Mothers denied benefits while on maternity leave say Liberals dragging heels on $450M lawsuit

Posted April 24th, 2019 by admin and filed in 长沙夜网
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OTTAWA – A group of mothers who say they were wrongly denied sickness benefits are calling out the federal Liberal government for continuing to fight them in court despite a promise to end the legal feud months ago.

The Liberals said during last year’s election campaign that they would drop federal opposition to a class-action lawsuit involving thousands of Canadians who were denied benefits to which they were entitled while on maternity leave.

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READ MORE:  Ottawa spent $2.2M in legal fees for maternity, sickness benefits lawsuit

The mothers and their lawyer had remained remained largely silent, hoping the government would acquiesce once a few months had passed and ministers were well-versed on their portfolios.

Instead, the court case has limped along – a result, the women say, of the Liberals dragging their heels on the file.

The women involved in the class-action lawsuit broke their silence Tuesday, hoping it prods the Liberals to follow through on the campaign pledge.

“They used the words, ‘We will end this immediately,”‘ said Jennifer McCrea, the Calgary woman at the heart of the case.

“I would ask them to give me a definition of the word ‘immediately.’ ‘Prime Minister (Justin) Trudeau, define the word immediately, because a year is not immediately. It’s just not.”‘

READ MORE: Would more dads stay home if parental leave was extended?

In a statement released Tuesday, the lawyer representing the women in their $450-million class-action lawsuit calls on the Liberals to stop fighting women who were gravely ill when they tried to claim benefits they were owed.

Stephen Moreau said the Liberals have taken no steps to end the legal battle, which has been going on for four years and could take years more to get to trial.

The minister in charge of the file didn’t say why the government has not dropped the case, but said the issue of special benefits, like sickness and parental benefits, is a “very significant concern” to his department.

“I know we are making some progress. We are hoping to make further progress on that file quite soon,” Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said after a cabinet meeting Tuesday.

READ MORE: Another mom comes forward after maternity leave layoff

NDP critic Niki Ashton said she was baffled as to why the Liberals continued to let the case drag through the courts.

“We have a prime minister who has spoken very clearly about being feminist,” Ashton said.

“His government has really espoused the feminist message. Acting on something like this and doing justice for these women is actually something that is very much feminist.”

Figures provided to Parliament in March showed the government had spent more than $2.2 million in legal fees to fight the case.

Parliament decided in 2002 to allow those who were diagnosed with cancer, for instance, to access 15 extra weeks of employment insurance payments in addition to a year’s worth of maternity leave benefits.

McCrea’s claim alleges that at least 3,177 people were denied the EI benefit between 2002 and 2011, herself included.

McCrea was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2011, while she was on maternity leave with her youngest son, Logan, who was eight months at the time. She had a double mastectomy in August 2011 and was deemed cancer-free shortly afterwards.

This year marks five years of being cancer-free, a milestone she is marking by running five marathons over the course of the year.

Logan is now entering Grade 1. McCrea said she expected Logan to be in preschool when the case was settled.

“We are no closer to a settlement than we were…when (former prime minister Stephen) Harper was there.”

Ripple effect: Zebra mussels could cause province-wide power outages, Manitoba Hydro says

Posted April 24th, 2019 by admin and filed in 长沙夜网
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WINNIPEG —; They’re here and they aren’t going anywhere.

Zebra mussels are already in three Manitoba waterways and are spreading at an incredible rate, which is one huge concern for Manitoba Hydro.

READ MORE: Zebra mussels multiplying in Lake Winnipeg, now found on shorelines

“They proliferate exponentially so they can really take over an ecosystem and they attach to any hard surfaces including one another,” said Marcus Smith, senior environmental specialist with Manitoba Hydro. “So for mechanical systems that’s our primary concern here.”

WATCH: How fast zebra mussels spread

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    The crown corporation has multi-millions of dollars in infrastructure along Manitoba waterways. Infrastructure that is threatened by the stronghold of the invasive species.

