Saskatoon News

11 arrested, dozens of businesses damaged after Montreal anti-racism rally

News Talk 650 CKOM - 52 min 29 sec ago
MONTREAL - Eleven people have been arrested after tensions flared between protesters and police following a Montreal anti-racism demonstration on Sunday. While the formal rally took place without incident, the situation later degenerated when some protesters smashed windows and lit fires and were met with pepper spray and tear gas from officers. Montreal police say nine of the arrests are for breaking and entering, one is for armed assault and one is for mischief. They say they have received 70 reports of damage to stores and other acts of mischief, and more arrests could follow. The demonstrators had gathered to denounce racism and police impunity following the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis on Monday after pleading for air while a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck. Montreal police declared the gathering illegal after they say projectiles were thrown at officers, who responded with pepper spray and tear gas. This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020 The Canadian Press

Show Segments

News Talk 650 CKOM - 59 min 8 sec ago
8:30 – We’ve taken steps to isolate the most vulnerable groups as we fight COVID-19, and no group is more vulnerable than seniors. But leaving seniors in isolation for months comes with its own suite of issues. Dr. Lilian Thorpe is a geriatric psychiatrist, and she says isolation is causing real difficulties. In many cases seniors are passing away with no or minimal visitation from family members, some seniors are afraid to seek care for medical issues because of the risks of COVID-19, and the isolation itself can lead to severe loneliness and other mental health challenges. Thorpe joins Gormley to go over some of the issues caused by keeping our elders isolated. LIVE: Dr. Lilian Thorpe, geriatric psychiatrist. 9:00 - The Hour of the Big Stories... Open Session 9:00 – After six straight days of unrest, America headed into a new work week Monday with neighbourhoods in shambles, urban streets on lockdown and political leaders struggling to control the coast-to-coast outpouring of rage over police killings of black people. KSTP reporter Jay Kolls was on the scene outside the riots and a burning police station in Minneapolis. He joins Gormley with the latest on the protests and riots. LIVE: Jay Kolls, KSTP Reporter. 10:00 – In Dr. Bill Howatt’s book “Stop Hiding and Start Living: How to Say F-it to Fear and Develop Mental Fitness,” Howatt argues that happiness is the direct outcome of choices you make and ways of being and living daily. Howatt says some people can bounce back after stress or failures not due to natural resilience, but because they are able to move confidently through setbacks with good coping skills. With COVID-19 causing setbacks in just about everyone’s life, it’s a great chance for us to catch up with Dr. Howatt and find out more about how to develop mental fitness. LIVE: Dr. Bill Howatt, author of “Stop Hiding and Start Living: How to Say F-it to Fear and Develop Mental Fitness” 11:00 – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has floated the idea of a four-day work week, and Justin Trudeau has said we’ll see “particularly creative ideas” as we work to restore our economy after COVID-19, but would a four-day week make us more productive? Nearly 70% of Canadians would prefer working 10-hour days four times a week according to an Angus Reid poll, but we want to know what you think! Is there a good argument in favour of a four-day workweek, or does the idea make zero sense? Call 1-877-332-8255 and join the conversation! 12:00 – North American Helium has the green light to start building Canada’s largest helium purification facility in Battle Creek, Saskatchewan. The price of helium has gone up by 160% since 2017, making it a great time to invest. NAH President Marlon McDougall joins Gormley to tell us more about the project. LIVE: Marlon McDougall, President and COO of North American Helium.

Highway 3 closed near Paradise Hill due to crash

News Talk 650 CKOM - 1 hour 2 min ago
A collision on Highway 3 west of Paradise Hill has closed the road in both directions. The Maidstone RCMP said in a media release Monday that a crash about 10 kilometres west of Paradise Hill — at the intersection of Highway 3 and Range Road 3254 — has forced the closure. The Mounties said the highway will be closed for an indefinite period. Drivers are advised to use alternate routes until the road reopens.

Rogers Centre to be used as temporary facility to help Food Banks Canada

News Talk 650 CKOM - 1 hour 4 min ago
TORONTO - Rogers Centre, the home of the Toronto Blue Jays, is going to be temporarily converted into a giant food bank facility. Rogers Communications and the Jays Care Foundation have announced a new initiative, called Step Up to the Plate, to support Food Banks Canada. They say the stadium, currently in disuse because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of the Major League Baseball season, will house more than 4.5 million kilograms of food. The program will see hundreds of Rogers employees and their families volunteer go on the field to sort 6,000 pallets of food into food hampers, which will then be delivered across Canada to families in need. The organizations say each hamper will contain a variety of non-perishable food items and provide one person with a week's worth of food. Rogers says its goal is to fill 390,000 hampers, for a total of eight million meals. This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020. The Canadian Press

