Alberta Health Services EMS training day prepares up-and-coming paramedics

Health Matters May 24: Paramedic students teamed up with AHS EMS members for a special training day to prepare them for demands that are higher than ever. And a Stony Plain medical facility created a unique solution to help emergency patients with sensory issues. Sarah Komadina and Su-Ling Goh report.

It’s a difficult job, and lately it’s filled with even more pressures: the health system is taxed, with full emergency rooms and a hospital bed shortage.

The province is also in the middle of an opioid crisis. Primary care paramedic student Evan Vokins wants to be a part of it.

“Getting to see the environment we are in, and what we will be doing, definitely adds perspective,” Vokins said.

He is one of several students who took part in an EMS training day hosted by Alberta Health Services, as part of National Paramedic Services Week.

The event is targeted at up-and-coming paramedics to gain a better understanding of the life-saving skills used every day by EMS practitioners.

Read more:

Alberta funds injectable treatment Sublocade as opioid-related EMS calls spike

“A lot of people think, ‘Oh you’re going to get in the back of the ambulance and you’re instantly going to be running to an emergency,’ but there is a whole lot more to it and the world of paramedicine is expanding,” Vokins said.

Public education officer Jillian Maier said this is the first hands-on event they have been able put on since the pandemic, and students being able to come in-person makes a big difference.

“They build that connection, they build that relationship, it makes them feel more comfortable, they can be better on the job and it just opens up a lot of doors for our students,” Maier said.

“Being a paramedic is a job unlike any other. When you come to work, you’re expecting to have a day where you have no idea what is going to happen — a lot of us enjoy that about our job.”

Read more:

EMS responded to 85 opioid-related calls in Edmonton over 4 days in July

The community paramedic team was also highlighted — iIt’s one of the newest branches, operating in Alberta for about 10 years.

These paramedics are dispatched through a virtual hospital, and can go to people’s homes to administer things like IV bags, catheters and stitches. Community paramedic Marla Bartel said the program is continuously growing.

Bartel said at first, their services focused primarily on long-term, assisted-living care.

“We would go in to treat a patient at home, and that was about the only demographic we dealt with,” Bartel said.

“We have expanded each year to help a wide variety of people.”

Bartel said this will free up an ambulance, a hospital bed and hours of the patients’ time.

“Our team just primarily wants to lighten the load — lighten the load of the emergency systems because it’s taxed and we are able to just take a little bit of pressure off.”

EMS staff and paramedics respond to more than 589,000 events each year, about 1,600 calls a day.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ontario NDP candidates receive federal praise during Singh stop in London

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was in London, Ont., on Tuesday to campaign for Ontario New Democrats running for ridings in the city in the 2022 Ontario Election.

Singh arrived at the campaign office of Ontario NDP London North Centre candidate Terence Kernaghan in what marked the latest high-profile visit to the riding this month.

Read more:

Ontario election 2022: London North Centre the local race to watch, political scientist says

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca made a stop last week to support London North Centre candidate Kate Graham, while Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford visited the campaign office of Jerry Pribil the week prior to support his candidacy for the riding.

Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner visited London on May 6, but instead made a stop inside the boundaries of London West.

Speaking to dozens of supporters, Singh reflected on his time in Queen’s Park, where he served as MPP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton from 2011 to 2017 and served as the Ontario NDP’s deputy leader during the last two years of his time in provincial office.

“We saw 15 years of Liberals who had the chance, if they wanted to, to make things better, but they created so many of the problems that we’re going through today,” Singh said, highlighting issues surrounding health care, long-term care and housing.

“And then, four years of Conservatives. Did our housing crisis get any better? Our health-care system? Long-term care? Not at all.”

Read more:

Doug Ford and the PCs maintain tight grip on Ontario election race: Ipsos poll

When asked by media about why he made the visit, Singh brought up his personal history with London, having previously lived in the city while attending Western University.

“Anytime there’s a chance to help support local campaigns, I always put my hand up for London because I just got a connection, I appreciate the folks here and there’s some incredible candidates running and I want them to be able to continue to fight for the people here,” Singh said.

“We’ve got Terence, we’ve got Teresa (Armstrong), we’ve got Peggy Sattler. We’ve seen their work, we know what they do and they have served the people of London incredibly.”

Kernaghan, who is the incumbent in London North Centre, said Singh’s visit shows “how much power and momentum we have here in London.”

