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Posts Tagged "seeks"

17Sep

BC Ferries seeks public input on Horseshoe Bay redesign | CBC News

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BC Ferries is seeking public input on some draft concepts for the redesign of its busy Horseshoe Bay terminal. 

The West Vancouver terminal, which has three different routes connecting Metro Vancouver with Bowen Island, Nanaimo and the Sunshine Coast, is one of the company’s busiest.

Because the bay is tightly hemmed in by mountains, it’s reached its geographic capacity, says Tessa Humphries, a spokesperson with BC Ferries,

“[It] is at a point now where it’s going to need to be renewed,” Humphries said.

The company has already sought public feedback on the design plans. Nearly 1,500 people submitted responses on what they think is important for the future of the terminal.

Humphries said some key concerns included traffic efficiency in and out of the terminal, accessibility and integration with the Village of Horseshoe Bay. 

BC Ferries took in all those ideas and have created some draft terminal concepts. These include creating another exit lane to improve traffic efficiency, creating a community hub and redesigning the terminal building. 

Still, it will be quite some time before anything changes.

“This is a large, large project and it’s part of the overall 25-year plan for the terminal,” Humphries said. 

“We wouldn’t expect construction to actually begin on the first phase until the mid 2020s.”

People can submit feedback online until Oct. 13 or attend a community engagement meeting on Oct. 7 at the Gleneagles Golf Course in West Vancouver.

25Jul

B.C. government seeks public feedback on reducing plastic waste

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Don’t forget to reduce, reuse, recycle and reply with your feedback.

The B.C. government is asking the public to weigh in on how the province can cut down on plastics and improve recycling in an effort to protect B.C.’s waterways and environment.

Among the proposed actions the government is considering are bans on single-use packaging, requiring producers to shoulder more responsibility for plastic products, expanding the recycling refund program and reducing plastic waste across all product categories and industries.


Vancouver, BC: JUNE 08, 2019 –– Colunteers clean-up plastics and other refuse scraps from the shoreline at Second Beach in Vancouver, B.C.’s Stanley Park Saturday, June 8, 2019. Volunteers from the Vancouver Surfrider Foundation scoured local beaches Saturday as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup initiative.

Jason Payne /

PNG

“The message from British Columbians is loud and clear — we need to take action to reduce plastic waste, especially single-use items like water bottles and plastic bags that often find their way into our waters, streets and environment,” said Environment Minister George Heyman in a statement.

“We have all seen the striking images of animals and fish being caught up in everyday plastic waste like grocery bags or beer can loops that ensnare these beautiful creatures and it cannot continue. I look forward to hearing from people about how we can all play a part in reducing plastic pollution and plastics use overall.”

Currently, B.C. has 22 recycling programs — more than any other North American jurisdiction — that cover 14 product categories of consumer products. Those include packaging, electronics, residual solvents, beverage containers, tires and hazardous wastes.

Those programs collect about 315,000 tonnes of plastics annually.

The feedback will help inform things like the reach of a single-use plastics ban, and determining any necessary exemptions for reasons of health, safety and accessibility; possible changes to B.C.’s current recycling program and changes to the deposit-refund fee structure; as well as the possibility of an electronic refund system for empty bottle refunds.

The public can read the proposals in detail and fill out the online survey at cleanbc.ca/plastics.


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28Apr

‘I had to crawl’: Amputee seeks damages after United Airlines and airport security seize scooter batteries

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Stearn Hodge says he will never forget the humiliation of having to drag his body across a hotel room floor during what was supposed to be a vacation celebrating his 43rd wedding anniversary — because a security agent at the Calgary International Airport and United Airlines confiscated the batteries he needed to operate a portable scooter.

“Having to crawl across the floor in front of my wife is the most humiliating thing that I can think of,” said Hodge. “It unmasks how real my disability is … I haven’t been the same since.”

The 68-year-old retired contractor from Kelowna, B.C., lost his left arm and right leg in a 1984 workplace accident. He now relies on a portable scooter powered by lithium batteries.

But on a trip to Tulsa, Okla., on Feb. 26, 2017, an agent with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) and a United Airlines official told Hodge to remove the $2,000 battery from his scooter and fly without it, as well as his spare battery.

In making the demand, both employees cited safety concerns.

Stearn Hodge shows how he had to crawl when he didn’t have his mobility scooter:

Stearn Hodge demonstrates how he was forced to crawl on his holidays, after United Airlines and an airport security agent seized the batteries needed for his portable scooter. 3:18

Lithium-ion batteries are a potential fire hazard, but global standards issued by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) allow people with disabilities to travel with compact lithium batteries for medical devices in carry-on luggage.