Canada’s Olympic, Paralympic athletes return to sport with help of $5 million

News Talk 650 CKOM - 1 hour 5 min ago
TORONTO - Canada's Olympic and Paralympic athletes will return to sport with the help of $5 million. The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees and Own The Podium came up with the money to get the athletes back to training in their facilities as some COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift. Many athletes have been training at home for several weeks. The Tokyo Games were postponed from this summer to next year because of the pandemic. OTP's return-to-sport task force has worked on reintroducing sport responsibly for athletes and coaches while following provincial, territorial and federal public health guidelines.  Swimming Canada introduced a strategy to return to the pool last week. This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020. The Canadian Press

What you can and can’t do at national parks

Global Saskatoon - 1 hour 7 min ago
While provincial parks are opening campsites to the public starting Monday, Prince Albert National Park will be reopening for the first time since the pandemic. Parks Canada breaks down what you can – and can’t – do.
Categories: Saskatoon News

Updated budget to be tabled when Saskatchewan Legislature resumes

News Talk 650 CKOM - 1 hour 23 min ago
By the time the Saskatchewan Legislature resumes sitting June 15, it will have been almost three months since the sitting was suspended for the pandemic. On Tuesday, the government and official opposition announced their house leaders had reached a deal, and the two sides would sit for three weeks between June 15 and July 3 — except on Canada Day. An updated version of the province's budget will be tabled on June 15 and 60 hours of debate will follow. "This will be, by far, the most extensive scrutiny of any budget in any House in this nation since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic," Premier Scott Moe said Tuesday. In a statement released Tuesday, NDP Leader Ryan Meili said the deal to get back into the assembly came after weeks of pressure from the NDP and the public. "We look forward to returning to the Legislature to push for an economic recovery plan that puts people first. And we'll continue to push for accountability and answers to the government's handling of COVID-19 and its economic fallout," Meili said in the statement. "Before COVID-19, far too many people in Saskatchewan were struggling to make ends meet — many more families are struggling now. That's why we need a plan for our economic recovery." The government was set to table its budget March 18, but at the last minute decided to table only spending estimates and work off special warrants for a while. It was explained that the pandemic was making revenues too difficult to predict. In April, the province gave a fiscal update and predicted that revenues would be down. Moe said Tuesday the budget would be in a deficit. "We will have a deficit this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That deficit will largely be attributed to a lowering of the revenues and that has been indicated and communicated by our minister of finance already," said Moe. Moe said the budget will, for the most part, be based on the spending estimates that were tabled in March, plus the initiatives that have been undertaken as part of the pandemic response. "Our ministries have done a very good job of ensuring that the investment that they were allocated, the 5/12ths of the year that was allocated to them through the special warrant, they are remaining projected to operate, including health, to operate within the estimates that they have been granted," the premier said. Moe's confidence in the budget remains and he echoed sentiments on Tuesday that he'd had before the pandemic, saying the budget is strong and gets the province on the path set out in the plan for growth.