While political watchers are calling for a close race in the riding, Kernaghan disagrees.

“Every street I go on, I see tons of my signs and it is incredibly overwhelming to see the amount of love and support that we’re receiving on the doors and people know exactly who I am when I’m knocking on the doors and they thank me for my work in the community,” Kernaghan said.

“We’re just feeling so inspired and motivated.”

Along with Kernaghan, Graham and Pribil, who are running for the NDP, Liberals and Progressive Conservatives, respectively, several other candidates also hoping to represent Ontarians in London North Centre.

They are the Green Party’s Carol Dyck, the New Blue’s Tommy Caldwell, the Ontario Party’s Darrel Grant, the Consensus Party’s George Le Mac and the Freedom Party of Ontario’s Paul McKeever.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

3 Durham schools to remain closed for 2nd day after devastating Ontario storm

WATCH: Power outages continue to hamper Ontarians after Saturday’s storm left thousands without power. Ahmar Khan reports.

Three schools in Durham Region will remain closed Wednesday as the area continues to battle the fallout from Saturday’s fatal and destructive storm.

In an announcement Tuesday evening, the Durham District School Board (DDSB) confirmed three of its schools would remain closed, while five are set to reopen after power was restored to the buildings.

The board acknowledged it may be difficult to inform some parents still without power. “Please share this information as best you can with others,” the statement said.

Read more:

Deadly storm in Ontario, Quebec wreaks havoc on urban trees

For students at the three schools that remain closed, no online learning will be provided. The board said it could not guarantee a virtual classroom for all students as a result of power outages so it will not be offering online classes.

Uxbridge in Durham Region was one of the areas of Ontario most impacted by Saturday’s storm.

The township declared a state of emergency, with the cleanup and attempts to restore power continuing three days after the devastating weather ripped through.

The Northern Tornado project said it believes an EF2 tornado may have struck Uxbridge.

Read more:

Uxbridge declares state of emergency in wake of severe damage from Ontario storm

The death toll in Ontario climbed to at least 10 on Monday, with Peterborough police confirming that a 61-year-old Lakefield man died during the storm after being struck by a falling tree.

The schools that will reopen are:

  • Lincoln Avenue PS (Ajax)
  • Goodwood PS (Uxbridge)
  • Joseph Gould PS (Uxbridge)
  • Uxbridge SS (Uxbridge)
  • E.A. Fairman PS (Whitby)

The schools that are set to remain closed are:

  • Southwood Park PS (Ajax)
  • Valley View PS (Pickering)
  • Uxbridge PS (Uxbridge)

— with files from The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

CFL delivers 'final' amended contract proposal to its players

Stampeder fans may have to wait a little longer before taking in a game. The CFL Players Association has voted down the CFL’s latest offer. Global’s Craig Momney has the reaction from training camp.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie and the CFL have put the CFL Players’ Association back on the clock.

Ambrosie said Tuesday the league tabled a final amended collective bargaining agreement to the players Monday night, a deal that will remain on the table until midnight ET on Thursday. He added the new contract addressed the biggest concerns the CFLPA membership had with the previous proposal: the implementation of a ratification bonus and changing the Canadian ratio.

Ambrosie said the amended offer contains a $1-million ratification bonus pool for players. It also reduces the proposed number of nationalized Canadians — Americans who’ve spent either four years in the CFL or at least three with the same team — from four to one while also cutting back on the number of Canadian starters from seven to six.

Read more:

Saskatchewan Roughriders resume training camp after CFLPA rejects new offer

And that’s not expected to sit well with CFL players. On Monday, they rejected a tentative seven-year agreement between the league and their union that called for Canadian starters to increase to eight, including one nationalized Canadian. In addition, three other nationalized Canadians could play up to 49 per cent of all snaps on either side of the ball.

“We know our roster challenges don’t surface when all of your players are healthy,” Ambrosie said. “But ours is a collision sport where players get hurt and once you get deeper into your roster, often those players aren’t quite ready.

“That’s why we protected all of the roster spots to make sure Canadians have the chance to be on rosters and train and develop themselves. This protects Canadian jobs, which all of our teams felt strongly about. It rewards American athletes for a contribution they make to our teams and communities.”

CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay said the league’s offer was more like an ultimatum and not a partnership which the league has often maintained has been its goal in contract talks.