    “It’s trying to get ahead of where the zebra mussels are likely going to be,” said Bruce Owen, public affairs officer with Manitoba Hydro. “Trying to get ahead of all the damage that they could potentially do to our generation systems.”

    Intricate and complicated systems that could essentially could come to a stand still  if zebra mussels get into them.

    RELATED: Zebra mussels cost Canadians billions each year; cost to Manitobans still unknown

    “We have hot water systems that is a series of pipes and strainers and heat exchange pumps… all those sorts of mechanical pieces. If zebra mussels are in those pipes, blocking those valves, clogging up those pumps… it’s not going to work,” Smith said.

    Hydro uses substrate and bio boxes to monitor not only the mussels but their microscopic larvae, veligers. Employees do routine checks and samples to look for early warning signs and detection.

    “The generators are much like engines in your car and the water we use to cool off engines comes from the the rivers,” Owen said. “If the water that we’re drawing in to cool these engines is clogged by zebra mussels, like any vehicle, that engine overheats and then you’ve got some pretty bad damage.”

    Manitoba Hydro has been studying the effects of invasive species, such as zebra mussels, for more than 25 years. In October 2015, it found it’s first invaders, two shells, at its Selkirk Generating Station.

    READ MORE: Lake Winnipeg is a lost cause due to zebra mussels: expert

    “Primarily our big concern is just keeping the lights on. Really that’s what’s keeping us up at night and that’s what’s motivating us to actively be coming up with ways to prevent that from happening,” Smith said.

    It’s an outcome that would not only be extremely expensive to try to reverse but could have potentially devastating affects.

    “If we just disregarded what we know from other jurisdictions… and just ignore this, put our heads in the sand, we could be looking at a huge outages even at a province-wide level,” said Smith.

    For the past year, Manitoba Hydro has been working on prevention plans for all of its generating stations. The first of which will be installed at its Grand Rapids location next fall.

    READ MORE: Manitoba adopts new zebra mussel strategy

    “It’s a type of chlorination system where the water we draw into the system to cool the generators is chlorinated,” said Owen. “Zebra mussels don’t like chlorine. Chlorination will protect the intake pipes. Once that water is set to be discharged it will be de-chlorinated.”

    Right now it’s unclear how much installing systems at every generating station around the province will cost, but the company said they don’t have a choice but to move forward or face a dire outcome.

    “The worst case outcome would be the lights not coming on,” said Smith. “That’s a pretty horrible outcome.”

    WATCH: The effect zebra mussels have on Manitoba’s ecosystem

    The effect millions of zebra mussels could have on Manitoba ecosystems, infrastructure

    01:59

    The effect millions of zebra mussels could have on Manitoba ecosystems, infrastructure

    02:30

    Expert says Lake Winnipeg is a lost cause due to zebra mussels

    02:50

    Quagga mussels, worse than zebra mussles and possibly on the way to Manitoba



    Province’s response to zebra mussels

    Both Manitoba and Alberta have enacted legislation requiring inspection of boats in transit. Boaters found possessing zebra mussels may be fined or prosecuted under the federal Fisheries Act. In 2016 nearly 3,000 boats were inspected but no fines were handed out.

    In 2014, the province spent $500,000 putting potash into four harbours in Lake Winnipeg in an effort to kill off zebra mussels.

    RELATED: Manitoba stops zebra mussels invasion with potash

    In 2015 the money flow into zebra mussel prevention dropped to $168,000. The Tories have promised to spend $698,000 in 2016.

N.B. rescue crews to try to herd stranded dolphins to open ocean Wednesday

Posted April 24th, 2019 by admin and filed in 长沙夜网
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Animal rescue crews will try again Wednesday to herd six stranded dolphins out of a shallow waterway in northern New Brunswick, and back into open ocean.

It will be a week since seven dolphins became stranded near Lameque, with one dying two days later.