U.S. heads into a new week shaken by violence and frustration

News Talk 650 CKOM - 1 hour 30 min ago
WASHINGTON (AP) - After six straight days of unrest, America headed into a new work week Monday with neighbourhoods in shambles, urban streets on lockdown and political leaders struggling to control the coast-to-coast outpouring of rage over police killings of black people. Despite curfews in big cities across the U.S. and the deployment of thousands of National Guard soldiers over the past week, demonstrations descended into violence again on Sunday. Protesters hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at police in Philadelphia, set a fire near the White House and were hit with tear gas and pepper spray in Austin, Texas, and other cities. Seven Boston police officers were hospitalized. Police officers and National Guard soldiers enforcing a curfew in Louisville, Ky., killed a man early Monday when they returned fire after someone in a large group shot at them first, police said. In Indianapolis, two people were reported dead in bursts of downtown violence over the weekend, adding to deaths recorded in Detroit and Minneapolis. In some cities, thieves smashed their way into stores and ran off with as much as they could carry, leaving shop owners, many of them just beginning to reopen their businesses after the coronavirus shutdowns, to clean up their shattered stores. In other places, police tried to calm tensions by kneeling in solidarity with demonstrators. The demonstrations were sparked by the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for several minutes. Racial tensions were also running high after two white men were arrested in May in the February shooting death of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and after Louisville police shot Breonna Taylor to death in her home in March. The upheaval has unfolded amid the gloom and economic ruin caused by the coronavirus, which has killed over 100,000 Americans and sent unemployment soaring to levels not seen since the Depression. The outbreak has hit minorities especially hard, not just in infections and deaths but in job losses and economic stress. The scale of the coast-to-coast protests has rivalled the historic demonstrations of the civil rights and Vietnam War eras. At least 4,400 people have been arrested for such offences as stealing, blocking highways and breaking curfew, according to a count compiled by The Associated Press. "They keep killing our people. I'm so sick and tired of it," said Mahira Louis, 15, who was at a Boston protest with her mother Sunday, leading chants of "George Floyd, say his name!” At the White House, the scene of three days of demonstrations, police fired tear gas and stun grenades Sunday into a crowd of more than 1,000 chanting protesters across the street in Lafayette Park. The crowd ran, piling up road signs and plastic barriers to light a raging fire in a street nearby. Some pulled an American flag from a building and threw it into the flames. A building in the park with bathrooms and a maintenance office was burned down. The district's entire National Guard - roughly 1,700 soldiers - was called in to help control the protests, according to Pentagon officials. As the unrest grew, President Donald Trump retweeted conservative commentator Buck Sexton, who called for "overwhelming force" against violent demonstrators. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, visited the site of protests in his hometown of Wilmington, Del., and talked to demonstrators. He also wrote a post online expressing empathy for those despairing about Floyd's killing. In New York, thieves raided luxury stores, including Chanel, Rolex and Prada boutiques. In Birmingham, Ala., a Confederate statute was toppled. In Salt Lake City, an activist leader condemned the destruction of property but said broken buildings shouldn't be mourned on the same level as black men like Floyd. "Maybe this country will get the memo that we are sick of police murdering unarmed black men," said Lex Scott, founder of Black Lives Matter Utah. "Maybe the next time a white police officer decides to pull the trigger, he will picture cities burning." Thousands marched peacefully in Phoenix, Albuquerque, N.M., and other cities, with some calling for an end to the fires, vandalism and theft, saying the destruction weakens calls for justice and reform. In downtown Atlanta, authorities fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of demonstrators. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said two officers had been fired and three placed on desk duty after video showed police surrounding a car Saturday and using stun guns on the man and woman inside. In Los Angeles, a police SUV accelerated into several protesters in a street, knocking two people to the ground. Nearby in Santa Monica, not far from a peaceful demonstration, groups broke into stores, walking out with boxes of shoes and folding chairs, among other items. A fire broke out at a restaurant across the street. Scores of people swarmed into stores in Long Beach. Some hauled armloads of clothing from a Forever 21 store away in garbage bags. In Minneapolis, the officer who pinned Floyd to the pavement has been charged with murder, but protesters are demanding the three other officers at the scene be prosecuted. All four were fired. "We're not done," said Darnella Wade, an organizer for Black Lives Matter in neighboring St. Paul, where thousands gathered peacefully in front of the state capitol. "They sent us the military, and we only asked them for arrests." Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz brought in thousands of National Guard soldiers on Saturday to help quell violence that had damaged or destroyed hundreds of buildings in Minneapolis over days of protests. That appeared to help minimize unrest, but thousands marching on a closed freeway were shaken when a tractor-trailer rolled into their midst. No serious injuries were reported. The driver was arrested on suspicion of assault. In tweets Sunday, Trump accused anarchists and the media of fuelling violence. Attorney General William Barr pointed a finger at "far left extremist" groups. Police chiefs and politicians accused outsiders of causing the problems. ___ Morrison reported from Minneapolis and Vertuno reported from Austin, Texas. Associated Press journalists across the U.S. contributed to this report. Aahraf Khalil, Aaron Morrison and Jim Vertuno, The Associated Press

Family says ‘back and forth’ between N.S. and Ottawa over shooting probe ‘unreal’

News Talk 650 CKOM - 1 hour 38 min ago
HALIFAX - A Nova Scotia family is making a passionate appeal for the federal and Nova Scotia governments to end the "back and forth" over who leads a public inquiry into the province's mass shooting. Darcy Dobson, the daughter of a licensed practical nurse who was among the 22 victims, says in the open letter that she, her father Andrew and her five siblings "formally request the start of a public inquiry into the mass shooting on April 18 and 19." Dobson's mother, Heather O'Brien of Truro, N.S., was killed by the gunman on April 19 as she drove along a highway in Debert, N.S. The letter notes that with few answers provided more than 40 days after the tragedy, families aren't able to heal properly, and she adds "the amount of information being kept from us is deplorable." Premier Stephen McNeil has said he wants Ottawa to lead a public inquiry because the areas of key jurisdiction - such as the protocols followed by the RCMP - are federal. However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn't committed his government to overseeing an inquiry, saying only it will "work with the government of Nova Scotia" to get answers.  The letter from Dobson is signed by the entire O'Brien family and says, "the back and forth about who's responsible for an inquiry is unreal." It says mistakes were made at both the provincial and federal levels: "We need answers, we need answers to heal, we need answers so we can find a way to live in this new normal that we've been forced into." The letter adds that authorities should be trying to learn from one of the worst mass killings in Canadian history. "What's the hold up in the inquiry? Why hasn't this happened yet? Where are we in the investigation? Was someone else involved? Why can't we get any answers at all 40 days in?!" it asks. "The fact that anyone of us has to ask these questions is all very concerning and only makes everyone feel, inadequate, unimportant and unsafe. "Please for the people of our province, for the people of our country, for the people who have lost someone so dear to their hearts, find a way to let us start to heal. This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020. Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

Your Saskatchewan photo of the day: June 2020

Global Saskatoon - 2 hours 5 min ago
A viewer submitted photo is featured daily in Your Saskatchewan on Global Saskatoon and Global Regina.
Categories: Saskatoon News

