New Brunswick mom says son’s human rights have been violated, hires lawyer – New Brunswick


A New Brunswick mother whose son with disabilities went missing from his school says she is planning to file a formal complaint against the school and the district.

Jacqueline Petricca of Bouctouche, N.B. says she is still shaken up over what happened to her son at Blanche-Bourgeois School last month.

“It was the most terrifying almost two hours of my life,” Petricca said.

Petricca says that even though her 11-year-old son, Anthony — who has ADHD, Tourette syndrome and OCD and may be on the autism spectrum — is a known flight risk, he went missing from school on March 24.

Read more:
New Brunswick mother seeks answers, support after disabled son goes missing for hours from school

“I had no idea where he was. I did not know if he has gotten into a car with anybody or what had happened,” she said.

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Anthony was found safe at a nearby business almost two hours after going missing, she says.

Now, the mother has hired a lawyer and is planning to file a formal complaint against the school and the district for not providing proper full-time support for her son.

“If there was a true inclusion program, then my son would not be on a half-accommodated day, just two to three hours,” she said.

According to the mother, a psychologist has told her that since Anthony is not classified as a complex case, all of the supports that are recommended and required are not going to be paid for until he gets that classification. She says she has been waiting for a meeting with the district for months to have her son evaluated.

A representative from the Francophone Sud School District, Ghislaine Arsenault, would not comment on the incident, citing privacy reason, but said in a statement to Global News that “staff members work very hard to ensure student safety and to provide students with an environment that promotes their overall development and well being.”

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Petricca says her son’s full-time educational assistant (EA) support was taken away in February 2019, which she believes was for budgetary reasons.

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Fredericton lawyer and former education minister, Jody Carr, says the school “failed to protect” Anthony when he ran away from the school. He also alleges Anthony was denied his accommodations and failed to provide timely intervention for his disabilities, which Carr says is a violation of the student’s rights.

“Just based on disability, he is being denied a service and he is being denied an education and the human rights act says that no one can be denied an education based on their disability,” said Carr.

Anthony says he wants to return to school full-time.

“I would be willing to even without the EA,” he said.

But his mom says he needs appropriate supports in place before that can happen. Otherwise, she fears he may go missing again.

Since Global News reported their story, Petricca says the district reached out and she will be meeting with a clinical team to access Anthony’s needs on Friday. She says she will also be having a Zoom meeting with Education Minister Dominic Cardy on Thursday.

“The ultimate goal it is to have him in a program where he is safe all day and educated,” she said.


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Program helping Moncton youth with disabilities find work


Program helping Moncton youth with disabilities find work – Mar 18, 2021




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Eating disorders, substance abuse increasing in youth amid pandemic, says Hamilton hospital – Hamilton


Eating disorders, substance abuse and suicide attempts are just some afflictions McMaster Children’s hospital says they’ve seen increase amid months of COVID-19 pandemic safety measures in Ontario over the last year.

A recent report from Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) which chronicles a four-month period (September to December 2020) during the pandemic, says the shared hypotheses among staff is that isolation, exercise risks, no school, and limited access to physicians are contributors to the negative changes tied to recent youth mental health issues.

“We are all coping with multiple stressors brought on by the current pandemic,” says Dr. Paulo Pires from McMaster’s Child & Youth Mental Health Outpatient Services.

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“We must be attentive to the unique impact of these stressors on children and youth depending on their stage of development.”

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The facility says there was an “unprecedented” increase in referrals to their eating disorders program during the four-month period, 90 per cent more compared to 2019 numbers.

The agency says there were 117 new referrals between September and December compared to just 67 the year before.


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Increase in need for youth mental health support


Increase in need for youth mental health support

Meanwhile, increased conflict at home, a lack of social interaction and the inability to rely on friends are believed to be contributors in a steady increase in suicide-related events.

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“Youth admitted for medical support after a suicide attempt has tripled over a four-month period, compared to last year,” the report said. “Patients are staying in hospital longer due to more serious attempts.”

Read more:
‘Burnout is real’: COVID-19 pandemic takes mental health toll on health-care workers

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Youth admitted with substance abuses has also doubled compared to 2019, particularly the use of opioids.

The report from McMaster comes on the heels of a more general mental health survey from the Canadian Mental Health Association which is urging the province to invest in the sector during upcoming budget talks.

The CMHA poll suggests the second wave of the pandemic has “eroded” Ontarians already fragile emotional well-being.

CHMA CEO Camille Quenneville told Global News that three surveys conducted amid the pandemic have trended lower than the previous and continue to head “in the wrong direction.”

