Hamburglar? N.S. woman baffled after someone in Montreal uses her My McD’s app

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Lauren Taylor says she has no idea how someone in Montreal spent $483.65 using her McDonald’s app.

The Halifax woman said she received dozens of order confirmations in her email inbox with the last four digits of her Visa debit card between Jan 25-29.

« It’s amazing to see how quick someone can just breach your privacy … rent is three days away and now I have to find the money, » Taylor said. « It’s a good thing that I live with family. Otherwise I’d be out. »

The charges to Taylor’s account went unnoticed for days because she hadn’t checked her emails. When she checked her bank account, there was $1.99 left.

Some of the items purchased included large fries, Big Macs, poutine, junior chicken meals, Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, McDouble burgers, bacon and hashbrown McWraps, Egg McMuffins and hot cakes.

Lauren Taylor received this detailed receipt showing purchases from a McDonald’s location in Montreal. (Submitted by Lauren Taylor)

McDonald’s Canada said there was no security breach on the My McD’s app.

« We take appropriate measures to keep personal information secure, including on our app, » Ryma Boussoufa, a company spokesperson, wrote in an email.

« Just like any other online activity, we recommend that our guests use our app diligently by not sharing their passwords with others, creating unique passwords and changing passwords frequently. »

Taylor said she doesn’t know anybody in Quebec. She said she has never been to Quebec.

She said she has different passwords for all her online accounts and changes them frequently. She said she never shares her passwords and said her passwords are strong.

With the McDonald’s app, passwords must be eight to 12 characters long, include upper and lowercase characters and at least one number.

« This is an app that’s supposed to be secure, » she said. « So why do I live in Nova Scotia and why is my card being used in Quebec? That’s crazy. »

Receipts sent to Lauren Taylor’s email inbox. (Submitted by Lauren Taylor)

The good news, Taylor said, is the bank will refund her account.

« [The bank] told me that I had to call McDonald’s back for them to confirm that it was actually fraud on my account, » Taylor said.

« And then I called RBC back and they called McDonald’s back with my case number, confirmed that it was fraud [and] agreed to give the money back within three-to-10 business days. »

Taylor said she filed a police report, too.

Halifax Regional Police confirmed it received a report of a fraud that had been occurring through a McDonald’s app on Jan 29, 2019 and that it was investigating the incident.

Each order confirmation from McDonald’s is time-stamped with the different locations where the food was picked up, so Taylor is hoping that will be helpful in the investigation.

McDonald’s orders were placed at five different locations in Montreal area.

As for McDonald’s, Taylor said the company could be doing more to make sure every purchase from its app is extra secure.

Among her suggestions are texts to mobile phones to confirm orders, requesting CVV codes or requiring a code to finalize an order.

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Drug, vaccine shortages likely to continue, warns N.S. pharmacy association

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An ongoing shortage of common drugs and vaccines is likely to continue and will possibly worsen, warns the head of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia.

Over the last few months, health providers across the country have been left scrambling to deal with supply gaps in blood pressure medications, antidepressants and vaccines for travellers. 

« It’s a sense of helplessness, » said Curtis Chafe, a pharmacist and the chair of the provincial association.

He said the shortage is the worst he’s seen in a career spanning nearly two decades.

« You want to make the patient healthy and look after them, but your hands are tied in the most part. »

According to a survey conducted last fall for the Canadian Pharmacists Association, one in four adults in the country has either personally been affected by a shortage in the last three years or knows someone who has. 

In the past, pharmacists would have trouble getting lesser-known drugs, said Chafe. Now it’s more commonly used medications that are off the shelves, including those that contain valsartan to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

In that case, certain valsartan products were recalled last year because of a contaminant in the manufacturing process.

Nova Scotia’s International Travel Clinic has been rationing yellow fever vaccines since last summer, dividing what is typically one dose into as many as five. (Robert Short/CBC)

But often, the cause of the shortage is unknown. The lack of answers frustrates front-line workers like Chafe.

« The thing is, there’s not very much transparency when it comes to drug shortages, » he said.

