Monthly Archives: August 2019

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Dangerous ‘Cardiff Corner’ getting traffic safety upgrades – Edmonton

EDMONTON – A dangerous intersection north of Edmonton will see some major upgrades completed by September.

The intersection of Cardiff Road and Highway 2 near Morinville is getting traffic lights, guard rails, and street lights to improve safety.

The speed limit is also being lowered from 100 km/h to 80 km/h.

The project will cost the province about $1 million.

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  • Highway 2’s Cardiff Road intersection to get new signals

    Residents want to see progress on Highway 2 interchange

  • One person killed, two injured in crash near Morinville

In November 2013, after a meeting between then-Transportation Minister Ric McIver, MLA Maureen Kubinec, and representatives from Sturgeon County and the Town of Morinville, the government announced it would be making improvements to the intersection.

READ MORE: Highway 2’s Cardiff Road intersection to get new signals 

Construction will begin this spring and is expected to be done by September.

In the summer of 2011, the province announced a $38 million interchange to improve the intersection, but following March’s provincial budget, the Highway 2 overpass project was put on hold.

Donating money? How to choose the right charity – Toronto

TORONTO – Canadians are generous: People around the country donate approximately $15 billion to charity each year.

However many people don’t know how much of the donation is going to the intended cause, according to an organization that tracks the finances of registered charities.

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“The most important thing is what is the change the charity is able to bring about,”  said Greg Thomson, research director at Charity Intelligence Canada. “If, however, it is costing them 40 cents on a dollar to raise the funds then they don’t have their donors best interests in mind.”

Charity Intelligence Canada is a private watchdog group that tries to help Canadians make decisions about which charities to choose. It analyzed the financial records of more than 450 Canadian registered charities and found many spend quite a bit of money on fundraising and administration.

For example, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada spent 35 per cent of their donations on fundraising in 2013, a drop from 37.7 per cent in 2012. However, the charity’s administration costs last year saw an increase of 0.2 per cent to 7.7 per cent as compared to the year before. In comparison, the Terry Fox Foundation allocated more than 82 per cent of all donations to cancer research.

But Toronto lawyer Mark Blumberg, who specializes in charity law, says you can’t judge a charity’s value entirely based on the bottom line.

“In some cases, some groups are being a bit deceptive,” said Blumberg, who says some charities don’t declare the full value of administrative costs when filling out required forms with the Canada Revenue Agency.

“I wouldn’t rely on the information charities file with the Canada Revenue Agency as being the Gospel truth.  In some cases it may be accurate in other cases it may be less so.”

He says donors ought to do their research and confine their donations to fewer, rather than more charities.

Greg Thomson of Charity Intelligence agrees that Canadians shouldn’t feel pressured to make donations on the spot without doing some checking first.

“The key is to find a charity you are passionate about and is able to demonstrate to you they are making a difference.”

Nearly half of B.C. parents with children in school support teachers: poll – BC

A poll commissioned by Global News reveals nearly half of B.C. adults who have children in school support teachers in the ongoing labour dispute between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and B.C. government.

Twenty-five per cent support the B.C. government and 24 per cent support neither side.

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Overall, slightly more British Columbians support teachers (44 per cent) than government (31 per cent) with 22 per cent supporting neither side.

These numbers are nearly on par with the poll conducted in May that showed 41 per cent of people supported the teachers in this dispute, with 30 per cent backing the B.C. government.

When it comes to wage demands, most respondents (43 per cent) want both sides to compromise on wage negotiations, while one third (36 per cent) say teachers are asking for too much money. Twenty-one per cent say the government offer is too low.

Respondents were also polled on the class size and composition issue.

They were asked how they feel about the province challenging the court’s decision ordering it to restore past class size and composition standards and funding.

In January, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that legislation introduced in 2012 that removed class size and composition from contract negotiations was unconstitutional and awarded the teachers’ union $2 million.

The ruling ordered that class size limits, maximums on the number of special needs students and specialist teacher staffing levels be restored to what they were in 2002, when the teachers’ union first launched a court challenge.

The B.C. government went on to appeal the ruling, saying it could cost one billion dollars to implement the terms of the ruling.

Nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of all respondents say the B.C. government should “fund the education system in the way the court has ruled”.

This opinion increases to 66 per cent among parents of children in public school.

But, 38 per cent of respondents say the “B.C. government is right to appeal the court decision and there is no way taxpayers should pay so much to meet these former standards.”

Among parents, this opinion declines to 34 per cent.

The Angus Reid poll conducted in May asked B.C. parents about the potential impact of the labour dispute on them.

Sixty-two per cent of parents said they thought the job action had an impact, but that they managed around it and 17 per cent  said the dispute had a major impact on them.

Two weeks later, fewer parents (53 per cent) say they’ve actually experienced an impact, while 19 per cent report a major impact.

Nearly one-third (28 per cent) say they haven’t experienced much of an impact at all. That is up seven per cent from May.

The online survey was conducted among 804 randomly selected B.C. adults on June 6 and 7.

A probability sample of this size carries a margin of error of +/- 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Rare mushrooms turning a big profit for Burlington farm – Toronto

When you walk inside the Enviro Mushroom Farm in Burlington, it looks like a massive science experiment.

In one room, a staff member is dressed in a white lab coat with his hair and face covered. He is working inside an enclosure transferring liquid from a petri dish to a flask.

He is growing mushrooms but not the average white button mushroom. Instead he is growing King Oyster, Enoki and Cinnamon Caps among others.

