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Alberta installs Canada's 1st Muslim lieutenant-governor – CBC.ca

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Alberta’s 19th lieutenant-governor was installed during a ceremony at the legislature on Wednesday. 

Lt.-Gov. Salma Lakhani of Edmonton is the first Muslim in Canadian history to serve in the vice-regal position.

Born and raised in Kampala, Uganda, she has an honours degree in clinical biochemistry from the University of Manchester.

Lakhani, an Ismaili Muslim, has been in Edmonton for more than 40 years, owning and operating an early childhood education centre.

After taking her oath, Lakhani gave a speech, sharing her experience of immigrating to Canada with her husband.

She recalled encountering generosity and civic spirit among Albertans. She spoke about the importance of continuing to ensure all Albertans are uplifted, regardless of means, ability, religion, race, gender identity or sexual orientation.

“We have much to be proud of, but our striving for justice equity does not end here. We must continue to work together to make this province the best it can be, to ensure that all Albertans are able to achieve their full potential and feel a sense of belonging and province,” Lakhani said.

“Let us commit to uphold the values of a province that carries everyone forward.”

Speaking during the ceremony, Premier Jason Kenney said Lakhani’s story is a “brilliant example” of the ideals of equality and unity, and said his government looks forward to working with her.

“What a wonderful symbol it is, to have the first Canadian viceroy, coming from the Ismaili community, which has done so much to be a global leader in a vision of pluralism, of unity in diversity,” Kenney said.

In 2005, Lakhani was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal for outstanding achievements in the province. In 2012, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal honouring service to Canada.

Lieutenant-governors, the highest-ranking officers in each province, carry out a variety of official duties including swearing in the premier and cabinet, opening each session of the legislative assembly and signing bills into law.

Outgoing lieutenant-governor Lois Mitchell, who has held the post since June 2015, performed her final official function Tuesday, swearing in new ministers during a cabinet shuffle.

Lakhani’s installation was greeted with hope and celebration by communities and institutions that have ties to her.

“As a community it gives us lots of pride and great joy to see that one of our own has gone up into that office,” said Frederick Lubwama, outgoing president of the Uganda Cultural Association of Alberta.

Lubwama said he hopes the appointment changes perceptions about immigrants’ capabilities, and that Lakhani’s position helps increase understanding of and services for newcomers to the province.

“We think it’s an opportunity for us to showcase what immigrants can do,” he said.

Carolyn Campbell, president of NorQuest College, said Lakhani has been a “remarkable friend” to the school and its students for over a decade.

“Salma Lakhani has been a truly positive example for students, and a mentor and a role model,” Campbell said. 

NorQuest gave Lakhani an honourary diploma in 2019 in recognition of her work as a founding member of the 1,000 Women movement, which has raised over $3.3 million to aid students facing financial obstacles. Campbell said she’s known the new lieutenant-governor for several years.

“Her kindness just shines through in every conversation that one has with her. Her genuine interest in you as a person, her curiosity, her engagement and focus,” Campbell said.

Campbell said she believes Lakhani will bring her intelligence and a focus on education to the post as an excellent representative for the province.

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Coronavirus numbers are surging in Canada. But who’s getting sick and why? – Global News

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As Canada grapples with rising novel coronavirus numbers, experts say mounting evidence points to young people as the driving force behind the spike in cases.

The data doesn’t lie. The latest available data from the Public Health Agency of Canada showed 56.6 per cent of those who tested positive for the virus were younger than 50 years old.

People aged 20-29 accounted for “the largest proportion of cases,” the agency said in its weekly epidemiology report.

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“Incidence rates in those 20 to 39 years of age remain consistently higher compared to all other age groups.”

The agency wrote this could be due to having to return to work, where that age bracket makes up a majority of the service industry, as well as reduced social distancing among young people or general “fatigue with physical distancing and other public health measures.”

“This is not a surprise,” said Colin Furness, an epidemiologist with the University of Toronto. “That’s the group that has suffered socially the most in a lot of ways.”

Read more:
What about the next pandemic? Coronavirus offers lessons for the future

Furness said he’d noticed trends among servers, but that young people may have also become complacent to COVID-19 measures in trying to “make the most” of the end of their summers.