« We have to do a little detective work and even then we don’t know what the root cause is. We don’t know whether or not it’s a quality assurance issue with the raw material … we don’t know if a factory failed an inspection. We don’t know if there was any kind of disaster or flood in the factory. »

The common antidepressant Wellbutrin is also hard to find across the country. And last year, people with severe allergies were left scrambling during an EpiPen shortage.

Travellers are being advised to plan ahead when it comes to getting their vaccines, as Nova Scotia’s International Travel Clinic has faced many shortages. (Robert Short/CBC)

At the International Travel Clinic in Dartmouth, Public Health officials are grappling with a shortage of the vaccines for yellow fever and hepatitis B. The clinic offers consultations and vaccines for people traveling outside of the country.

Its shelves of the common hepatitis A and B vaccine Twinrix have just been restocked, and the shots are being used « judiciously, » said Cara-Leah Hmidan, health protection manager for Public Health.

The clinic, which has seen people come from across the Atlantic region seeking shots, is warning would-be travellers not to wait until the last minute to get vaccinated. 

« We had one client from Newfoundland who is travelling to a high-risk area, » said Hmidan. 

The clinic has been rationing doses of its yellow fever vaccine since last summer because of production issues. That means one vial is now being shared between three to five people who receive it at the same time, said Hmidan.

Cara-Leah Hmidan says people have travelled from Newfoundland and New Brunswick to the travel clinic in Dartmouth in search of hard-to-find vaccines. (Robert Short/CBC)

« There are some logistics around that, » she said. « We have somebody co-ordinating that behind the scenes so we don’t waste anything. »

The change of dose means instead of being protected for life, travellers are now protected for just a year.

While the clinic is facing shortages, Hmidan said there is enough hepatitis B vaccine available for the province’s school immunization program.

Chafe said he doesn’t want people to stress or panic about the shortages. Health professionals will do everything possible to find suitable alternatives, he said.

« We can work to get your blood pressure covered, which is the important thing — not necessarily that you’re on a specific chemical, and work to make sure that you’re not at risk for having bad outcomes, » he said.

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N.S. family blames hospital staff for ‘hastened’ death

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The last morning Tracy Gilbert saw her father alive, she walked into his room at the palliative care unit in Truro, N.S., and noticed he was struggling.

He was pulling at the sheets and moving his arms, she says, and it was obvious something was wrong.

At first, Gilbert thought her father was itchy. But two hours later, she realized it was much more severe — the bedside oxygen machine her family had become used to hearing had gone silent.

« There is no way that anybody can look at us and tell us that they didn’t know he needed oxygen to live, » said Gilbert.

Donnie Taylor’s plan was to die at home, looking out at the lake. He ended up in the palliative care unit at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre one month before he died. (Submitted)

Donnie Taylor’s family alleges he went 13 hours without oxygen after he was returned to his hospital room following a family gathering down the hall.

The 69-year-old man died the next day — Aug. 23, 2017.

Taylor had a long battle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) believed to be caused by asbestos exposure on the job. In his final months, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

But Taylor’s family claims the lack of oxygen « hastened » his death.

Hospital staff doesn’t agree. However, changes were made on the palliative care unit following Taylor’s death. 

« Instead of celebrating a birthday we were at a funeral home for his 70th birthday, » said Kelly Knox, Taylor’s daughter.

Donnie Taylor is remembered by his family as a loving great-grandfather. Despite his illness, he spent as much time with them as possible. (Submitted )

Health records obtained by CBC News confirm Taylor was prescribed five litres per minute of oxygen, but was only getting 10 per cent of that on the morning of his death. When the family notified a nurse about their discovery, the nurse immediately turned Taylor’s oxygen level back up to five litres.

Pushing for answers

Seventeen months later, the Taylor family continues to push for answers. They recently filed a complaint with the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia, hoping it will lead to disciplinary measures.

The Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) conducted its own quality review following Taylor’s death that resulted in several policy changes at Colchester East Hants Health Centre. The Department of Health also completed two investigations after the family filed a complaint.

The family has had several meetings with hospital officials, including at least one with senior management. The health authority has apologized to the family in writing and in person for their loss.

« It tells me that somebody said, ‘Uh oh, something wrong here. We need to check this out,' » said Taylor’s widow, Sandra. 

