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Posts Tagged "civt"

31Jan

‘There’s a stigma’: First responders gather in B.C. to talk trauma

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Camille Bains, The Canadian Press


Published Thursday, January 31, 2019 1:28PM PST

VANCOUVER – Eighteen years as a firefighter had exposed Greg Gauthier to endless trauma but a call involving a tour bus hitting a family triggered his descent into mental illness as intrusive thoughts and sleepless nights became his daily existence.

Gauthier, 48, could no longer function at work but the stigma of asking for help in a job where chaos is the norm initially prevented him from reaching out.

“I knew something was wrong right after that call,” he said of the August 2017 incident when an American man died and three others were injured as a bus rolled into a crowd of tourists, pinning at least two people beneath the vehicle.

Gauthier said it wasn’t the most horrific situation he’d encountered, but it was the one that broke him emotionally.

Over and over again, he would relive the scene of people taking cellphone video of the crash scene as police dealt with a hoard of visitors near a busy cruise-ship terminal and convention centre. Gauthier’s family life began to unravel and he felt helpless.

“When you don’t have control of your mind and when you can’t block those thoughts then you feel like you’re losing control and it’s an incredibly distressing feeling,” he said. “I’m still dealing with it a year and a half later but I’m certainly managing it.”

Gauthier finally realized that as a supervisor he had to set an example for the rest of his crew at a Vancouver fire hall so colleagues who had also been at the scene and others like it could feel free to talk about their struggles in a job that required them to soldier on day after day.

“There’s a stigma and we’re trying to break that down,” he said as he prepared to share his experience and gradual return to work at a conference of first responders meeting in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday and Friday.

About 350 people including firefighters, police officers, paramedics, dispatchers as well as their unions and associations are taking part in the event that will feature Gauthier and others in jobs where trauma is part of the job but talking about its impact is not.

Gauthier said he wondered if he’d have to prove himself all over again if he took time off, if he’d put the “brotherhood and sisterhood” of his job at risk.

“Part of my healing, part of my therapy, is talking about it,” he said, adding he got counselling. When he returned to work after five months he didn’t initially go out on calls, worked shorter days and slowly exposed himself to the rigours of the job, including driving past the accident scene that led to his breakdown.

WorkSafeBC, the provincial workers’ health and safety agency, brought together a committee of 14 first responder agencies that organized the conference.

Trudi Rondou, senior manager of industry and labour services for WorksafeBC, said the goal is to work toward dismantling the stigma of mental illness suffered by those who focus on protecting public safety but often need help themselves to cope with extraordinary stress.

The key to getting that help is a commitment from employers to put prevention, peer-support and return-to-work programs in place, she said.

“We did some research among first responders and that was one thing we clearly heard, that this has to be a culture change and we need to make sure our leaders are invested in this, not only with their words but with the budget and action behind it.”

Otherwise, the costs range from low productivity, a high number of sick days and the potential for long-term disability from post-traumatic stress disorder, Rondou said.

Last year, the British Columbia government amended legislation allowing first responders including emergency medical assistants, firefighters, police officers, sheriffs and correctional officers to make WorkSafeBC claims for compensation and health-care support if they’d been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, without having to prove it was related to their work.

Greg Anderson, dean of applied research at the Justice Institute of B.C., said most provinces have similar legislation, but coverage for first-responder jobs varies.

In Nova Scotia, for example, emergency-room nurses are included in so-called presumptive legislation while some provinces have coverage for post-traumatic stress injury and others only accept claims for post-traumatic stress disorder, Anderson said.

Federal first responders, including employees of the RCMP, the Correctional Service of Canada and those in enforcement roles for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, are not covered by presumptive legislation.


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24Jan

Suspect followed woman, took photos in casino bathroom: RCMP

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Mounties are asking the public to help identify a suspect who is alleged to have followed a woman then took photos of her while she used a bathroom stall.

In a statement issued nearly two months after the incident was reported, Richmond Mounties said a woman had been followed from a Canada Line station to the River Rock Casino.

