

Evans, 24, uses an electric wheelchair, so if an elevator breaks down at a SkyTrain station, or is undergoing maintenance, the delay can add an extra half hour each way to her commute. Sometimes, these elevator outages can occur several times a month.

“I have a job like anyone else, I just want to be able to get to work and be there on time,” Evans said in a phone interview.

 

She isn’t the only disabled person who has faced delays when an elevator is out of service at a SkyTrain station. Justina Loh, executive director of Disability Alliance B.C., said other people who rely on elevators because they have disabilities have complained about delays when an elevator is out of commission.

At times, Loh said staff and volunteers have arrived late for work because they’ve had to wait or because they’ve had to reroute themselves to get to work in a different way. 

“I would say it’s a pretty big issue,” Loh said.

Evans, who said she thinks TransLink’s overall service is good, said the company posts alerts on their website and Twitter to warn users when an elevator will be under maintenance. But she says the wording of these alerts are vague and puts the onus on the person with the disability to figure out a Plan B.

“They just kind of expect you to figure out how the heck you’re going to get to the next successful station,” Evans said. 

She said she’d like to see more support staff at stations to provide help, adding she’s noticed a reduction in services.

2-train commute

Each work day, Evans boards the West Coast Express at Moody Centre Station and disembarks at Waterfront. She then transfers to SkyTrain’s Canada Line and takes the train to Marine Drive station. 

She has spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disorder that affects the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movement.

Micaela Evans, pictured here, says when the elevators break down or are under maintenance, it can add an extra half hour each way to her commute. (Micaela Evans )

TransLink spokesperson, Jill Drews said when the transit authority has scheduled elevator maintenance at one of its SkyTrain stations, it attempts to provide users with a minimum notice of three days, which it relays through tweets and on its website.

If a customer arrives at a station and isn’t aware of the outage, they can request a TransLink assistant to call a taxi, which will take them to the next station with a working elevator.

Regular elevator maintenance is necessary, Drews said. Under B.C. safety regulations, TransLink must inspect each elevator in the system once a month. There’s also a yearly inspection that’s more in-depth and can take multiple days. 

“You can imagine how catastrophic it could be if a fault, you know, trapped a customer or led to injury. That’s just not something we can risk,” Drews said. 

Loh pointed out TransLink was one of the first systems to implement the Universal Fare Gate program which uses sensors so people who can’t physically tap a Compass Card can have the fare gates open for them. 

Elevator sign at Granville Skytrain Station in Vancouver. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

But, Loh said there are still barriers for people with disabilities when it comes to taking public transportation. 

“I would say, one, it’s either just too congested, and there’s a lack of understanding and empathy from other transit users,” Loh said.

Drews said TransLink’s policy states it must have to have an attendant present when the only critical elevator to access the platform is out for maintenance or repairs. She also said the company tries to schedule maintenance during non-peak hours but there’s an industry shortage of qualified elevator technicians. 

Drews said TransLink isn’t able to offer as much money as other companies, so in order to stay competitive, it schedules technicians during daytime, meaning the work is conducted during commuting hours.

4Aug

Kamloops neighbourhood association hopes murals stop vandalism | CBC News

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The McDonald Park Neighbourhood Association in Kamloops is fundraising to install two new murals on the outside of the park’s washroom and change room buildings, in the hope it will help deter vandalism.

McDonald Park, located in the southern Interior city’s North Shore neighbourhood, has had challenges with vandalism, loitering, drug use and other “less than desirable activity,” said association member Sarah Johnstone.

“We’ve been looking at creative ways to also help deal with that,” he said. “This was just a way to partially clean up the buildings.”

The association looked to the City of Victoria as an example of where murals have had a positive effect on parks, said Johnstone.

Sarah Johnstone and Kelly Wright plan to have work begin on the murals in September. (Jennifer Chrumka/CBC)

“We want to do anything we can to keep bringing positive elements to this park, because it’s so fantastic.”

The neighbourhood association has hired artist Kelly Wright, who painted the Blue Grizzly mural near Seymour Street and Third Avenue among others, to paint the murals.

They expect it will cost around $20,000 for the whole process, including labour and materials. So far, they have raised just just over half of that amount, with the help of a grant from the city. 

“We really want to encourage more foot traffic, more people here to enjoy local art and to help just keep the park safe and secure for everyone who uses it,” said Johnstone.

Mural designs

Both murals will feature wildlife that is found in the area, artist Kelly Wright told Daybreak Kamloops’ Jennifer Chrumka.

