Posts Tagged "losing"


East Vancouver seniors fear losing their home to redevelopment

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More than 64 seniors call Alice Saunders House their home — but there are fears a complete renovation to the low income building would force them out.

“This place, to me, is like a small piece of paradise,” said longtime resident Jim Dailey.

Dailey, 80, has lived at Alice Saunders for 16 years.

The retired horse jockey still spends each day at Hastings Racecourse which is currently a 20-minute ride on his scooter.

“I can’t go anywhere else and have the life I’ve got now, that’s for sure,” he said.

On Saturday, residents held a block party to protest plans to redevelop the building.

“The building is aging, and not only is it aging, but it doesn’t have the adequate accessibility requirements for residents in place,” said Carolina Ibara with Brightside Community Homes Foundation.

The non-profit organization helps seniors in BC get into low income housing.

“This is not a for-profit venture, that is not why we are doing this. We are doing this to improve long term lives of our residents,” Ibara said.

The redevelopment plans are in the very early stages and tenants have not yet been given any notice to end tenancy or to relocate at this time.

Another reason for the planned redevelopment is that the building currently does not have an elevator – but residents like Sam Diana said that is not an issue for them.

“What do we need an elevator for, to go to the moon?” said Diana.

Ibara said everyone living here can come back to a new building for the same rent they pay now and a new building would come with 100 affordable units.

Brightside will also provide a relocation coordinator to help residents find a new place to live.

The company has yet to submit a formal rezoning application to the City of Vancouver.

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TransLink still losing millions to fare evaders but it’s not tracking numbers

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Three years after spending $200 million to install fare gates at its SkyTrain and Canada Line stations, TransLink hasn’t collected any data to show they are cutting down on fare evasion. Meanwhile, the number of tickets related to fare gate offences has barely slowed.

TransLink acknowledges it continues to lose revenue to fare evaders but hasn’t measured evasion since 2014, said spokeswoman Jillian Drews. She said TransLink is studying ways to track fare evasion including “manual counting using CCTV, broadening the use of automatic people counters and programming fare gates to count the number of times fare gate panels are forced.”

“There are a lot of smart people working on it,” said Drews, but they haven’t been able to estimate the number of fare dodgers because “they don’t tap in and out.”

“It’s ridiculous that they have put so much of our money into this and yet they don’t bother to check and actually monitor how well these gates are working,” said Kris Sims, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“There is strong evidence our fare gates deter fare evaders,” said Drews, pointing out that annual fare revenue rose by $30 million for the first nine months the fare gates were operational on the SkyTrain and Canada lines from April to December 2016. The Evergreen extension to the Millennium Line opened in December 2016, which makes revenue comparisons difficult in the ensuing years.

Tampering with fare gates — including following a paying passenger through the gates without tapping a Compass card — has become such a problem that Transit Police have been given new powers to ticket that specific offence.

The tickets cover a wide range of offences but the “majority of these incidents are associated to officers’ active observations and enforcement … of the misuse of fare gates,” according to a report presented to the TransLink board in December by Transit Police.

Those violation tickets have climbed 23 per cent under the Provincial Transit Conduct Law banning fare gate misuse, while violations under the law banning other behaviour on or near TransLink property, including misusing an emergency exit, selling or trading proof of purchase, or obstructing or lying to a police officer are up 39 per cent. Each violation carries a fine of $173 for those ticketed.

Transit Police spokeswoman Anne Drennan said it was hoped once people saw they would be ticketed for gate crashing, the number of offences would drop.

But instead they went up: There were about 6,600 of the new violation tickets issued in 2016. That jumped to 14,000 in 2017 and 16,400 in 2018.

Meanwhile, the number of fines issued by Transit Police for fare evasion specifically has dropped the past two years. There were 23,400 fines for fare evasion in 2016, 19,000 in 2017 and 14,500 in 2018.

Drews said TransLink did 850,000 security checks last year for fares on buses and at bus loops.

In Toronto last week, the city’s auditor general released her audit on fare evasion on the Toronto Transit Commission and found it accounted for 5.4 per cent of total revenue, more than twice what the TTC estimated. She said TTC lost $60 million in revenue and that was “probably understated.” The TTC audit found fare evasion to be highest — 15 per cent — on streetcars, where there is unsupervised all-door boarding.

The TTC board chair called the evasion levels “critical” and “frustrating” and the mayor said he, too, was frustrated and mused about publicly shaming offenders.