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“King Oysters are very tasty,” Anna Sung, an employee at Enviro Mushroom Farm said. “Even kids like these mushrooms. They think it is not mushroom.”

It’s fungus. But it’s been a gold mine for producers.

“When we started in 2001, the revenue was about $500-thousand. But it has grown to almost $8-million now,” Sung said.

But the rare mushrooms are expensive: they can cost up to 30 times more than a basic mushroom.

But foodies and new Canadians are buying them.

“The specialty mushroom have become sort of a gourmet thing right now,” Maureen Atkinson, a global retail advisor with JC Williams Group, said.

“All of the retailers are looking for those kinds of products because the margins in food is very low, and so it’s those unique products that are not as competitive,” says Atkinson

So why do the mushrooms cost more? Producers say a lot of it has to do with production. Global News got to tour the Burlington farm. The entire farm, from the incubating room to the germination room, the growing room and the packing room is controlled and clean. The air, water and temperatures are all controlled so the mushrooms can grow in ideal conditions and stay fresh.

“It’s an environment, that we have to grow this King Oyster, which is very special and therefore requires a lot of cost,” Sung said.

I am not a mushroom fan. I don’t like the texture and I’m not really fond of the taste. But Sung tells me the taste will help explain the cost too.

The last stop in our tour is a kitchen. A staff member is frying up the different varieties of mushrooms. I try all of them – After all I have to see what all the fuss is about. I have to admit, I wasn’t a fan of all the varieties. But I did go back for seconds.

Employees fired after video surfaces of alleged animal abuse on Chilliwack dairy farm

WATCH: The B.C. SPCA is pushing for animal cruelty charges after a hidden camera investigation revealed cows being kicked and beaten by staff. Francis Silvaggio reports. GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: Viewer discretion is advised.

VANCOUVER – The BC SPCA is recommending charges of animal cruelty against eight former employees from Chilliwack’s Cattle Sales family farm, the largest dairy farm in Canada.

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“On June 2, the BC SPCA received an undercover video from the non-profit group Mercy for Animals Canada that showed the employees using chains, canes, rakes, their booted feet and their fists to viciously whip, punch, kick and beat the dairy cows, including downed and trapped cows who could not escape the abuse,” said Marcie Moriarty, the BC SPCA’s chief prevention and enforcement officer. “We immediately launched an investigation into the case and have recommended Criminal Code charges against the eight employees identified in the video for willfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering and injury to animals.”

The eight employees were originally suspended, pending the results of an investigation, but on Monday night they were fired.

BC SPCA constables visited the farm last week along with one of North America’s most respected dairy cattle experts, veterinarian Dr. James Reynolds, as part of an on-going investigation into the animal management practices of the Chilliwack company. The company, which supplies milk to brands such as Saputo and Dairyland, is currently cooperating with the investigation.

“The images in the undercover video are extremely disturbing and highlight an urgent need for better standards to protect farm animals in B.C. from abuse and neglect,” said Moriarty.

She added that while a Canadian Code of Practice for the care and handling of dairy cattle was published in 2009, she said its requirements have yet to be verified on farms through third-party inspections or adopted into B.C. law.

WATCH: Anna Pippus, director of Mercy for Animals, talks to BC1 anchor Leigh Kjekstad about the video (warning, some of the images may be disturbing for some viewers):

The Chilliwack Cattle Sales family farm is owned by the Kooyman family. They released a statement on Monday about the video and the allegations of animal cruelty. They said they were made aware of the allegations on Friday, June 6.

These allegations are extremely serious and we are devastated by the thought that animals in our care have been harmed.

Animal care is of primary importance on our farm. We have been working with the BC SPCA and regulatory authorities and will continue to do so throughout the investigation. In addition, we will be taking any and all steps necessary to assure that no such incident takes place on our family farm in the future.

These alleged actions in no way reflect the farming and animal care standards practiced by our family or by the dairy industry. As a farming family we are committed to providing the best care for our animals and have zero tolerance for animal abuse.

Dr. David Dykshorn and Dr. Rich Vanderwal of Abbotsford Veterinary Clinic regularly visit the farm and monitor animal health.

“We have had a working relationship with the Kooyman’s for over 20 years and can speak to their integrity and care for their animals,” said Vanderwal and Dykshorn. “Animal abuse is unacceptable on any stage and we actively work with the Kooyman family to ensure the highest level of animal welfare on their farm.”

The BC SPCA would like to see the Canadian Codes of Practice, which set out minimum standards of care for various farm animal species, be incorporated into the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act so that the standards can be enforced. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have already taken the step of enshrining farm animal care standards into their provincial legislation.

“It is important that producers have clear expectations around standards of care for farm animals and that there is a system in place to monitor and enforce these standards,” said Moriarty.

“The images in the video we received were distressing and clearly unacceptable. British Columbians, including the society’s 80,000 supporters, are increasingly concerned about the treatment of farm animals. We look forward to working with government and industry on solutions to prevent further neglect and abuse among the 100 million farm animals raised in B.C. each year.”

WATCH: Marcie Moriarty speaks to Leigh Kjekstad about the video:

The Vancouver Humane Society said they would like to see random inspections and mandatory video surveillance of livestock operations following this investigation.

VHS spokesperson Leanne McConnachie, who examined the footage, said “individual acts of animal cruelty should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law but the industry must also be held to account for ensuring the humane treatment of animals.”

She also urged consumers to cut their consumption of animal products to reduce the demand for intensive livestock farming.