Man in life-threatening condition after Toronto stabbing, police say

Police are investigating after a stabbing was reported in Toronto on Sunday afternoon.

In a tweet, Toronto police said they were called to the area of Sherbourne and Dundas streets for reports a man had been stabbed.

Officers arrived at the scene to find a man with multiple stab wounds. Police said he was cared for by Toronto paramedics and that the victim had life-threatening injuries.

One person was in custody by the time police tweeted about the incident around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Edmontonians partake in Polar Plunge Special Olympics fundraiser

Over 200 Edmontonians took part in the Polar Plunge on Sunday to raise funds for Special Olympics athletes across the province.

In Edmonton, police officers, professional athletes and community members plunged into the frigid waters of Lake Summerside.

The plunge, which started in Lethbridge in 2012, hasn’t taken place in person since 2019. This year marks the 12th anniversary of the event which is part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run organization — “the largest public awareness and grassroots fundraising organization for Special Olympics globally,” according to Special Olympics Alberta.

This year, the hundreds of plungers have raised over $100,000, said Const. Amanda Trenchard, who is also a coach.

She said it’s good to be back and see people you haven’t seen in three years after spending two years doing the plunge virtually.

“It’s just so cool to be here and for such a good cause – the athletes are so excited to be back,” she said.

All the money raised goes towards the athletes to help them compete in their sport, including low-cost programming, said Sue Gilchrist, Special Olympics Alberta CEO.

“This is a community event — it only works if the community is behind it,” she said. “The community is behind Special Olympics and we see that loud and clear today, it’s fantastic.”

As for the cold plunge? It hurts, she admits, but it’s worth it.

“Our athletes, they put everything on the line. They give so much when they compete. They give so much when they practice. This is a small, small, small price to pay for all the effort they put into being the best athletes they can be.”

The athletes will be competing next month in Strathcona County. For more information on plunges across the province or how to donate, visit the Special Olympics Alberta website.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Police investigate hit-and-run in Toronto's Thorncliffe area

Police are investigating after a hit-and-run was reported in Toronto on Sunday afternoon.

In a tweet, Toronto police said they were called to the area of Overlea Boulevard and Thorncliffe Park Drive, by East York Town Centre, for reports of a collision at around 3 p.m.

Police said a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle, before the driver fled the scene.

Toronto paramedics told Global News a woman had sustained non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the incident.

Police told the public to expect delays in the area immediately after the collision was reported.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

B.C. transfers 20,000 hectares of land back to Lake Babine Nation

The B.C. government and Lake Babine Nation have taken steps together to recognize and implement the Nation’s rights and title by signing a new land transfer agreement on Friday.

The agreement will give Lake Babine Nation control of 20,000 hectares of waterfront and forestry lands inside its territory.

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, joined Lake Babine Nation Chief Murphy Abraham to sign the Lake Babine Nation Lands Transfer Agreement.

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, joined Lake Babine Nation Chief Murphy Abraham to sign the Lake Babine Nation Lands Transfer Agreement.

B.C. government

”It’s a show of commitment for many more lands to come thereafter because Lake Babine has just over one million hectares of land within our traditional territory and you know, this is just a first step towards getting more lands back,” Chief Murphy Abraham told Global News.

“This is just the beginning. Our ancestors fought hard to protect our territory, and the land transfer agreement is the first step in bringing these lands back to Lake Babine’s control and decision-making.”

The land transfer will enable the Lake Babine Nation to expand its forestry business and drive economic opportunity in the regional economy, according to the government.

A Foundation Agreement was signed by Canada, Lake Babine Nation and the province in September 2020.

The agreement is being used as a roadmap for reconciliation, providing a step-by-step guide for how the Nation and the provincial and federal governments will work together in a phased approach to implement self-governance, title and other rights in Lake Babine, boost economic development, collaborate on major land and resource decisions, and promote community health and well-being.

“The signing of the Lake Babine Lands Transfer Agreement is a significant step toward the implementation of Lake Babine Nation’s Aboriginal title — a key objective of the historic Foundation Agreement,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

“Through the Foundation Agreement, we are moving into a new relationship that fosters transformative change toward self-government, makes a real difference on the ground for Lake Babine Nation members, and brings stability and prosperity to everyone in the region.”

In 2021, the province accelerated payments of $22 million to Lake Babine Nation under the Foundation Agreement to help with economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

4 arrested after armed attempt to enter Mississauga, Ont. business, police say

Police have arrested four people, including three teenagers, after they allegedly attempted to enter a business in Mississauga, Ont., with a handgun.

The local police chief is using the incident as an example of why he believes bail reform is needed, noting two of those charged had failed to adhere to their bail conditions.

