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All three levels of government, police, organizers granted full standing on inquiry

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OTTAWA — The commissioner of the inquiry examining Ottawa’s use of the Emergencies Act to bring an end to the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protest in February has granted standing to the organizers, police and representatives of all three levels of government.

The decision by Paul Rouleau means those granted standing will be given advance notice on information submitted into evidence before the inquiry, and also gives them certain privileges, such as the opportunity to suggest or cross-examine witnesses.

Those granted full standing in the public inquiry include the federal, Alberta and Saskatchewan governments, the cities of Ottawa and Windsor, Ont., the Ottawa Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police and the organizers of the convoy, including Tamara Lich, Tom Marazzo and Chris Barber.

Former Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly will be allowed to produce documents, make submissions on factual, evidentiary and policy-related issues and examine witnesses, and the Manitoba government has been granted permission to provide written submissions.

However, Rouleau denied standing to the Conservative Party of Canada and several participants of the protests, some of whom had their bank accounts frozen under the Act.

Rouleau said it is important that the inquiry remain an independent, non-partisan process, noting there is also the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the Declaration of Emergency reviewing the use of the Act’s powers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 27, 2022.

 

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Conservative leadership: Poilievre preferred by party but not Canadians: poll – CTV News

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OTTAWA –

Ontario MP Pierre Poilievre remains the heavy favourite to be the next Conservative party leader but he trails opponent Jean Charest for support among Canadians as a whole.

A new Leger poll conducted in collaboration with the Association for Canadian Studies suggests 44 per cent of Conservative voters believe Poilievre would make the best party leader. His chief rival, former Quebec premier Jean Charest, is backed by 17 per cent.

The poll was conducted online between Aug. 5 and Aug. 7 among 1,500 adult Canadians drawn from Leger’s representative panel. It cannot be given a margin of error because online polls aren’t considered to be a statistically representative sample.

Twenty-two per cent of Conservatives said they didn’t know which of the five candidates would make the best leader, while eight per cent said none of them would.

Among the remaining candidates, Ontario MP Leslyn Lewis was supported by six per cent, Ontario MP Scott Aitchison by two per cent, and former Ontario provincial politician Roman Baber by one per cent.

This is the first poll on the race taken by Leger since Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown was kicked out of the contest by the leadership organizing committee last month over allegations he broke party rules and possibly violated federal elections laws.

In a June Leger poll, Poilievre also had 44 per cent support among Conservatives, Charest had the backing of 14 per cent and Brown was supported by four per cent. The August poll moved Charest’s numbers up by three points, while Poilievre’s remained unchanged.

Christian Bourque, executive vice-president at Leger, said with ballots already being cast, all signs are pointing to a Poilievre win.

But he said the poll is also indicative that the candidate preferred by Conservatives may face a tougher path to a victory in a general election.

The poll suggests Charest is considered the best option for the Conservative leader’s job by 22 per cent of all Canadians, while Poilievre is supported by 16 per cent.

About one in seven Canadians polled said a Poilievre victory would make them more likely to vote Conservative in the next election, with only a small fraction more saying the same of a Charest victory.

However, more than one in four people polled said a Poilievre victory would make them less likely to vote Conservative, compared with one in five who said that about Charest.

That divide is starkest in seat-rich Ontario, where a Poilievre victory would make 28 per cent of those polled less likely to vote Conservative, compared with 16 per cent who said that of Charest.

In Alberta, 24 per cent of people polled said they’d be more likely to vote Tory if Poilievre wins, and 18 per cent said they’d be less likely to do so. If Charest wins, 14 per cent of those polled said they’d be more likely to vote Conservative, while 27 per cent said they’d be less likely to do so.

Bourque said that opens some existential questions for the Conservatives, who already win big in Alberta, holding 30 of the province’s 34 seats. In Ontario, the Conservatives have 37 of the 121 seats available, and need to do better in the most populous province to form government.