The change room building will have a big, long mural featuring a river and a forest scene with lots of animals, including white-tailed deer, elk, wolves, a grizzly bear and moose. 

“I think it’ll bring a lot of colour to the park,” said Wright.

Kelly Wright chose a bee design for the washroom’s mural because Kamloops is a designated bee city. (Jennifer Chrumka/CBC)

Meanwhile, the mural on the bathroom building’s wall will feature bees, because Kamloops is a bee city, meaning it has committed to doing as much as it can to create a healthy ecosystem for bees in the area.

“I’ll try to incorporate all the different species of bees and some fossils and add some flowers in there for colour,” he said.

Making ‘ugly’ buildings attractive

Johnstone hopes the murals will make the park a more attractive place.

“When you take a look at the buildings as they exist right now … they have to be some of the ugliest elements of this park. They’re just cinder block buildings, beige and ugly,” said Johnstone.

The beige cinder block change room and bathroom, which Wright is standing in front of, are ‘some of the ugliest elements of this park,’ says Johnstone. (Jennifer Chrumka/CBC)

“There’s really nothing to look at. So I think just from a total aesthetic beautification part, it’s going to make a massive difference.”

The North Shore neighbourhood, which is a mix of businesses and homes, as well as a number of social service providers, has been undergoing a revitalization process, she said.

“I think it’s just something that adds a great element. I think all kids should have the ability to see public art.”

The south side of the city already has some public art projects in the works, including a $166,000 project to create a mosaic on the outside of a downtown parkade

“It’s time for the North Shore to have its own awesome piece of public art,” said Johnstone.

Work is expected to begin on the murals in September. 

Bringing art to McDonald Park. Right now, the McDonald Park Neighbourhood Association has planned for the painting of a large public mural in the park. The aim is to reduce vandalism and drug use. Artist Kelly Wright will be doing the painting. Sarah Johnstone is with the neighbourhood association. They both spoke with Daybreak’s Jennifer Chrumka. 5:47
3Aug

City probes reports of debris falling from Granville bridge | CBC News

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Pointing up at the underside of the Granville Street bridge, Cheryl Nalms, the deputy manager of engineering for Vancouver is explaining the next phase of the city’s plan to improve the structural integrity and seismic resiliency of the 65-year-old-span.

The city’s engineering department organized the Friday morning walking tour following reports that small chunks of steel were falling from the bridge onto pavement and businesses below.

The tour was to reassure the public the bridge is structurally sound. “The safety and the security of the public is at the forefront,” said Nalms.

The city investigated the reports of falling debris, Nelms said, by sending a crew out to inspect the bridge last week.

In a release, the city said crews “have not detected any debris falling from the girders of the bridge.” 

Every five years, a maintenance program is done on the bridge and every six months, local crews conduct an inspection process, Nalms said.

Sign of aging

Built in 1954, the 537-metre long deck truss bridge is showing signs of aging. A $35 million upgrade has been underway for the past year. 

Among the improvements: Concrete and steel repairs are being done on the north and south approach ramps; bearings and expansion joints are being replaced; and later this month, work will begin on the marine span of the bridge.

Over the next few years, there will also be changes to the above-deck portion of the bridge.

Council has voted to create a bike lane and better accessibility for pedestrians that could include a greenway.  Previous plans have shown the possibility of two lanes running through the middle of the bridge covered in greenery.

Nalms said there is no set date for work to begin on that aspect of the bridge.

“So right now we’ve gone through the first phase of a consultation process. We’ve had over 6,000 responses from the public.”

A final project and budget will be presented to council after the city consults with the public, engineers and designers.

3Aug

‘No no no no no no’: Wheelchair users say even accessible taxis will refuse rides in Vancouver | CBC News

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Two weeks ago, Gabrielle Peters spent a rare day out in Vancouver with friends. They took in a cultural festival in the afternoon, then headed for dinner at a restaurant Peters had always wanted to try.

“As soon as we sat down, my anxiety started. In the back of my mind was, ‘I’m going to have to call a taxi,’ and that’s likely to be not a good experience,” she remembered.

Peters uses a wheelchair. It’s always a challenge to find a taxi that will take her, but she says the night of July 20 was the worst it’s ever been.

She and her friends say she was refused by multiple drivers with accessible vehicles who dropped off passengers while she was waiting in front of the restaurant.

Meanwhile, she was dealing with serious back pain from a day spent wheeling over uneven surfaces. The restaurant didn’t have a wheelchair-accessible bathroom, so she desperately needed a toilet.