It was reported that the man followed her into the casino washroom in the early morning hours of Dec. 1, then used a cellphone to take photos while she was inside a stall.

The suspect fled when confronted, and was last seen heading toward Bridgeport Station, police said.

After following up on available leads, Mounties released a photo of a suspect Thursday.

“We are hoping that the security image of the suspect may prompt information from the public and possibly bring to light other unreported cases,” Cpl. Dennis Hwang said in a statement.

The suspect has been described as approximately 25 years old and possibly Indigenous. He is about 5’8″ with a slim build, and was wearing a black jacket and dark coloured pants at the time.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the RCMP at 604-278-1212, quoting the file number 2018-34811.


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22Jan

Roughly 2/3rds of Canadians are concerned about mobility, hearing and vision issues: new study

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A new study from the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Angus Reid Institute suggests more than two-thirds of Canadians fear someone in their lives will face mobility, hearing or vision disabilities in the next 10 years.

Roughly the same two-thirds concerned about a family member or a friend are also worried they too may face similar challenges.

Overall, almost one quarter of Canadians say they have a disability or face mobility, hearing, and vision challenges.

According to the study, 28 per cent of adults aged 35-54 expect to deal with a disability in the next five to 10 years – that number rises to 32 per cent for adults over age 55.

Canadians are also concerned about accessibility to buildings, the study indicates.

Seventy per cent of respondents said they believe any new building that can be made accessible for all should, and one in five Canadians would support a business more knowing it was certified as accessible.

The study also looked at the economic backgrounds of the respondents, and found nearly half of all people who say they’re directly affected by a disability come from households with combined incomes of less than $50,000 annually.

But for those directly affected and earning $100,000 or over, the number plummets to only 14 per cent.

The poll data comes from an online survey that ran from Nov. 14 to Nov. 20 2018, from 1,800 randomized members of an Angus Reid study group.


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18Jan

Warrant issued for suspect in theft of ‘priceless’ guitars from 54-40

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An arrest warrant has been issued for a man suspected in the theft of seven “priceless” guitars from local rock band 54-40, police say.

Documents filed in court by New Westminster police say Yannick Lepage, 39, was the tenant of the Surrey storage locker where five of the seven guitars were found last fall. 

Lepage can also be seen on surveillance footage carting what looks like guitar cases, the documents say.

“We’ve been to a number of addresses looking for him,” Staff-Sgt. Stuart Jette told CTV News. “As recently as last week we had someone attend a residence in the Fraser Valley but (we) have been unsuccessful so far trying to find him. We’re still looking.” 

It’s not the first time Lepage has been publicly called out by police – in December, he appeared on the Surrey RCMP’s “naughty list.”

The guitars were stolen from the back of a truck outside the Queen’s Park Care Centre On Oct. 5, before 54-40 was slated to do back-to-back shows.

Guitarist Dave Genn called one the “fire breathing dragon”, and another “irreplaceable” at the time. The band offered a $5,000 reward for any information to find them.

The next day, according to the documents, the New Westminster Police Department got a tip pointing them to a self-storage facility on 104 Avenue in Surrey.

“I viewed the CCTV and observed multiple people rolling in 5 large guitar cases…some of them matched the description,” wrote NWPD Const. Eric Blower in the document.

Police gained access to the locker, where they found five of the seven guitars.

The band was relieved – and said they’d keep playing with them despite the risk.

“These instruments were made to be played, as opposed to locked away in a safe somewhere,” said Genn at the time.

The two guitars that are still out there are a Gibson Dove Acoustic and a Gibson SJ200 Acoustic.

Even as New Westminster police were hunting for Lepage, Surrey RCMP were looking for him for two alleged breaches of probation and an accusation of driving while prohibited. That led to his inclusion on its 10-person “naughty list.” 

Lepage has a number of convictions involving possession of stolen property, mischief and theft in 19 criminal files going back to 1998, according to records.

On his Facebook page, Lepage appears to acknowledge some of his time served: in one post, he writes, “16 days left of house arrest look out LOL.”

