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New call blocking system comes to Canada – Richmond News

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A new call blocking system, which will help silence those seemingly non-stop spam calls from unknown numbers, is coming to Canada by Dec. 19

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications (CRTC) is requiring all telecommunication service providers to apply a new system that will protect Canadians against “unsolicited and illegitimate calls.”

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The system will automatically block all calls with caller ID’s consisting of more than 15 digits or numbers that don’t match a regular 10-digit phone number – meaning the number can’t be dialed – before it reaches subscribers.

“Canadians need to have the right tools to manage nuisance calls,” said Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO of CRTC, in a statement.

“With the implementation of a call blocking system, calls that are malformed will be stopped within the network. At the same time, we are working with the industry on other tools to better protect Canadians from nuisance calls, including a process to alert them when the caller ID has been spoofed.”

Some phone providers, which already have call filtering add-ons, will not have to put in the new call blocking system.

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Evacuations end for Labrador City, N.L. a week after wildfire forced out thousands

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Labrador City residents will soon be returning home after a wildfire forced an evacuation last week.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey has said the evacuation order officially lifts at noon Monday, though essential workers and their families were allowed to return over the weekend.

Furey said in a statement Saturday the gradual return would “allow residents of Labrador City to return home in a safe and orderly manner.”

More than 7,000 residents of Labrador City were ordered to evacuate last week after a sudden shift in conditions reignited the once-smouldering fire and it moved toward the town.

Labrador City Mayor Belinda Adams said in an update on Facebook Sunday the fire that had threatened the city is now “very low risk,” and rain was helping crews who are working to put out hot spots.

Officials say there hasn’t been any damage to the town.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Mom wants quicker reform on disaster preparations, one year after flood took son

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HALIFAX – The mother of a boy who died a year ago in a Nova Scotia flood says her grief returns daily, along with frustration over what she considers the province’s slow pace in reforming its preparations for climate disasters.

Tera Sisco’s six-year-old son Colton Sisco died after the vehicle he was in overturned during torrential thunderstorms on July 22, 2023. About 258 millimetres of rain to the municipality of West Hants — a rural area northwest of Halifax — fell during the overnight flash flood.

“It’s still a struggle, every day,” said Sisco in a recent telephone interview. As the one-year mark of her son’s death approached, she said her memories of being with him before the flooding are “on replay.”

“It’s hard. … there’s part of me that still doesn’t want to believe it happened.”

Natalie Harnish, six, died in the same vehicle as Sisco, while 52-year-old Nick Holland and 14-year-old Terri-Lynn Keddy were swept away from a vehicle on the same road and also died.

The tragedy has drawn repeated calls for the Progressive Conservative government to improve the province’s emergency alert system, as severe weather events are hitting the province with disturbing regularity.

A recent review released by the municipality of West Hants said two hours and 41 minutes passed between the first rescue responses and the province sending an alert urging citizens to “shelter in place.” Blair Feltmate, director of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo has called that “far too long a delay.”

Sisco said she was disturbed that during flooding in the Annapolis Valley on July 11, it again required about three hours between the first reports of rescues and an emergency alert going out. On that night, 13-year-old Eli Young was swept into a drainage ditch in Wolfville an hour before an alert was sent.

“My heart breaks for that family and for that boy, and for the community,” said Sisco.

John Lohr, the minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Organization, said in an interview Thursday municipalities had the responsibility to send alerts to provincial authorities for distribution. He has sent a letter to wardens and mayors asking they “be more vigilant in issuing alerts,” and asked them to “schedule refresher training for appropriate municipal staff as necessary.”

However, Sisco said the bottom line is that government, a year later, didn’t seem to have made significant improvements to the alert system’s timeliness.

“It’s a finger pointing thing currently, and I feel like ultimately all levels of government need to sit down and really focus on how we move forward to fix the problem, rather than play the blame game,” she said.

Lohr said there is training available for regional emergency planners and other municipal staff who want to directly send alerts, and there are also courses provided on how to fill out the forms to send to the provincial emergency centre.

The minister said the government plans to bring in legislation creating a new department responsible for overseeing regional emergency measures. He also has promised to establish a new volunteer group for emergency response referred to as the Nova Scotia Guard, and to modernize the emergency management and alert system.

Lohr said the Nova Scotia Guard will permit citizens to enter themselves in a database indicating skills they can offer after emergencies — “whether handling a chainsaw or making sandwiches” — and he said the province would call upon the volunteers when needed.

The opposition parties have criticized the concept, saying they fear it could potentially drain existing volunteer pools.

Sisco is concerned potential firefighters, who carry out crucial rescues during emergencies, may choose to join the new volunteer group rather than take on the heavier training workload in the fire or rescue services.

“There’s still a lot that has to be worked on and figured out before we really start saying whether we should implement it (the Nova Scotia Guard),” she said. “I’m not sure at this point how it is going to help.”

Sisco is instead urging the minister to focus on reforming existing systems, such as ensuring that regional emergency co-ordinators are full-time positions, rather than part-time roles carried out by officials with other responsibilities. In addition, she’s lobbying for effective, on-call systems to ensure a municipal official is constantly available to either request or send an alert.

Lohr said moving towards a quicker system has been complicated by consultations that indicate many volunteer fire departments are reluctant to become directly responsible for sending emergency notices. However, he said his department is working towards more firefighters and police taking on the role.

