'Impossible' to hold Santa Claus parade in Guelph this year despite go-ahead from province

WATCH: Capacity limits have been eased in Ontario for organized public events such as upcoming parades or Remembrance Day memorials.

Organizers say it’s impossible to put together a Santa Claus parade in downtown Guelph for this year at this point despite the Ontario government now allowing such events.

The province announced on Thursday that it is removing capacity limits at outdoor public events such as Remembrance Day ceremonies and Santa Claus parades so long as people wear a mask when they can’t stay two metres apart.

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Ontario removes capacity limits allowing for Santa Claus parades, other outdoor public events

A spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott says outdoor capacity limits are also lifted in most other sectors, such as fairs and festivals, outdoor areas of museums and zoos, and ski hills as well as other outdoor recreational amenities.

But the Downtown Guelph Business Association, which organizes the annual Santa Claus parade, said it’s too late to make changes.

The agency announced in September that the parade would be cancelled for the second year in a row due to the pandemic. Instead, they are repeating what they did in 2020 by moving Santa to the Sparkles in the Park event at Riverside Park.

In previous years, people walked through the park to see the various light displays. It was switched to a drive-thru format last December with Santa seated inside a giant snow globe.

“It was magical,” said organizer Sam Jewell. “People got to see Santa as he sat and waved from the safety of his snow globe surrounded by the beautiful illuminations and we are grateful to the Sparkles organizers for including him.”

Other cities have also opted not to have a traditional Santa Claus parade with crowds this year.

“Reverse parades” in the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo scheduled for next month have already been announced. Instead of floats driving by people, vehicles can drive by the floats.

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However, the community of Fergus, just north of Guelph, is having a traditional Santa Claus parade scheduled for Dec. 4. and London will be hosting a traditional Santa Claus parade on Nov. 13.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Hamilton police officer facing charges for pointing gun at colleague

A Hamilton police officer has been suspended and is facing charges after pointing a service gun at a colleague in an off-duty incident.

Police spokesperson Jackie Penman says the constable brandished the firearm while the other officer was on duty at an undisclosed location.

Const. Brandon Terdik is facing a pair of charges for pointing and careless use of a gun. Penman said the officer has been with the service for under two years.

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He’s set to face a justice on Nov. 25 and has been suspended with pay.

“The matter is now before the courts,” Penman said. “Out of respect for the court process, Hamilton Police Service will not be providing further comment.”

Penman did not reveal the length of the suspension but did say it’s likely to go before a professional standards association (PSA) committee.

“The PSA process is put on hold until the criminal process is complete,” said Penman. “Once completed, it will be sent to professional standards.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ottawa Public Health expects more flu this year than last

Ottawa Public Health officials believe the 2021 flu season will see more of the virus this year than last with fewer public health restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic in place.

Dr. Brent Moloughney, Ottawa’s associate medical officer of health, told reporters Thursday that the upcoming flu season, for which vaccine shots are widely available to all residents aged six months and older starting Nov. 1, is likely to be different from the one in 2020 when few if any cases of influenza were reported.

“Essentially, we didn’t have any influenza last year, really reflecting all of the public health measures, behaviours and practices that were in place. There just wasn’t the opportunity for flu to spread,” Moloughney said, reflecting on the first flu season of the pandemic.

“We’re in a different context this fall, so I think there’s a greater likelihood that we’ll see some flu,” he added.

OPH’s flu shot rollout, which last year involved mass vaccination clinics open to nearly all Ottawa residents, will also look different.

This year, the local health unit is leaning more on pharmacies and physicians to deliver flu shots to the general population.

OPH community clinics are being reserved primarily for youth aged six months to two years old and their parents, as well as those who don’t have an Ontario health card or face other barriers to getting the shot.

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Marie-Claude Turcotte, immunization manager at OPH, told reporters that last year’s pandemic precautions meant most physicians weren’t seeing clients face-to-face, limiting their ability to play a role in the flu shot campaign.

Moloughney said that OPH is planning to use its clinic capacity to vaccinate kids aged five-to-11 against COVID-19, pending Health Canada’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine in the weeks to come.

“We are anticipating doing a lot of COVID vaccines this fall, and are really looking to our partners of other delivery channels to have a greater role with the flu vaccine,” he said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

$125K in drugs seized, 2 men charged in Edmonton police investigation

Fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine and an illegal amount of cannabis were seized after a month-long investigation, the Edmonton Police Service announced on Thursday.

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The $125,000 in drugs were found after the EPS crime suppression branch and special project team executed search warrants at two downtown homes on Tuesday.

In addition to the drugs, police found weapons and other substances believed to be used in the production of illegal drugs.