Peel Regional Police said officers were called to a business in the area of Clarkson Road and Lakeshore Road around 3 p.m. on Sunday.

It is alleged that three people approached the business, while a fourth person stayed in their vehicle. One brandished a handgun and tried to get inside but failed to do so, according to police.

Shortly after, the four fled the scene in a car that police said was stolen.

“An 11 Division patrol officer was in the area and observed the suspect vehicle,” police said in a Sunday media release.

“Together with other patrol officers from 11 Division, they collaborated in stopping the vehicle and arrested all four suspects.”

Inside the vehicle, police said they found a loaded handgun with 10 rounds of ammunition.

Police arrested 20-year-old Taejuan Johnson-Pinnock, 19-year-old Michael Hilaire, and two 17-year-olds who can’t be named due to the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

“This violent incident was avoidable,” Peel police chief Nishan Duraiappah said.

“Two of the arrested in this incident failed to adhere to the conditions of their release on previous charges. This is why we must pursue bail reform. Real change is needed to keep our community and our officers safe.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

No 'elevated risk' of stroke from Pfizer's bivalent COVID shot, Health Canada says

For more than three years the world has been faced with the reality of COVID-19. The World Health Organization has been referring to the situation as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Today members of the Covid-19 emergency committee met to discuss if the current situation is still one of Global Concern. Katherine Ward reports on what a change in designation could mean.

Recent data from one U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) database has detected a potential stroke risk link in older adults who received an updated Pfizer COVID-19 bivalent shot. However, according to Health Canada (HC) there is currently “no indication” connecting mRNA bivalent vaccines with ischemic strokes.

Ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke, according to Health Canada’s website. It involves a sudden loss of brain function triggered by a sudden brain blood vessel blockage. This can be caused by a variety of reasons, including smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and high blood cholesterol.

Although Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) “are aware” of the recent announcement on the “possible preliminary COVID-19 vaccine safety signal between the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine and strokes in people aged 65 and over,” the agency pointed out that “at this time, the CDC is not recommending any changes to vaccination practices.”

In an emailed statement to Global News on Friday, the agency said that as of Jan. 1, over seven million mRNA bivalent vaccines have been administered in Canada but to date, PHAC or HC “have not observed an elevated risk or any signals for thromboembolic events or vascular events” after the administration of these vaccines.

The statement added that the possible link between bivalent Pfizer shots and strokes in older adults has not been observed by any other international regulatory services to date, either.

“Health Canada and PHAC continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines approved in Canada to ensure that their benefits continue to outweigh their risks, as is done for all approved vaccines in Canada,” it read.

As the CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to investigate whether there is an association between ischemic stroke and the Pfizer bivalent vaccine for older adults, U.S. health officials on Thursday said that the signal is weaker than what the CDC had flagged earlier in January.

U.S. FDA officials said they had not detected a link between the shots and strokes in two other safety monitoring databases.

In Canada, less than five reports of ischemic stroke have been submitted to PHAC and HC to date following receipt of an mRNA bivalent vaccine, the email from Canada’s health agency said, and of those, “only one followed the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent vaccine” that was for “an individual aged 65 years or older.”

“Currently, in Canada, available data shows that there is no indication of a signal related to ischemic stroke and mRNA bivalent vaccines,” it said.

“Although a preliminary signal has been identified by the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink surveillance system, it was not identified by their complementary Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System,” the agency further clarified in the email.

“The sharing of information of these reports demonstrates that the global post-market monitoring system for vaccines is working.”

The agency assured that Canada has a “robust vaccine safety surveillance system in place that engages healthcare professionals, vaccine manufacturers, and the provincial and territorial health authorities.”

“As safety issues are investigated,” Health Canada will take “appropriate action as needed,” it said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic emergency nearly three years ago, over 50,000 Canadians have died after contracting COVID-19, PHAC confirmed last week.

As of then, the death toll sat at 50,135.

Quebec, which is the only province that still reports COVID-19 data daily, has seen the most confirmed deaths of any jurisdiction with 17,865 fatalities to date. Ontario has the second-highest provincial death toll as of Jan. 20, which sits at 15,786, followed by Alberta at 5,470 deaths as of Jan 18.

— with files from Global News’ Aaron D’Andrea and Sean Boynton

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Off-roaders rescued Sunday morning after overnight search in Lake Country, B.C.

Off-roaders were brought to safety Sunday morning after an overnight search by Central Okanagan Search and Rescue near Dee Lake Forest Service Road in Lake Country.

The off-roaders were reported missing Saturday night after two jeeps had gone for a drive. RCMP attempted to locate them but were unsuccessful.