Jamie Nye: Kaepernick needed to be heard, not vilified

News Talk 650 CKOM - 2 hours 8 min ago
Right along with the name George Floyd, we’ve seen the name of Colin Kaepernick being discussed in the last week. You know, the NFL quarterback whom many yelled at, booed, criticized and turned their back on because he was taking a knee during the national anthem. I hope today, and over the last week, there are many people who are disgusted with themselves for the way they treated and perceived Kaepernick. He was labelled a selfish, unpatriotic distraction who should be fired for protesting at his place of work. He was none of those things. Remember what he protesting? He was protesting racism minority Americans face in the justice system. He wanted change. Change was needed. If only we all would have paid attention and listened to what he was protesting rather than when he was protesting. We would have been five years ahead of where we are today. So the next time a player takes a knee during the national anthem, and I hope there are plenty when sports return, listen to the reason and empathize rather than making them a villain. Because the further away we get from his initial protest, Kaepernick is looking more and more like a hero.

Wind warnings in effect as gusts reach 100 km/h: This is your Saskatoon forecast

CTV Saskatoon - 2 hours 19 min ago
West winds are wreaking havoc on central Saskatchewan this morning, and they’ll continue to blow ferociously into the afternoon.
Categories: Saskatoon News

Tank: Efforts to preserve Saskatoon's Northeast Swale dealt blow

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - 3 hours 5 min ago
One of the first acts of the current Saskatoon city council was passing the 2017 budget that included $1.5 million to preserve and enhance the Northeast Swale. Read More

'A legend': Bruce Gordon was long-time voice of the U of S hockey Huskies

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - 3 hours 5 min ago
Bruce Gordon — the voice of Huskies’ hockey for nearly four decades — will be remembered as a true “Huskie legend,” a campus hockey “fixture” and unique, one-of-a-kind tradition. Read More

'Overwhelmed with excitement': Autism Services Saskatoon residents ride in style

CTV Saskatoon - 3 hours 17 min ago
Residents at Autism Services Saskatoon took a fun and unique ride this weekend, as staff built a cardboard toy car for a group living at the care home.
Categories: Saskatoon News

Promising summer after lacklustre spring, Weather Network predicts

News Talk 650 CKOM - 5 hours 5 min ago
Most Canadians may have missed out on spring, but one of the country's most prominent weather forecasters says they'll likely get to enjoy a more seasonal summer. The Weather Network is calling for slightly warmer than normal temperatures across most of the country, with Ontario and Quebec slated for the longest stretches of significant heat. But Chief Meteorologist Chris Scott says the summery conditions in central Canada may come with a price, predicting precipitation levels somewhat above seasonal norms throughout June, July and August. Scott says the season may get off to a slow start in the Atlantic provinces, but forecasts more typical summer weather patterns towards the end of June as well as above average storm activity throughout the region. He's also expecting to see higher precipitation across much of the prairies, noting the same weather that may complicate spring planting for regional farmers is slated to give way to favourable harvest conditions by season's end. Scott says a cooler month of June in British Columbia and the Yukon is expected to lead to temperatures that are slightly above seasonal norms, while average temperatures in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories are projected to fall below levels recorded in a typical summer. Scott said regular shots of rain and cool air across most of the country will prevent the warmer-than-average summer from feeling like an "all-out scorcher," but said those pining for patio weather may still be dissatisfied with the forecast after living through a month of May that saw conditions swing from snowfalls to heatwaves in the course of weeks. "If you're lamenting that you seem to have skipped spring where you live, there's going to be some spring weather still in June," Scott said in a telephone interview. "So we're not all in on summer yet, but it is on the way." Scott said the hot, humid conditions expected to dominate in Quebec and Ontario are currently projected to stretch beyond the summer months and into September. He said the main wildcards for meteorologists remain the hurricane season in the Atlantic provinces and forest fire risks farther west, particularly in British Columbia. Scott said the forecast suggests the latter may pose less of a concern than in recent years, but notes it only takes one blaze to cause widespread disaster. This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020. The Canadian Press