“Yes this is an ultimatum with a deadline,” Ramsay said. “It feels very much like the way the old CFL does business.

“I think a partnership creates solutions. Right now, our members are still on the field as we try to create solutions while the CFL issues ultimatums. Coming out publicly like this isn’t the right approach. They did try this May 14 and it didn’t work then and we’re confident through our player reps that our membership will see that now.”

Read more:

CFL players reject new collective bargaining agreement with league: reports

This marks the second time Ambrosie has gone public with a final contract offer to the CFLPA. On May 14, he posted a letter to fans on the league’s website detailing the league’s proposal to players hours before the former CBA was set to expire.

Ramsay divulged that the CFL’s ratification fund would come from the league’s revenue-sharing plan that’s been agreed to in this current proposal. And he said there’s little chance the amended ratio will fly with CFL players.

“Throughout bargaining we’ve told them repeatedly this would be a problematic issue for our membership,” Ramsay said. “Nonetheless, we’ve negotiated up from their initial eradication of the ratio from zero and we agreed to put that as part of complete package in front of our membership with our support and that of our player reps and it failed.

“They now want to put the same issues on the table in a different format, deadline us, deadline our members and expect a different result.”

As for the proposed bonus, Ramsay added: “The reality is, though, these funds will come out of the players’ portion of the revenue-sharing model. We appreciate the gesture to get this into our membership’s hands now, but it must be clear this would be offering the players their own future money as a settlement.”

As for if the CFL membership will formally vote on the new proposal, Ramsay said: “We’ve taken it to our player reps and we’ve asked them to brief their rooms on it, and as it stands now it would not have support. They cannot expect a different result based upon the same issue being on the table.”

The league and union reached a tentative agreement Wednesday, four days after players with seven of the league’s nine teams went on strike. It marked just the second work stoppage in league history and first since 1974.

But Ambrosie said the league has no more room to negotiate.

“I think this is the best offer the league is going to have and we’re going to stand on it,” he said. “But not with obstinance or negativity, we’re going to stand by it because we truly believe this is a transformational deal.

“The deal that went for ratification was one supported by the players’ executive and player reps that we felt was a win-win and a great opportunity to build a new future. We just made two adjustments that we think make it even better and we just feel it’s time now to stand by this deal and get back to playing football.”

Read more:

Calgary Stampeders suspend receiver Brendan Langley following airport brawl

Ramsay kind of agreed with Ambrosie’s statement the deal was “transformational.”

“I think it has the potential to be a transformational deal,” he said. “But I think the tactics that we continue to see take away from the impact of the package.”

Ramsay disagreed with the notion that the CFL and union are at an impasse and said there remains time for the two sides to continue talking.

“No we’re not (at an impasse),” he said. “There should be talks and I’d imagine there will be talks between now and then because at the end of the day I believe both parties want to find a solution to this.

“I know our members want to play football. Timing has always been an issue and the pressures put on our members through the timing of this bargaining process are not reflective of the new partnership that we were told we were working toward.”

The CFL’s exhibition schedule is slated to open Friday night with the Toronto Argonauts visiting the Ottawa Redblacks and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers entertaining the Edmonton Elks. On Tuesday, Winnipeg president Wade Miller, expressed hope his team’s contest will go ahead.

“We are optimistic that Friday’s pre-season game will be played as scheduled,” Miller said in a tweet released by the Bombers. “Once we have further information, we will provide you with more details.”

The Calgary Stampeders were equally as hopeful their exhibition game Saturday night against the B.C. Lions would be played.

“We are optimistic that Saturday’s pre-season game will be played as scheduled,” Stampeders president/GM John Hufnagel said in a tweet released by the club. “Once we have further information, we will provide Stamps fans with further details.”

Read more:

CFL reschedules Winnipeg Blue Bombers pre-season opener

But it’s difficult to see any games being played if the players turn down the league’s latest offer. A longer second work stoppage would also put the June 9 regular-season start in jeopardy.

Ambrosie said if the deal is rejected and players go back on strike, they’ll be served notice to vacate their respective training-camp facilities.

“That’s not something we want to do,” Ambrosie said. “Essentially this would be a second strike … and by that point we’ll be starting to suffer revenue losses and many things change for us.

“That’s why I believe this is the best we’re going to do. It’s a win-win deal but it’s more than that, it’s a win-win partnership and that’s what I and my colleagues want to focus on.”