COSAR says that at first light, the RCMP dispatched a helicopter and activated search and rescue to assist.

The helicopter managed to find the stuck pair of jeeps and gave the location to the responding COSAR and RCMP members. While en route, COSAR says, another person arrived at the scene and managed to get the jeeps unstuck and back onto the road.

Officials confirmed the occupants were uninjured after being out overnight in -20 C temperatures.

COSAR responded with 24 members, two response trucks, five snowmobiles and one ATV.

“The occupants did the right things, by leaving a trip plan and information on when they should have returned,”  COSAR said.

“Once they were overdue, the family made the right choice to contact the RCMP to get everyone activated to assist in locating the occupants.”

Last week on Jan. 23, COSAR was tasked to help two stuck motorists off Bear Lake FSR. Six people were rescued and brought to safety.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Tyre Nichols death: Canadians say it's time to reflect on police actions in this country

WATCH: Tyre Nichols death: Mother asks for prayers amid grief, says she'll pray for officers' families

Many of Canada’s police chiefs have condemned the violent beating death of a Black man by officers during a traffic stop in the United States. But some Canadians feel that’s not enough.

Tyre Nichols died three days after a Jan. 7 confrontation with five police officers in Memphis, Tenn. Video footage now released shows police officers brutally beating the 29-year-old for three minutes.

On Friday, following news that the officers involved are facing murder and other charges, multiple police heads across Canada released statements calling for more accountability.

While many of them offered words of condolences to Nichols’ family, some reassured Canadians that their departments would protect Black people in their communities.

Natalie Delia Deckard, director of the Black Studies Institute at the University of Windsor, said that although she appreciates the police’s “intentionality” to offer their thoughts and prayers, statements are not enough to bring about changes.

“Are statements sufficient to affect change? I would argue that they do not,” Deckard told Global News. “And I don’t make that argument from a position of my opinions or my beliefs, but rather from my research and from what is known to be empirical evidence.”

She said Nichols’ death resulted from systemic violence against Black people that is “not new,” just like the death of George Floyd in 2020.

“Without leadership change and change on the ground, without organizational commitment at every level to do better— and to ensure the dignity of every Canadian regardless of any racial identity — we will be back in Canada in the same position as we have been, and there will be tragedies at the levels of city, province, nations,” Deckard said.

According to Tari Ajadi, an assistant professor at McGill University who specializes in Black social movements in Canada, such statements give Canadians the illusion that this “brutalizing violence isn’t an everyday occurrence.”

“Police forces across the country echo the same kinds of ideas, the same kinds of statements, the same kinds of discourses (that) help them to preserve the status quo,” Ajadi said.

Ajadi told Global News that police brutality against Black, Indigenous and racialized people is still very prevalent in Canada.

In 2022, police shot 87 people in Canada between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30. Of those shootings, 46 were fatal — a nearly 25 per cent increase from 2021, a tally compiled by The Canadian Press found.

Last year, Toronto police also released their first race-based data, which found that police are more likely to use force in an incident involving Black people than white people.

In addition, the report found that compared with white people, Black people were 1.5 times more likely to have an officer point a gun at them and police were 1.6 times more likely to point firearms at East Asian or Southeast Asian people.

Robyn Maynard, an assistant professor in the department of historical and cultural studies at the University of Toronto, said Black communities in Canada don’t need “platitudes or deepest sympathies from the police,” rather, they need an end to police killings.

Maynard said their “empty platitudes are not being met with the same actual commitment to systemic change and overhaul.”

The idea that policing doesn’t offer equal protection to marginalized groups comes from an increasing consensus from social movements such as Black Lives Matter and the Indigenous-led No More Silence, Maynard added.

Maynard also called for more community backing and “work towards futures that provide meaningful investments in community supports.”

Ajadi said that it’s time the governments started to reinvest in community services, which have been decimated over decades by waves of cuts, while police budgets have increased.

“If we reverse that trend, if we fund community services, if we give people the capacity to decide for themselves what their communities ought to be like, if you allow people who do not have a roof over their head to have a roof over their head, you will keep them safe,” Ajadi said.

— with files from Global’s Joe Scarpelli, the Canadian Press and the Associated Press

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Quebec basic income program begins, but advocates say many low income people excluded

For the first time in many years, Monique Toutant thinks she might be able to buy herself some better groceries and a few new clothes.

As a longtime social assistance recipient, the 62-year-old Quebec City resident is used to pinching pennies, buying the strict minimum at the grocery store and saving for months for every purchase. She calls it “everyday stress.”