Bourque said Poilievre could help the Conservatives win the same seats by bigger margins in Alberta, but won’t do much to help move the needle in Ontario.

“With a Charest victory, the math would not be the same,” he said.

The Conservatives are set to announce the winner of the leadership on Sept. 10.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 10, 2022. 

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How one Canadian family of five is coping with the highest inflation in years – CTV News

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With inflation at a nearly 40-year high, Canadians are feeling the financial strain. In a six-part series this summer, The Canadian Press is speaking to people at different stages of life to see where they’re being hit the hardest. This story details the experiences of mid-career adults and their families.

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Myron Genyk didn’t think much about the price of food a year ago.

But now the 43-year-old father of three is suffering from sticker shock as his family’s grocery bill balloons.

“No. 1 is the increase in food,” said Genyk, an entrepreneur from Mississauga, Ont. “My kids are growing, so they’re eating more, but food prices have also shot up.”

With inflation rising at its fastest pace in nearly 40 years, the cost of everything from food to gas has skyrocketed.

Canadians across the country are feeling squeezed, but big families with multiple children are at times shouldering much of the higher costs — and changing demographics and consumer patterns have left some of them more exposed to inflation than in previous generations.

Some face meteoric grocery bills to feed insatiable teens or are helping older kids pay for university or buy their first home.

Others face mounting costs related to helping aging parents.

Then there are those doing both — the so-called sandwich generation.

“Some still have kids at home and they’re also helping out with aging parents,” said Elena Jara, community engagement partner with insolvency firm Bromwich and Smith.

“Inflation only makes that harder.”

Middle-aged adults have traditionally had the benefit of entering their prime earning years, taking some of the sting out of inflation. But as milestones for many Canadians happen later in life, this pattern is changing.

First-time homebuyers are getting older, for example, with the average age now around 36.

That means mid-career Canadians are more likely to have a big mortgage, leaving them vulnerable to higher interest rates.

Canadians are also having children later in life. Over the past five decades, the average age of a first-time mother has been steadily rising, from 22.6 in 1969 to 29.4 in 2019.

Adult children are also living longer at home. New census data found almost half of young adults in Ontario cities like Toronto, Oshawa, Windsor and Hamilton were living in the same household as at least one parent.

That leaves parents in the roughly 40 to 60 age range potentially covering more day-to-day costs or unable to downsize.

“Having a larger household with many mouths to feed would definitely increase your spending on food and make you more sensitive to food inflation,” said Rebekah Young, vice-president, head of inclusion and resilience economics at Scotiabank.

Higher costs could also push Canadians in their prime earning years to curtail savings, potentially later delaying retirement to pay the bills, she said.

But inflation is even worse for low income Canadians as they spend more of their disposable income on essentials, Young said.

The situation has left Canadians feeling increasingly gloomy about their finances, according to a raft of recent surveys.

More than half of Canadians aged 55 and up said they’ve delayed retirement because of mounting inflation this year alone, based on respondents to a recent poll by Bromwich and Smith and Advisorsavvy.

Another survey by TransUnion Canada found 60 per cent of Canadians polled lack optimism about their household finances over the next 12 months, with almost a third concerned they won’t be able to pay their bills in full in the coming months.

For Genyk, who runs his own Bay Street asset management company, he’s hopeful high inflation will be a “temporary blip” on his financial path.

Still, he’s feeling squeezed by higher prices.

“I’m definitely spending more money this year than I was last year on basic goods,” said Genyk, CEO and co-founder of Evermore Capital Inc., a Canadian asset management company that focuses on accessible retirement investing.

“That is directly impacting how much I can save for retirement.”

Inflation is also shaping his consumption habits and even changing his vacation plans.

For example, the Genyk family is planning a trip to the Rockies with their three children, ages seven, 11 and 13.

A few years ago, the family flew into Calgary and rented a van for two weeks for $1,900.

This summer, the van rental quote was $8,000.

