Majority of baby boomers would opt for semi-retirement if employers only allowed: poll


The majority of working baby boomers would stay on the job longer if employers allowed them to shift into semi-retirement — but most workplaces don’t provide that option, a new survey suggests.

With unemployment in Canada at record lows and a labour shortage poised to hit critical levels when boomers hang up their hats, semi-retirement could be one way to help manage that crisis.

Since working longer puts more money in people’s wallets when they do retire, that increased spending power would benefit the economy as well.

Conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of staffing agency Express Employment Professionals, the poll found that 76 per cent of Canadian baby boomers respondents said they’d opt for a flexible work schedule if allowed, while 60 per cent would choose reduced hours with reduced benefits.

The online survey of 500 Canadian workers aged 54 to 72 suggests a disconnect between the willingness of the enormous baby boomer cohort to stick around during the labour shortage, and a lack of options for those who’d like a gradual exit from the workplace.

The survey also found that 56 per cent of respondents said they’d like to transition to a consulting-style role, if given the opportunity.

Yet only 30 per cent of the boomers surveyed said their employer offered any sort of semi-retirement option. Additionally, only 36 per cent said their employers had ever brought a former employee out of retirement.

Teresa Pitman says she’d welcome part-time work when she approaches retirement. She’s pictured here with two of her 10 grandchildren: Dexter, left, and Walter, right. (Alison Lee photo)

Teresa Pitman, who works full time as a communications co-ordinator for Family and Children Services of the Waterloo Region, says she’d welcome a semi-retirement arrangement when she’s ready to scale back. 

« I would like to be able to work here part time, and I think that I will continue to have something to contribute, » she said. « I really like the people here that I work for and that I work with. It would be really good to be able to keep that relationship going … but without it being full time. »

Rethinking all-or-nothing retirement

If Pitman wasn’t working full-time, perhaps her hours would be flexible enough to avoid poor road conditions, she says, like the blizzard she drove through on her way to work Friday. 

Her top priority: Spending time with her 10 grandchildren.

« I’d love to have the flexibility to be more available to them, » she said.

Employment experts say we may want to rethink our all-or-nothing definitions of retirement.

Jessica Culo owns several Express Employment franchises in the Edmonton area and is the Canadian spokesperson for the company, which also has locations in the U.S. and South Africa. 

Even though Alberta is still recovering from the provincial recession of 2016 and 2017, she says, even employers there can’t ignore the potential problems posed by a significant increase in retirements in as little as two years from now.

« We all know what it’s like to be in an applicant-short market: It’s expensive, it’s not fun, it inhibits growth, » Culo said. « The leaders of organizations have got to have that foresight. » 

Jessica Culo, of Express Employment Professionals, says baby boomers are willing to mentor younger staffers, but in most cases the structures and practices are just not in place to facilitate that. (Express Employment Professionals)

Putting in place semi-retirement arrangements that could help with the labour shortage will require « being more creative on the side of the employers, » she said.

That could mean allowing older staff members to work flexible hours, a shortened workweek, shorter shifts or working remotely to cut commuting time. It could also include transitioning people into consultancy roles to work on a project basis.

Making room for mentoring

Culo says all of those tools could help address another critical aspect of boomer retirement that the survey highlighted: ensuring critical knowledge doesn’t walk out the door when they do.

Only 40 cent of respondents say they’ve passed at least half of the knowledge required for their positions on to younger staff members, and 51 per cent don’t believe their employers have adequate succession plans.

Culo says boomers are willing to mentor — 82 per cent of poll respondents said as much, in fact — but in most cases they’re not doing it. « Probably because there aren’t really systems or practices or processes that allow for that. »

Rosemary Venne, an associate professor of business at the University of Saskatchewan, says ‘flexibility is not something that employers are good at.’ (University of Saskatchewan)

Part-time workers and consultants could slide nicely into mentoring and training positions, she says, but it may take a mind shift on behalf of management.

« It may mean adding to your overhead by payrolling someone to take on that purely mentorship role. »

In many cases, it won’t even have occurred to employers to extend people’s time at work through semi-retirement, says Rosemary Venne, an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s Edwards School of Business who specializes in human resources and demographics.

« Flexibility is not something that employers are good at, » she said.

Partial retirement is such an ideal thing because more and more of our self-concept is tied up in work. To give that up when you retire is difficult for some people.– Rosemary  Venne , University of Saskatchewan

A 2011 paper she penned with celebrated demographer David Foot, the author of Boom, Bust and Echo, explained that too little attention has been paid to the impact of increasing life expectancy on retirement policies.