The TTC accepted the auditor general’s 27 recommendations, including hiring 45 more fare inspectors, issuing more tickets (fines range between $235 and $435) and developing a public education campaign.

Warren Mirko, a communications consultant and regular user of public transit, said there may have been a drop at first, but “I see more and more people (illegally) going through the fare gates every day,” including students with knapsacks, people who appear homeless and even well-dressed people.

“When you see other people doing it and you see that nobody’s watching, why wouldn’t you do it?”

Stephen Rees, a former TransLink planner who has blogged extensively on fare evasion, said there will always be evaders.

“(The new gates) were supposed to eliminate it, but you just get a different kind because they get better at it,” he said.

But he said it’s not cost-effective to spend more to prevent it than it costs in losses, and if you increase the number of fare inspectors, it could intimidate and drive away paying users.

Rees said there are ways to track fare evasion, including viewing CCTV footage as the Toronto audit did, but he added, “What gets measured, gets improved. So by not measuring, you’re not required to improve it.”

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Molly Maid cleaner files human rights complaint after losing job during pregnancy

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A woman who worked as a cleaner for Molly Maid in Metro Vancouver has filed a human rights complaint alleging the company fired her because she needed to attend emergency medical appointments for complications with her pregnancy.

The maid service applied to dismiss the complaint, arguing that it has offered the cleaner, Katelyn Jansen, a reasonable settlement of about $10,500 for damages for injury to dignity and wages lost.

Jansen argued that amount wasn’t enough. She also wants the company to create and implement a policy on pregnant women in the workplace.

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal recently sided with Jansen and denied the company’s application, paving the way for the case to go forward. 

In an affidavit filed as part of her response to Molly Maid’s application, Jansen said, 15 months later, she still feels hurt by the company’s decision to dismiss her. 

‘Emotionally fragile’

Jansen said the appointments she attended at the time were to find out if her baby would be born with a “serious, life-altering disability.”

“I was in the most emotionally fragile and vulnerable place that I had been in in my life,” she said.

Molly Maid’s lawyer says the company takes issue with some of Jansen’s assertions. The decison notes that the company said it didn’t fire her, but instead assumed she had quit because she hadn’t contacted them for six days. 

West Coast LEAF, a legal organization that supports gender equality, wouldn’t comment on the validity of the complaint but said many employers are still unaware of their obligation to reasonably accommodate pregnant women at work. 

“We do hear quite regularly about challenges for pregnant women to receive proper accommodation in their employment,” said Raji Mangat, the organization’s director of litigation.

“Certainly in a field where many, if not most, of the employees are women, it would seem that the employer ought to have some sort of contingency plan in place.”

Hospital visit

According to the decision, Jansen had to miss work the first time beginning on July 31, 2017. She was 21 and four months pregnant and had been working for the company since February of that year.

In her affidavit, Jansen says she had scheduled an ultrasound for that day, but the Molly Maid asked her to reschedule it because the end of the month is its busiest time.

Jansen said on the night of July 30 she went to hospital after she experienced “excruciating abdominal pain” and bleeding. 

The next day, Jansen said in her affidavit, she met with her doctor and proceeded with the ultrasound, which she said she had forgotten to cancel.

Her employer was skeptical, she said.

“So weird it’s on the day you have twice requested off????” Jansen said one of the owners texted when she told them she couldn’t work. 

Jansen said she interpreted the response to indicate the owner wasn’t concerned about her condition. 

‘Angry and powerless’

Over the course of the next two weeks, according to Jansen’s affidavit, she attended more medical appointments — some outside of work hours, others not — and discovered her baby likely would be born with a genetic disorder. 

“I felt scared and helpless. At the time, I could not focus on anything else,” Jansen wrote in her affidavit.

In her affidavit Jansen said she last worked on Thursday, Aug. 10 when she left early to attend a medical appointment. 

The following Monday, Jansen said her midwife informed the company she would again have to miss work to attend a medical appointment the next day.

By Wednesday, Aug. 16, Jansen told the company she could return to work. But Molly Maid told her they assumed she wasn’t returning because they hadn’t heard from her in six days. 

Jansen said Molly Maid told her it had already issued her final cheque and a Record of Employment stating that she had quit. In her affidavit, Jansen said she felt “dumbfounded and sick and hurt and angry and powerless.”

Jansen’s baby was born on Dec. 26, 2017. Jansen said the child is legally blind, with only one functioning kidney and a club foot. 

Her complaint is scheduled for a trial at the tribunal in February.

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