READ MORE: Officials hope to herd stranded dolphins in New Brunswick back into open ocean

Andrew Reid of the Marine Animal Response Society said the six remaining Atlantic white-sided dolphins appear to be healthy.

“They don’t appear malnourished, so it does indicate that we do have some time to respond and get them to open ocean,” he said.

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However, he said time and food supply are becoming issues.

“There is a risk these animals could become dependent on people feeding them. At this time we definitely don’t want to offer any encouragement for them to want to stay in that area. At this point it is still better not to feed them,” Reid said.

To escape, the dolphins would have to swim through an area that’s only about a metre deep at high tide, and dolphins don’t like shallow water.

Rescuers hope to use aquatic pingers

Reid said they were hoping to use aquatic pingers – being sent from Massachusetts – to scare the dolphins through the passage.

The devices are normally used by fishermen to scare away dolphins from gill nets.

“Unfortunately they were initially turned back from the border and sent back to the Cape Cod Stranding Network. They are sending them again but that is going to delay things.”

In the meantime, Reid said his group and Fisheries and Oceans will make another effort to herd the dolphins to open ocean.

He said it’s unclear why the dolphins got themselves stranded.

Atlantic white-sided dolphins are common in Atlantic Canada. They can reach 10 feet in length and 500 pounds.

Reid said they may have to physically move the dolphins but are trying to avoid that.

‘Total gong show’: Parents reveal flaws of child-care subsidy system

Posted April 24th, 2019 by admin and filed in 长沙夜网
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A single dad in Nanaimo, B.C. was shocked by what he was told this summer when he tried to get a daycare subsidy for his four-year-old daughter, Avaline.

“I had one lady tell me they’ll give me more money if I quit my job,” said 24-year-old Scott Collins. “It’s insane.”

Collins works retail at Best Buy full time and has no desire to go on welfare.

Yet that seemed to be the suggestion when he finally got through to someone in the subsidy department, after two weeks of constant calls.

He was approved for only five days of child care every two months.

“I make, I think, $1,300 a month and have to pay $1,400 in child care.”

That’s still less than what some parents have to pay in other provinces. But it’s way more than what he can afford.

WATCH: How child care costs compare in Canada (hint: they’re way more than tuition)

The new Canada Child Benefit does help, he said, but he’d rather spend that money on “food or clothes” for Avaline.

In his situation, the problem reportedly boils down to the fact that his changing work schedule includes weekends. The assumption is that he can sometimes stay home with his daughter during the week. Collins says even when that’s the case, he still has to pay the daycare fee — whether or not his daughter attends.

Avaline started kindergarten in September and is now on an after-school care wait list. And Collins’s father was recently able to change his work schedule to help out, but it’s not a permanent fix.

Collins would like to see improvements to the complicated off-line subsidy system, which he describes as “a total gong show.”

“Maybe if more word gets out and they kind of pay attention to this issue, maybe they’ll reform it. Because it definitely needs a lot of reform.”

‘It’s just really frustrating’

Penny Edmonds, who’s operated a day home in Calgary for the past decade, has struggled with the bureaucracy as well.

The 41-year-old’s two daughters live with her and she looks after their two kids. The only issue is that her grandkids take up two out of six child care spots she’s legally allowed to offer.

Considering she makes only $17,000 a year, two fewer cheques adds up to a considerable chunk of change.

Both her daughters were denied child-care subsidies. They were told they could get financial help only if they put their kids in a different day home.

“It makes no sense to me at all,” Edmonds said. “I’m being penalized for being a caregiver.”

Even if her grandkids went elsewhere, she explained they’d still be counted as being part of her day home under current regulations because they live in her house.

READ MORE: How lack of affordable, accessible child care hurts the economy

‘I wouldn’t have known about it’

The biggest complaint David Scalon and Aislinn O’Loughlin have about child-care subsidies, is just how little information exists about them for parents.

