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BRAUN: Mental health disability claims on the rise – Toronto Sun



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“The process of applying for a mental health disability claim is a very complicated process for people to attempt on their own,” said  Kotak in a recent interview.

“Insurers make it difficult to navigate and have roadblocks along the way that make it virtually impossible for workers to get claims approved.”

At his firm, there’s been a 50% increase during the year leading up to June 2020 in the number of people seeking help with mental health disability claims.

“Depression and anxiety are commonly known as invisible illnesses,” said Kotak. “You can’t see them on an MRI.”

That gives an insurance company the opportunity to deny a claim; even a doctor’s diagnosis can be dismissed as being based on a patient’s subjective complaints.

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“The insurance company can say there’s no objective evidence, even though a dialogue with the patient is often how doctors make a diagnosis.”

People feel lost when their claim is denied, he said.

“They or their employer have a premium to cover off just such a rainy day, so they’re in shock. Dealing with insurance companies can just make the stress worse.

“Many just walk away.”

There is an internal appeal process, Kotak said, but it’s often just the left hand judging the right.

“The vast majority of cases are denied again.”

At this point, some people have been sorting through the situation for months. They’re not getting better. They can’t work.

“It doesn’t hurt to ask a lawyer for advice,” said Kotak.

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COVID-19: 1,708 new cases in Ontario – Simcoe Reformer



Ottawa Public Health reported 79 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday and two new deaths, bringing the city’s totals to 8,458 and 374, respectively, since January.

A total of 343 cases, according to Sunday’s figures, remain active. Meanwhile, 22 people were being treated for COVID-19 in Ottawa hospitals, one of them in intensive care.

Twenty-one health-care institutions are currently experiencing outbreaks, as are three child-care or educational centres. There are also four active community outbreaks, an increase of one from the previous day’s report.


Ontario reported 1,708 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday, more than 100 fewer than the 1,822 from a day earlier, and almost 150 fewer than the daily record of 1,855 set on Friday.

The new cases, which include those reported through Saturday afternoon, bring the total in the province to 114,746 since January.

Peel and Toronto remained the worst-hit areas, with 503 and 463 confirmed new cases, respectively.

The province also reported 24 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing Ontario’s total to 3,648 since January.

In addition to the 79 new cases in Ottawa, 24 new cases were reported elsewhere in Eastern Ontario, including 10 by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, and five each through Hastings Prince Edward Public Health and Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health. The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit reported four new cases, while the Renfrew County and District Health Unit reported no new cases.

The province also reported 586 Ontarians hospitalized with COVID-19, but added that the number may be skewed low by the fact that approximately 40 hospitals did not complete the Daily Bed Census on Friday.


Quebec on Sunday reported 1,395 new COVID-19 cases and four new deaths, bringing the province’s total to 141,038 cases and 7,025 deaths since January.

COVID-19 hospitalizations reduced slightly from Saturday’s report, with 665 Quebecers being treated for the pandemic illness. Of those, 92 are in intensive care.

Meanwhile, the Outaouais reported 30 new cases and no new deaths.

The region has reported 3,554 cases and 80 deaths since the pandemic began.



79: New cases
8,458: Total cases
2: New deaths
374: Total deaths
343: Active cases
22: Hospitalized
1: In ICU
7,741: Cases resolved


1,708: New cases
114,746: Total cases
24: New deaths
3,648: Total deaths
586: Hospitalized
97,319: Cases resolved

(As of Nov. 28)

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Enforcement ramps up in parts of Ontario as province logs 1708 new COVID cases –



Officials in southern Ontario fined businesses, charged anti-maskers and busted at least one massive party over the weekend as the province recorded another 1,708 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. 

The enforcement in York, Hamilton and Peel came after a week that saw record-setting viral case counts and the introduction of more stringent public health measures in some regions. 

In Mississauga, Ont., a part of Peel Region which is currently under lockdown, police said authorities had broken up a party with 60 attendees at a short-term rental unit. 

“It’s a tough time for everyone,” Deputy Chief Marc Andrews of the Peel Regional Police tweeted. “These antics help no one.”

He said bylaw officers issued 27 fines of $880, and three Part 3 summons to the hosts, who he said could face at least $10,000 in fines if convicted.

In York Region, officials continued an enforcement blitz at businesses to make sure they were following public health protocols for the province’s “red” zones. 

The rules limit indoor dining to 10 customers at a time with physical distancing in place. Gyms, meanwhile, can only have 10 patrons inside at once, while 25 people can attend outdoor classes.

Officers inspected 256 businesses on Sunday and issued charges at 16, a news release said. 

An L.A. Fitness location in East Gwillimbury, Ont., and the Trio Sportsplex in Vaughan, Ont., are among those facing charges. 

Authorities have inspected 867 businesses since Friday, laid 32 charges and completed 1,151 “compliance education activities,” the release said.

Farther west, Hamilton Police announced they had charged three men — aged 26, 48 and 72 —  at a “Hugs over Masks” protest in the city’s downtown area on Sunday. 

Police said 35 people attended the event, exceeding the maximum number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings. 

“Prior to the event, Hamilton Police identified the organizer and informed him that the planned gathering would breach offences under the Reopening Ontario Act and leave him open to charges, police said in a written statement. “The organizer went ahead with the event.”

All three men — one of whom police said was the organizer — were charged under the Act, and would face a fine of at least $10,000 if convicted.

The charges came as the province logged 24 new deaths linked to COVID-19 on Sunday. 

Of the new cases reported on Sunday, 503 came from Peel Region and 463 were identified in Toronto, Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a tweet. Those are the only two regions under the “lockdown” phase of the province’s tiered, colour-coded pandemic response framework.          