Hodge said no one from CATSA or United Airlines would listen to him or read IATA documents he had printed out, showing his batteries are permitted on board if an airline gives prior approval. Hodge had received that permission.

“They’re taking my legs — and not only that, my dignity,” said Hodge. 

He can only wear a prosthetic leg for a short period due to discomfort and risk of infection, he said.

A few months earlier, Hodge almost had his batteries seized on a WestJet flight. But “seconds” before takeoff — and after he suffered a panic attack — Hodge was granted permission to take them on board.

He has now hired a lawyer and is fighting to have his case heard before the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

A spokesperson for an Ottawa-based disability rights organization says it’s “frustrating” that Canada’s airline industry seems to ignore hard-won protections for people with disabilities.

“It’s been a long fight to make sure that mobility devices — or any device used to accommodate a person with a disability — can be carried on [a plane],” said Terrance Green, of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities.

“When security can — even with regulations in place — seize what otherwise should be able to go onto the aircraft, that leaves people with disabilities very vulnerable.”

‘Get a wheelchair’

When the CATSA agent seized his batteries in Calgary, the employee suggested it wasn’t a big deal, Hodge said.

“I still remember the CATSA agent saying, ‘Well, you could get a wheelchair.’ How’s a one-armed guy going to run a wheelchair?” asked Hodge. “How am I going to go down a ramp and brake with one hand? But that shouldn’t even have to come up.”

Hodge’s wife had recently undergone cancer treatment, which affected her spine, and she couldn’t push a wheelchair for her husband.

Hodge said he asked for an agent from United Airlines to come to the security checkpoint, as he had called the airline earlier and was assured it was OK to bring his battery and a spare on board.

Stearn Hodge, seen with his wife, Jan, says he has been hassled about his batteries at the airport more than a dozen times over the past two years. (Gary Moore/CBC)

But the United Airlines employee that arrived sided with the security agent.

Consequently, a three-week trip that was supposed to be a celebration with his wife resulted in Hodge spending much of his vacation confined to his bed.

To perform basic personal hygiene, he was forced to drag himself across the hotel room floor to the bathroom.

“An anniversary is supposed to be all about remembering how you fell in love … and keeping that magic alive,” said Hodge. “And those things were denied. I’m crawling across the floor and it is pathetic.”

United apologizes

A United Airlines spokesperson told Go Public that it couldn’t comment on Hodge’s experience, as he wants his case heard by the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

In an email sent to Hodge by the airline, complaint resolution official Tatricia Orija wrote that “it appears we were in violation of federal disability requirements,” offering both Hodge and his wife an $800 travel certificate.

She also apologized for the “inconvenience.”

“Inconvenience is when it rains on your holiday,” said Hodge. “This was a … life-changing moment for me and my wife.”

WestJet offers travel credit

Three months before the United incident, on Nov. 27, 2016, Hodge had also run into battery problems while travelling to Cancun, Mexico.

In that case, a WestJet employee initially told him he could take the batteries in a carry-on, but when he got to the security checkpoint, a CATSA agent said the batteries had to be in checked luggage.

“According to federal airline law, that’s the worst place you want to put them,” said Hodge. “Because if a problem develops with those batteries, they don’t know where they are and they’re only going to find out about it when it’s too late.”

Lithium-ion batteries are a potential fire hazard, but are permitted as carry-on for passengers with disabilities who require them to power medical devices. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Minutes before his departure, a WestJet employee was able to confirm that the batteries could go on the plane.

In an email to Hodge, WestJet spokesperson Morgan Bell wrote: “While I cannot change your past experience, I would like to offer you a $350 future travel credit as a goodwill gesture.”

WestJet said it couldn’t answer questions from Go Public, as Hodge has named the airline in the case he wants heard.

CATSA also wouldn’t address questions from Go Public, citing Hodge’s complaint.

The agency did provide Hodge with a transcript of a recorded call with client service agent Justine Drouin, who apologizes to Hodge and says “all of the screening officers will undergo a briefing.”

The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, in charge of security screening at airports across the country, told Hodge that it would update standard operating procedures to ensure all agents are briefed on batteries permitted on board flights. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

‘It’s like playing Russian roulette’

Hodge and his wife travel at least once or twice a year and say the only place they run into trouble with his scooter batteries is in Canada.

“I have flown through Europe, the United States and Mexico since 2015 with these batteries and have never been detained or harassed because of them. It is only in Canada that I have been relentlessly detained,” said Hodge. 