The paper — entitled « The long goodbye » — made the case for partial retirement schemes that remove barriers to going part-time, such as pension disincentives.

That makes sense when you consider that in 1965, when the retirement age was set at 65, the average life expectancy was 71.9 years. Today average life expectancy in Canada is around 80 for men and 84 for women.

Keeping a hand in work can be good for emotional health and life satisfaction as well.

« Partial retirement is such an ideal thing, because more and more of our self-concept is tied up in work, » Venne said. « We’ve increased our educational attainment. To give that up when you retire is difficult for some people. »

In some ways, Teresa Pitman is the ideal retiree. She has spent long portions of her career as a freelancer, and as the author of 18 books about baby care, she can turn to her writing career to keep her busy, engaged and sharp.

« I have writing that I’m quite confident that will always continue. But I do know people a bit older than me who are sometimes a little bit at sea. Their life had been organized around work. I just see that they’re not quite sure what to do with themselves. »


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How a P.E.I. woman delivered her baby with the help of a 911 dispatcher


Santana Courtney always thought that she would give birth to her first baby in a hospital surrounded by doctors.

Instead, she ended up delivering her baby in the bathroom of her home with a 911 dispatcher helping over the phone.

Courtney was expected to go into labour on Oct. 23 last year. When it still hadn’t happened a week later, she went to the hospital to have her labour induced.

Doctors told her it could still take a few days so Courtney went back to her home in New Perth, P.E.I. But it was only a few hours later that Courtney started to have contractions. 

« I didn’t realize they were contractions because he’s my first kid and what people told me was different from how my body was, » Courtney said. 

About an hour later, Courtney’s contractions became so intense she started to push. She made her way into the bathroom and had the father call labour and delivery services.

They told the soon-to-be parents to call 911 immediately.

‘It was really intense’

They were connected with Vicky Blacquiere, a communications officer with Medacom Atlantic. Once Blacquiere assessed the situation, she quickly realized paramedics wouldn’t make it in time to bring Courtney to the hospital.

Blacquiere was on speaker phone. The father said the baby’s head had started to show.

« It was really intense but it was great, » said Blacquiere.

Medacom Atlantic communications officer Vicky Blacquiere says the phone call with Courtney was the first time she had to help deliver a baby. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Over the next few minutes, Blacquiere guided the parents through the rest of the delivery using EMS protocol. 

« Honestly, the couple was amazing, » she said.

‘I was just in shock’

It was only about five minutes later that Courtney’s son, Cameron, was born.

« I was just in shock. I wasn’t saying too much. I just kept looking at him down on the floor like, ‘Oh my goodness,' » said Courtney.

« [The father] just ripped off his shoelace and tied it with that and I just waited there until the paramedics came » – Santana Courtney

But the work wasn’t over quite yet. Courtney and Cameron were still attached by the umbilical cord. Blacquiere told the parents they would need to find a string to tie the cord.

« I didn’t say anything and [the father] just ripped off his shoelace and tied it with that and I just waited there until the paramedics came, » Courtney said.

First complete phone delivery for Medacom Atlantic

It was the first time Blacquiere had helped deliver a baby and the first time Medacom Atlantic had coached a delivery from start to finish over the phone. 

« For me it was amazing. As soon as I heard that baby cry it was like a flush of relief, » Blacquiere said.

Courtney says doctors had attempted to induce labour at the hospital earlier in the day. She was back at home when she started to have contractions. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

« The baby was healthy and breathing. It was just a sigh of relief. »

Paramedics eventually arrived and cut the cord. They took Courtney and the baby to the hospital where he was given a clean bill of health. 

Meeting for the first time

Last Friday, Courtney and Cameron visited the Medacom Atlantic office to meet Blacquiere for the first time. Cameron was given a teddy-bear and a onesie to mark the occasion. Courtney was given a copy of the transcript of her 911 call. 

« That felt good. Felt like … a piece of the missing puzzle was there, » said Courtney.

Courtney brought Cameron to the Medacom Atlantic office on Friday so they could finally meet Blacquiere in person. Cameron was given a onesie and teddy bear to mark the occasion. (Submitted by Santana Courtney)

​The new mom said she’s excited for when Cameron is old enough to hear about the day he was born. For Blacquiere, the call is something she’ll never forget.