CTV News reached out to Lepage but didn’t hear back from him. 


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11Jan

RCMP at UBC warning public of voyeurism incident

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RCMP at the University of British Columbia are asking potential victims to contact them after a voyeurism incident last week.

Police say the incident happened on Jan. 3, in a public restroom in the 6300-block of Agronomy Road.

The victim told police someone reached and placed a cell phone over top of the bathroom stall while they were using the washroom. The cell phone has a unique black case with a cubed and striped pattern, police say.

The RCMP confirmed in a statement that the victim first called Campus Security, who then alerted University RCMP, which caused what they say is a “slight delay” in their response time.

A man believed to be the suspect was arrested for obstruction, but later released, police added. The investigation is still ongoing at this time.

University RCMP says anyone with a similar experience should call 604-224-1322, and reminds the public that if a crime is being committed you should call 911 immediately.


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11Jan

Bathroom voyeurism reported at UBC; RCMP investigating

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RCMP at the University of British Columbia are asking potential victims to contact them after a voyeurism incident last week.

Police say the incident happened on Jan. 3, in a public restroom in the 6300-block of Agronomy Road.

The victim told police someone reached and placed a cell phone over top of the bathroom stall while they were using the washroom. The cell phone has a unique black case with a cubed and striped pattern, police say.

The RCMP confirmed in a statement that the victim first called Campus Security, who then alerted University RCMP, which caused what they say is a “slight delay” in their response time.

A man believed to be the suspect was arrested for obstruction, but later released, police added. The investigation is still ongoing at this time.

University RCMP says anyone with a similar experience should call 604-224-1322, and reminds the public that if a crime is being committed you should call 911 immediately.


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3Jan

Trampoline park apologizes for denying entry to B.C. boy’s service dog

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A Langley, B.C. trampoline park is apologizing to a local family after refusing entry to a boy’s service dog.

Danica Dutt said she took her brother, Kai Chand, to Extreme Air Park Wednesday. The 11-year-old has autism, and has a registered, professionally trained service dog named Rosie who came along.

Rosie, who Kai describes as his best friend, has tags, permits and paperwork in her vest, and Danica told CTV News she and Kai had photos of their service ID cards on them.

But before Kai could even get to the trampolines, a staff member told them the dog would have to leave as she was not needed, Danica said.

She said she was told the facility only allowed dogs with a “purpose,” such as seeing-eye dogs, are allowed in the facility.

“I explained to her, ‘Oh no, the dog’s going to sit with me in the waiting area,’ and she says, ‘No, your dog’s not allowed,'” Danica said in an interview Thursday.

She told CTV staff didn’t look at their paperwork or IDs, and when she tried to get a refund, staff refused. Instead, she said, they offered a credit so Kai and Danica could return without Rosie.

“But what good is a credit when Kai’s service dog is denied access because she’s not ‘needed?'” Danica wrote in a Facebook post which has been shared nearly 3,000 times. 

Her brother, who did not understand what was happening, then began to cry, Danica said.

She told CTV he was so excited he even begged her to buy him a T-shirt with the park’s logo on it. The one-hour visit was supposed to be his reward for “being really good that day,” she said.

In the end, his mother came and brought the dog home so Kai’s day wasn’t ruined, but Danica said she felt the situation was not handled professionally.

“The fact that they said Kai’s dog wasn’t needed broke my heart because they don’t get to decide who needs a service dog and who doesn’t,” she said.

She explained that the dog’s role is to help keep him calm.

“When he gets overstiumlated he self-hurts and he screams and cries, and having this dog there can just give him a moment to step back and have some relief,” she said.

“I just want Kai to be treated as an equal. That’s all I want. And I want people to know that his service dog is there to help him.”

Kai’s mother, Tara Allen, ended up recording part of her interaction with an employee.

“It was just kind of mindblowing that they turn them away and wouldn’t refund their money,” she said.

She told CTV she’d called and asked to speak to the manager, but staff wouldn’t provide contact information.

“I think they just need to educate themselves on kids with special needs or service dogs,” Tara said.