She said another 185 were in York Region, which is at the red alert level, the next most stringent under the provincial system.

The province said nearly 54,000 tests were completed since the last daily update, and 1,443 cases are newly considered resolved.

The numbers came a day before more stringent COVID-19 measures were set to take effect in five Ontario regions.

Windsor-Essex will be moved to the red level, Haldimand-Norfolk to orange, and three others — Hastings Prince Edward, Lambton and Northwestern — to yellow.

Provincial data released on Thursday suggested case counts were flattening somewhat, but Ontario recorded its highest number of daily infections the next day, at 1,855.

Officials have said it could take up to two weeks after new restrictions are imposed to see any improvements.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press

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Alberta records 1,608 COVID-19 cases Sunday, 9 seniors die including 5 at Edmonton care centre – Global News



Alberta announced another 1,608 cases of COVID-19 Sunday and reported nine deaths, all of whom were seniors.

There are now 15,692 active cases in the province, mainly in the two largest metro centres, with 7,230 or 46 per cent of active cases in Edmonton zone and 5,756 or 36 per cent of all active cases in Calgary zone.

Sunday’s nine reported deaths bring the provincial fatality total to 533.

Five of the nine seniors who died were at the Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre.

The Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre was added to the provincial outbreak list on Oct. 20. The last public update the centre gave was on Saturday, when it said 32 residents were positive with COVID-19. There are also 36 staff members at the centre with active COVID-19 cases.

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Those connected to the centre who died were two women — one in her 80s who died on Nov. 25 and another in her 90s who died on Nov. 27 — as well as three men, one in his 70s who died on Nov. 26, one in his 80s who passed away Nov. 25, and one in his 90s who died Nov. 27. All five had comorbidities — underlying health conditions that may have contributed to their death — according to Alberta Health.

There were four other deaths reported in the province: a man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Clifton Manor in Calgary zone on Nov, 29, with unknown comorbidities. A man in his 90s in South zone, believed to have comorbidities but not connected to any care centres, died on Nov. 28. A man in his 80s with no known comorbidities and linked to the Laurel Heights Retirement Residence outbreak in Edmonton zone died on Nov. 28.

A man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Westlock Continuing Care Centre in North zone passed away Nov. 27. It is not known if he had any comorbidities.

Read more:
Coronavirus cases are soaring but Trudeau’s approval ratings hold steady: Ipsos

There are now 435 Albertans in hospital, 95 of whom are in intensive care.

The province said it tested 23,282 Albertans for COVID-19 on Saturday.

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Jason Kenney said in an interview on The Roy Green show Sunday that he continues to hope Albertans recognize the seriousness of the situation and follow new restrictions.

“We are concerned about the recent spike in COVID-19 in Alberta,” Kenney said.

“And that’s why we felt — in order to avoid a situation where we have to engage in widespread cancellation of surgeries and non-urgent hospital care, in order to ensure we have capacity with our health-care front line personnel — we’ve had to bring in more stringent measures. Strong, but we think balanced.”

Click to play video 'Alberta announces new restrictions, but those on the front line say it doesn’t go far enough'

Alberta announces new restrictions, but those on the front line say it doesn’t go far enough

Alberta announces new restrictions, but those on the front line say it doesn’t go far enough

Read more:
Alberta enacts 2nd COVID-19 state of public health emergency. Here’s what it means

He added the “main thing” for Albertans to be careful with is in-person socializing.

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“When you’re at home, people let down their guard, people aren’t wearing a mask in their living room, they’re not frequently sanitizing, they’re not sitting two metres apart,” Kenney said.

“It’s family gatherings, hugging… those at-home social activities are the highest vector of transmission.”

Kenney also stressed this weekend that when the province starts to receive COVID-19 vaccinations there will be no rule that makes them mandatory in Alberta. 

The province is currently expected to receive about 680,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine early in the new year. Kenney said Sunday officials are already working on the roll-out plan.

“We would be starting with the most vulnerable such as seniors in nursing homes as well as health-care workers,” Kenney said.

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Many students in province shifting to online learning Monday

Alberta students in Grades 7-12 will shift to online leaning on Monday as part of the province’s attempt to limit the spread of the virus among older students.

Parents preparing for the change have mixed reactions to having their kids learn online for the second time this year.

Ibrahim Cobanoglu was out shopping for laptops for his two sons so that they have more reliable technology now compared to their first round of distance learning.

“If they like to study it, it’ll be okay for them,” said Cobanoglu. “If they don’t like to study, [online learning] is a problem but I think it’s okay for them because of COVID-19.”

On the other hand, parents like Karen Beckford are upset at the change, and believe the messaging from the province is unclear.

Read more:
‘I was immediately saddened and surprised’: Alberta mom voices concerns over return to online learning

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“I think it’s hard for the kids. I don’t understand why I can go to a shopping mall with thousands of people, but my son can’t go to school with 300 kids in his high school.”

Click to play video 'Edmonton high school students concerned about going back to online learning'

Edmonton high school students concerned about going back to online learning

Edmonton high school students concerned about going back to online learning

Christopher Usih, the chief superintendent for the Calgary Board of Education said teachers have been already doing both online and in-person learning due to the number of students having to isolate.

“Our staff and our teachers have been certainly maintaining that [online] presence,” Usih said. “For us, it’s a pivot and this time around is less challenging as it was when we did this in the spring.”

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 6, and early childhood learning, will begin online learning on Dec. 18 until their winter break begins.

Diploma exams were also made optional for the rest of the school year, meaning students can choose to write them, or be exempt from the April, June and August 2021 examinations.

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–With files from Michael King, Global News

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