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Police, fire and ambulance services across Canada hit by staff shortage due to COVID-19
Emergency departments in many major Canadian cities face staff shortages due to an increase in COVID-19 cases across the country, with police, ambulances and firefighters all scrambling to redeploy and strengthen their ranks.
For example, many police departments report higher levels of frontline officers absent due to illness or isolation caused by COVID-19.
“There is a lot of concern and it is having an impact,” said Tom Stamatakis, National President of the Canadian Police Association.
In Winnipeg, the city’s police chief on Wednesday said he was declaring a “state of emergency” for the Winnipeg Police Department as it now faces “real challenges ahead.”
“The current COVID-19 situation has had a significant impact on our personnel resources,” Chief Danny Smyth said in a statement.
Of the approximately 1,900 police service employees, there are currently 90 active COVID-19 cases with 170 staff on leave related to COVID-19, Smyth said. The declaration of a state of emergency gives him more latitude in the redeployment of officers to strengthen the ranks of the general patrol.
In Calgary, the police department currently has the highest number of coronavirus infections among employees since the start of the pandemic, said Susan Henry, head of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency.
“To minimize disruption to emergency services, Calgary Police have started redeploying officers from other areas of the organization to support frontline workers who are already stretched before this wave of COVID-19,” said she said on Wednesday.
In Edmonton, Edmonton Fire Department Chief Joe Zatylny said yesterday nearly five percent of the force’s frontline firefighters are currently on sick leave due to COVID-19. Zatylny said they would replace staff by using staff on leave to ensure “we can meet our demands for basic services.” Read more about this story here.
Go for a tumble
(Franck Fife / AFP / Getty Images)
The French team of driver Guerlain Chircherit and his co-driver Alex Winocq crashed their buggy during stage 4 of the Dakar 2022 between al-Qaysumah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. The teammates were able to get away from the accident.
The Ontario government has asked hospitals and healthcare professionals to stop all non-emergency surgeries and procedures in order to preserve critical care capacity and human resources. The directive entered into force on Wednesday. Alexandra Hilkene, spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Health, said in an email on Wednesday that the province is reinstating what she calls “Guideline # 2” in response to the growing spread of the Omicron variant of COVID -19. “Although it was not an easy decision, this time-limited measure will help preserve and increase the capacity of hospital beds by making between 1,200 and 1,500 acute / post-acute care beds available depending on the requirements. needs, ”said Hilkene. The directive signed by Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, says action is needed due to the spread of the highly transmissible variant of Omicron. Read more about this story here.
The federal government risks hitting Canada’s fragile supply chains with yet another shock wave if it issues a planned vaccination mandate for truckers, say federal Conservatives and industry groups. Ottawa will begin requiring proof of vaccination for all truckers effective January 15. Some warn the mandate will sideline thousands of workers in an industry that already suffers from a shortage of drivers. “There will be serious consequences for the supply chain if this policy remains in place,” said MP Melissa Lantsman, Conservative transport critic. Those worried about the government’s plan to require vaccines for truckers say the loss of more drivers could threaten the movement of essential supplies, like food and building materials, and make it difficult for small businesses to deliver their products to customers. The Canadian Trucking Alliance, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters have all called on the federal government to eliminate or postpone the mandate. The Liberal government has not indicated whether it intends to change or delay the mandate. Read the full story here.
As the second anniversary of the destruction of Flight PS752 approaches, families of the victims say the RCMP are not sharing evidence quickly enough with Ukraine, the only country to conduct a criminal investigation into the tragedy. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired two surface-to-air missiles at the Ukraine International Airlines flight on January 8, 2020, shortly after takeoff in Tehran. All 176 people on board died. Most had ties to Canada. The RCMP has resisted calls to launch its own criminal investigation. Instead, the police chose to help Ukraine’s efforts. More than 120 RCMP members participated in the effort and conducted 58 interviews, the RCMP told CBC News. But Hamed Esmaeilion, spokesperson for the association representing the families of the victims in Canada, said the prosecutor’s office and the Ukrainian government told him “the cooperation has not been excellent.” Esmaeilion said Ukrainian officials told him his testimony was not shared by the RCMP. Read more here.
Six days before Canadian military combat engineer Patrik Mathews was arrested by the FBI in January 2020, he was providing military training to members of a neo-Nazi group. On recordings made by an anti-fascist activist who infiltrated the base, Mathews can be heard discussing how he would organize a paramilitary training event in Michigan, teaching members of the organization the skills he had learned in the Canadian army. He offered to train the members in “guerrilla warfare, reconnaissance patrols and how to use the terrain so they can maximize their impact.” The man who recorded the conversation is called Tradian and is an anti-fascist activist who has infiltrated The Base since its inception in the summer of 2018. When he left in February 2020, Tradian took with him 80 gigabytes of screenshots. ‘screen, videos and audio recordings. Most of the tapes – around 100 – were of male screening sessions asking to become members of The Base. Tradian donated to CBC The fifth state and researchers have access to its material. Learn more about this story of The fifth state here.
Australian border officials have denied tennis star Novak Djokovic entry into the country after receiving a controversial medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination requirements to play in the upcoming Australian Open. Defending men’s champion Djokovic landed in Melbourne on Wednesday night after securing exemption from the Victoria state government to play in the tournament, which begins on January 17. However, the Australian Border Force issued a statement saying that Djokovic did not meet the entry requirements. Health Minister Greg Hunt said the visa cancellation followed a review of the player’s medical exemption by border officials who examined “the integrity and the evidence behind it.” Australian media reported that legal action has been taken in Federal Court against the visa cancellation. Djokovic is believed to be in a government detention hotel, pending a court ruling on his deportation on Monday. Read the full story here.
Now, some great news to start your Thursday: For many people, a polar dip in the dead of winter is enough for the year. Maybe even for a lifetime. But not for Kathryn Maguire, her sister, Susan Ingraham, and her niece, Tanya Horgan. The women of the Saint John area took their first polar dive in the freezing waters of the Bay of Fundy last January and immediately agreed two things: the experience was freezing and they couldn’t wait to do it again. Since then, the three women have kept that pact, taking road trips to southern New Brunswick and visiting a different beach in the Bay of Fundy each month. Learn more about the polar trio.
Front Burner: dozens of people die in detention after arrests while intoxicated
“Alcoholism is a disease, it is not a crime, and it certainly should not be punished with death.” This is a message from Jeannette Rogers, whose son, Corey, died in custody in Halifax in 2016.
He is one of 61 people who, according to a CBC investigation, have died after being detained for public drunkenness or a related offense since 2010.
In many cases, the investigation found that those arrested were not being properly monitored or that their deteriorating state of health was not taken into account.
Today, CBC investigative reporter Kristin Annable shares some of the stories of those who have died and explains how deaths like these could be prevented.
21:09Dozens of people die in custody after public arrests while intoxicated
Today in History: January 6
1936: Barbara Hanley becomes the first woman in Canada to be elected mayor when she wins the general election in the town of Webbwood, in northern Ontario.
1974: The Global Television Network, Canada’s third-largest English-language television network, begins programming in southern Ontario.
1978: The Sun Life Assurance Company sparked a storm of controversy in Quebec when it announced its intention to move its head office from Montreal to Toronto.
2012: Prime Minister Stephen Harper appoints seven new senators, including Betty Unger, the first woman elected to run for the upper chamber. Unger, who filled a vacant position in Alberta, was selected by more than 300,000 people for a Senate seat in a 2004 poll in that province.