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Maj.-Gen. Fortin appeals judge's ruling on reinstatement to COVID-19 vaccine campaign – North Shore News

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OTTAWA — Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin is challenging a Federal Court judge’s ruling that struck down his request for reinstatement as head of Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution campaign.

The senior military officer’s legal team filed a notice of appeal on Friday, arguing Justice Ann Marie McDonald erred in her ruling last week that Fortin needed to submit a complaint to the military before bringing his case to court.

“The judge made numerous and grave legal errors in her decision, which Maj.-Gen. Fortin is asking the Federal Court of Appeal to overturn,” lawyer Natalia Rodriguez said in a statement.

Fortin has been fighting for reinstatement after he was abruptly removed as head of the vaccine rollout effort in May, five days before military police announced they had referred an investigation of alleged sexual misconduct to Quebec’s prosecution service.

The senior military officer, who previously served in Afghanistan and commanded a NATO training mission in Iraq before being assigned last November to lead the federal government’s vaccine rollout effort, was formally charged with one count of sexual assault in August.

That case, which relates to an alleged incident dating from 1988, is due back in a Quebec court Nov. 5.

Fortin has maintained his innocence and in challenging his removal in Federal Court, accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other senior members of the Liberal government of having turfed him from the vaccine campaign for purely political reasons.

During two days of court hearings last month, Fortin’s legal team argued that the military’s grievance system was the wrong venue for deciding whether his removal was appropriate, given the political nature of the decision.

His lawyers also raised concerns about the military grievance system, citing a recent review by retired Supreme Court justice Morris Fish that found long delays and ultimately described the entire system as “broken” and in need of urgent reforms.

But McDonald rejected those arguments, writing: “In my view, the high-profile nature of Maj.-Gen. Fortin’s position and the allegations of political interference are not exceptional circumstances that allow him to bypass the internal grievance process.”

As for concerns about the grievance system, McDonald noted acting defence chief Gen. Wayne Eyre had instituted new orders to address the problems identified in Fish’s report, adding any concerns about unnecessary delays were “purely speculative.”

In challenging McDonald’s decision at the Federal Court of Appeal, Fortin’s lawyers argue the judge made several mistakes in determining the grievance system was the appropriate forum for hearing the case.

Among their arguments is that the grievance system was not designed to address decisions made outside the military’s chain of command, in this case by politicians. They also say the judge did not fully appreciate the time sensitivities around the case.

Fortin’s lawyers are asking that the case be sent back to the Federal Court for a different judge to hear.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s office declined to comment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2021.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


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KFL&A reports 34 new COVID-19 cases, 304 active – Globalnews.ca

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The Kingston region is once again over the 300 active cases mark, as Wednesday’s 34 new cases bring the daily active case count to 304.

Of the new cases, 10 are in the five-to-11 age group.

Nineteen people remain in hospital, with 11 of those cases are in the intensive care unit. Six people are on ventilators.

Read more:

COVID-19 — Influx of cases causing strain on Kingston hospitals

The cases per 100,000 over the past week is up slightly to 104.7, from 102.8 Tuesday.

The rise in cases locally has also forced the postponing of at least one local event. The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes was scheduled to have its grand opening on Dec. 5 from 2 to 4 p.m.

“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have significant impacts throughout our communities, the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston is committed to supporting the community through this time of heightened risk and uncertainty,” the Marine Museum said in a statement Wednesday.

“We consider the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors paramount.”


Click to play video: 'As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts'



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As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts


As Covid-19 cases rise in the Kingston region the community reacts

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Roussin takes aim at HIV stigma – Brandon Sun

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Wednesday was World AIDS Day and the province is getting behind the message to end the stigma of the disease.

There were 117 new cases of HIV identified in the province in 2020, slightly fewer than in 2019.

“Even though there are fewer cases, there was also significantly less testing,” Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, said Wednesday.

“Around 25 per cent of people with HIV are unaware they have it, and that can contribute to the spread.”

The stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS continues to be a significant public health issue in the province. Roussin said the populations most at risk are also facing problems of accessibility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roussin urged people who may be at risk to get regular testing and speak to their health-care providers regarding prevention, testing and treatment options.

All these services are confidential and free of charge.

Those living with HIV are also encouraged to stay connected to care and treatments.

Roussin said it is considered a chronic infection and there are effective treatments for HIV, with many being able to get the virus level down to undetectable levels and minimizing risk of transmitting it to other people.

» The Brandon Sun

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COVID-19 vaccines: 18% of Ottawa kids 5-11 have 1st doses – Globalnews.ca

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Nearly 14,000 Ottawa kids have gotten their first COVID-19 vaccine shots in their first week of eligibility, according to the local health unit.

Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard reports that 13,887 kids aged five to 11, representing 18 per cent of the total age group in the city, have their initial shots as of Wednesday morning.

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, said earlier this week that 40 per cent of local kids in this youngest eligible demographic have appointments booked through the provincial vaccination system. This doesn’t account for shots booked at pharmacies or doctors’ offices.

Read more:

No need for new restrictions yet in Ottawa amid Omicron cases, Dr. Etches says

City-wide, 86 per cent of the population aged five and older now have at least one dose.

Meanwhile, OPH reported 50 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, surpassing the 32,000-case mark since the start of the pandemic.

The number of active infections held relatively steady at 329 in the latest report.

There are now 11 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Ottawa, two of whom are in the intensive care unit.


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COVID-19: Proof of vaccine now needed to fly in Canada


COVID-19: Proof of vaccine now needed to fly in Canada

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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