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Sask. work deaths reaching crisis level, says U of R professor

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A rising number of work-related deaths have reached a crisis level, according to University of Regina associate professor Sean Tucker.

37 people have been victims of work fatalities from January to the end of August in 2018. That’s up from 27 in all of 2017 and 31 in 2016.

In 2012, the number of workplace deaths hit a high of 60. Since then, the numbers have been steadily declining- until this year.

Work-related deaths in Saskatchewan are on the rise after hitting a ten-year low in 2017.

Meanwhile, Alberta and Manitoba are both seeing much lower fatal injury rates during the same time period, though it should be noted Manitoba uses a different reporting system for vehicle-related incidents.

This year, the leading causes of workplace fatalities in Saskatchewan are occupational disease and motor vehicle-related incidents. It’s a shift from 2017 when the leading causes were occupational diseases and acute injuries.

According to the Worker’s Compensation Board, occupational disease-related fatalities are often diagnosed years after a workplace exposure.

The group expects occupational disease-related deaths will continue as workers in the province are often exposed to asbestos, putting them at risk of disease or death decades into the future.

The stats don’t always reflect the faces, families and stories of those who were lost, but Tucker said there are concrete steps that can be taken to reverse the dangerous trend.


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“It doesn’t have to be this way in Saskatchewan,” Tucker said. “Serious injury and fatalities are preventable- and actually quite easily preventable.”

He’s calling for enhanced occupational health officer training, increased police knowledge of occupational health and safety criminal charges and a greater awareness of workplace safety inspections.

Tucker would also like to see more safety materials for workers who have learned English as a second language, and more education about basic rights in the workplace.

All workers have the right to know about hazards in the workplace, participate in the control of hazards in the workplace and be part of an occupational health and safety committee, and refuse work that is usually dangerous without repercussions.


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Tucker wants to see new provisions added to existing legislation that would allow workers to refuse work they believe is dangerous on behalf of their younger, more vulnerable colleagues.

The Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation board also said it’s changing some of its approaches in hopes of keeping more people safe.

“All workplace fatalities are preventable,” Vice-president of prevention Phil Germain said. “We all need to step up to make our workplaces safer. All organizations, no matter their size, should be investing in their own safety programs and make safety a key part of their culture. Safety belongs to each of us individually as much as it is a collective concern. Working safely is just smart business and it’s the right thing to do.”

It’s a long road ahead, but Tucker is optimistic things could start moving in the right direction if action is taken.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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Queen’s University homecoming marred by large, unsanctioned street party – Kingston

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Queen’s University homecoming is an opportunity for past graduates of the school to catch up and reminisce.

Heather Kellington-Dudley, a 1968 arts graduate, says that’s what she was doing when she arrived in Kingston on Friday and toured the university campus.

“I just walked around the old campus and thought, ‘I don’t remember those trees being so tall. I don’t remember the buildings being misplaced. How come I can’t find my way around?’” she said.

There are dozens of events taking place at the university over the weekend.

Saturday’s big draw was the Queen’s Golden Gaels football game against the Ottawa Gee-Gees.

Sarah Indewey, head of Alumni Relations at Queen’s, says the events are set to continue through the evening.

“We have the reunion street festival coming back for its fourth year, (a) very exciting headliner — the Sam Roberts Band — and in addition to Sam Roberts, there’s also some students and alumni bands that will be playing beforehand,” she said.

Indewey says 3,700 alumni registered in advance for homecoming celebrations, with many more registering once they arrived at the university.

However, the unsanctioned street party that has been taking place along Aberdeen and Johnson streets, spilling onto University Avenue, is not part of the official celebrations.

Hundreds of revelers were on the streets before 10 a.m., drinking and partying.


READ MORE:
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Shortly after 11 a.m., Kingston police closed Aberdeen Street to traffic, Staff Sgt. Brian Pete told Global Kingston.

“We were unable to keep Johnson Street from University sort of eastbound — we had to close that down because someone was definitely going to be hit by a car,” he said.

Pete says police are disappointed with the volume of people partying on the streets just north of the university campus.

“There was a significant amount of work done pre-homecoming with lots of different partners, including ourselves, the city, Queen’s, alumni relations and many more,” he added.


READ MORE:
Police, university ready to enforce new party bylaw for Queen’s homecoming

Kingston Fire and Rescue and Frontenac County Paramedic Services were kept busy throughout Saturday responding to numerous calls.

According to Pete, there have been several injuries reported.

“I’m unaware right now of the significance of (the injuries), but some of them were from flying projectiles — I believe glass bottles,” he said.

Pete says there was also a report of an individual falling.

“We had an issue of a shed today on Aberdeen Street; I don’t think it collapsed but I think someone fell off it,” he said.

A five-year downward trend on alcohol-related arrests during the unsanctioned street parties may be coming to an end.

Police will have an even greater presence overnight, as the street party is usually larger at night than during the day.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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Political dynasties at stake as B.C. voters cast ballots in municipal elections

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Some political dynasties are at stake in Metro Vancouver as municipal elections take place across British Columbia today — the country’s first municipal elections of the year.

CBC News will have full coverage throughout the day, including local radio specials in the evening starting when polls close at 8 p.m. PT, as well as live coverage on Facebook and extensive resources on our website. 

This is the first province-wide municipal vote since new campaign finance rules that limit corporate and union donations were implemented last fall. 

