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Posts Tagged "News"

11Mar

Canada looking for input on making travel network most accessible in the world

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The federal government is asking for input on how tomakeCanada’s travel network the most accessible in the world for all passengers, including people with physical and mental disabilities.

It haspublished a new set of regulations for the public to view and consult on in the Canada Gazette, the federal government’s official newsletter. There, people can leave comments for the Canadian Transportation Agency, who said they will update the proposed changes based on public feedback. 

“(It’s) an ambitious vision, but we believe that in a country who values include equality and inclusion, we should aspire to nothing less,” said Scott Streiner, the chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency.

The proposed changes would help centralize the CTA’s existing rules, six of which are voluntary, into a legally-binding set of transportation regulations.

That includes:

  • How to better communicate with disabled travellers
  • How to train transportation workers to help travellers with disabilities
  • How to make carriers and terminals accessible for all travellers
  • How to provide accessible services
  • How to make border and security screening accessible

Proposed changes range from automated self-service desks, training for staff to help those with sight and hearing impairments and assisting people with disabilities getting in and out of terminals.

The changes would apply to large airlines – an airline that carries more than one million travellers annually – VIA Rail and Amtrak operators, ferries weighing at least 1,000 gross tonnes, as well as Greyhound and Mega Bus operators.  

Airports that served more than 200,000 passengers over the past two years, any transportation terminals used by the aforementioned companies, and Canadian ports used by cruise ships would also fall under the new regulations.

The announcement was made at Vancouver International Airport, which received the Rick Hansen Foundation’s gold certification for accessibility last December.

If approved, the regulations would go into effect one year after they are published. The consultation period is open until April 8th, and feedback can be emailed to [email protected]

The CTA hopes to have the final regulations published by this summer.


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9Mar

Woman assaulted after allowing stranger into home

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A woman in North Vancouver reported being sexually assaulted after allowing a stranger to use a washroom in her home, according to RCMP.

North Vancouver RCMP said the alleged assault happened in the early afternoon of Feb. 27 in the Upper Capilano area.

Police said they have not received additional information that would  make them believe the public’s safety is at risk.

“Police wish to take this opportunity to remind people not to allow strangers into their homes,” said Sgt. Peter De Vries in a press release.

Police have released a composite sketch of the suspect and are asking anyone who can identify the man to contact them at 604-985-1311.


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28Feb

Bike stolen in Vancouver the very first time newcomer locked it outside

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It was not the “welcome to Canada” moment that Mahshid Hadi was expecting.

The 27-year-old moved to Coqutilam from Turkey in December and the very first time she locked her bike in downtown Vancouver it was stolen.

“I didn’t bring any clothes with me – I just carried my bike with me,” Hadi said, explaining that her bike took up most of her 23-kilogram suitcase during the journey to Canada.

Originally from Iran, Hadi was a refugee in Turkey for more than four years.

Working as an ELS teacher, she said it took two years to save up enough money to buy the bike. Hadi said she would ride from one poor community to another – teaching kids how to ride it.

“This bike meant a lot to me because it carried so many stories with it,” Hadi said.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, Hadi had locked her bike on Homer Street in front of Westside Church, where she was volunteering at a film festival. When she came out it was gone.

“I was thinking, the world is gone from in front of my eyes,” Hadi said.

One security camera in the area recorded the moment two thieves approach her bike. According to the video, at 8:24 p.m. a man appears to cut her bike lock and ride away.

Another woman seen in the video follows the thief using a different bike.

“Bike thefts continue to be an issue in Vancouver and other cities around British Columbia,” explained Const. Jason Doucette with Vancouver Police.

Doucette said more than 2,000 bikes were stolen in the city in 2018.

Vancouver police recommend owners record the serial number on their bike, take a photo of the bike, and also take a photo of them with the bike.

“We recover many bikes that are stolen and we can’t link back to an owner and they end up going to auction and we don’t want to do that,” Doucette explained.

Meanwhile, Hadi is holding out hope someone will read her story and find it in their heart to return the bike.

Her message to the thief is, “This bike is much more than what you may think or imagine. It affects my life, it affects my future opportunities. I would like this bike back.”


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26Feb

Certified gold: BC bank branches given Rick Hansen Foundation top certification

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Vancity clients and staff with disabilities will have greater access at the bank’s head office in Vancouver or the Burnaby Heights branch.

Today, both buildings were awarded gold accessibility certifications by the Rick Hansen Foundation – the first financial institution and the third company in B.C. to receive the rating.

The foundation’s namesake, Rick Hansen, was in Burnaby Heights to celebrate the milestone achievement.

“They’ve set a really high bar to become much more inclusive for everybody not just for their staff but for their customers and community,” Hansen told CTV News.

“It’s the new standard that we want to recognize and create across Canada and all across the world.” 

Hansen said that the country has come a long way in accessibility, and his foundation wants to turn a “made-in-BC global solution” into an industry standard worth praising.

“We’ll train industry professionals – they’ll have all the knowledge and tools, we’ll have an objective rating, and then we’ll reconigze people,” he said.

“We want innovation to keep going and think about their buildings and how they function for people who desperately need those barriers removed,” said Hansen.

Vancity president and CEO Tamara Vrooman said when the company decided to rebuild their Burnaby Heights branch, it was done with more than sustainability or aesthetics in mind.

“For our staff and our community, if you can’t come in and see us, it’s very difficult to be part of our great organization,” she said.

Vrooman is also the current chair of the Rick Hansen Foundation board. The bank’s Burnaby Heights Community branch features:

  • Fully accessible Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that include grab bars, knee clearance for chair users, accessible buttons, and plugs for head phones;

  • Power doors in all entrances;

  • Contrasting colour flooring and walls for improved wayfinding;

  • A lowered teller counter with hearing assistance for employees and members; and

  • Accessible washrooms with inclusive signage

More than 1,100 buildings across the province have been registered for rating by the foundation.


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20Feb

Anti-poverty groups say B.C.’s budget has left them hanging

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VICTORIA – Anti-poverty groups say British Columbia’s budget has left them hanging in anticipation for details outlining the minority New Democrat government’s promised poverty reduction strategy.

Finance Minister Carole James says her budget includes poverty-fighting measures, but the government’s full strategy will be announced later this spring.

BC Poverty Reduction Coalition spokeswoman Trish Garner says she’s waiting for more dollars after the small steps James took towards fighting poverty in the budget.

Garner says raising welfare and disability rates by $50 per month and adding only 200 new modular homes are not enough to help people struggling with poverty.

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives senior economist Iglika Ivanova says the government’s BC Child Opportunity Benefit does not come into effect until 2020 and does not go deep enough to help lift families out of extreme poverty.

Garner and Ivanova say the government’s current budget surplus situation leaves James much more room to implement poverty-reduction measures.


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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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