« We deal with everything from motor vehicle accidents and cardiac arrests. For me the baby birth made my day. [It] makes this job worthwhile. »

More P.E.I. news


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‘I’ve cried many times’: WW II ‘miracle’ baby saved by Canadian soldiers makes long-lost connections


Mary Crabb was sitting at her living room table in suburban Hertfordshire, England, staring into a laptop.

« Hello, » she exclaimed with a smile and a hint of nerves as she greeted the man who was staring back at her.

« Hello, how are you? » the man replied from 5,000 kilometres away.

And so began a conversation 77 years in the making, the culmination an emotional roller-coaster for Crabb that took off again in recent weeks.

« I’ve cried many times, » Crabb told Harry Curtis, the son of a Canadian soldier who helped save her life within hours of her birth in 1941.

« If you’re like me right now, you’ve had lots of thoughts running through your head, » Curtis told her from his home in Stittsville in southwest Ottawa.

Crabb has known for much of her life that she was adopted as a baby. It was only after her adoptive parents died, however, that her family dug into her past.

Crabb was adopted at the age of five months in 1942. (Submitted by Mary Crabb)

The family’s research revealed that on Sept. 23, 1941, Crabb’s birth mother had abandoned her as a newborn. The baby was left hidden in blackberry bushes in Horsell Common, a 355-hectare park on the outskirts of London. She was blue and clinging to life.

Then three Canadian soldiers came along and saved the day.

« I owe my life to them, » Crabb, 77, told CBC News.

The soldiers’ story

Stationed in England during the Second World War, the three Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA) members happened to be nearby at the time. Their regiment was out on manoeuvres, part of preparations in the event of a German invasion.

The men heard a noise from the bushes and went to investigate, according to media reports at the time.

They « thought it was a chicken, » Crabb said.

To their surprise, the soldiers found the baby, cut the remaining umbilical cord with a knife and wrapped the girl in a white shirt.

Crabb’s nephew Graeme Elliott recently discovered this photo of three Canadian soldiers, including Sgt. Ernie Curtis, centre, with his aunt after they found her abandoned as a baby in 1941. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)

An entry in the 8th Army Field Regiment’s war diary from that day says Q Battery « during their scheme found a newborn baby in the gun area. »

On Dec. 31, 2018, Crabb’s nephew told her he had found a new clue about her past — a photograph showing her as a baby in a British hospital, surrounded by the three Canadian soldiers she never got to thank.

« Tears were running down my face to think that was me, » she said.

Searching for relatives

Crabb’s nephew, Graeme Elliot, took to social media, posting the picture — first published in London’s Daily Mirror in 1941 — in search of family members of the Canadian soldiers.

It wasn’t long before Harry Curtis was shown the post and both families started organizing a reunion of sorts.

« My wife saw the picture on Facebook and said ‘Oh my God, I recognize that picture … there’s your dad, » Curtis said.

His late father, Sgt. Ernie Curtis, is seen in the middle of the photo wearing his RCA uniform.

Harry Curtis had kept the same photo in a book at his home. His father « just said that he and two of his buddies had found a baby in a field or a meadow, » Harry Curtis recalled hearing as a child. « He just wished that she was well. »

Harry Curtis, son of Sgt. Ernie Curtis, lives in Stittsville, Ont. (Harry Curtis/Facebook)

This week, the long-lost connection was rekindled when Harry Curtis reached Crabb using FaceTime on a laptop supplied by CBC News.

Both fought back tears.

« It’s a miracle, really, isn’t it? » Crabb said.

They chatted about their respective families. Crabb has one grandchild, Curtis has six. They promised to keep in touch.

Curtis even plans to send Crabb the epaulettes from his father’s RCA uniform.

« I had Dad, » Curtis told CBC News. « She never had a physical connection to him, so this will give her one. »

‘Daughter of the regiment’

The extraordinary encounter made headlines in both Britain and Canada in 1941.

The Daily Mirror reported the soldiers intended to adopt the baby as a « daughter of the regiment, » naming her Virginia Regina Brandon after their hometowns.

« The child was rushed to an army truck » and then taken to hospital, according to a piece in Regina’s Leader-Post on Nov. 5, 1941.

Within months, the girl was adopted by an English couple and given the name Mary. She grew up in Hertfordshire, 65 kilometres from where she had been dumped as a newborn.

The soldiers found the baby on Sept. 23, 1941, in Horsell Common, a large open space southwest of London. (Rob Lowrey/CBC)

Crabb only learned much later in life that her birth mother had pleaded guilty to abandonment and was reportedly sentenced to two months’ probation.

At the time, the Mirror identified the three soldiers as Gunner Brackett, Sgt. Curtis and Gunner Griffin.

