Five British nationals die when whale watching boat sinks off B.C. coast

By Dirk Meissner


TOFINO, B.C. All five people who died after a whale-watching ship sank off the west coast of Vancouver Island were British nationals, Britain’s Foreign Office confirmed Monday.

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of all those affected by this terrible accident,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in a statement, adding consular staff in B.C. are supporting grieving family members.

The B.C. Coroners Service said Monday those who died ranged in age from 18 to 76, and that four of them were men.

Three of the dead where from Britain, while two of the British Nationals were living in Canada. The woman was from B.C., and a man lived in Ontario, the service said.

A tour boat with 24 passengers and three crew members on board sank Sunday afternoon about 15 kilometres northwest of Tofino, B.C.

First responders managed to rescue 21 passengers, some of them injured. The search for one person still missing was called off Sunday night.

Boats from the nearby Ahousaht First Nation that answered the ship’s mayday call on Sunday around 4 p.m. found it partially submerged.

Authorities have not said what might have caused the boat to sink.

Kelsey Rix and two other health-care workers were on a Tofino dock Monday preparing to leave for the village of Ahousaht.

The community health nurse said they’ll be checking on the well-being of those who tried to help people thrown into the water.

“The local First Nations were the first in the water and the first to pull out the victims,” she said.

Valerie Wilson, with the Island Health authority, said four people remain in different hospitals around the province. All of them are listed in stable condition, she said.

Wilson said 18 other people aboard the vessel have been assessed, treated and released from hospital in Tofino.

Robert Burridge of Nanaimo, B.C., was in Ahousaht on Sunday afternoon and estimates that every available vessel in the village was in the water searching for missing people.

“The Ahousahts were the first on the scene,” he said. “They know these waters. They have a custom not to leave a body out at sea.”

Ahousaht First Nation Coun. Tom Campbell was on the Tofino waterfront and watched as rescue personnel brought several of the survivors ashore.

“Their looks tell the whole story,” he said by phone from Tofino. “You can’t describe looks on people that are lost. They look totally lost  shocked and lost.”

The 20-metre boat the Leviathan II belonged to a local whale-watching company called Jamie’s Whaling Station.

It issued a statement saying its entire team was heartbroken by the tragic day.

“We are doing everything we can to assist our passengers and staff through this difficult time,” owner Jamie Bray said. “We are co-operating with investigators to determine exactly what happened.”

Bray also offered his thanks to first responders, Tofino residents and local First Nations communities that helped with the rescue.

The mayor of Tofino also commended locals for their contributions.

“Everybody’s heart is just breaking for what’s going on here and wanting to be as helpful as possible,” Josie Osborne said by phone late Sunday.

Michael Harris, executive director of the Pacific Whale Watching Association, said the whale-watching community is in shock over the incident.

He said tour operaters go above and beyond to make sure their passengers are safe.

Harris said the first thing operators do when passengers get on board is explain safety, including where the life jackets are kept. It’s unclear if the passengers on the Leviathan were wearing life-jackets.

Both Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier Christy Clark issued statements about the tragedy.

“I was shocked and saddened to hear of the sinking of a whale-watching boat near the B.C. coast and the passengers aboard who have lost their lives in the incident,” Trudeau said.

Both Trudeau and the premier thanked people who helped in the rescue effort.

Investigators with the Transportation Safety Board were expected to be in Tofino by Monday afternoon.

Tofino residents Sean and Deddeda White arrived with flowers at the dock on Monday as an RCMP dive team prepared to leave for the accident scene.

Deddeda White said she gathered cedar bows, salal and flowers from her garden to make the bouquet she left at the dock.

“This affects the whole town,” she said.


Upset man dumps container of raw sewage inside a Newfoundland town office

RCMP in Placentia, N.L., are investigating a bizarre incident in which raw sewage was dumped on the front counter inside the town office.

Mayor Wayne Power says a resident walked into the office around noon on October 13, 2015 to complain about a sewage problem on his property.

Power says the upset man emptied a small container of sewage on the counter after telling officials it was their responsibility to clean up his property.