The past two seasons have been difficult for both the league and players. After no games were played in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic — reportedly costing the league between $60 and $80 million — teams participated in an abbreviated 14-game campaign last year.

“We’ve got two pre-season games Friday and two more Saturday,” Ambrosie said. “Look, at this stage we know there will be consequences and effects to the league if, heaven forbid, we start missing games.”

In Ambrosie’s mind, this offer is a big win for the league and players.

“I believe in my head and in my heart this arrangement that’s on the table today is the dawning of a new era of prosperity for this league,” he said. “I’m hoping and praying the players will choose to vote and ratify this arrangement because I believe this sets us all up for the kind of future we’ve all wanted going back generations.

“None of the struggles or tribulations that go with bargaining should get in the way of what you want. You want to ultimately build a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership with our players. Our respect for our players hasn’t waned or diminished one bit. We just want to get this done and fulfil the promise we’ve made to our fans and stakeholders in having a 2022 season and one that’s a cause for great celebration.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

'Uplifting their spirits': The music that memorialized the 215 missing children in Kamloops

WATCH: Members of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in British Columbia, as well as many others from across Canada, gathered in Kamloops to mark the first anniversary of when 215 unmarked graves were detected at a nearby former residential school. Neetu Garcha explains how the community honoured the children who never came home, and the calls to fight the systemic erasure of Indigenous culture to protect future generations.

Dustin Dion Stikwey Jules didn’t really plan on performing when he travelled to Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc on Monday.

The Skeetchestn Indian Band member has been a singer all his life, but called it a “spur of the moment” decision to walk up to the microphone in the Powwow Arbour and sing in the Secwepemctsin language.

“Whenever we share a time like this, we take it upon ourselves to share our culture and our beliefs with the people because it’s something that’s been passed down from generation to generation,” he said.

Skeetchestn singer Dustin Dion Stikwey Jules speaks to Global News after sharing a Lahal song at the one-year memorial for Le Estcwicwéy̓ in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc on Mon. May 23, 2022.

Skeetchestn singer Dustin Dion Stikwey Jules speaks to Global News after sharing a Lahal song at the one-year memorial for Le Estcwicwéy̓ in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc on Mon. May 23, 2022.

Elizabeth McSheffrey/Global News

With braided sweetgrass and his son’s drum in his hands, he shared a Lahal song. It’s traditionally performed during tournaments, but Jules said it has helped his community in times of need, and could do the same for those attending the one-year memorial for Le Estcwicwéy̓.

“It’s about bringing people together, uplifting their spirits, giving them that good feeling, that choice of comfort,” he told Global News.

As he sang, he said he thought of his mother, grandmother, aunts and uncles who survived the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Read more:

Honouring Le Estcwicwéy̓: B.C. First Nation marks 1 year since discovery of 215 unmarked graves

From the Honour Song to the jingle dress dance, music and movement played a central role in the ceremony honouring the 215 missing children, whose remains are believed to be buried by the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The event included many speeches and prayers, but at the end of the day, Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir gave a special shoutout to the drummers, dancers and singers.

“I can’t say enough as to how meaningful it was that we had so many of our cultural singers and dancers today. That was our resilience,” she told the crowd, standing next to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Let’s be proud of who we are. We need our children to be proud of who we are.”

Careful thought went into choosing the songs performed at the Le Estcwicwéy̓ memorial, several singers told Global News. According to Iye’mitun Slahhwwaletze Sewedit, a visiting cultural support worker from Snuneymuxw First Nation on Vancouver Island, it’s all based on the type of occasion.

He chose his grandmother’s Prayer Song, written by his granduncle about her calls to all the people in the Cowichan Valley to join her in prayer.

“I sang it at gatherings like this one here because we’re coming together to be as one … coming together as one heart, one mind, one spirit,” Sewedit said outside the Powwow Arbour.

“It took a lot for me not to break down and cry because I get emotional easy. It felt good to sing that, especially for everybody that’s here in residential school because I know what they’ve been through.”

People join hands in a round dance around the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Powwow Arbour during the one-year memorial for the 215 missing children believed to lie in unmarked burial sites near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, on Mon. May 23, 2022.

People join hands in a round dance around the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Powwow Arbour during the one-year memorial for the 215 missing children believed to lie in unmarked burial sites near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, on Mon. May 23, 2022.