Easing restrictions and rage in the streets; In The News for June 1

News Talk 650 CKOM - 6 hours 25 min ago
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of June 1 ... --- COVID-19 in Canada ... Some provinces are moving today to loosen more restrictions intended to slow the spread of the pandemic. British Columbia is giving parents the option of sending their children back to school on a part-time basis. Manitoba is easing a raft of restrictions, including its ban on people visiting loved ones in personal care homes, though safeguards such as screening visitors and maintaining physical distancing will apply. Community centres, seniors clubs, fitness clubs, dine-in restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, pools, amateur sports and recreation programs can also reopen with limits on customer capacity and rules for physical distancing. Film productions are being allowed to resume and a ban on non-essential travel to the province's north is being eased. In Ontario Drive-in movie theatres and batting cages were allowed to reopen Sunday, and today campers can return to provincial parks, with certain stipulations.  Meanwhile, PEI is allowing in-house dining at restaurants as well as the reopening of child-care centres and libraries. Also allowed now are outdoor visits with residents at long-term care homes, certain recreational and sporting activities and gatherings of up to 15 people indoors and 20 outdoors. --- Also this ... MONTREAL - A Montreal anti-racism protest demanding justice for a black Minnesota man who died following a police intervention last week degenerated into clashes between police and some demonstrators on Sunday night. The march had snaked its way through downtown Montreal on Sunday afternoon without incident, but police declared the gathering illegal about three hours after it began when they say projectiles were thrown at officers who responded with pepper spray and tear gas. Tensions flared after the formal rally had concluded. Windows were smashed, fires were set and the situation slid into a game of cat-and-mouse between pockets of protesters and police trying to disperse them. Demonstrators had gathered to denounce racist violence and police impunity - both in the U.S. and at home in Montreal. George Floyd died in Minneapolis on Monday after pleading for air while a white police officer pressed a knee on his neck. His death has sparked nightly protests in major U.S. cities. The Montreal rally followed one in Toronto on Saturday, which remained peaceful. So too did Sunday's rally in Vancouver, where thousands gathered outside the city's art gallery, waving signs and chanting their support of the Black Lives Matter movement and Floyd. --- In the United States ... Another night of unfettered fury, random violence and hardline police tactics unfurled itself Sunday in the United States under clouds of tear gas, pepper spray and smoke from street fires - all of it sparked by the latest death of a black man while in police custody. In front of the White House, protesters clashed yet again with a massive front line of police, Secret Service agents and Park Police officers in a back-and-forth hail of bricks, rocks, rubber bullets and gas canisters, a massive bonfire raging in the middle of the street. In Philadelphia, brazen vandals began smashing windows, looting stores and setting fire to police cruisers in broad daylight and full view of television cameras, long before the sun went down. Riot squads advanced menacingly on crowds in Santa Monica, Calif. Fires sprang up on the protester-crowded streets of New York City. And in Minneapolis, where George Floyd died on the street Monday with his throat pressed under the knee of one of his arresting officers, a tanker truck barrelled through a crowd of demonstrators gathered on a closed highway, apparently in an act of provocation that somehow didn't cause any injuries.   --- Also this ... Several thousand people marched in New Zealand's largest city on Monday to protest the killing of George Floyd in the U.S. as well as to stand up against police violence and racism in their own country. Many people around the world have watched with growing unease at the civil unrest in the U.S. after the latest in a series of police killings of black men and women. Floyd died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed his knee on Floyd's neck until he stopped breathing. The officer was fired and charged with murder. In Iran, which has in the recent past violently put down nationwide demonstrations by killing hundreds, arresting thousands and disrupting internet access to the outside world, state television has repeatedly aired images of the U.S. unrest. Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi urged the U.S. government and police to stop the violence. At a gathering in central London on Sunday, thousands offered support for American demonstrators, chanting "No justice! No peace!" and waving placards with the words "How many more?" In Brazil, hundreds of people protested crimes committed by the police against black people in Rio de Janeiro's working-class neighbourhoods, known as favelas. Police used tear gas to disperse them, with some demonstrators saying "I can't breathe," repeating Floyd's own words. --- COVID-19 in sports... NEW YORK - Major League Baseball players ignored claims by clubs that they need to take additional pay cuts, instead proposing they receive a far higher percentage of salaries and a commit to a longer schedule as part of a counteroffer to start the coronavirus-delayed season. Players proposed a 114-game regular season Sunday, up from 82 in management's offer, a person familiar with the plan told The Associated Press. Done that way, the World Series could extend past Thanksgiving. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no details were announced. Opening day would be June 30 and the regular season would end Oct. 31, nearly five weeks after the Sept. 27 conclusion that MLB's proposal stuck to from the season's original schedule. The union offered scheduling flexibility to include more doubleheaders as baseball crams the games into 123 days, leaving little room for days off. MLB's proposal Tuesday would lower 2020 salaries from about $4 billion to approximately $1.2 billion. The union's offer would have salaries total about $2.8 billion. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020 The Canadian Press

Injured vets waiting twice as long as promised to learn if they qualify for aid

News Talk 650 CKOM - 6 hours 55 min ago
OTTAWA - Injured Canadian veterans are being forced to wait on average twice as long as promised to find out whether they qualify for financial help from the government, even as the backlog of unprocessed applications for assistance continues to grow. Veterans are told the vast majority will know within 16 weeks whether they qualify for compensation and assistance for service-related injuries after filing an application with the federal government. Yet the average wait time at the end of April was 34.5 weeks - an increase of nearly two weeks since the start of the year and more than double what has been promised. Veterans Affairs did not say how much the COVID-19 pandemic is contributing to the problem. The department has said officials are continuing to process applications while working at home due to the crisis. But the federal government has long been accused of causing added frustration and stress to many injured veterans because of the growing wait times, which have in turn contributed to a growing backlog of requests for help. More than 46,200 applications were in the backlog at the end of December, according to Veterans Affairs. That represented an increase of 1,600 from September and 6,000 from March. The number, which is expected to only increase due to the pandemic, includes more than 20,000 applications that the department says are "incomplete" and awaiting further information. Veterans' advocacy groups in recent months have been asking the Liberal government to automatically approve all applications for assistance from injured ex-soldiers and conduct an audit after the fact to catch any illegitimate claims. They have specifically said many veterans are facing a hard time collecting all the necessary information due to various lockdowns, and noted such an approach has been adopted for some of the federal emergency programs set up due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has so far resisted such calls. Then-veterans ombudsman Guy Parent blasted the federal government for the wait times and backlog in September 2018, at which point the average turnaround time for disability-benefits applications was  between 23 and 29 weeks. "Now is the time to ensure that the planning and resources required to deliver disability benefits, both equitably and in a timely manner, are in place," the ombudsman's report said. "Lengthy turnaround times for disability benefit decisions is about more than monetary compensation for pain and suffering. Many applicants have unmet health needs that can be exacerbated by waiting for adequate treatment." The federal government actually considered in 2018 whether to extend the 16-week target, saying it wanted to provide veterans with a more "realistic" idea of when their application would be processed. But it abandoned the controversial plan last year following criticism that Veterans Affairs was trying to move its own goalposts. This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020. Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