He estimates it’s happened more than a dozen times in the past two years, saying it now triggers severe anxiety.

“When I go through the checkpoint, I’m starting to vibrate now. I don’t know what I’m going to get. It’s like playing Russian roulette.”

‘An assault on a person’s dignity’

Green, of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, said while he’s pleased there are protections in place for people with disabilities who are travelling, those protections need to be enforced.

“This is an assault on a person’s dignity,” said Green, noting his organization has been fighting over transportation issues for four decades.

“In 1979, the government of the day said, ‘Yes, we will make our transportation system accessible,'” he said. “Here we are … 40 years later and the same barriers are there in transportation for Canadians with disabilities.”

Terrance Green, of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, pictured here with his seeing-eye dog, says the airline industry needs to respect protections in place for people with disabilities. (Jean-Francois Benoit/CBC)

Green, who is visually impaired, said he has had security agents question the battery in his laptop, which allows it to “talk” when it is turned on. He said he receives “a lot of emails and telephone calls” from people with disabilities who have been hassled at the airport.

“It happens very, very frequently,” said Green. “You put in complaints, the first thing that happens is the airlines deny.”

Complaints to transportation agency

Go Public asked the Canadian Transportation Agency, which regulates air, rail and marine travel, how often people have filed disability-related complaints over the past three years.

A spokesperson said the agency has received 583 accessibility complaints related to air travel during that time — with fewer than one per cent related to batteries. And those numbers have steadily increased since 2016.

The majority of complaints are from passengers who have had expensive mobility devices — scooters and wheelchairs — damaged during loading and unloading.  

Hearing in Federal Court

Last September, the Canadian Human Rights Commission referred Hodge’s complaint to the Canadian Transportation Agency. However, the agency has no power to award general damages beyond out-of-pocket expenses. 

On May 9, Hodge’s lawyer, John Burns, will ask a Federal Court judge to compel the commission to hear the case.

“It’s a failure of the Canadian Human Rights Commission to grant access to the remedy that the statute provides,” said Burns.

The Canadian Human Rights Act allows for up to $20,000 in damages for each count of pain and suffering, and up to another $20,000 if the discrimination is “willful or reckless.”

“It sends a very clear message to the airlines and everybody else involved,” said Burns. “People with disabilities should be taken seriously. You don’t take away somebody’s legs and then describe it as an inconvenience. No, this is an injury.”

Lawyer John Burns has filed a judicial review to have Hodge’s case heard by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. (Submitted by John Burns)

‘Human rights violations cannot go unchallenged’

Hodge is optimistic he’ll eventually have his day before the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

It’s a pricey endeavour. In order to cover legal costs, he’s had to put up for sale a cherished Corvette he has worked on for years. But it’s a fight he says he has to have — not just for himself, but for so many others with disabilities.

“The thing I would love more than the compensation,” said Hodge, “is the [legal] decision that someone can go to and say, ‘You did it here, you can do it for me.'”

Submit your story ideas

Go Public is an investigative news segment on CBC-TV, radio and the web.

We tell your stories and hold the powers that be accountable.

We want to hear from people across the country with stories you want to make public.

Submit your story ideas at GoPublic@cbc.ca.

Follow @CBCGoPublic on Twitter


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18Mar

B.C.’s poverty reduction plan seeks solutions from across government: minister

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The British Columbia government has released guidelines it says will lead it toward the goal of reducing the province’s overall poverty rate by 25 per cent and child poverty by 50 per cent within the next five years.

Shane Simpson, the minister of social development and poverty reduction, says the province’s first-ever poverty reduction strategy called TogetherBC takes an approach that involves all of the government to assist the 557,000 people who are living in poverty.

He says TogetherBC’s programs, policies and initiatives tie together investments launched in the fall of 2017 and are being implemented over three budgets.

He says they include a focus on safe and affordable housing, cutting child-care costs for low-income families and raising income and disability assistance rates.

Simpson says his ministry alone will offer more than $800 million in support to people by 2022 and while those programs and other plans won’t end poverty, the NDP government is confident the strategy will help some of B.C.’s poorest.

Simpson made the comments Monday flanked by several anti-poverty and social service experts at a child care resource centre in Surrey. 


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18Mar

B.C.’s poverty reduction plan seeks solutions from across government, says minister

by admin

The British Columbia government has released guidelines it says will lead it toward the goal of reducing the province’s overall poverty rate by 25 per cent and child poverty by 50 per cent within the next five years.