With restaurants, bars, smaller workplaces, universities and other schools reopened, there is more opportunity for youth to get sick, he said. But when it comes to returning to work, for businesses able to work remotely Furness said “it’s better to stay put.”

While the PHAC noted most confirmed diagnoses reported in schools and daycares were individual cases, rather than examples of community transmission, the agency said confirmed infections have been increasing since August.

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1:29
Coronavirus: Ford calls on all Ontarians to get flu shot as province prepares for COVID-19 second wave


Coronavirus: Ford calls on all Ontarians to get flu shot as province prepares for COVID-19 second wave

Furness said going back to school was “very important” for children’s mental health, and would be economically beneficial for parents — “predominantly women who then get excluded from their jobs.”

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From an infection control standpoint, Furness said it was more likely that schools were going to reflect how the pandemic had been affecting each school’s community.

He also said some provinces should have either chosen to reopen bars or schools — but not both.

“We can do a lot,” he said. “We just can’t do it all at the same time.”

Read more:
Feds say they’re prepared to discuss health-care funding after provinces voice concerns

“It’s risky to open schools, so we should be doing something to compensate for that.”

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Cynthia Carr, a Winnipeg-based epidemiologist with EPI Research Inc., said it was inevitable that — even in Canada, where community spread is under control in most provinces — returning to school would at least in some part drive up COVID-19 cases.

“Once you put people together in a room for a long period of time, there’s opportunity for infection to spread,” she said.

Carr said the surging numbers may look daunting, but are actually on par with Health Canada’s projections, which estimated the country would see a fall peak in September.

This is important, she said, as according to Health Canada, the country should expect to see a rise in diagnoses, but low rates of hospitalizations or deaths due to the age demographic making up the majority of people getting sick.

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The challenge, said Carr, is what she called an “epidemiological lag.”

“In a week or two, will we see an increase in outcomes such as hospitalizations and deaths? That’s what we want to avoid, because this increase in cases (can lead) to infection within our vulnerable residents,” she said.

Experts warned Canadians may not have seen the end of surging cases.






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Quebec headed toward second coronavirus wave as cases soar


Quebec headed toward second coronavirus wave as cases soar

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said Tuesday it would be difficult for him to declare whether or not the country was in the midst of its second wave of the virus.

“Canada is a big country. All regions are different,” he said, adding that officials have confirmed a second wave in Ottawa.

Dr. Andrew Morris, infectious disease physician at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto, said the influx in cases the country was seeing now “will probably go on steroids in the next couple of weeks — unless something is drastically done.”

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“We will see increasing and accelerated growth over the next couple of weeks despite any measures that the government may do over the next week,” he said, identifying initial provincial challenges with testing, contact tracing and isolating patients as factors leading up to rising numbers.

Read more:
A Toronto woman contracted coronavirus in March. She’s still exhibiting symptoms

On whether the country was prepared for a second wave, Morris said: “Not a chance.”

In order to successfully navigate through a second wave, Morris said federal and provincial governments were going to need to step up their testing, open more COVID-19 assessment centres and stock up on ventilators and personal protective equipment.

“Without a proper surveillance and screening strategy, it makes it very difficult for us to properly use our testing capacities,” he said.

“If you don’t have one of the fundamental aspects which is testing and that is both collecting the tests, assessment centre abilities and lab capacity… then you’re in trouble,” he said.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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'BlueLeaks' data breach involved 38 Canadian police forces – CBC.ca

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Confidential law enforcement data belonging to 38 Canadian police agencies has been exposed by a group of so-called hacktivists targeting police in the U.S., Radio-Canada has learned.

The group Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets) published thousands of documents amounting to 269 gigabytes online in June. Members of the group say the documents were obtained from members of the hacker collective Anonymous. 

The leak came from cyberattacks on American police agencies or their suppliers. Information from police services across the U.S., including emails, training notes and expense reports, was published online.

The RCMP has confirmed it was one of the agencies affected by the leak. In a statement, the RCMP said the National Cybercrime Coordination Unit (NC3) and RCMP cyber intelligence led an investigation to determine the effect of the leak on various RCMP jurisdictions and other Canadian police agencies.

‘No secret information,’ RCMP says

The leaked information involving Canadian law enforcement did not have a major impact on sensitive operations and was generally related to “training, administration and unclassified material which is non-sensitive in nature,” the RCMP said in a statement. 