A look at how provinces plan to emerge from COVID-19 shutdown

News Talk 650 CKOM - 7 hours 1 min ago
Provinces have been releasing plans for easing restrictions that were put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Here is what some of the provinces have announced so far: Newfoundland and Labrador Newfoundland and Labrador announced on May 29 that "bubbles" that had been limited to two households could invite six additional people into their circle. Small gatherings for funerals, burials and weddings had already been allowed with a limit of 10 people following physical distancing rules. However, parties or other social gatherings are still banned. Outdoor games of tennis have been allowed to resume, though players must bring their own equipment, and not share it. Pet grooming services began operating May 25, with companies ordered to ensure their employees have personal protective equipment. Municipal parks, golf courses and driving ranges can open and recreational hunting and fishing are permitted. The province is in "alert level four" in its five-level reopening plan, allowing some businesses such as law firms and other professional services to reopen along with regulated child-care centres, with some restrictions. At Level 3, private health clinics, such as optometrists and dentists, will be allowed to open, as well as medium-risk businesses such as clothing stores and hair salons.  Overnight camping will also be permitted at level three, though there's no word yet when that will happen. At Level 2, some small gatherings will be allowed, and businesses with performance spaces and gyms are to reopen. Level 1 would represent "the new normal." --- Nova Scotia On May 29 Premier Stephen McNeil announced a new gathering limit of 10 people, doubling the limit of five that was imposed in late March. Physical distancing of two metres is still required, except among members of the same household or family "bubble." The limit is the same indoors and outdoors, with exceptions for outdoor weddings and funeral services which can have 15 people. The gathering limit also applies to arts and culture activities such as theatre performances and dance recitals, faith gatherings, and sports and physical activity. Businesses such as theatres, concerts, festivals and sporting activities also have to adhere to the 10-person limit. Private campgrounds can reopen, but only at 50 per cent capacity and they must ensure public health protocols are followed, including adequate distancing between campsites. Provincial campgrounds are scheduled to open June 15 at reduced capacity to ensure a minimum of six metres between individual sites. Most businesses ordered shut in late March will be allowed to reopen June 5, as long as they have a plan that follows physical distancing protocols. The list of businesses includes bars and restaurant dining rooms, hair salons, barber shops, gyms and yoga studios, among others.  Some health providers will also be able to reopen, including dentistry, optometry, chiropractic and physiotherapy offices. Veterinary services will be allowed to operate along with some unregulated professions, such as massage therapy, podiatry and naturopathy. McNeil earlier announced there would be no return to school this year, and a decision on reopening daycares would be made by June 8. Trails and provincial and municipal parks can now reopen along with garden centres, nurseries and similar businesses, but playground equipment is still off limits. Public beaches have reopened along with outdoor activities like archery, horseback riding, golf, paddling, boating and tennis, with the proviso that social distancing and hygiene be maintained. Sportfishing is permitted and people can attend boating, yacht or sailing clubs for the purpose of preparing boats for use. Drive-in religious services are now allowed, if people stay in their cars, park two metres apart and there are no interactions between people. --- Prince Edward Island Prince Edward Island has extended its public health emergency until June 14. Premier Dennis King says people wanting to travel to seasonal residences must submit an application beginning June 1, and those will be put through a risk assessment before approval. Seasonal residents will also be tested for COVID-19 before completing the two weeks they must spend in self-isolation after arriving in the province. The province moves into the third phase of its reopening plan today (June 1), which allows such things as in-house dining at restaurants, small groups to participate in recreational and some sporting activities and libraries to reopen. Phase three also allows gatherings of up to 15 people indoors and 20 people outdoors and the reopening of child-care centres. As well, family and friends can visit residents at long-term care homes. The visits require an appointment and must take place outdoors. Under phase 2, non-contact outdoor recreational activities were permitted and retail businesses could reopen with physical distancing measures in place. Priority non-urgent surgeries and select health-service providers, including physiotherapists, optometrists and chiropractors, resumed on May 1. The P.E.I legislature resumed May 26. --- New Brunswick New Brunswick moved to the "yellow phase" of its COVID-19 recovery plan on May 22, allowing barbers and hair stylists to reopen as well as churches and fitness facilities. Dental care, massage, chiropractors and other "close contact" businesses and services could also reopen. But the Campbellton region, which extends from Whites Brook to the Belledune, had to take a step backwards to the "orange" level on May 27. Residents were told to once again avoid contacts outside their two-household bubble. Non-regulated health professionals and personal service businesses that opened up May 22 also had to close again. And people should only be travelling in and out of Zone 5 for essential reasons. Restrictions in the yellow phase of the province's recovery plan will be lifted beginning June 5. The activities include outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people, indoor religious services of up to 50 