“A year from now, my expectation is that we’ll have the Nova Scotia Guard … we’ll have a new department; we’ll have fire services trained with this tool,” said the minister.

Brett Tetanish, the chief of the Brooklyn volunteer fire department, which responded to the scene of the four deaths, said in an interview there are now 15 members trained in water rescue and the department has acquired several boats. However, like Sisco, he’s looking for governments to work together swiftly to allow quicker alerts, and for better cellular service in his rural area.

“I just want these levels of government to work together. They owe it to the citizens of this province and to the rescuers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sisco said this week she’ll have to step back from advocacy and try to look after herself.

“I’ve had to learn the fine balance of researching ways to improve emergency preparations, and giving myself some grace and time to breathe,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2024.



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In the news today: Interest rate cut possible this week: Economists

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Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed…

Interest rate cut possible this week: Economists

Economists and market watchers are betting the Bank of Canada will deliver another interest rate cut this week amid mounting evidence that inflation is sustainably easing.

Expectations that the bank will lower its overnight lending rate when it makes its scheduled announcement Wednesday have been high since last week’s release of the latest Statistics Canada inflation report, which showed annual inflation cooled to 2.7 per cent in June.

The inflation reading was less than the 2.8 per cent that markets had been expecting and has helped to build market confidence that the Bank of Canada may be poised for a second rate cut, on top of the 25-basis-point cut it announced last month.

Last month’s interest rate cut, which reduced the central bank’s key rate from five to 4.75 per cent, was the first in more than four years.

Royce Mendes with Desjardins says in addition to the latest inflation report, recent data showing rising unemployment as well as subdued expectations for growth by Canadian businesses all support the prospect of another cut.

While inflation remains higher than the Bank of Canada’s two per cent target, Mendes said he believes delaying any longer could have negative repercussions.

Here’s what else we’re watching…

LCBO workers back on the job after ratifying deal

Workers are back on the job today at Ontario’s main liquor retailer, but the Liquor Control Board of Ontario says stores won’t be open for business until Tuesday.

The union representing 10,000 of its workers announced Sunday members had ratified a new deal with the liquor retailer to end a strike that had closed its stores for two weeks.

The ratification came after the deal seemed to be up in the air on Friday.

Both OPSEU and the LCBO had announced a tentative agreement had been reached but the union said the strike would continue after the employer refused to sign a return-to-work protocol.

The retailer said the union had introduced new monetary demands and the employer would file an unfair labour practice complaint.

But the LCBO issued a statement on Saturday saying reopening plans were back underway, and a return-to-work protocol signed by both parties does not include any “new monetary items.”

A look at one year of strong mayor powers

In the year since so-called strong mayor powers were granted to the heads of council in a swath of Ontario municipalities, most mayors have used them sparingly — if at all — though in some corners a sense of unease with the sweeping authority remains.

As of this month, nearly 30 mayors have had the ability for a year or more to propose bylaws and pass them with the support of one-third of councillors, veto bylaws and hire and fire department heads, among other powers.

Premier Doug Ford’s government later doled out the powers to many more mayors, even when they were not interested in receiving them, and Ontario now has a total of 46 strong mayors.

Many of them are in the province’s largest cities, and the chair of the Ontario Big City Mayors group said by and large the mayors have “exercised enormous restraint and responsibility” in exercising the powers.

Year after flood took four lives, reforms are slow

The mother of a boy who died a year ago in a Nova Scotia flood says her grief returns daily, along with frustration over what she considers the province’s slow pace in reforming its preparations for climate disasters.

Tera Sisco’s six-year-old son Colton Sisco died after the vehicle he was in overturned during torrential thunderstorms on July 22, 2023. About 258 millimetres of rain to the municipality of West Hants — a rural area northwest of Halifax — fell during the overnight flash flood.

Natalie Harnish, six, died in the same vehicle as Sisco, while 52-year-old Nick Holland and 14-year-old Terri-Lynn Keddy were swept away from a vehicle on the same road and also died.

The tragedy has drawn repeated calls for the Progressive Conservative government to improve the province’s emergency alert system, as severe weather events are hitting the province with disturbing regularity.

A recent review released by the municipality of West Hants said two hours and 41 minutes passed between the first rescue responses and the province sending an alert urging citizens to “shelter in place.” Blair Feltmate, director of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo has called that “far too long a delay.”

Elation in Newfoundland town for rescued fishers

There was a powerful word being repeated in the joyful Newfoundland community of New-Wes-Valley on Sunday: “Miracle.”

Over and over, residents out walking or chatting to one another in local stores described the rescue of seven fishermen from the area who had somehow survived two days in a life-raft on the Atlantic ocean as nothing short of miraculous.

The Elite Navigator fishing boat and its crew seemed to vanish on Wednesday night after several days at sea fishing for turbot. The craft was reported missing on Thursday after transmitting its final signal at around 8:30 p.m. the night before, the Canadian Coast Guard said. The vessel had caught fire, forcing the crew to abandon the ship and wait for rescue on the life-raft.

In New-Wes-Valley, which is an amalgamation of three small fishing communities along Newfoundland’s northeast coast, people braced for the worst. Fishing is among Canada’s deadliest professions, and tragedy is a common thread linking coastal communities across Atlantic Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2024.



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