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Ontarians’ mental health has continued to deteriorate throughout COVID-19 pandemic: poll

The current poll, conducted by Pollara who surveyed just over 1,000 Ontarians online between Feb. 19 and 22, suggests only 35 per cent of Ontarians consider their mental health to be “very good” or “excellent.”

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That’s down about 17 per cent from the first round of polling in May.

Of particular concern is substance abuse in which more than one-quarter of Ontarians – 27 per cent – are using more substances to cope with the pandemic. That’s up from 21 per cent in a CHMA summer poll.

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40% of Canadians struggling with mental health, addiction amid coronavirus pandemic: Ipsos

“We have never seen the kind of opioid overdose epidemic that we’re in right now,” said Quenneville.

“The numbers are terrifying and the amount of alcohol consumption has also gone up to all-time highs.”

Quenneville says accessing mental health supports is becoming difficult according to the survey’s respondents. Thirty-five per cent say they are finding it difficult to get help compared to the 27 per cent in the summer who said they had issues with professional supports.

Pires says about 1 in 5 children are suffering from a mental health concern, but only about 1 in 4 actually receive treatment.


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Toronto woman shines light on youth mental health in memory of her daughter


Toronto woman shines light on youth mental health in memory of her daughter – Feb 26, 2021

The psychologist and clinical director says parents should look out for changes in eating, sleeping and behaviours which last for many days or weeks.

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“Changes in behaviour can include expressions of distress, disconnecting from loved ones, or acting-out behaviours. Caregivers are encouraged to reach out for professional help for their children or for themselves as parents,” says Pires.





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B.C. increases income and disability assistance by $175 per month


The British Columbia government is increasing disability and income assistance rates by $175 per month, but is falling short of making the $300-per-month COVID-19 boost permanent.

Social Development Minister Nicholas Simons said Tuesday the increase will cost about $400 million per year and benefit more than 300,000 people.

It’s the largest ever permanent hike to income assistance and disability assistance rates in the province and will be applied starting in April.


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COVID-19 relief benefits meant to help people on income and disability assistance are coming to an end


COVID-19 relief benefits meant to help people on income and disability assistance are coming to an end – Dec 16, 2020

“This past year has been challenging for everyone, and especially so for those British Columbians already relying on assistance to make ends meet,” Simons said.

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“Now that we are seeing signs of some economic recovery from COVID-19, it’s essential we provide the stability of a permanent rate increase for people and families, including 49,000 children who live in poverty.”

The province is also raising the seniors’ assistance supplement, by $50 a month per resident, for the first time since 1987.

This lifts the maximum rate for a single person from $49.30 to $99.30 per month and benefits up to 20,000 more low-income seniors.


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B.C. cabinet minister defends decision to cut $300 in monthly COVID-19 income and disability assistance


B.C. cabinet minister defends decision to cut $300 in monthly COVID-19 income and disability assistance – Dec 15, 2020

The temporary $300-per-month disability and income assistance benefit to help recipients deal with the pandemic expired in December.

Eligible British Columbians can still access the COVID-19 Recovery Benefit, which helps people based on income.

“This increase — the largest that people on income assistance and disability assistance have seen – is a critical piece in working toward the fulfilment of our province’s poverty reduction goals,” Together Against Poverty Society executive director Doug King said.

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Read more:
Coronavirus: B.C. government still processing more than 330K applications for recovery benefit

As of April 1, a single person on income assistance will receive $935 per month and a single person on disability assistance will receive $1,358.42.

A couple on income assistance will receive $1,427.22 per month and a couple on disability assistance will receive $1,947.56, after increases of $350 per month.

A single parent with one child will receive $1,270.58 if on income assistance and $1,694.08 if on disability assistance, plus up to $697 in federal and provincial child benefits.





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Sidewalk debate: London, Ont., Civic Works Committee grants no exemption for any street – London


London, Ont., city council’s Civic Works Committee has voted against exempting any street that’s set to receive a new sidewalk this summer.

The debate, which took place during a virtual meeting Monday afternoon, heard both sides from members of city council as well as 31 delegates.

Eleven streets were set to get new sidewalks installed once underground infrastructure reconstruction takes place, but this didn’t sit well with some homeowners.

Read more:
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Speaking at the meeting, more than 10 homeowners brought up the issue of tree removal that comes with installing new sidewalks.

“It appears that there are 14 trees on 13 properties slated for removal,” said a resident of Bartlett Crescent, one of the streets on the city’s sidewalk installation list.

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“We will be left with three trees on 13 properties… This is an unnecessary loss of trees that are integral to the charm and beauty of our landscape.”