people, low-contact team sports and the opening of a long list of facilities including swimming pools, gyms, rinks, water parks, and yoga and dance studios. Licensed daycares started reopening May 19. Children don't have to wear masks or maintain physical distancing, but are being kept in small groups. Anyone who has travelled outside of New Brunswick will not be allowed to visit early learning and child-care facilities for 14 days. Retail businesses, offices, restaurants, libraries, museums and seasonal campgrounds were earlier allowed to reopen providing they have clear plans for meeting public health guidelines. The resumption of elective surgeries was also part phase two of the province's reopening plan. Phase one, which started on April 24, allowed limited play on golf courses as well as fishing and hunting. Post-secondary students were allowed to return if it was deemed safe by the school, and outdoor church services were again permitted, providing people remain in their vehicles and are two metres apart. The final phase, which will probably come only after a vaccine is available, will include large gatherings. --- Quebec Quebec began allowing outdoor gatherings with a maximum of 10 people from three families with social distancing in place on May 22. On May 25 some retail businesses reopened in the greater Montreal area. Quebec reopened retail stores outside Montreal on May 11. Parks and pools can reopen across the province but are still be subject to physical distancing and other health measures Day camps across the province will be allowed to open as of June 22, with physical distancing and other COVID-19 health measures in effect. That means smaller groups of children and frequent handwashing. Sleep-away summer camps won't be allowed to reopen until next year. Lottery terminals are also reopening after being shut down on March 20 with sales moving to online only. Quebec's construction and manufacturing industries have resumed operations with limits on the number of employees who can work per shift. Elementary schools and daycares outside Montreal reopened on May 11, but high schools, junior colleges and universities will stay closed until September. Elementary schools in the greater Montreal area will remain closed until late August. Premier Francois Legault has said Montreal daycares will also remain closed until at least June 1. Hairdressers, nail salons and other personal care businesses will be able to open in the Montreal area on June 15. Meanwhile, checkpoints set up to slow the spread of COVID-19 came down on May 18 in various parts of Quebec, including between Gatineau and Ottawa. --- Ontario Ontario began its first stage of reopening May 19 including lifting restrictions on retail stores and surgeries. The province says workplaces can begin to reopen but working from home should continue as much as possible. The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario says the profession is currently in Stage 2 of its three-phase reopening plan. Dentists had previously only been allowed to practice emergency or urgent care on patients in-person, but can now offer other essential services with enhanced precautions. All construction can resume, with limits also lifted on maintenance, repair and property management services, such as cleaning, painting and pool maintenance. Most retail stores with a street entrance can reopen with physical distancing restrictions, and curbside pickup and delivery. Golf courses can reopen though clubhouses can only open for washrooms and take-out food. Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches can also open, as can private parks and campgrounds for trailers and RVs whose owners have a full season contract, and businesses that board animals. Other businesses and services included in the stage one reopening include regular veterinary appointments, pet grooming, pet sitting and pet training; libraries for pickup or deliveries; and housekeepers and babysitters. Drive-in movie theatres and batting cages could reopen as of May 31 with physical distancing measures in effect. Backcountry campers can to return to provincial parks today (June 1) with certain stipulations.  No more than five people cn occupy a single campsite, unless they live in the same household. Provincial parks will also expand permission for picnics and off-leash pet areas. Premier Doug Ford earlier announced that Ontario schools would remain closed for the rest of the school year. Meanwhile, this summer's Honda Indy Toronto has been cancelled. --- Manitoba The Manitoba government has lifted its one-month limit on people's prescription drug supplies, allowing people to again get prescriptions filled or refilled for 90 days. Its health offices, including dentists, chiropractors and physiotherapists can also reopen. Retail businesses can reopen at half occupancy providing they ensure physical spacing. Museums and libraries can reopen, but with occupancy limited to 50 per cent. Playgrounds, golf courses and tennis courts have reopened as well, along with parks and campgrounds. On May 22 the province began allowing groups of up to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. Today (June 1) the province is easing a ban on people visiting loved ones in personal care homes. Homes can now offer outdoor visits with a maximum of two guests per resident. Visitors will be screened upon arrival and must practice  physical distancing. Community centres and seniors clubs are also getting the go-ahead with limits on customer capacity and rules for physical distancing. Bars, tattoo parlours, dine-in restaurants, fitness clubs and pools will also be allowed to reopen today (June 1) under limited capacity. Elementary and high schools stopped in-class instruction in March and will not reopen this school year. But they will be allowed, as of today (June 1), to offer tutoring or student assessments in small groups. Some extracurricular sports and other activities can restart. At universities and colleges, some specific instruction such as labs and arts studios will be able to resume for up to 25 students and staff at a time. Amateur sports and recreation