“We got creative and found if we flew to Edmonton, we could rent a five-seater SUV there for a much more reasonable price,” he said.

“Having a growing family, you also need more space. When you get a hotel room, the days of one room with a pop-up crib are done.

“All these things add up.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 10, 2022. 

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These charts show nurses are doing more OT than ever. They say it's driving many from the profession – CBC.ca

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After months without a break, Anne Boutillier, an emergency room nurse in Dartmouth, N.S., took a much-needed vacation earlier this summer. 

But she received a call nearly every day to come back to help out. Soon after returning, she worked an 19-hour shift.

Boutillier had been on the schedule for 13 hours, but given the lack of staff, stayed on for another six.

“I feel guilty when I can’t do it — because I know my team and I know the burden the patients are suffering,” she said.

“I love my co-workers and I also care about my community. So when I can’t be here, it makes me feel like I’m letting the system down and I’m letting my colleagues down.”

Nova Scotia, in particular, saw one of the biggest increases in the proportion of nurses who did overtime during the pandemic, according to data from Statistics Canada compiled by CBC News.

As emergency rooms in some parts of Canada reduce their hours due to staffing shortages, and analysts warn the system is buckling under the strain, representatives for nurses say the signs of trouble were evident prior to the pandemic.

Linda Silas, president of the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU), said the reliance on overtime to fill staff shortages has had a detrimental effect on the profession. 

She said the lack of work-life balance drives many from full-time positions.

“It’s a vicious circle, but we have to stop it,” she said. “We’ve been talking about the working condition, the poor working conditions of nurses for 10, 15 years.”

Along with Nova Scotia, the amount of overtime required has been especially high in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, the data shows, when compared to the national average.

September 2021 appears to have been an especially challenging month for Nova Scotia’s health system, with 47 per cent of its nurses working extra hours that month, marking the highest reliance on OT of any province in any month throughout the pandemic.

Further data indicates those nurses who do work overtime are clocking more hours. In July, the average nurse doing overtime worked nine extra hours, the highest that figure has been since the first months of the pandemic.

A shortage of staff has resulted in closures of emergency rooms in parts of the country, including Ontario and Quebec.

Silas said a lack of nurses was apparent prior to the pandemic and now the need is even more acute. 

Already, in 2019, a third of registered nurses — who make up the majority of the nursing workforce — were over 50, with many close to retirement, according to the CFNU.

‘Fix the workplace’

A recent survey of the federation’s members found 94 per cent of respondents were experiencing burnout. Younger nurses said they were more likely to leave the profession.

Silas said many are tempted to leave full-time posts to work for agencies where they have a better schedule and pay.

“What we need to do is to fix the workplace,” she said. “We have to make sure there’s flexibility that they can get a day off and that we have a safe nurse-patient ratio.”

While OT work among all health-care workers sharply increased after March 2020, the rate has since plateaued among non-nursing health-care workers. The proportion of nurses clocking extra hours, however, continues to climb.

“It’s important to recognize that we have a problem and we need to fix it right away,” said Sylvain Brousseau, head of the Canadian Nurses Association.

Brousseau is also a professor at the Université du Québec en Outaouais and researches the working conditions of nurses.

He said the increased overtime is a symptom of a problem in the system — OT is now built into the managing structure at many hospitals. 

“When you don’t fix the problem, people are leaving the health-care system,” he said.

WATCH | An N.L. nurse explains why she quit her job

Overworked N.L. nurse quits permanent job

13 days ago

Duration 2:12

Lauren Byrne quit her full-time job as an emergency room nurse in Newfoundland and Labrador because of a crushing workload and went casual, something her nursing colleagues are also considering.

Boutillier, for her part, wants to see the nurses still on the job rewarded, with better pay and time off when they request it.

“It’s the work-life balance that we don’t have. And that’s not being respected,” she said. “I feel like lately we’re just a cog in a wheel, filling a flooded system.”

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