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Icy sidewalk dispute in Saint John


Icy sidewalk dispute in Saint John – Mar 8, 2021

Others said the roads are safe for both pedestrians and drivers. One resident also brought up the mental health benefits that comes with a greater number of trees.

On the other hand, accessibility advocates argued sidewalks are vital to ensuring London is moving towards becoming more inclusive.

“Older adults with mobility challenges, young families pushing strollers… neither of whom should be on the street,” said Jay Menard, the chair of London city hall’s Accessibility Advisory Committee.

“From city parks to sidewalk debates over the past few years, disabled Londoners have routinely been told to go somewhere else or to wait for the next time around,” added Jeff Preston, an assistant professor in disability studies at Western University.

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The debate also heard from a resident with a disability who disagrees with sidewalk installations.

S. Skelton lives in the St. Anthony Road area and has lived with the challenges of a traumatic brain injury for more than 20 years. St. Anthony Road is set to get sidewalks this summer.

“I speak for six per cent of households (in my neighbourhood) with a resident who meets the criteria of an Ontarian with a disability,” she said. “What we are unanimously opposed to is the assumption that sidewalks in our neighbourhood will improve our accessibility (and) safety.”

Skelton said sidewalks often cause more trouble for those with disabilities because ridges can make walking or wheeling uncomfortable and difficult. Snowy and icy conditions means sidewalks are unusable at times.

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S. Connolly, who lives in the Friars Way area expressed similar concerns. He’s the stepfather to a 21-year-old who uses a wheelchair.

“I am opposed to the sidewalks because (they) reduce Noah’s accessibility and they are a potential safety hazard.”

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“We have never (experienced) any issues or problems using the roadways… Just because we have no sidewalks doesn’t mean the neighbourhood is not accessible to all. In our neighbourhood, (the) quiet roads without sidewalks are more accessible.”


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Green access road prompts heated debate


Green access road prompts heated debate – Aug 22, 2018

Towards the end of the meeting, members of the Civic Works Committee voted against exempting any street that’s set to receive a new sidewalk.

Councillor Paul Van Meerbergen was the sole member of the committee that voted to grant exemptions for all streets.

Councillor Elizabeth Peloza also voted to grant an exemption for Bartlett Crescent only.

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The final decision goes to city council on March 23.

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The following streets are part of the city’s sideline installation project:

  • Abbey Rise
  • Elm Street
  • Friars Way
  • Imperial Road
  • Paymaster Avenue
  • St. Anthony Road
  • Tarbart Terrace
  • Bartlett Crescent
  • Doncaster Avenue
  • Doncaster Place




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Halifax project set to create accessible sex toys for people with disabilities – Halifax


Sex should be part of any conversation and it’s already happening around people with disabilities, said the Atlantic regional coordinator of Tetra Society of North America.

“It’s a subject that is kind of seen as taboo,” said Andrew Jantzen, whose organization is working with Venus Envy on a project focusing on creating accessible sex toys for people with disabilities in Halifax.

The project is called “Adaptations for Accessible Sex Practices Project.”


Andrew Jantzen of Tetra Society.

“Sex toys are not designed for people with disabilities, just like most other things that exist out there, so it’s trying to fill that gap,” said Jantzen.

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“And out there, people are talking about it. People want this to happen. So I’m just saying, how can we adapt things? How can we use some of the the handy skills that come with Tetra volunteers to be able to fill this gap?”

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The purpose of Tetra is to recruit skilled volunteer engineers and technicians to create assistive devices for people with disabilities, and creating adaptive and innovative equipment for sexual practices is just one of their many projects.

The education coordinator at Venus Envy, a sex shop and bookstore, said that the first phase of the project is to interview a group of people from the disabled community who want to talk about their sex lives, and to test out some of the devices that the project will be making.

“A lot of sex toys up until sort of five, 10 years ago were made for like straight penetrative sex. It’s not just disabled bodies that are being left out of kind of the thoughts around sex toys. It’s a lot of bodies,” said Rachele Manett.

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She said certain kinds of sex toys are just not working for people with disabilities.

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“Sometimes they’re too heavy. Buttons don’t work specifically when it comes to certain kinds of mobility limitations,” said Manett.

This is why she said the first phase of the project will look into what kind of sex toys people have access to that have made things better or more difficult, so that in the second phase the team of engineers and design specialists will have the information they need to create the equipment.

Manett said 40 people have applied as participants in just three weeks since the project has been announced.


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N.B. people with disabilities call for priority in COVID-19 vaccine plan


N.B. people with disabilities call for priority in COVID-19 vaccine plan – Feb 8, 2021

She said they’re now in the process of creating a diverse group of participants to interview for the project.