Shane Simpson, the minister of social development and poverty reduction, says the province’s first-ever poverty reduction strategy called TogetherBC takes an approach that involves all of the government to assist the 557,000 people who are living in poverty.

He says TogetherBC’s programs, policies and initiatives tie together investments launched in the fall of 2017 and are being implemented over three budgets.

He says they include a focus on safe and affordable housing, cutting child-care costs for low-income families and raising income and disability assistance rates.

Simpson says his ministry alone will offer more than $800 million in support to people by 2022 and while those programs and other plans won’t end poverty, the NDP government is confident the strategy will help some of B.C.’s poorest.

Simpson made the comments Monday flanked by several anti-poverty and social service experts at a child care resource centre in Surrey. 


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29Nov

College of Midwives seeks ban on woman using title “death midwives”

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The College of Midwives of B.C. was in court Thursday seeking to ban a Victoria woman from using the term “death midwife” to describe her work helping people who are dying and their families.

In 2016, the organization that regulates the province’s midwives sent Pashta MaryMoon a letter asking her to stop using the term, but she declined to do so.

The college then filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court seeking a permanent injunction against her.

On Thursday, Lisa Fong, a lawyer for the college, told Justice Neena Sharma that MaryMoon’s use of the term “death midwife” contravened the Health Professions Act.

She said that the law prevents any person other than a registered member of the college from using a reserved title as part of another title describing a person’s work.

“The respondent, Ms. MaryMoon, she carries on business as a death midwife. There’s no dispute. She’s not a registrant of the college. She’s not a midwife. The legislature has since 1995 reserved the title midwife for exclusive use by registrants of the college.”

While MaryMoon may warn her clients that she is not a registrant of the college, the public interest underlying the creation of the reserved title of midwife, which includes creating clarity for the public as to who is regulated and who is not, is still injured by misuse of the term, she added.

The Victoria woman attracted the attention of the college by describing herself as a death midwife on her Twitter homepage and in a biography on the website Dying With Dignity Canada.

MaryMoon says she provides care for the terminally ill and their families throughout the process of dying, including working with them, helping to deal with a deceased body at home, and developing whatever kind of ceremony the family wants.

By contrast, midwives registered through the college have a caseload of clients and newborns from early pregnancy through to six weeks postpartum. There are about 360 midwives in B.C.

Mark Walton, a lawyer for MaryMoon, told the judge that there was no argument his client was engaged in a health profession.

He said MaryMoon was using the term midwife in a very specific way and it wasn’t about pregnancy, or births, or mothers.

“Pashta MaryMoon does something quite different than midwives,” Walton said

He added that MaryMoon has respect for what birth midwives do, but doesn’t think she should be prevented from using the term midwife to describe her work.

MaryMoon is also arguing that her rights to freedom of expression and to life, liberty and security of the person are affected by the college’s position.

The college was also seeking an injunction against Patricia Keith, a Surrey resident, but dropped proceedings against her after she agreed not to call herself a death midwife.

Outside court, MaryMoon explained that what she does with the dying is meant to augment palliative care.

“We’re not a replacement. We’re not medical professionals. But we do more of the sort of psycho-social, emotional, spiritual side of supporting the family and the dying person.”

MaryMoon said that the term midwife has been around a long time and initially involved both birth and death. She questioned whether it should now be an exclusive term for the college.

“We’re saying that we really feel that birthing midwives should call themselves registered midwives, and that would make it really clear that they’re registered with the college and they’re trained to get that registration,” she said.

“And then, if that was the reserved title, then there would be no issue with using the term death midwife.”

The case is expected to be back in court Friday for further arguments.

[email protected]

twitter.com/keithrfraser




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16Nov

Public Guardian seeks to manage millions for B.C.’s ‘most vulnerable’ child

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At 11, he was tasered by police.

By 13, he was identified as one of B.C.’s “most vulnerable” children in a scathing report on the child welfare system.

And last year, the province agreed to a record-breaking multi-million dollar settlement for his future care.

Now — months after the young man reached his 19th birthday — the Public Guardian and Trustee has filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court seeking to have him declared incapable of managing his own affairs.

If granted, the order would give the Public Guardian legal and financial responsibility for the man’s estate.

It’s a unique situation which the woman who highlighted the teenager’s plight says should be navigated carefully in order to avoid having one arm of government pay millions to another, while the individual whose future is at stake lives like a lost cause under 24-hour supervision.