It’s also an election that will see big change in some Metro Vancouver cities, where more than a dozen long-term mayors are not seeking re-election.

But even in cities where incumbents remain, there is potential for major change as residents struggle with rapid growth, a housing crisis, ongoing gang conflict and transportation woes. 

(Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Change coming for Vancouver

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson was one of the first to announce he would no longer be in the seat he has held for a decade.

Robertson says he has no regrets as he leaves behind a prosperous city with an extensive cycling network. He also passes along a housing crisis, which affects municipalities across the province, that has been a big issue in the election.  

Robertson’s municipal party, Vision Vancouver, chose not to run a mayoral candidate after the one they had chosen, Ian Campbell, stepped down four days before nominations closed.

Unlike most large cities in Canada, Vancouver doesn’t have a ward system. Instead, politicians form parties that run candidates on council, the school board and park board. Montreal also has municipal political parties.

From left to right: Wai Young, Shauna Sylvester, Kennedy Stewart, Ken Sim and Hector Bremner are some of the mayoral candidates running in Vancouver.

The vacuum left behind after Robertson’s decision not to run ushered in a flood of candidates aligned with nine civic political parties, some of them splinter groups from more established parties, and several candidates running as independents. 

There are 158 candidates on the city’s long ballot — 21 of them vying for top spot. 

Long-term incumbents at risk in Surrey, Burnaby

In Surrey, the region’s second most populated city, Mayor Linda Hepner is also stepping down.

Her party, Surrey First, has been in power for a decade with a stronghold that currently includes all seats on council.

There are eight people running to replace her. Tom Gill is running as Surrey First’s mayoral candidate. Bruce Hayne was with the party but has formed his own, Integrity Now.

And former mayor Doug McCallum has stepped back into the limelight 13 years after he was last in office. 

Candidates for mayor of Surrey are, from top left to bottom right: Pauline Greaves, John Wolanski, Rajesh Jayaprakash, Imtiaz Popat, Doug McCallum, Franç​ois Nantel, Bruce Hayne and Tom Gill. (City of Surrey)

Some of the main issues in Surrey include concerns about an ongoing gang war and whether the city should form its own police force (it’s currently serviced by the RCMP). 

Candidates and voters are also divided over a planned $1.65 billion light rail transit system, with some keen to replace it with the faster SkyTrain system already implemented in parts of Metro Vancouver.

In Burnaby, the epicentre of the country’s battle for and against the Trans Mountain Pipeline, former firefighter Mike Hurley is challenging incumbent mayor Derek Corrigan and his party the Burnaby Citizens Association.

Corrigan has served council for 31 years. He is a staunch opponent to the pipeline. But many have criticized him for « demovictions » that have razed affordable rental homes in favour of new, higher-priced condominiums. 

Hurley, a political novice, is campaigning on a promise of revisiting how the city manages growth.

Victoria and Vancouver Island

In the provincial capital, it’s shaping up to be a three-way contest for the mayor’s chair between incumbent Lisa Helps and two challengers without previous electoral experience: business consultant Stephen Hammond and political consultant Mike Geoghegan.

In 2014, Helps unseated the last mayor, Dean Fortin, by only 89 votes

Victoria has shed its sleepy reputation as home to « newlyweds and nearly deads » and ushered in a more urban, modern vibe.

But the rising popularity of the city has seen skyrocketing rents, pushing housing and affordability to the top of the agenda. How people get around a busier city is also shaping up to be a ballot box issue.

Affordability is a major issue across Vancouver Island, with tent cities popping up throughout the region. 

Okanagan and the Southern Interior

The Okanagan is B.C. ‘s traditional and reliable conservative heartland.

It is changing, however. This election, the municipal campaign in Kelowna is a battle over the city’s identity. And the two men leading the race personify the possibilities.

Colin Basran’s tenure as mayor has been marked by growth and development, but urban problems like homelessness and crime have followed that success.

Kelowna mayoral candidates, from left, Bobby Kennedy, Colin Basran, Bob Schewe and Tom Dyas debated leadership, inclusiveness and the issue of homelessness in an election forum hosted by CBC Kelowna and UBC Okanagan. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

Enter Tom Dyas, promising a return to the Okanagan’s more conservative roots — he’s a no-nonsense, tax-cutting, small businessman reminiscent of the valley’s Socred past.

Meanwhile in Penticton and Vernon, the growing homeless population and each city’s response has dominated the discussion.

In smaller communities, where there are few condos and little foreign investment, the election has been fought on the traditional questions of transparency, taxes and accountability.  



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One dead in Kennedy subway station stabbing

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A man is dead after being stabbed in Kennedy subway station Saturday night, Toronto police say.

Toronto paramedics responded to reports of a stabbing inside Kennedy subway station in Scarborough at around 5:15 p.m. When paramedics arrived, they found one man had been seriously injured.

Toronto police say a fight broke out between two men inside the station, with one man receiving stab wounds.

The victim, a 25-year-old man, was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to Toronto paramedics.

Police have arrested one male suspect in the parking lot of Kennedy station. The subway is closed at Kennedy station so the homicide unit can continue their investigation.

Shuttle buses are operating both ways between Warden subway station and Scarborough Centre and picking up and dropping off passengers at Kennedy station.

Marjan Asadullah is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @marjanasadullah



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