He says no one was hurt in the incident, although the lobby of the building had to be cleared to be cleaned up and disinfected.

Power says regardless of his problem, the man’s actions were unacceptable, so town officials called police.

RCMP Cpl. Trevor Baldwin says police talked to the man and are now considering whether charges are warranted.


13 places from across the country selected as finalists for Great Places in Canada 2015

Source: CPI Press Release

The jury is in from its first round of deliberation, and thirteen nominations have been selected as finalists in the Great Places in Canada contest from an initial slate of twenty-nine.

The jury is now delving deeper into each finalist’s nomination.  The Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), host of the annual contest, will announce the winners in each category on November 4, 2015, in conjunction with World Town Planning Day.


In the category of Great Street, the finalists are:

· Broadway                     

Orangeville, ON

· Lower Johnson Street – LoJo    

Victoria, BC

· Wolfville’s Main Street                    

Wolfville, Nova Scotia

In the category of Great Neighbourhood, the three finalists are:

· Quartier Petit Champlain                   

Quebec, QC

· Schmidtville                                       

Halifax, NS

· West End                                       

Vancouver, BC

And finally, in the Great Public Space category, which received the most nominations, the seven finalists are:

· Blockhouse Island                       

Brockville, ON

· Grizzly Plaza                              

Revelstoke, BC

· Lethbridge River Valley                      

Lethbridge, AB

· Mississauga Celebration Square           

Mississauga, ON

· Pemberton Downtown Community Barn   

Pemberton, BC

· Prince Arthur’s Landing at Marina Park     

Thunder Bay, ON

· Stuart Park                                              

Kelowna, BC


“The nominations were stronger than ever this year,” says Hazel Christy, President of CIP, “and the support the nominees received from their respective communities was tremendous.  This program really showcases the amazing work done by professional planners and how that work can transform.”

The prize of People’s Choice, awarded to the nominee in each category that received the most online votes, will be announced on November 4th along with the Grand Prize winners determined by the Great Places in Canada jury.

“The nominations were stronger than ever this year,” says Hazel Christy, President of CIP, “and the support the nominees received from their respective communities was tremendous.  This program really showcases the amazing work done by professional planners and how that work can transform.”

The prize of People’s Choice, awarded to the nominee in each category that received the most online votes, will be announced on November 4th along with the Grand Prize winners determined by the Great Places in Canada jury.

The nominator of a Grand Prize winner in each category will receive a $500 travel voucher, a MEC Station shoulder bag, a one-year subscription to Plan Canada, the official magazine of the Canadian Institute of Planners, and a certificate for nominating a winning place.  A stainless steel plaque will be delivered, engraved with the winner’s new designation, which can be mounted at the site.

The nominator of a People’s Choice winner will receive a leather travel case from Roots Canada, a 25% off voucher from any purchase at Roots, and a one-year subscription to Plan Canada.  A certificate will also be presented to the nominator for putting forward a winning place.

A big thank you also goes out to Communities in Bloom and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) for their support in this contest.

Visit to vote!

AODA compliance update: January 1, 2016 requirements

Stikeman Elliott LLP

It’s that time of year again – time to consider whether your organization is compliant with the next set of requirements under Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (the AODA).   In addition to those AODA requirements under the Customer Service and Integrated Accessibility Standards that are already in place, effective January 1, 2016, a number of additional requirements come into force.   This post outlines those requirements as they apply to private and not-for-profit organizations.

Information and Communications Requirements

Organizations must ensure that, upon request and in consultation with the person making the request, publically available information in respect of the organization’s goods, services or facilities is provided in an accessible format and at no greater cost than that normally charged.  The public must be notified about the availability of accessible formats and communication supports provided by the organization.

Employment Requirements

Employers are required to establish a number of internal practices with respect to the recruitment, accommodation and advancement of employees.

