Drug Screening Device Pilot Project receives positive reviews from police

Public Safety Canada:

Participating police officers were able to successfully use oral fluid drug screening devices in various conditions across Canada.

Results from the oral fluid drug screening device pilot project suggest the devices can be successfully used in Canada to identify drivers who test positive for certain drugs, and can provide another tool for law enforcement to detect and deter drug-impaired driving.

While drivers can currently be tested for impairment by Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) and Standard Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Public Safety Canada, in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA), led the pilot project to test the use of oral fluid drug screening devices as an additional tool for detecting drug-impaired drivers.

Police officers from seven jurisdictions across Canada collected over 1,140 samples between December 18, 2016 and March 6, 2017. Feedback from officers involved in the pilot project was largely positive. Officers reported that the devices were easy to use at the roadside with some standard operating procedures. They also said they were able to successfully use them in various weather, temperature and lighting conditions. The officers also noted their comfort and confidence increased the longer they used the devices, and they were able to adapt and trouble-shoot problems encountered at the roadside.

The pilot project is an excellent example of a successful federal partnership with provinces, territories and police forces across Canada. The report includes key recommendations such as developing a list of standards for device functionality, as well as standard operating procedures at the roadside, and development of core training for police forces.

Farmers decry Trump plans to cut agriculture subsidies

Farm groups and some members of Congress from farm states are decrying proposed cuts to crop insurance and other safety net programs for farmers included in President Donald Trump’s budget.

The proposed cuts come even as farmers are facing their fourth straight year of falling income, and could particularly affect farm states such as Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska that helped Trump win the November election.

“Clearly, this budget fails agriculture and rural America,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement.

The proposed budget would cap the amount of money the U.S. government provides to help farmers pay insurance premiums and eliminate insurance coverage for lost revenue when crop prices and per-acre yields fall. That would reduce the federal insurance program’s budget by $28 billion over 10 years.

Trump has also proposed reducing subsidies to farmers, cutting those programs by $9 billion by decreasing the maximum income level from $900,000 to $500,000 for a farmer to be eligible. The budget would also cut 5,263 jobs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 5.5 per cent reduction in staff.

Farmers, economists and agriculture experts say it is important to support the agriculture sector, which makes up about 11 per cent of U.S. employment, or about 21 million jobs, and contributes nearly $1 trillion to the nation’s domestic productivity.

“The strength of the agricultural economy has implications for rural America, but also for the larger U.S. economy,” Robert Johansson, the USDA’s chief economist, told senators last month.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, the leading Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, warned that the proposed cuts “would have a disproportionate impact on small towns across our country and leave those communities in crisis.”

But some people say there’s no need for farmers to worry just yet.

“What I’ve been telling farmers is let’s just relax a bit before we panic. It’s going to be hard for Trump to get anything done. That’s become really obvious,” said Brent Gloy, a former Purdue University agriculture economist who now works full-time on his family’s corn, soybean and wheat farm in southwest Nebraska, where Trump had strong support.

Indeed, Republican U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, who owns a farm in Iowa and is a member of the agriculture and budget committees, doesn’t expect the crop insurance cuts to make it through Congress. Grassley considers Trump’s budget a non-starter, much like the budget proposals of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who also suggested farm program cuts that never materialized.

“Most budgets are dead on arrival,” Grassley said during a recent conference call with reporters. “I don’t say that to be negative about any of the three presidents I’ve said it about.”

Farmer Harold Wolle, who lives in a Minnesota county where 55 per cent of voters chose Trump, makes the same point and says it’s too early in the process for Trump supporters to be disappointed.

“We’re fortunate that Congress writes the budget, not the executive branch,” said Wolle, who is president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

Subsidies for crops and crop insurance have sustained grain farmers in recent years as prices plummeted for wheat, corn and soybeans thanks to favourable weather that boosted harvests. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in February net farm income is expected to fall 8.7 per cent this year to $62.3 billion, half of the $123.7 billion income posted in 2013.

The Trump administration says the proposed cuts help fulfil a campaign promise to balance the federal budget.

“I believe the people knew what they were doing when they elected President Trump president,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in conference call with Iowa reporters. “I see it as an opportunity to demonstrate to the American people we can do more with less and we will do more with less. We’re going to be winning in the end.”

Iowa farmer Chris Petersen, who voted for Hillary Clinton in November after supporting Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination, actually supports some cuts to farm subsidies, saying they promote the overproduction of certain crops.

“I believe in protecting agriculture and farms of all sizes up to a certain size. It’s a national food security issue,” said Petersen, who raises hogs, cattle and vegetables, which he sells to local residents and restaurants. “But it comes to a certain point where it’s just on steroids basically and there needs to be more management.”

At the same time, he says Trump supporters from depressed rural areas who thought they were electing someone who would help them should have known better.