“We’re trying to create a group of people that is quite diverse in the types of disabilities (they have), but also in terms of identities. We are looking to prioritize people with intersecting marginalized identities. So really making sure that we’re including voices who are sort of often left on the margins,” said Manett.

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She said that as a society, “we have very much infantilized people with disability and we treat them like children.”

“It’s really easy for us to say, well, that means disabled people aren’t having sex, which is not true … or that disabled people have more important things to worry about than sex,” Manett added.


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Adaptive clothing for people with disabilities


Adaptive clothing for people with disabilities – Jan 2, 2021

But that’s not what the project is all about, she said.

“We already know that people with disabilities are having sex and want to be having sex. That’s the part that we’re not exploring,” said Manett.

“What we’re literally saying is how can we make sex better or more accessible or more inclusive and how can we as sort of a society, change our views instead of sort of asking more questions?”

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Tetra Society is asking anyone who would like to volunteer for the project to complete the online volunteer intake application here. 




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





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Canmore minor hockey team named Good Deeds Cup regional finalist – Calgary



Hockey teams are playing for more than just a trophy when it comes to the Good Deeds Cup.

The winner of the Canada-wide competition will win $100,000 to make a difference in their community, and a Canmore minor hockey team has just made the finals.

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“Obviously excited, but hugely surprised,” Canmore Eagles head coach Sean Kjemhus said. “The idea to support an organization that initiates programs or experiences for kids and others living with disabilities, to try a variety of sports and it being in our backyard was very inspiring.”

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Players on the U13 Canmore Eagles held a vote and chose to support Rocky Mountain Adaptive, a charity that helps people with disabilities access sports and take advantage of the great outdoors.

“We’re really lucky that a lot of our participants that are locals are in school with some of these (Eagles) athletes,” RMA program manager Kim Cosman said.

“To see that carry through outside of school and have them pick us just reinforces the message that we’re trying to get across and that inclusion piece in the community.”

Prior to the pandemic, Rocky Mountain Adaptive assisted roughly 2,000 people in a year.

Transit from the city, providing equipment and subsidizing programs have been major barriers for the group in the past, and COVID-19 has prevented them from holding their usual major fundraisers.

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By becoming regional finalists, the Eagles have already won $2,000 to help out Rocky Mountain Adaptive. That alone is a game-changer for the charity.

“The main thing that it will help us do is reduce those barriers, allow more people to access sport and recreation in the mountains,” Cosman added.

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“We would like to create a camp that is fully inclusive and allows people that have never experienced mountain sport and recreation to come out free of charge, access these sports and engage members of the community to come out to the camp as well.”

Voting for the Good Deeds Cup is open until Feb. 24.




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‘Hugs Over Masks’ protesters charged after Sunday demonstration at Hamilton city hall – Hamilton


Three people are facing charges for violating the province’s current COVID-19 regulations after a small anti-mask rally near Hamilton city hall on Sunday, police say.

A 52-year-old man is facing six charges in connection with the event, including obstructing a peace officer, trespassing, failing to wear a mask and failing to physically distance.

Two others are facing single charges: a 49-year-old man charged with trespassing, and a 32-year-old female ticketed for not wearing a face mask.

Individuals found in contravention of the Emergency Measures and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) and Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) face fines of up to $10,000 each.

Read more:
13 ‘Hugs Over Masks’ protestors charged after another demonstration at Hamilton city hall

Current lockdown orders are encouraging residents to stay at home, limit gatherings to just five people, maintain a two-metre distance (six feet) from others and wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.

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Last month, 13 people were charged for congregating with a group larger than five at a similar rally on Jan 17.

Sixteen charges were laid at that “Hugs Over Masks” event, a regular occurrence in Hamilton on Sundays since July.

The group claims the protests are in support of “restoring our liberties” in Ontario and that current COVID-19 measures are “unnecessarily harming Ontarians’ health and rights.”

Police say the rallies have been getting smaller over the last few weeks. Only four people showed up on Feb. 7.

The organizers did not come to the event, according to investigators.


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Coronavirus: Ford says he’s being ‘polite’ by calling groups discouraging public health measures ‘yahoos’


Coronavirus: Ford says he’s being ‘polite’ by calling groups discouraging public health measures ‘yahoos’ – Sep 30, 2020





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Nova Scotia first province to adopt Hansen Foundation curriculum in schools


HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s Education Department is teaming up with the Rick Hansen Foundation to provide inclusion and accessibility teaching materials to the province’s schools.