William Thornton, CEO of BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, said the organization will be following up with the company about their policy. Rosie was trained by BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, one of the only accredited schools in the province.

“Wherever the public has access or is paying to go in is a public domain by definition and these dogs are allowed to enter that building,” he explained.

“I think the public are still playing a little bit of catch-up, that there are other types of dogs and the need is not as obvious to a person that has a hidden disability.”

B.C.’s Guide Dog and Service Dog Act makes it an offense to deny a certified dog and handler team access or accomodation, and those convicted could be fined up to $3,000. More information about the act is available on the province’s website

In an email, Extreme Air Park told CTV services dogs are welcome, and staff do their best to accommodate all customers’ needs. In the statement, staff said that the issue arose during a conversation about the dog going into the trampoline area.

They said they’d reached out to Danica but had not heard back.

Kai’s sister confirmed that she did receive an apology over social media, as well as an offer for free access for a year. She showed CTV a screen grab of a message from Instagram sent by an account called “extremeairparkscanada” which read in part, “The person that our staff talked to on the phone regarding your service dog was misinformed.”

The sender, who appeared to be one of the owners of the park, said he was sorry and that he knew the year jump pass wouldn’t make up for their experience, but that he wanted to provide a positive experience in the future for all, including Rosie.

“I know how important animals are and how much of a difference they can make in people’s lives,” the message read.

Despite the offer, the family doesn’t think they’ll return.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Maria Weisgarber


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31Dec

Hundreds of years to fix impassable Vancouver curbs: documents

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It could take anywhere from dozens to hundreds of years to fix all of the Vancouver curbs that remain impassable to people who use wheelchairs, according to city documents obtained by CTV News.

Despite a promised $1 million in 2019 to replace upwards of 150 corners with sudden drops to slopes, thousands remain, each of them an insurmountable barrier to many people with disabilities.

“It’s frustrating,” said Kerry Gibson, the CEO of EcoCentury Technologies who has used a wheelchair since she was injured in a crash when she was in her 20s.

“In most cases you have to backtrack. You lose time. It might as well be a wall,” she said.

And that’s when she’s prepared. At night a surprise curb can send her flying, she said.

“I’d flip backwards and hit my head and be stunned, hoping that someone would help me out while I’m shaking the stars from my eyes,” she said.

A city document from 2013 estimated that there are some 27,000 corners in the city. Nineteen thousand have been done over the past 60 years, but there are about 8,000 corners left over.

With $200,000 a year budgeted for curb ramps, and a budget of $8000 per ramp, the city could fix 25 curbs each year. At that rate, it would take 320 years to finish them all, the document said.

“I’m quite speechless when you told me that stat,” said Jane Dyson, the retired director of Disability Alliance B.C. “That is not good enough. Not even close.”

The city should consider every policy on this with a final date in mind that city streets will be accessible, she said.

In August, TransLink funded 140 curb ramps close to transit routes. The city also upgrades curbs near reconstruction projects, and the city asks developers to upgrade curbs near major construction, which has resulted in as many as 100 more curb ramps each year.

The city also responds to complaints – though in February there was a backlog of 600 requests to fix those curbs, city documents say, with a wait time of several years.

Since 2015, the city has put $325,000 to make around 50 ramps per year, and with the other methods, city documents say it now upgrades around 100-200 a year.

The city’s most recent budget and capital plan allocates $1 million in 2019 for curb ramps.

“It should be a priority to speed it up,” said Christine Boyle, a Vancouver City Councillor with OneCity. She said it’s important for people with disabilities, but also for other groups like parents with strollers, for whom a high curb can be a problem.

“It’s certainly a commitment of OneCity’s to support moving that strategy forward,” she said.

Melissa de Genova, a city councillor with the NPA, said she didn’t like hearing stories about people who were going blocks out of their way before finding an accessible crossing.

“I was happy to see money in the budget for that. We definitely need to do what we can to make the city accessible,” she said.

But even at 100-200 curbs per year, it could take 40-80 years to upgrade all the curbs that are left in the city.