“You get what you voted for,” he said. “People better be thinking about rural economies, the rural people, jobs, stability and changing things around so it works better for rural. A lot of people didn’t think this out too good.”


Why you probably need renters insurance

Yahoo Finance’

Did you know that if there’s a fire in your apartment or building, your landlord’s insurance likely won’t pay for your property losses? Same goes if someone swipes your stuff. So how can you protect yourself financially? Easy. Renters insurance.

This coverage usually compensates you if your belongings in your apartment or rental home are unexpectedly damaged, stolen or ruined. Plans can also cover costs incurred if someone gets injured in your apartment and then sues you.

You might think such gloom-and-doom scenarios are so unlikely that you don’t need renters insurance. But chances are, it’s worth it. The average policy costs about $16 a month and will cover most everything in your apartment—your clothes, electronics, furniture and more.

The best way to figure out how much coverage you need it is to do a little math. Make a list of all your belongings—clothing, artwork, instruments, sporting equipment, devices, etc. Then tally up how much you’d have to pay to replace them all; that’s the level of coverage you need.

Keep in mind, however, that it’s not always wise to file a claim. Most plans will make you pay a deductible, or a pre-arranged amount of the bill. Think about how much the cost of your insurance might increase if you file a claim. Does it outweigh the cost of just replacing the item on your own?

Many renters insurance plans will also help cover the cost of living expenses—such as hotel bills and food expenses—if long-term repairs need to be done.

But every insurance policy is different. There are events that most renters insurance policies don’t cover, including floods, earthquakes and other “acts of God.” (That’s actually the term insurance companies use.)

These things can be covered, but companies typically charge an extra premium for them. Make sure you check your policy for specific details.

A 2014 study showed more than half of young renters don’t have renters insurance. Don’t be one of them. Paying a little bit each month can save you thousands of dollars in the event of a major catastrophe.

New Online Tool to Help Canadian Farmers Manage Risk

Flooding, pests, disease and other extreme weather events are constant risks to the businesses and livelihoods of farmers. The Government of Canada is committed to working with industry partners to explore and develop new risk management tools that meets the needs of Canadian farmers when faced with serious challenges beyond their control.

Member of Parliament, Francis Drouin, today announced a $786,921 investment for Farm Management Canada to develop a new online agricultural risk management tool called “AgriShield”. This online tool will help farmers have real-time assessments of the potential negative impact of risks to their businesses and provide mitigation solutions. For instance, if an overland flood situation is imminent, the tool can help farmers to assess the degree of risk they face and potential mitigation measures that they can adopt, such as tile draining or insurance coverage.

This investment is being made through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriRisk Initiatives (ARI) which supports the research and development, as well as the implementation and administration of new risk management tools for use in the agriculture sector.


“Canadian farmers face risk every day and it is essential they have the necessary tools to better understand and manage risk. The recent flooding in Eastern Ontario and Quebec, for example, shows the need to help farmers more effectively manage risk, so that they can be stronger, more innovative and more competitive.”
– Francis Drouin, Member of Parliament for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell

“Less than 1/3 of Canada’s farmers have a risk management plan. Our ultimate goal is to increase the awareness and adoption of risk management practices and planning as part of the farm management process and cultivate a more comprehensive understanding and approach to assessing and managing risk within the agricultural sector.”
– Heather Watson, Executive Director Farm Management Canada

Quick facts

  • Farm Management Canada (FMC) is a national organization dedicated exclusively to providing leading edge resources to enable Canadian producers to make sound management decisions.
  • The online tool covers all areas of potential risk faced by agricultural businesses, gathering data that will enable farmers, commodity groups and the agriculture sector to establish benchmarks for improved risk management performance.
  • Project partners include the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the consulting firm Meyers Norris Penny.
  • AgriRisk Initiatives is a Growing Forward 2, Business Risk Management program.

Additional links

Follow us on Twitter: @AAFC_Canada
Like us on Facebook: CanadianAgriculture


SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

For further information: Guy Gallant, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, 613-773-1059; Media Relations, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, 613-773-7972, 1-866-345-7972; Heather Watson, Executive Director, Farm Management Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Telephone: 1-888-232-3262 Fax: 1-800-270-8301, Email: heather.watson@fmc-gac.com, www.FMC-GAC.com


Soggy forecast worries Canadian farmers in race to sow crops

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, May 23 (Reuters) – Heavy rain forecast for the soggiest parts of the Canadian Prairies this week is likely to further delay plantings in the world’s biggest canola exporting country, meteorologists say.

The rain, forecast to hit Alberta and Saskatchewan on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, would be the latest blow to farmers who could not harvest all of their canola and wheat last autumn due to wet conditions that stretched into spring.