“Drivers are giving me the, ‘No no no no no no’ and driving away,” Peters said.

 

But this isn’t a story about one horrible night in the life of a woman who uses a wheelchair. This is a story about all the frustrating nights, mornings and afternoons disabled people have trying to find reliable transportation in Vancouver.

Other wheelchair users who spoke to CBC for this story confirmed they’re frequently refused cab service, and said they believe drivers prefer to use the extra space in accessible taxis to carry tourists’ luggage.

They say the situation is even more desperate for wheelchair users who also happen to be poor or people of colour, and the situation isn’t likely to improve when Uber arrives in B.C.

“This is part of a larger problem, and all the solutions that they’re proposing are not solutions for this particular problem,” Peters said.

Urban planner Amina Yasin points out that Uber and Lyft have had their own issues with discrimination

“We’re innovating on a cracked foundation, and we’re not really solving the root of a lot of these problems for a lot of people,” said Yasin, who is co-chair of the Canadian Institute of Planners’ social equity committee and speaks on inclusive infrastructure.

Ride-hailing is set to begin in B.C. in the fall, and companies like Uber and Lyft will have to pay a 30-cent fee for every trip in a non-accessible vehicle.

The revenue is meant to support more accessible transportation options, but officials at the transportation ministry say they haven’t yet determined how the funds will be allocated.

‘I’ve hidden behind the bushes’

Vancouver Taxi Association spokesperson Carolyn Bauer told CBC she’d like to speak with Peters about her experience, and find a way to make things right. That includes holding the drivers who passed her by accountable — Bauer said all taxi companies have penalties for discriminating against disabled passengers.

“We take very seriously our responsibility to provide timely transportation services to everyone, and will continue to work diligently to ensure we live up to this obligation,” Bauer wrote in an email.

The B.C. Transportation Ministry notes it’s strengthened penalties for businesses and drivers that fail to follow the Taxi Bill of Rights, which prohibit discriminating against people with disabilities. Fines of up to $50,000 can now be issued for anyone who does not comply, and licences can be suspended or cancelled.

So far this year, the Passenger Transportation Branch, which regulates taxis, has four complaints on file related to excessive wait times for people with wheelchairs that resulted in trip cancellations. Peters says the complaint process is difficult to navigate, a subject she’s written about in the past.

Bronwyn Berg says she doesn’t let the dispatcher know she has a wheelchair when she calls for a cab in Vancouver. (Submitted by Bronwyn Berg)

Peters is not alone in her experiences with cabs.

Bronwyn Berg lives in Chemainus, but has similar stories from her visits to Vancouver. She says she’s had taxis speed past her while the driver yells “no wheelchairs!” out the window.

That’s why Berg never lets the dispatcher know she has a wheelchair when she calls for a cab — something that wouldn’t be possible if she used a power chair.

When she’s hailing from the street, “if I’m with one of my adult children, they’ll say, ‘No one’s going to stop for us unless you hide.’ I’ve hidden behind the bushes and around the corner while they hail a cab.”

‘A really hopeless, desperate feeling’

The consequences for a person’s quality of life are hard to fathom for anyone who doesn’t have to deal with this on a daily basis.

The cost of a wheelchair-adapted vehicle is out of reach for many people, and public transit can be extremely uncomfortable, depending on the disability. HandyDART service, meanwhile, has to be booked a day in advance.

“You have a whole different metric for whether or not you’re going to go out,” Peters explained.

“I start off by being excited that I have this opportunity to go do something, and then I start thinking about all of the various barriers between getting there and being there and getting home … and suddenly start going, you know what, I’m not worth it.”

A passenger tries to hail an Uber in downtown Vancouver. The ride-hailing service is scheduled to be available in B.C. beginning in September. (Maryse Zeidler/CBC)

Berg points out that reliable transportation is also a crucial part of staying safe.

According to Statistics Canada, disabled Canadians are almost twice as likely to be victims of violent crime, and disabled women are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted.

“There is a really hopeless, desperate feeling if you’re in a city and it’s dark and late and you cannot get home,” Berg said.

If the situation is going to improve, Peters believes wheelchair users need to be at the table when any sort of transportation policy is under discussion. Accessibility should be built into the system from the beginning, not padded on as an afterthought.

“You need to start with us,” she said.

Rather than the province’s current focus on increasing the supply of wheelchair-accessible cabs, Peters wants tougher rules to ensure drivers will actually pick up wheelchair users — and handle both people and their chairs with care, an issue worthy of its own story.