“In 80 years I’ll be dead,” said Gibson with a laugh. “You have to laugh. It’s a coping mechanism.”

“Any increase is obviously welcome. But – another 20 years to navigate your own neighbourhood. We need to move beyond that attitude,” she said.


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31Dec

Video shows cougar hanging out on Maple Ridge deck

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A man from Maple Ridge, B.C. has shared video of a hair-raising encounter he had with a cougar over the weekend.

Kevyn Helmer said he locked his own cat in the bathroom after finding the apex predator hanging out on his deck on 287th Street Sunday afternoon.

“There’s a big, scary kitty cat out front,” Helmer says in a Facebook video. “My cat’s in the washroom, he’s meowing away.”

The video shows the cougar lounging right beside the door, barely paying attention as Helmer watches through the glass for several minutes.

“The road is right up there, so if anybody comes walking by – oh, man,” Helmer says. “I hope no kids or nobody walking their dog goes by the front gate there.”

The nervous resident called authorities to the home and they apparently managed to chase the cougar away without incident.

“He’s a big, nice kitty I’m sure they’ll take care of it,” Helmer says in a follow-up video.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service has not responded to a request for comment on what happened.

According to WildSafeBC, anyone who encounters a cougar outdoors is advised to keep calm, appear as big as possible and back away slowly while keeping the cougar in view.

“If a cougar shows aggression, or begins following you, respond aggressively in all cases as cougars see you as a meal: keep eye contact, yell and make loud noises. Pick up nearby sticks, rocks, or whatever you have at hand to quickly to use as a weapon if necessary,” the organization says on its website.

In the event of an attack, WildSafeBC recommends focusing on the cougar’s face and eyes.

Anyone who sees a cougar that could pose an immediate threat to public safety is asked to call conservation officers at 1-877-952-7277.  

 

Mountain Lion on front door step

Posted by Kevyn Helmer on Sunday, December 30, 2018


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10Dec

Suspect found dead days after aunt raised suicide concerns, inquest hears

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CTV Vancouver


Published Monday, December 10, 2018 12:27PM PST


Last Updated Monday, December 10, 2018 4:37PM PST

A coroner’s inquest began Monday into the death of David Singh Tucker, a sexual assault suspect whose body was discovered in a Surrey, B.C. pretrial facility two years ago.

Tucker, 28, was one of two men being held in custody following a disturbing attack at the University of British Columbia campus in May 2016, and was facing charges of sexual assault, unlawful confinement, robbery and disguising his face with the intent to commit a crime.

The suspect was being kept in a segregation unit when staff found him dead on July 25 of that year.

The inquest into his death began with testimony from his aunt, Susan Brennan, who read a statement from Tucker’s mother describing him as a troubled person who was diagnosed with behavioural disorders as a young boy.

Brennan told the jury her nephew had expressed a desire to turn his life around, and an interest in financial planning. She said he told her over the phone that he “was disgusted with himself” after his arrest.

“He felt like a monster,” she said.

Brennan also testified that Tucker shared plans to intentionally overdose on hoarded methadone while in custody, and she pleaded with officials at the Surrey Pretrial Services Centre to keep a close watch over him on July 20 – a few days before he was found dead.

According to the BC Coroners Service, Tucker was last seen alive when he was given his dinner around 4 p.m. on July 24. Officers found him unresponsive during a check the next morning.

One of the guards from the Surrey pretrial facility told the inquest Tucker was not on suicide watch at hte time, and that it was hard to see into his cell because the window on the door and the security camera lens were both scratched.

The jury also heard testimony from staff about how some inmates would pretend to drink their methadone by hiding gauze in their mouth to soak up the drug, which would then be sold to other inmates.

Tucker’s cause of death has never been publicly released. The inquest is expected to hear from a toxicologist and a pathologist on Tuesday.

The inquest will examine the facts surrounding Tucker’s death, but can’t make any finding of legal responsibility. The jury can make recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths in the future.

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Nafeesa Karim  


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