Elizabeth McSheffrey/Global News

The 10-hour event included both spontaneous songs and dances, and planned performances in at least half a dozen Indigenous languages, such as Secwepemctsin, Cree, Hul’q’umin’um, and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh.

Read more:

Reclaiming, rebuilding: Kamloops school survivors share in memorial for missing children

The Redrum Motorcycle Club, which includes survivors and intergenerational survivors of residential schools, sang ‘Happy Birthday’ for Le Estcwicwéy̓, whose lives were cut short. The Paul Creek Singers and Dancers led the crowd in the Celebration and Friendship Song.

“The Celebration Dance is done in honour of life and in honour of those passing onto the spirit world,” explained Elder Charlotte Manuel, thanking her elders for passing on their knowledge.

The dancers moved together in a circle with open hands turned upward toward the sky. Manuel, a survivor of Kamloops Indian Residential School, danced joyfully from her seat.

The Paul Creek Tribal Dancers and Singers lead the crowd in the Celebration and Friendship Song and Dance during the one-year memorial for Le Estcwicwéy̓ in Kamloops, B.C. on May 23, 2022.

The Paul Creek Tribal Dancers and Singers lead the crowd in the Celebration and Friendship Song and Dance during the one-year memorial for Le Estcwicwéy̓ in Kamloops, B.C. on May 23, 2022.

Elizabeth McSheffrey/Global News

After she danced, Jackie Andrew of Lil’wat Nation said she feels “grounded and lifted.” A St’át’imc bear dancer and a twin, she told Global News she carried the “very sacred” animal spirit to the memorial in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc.

“This is what we call ancestral work. We’re here to be of good service to our ancestors, because we wouldn’t be here today if they didn’t survive and pass down their oral traditions,” she explained, wearing her grizzly regalia.

“This is the medicine that heals us, that helps us prosper as a people.”

Jackie said attended the memorial with her family and danced to support survivors, including her parents and grandparents, who attended Kamloops Indian Residential School and St. Mary’s Indian Residential School in Mission, B.C.

“It’s all about intention. If you have good intention your prayers will be answered,” she said.

St’át’imc bear dancer and intergenerational survivor Jackie Andrew takes part in a round dance in the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Powwow Arbour on May 23, 2022.

St’át’imc bear dancer and intergenerational survivor Jackie Andrew takes part in a round dance in the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Powwow Arbour on May 23, 2022.

Elizabeth McSheffrey/Global News


© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Education workers' union warns of cuts to lunchroom supervisors in Toronto schools

WATCH: With the election less than two weeks away, new polling from Ipsos done exclusively for Global News shows Ontario’s PCs continue to have a tight grip on the provincial election race. Erica Vella has more.

A Toronto education union is sounding the alarm bell, warning of cuts to staffing at the province’s largest school board and demanding the PCs and the Ontario Liberals commit to additional school funding.

The Toronto Education Workers — Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 440 — said it expected to see the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) dramatically cut the number of lunchtime monitors it employs next year.

“At a time when the Toronto District School Board should be hiring more lunchroom supervisors, these bosses who are up for re-election this fall are talking about significant cuts,” said John Weatherup, president of the Toronto Education Workers, referencing the trustees who govern TDSB.

Read more:

Toronto school board calls on Ontario parties to commit to education ahead of election

Lunchtime supervisors work for 75 minutes per day, according the the union. Their role helps allow teachers and other school staff to take their breaks.

The union said it feared 300 lunchtime supervisors would be cut in the 2022-2023 school year by TDSB.

A spokesperson for TDSB told Global News that TDSB hired 345 lunchroom supervisors using funding from the Ministry of Education that was earmarked to run for two years. That fund will expire at the end of August and the board will use one-time COVID relief dollars to bridge the gap, the spokesperson said.

The COVID-19 recovery funding will allow the board to keep around 200 of the 345 lunchtime hires next year. Many of the roughly 150 jobs that need to be cut will be “attained through attrition or recalled at the beginning of the new school year,” the board said.

Read more:

Toronto school board chair seeks help with ‘concerning decline’ in student mental health

The union urged parents to raise concerns with trustees and Ontario election candidates of the provincial ballot on June 2.