READ MORE: Mortgage costs rising — Prime lending rates hit 6.7% after Bank of Canada hike

“Will I have enough money to get through the month? Will I have enough money to eat well? Will I have enough money because I have a doctor’s appointment in two days and I have to pay a bus ticket?” she said in a phone interview.

Toutant, who can’t work because of acute rheumatoid arthritis that prevents her from sitting or standing for long periods, is facing a little less hardship after her monthly cheque rose by more than $300 to about $1,548 at the beginning of January with the launch of the Quebec government’s basic income program.

The program, aimed at 84,000 Quebecers with a “severely limited capacity for employment” such as a chronic illness or mental health condition, will provide an increase of more than 28 per cent for a single person, the government says. Just as importantly, they will also have the ability to earn about $14,500 a year in wages — up from $200 a month — and have up to $20,000 in savings, all without losing benefits. They will also be able to live with a partner who earns a small paycheque without seeing their benefits clawed back.

The program, which will cost about $1.5 billion a year, allows recipients “to benefit from one of the highest disposable incomes for people on social assistance in Canada,” the province’s Labour and Social Solidarity Department said in an email.

READ MORE: Bank of Canada says it can pause rate hikes as inflation set to ‘decline significantly’

Anti-poverty activists are praising the program as a good step toward helping people meet their basic needs, but say strict eligibility criteria exclude many of the province’s lowest-income residents.

Jean Lalande, a spokesman for a welfare rights committee in Montreal’s Pointe-St-Charles, said the program addresses some of the problems with traditional welfare, which discourages people from taking steps to improve their situations by cutting benefits as soon as someone tries to get a job or save money.

However, he believes it should be offered to all of those on social assistance, including those earning the minimum welfare amount of $770 per month, who sometimes spend 80 or 90 per cent of their income on rent.

Lalande, as well as Serge Petitclerc of the Collectif pour un Québec sans pauvreté, said the rules for admission to social assistance are already very restrictive, and it can take years to have people’s health conditions formally recognized. By the time people are approved for higher benefits, their physical and mental health is likely to have further declined due to the effects of extreme poverty, they said.

Even Quebecers who are recognized as having a severely limited work capacity aren’t included unless they have been in that situation for five and a half of the last six years.

Sylvain Caron, 64, has serious mobility issues that the government has acknowledged prevent him from working. But because the severity of his condition has only been recognized for two and a half years, he is only eligible for a program that pays about $300 a month less than basic income.

Caron, who lives in Rawdon, north of Montreal, and works with Petitclerc’s group, said the extra money from the new program might have allowed him to pay an expensive car bill. Instead, he had to sell the vehicle and rely on adapted transit — resulting in a “loss of autonomy” in his rural area.

William Moore, 58, is also excluded. The Montreal man has been unable to work since 2013, when his body broke down after a life of physical labour jobs, resulting in back and knee problems.

Despite having been out of work for 10 years and being convinced that another job will kill him, his work constraints are considered “temporary,” meaning he receives about $930 a month. Moore, who volunteers with anti-poverty groups, believes all poor people should get enough money to meet their basic needs.

“It would change everybody’s life for the better, because a lot of people are suffering and can’t survive,” he said.

The Quebec government, for now, doesn’t appear to be considering expanding eligibility. It notes there are other programs in place to help those living in poverty who aren’t eligible for basic income, including some to help people re-enter the workplace.

“The most sustainable way out of poverty is through employment,” the Labour department said.

Francois Blais, a former cabinet minister who helped draft the basic income project under the previous Liberal government, said it was always a “targeted” measure to help a group that disproportionately lives in poverty and is unlikely to be able to return to the job market.

While he respects the arguments for expanding the program to all social assistance recipients, he says it would be hard to do without bringing in a wider basic income program that would also apply to low-income working people.

Blais, now a professor at Université Laval, is a proponent of such a change, which he says could eventually come through boosting refundable tax credits for low-income people. For now, the basic income program is a “good start,” he said.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Western University study shows vaping education led students to quit

A new study from Western University in London, Ont., shows that university students who were regularly vaping wanted to cut back after learning about the threat the habit could pose to their health.

The study was conducted by PhD candidate Babac Salmani and health sciences professor Harry Prapavessis.

It involved showing undergraduate students, most of whom were regular vapers, an eight-minute video featuring healthcare professionals and people who used to vape talking about research and risks.

The control group for the study watched a video about nutrition instead.

“Immediately after watching the intervention, they’re like ‘I want to stop,'” said Salmani. “That’s really important to us is the consistency in that intention. It maintained a level of strength in terms of people wanting to stop vaping.”

Vaping is popular among youth, with Statistics Canada reporting 29 per cent of Canadians aged 15 to 19 and roughly half of those between 20 and 24 have tried it.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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