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Can Nguyen, 53, is facing three counts of possessing a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and one count each of unlawful possession of cannabis for purpose of sale, possessing proceeds of crime and possessing a prohibited weapon.

Minh Tran, 59, is facing two counts of possessing a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

COVID-19: Saskatchewan officials report 11 deaths

WATCH: Doctors in Saskatchewan have again asked the government for further restrictions to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Saskatchewan officials reported on Thursday that 11 more residents who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.

These newly reported deaths bring the provincial death toll amid the pandemic up to 843.

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Officials also reported 237 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

Of those, Saskatoon recorded the highest amount of new cases with 63, followed by Regina with 47.

The seven-day average of daily new cases is 218 or 18.1 per 100,000 people.

Across Saskatchewan, there are 2,398 active cases of COVID-19.

There are currently 260 patients in hospital with COVID-19, including 58 receiving intensive care.

Of the patients in hospital with COVID-19, 185 or 71 per cent were not fully vaccinated.

An additional three patients have been transferred to Ontario for a total of 19 patients who have been moved out-of-province.

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At least 3,556 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Saskatchewan since the province’s last update on Wednesday.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Pair of oversight roles vacated ahead of first Calgary city council meeting

A pair of oversight roles associated with the City of Calgary have been vacated.

On Tuesday, Calgary Police Commission chair Bonita Croft announced she was leaving the commission after two years as chair and another as a member.

And Nov. 30 will be the final day for integrity commissioner Meryl Whittaker, after less than a year of being in that position.

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The work to find a new integrity commissioner begins Monday, when the newly-elected city council appoints members of the public to a selection committee. The four-person committee will include one former councillor, and will work with an external recruitment firm to eventually recommend a new commissioner.

In a notice dated Sep. 30, former mayor Naheed Nenshi wrote that Whittaker’s departure was tied to her decision to retire.

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“The timing of her departure will allow Ms. Whittaker to support the next city council through its orientation and help position them for success,” he wrote.

Whittaker replaced Sal Lovecchio, who suddenly left the role in 2020. Whittaker was announced to the role on Nov. 26, 2020, following an eight-month search process.

Whittaker’s work included investigating Evan Woolley calling Coun. Sean Chu an “ignorant moron” on Twitter, determining it violated the councillor code of conduct. Woolley apologized.

Croft’s departure from the police civilian oversight body comes at a time when police have been under increased scrutiny for their current and past actions.

“Certainly the work of the commission on (the police investigation of allegations against Chu) and everything else will continue with my departure, and I know that the rest of the commission is anxious to move on with that work,” Croft said.

Croft said the past two years have been a “very busy time” for her after she took on increased responsibilities in a VP role with Suncor Energy.

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She also mentioned some highlights during her tenure: modernization of the Calgary Police Service to include EDI, financial accountability, and processes and controls, all during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday was Croft’s final police commission meeting. She had shared her decision to leave the volunteer role with then-mayor Nenshi “weeks ago” and more recently with Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

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Calgary Skyview MP George Chahal left the police commission after he won in the federal election and Croft’s departure leaves a pair of seats open on the commission.

Croft leaves at a time when city council annually fills vacancies on boards, commissions and committees.

She expects her replacement on the commission to be named by its Nov. 30 public meeting. And the commission will be deciding on a chair shortly after.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

2 Delta, B.C. residents charged after cannabis edibles found in Halloween candy last year

Two Delta, B.C., residents have been charged with violations of the Cannabis Act after a local parent found edibles in their child’s Halloween candy last year.

The investigation led Delta police to a suspected illegal cannabis extraction lab in November 2020, where thousands of edibles, associated packaging, labelling materials and equipment were seized.

Two people were charged on Tuesday with two counts each of possession for the purpose of distribution, and one count each of altering cannabis by use of an organic solvent.

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“Charge approval on this investigation came at a timely point,” Insp. Guy Leeson said in a Thursday press statement.

“Fortunately last year, the parent spotted the suspicious candy before anything was consumed. And we had no other similar complaints related to trick or treating.”

The investigation began after a Delta constable reviewed an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip about suspected Cannabis Act violations, leading her to an “associated website,” said the release.

The same officer also reviewed a file on an incident that took place on Halloween last year, in which cannabis edibles were found in the bags of two children, packaged with “a distinctive cartoon style logo.”

The constable realized there were similarities in the packaging, and police were able to obtain a search warrant for the suspected illegal lab at a residence in North Delta.

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“She did some really good leg work on this file,” said Leeson, citing the department’s ‘No Call Too Small’ policy.

“‘No Call Too Small’ also means that our officers have the time to review files, and make important connections that could otherwise be missed. Those small things can become pretty large investigations.”