She’s especially skeptical about the introduction of ride-hailing in B.C. this fall.

Uber and Lyft depend on drivers using their own vehicles, which means wheelchair-accessible cars are few and far between. And ride-hailing companies generally don’t require hands-on training for dealing with wheelchairs.

“What we need is more regulation, not less,” Peters said. “What we need is more training, not less. We need rules.”

30Jul

Health-care aide not guilty of sexually assaulting elderly patients, judge rules | CBC News

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A Saanich, B.C., man accused of sexually assaulting elderly patients during his time working as a health-care aide has been found not guilty of all charges against him.

Amado Ceniza, 40, was acquitted Monday of three counts of sexual assault and three counts of sexual touching of a person with a disability, Crown has confirmed. 

Ceniza was charged last July after three women claimed he’d assaulted them while working as their aide at Aberdeen Hospital in Victoria. The facility houses many seniors requiring long-term care.

Ceniza pleaded not guilty and denied the allegations against him.

In court on Monday, B.C. Provincial Court Judge Dwight Stewart said he was concerned about possible, unintentional collusion between alleged victims. 


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30Jul

How being trans can make food bank access a challenge | CBC News

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Matthew Vieira, 39, was given the name Margaret when he was born, but he’s been out as transgender and male since he was nine years old.

About a year ago, Vieira was homeless. Now he has an apartment in Delta, but he’s on disability assistance and has been relying on support from the food bank for the past three months.

Vieira has run into barriers when trying to get help at some food banks. For one, his driver’s licence has his old, or “dead” name, which can cause confusion for some — he doesn’t have the funds to get a legal name change. Then there are the moral hang-ups some people still have about transgender people.

“I’ve been refused at some food banks. A couple of the food banks I’ve gone to have been very Christian or Catholic-orientated, and they don’t deal with trans very well, so I’ve been refused,” he said. “It’s very hard when you need help and to get refused.”

Matthew Vieira’s driver’s licence bears a different name than his Care Card, Margaret Anne Vieira, causing confusion and questions whenever someone demands to see his ID. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Those worries disappear when Vieira makes the trip twice a month to East Vancouver’s Saige Community Food Bank.

“Everybody’s welcome,” he said.

Anyone setting foot in the Kiwassa Neighbourhood house on the second and fourth Friday of each month will instantly know there’s something different about the food bank. It’s immediately clear that it’s a safe space for people in the LGBT community.

Different colourful flags representing bisexual, transgender, non-binary and two-spirited communities adorn the room, along with the traditional LGBT rainbow flag.

Volunteers Yuen Cao and Yue Tao Lo help prepare the food on an array of tables before guests arrive to receive fresh produce and other food. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Most of the volunteers wear name tags that include their preferred pronoun, including he/him, she/her, or them/their.

“It’s pretty cool. We’re very unique that way — we’re like a family,” said Tanya Kuhn, co-founder and director of the food bank.

According to Kuhn, between 150 and 200 people will visit the food bank each month, along with others who get prepared bags of fresh produce and food. She said that about half the guests are members of the LGBTQ community.

“They love coming here. They love coming to socialize,” said Kuhn. “They love coming to see us and to say hello.”

Tanya Kuhn, co-founder and director of Saige Community Food Bank, says the bi-monthly service is a safe place for everyone, with no ID checks or required proof of income. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Jess Chan, who identifies as non-binary (preferring the pronouns them/their), has been volunteering at Saige for a few years.

Chan considers themselves privileged, having the resources to get a legal name change and corresponding documents. And despite struggling to hold a job for about a year, Chan hasn’t experienced challenges with access to food or housing.

“I realized there’s a lot of people out there who don’t quite have the same level privilege that I have,” said Chan.

Jess Chan has volunteered at Saige for a few years, handling many of the specialty items like diapers and school supplies. They say the lack of barriers is what makes the food bank stand out from others. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

“I do have trans friends who have experienced homelessness in the past, or extreme poverty,” they said. “I know oftentimes it was because they were kicked out of their parents’ houses because their parents couldn’t accept them, and that’s very hard.”

According to Kuhn, the food bank started because she believes it’s important to provide people with healthy food in a dignified way, but elsewhere, that’s not what Vieira has encountered.

“There should be no boundaries anywhere. It’s not the 1800s anymore,” he said. “We’re all human. We all bleed the same blood, we all breathe the same air. No one is different.”


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