“Cuts reducing the number of lunchroom supervisors who protect your kids is another symptom of Doug Ford’s PC Party government bragging, just like the Liberal government before it, that Canada’s richest province spends less per capita on public services than any other province in the country,” Weatherup said.

TDSB said it expected to see enrollment in elementary schools drop by around 4,000 students next year.

“The board — which is funded based on enrolment — would require fewer Lunchroom Supervisors as a result,” the spokesperson said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Great start to tourism season in Okanagan, but high gas prices may result in less spending

Okanagan businesses that rely on tourism dollars are celebrating what was a very busy long weekend. Tourists are making their way back to the Okanagan in droves following two years of COVID restrictions. And while that could be good indication of a strong tourism season--concerns are growing that gas prices could impact how much those tourists spend. Klaudia Van Emmerik reports.

It was the first May long weekend since the 2019 Victoria Day weekend without any COVID-19-related restrictions.

“Long weekend was amazing,” said Jeff Blower, owner of Kelly O’Bryan’s Restaurant in downtown Kelowna. ” People are back.  It’s great. I haven’t seen that many people in two-and-a-half years.”

While the numbers haven’t yet been tabulated, Tourism Kelowna is touting this past May long weekend as one of its best.

“What we are hearing is it was probably one of the best weekends on record for tourism in the Okanagan,” said Lisanne Ballantyne.  “There’s definitely pent-up travel demand.”

Read more:

After ‘resilient’ 2021, Tourism Kelowna says 2022 offers promising outlook

At the Parlour Icecream shop, the long weekend was a record-breaking one.

“We’ve had our busiest long weekend since we opened in August 2017,” said supervisor Hailley Bamping.

Wineries across the Okanagan also reported strong numbers, including The View Winery.

“This May long weekend, Saturday, we saw numbers that we typically see in the middle of July and August in the regular season,” said Krista Pallos, hospitality and wine shop manager.

Pallos said with no COVID restrictions, groups coming in for wine tastings are getting larger.

“Last summer, we had restrictions of six people per tasting room,” Pallos said. “This year, we’re seeing bigger and bigger reservations or we’re seeing groups of 12 and 14 coming in.”

A restriction-free summer season is being welcome by tourism operators, including Ogopogo Parasail.

“Yeah, looking forward to getting back out there without the restrictions, ” said owner Luke Weller.

“Without the face masks and without sanitizing and all that sort of stuff, just getting back to normal operation.”

Read more:

Canada’s most northern border to reopen June 1 for first time since COVID-19 began

And while the elimination of restrictions may bring in more tourists, the high price of gas may impact how much they spend here.

“We don’t foresee the gas prices having a direct effect on our overall tourism number. We do about 2.2 million visitors a year,” Ballantyne said.

“What we are worried about is once they get here, are they going to have enough leftover money to spend on our retailers, out in restaurants? Maybe have that extra day in the hotel.”

In addition to high gas prices, the labour shortage is also a cause for concern, as there aren’t enough workers to serve all the tourists expected in the Okanagan this summer season.

“I hire about 50 new staff for the summer. I’m probably only halfway there right now,” Blower said.

According to the B.C. Restaurant Association, the industry is short about 30,000 employees.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Saskatoon council sets sights on downtown development parking concerns

WATCH: City Council is facing parking concerns when it comes to the development of Saskatoon's downtown.

Downtown Saskatoon could look very different in the years to come with the potential of a new arena and entertainment centre as well as a grocery store.

However, one problem looming large for both projects was brought up at city council on Tuesday: parking.

Midtown Mall is already a busy area which is often crowded with parked cars.

Read more:

Downtown Saskatoon still lacking grocery store, safety concerns remain: study

One resident, Tyrell Harder, told council he noticed people parking in the Cactus Club parking lot, because it is free, and spending their day in the mall.

Councillor Darren Hill asked what the parking plan would be for the proposed downtown grocery store, especially for people just stopping in for pick-up.

Murray Totland, spokesperson for Arbutus Properties, said the store would have spaces specifically for the store, which is expected to be a Pitchfork Market  + Kitchen.

“That service lot immediately outside the proposed store location would be obviously the most convenient, we’ll have some dedicated stalls for curbside pickup,” said Totland.

Read more:

Downtown Saskatoon revitalizing vision requires non-traditional funding, administration says

Council also decided on the criteria for the new downtown arena.

They outlined land space, access to transport and close proximity to other complimentary businesses such as hotels and parking.