The police service is reminding parents to check their children’s Halloween candy this year before allowing them to consume any treats.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

USask changing COVID-19 vaccination requirement for winter term

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) is making changes to its COVID-19 vaccination policy, requiring anyone who accesses campus to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4.

“To be able to safely offer more in-person instruction and campus activities, we have made the decision to require anyone on our campuses or in our workplaces to be fully vaccinated, beginning at the start of the Winter Term,” USask president Peter Stoicheff said in a news release.

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At present, USask said 99 per cent of faculty, 96 per cent of students, and 95 per cent of staff are fully vaccinated.

As per the university’s current policy, individuals are able to submit a negative COVID-19 test result to access campus, but starting Jan. 4, anyone accessing campus will need to show proof they’ve received at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

This includes individuals accessing the PAC, Huskie games, libraries, dining facilities, and any building, office and classroom on campus. The requirement also extends to all vendors and contractors.

Stoicheff said the winter term will see more in-person campus activity so USask sought public health guidance to inform their measures for the new term.

“The expert guidance has confirmed for us that vaccination is the single most effective public health measure to reduce spread and prevent harms of COVID-19 in our community, and that testing protocols are not preventive, but reactive, and should only be used in situations where vaccination is not an option.”

Stoicheff said for fully vaccinated individuals who have submitted their vaccination status through PAWS, there is no further action required at this time. When individuals are eligible for their third (booster) shot, they will need to provide proof of receiving it to continue to be considered fully vaccinated.

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Stoicheff said USask understands there are some people who are not able to be fully vaccinated on grounds protected by The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.

“(USask) will continue to consider accommodation requests for these individuals in accordance with the requirements of the Code. Previously approved accommodations will continue through the Winter Term, and those individuals receiving them will need to continue submitting regular negative test results.”

Stoicheff said only those with approved accommodations will be allowed on campus “as appropriate and in limited circumstance” without being fully vaccinated.

Campus members who choose not to be fully vaccinated or choose not to disclose their vaccination status by Jan. 4 will be required to move to remote or online work and learning environments, where possible.

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USask said they made this announcement two months in advance of the winter term in order to give everyone enough time to get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so.

Further details about the upcoming winter term will be provided in the coming weeks.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Belleville, Ont. police officer charged with assault after OPP investigation requested

OPP have charged a Belleville, Ont., police officer with assault following an independent investigation requested by the local chief.

According to OPP, the Belleville police chief asked OPP to investigate allegations of an incident involving a 36-year-old man in custody that took place on Sept. 17.

Thursday, OPP said their professional standards unit completed their investigation and charged Belleville police Const. Laura White with assault.

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OPP wouldn’t give any more details about the event that led to the investigation but said that Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit was not involved in the matter because no serious injury occurred during the incident.

Belleville police say White has been placed on administrative leave.

She is scheduled to appear in a Belleville court on Nov. 18.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

COVID-19: No new cases reported in Guelph for the 2nd day in a row

WATCH: British Columbia is the first place in Canada to announce plans to make COVID-19 booster shots available to the general public.

For the second day in a row, Guelph’s public health unit is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 as the city’s total case count remained at 5,089.

As of Thursday, active cases in the city fell to seven with two new recoveries reported.

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Total resolved cases climbed to 5,037 and the city’s coronavirus-related death toll stands at 45.

Six new cases have been reported in Wellington County, where the total case count during the pandemic has reached 2,058.

Active cases remained at 20 in the county with six recoveries reported. The death toll in the county related to the novel coronavirus stayed at 38.

Across Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, there are two cases being treated in hospital and both are in intensive care.

The local school boards are reporting no active COVID-19 cases among staff and students in Guelph and Wellington County.

The University of Guelph is reporting one active case on campus.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health says 85.4 per cent of eligible residents — those who are turning 12 in 2021 or older — are considered fully vaccinated, while 88.2 have received one dose of vaccine.

In Guelph, 90.7 per cent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated and 93.5 per cent are partially vaccinated, while in Wellington County, 78.2 per cent are fully vaccinated and 80.6 per cent have received one dose.

So far this week, about 1,400 vaccine shots have been administered, including about 350 first doses, roughly 900 second doses, and 150 third doses.

Third doses are being offered to specific high-risk groups, such as organ transplant recipients and residents of high-risk congregate settings.

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Public health is publishing COVID-19 vaccination rates within the local secondary and elementary schools.

As of Thursday, 79.5 per cent of eligible students in the Upper Grand District School Board have been fully vaccinated, while 81.8 per cent have had two doses in the Wellington Catholic District School Board.

Upper Grand says 89.7 per cent of its permanent employees have attested to being fully vaccinated as of Oct. 20, while Wellington Catholic says 94.4 per cent have attested to being fully vaccinated as of Oct. 15.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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