“I wouldn’t have known about it,” Scanlon said. “That needs to be communicated to people in some way.”

Had a friend not mentioned it as an option, the Toronto couple would’ve had to pay close to $1,800 a month for their daughter Evie’s daycare.

The subsidy they were awarded dropped the monthly fee by roughly $700. They say there’s “no way” they would’ve been able to afford child care without it.

“It would be cheaper for me to stay home,” O’Loughlin said.

WATCH: What parents need to watch for when choosing quality care

As O’Loughlin and her husband learned, there are some limitations to subsidies, too. Only select centres accept them, for one. There’s also a limited number of subsidies available (26,059 in Toronto to be exact). And families might have to wait a long time to get one.

A city spokesperson admitted a child might be in school by the time a subsidy is given out (there are currently 17,600 families in Toronto waiting for one).

The other thing the couple learned is you don’t get a child-care subsidy while on maternity leave.

So they had to pull Evie out of day care when her little brother Liam was born, thinking there’d be a spot for both of them when the mat leave was over.

Evie and Liam

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They thought wrong.

O’Loughlin was forced to take two months unpaid leave while she waited for two slots to open up together at the daycare.

READ MORE: Toronto couple shares their child care wait-list horror story

“The system is the problem,” Scanlon said.

So what’s it like for parents to dig up this information, and how can they find out if they’re eligible for a subsidy? Global News did some digging, and we’ve been able to compile a complete list of everything you need to know about child care subsidies in each province. Check out our handy guide, here.

Follow @TrishKozicka

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Kim Kardashian and Kanye West to revamp security after Paris robbery

Posted April 24th, 2019 by admin and filed in 长沙夜网
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Kim Kardashian West’s terrifying robbery in Paris definitely has her and husband Kanye West rethinking their security measures, a source close to Kim tells ET.

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After the 35-year-old reality superstar was held up at gunpoint on Sunday when armed, masked men entered the luxury apartment she was staying at in Paris, France, during Paris Fashion Week, security around the couple and their two children — 3-year-old North and 9-month-old Saint — is set to change.

“Kim and Kanye are reassessing their security detail now. Kanye is freaking out — this really threw him for a loop,” the source says. “There will be a lot of things that change now in terms of security, especially with the children.”

READ MORE: Kim Kardashian robbery: Tweets from France show a different story

“Their immediate need is undercover security — people who will be with them but stepped back to the side,” the source adds. “There are plans for many other things they’ll change as well.”

Most importantly, the famous family is trying to figure out how to prevent an incident like this from ever happening again.

“Kim is constantly travelling and sleeping in hotels,” the source explains. “For her to get through this experience will take some time, mentally.”

WATCH: What role did Kim Kardashian West play in Paris robbery?

Though Kardashian is “absolutely traumatized,” the source says she holds no grudges towards her bodyguard, Pascal Duvier, or with French authorities.

A source previously told ET that Pascal was not with Kardashian during the robbery on Sunday — he and the driver dropped Kardashian off at her apartment through the garage, and Pascal went back out with her older sister, Kourtney Kardashian, who met up with their younger sister, Kendall Jenner.

READ MORE: Kim Kardashian feared “she’d be raped” during robbery, Kanye West cancels shows

“He was done working for her when this happened,” the source says about Pascal. “Also, Pascal is not an armed bodyguard. Kim does not hold Pascal responsible for one second.”

Kardashian, West and their kids are currently staying at their New York City apartment. Kardashian’s mother, Kris Jenner, is also set to stay with them until Wednesday, the source says.

“She’s just spending time with her kids right now and hugging them really tight,” the source adds.

WATCH: How Kim Kardashian can avoid another situation like Paris

Both North and Saint were safely in NYC with Kanye, a family friend, and a nanny during Kardashian’s scary incident over the weekend, a source told ET on Monday.

More specifically, North was at a performance of the musical Matilda on Sunday afternoon, a rep for the Broadway production confirmed to ET.

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