“There’s a lot of people who have barely started (planting),” said Laramie Eyben, who farms near Vermilion, Alta., and has fields too muddy to drive across.

“There will be people who don’t get half their crop seeded.”

Most planting in the western farm belt is usually finished in May.

Environment Canada said in a statement on Tuesday that 30 to 75 mm (1.2 to 3 inches) of rain will reach west central Alberta by Wednesday.

“The entire northern two-thirds of Alberta, northern one-quarter of Saskatchewan, they don’t need a single drop of rain. Every bit of it is too much,” said Drew Lerner, senior agricultural meteorologist of World Weather Inc.

Alberta farmers have until June 5 to plant grain and canola to qualify for insurance on crop quality, and until June 20 to qualify for yield insurance.

Eyben said he may switch plans to sow canola on 800 acres and instead sow barley, a shorter-season crop that has time to mature after a later planting date.

The rain will slow planting, but dry weather is likely to follow for more than a week, said Joel Widenor, meteorologist at Commodity Weather Group.

“It will put a dent into progress, but with that drydown after, I would expect to see at least some recovery,” he said.

Thirty-one percent of Alberta farmland was planted as of May 16, less than half of the five-year average pace, the government said. The pace is closer to normal in Saskatchewan.

ICE Canada November canola futures were up 0.4 percent on Tuesday around midday. The weather-fueled increase was capped by factors including a surge in the Canadian dollar, a dip in profit margins for canola processors and lower soybean prices, said Keith Ferley, a commodity trader at RBC.

Aviva and Tennis Canada partner to deliver a branded insurance experience

Aviva Canada Inc., one of the country’s leading providers of home, auto, leisure and business insurance, is proud to provide  both fans and players alike a new tennis-focused brand experience for home and auto insurance through an extended partnership with Tennis Canada.  The Tennis Canada Home and Auto insurance program powered by Aviva will provide exceptional insurance coverage at a competitive price through an easy-to-use digital experience, with sales and service provided by SmartCoverage Insurance Services Inc.

This program, targeted to all Ontario tennis club members and fans, is available through Aviva and its broker partners.  The aim is for the program to be available to all tennis enthusiasts in 2018.

To support tennis at the grassroots level, members will have a chance to win a contest to host tennis star Milos Raonic at their club. Raonic, currently the No. 6-ranked player in the world, serves as a brand ambassador for Aviva. More information is available at avivatennis.ca/ontario.

“This program is about matching the passion and commitment of tennis players and fans with the dedication we bring to serving our home and auto insurance customers,” said Jason Storah, Executive Vice-President, Broker Distribution, Aviva Canada, “and it’s available to all of our brokers across Ontario.”

Aviva Canada is also sponsor of the Aviva Centre, a world-class tennis facility and home to the prestigious Rogers Cup presented by National Bank, and the training base for one of Tennis Canada’s National Junior Training Programs. In addition, Aviva Canada is the Official Platinum and exclusive Insurance Sponsor of Rogers Cup presented by National Bank.

“We are absolutely delighted to expand our relationship with Aviva Canada in a way that benefits tennis at a very grassroots level,” said Rob Swann, Chief Commercial Officer, Tennis Canada. “Aviva Canada is an outstanding partner with Tennis Canada and together we will continue to grow the great sport of tennis across the country.”

About Aviva Canada
Aviva Canada Inc. is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in the country providing home, automobile, leisure/lifestyle and business insurance to 2.9 million customers. A wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc, the company has more than 4,000 employees focused on creating a bright and sustainable future for their customers and communities.

Aviva Canada invests in positive change through the Aviva Community Fund, Canada’s longest running online community funding competition. Since its inception in 2009, the Aviva Community Fund has awarded $7.5 million to over 250 charities and community groups nationwide. Aviva Canada, bringing over 300 years of good thinking and insurance solutions to Canadians from coast-to-coast.

For more information visit avivacanada.com, the company’s blog or Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

About Tennis Canada
Founded in 1890, Tennis Canada is a non-profit, national sport association with a mission to lead the growth of tennis in Canada and a vision to become a world-leading tennis nation. We value teamwork, passion, integrity, innovation and excellence. Tennis Canada owns and operates the premier Rogers Cup presented by National Bank WTA and ATP World Tour events, 10 professional ITF-sanctioned events and financially supports 12 other professional tournaments in Canada. Tennis Canada operates national junior training centres/programs in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary. Tennis Canada is a proud member of the International Tennis Federation, the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and the International Wheelchair Tennis Association, and serves to administer, sponsor and select the teams for Davis Cup, Fed Cup, the Olympic and Paralympic Games and all wheelchair, junior and senior national teams. Tennis Canada invests its surplus into tennis development. For more information on Tennis Canada, please visit our website at www.tenniscanada.com and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE Aviva Canada Inc.

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