“We found that there was no secret information that was disclosed,” said Insp. Daniel Côté, the officer in charge of NC3. “All the information that was online was administrative in nature.”

The RCMP declined to identify the other Canadian police agencies involved, “for privacy and operational reasons.”

But Steve Waterhouse, a cybersecurity expert and former cybersecurity officer for the Department of National Defence, argued even administrative data can be damaging if it gets into the wrong hands. 

“It could be emails or phone numbers of police officers in that stash of information, and they can sell it or use it to physically harm or harass police officers’ families,” Waterhouse said.

Privacy commissioner notified 3 months later

The RCMP said it takes any privacy breach seriously and that past and current employees involved in the breach are being notified.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada received a report from the RCMP about the leak on Sept. 18, almost three months after it occurred.

In a statement, the office said it is reviewing the report and said the incident raises serious concerns, “given the sensitivity of the information involved.”

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Canadians' grocery bills are increasing; pandemic to accelerate the trend: report – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Canadians who have suspected their grocery bills have been rising over the years aren’t imagining it, according to a new report that found the price of food has been steadily increasing in the last decade – and the COVID-19 pandemic is only accelerating this trend.

According to the report, which was released on Tuesday by Dalhousie University’s Agri-food Analytics Lab, the price of a typical grocery basket has increased by approximately 240 per cent since 2000.

While it’s expected the price of food will go up because of inflation, Sylvain Charlebois, a professor and senior director of the lab, said his team wanted to see how the food price index compared with the general inflation index or Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the past 20 years.

“The point of the report is to show that really over the last 10 years, at least, the food inflation rate has outpaced the general inflation rate,” he explained during a telephone interview with CTVNews.ca on Tuesday.

The report found that the overall cost of other products and services in the economy didn’t increase as much as food did during this time period.

Charlebois said the rising cost of food is actually the result of the agri-food industry playing “catch up” after a generation of discounted products.

“North America has been the realm of discounted food for quite some time. We are just coming out of an era in which we have been bent on buying the cheapest food products,” the report stated. “But things are different now.”

The researchers said consumers have more choice than ever now and because of that, they expect more innovation and quality when it comes to their food.

“There is certainly a price to pay for that. As a result, the industry has been catching up to our expectations by managing higher costs and passing some of the increases onto us,” the report said.

Charlebois said he expects the COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate the pace of these food price increases because operation costs have gone up during the health emergency.

“We actually are expecting the average household in Canada to spend not just 9.1 per cent of their budget, but maybe 10.5, perhaps even 11 per cent,” he said.

REGIONAL VARIANCES

While the report found that every province and territory have had their consumer price indices outstripped by the food price index, some regions have seen more of a disparity than others.

Charlebois said households in Eastern Canada have had to spend more of their budgets on food than in other areas due to a lack of regionally based food processing and the higher logistical costs of serving some remote markets.

New Brunswick saw the biggest gap between the food price index and the general price index at 25.8 points, followed by Quebec (23.1 per cent), and Nova Scotia (21.3 per cent).

“It is especially in the last decade that the gap between the two indices has widened,” the report said.

To avoid food insecurity from the rising costs, Charlebois said he would like to see governments invest in controlled environment agriculture, greenhouses to produce food all year round, and increases in the processing capacity in the most affected regions.

SUGAR, PEANUT BUTTER REMAIN AFFORDABLE

While the rising cost of food may be unwelcome news for most Canadians, Charlebois said there are still several food items that appear to be impervious to the increases.

According to Statistics Canada, white sugar is almost the same price as it was 20 years ago in 2000 at $2.40 per two kilograms.

“Although there are only three sugar producers in Canada that control the market, Redpath, Lantic and Rogers in the West, the price of sugar has barely changed in the last two decades,” the report said.

Flour, too, has also remained fairly cheap, Charlebois said, with only a 38 per cent increase over the past two decades.

There has been even less of an increase in price for peanut butter over the years, according to Charlebois. He said peanut butter is only 5 per cent more expensive now than it was in 2000.

“I think it has a lot to do with competition,” he said. “The fact that there are a lot more brands and it’s been a little bit more competitive.” 

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