Parking spot a bit of a squeeze? Got a bad haircut at a salon?
Every year, British Columbians call 911 for issues that are not emergencies, and this year was no different.
The top 10 worst calls of 2019 were released Monday by E-Comm, British Columbia’s largest emergency call centre.
“Although these calls may seem absurd at the surface, our call-takers must take the time to investigate each one to make sure there isn’t a real emergency,” said Jasmine Bradley, E-Comm corporate communications manager.
“That takes time away from helping those in crisis.”
Here is E-Comm’s list of the top 10 most ridiculous 911 calls for 2019
- To complain that a hotel parking spot was too small.
- To complain that a hair salon didn’t style their hair properly.
- To complain their neighbour was vacuuming late at night.
- Because they were upset the coin laundry machine didn’t have enough water.
- To inquire why traffic was so bad.
- To request police bring a shovel to dig their car out of the snow in front of their house.
- Because police are being “too loud” responding to an emergency.
- To get information about water restrictions.
- To report a broken ATM machine.
- Because a gas station wouldn’t let them use the washroom.
E-Comm, which deals with 99 per cent of the province’s 911 calls, handled more than 1.6 million calls in 2019.
“Sometimes, it feels like people may have forgotten that the reason to call 911 is to get help in a life or death situation,” said Chelsea Brent, the call taker who handled the call on the list about the small parking spot.
“I take a lot of 911 calls where, ‘I know this isn’t an emergency’ are the first words out of the caller’s mouth.”
Hospitality workers urge Ottawa to put employees first in any COVID-19 related bailout – CBC.ca
Canada’s hard-hit hospitality industry is asking for more help from government to survive the economic impact of COVID-19. But even as hotel owners are seeking more aid from Ottawa, some workers say they’re not making good use of relief programs already out there.
Hotel workers staged demonstrations in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver this week, to draw attention to the plight of an industry that has been hard-hit by the ongoing pandemic.
Hotel bookings are down by 90 per cent in some cases, which has created a drastic drop in demand for workers.
The industry was effectively shut down just as many others were in the early days of the pandemic. The Hotel Association of Canada says most hotels did their best to maintain staffing levels, hoping for a return of paying customers.
Some took advantage of an emergency government program known as the Canada emergency wage susidy, or CEWS, which paid up to 75 per cent of an employee’s salary, as long as they remained on the payroll.
Room attendant Leonora Mulholland lost her job at a downtown Toronto hotel in March when the pandemic struck, but she says her employer eventually brought her back on once CEWS began.
But it didn’t last long. She was laid off again in August.
After 21 years working for the same hotel, she questions why her loyalty wasn’t reciprocated by her employer.
WATCH | Hotel worker Leonora Mulholland explains what workers want:
Mulholland was one of about two dozen hospitality workers at a physically distanced demonstration in Toronto this week asking the government to step in and force hotels to use the wage subsidy to hire back like her back.
“I feel insecure,” she said. “Who knows what’s going to happen? How long this pandemic is going to be? We don’t know.”
Susie Grynol, president and CEO of the Hotel Association of Canada, says the industry is sympathetic to the plight of workers, but the industry shut itself down in the interest of public health, which is why the sector needs the government to step up with more support so that hotels can survive long enough to keep employing their workers long term.
“It’s put our industry on life support,” she said in an interview. “We missed the summer season. We’re heading into the off season and we’re not projected to recover until next summer, which means we’re not even halfway through this.”
Many hotels took advantage of CEWS, but recent changes mean the government now pays only about two thirds of the payroll costs, leaving hotels with next to no revenue on the hook for paying one third of the salaries for workers they don’t need.
“The changes to the wage subsidy program has meant that we can’t keep on every employee that we had previously,” Grynol said. “That means that some of our inactive workers are now going to be laid off permanently.”
In the recent throne speech, the government gave a vague promise of more help coming for the industry, but was short on details.
Grynol says the industry is asking Ottawa to roll back CEWS to its original terms and help the industry secure access to credit because loans from banks are drying up. And, if possible, they would love some help on fixed cost items such as property taxes.
“We’re hoping that we are going to see some support from government so that we can stabilize and ultimately bring back all of our employees,” she said.
The organizers of this week’s demonstrations say they agree that the industry needs more targeted help, but they’re wary of that help coming as a bailout for hotel operators that may do little to help the rank and file.
“Our concern is that any sector relief that’s provided to the industry would go straight to the pockets of the multimillion dollar corporations or the owners of the hotels,” said Shelli Sareen, secretary treasurer of Unite Here, a labour union representing 300,000 workers across the U.S. and Canada.
A blank cheque without accountability, “won’t benefit our members or the hospitality workers [and] frontline workers that have been most heavily impacted by the pandemic,” Sareen said.
Mulholland knows that the hotels themselves must be feeling the pain as well. But whatever the plan to help the industry is, she hopes the workers on the bottom like her get remembered along with the owners at the top.
“When they apply, the employers should put the workers first,” she said. “Not just apply, get the money, and keep it to themselves.”
Questions remain regarding Alberta's new COVID-19 testing pilot: expert – CBC News
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COVID outbreaks reported at Jasper Park Lodge, Calgary Superstore and long-term care facility – CTV Toronto
Jasper Park Lodge is doing a deep clean of the entire hotel and doing “extensive contact tracing” after seven employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Officials say none of the employees who tested positive have been at the hotel for the past seven days or more.
“Alberta Health Services has confirmed that no hotel guests or visitors have been impacted,” read a statement from the company.
“Health officials advise that risk of transmission is low for those who have not been in close contact with these individuals.”
That is one of six outbreaks announced by the province on Friday.
Two new outbreaks were announced in Calgary, one at Revere Mount Royal Long Term Care Home, where 19 cases are active, and at the Real Canadian Superstore in the 3600 block of Westwinds Drive N.E., which has 11 cases.
Six cases were reported at Abstract Dance Academy in Chestermere, all of which have now recovered, and there are 14 cases at the RCMP detachment in Grande Prairie, which are all active.
And there are 15 active cases at the New Life Pentecostal Church in Lethbridge.
An ongoing outbreak at Foothills hospital in Calgary also saw three more healthcare workers test positive.
The province announced 432 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, which brought the number of active cases in Alberta to 3,651.
Daily and active tallies have set pandemic highs for three and five days straight, respectively.
The bulk of Alberta’s active infections are still in the Edmonton zone with 1,751 cases, but the Calgary zone is closing in on the capital region with 1,307 cases.
Coronavirus: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on Oct. 23 – Global News
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