Susan Griffin, who lives in Massachusetts, told CBC News her father, Bob Griffin, is the man on the left of the 1941 photo.

Crabb acknowledges she’s still learning about the first days of her life, all these years later.

« There’s a load I don’t know. »

CBC News has not been able to formally name the third soldier, identified in various media reports as A.J. Brackett or E.J. Brackett. Anyone with information can email

With files from Stephanie Jenzer


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It’s a boy! First baby of 2019 welcomed at Cobourg’s Northumberland Hills Hospital – Peterborough


An Oshawa couple are proud parents of the first baby of 2019 born at Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg, Ont.

Around 3 a.m. on Jan. 1., Robin Lyle was born, the son of Lindsey Drake-Shalpata and Alex Shalapata. The baby boy weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 19.5 inches (49.5 cm).

The hospital says it was the first baby born there in 2019. Robin, the second child born to the couple, was also welcomed by his brothers Ty and Aarron.

Toronto’s first baby born in 2019 delivered seconds after midnight

“We’re from Oshawa, but we really enjoyed the experience at NHH several years ago during our second son’s birth,” the couple was quoted in a hospital press release.

“Together with our midwife — Kory McGrath of New Life Midwives — we really like the birthing experience offered at NHH. We were impressed by how the team worked together so well, and clearly respected each other. We saw that again with Robin’s birth.”

Robin arrived two weeks before his expected due date, giving the family a pleasant New Year’s surprise.

“The nurses, our midwife, the doctor and the anesthesiologist, everyone involved was just amazing and we’re very grateful,” stated Lindsey.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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B.C.’s New Year’s baby born one minute after midnight


B.C.’s New Year’s baby for 2019 beat other newborns to the title by being born one minute after midnight at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.

The eight pound, three ounce boy named Dominik arrived via caesarean section and was presented at a media conference alongside mom Janet Shimizu and dad Lukaz Soswa later the same day. All three appear to be doing fine. 

Shimizu says she thought Dominik would arrive on Dec. 31, but her labour stopped and doctors decided that it would be best for her to have a c-section.

« We’re feeling very tired but we’re feeling very, very good, » she said.

This is the Coquitlam couple’s first baby.

The new mother said she wants her son to just be himself and happy.

« My partner wants him to be a surgeon, » she said, with a laugh, adding that Soswa is an orthopedic surgeon out of Langley.

Interior Health tweeted a photo of its New Year’s baby — a boy named Hugo — who was born at Kelowna General Hospital at 1:58 a.m. PT., while Northern Health said the first baby of 2019 in its jurisdiction was also a boy born in Smithers.

The New Year’s baby is the first of the approximately 42,000 that are expected to be born in the province this year.

UNICEF has estimated that 999 babies would be born in Canada on Jan. 1, 2019.


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‘It means a lot to me’: Edmonton’s New Year’s baby for 2019 is a girl – Edmonton


It was just eight minutes into the new year that 2019’s first baby was born in Edmonton.

Alberta Health Services said baby Tia was born at the Royal Alexandra Hospital’s Lois Hole Hospital for Women at 12:08 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2019.

Tia is the first child for new mother Mila Lonan Bocauto, and being a New Year’s baby makes the birth extra special.

“It means a lot to me,” Bocauto said. “It was a surprising one because I didn’t know it was going to be a New Year’s baby.”

Baby Tia is Edmonton’s New Year’s baby for 2019, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019.

Morris Gamblin, Global News

READ MORE: Edmonton’s 2018 New Year’s baby is a boy

Bocauto said her baby girl came into world earlier than expected. Tia, she said, was not due until Jan. 22.

WATCH: B.C.’s first baby of 2019 arrives in New Westminster

The new mother suspects a recent move may have sped up the process.

“I was moving stuff to a new apartment, so I was carrying all that heavy stuff and walking a lot,” Bocauto said.

The 43-year-old mom said moving to a new apartment caused her to stay up until 1 a.m. on Dec. 31. A couple of hours later, she woke up to discover her water had broke.

“I phoned the Lois Hole and they told me to come in,” she said.

“I went in at around 7 a.m. and they admitted me right away.”

Baby Tia was born at 12:08 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2019 in Edmonton.

Morris Gamblin, Global News

READ MORE: Edmonton’s 2017 New Year’s baby is truly a bundle of ‘Joy’

It took another 17 hours before Tia was born, but Bocauto said her new baby girl has been a terrific newborn.

“She’s been good,” Bocauto said. “She’s not crying too much.”