The new arena is expected to hold 15,000 seats, and administration staff noted that a new parking facility will need to be built regardless of which location is chosen.

Council is moving ahead with both plans.

Read more:

Higher capacity at proposed downtown Saskatoon festival site enticing for event organizers

They voted to give Arbutus Properties a tax abatement for the site, should they build a grocery store there.

They are also scheduled to unveil possible sites for the new arena as soon as possible.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Lack of parking near Kingston General Hospital leaves hospital staff frustrated

Finding parking around Kingston General Hospital is always a challenge. It's especially tough for health care workers heading into work every day.

For Kingston Health Sciences Centre ICU nurse Hannah Green, the past two years of working around the clock, often short-staffed, has been exhausting.

On top of that, finding parking to get to work proves to be a challenge.

“It’s been an issue as long as I’ve been there,” says Green.

“There used to be the courthouse parking lot. It was, I think, $8 to $10 a day. That was nice — it was a close walking distance, and then they jumped that up to $20 a day as well. So, it seems like pennies to some people, but in the end, it really does add up and it just adds to the frustration that’s already there.”

Read more:

City council waives on-street parking permit fees near KGH amid COVID-19 third wave

Green has worked at Kingston General Hospital for 12 years and now lives in the countryside with limited access to bus routes.

She says the parking issue affects a lot of health care workers.

“I think a lot of us just don’t understand why we can’t park close to the hospital for an affordable price, or for even an accessible way of doing it,” she says. “You barely have time to have a break, much less run out to the meter.”

When asked for comment on the situation, the City of Kingston responded with a statement.

“While there is no free parking offered by the city in the proximity of Kingston General Hospital, there are long-term parking options for employees working for Kingston Health Sciences Centre,” reads the statement.

“Queen’s University has several long-term parking options available and there are approximately 100 spaces available at St. Mary’s, with an additional 40 spaces in the Union St. parking garage.”

When asked by Global News for comment, the university also responded with a statement.

“Queen’s extends to Kingston Health Sciences Centre employees the same rates and access to on-campus parking as our own university employees,” says the statement.

Read more:

Kingston health-care workers lobby for help with parking during height of COVID-19 pandemic

Some KGH workers have even resorted to using the Kingston Penitentiary parking lot, but the beginning of the tourism season is making that difficult.

“Because we are leasing the property from Correctional Services Canada to run tours and filming, we’re paying over $23,000 a month to lease this property,” says Lanie Hurdle, chief administrative officer for the City of Kingston.

“Therefore, we need to ensure that our customers have access to parking first, and are using this parking,”

Green says she’s calling for the city to provide parking options that would help make the hospital more accessible to both staff and community members, to help make an already tough job a little easier to get to.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Staff shortages in Saskatchewan hospitality sector at an all-time high

Fresh off of the May long weekend, tourism may be up but staff shortages are at an all-time high.

“Currently listed on, so that’s only one platform,” said Jim Bence, Hospitality Saskatchewan president and CEO, “there’s 3,200 jobs; 3,000 available front-line positions.”

Bence said the industry has faced challenges 10-years-ago. But, it pales in comparison to what is happening right now.

“We’ve got compounding challenges with early retirements those types of things,” said Bence. “Massive migration from our industry into other industries which occurred at the beginning of the pandemic because people got laid off.”

Read more:

‘Pack your patience’: What to expect as you book summer travel this year

The COVID-19-related layoff was a path Karlo Hospitality Inc. owner Kail Oppermann refused to take.

“Our philosophy always was to keep our staff all the time,” said Kail Oppermann. “That’s why we diversified from airline catering to catering itself.”

It’s a decision that paid off for Oppermann.

“Our value has gone up tremendously,” said Oppermann.

Tourism also continues to grow.

Read more:

Ahead of summer rush, seasonal businesses struggle to find workers

“We’re seeing much stronger bookings in the accommodation sectors,” said Jonathan Potts, Tourism Saskatchewan CEO.

“In 2020, we dropped way below 50 per cent to 32 per cent average accommodations across the province. It was 41 last year and this year we should be well north of 50 per cent.”

The challenge to hire may be there but Bence said the focus will continue to be on trying to bring in new local employees into the industry before they begin to look outside the province with their new program ‘Belong Saskatchewan’ projected to begin in June.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

You May Also Like

Top Stories