Employers must:

  • Provide external and internal notification of the accommodation of persons with disabilities during the recruitment process and subsequent employment, and consult with job applicants who request accommodation to provide effective accommodation measures.
  • Inform employees of the organization’s policies in support of persons with disabilities.
  • Develop and implement a process for the creation of individual accommodation plans  and a documented return to work process for employees that have been absent from work due to a disability.
  • Ensure that the organization takes into account the accessibility needs of employees with disabilities when implementing performance management, career development, advancement or redeployment processes.

Should your organization require assistance with achieving compliance with the AODA, please reach out to a member of our Employment and Labour Group.

Uber drivers say proposed regulations could drive them out of business

By Laura Osman, CBC News

Uber and taxi drivers, now bitter adversaries, are going to battle at Edmonton city hall this week.  But this time they have something in common.

Both the ride-share company and traditional cabs say the city’s plan to revise its regulations and make Uber legal would drive them out of town.

Licensing director Garry Dziwenka unveiled the plans Sept. 4, which would make Edmonton the first city in Canada to legalise the controversial company.

Dziwenka said the city’s goal was to make room for the new service while protecting traditional cabs.

In an effort to make sure Uber and other ride-share companies are safe, the city proposed rules that would require potential drivers to undergo criminal record checks, vehicle inspections, license applications and get commercial insurance.

That would set an Uber driver back approximately $6,800 a year. Uber spokesperson Xavier Van Chau called the proposal “unworkable,” given most drivers don’t work for them full-time.

Uber driver Eskinder just recently began picking up fares using the app to make some extra money on the weekends. CBC agreed not to use his last name because he could be fined by the city.

Eskinder said the expense would be too much to justify the few hours he works for Uber, and he has no intention of quitting his day job. He would have to stop.

“I don’t think I can afford paying all of this money,” he said.  “I can’t keep this job like regular job. I work as a part time.”

Uber officials said many of their drivers would be in a similar situation.

Last week, in an email to its Edmonton clients, Uber wrote that “if amendments are not adopted Uber will be unable to continue operating in Edmonton.”

The company would like to see the burden of regulation fall on them, rather than individual drivers. Its business model depends on it.

READ MORE HERE: The big insurance question

Court has ruled on assisted death, but Canada is not prepared

ANDRÉ PICARD | The Globe and Mail

On Feb. 6, 2016 – one year after the historic Supreme Court ruling in the case of Kathleen Carter and Gloria Taylor – physician-assisted death will be legal in Canada. The Canadian Medical Association last week debated what life would be like for physicians and patients in this brave new world. One thing was clear: We are woefully unprepared for Feb. 7.

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The Court said the Criminal Code’s prohibitions on assisted suicide will no longer apply “to the extent that they prohibit physician-assisted death for a competent adult person who (1) clearly consents to the termination of life and (2) has a grievous and irremediable medical condition (including an illness, disease or disability) that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable to the individual in the circumstances of his or her condition.” It also stated that physicians cannot be compelled to hasten a person’s death.

In the yawning gap between this straightforward theory and the complexities of everyday practice lie many questions:

• When a patient asks for a hastened death, who will they ask?

• What do the terms “grievous and irremediable” and “enduring suffering that is intolerable” mean?

• Who will determine a patient’s capacity to consent?

• If a physician can’t be compelled to perform the act, does he or she have an obligation to refer to a doctor who will?

• How long will the “cooling off” period be between a request and administration of a lethal drug?

• Who will train doctors to administer these drugs?

• Does a physician have to administer a lethal drug in hospital, or can patients take pills on their own at home?

• Will there be a billing code for assisted death?

• What do you write on the death certificate?

• Will life-insurance payouts be denied because a person is opting for a form of suicide?

The Supreme Court suspended its ruling for one year to give the federal government time to come up with an amended law (or not), and to allow provincial governments and regulators to prepare.

The government of Stephen Harper, which didn’t like the ruling, did nothing until July, when it appointed a committee to consult Canadians (and stipulated it could not consult during the election campaign). Ottawa is clearly abdicating its responsibility.

The provinces, led by Ontario, have appointed their own consultative committee, but it won’t report till year’s end


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