Working as a caregiver, Bocauto has helped take care of the elderly, but she is looking forward to now also taking care of her of her own child.

“It means a lot. This is my own,” she said.

Bocauto said she will be busy when she gets home from the hospital, not only taking care of Tia but finishing moving into her new apartment.



© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Baby Amira was born with a broken heart — her mother is praying for a miracle to fix it


She is fighting for time to love her daughter.

Ideally years. But she’ll take months. Hours even.

Because Jaiden Cowley knows that every moment with Amira is a gift. It has been since she was born 10 months ago with a broken heart.

Amira is waiting for a tiny, strong new one.

“We didn’t know if Amira would make it to Christmas,” says Jaiden, herself just 19. “I live every day like it could be her last.”

A life-time ago, on her first day working at a call centre in Hamilton (she was saving for college to become a nurse), Jaiden learned she was pregnant. Nineteen weeks into the pregnancy, she got more news: there was something drastically wrong with the baby’s heart. It was a congenital defect.

Some of the doctors suggested an abortion. Or said Jaiden should have the child, take it home and let it die quietly in the first few days.

But Jaiden chose another option — to do whatever she could to keep her baby alive. The baby’s father decided not to be involved.

On February 12, at 39-weeks gestation, Jaiden was induced at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. A team was ready to whisk the newborn away.

“I pushed her out and she was gone,” says Jaiden, her voice catching. The new mom didn’t get to hold her baby. Or even see her.

Amira — it means princess in Arabic — has Heterotaxy Syndrome. Her heart is on the wrong side of her body. And it doesn’t have all the right parts.

She was 44 hours old when she had her first surgery. Two days after that, she went into cardiac arrest.

“She died right in front of me,” says Jaiden.

Amira was placed on life support in the Cardiac Critical Care Unit, her chest left open so doctors could peer in.

“I saw her little heart,” says her mom. “It was only the size of a grape.”

Amira spent 180 days in hospital. During that time, doctors told Jaiden her daughter would need a heart transplant.

Jaiden was crushed yet again.

“Why is the heart that I gave her not working?” she agonized.

On June 11, Amira was placed on the transplant list, through the Trillium Gift of Hope Registry.

Amira is a strong princess and in August, she moved in with her mom at the Ronald McDonald House near Sick Kids. They have been there ever since, seeing specialists and waiting to dash to the hospital should a pediatric donor heart become available.

Jaiden’s mom and other family from Hamilton visit on weekends.

Amira is abeautiful girl. She is plump and smiley, often sporting a sparkly cloth headband with a big cheerful bow. She says “Mama” and her laugh is music.

Christmas day will be spent at Ronald McDonald House. Jaiden has to isolate herself and the baby from other guests because she can’t risk infection.

Right now, Amira is a Status 3 on the Trillium transplant registry. Only Status 4 recipients are more critical, being on the verge of death.

Another child whom Jaiden met at Ronald McDonald House just got her new heart. She spent 500 days on the wait list.

Pediatric organ donations are a rare commodity. Children just don’t die at the rate of adults and those who do are less likely to have their parents’ consent to be donors. This is why Jaiden is sharing her story. She wants grieving parents to know their donations could save other children. And that a bit of their child can live on.

Over the past five years, 65 patients under the age of one have received an organ transplant in Ontario, according to Trillium. There have been nine organ donors under the age of one.

Organs are matched by size, blood type and other factors, but not age. Therefore donors under the age of one don’t necessarily correspond with the 65 patients under one that received an organ transplant.

As of Dec. 17 there are 11 patients under the age of one on the transplant waiting list.

If Amira gets a heart, she has a good chance of living until she is 10. After that, she will need another heart transplant, doctors say.

That is a lot of agony to go through. There are great risks of complications and Amira will be on anti-rejection drugs forever.

So why do it?

It only takes Jaiden a heartbeat.

“I want to know who she is. I want her to know love.”

A Go Fund Me account called Help Heal Amiras Broken Heart has been set-up to pay for some of her medical supplies that are not covered by OHIP. The goal is $5,000, with about $1,300 being raised so far.

Susan Clairmont’s commentary appears regularly in The Spectator. sclairmont@thespec.com905-526-3539 | @susanclairmont


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Baby, It’s Cold Outside pulled from some Canadian radio stations


Baby, It’s Cold Outside is getting a chilly response from Canadian radio stations.

At least three of the country’s biggest radio operators — Bell Media, Rogers and CBC — say they’ve decided to pull the controversial holiday favourite out of their rotations this year.