“This is a very important case and this individual is a very significant individual — as is anyone else. But the level of jeopardy of his liberty, his choice in his life is enormous,” says Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, B.C.’s former representative for children and youth.

“I want him to have peace in his life. I want him to get support. I want him to have siblings, friends, family, community and to have every opportunity to address the damage that was done. That was my wish for him when I had his case. But knowing how these systems work, it’s haunting when you think about the power of the state here.”

Neglect, abuse, isolation, cold showers

According to the Public Guardian’s petition, the young Aboriginal man turned 19 in June. He can’t be identified because of a publication ban.

The petition claims medical and factual evidence prove he can’t look after himself or his finances. The Public Guardian may be appointed to take on that role when no appropriate family or friends are willing, able and suitable to act.

Former B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond wrote a scathing report about the youth’s time in government care. (CBC)

Turpel-Lafond, who is now a law professor at the University of B.C., wrote about the young man in a 2013 report entitled Who Protected Him? How B.C.’s Child Welfare System Failed One of Its Most Vulnerable Children.

Her investigation painted a horrific picture of his childhood: his parents raised him for two years in an atmosphere of violence, neglect and substance abuse; he then bounced between foster homes; one family kept him locked in a shed; another punished bed-wetting with cold showers and bad behaviour with hot sauce in his mouth.

A succession of foster parents used unsanctioned “safe rooms” to punish him. Police were first called to deal with his tantrums when he was eight. He was tasered when he was 11 after he stabbed a group home manager with a knife.

In the wake of Turpel-Lafond’s report, the public guardian hired outside counsel to sue the province and a foster parent on behalf of the youth.

The case resulted in a settlement last February that included $2.75 million to pay for legal costs and the establishment of a trust fund that is not allowed to dip below $3 million over the course of the youth’s lifetime.

‘Too easy to blame the child and the youth’

Turpel-Lafond says she believes the settlement is the largest of its kind ever reached in Canada and will likely ultimately be worth tens of millions. She says the money at stake should trigger extra legal scrutiny.

Police tasered the youth when he was 11 years old during an incident in which he stabbed a group home manager with a knife. (CBC News)

“There should be a special kind of accountability when you have someone who’s been through foster care and been abused. They turn 19 and you go to declare them incapacitated; my feeling is there should be more accountability around how are they doing,” she says.

“Someone should be overseeing that as opposed to those who are administering those funds. Checks and balances need to be there. I’m not saying there’s problems. It’s just too easy to blame the child and the youth.”

In a statement, the Public Guardian and Trustee said the office would have an obligation under the law to “act in the best interests of the adult represented” if the petition is granted.

The office won’t comment on the specifics of the case, but said that if a person is incarcerated, the Public Guardian would still retain the authority to act in their place.

‘Support workers ‘shadowed’ his movements’

According to the court documents, the youth has mostly lived at a Lower Mainland residential facility since 2012. He is the lone occupant. Support workers help him and monitor his activities 24 hours a day.

The youth was tasered in 2011 by police after he stabbed a manager at this group home in Prince George. (CBC)

“During his residence there, he was permitted to leave but when he did, two support workers ‘shadowed’ his movements to monitor his activities to try to ensure his safety,” the petition reads.

“(He) engages in high risk behaviour including seeking and taking illicit drugs but not medications prescribed for him, drinking hard alcohol, seeking sexual encounters in public places and walking non-attentively on roads with moving traffic.”

When he turned 19, support and services for the young man were handed from the Ministry of Children and Family Development to Community Living B.C..

The public guardian claims the youth has overdosed on illicit drugs, engaged in threatening behaviour and committed crimes that have resulted in criminal prosecutions and convictions.

He was detained and certified under the Mental Health Act in the spring and has been admitted to hospital several times since, most recently in July for a drug overdose.

‘A very sweet, personal young man’

The court file includes letters from two psychiatrists and a family doctor.

One gives a “guarded” prognosis for the future. Another says his “(intellectual disability), impulsivity and significant deficits in organizing means that he is not able to budget, plan and manage money even on a weekly basis.”

But there is hope.

“It is important to point out that (name withheld) can be a very sweet, personal young man,” writes another psychiatrist.

Turpel-Lafond says that given the amount of money available for the young man’s future care, the system should be able to come up with some creative ways to kindle that kind of possibility.

“It’s expected in our society that we’re going to have complex cases. But kids that are abused and maltreated in extreme ways, they don’t just recover. They need support and they need lifelong support,” she says.

“And it’s hard to point within the ministry for children and families or Community Living B.C. to the branch or arm that has that expertise.”


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