programs, as well as bowling alleys, are on the list to resume operations. A ban on non-essential travel to the province's north is also being eased today (June 1). Southern residents can now travel directly to cottages, campgrounds and parks, but are being told to avoid visiting northern communities. Film productions can also resume, as well outdoor religious services with no crowd limits providing people stay in their vehicles. Movie theatres and casinos must remain closed. Concerts, professional sporting events and other large public gatherings won't be considered until at least September. Manitoba has extended a province-wide state of emergency until mid-June, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. --- Saskatchewan The Saskatchewan government's five-phase plan to reopen its economy started May 11 with dentists, optometrists and other health professionals allowed to resume services. Phase 1 also includes reopened golf courses and campgrounds. Under phases 2 and 3 the province says restaurants, gyms and nail salons can start reopening on June 8. Restaurants will be allowed to operate at half capacity and restrictions will also lift on some personal care services, childcare centres and places of worship. The government also plans to increase its 10-person gathering limit to 15 people indoors and to 30 for those outdoors. Phase 4 could see arenas, swimming pools and playgrounds opening, while in Phase 5, the province would consider lifting restrictions on the size of public gatherings. --- Alberta Alberta has completed the first phase of its economic relaunch. Retail shops, restaurants, day cares, barber shops, hair salons, farmers markets and places of worship have reopened with some conditions. Outdoor gatherings are currently limited to 50 people, and indoor gatherings to 15. The next phase is scheduled to begin June 19 with the reopening of stage and movie theatres, spas and services like manicures, pedicures and massages. Alberta allowed some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries to start on May 11. Service provided by dentists, physiotherapists and other medical professionals are also permitted. Golf courses reopened May 2, though pro shops and clubhouses remain shuttered. --- British Columbia The provincial government allowed a partial reopening of the B.C. economy starting May 19. The reopening plans are contingent on organizations and businesses having plans that follow provincial guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19. Hotels, resorts and parks will follow in June. Parents in B.C. will be given the choice of allowing their children to return to class on a part-time basis starting today (June 1). The government says its goal is for the return of full-time classes in September, if it's safe. Under the part-time plan, for kindergarten to Grade 5, most students will go to school half time, while grades 6 to 12 will go about one day a week. A mix of online and classroom post-secondary education is planned for September. Conventions, large concerts, international tourism and professional sports with a live audience will not be allowed to resume until either a vaccine is widely available, community immunity has been reached, or effective treatment can be provided for the disease. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories announced on May 12 a three-phase reopening plan, but the government didn't say when it would be implemented. The plan includes more gatherings and the possible reopening of some schools and businesses. However, the territory's borders remain closed indefinitely to non-residents and non-essential workers. There are several requirements that must be met before any measures are relaxed: there must be no evidence of community spread; travel entry points in the territory are strong and secure; risks are reduced from workers coming into the territory; and expanded community testing is available. --- Yukon Travel restrictions will be lifted between Yukon and B.C. after July 1 under the second phase of the territory's pandemic restart plan. After that date, travellers between the province and territory will no longer be required to self-isolate for 14 days. The territory says monitoring the status of neighbouring jurisdictions will determine if it's safe to further lift restrictions. Yukon has been gradually easing pandemic restrictions since May 15 with dine-in restaurants, day cares and recreational centres reopening. Territorial parks and campgrounds will open for the summer next week.   Two households of up to 10 people in total are currently able to interact with each other as part of a "household bubble." The territory's reopening plan outlines five phases including a period after a vaccine is available. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020 The Canadian Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada

News Talk 650 CKOM - 7 hours 5 min ago
The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on June 1, 2020: There are 90,929 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada. _ Quebec: 51,059 confirmed (including 4,641 deaths, 16,346 resolved) _ Ontario: 27,859 confirmed (including 2,266 deaths, 21,810 resolved) _ Alberta: 6,992 confirmed (including 143 deaths, 6,245 resolved) _ British Columbia: 2,573 confirmed (including 164 deaths, 2,181 resolved) _ Nova Scotia: 1,056 confirmed (including 60 deaths, 981 resolved) _ Saskatchewan: 646 confirmed (including 11 deaths, 582 resolved) _ Manitoba: 284 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 278 resolved), 11 presumptive _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 255 resolved) _ New Brunswick: 132 confirmed (including 120 resolved) _ Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed (including 27 resolved) _ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved) _ Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved) _ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved) _ Nunavut: No confirmed cases _ Total: 90,929 (11 presumptive, 90,918 confirmed including 7,295 deaths, 48,854 resolved) This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020. The Canadian Press