That comes as the duet, written back in 1944, faces renewed scrutiny over what some say are inappropriate lyrics in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Earlier this week, Cleveland radio station WDOK-FM announced it stopped playing the song in response to listener feedback. Some took issue over lyrics where one singer is trying to persuade the other to stay inside, with exchanges that include, « What’s in this drink? » and « Baby, don’t hold out. »

Bell Media spokesperson Scott Henderson said the company, which runs two 24-hour Christmas stations in Vancouver and Ottawa, didn’t include the Christmas tune on its playlists this year. But it also told stations it doesn’t plan to reintroduce the song in the future.

CBC public affairs head Chuck Thompson said, « CBC Music will be pulling the song from its rotation as of midnight and has no plans to play it going forward. »

Rogers runs a number of all-Christmas music stations, including 98.1 CHFI-FM in Toronto and 98.5 6.7 CIOC-FM in Victoria.


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Stolen minivan found with baby ‘safe and sound,’ Toronto police say


A minivan that was stolen with a two-month-old baby inside has been found, with the child “safe and sound,” Toronto police say.

The brown 2005 Toyota Sienna was taken from the area of Islington and Steeles Aves. in North York Sunday night and was last seen heading northbound, police said at the time.

The baby boy will be getting checked by paramedics as the investigation continues, according to police.

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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Yukon grizzly’s necropsy could hold clues to tragic mauling of mom and baby


Officials in the Yukon have now conducted a necropsy on the grizzly bear that fatally mauled a 37-year-old mother and her 10-month-old infant daughter.

Valé​rie Thé​orêt was killed outside her cabin, some 400 kilometres north of Whitehorse, on Monday.

Her husband, Gjermund Roesholt, was charged by the same bear upon returning from his trap line. He shot the grizzly dead, before making the horrifying discovery that his family was dead.

WATCH: Grizzly bear that killed Yukon mother and baby undergoing necropsy

Environment Yukon spokesperson Roxanne Stasyszyn said conservation officers and the coroner’s office hope the necropsy will provide some answers in the tragedy.

Yukoners say bush life still safer than the city after grizzly kills mom: ‘We prepare, we’re aware’

“It helps us understand the broader health, whether or not the animal was suffering in some way, if it was plagued by a disease, perhaps, that was affecting its ability to move or think or eat in the normal way that a bear would,” she said.

“It allows us to see what the bear had been eating in the last little while, that could help us deduce what had changed in its behaviour, so a necropsy really is an autopsy but for wildlife.”

Fatal human-bear conflicts are rare in the Yukon, according to Stasyszyn — there have been just three in the last 22 years.

WATCH: Whitehorse remembers victims of grizzly bear attack

“In 2014 and in 1996 they were what we would call predatory attacks, and in 2006 it was a defensive attack where an individual was doing what we call line-cutting for exploration work … and literally stumbled on a den that had a sow with cubs.”

‘They were living the dream’: Community reels after Yukon mom and baby killed by grizzly bear

According to Stasyszyn, it is not unusual to see bear activity this late in a year, even with a cold winter.

She said grizzlies can resist hibernating if the foraging remains good, can stay awake if they lack the fat or nutrition to hibernate or can be roused if they lose their den.

That echoes some of what trappers Charles Nadeau and Brian Melanson told Global News Thursday.

WATCH: Victims of Yukon grizzly attack were ‘living the dream’ says friend.

“What I heard from a few communities is that the fruit is very rare,” said Nadeau, who said temperatures in the region had topped 7 C in recent days.

“This is the most dangerous time to be out in the bush without protection,” Melanson said.

“They’re hungry. Any bear that’s up right now is looking for those last few calories he’s going to get before he dens up for the winter.”

However, any answers from the necropsy will have to wait. While the primary work has been completed, Stasyszyn said there’s no clear timeline for results.

“There’s many factors to consider, so even with a necropsy, for example, there could be things that the chief vet or the conservation officers or the coroner need to send south for further examination.

“Our conservation officers are working to do this as quickly as possible, as we appreciate that people need answers and they’re grieving at this time.”

In the meantime, investigators remain at the site of the family’s remote cabin, while family members have gathered together to support Roesholt in Whitehorse, where the family was based when they weren’t trapping.

A crowdfunding campaign has also been launched in the memory of Thé​orêt, a popular teacher, and to help the grieving Roesholt.

“It hits home when it’s your neighbour,” said Melanson.

“Someone you know and someone you looked up to and had respect for as a bushman, not just his wife and daughter.”

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


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