The free online programs include access to foundation ambassadors and to a series of lesson plan ideas for primary and high schools. In a virtual news conference Tuesday, Hansen said the province is the first in the country to officially incorporate his foundation’s resources into its school curriculum.

“You are really taking an opportunity to educate the next generation of young difference makers who will normalize this issue,” Hansen said. “The reality is it is a multigenerational, ultra-marathon of social change.”

Hansen said the program contains information that should be available to “everyone, everywhere,” adding that it is now available in English and in French in every province and territory. His foundation’s resources, he said, have been used in 5,500 schools and by 12,000 teachers.

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“I want to encourage teachers to continue to explore the resources and utilize them and bring them to life in your classroom,” Hansen said. The curriculum program for each grade contains lessons about such things as empathy and it is designed to inspire students to actively promote social change.

Leah Fumerton, who teachers Grades 1 and 2 at Fairview Heights Elementary in Halifax, says she notices a genuine desire among her students to promote inclusion and accessibility. She says students want to better understand the experiences of those who don’t feel included.

“I see in them a want to question what is around us,” Fumerton said. “It’s critical for us to band together and make school inclusion possible.”

Education Minister Zach Churchill said the program is part of the province’s broader accessibility agenda and commitment to make Nova Scotia more inclusive.

“We’ve invested heavily into new, inclusive education supports, teachers and non-teaching support staff in our system,” he said. “I think how we approach teaching and learning around this subject can be equally impactful.”


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Marking 32 years since Rick Hansen’s “Man in Motion” World Tour


Marking 32 years since Rick Hansen’s “Man in Motion” World Tour – May 22, 2019

Hansen rose to fame through his Man in Motion World Tour between 1985 and 1987, which saw the wheelchair athlete cover 40,000 kilometres through 34 countries to raise awareness about the potential of people with disabilities.

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More than 30 years later, he said many barriers to inclusivity remain in Canadian society. “To be able to formalize this (education) program and to embed it in core curriculum objectives is the ultimate … in helping to contribute to the Canada that we want,” Hansen said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2021.




© 2021 The Canadian Press





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Edmonton pharmacist fined for accessing health info after collision, using it against other person – Edmonton


An Edmonton-based pharmacist was fined for inappropriately accessing the health information of a person they were involved in a collision with.

A news release from Alberta’s Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner said pharmacist Stanislaus Soosai accessed the health information of a person he was in an automobile collision with.

The OIPC said he then attempted to persuade the individual from submitting an insurance claim for the collision.

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The person submitted a complaint in April 2018 to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC), which opened an investigation into Soosai’s actions.

Upon conclusion of its investigation, the OIPC referred findings to the specialized prosecutions branch of Alberta Justice, and charges were laid in July 2019.

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Former AHS clerk fined for improperly accessing health records 21 times ‘out of curiosity’

Soosai received a $5,000 fine, plus a $1,000 victim fine surcharge, on Friday, Jan. 15 for using health information in contravention of the Health Information Act (HIA).

It is an offence under HIA to knowingly use health information in contravention of the Act (section 107(2)(a)).

There have been 18 convictions since 2001 for offences under Health Information Act.

Read more:
South Edmonton medical clinic employee fined after admitting to health data breaches




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13 ‘Hugs Over Masks’ protestors charged after another demonstration at Hamilton city hall – Hamilton


More anti-mask protestors were charged with violating the Reopening Ontario Act on Sunday after yet another gathering at Hamilton city hall.

Hamilton police say 16 tickets were issued to 13 people, despite warnings from officers to organizers that the event would be a violation of rules under the act and that individuals in contravention could face fines of up to $10,000 each.

Thirteen were charged for congregating with a group larger than five people, and three other charges were issued to some who obstructed police from exercising their authority.

The “Hugs Over Masks” events have been a regular occurrence in Hamilton on Sundays, first catching the attention of the city’s law enforcement last July when about a hundred people rallied at Gore Park.

Read more:
Hamilton police charge organizers of 2 Hugs over Masks events

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The group claims the protests are in support of “restoring our liberties” in Ontario. The protestors claim that current COVID-19 measures are “unnecessarily harming Ontarians’ health and rights.”

Between 15 and 20 people attended the event near Bay Street South and Main Street West this past Sunday compared to a rally a week ago the drew approximately 60, says police.

Another gathering on Jan. 3 drew about 40 people.

On Monday, acting police chief Frank Bergan told the city’s police board that the service has exhausted “all it’s good nature” when it comes to the weekly demonstrations.

“This wasn’t just simply an activity that attracted just Hamilton people, but people as far away as Stratford.”




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