« And, in the hospital’s mind, they knew they were in trouble. »

Donnie Taylor died a few days before his 70th birthday. He suffered a long battle with COPD and lung cancer, following exposure to asbestos on the job. (Submitted)

As a result of the quality review, staff at Truro’s palliative care unit was ordered to « review documentation practices related to checking oxygen administration levels throughout each shift » and « provide intentional education regarding the role of oxygen on the Palliative Care Unit. » 

Staff were also trained on « development of communication skills. »

Hospital response

The health authority will not comment on the case. Because it was a « serious reportable event » that led to a quality review, the health authority said all details are confidential.

Dr. Dave Henderson, senior medical director of integrated palliative care at the health authority, said a lot of work is happening behind the scenes to improve palliative care in Truro and across the province.

He said more than 1,200 health professionals have received additional training through a program called Learning Essential Approaches to Palliative Care (LEAP) in the last few years.

« Often still in nursing schools and medical schools, we don’t get as much training as we would like in palliative care, » said Henderson. « So we’re working on that both provincially and nationally but also for those people that are out working already. »

Dr. Dave Henderson, senior medical director of integrated palliative care at the Nova Scotia Health Authority, says more training is needed for health care staff. (Robert Short/CBC)

In the last year, the health authority’s northern zone, which covers Colchester, Pictou County and Cumberland, received funding for three part-time palliative care social work positions. A full-time social worker has also been hired to focus on bereavement, grief and wellness counselling for the region.

One of those social workers has been working closely with the Taylor family.

Dying plan

Sandra Taylor said her husband knew he was dying and he had spent months preparing with palliative care staff for a comfortable death.

« He thought, you know, eventually, ‘I would just sleep longer, and one time I just won’t wake up.’ And it should have been that way. That was the whole plan, » she said.

Instead, his loved ones believe he spent his last day in pain.

Taylor’s hospital charts indicate he was not in distress the night before his death. Rather, that he had apnea and appeared « congested. » Sandra Taylor was called by staff around 6 a.m.

A review conducted by the Department of Health determined the family’s claims of neglect were unfounded. Although on the question of how the drastically reduced oxygen levels ultimately affected Taylor’s death, the report is inconclusive.

Donnie Taylor had an early birthday celebration in the palliative care unit with his family. His loved ones say he was no longer verbal but he was aware of his surroundings. (Submitted)

In her report, compliance officer Adele Griffith said: « It was reported by palliative care staff that it cannot be definitively determined that the affected patient did not suffer any discomfort because of the incorrect oxygen flow being administered; however, there is also no evidence to the contrary from staff. »

It was also not confirmed in Griffin’s findings that Taylor required continuous oxygen 24 hours a day.

Birthday party

The family strongly believes Donnie Taylor did require continuous oxygen.

They allege it was never turned back on following an early birthday party for Taylor the day before he died. Taylor was wheeled down the hall to a party room on portable oxygen, where his wife and daughters say he wasn’t verbal but was aware of his surroundings.

Once the party was over, the family left around 8 p.m. Sandra Taylor said when she was walking out the door, nurses were moving him back to his room. 

« When he didn’t get the oxygen turned on [on] the wall, when that happened that may have been a chaotic error, maybe, you know, it’s possible things like that can happen, » she said.

But Taylor said she got angry when no one owned up to the alleged mistake.

« He didn’t have oxygen and somebody didn’t give it to him. And in this case they were special palliative care nurses and doctors. »

Knox believes the « culture of acceptability » within the palliative care unit needs to change.

« It’s because you’re dealing with somebody who isn’t going to remember anyway. You know, they’re pretty much really not going to know, right? And that is not acceptable, » she said.

« Why would you say that about a man who spent his whole life caring about people and their rights. To have that happen to you and to your family … it’s just wrong. »

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RCMP confirm officer discharged firearm at N.S. woman during incident in Dieppe

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The RCMP confirmed Sunday that one of their officers discharged their firearm at a 25-year-old Nova Scotia woman during an incident on Saturday in Dieppe, N.B.

The woman was taken to hospital with unspecified injuries.

While RCMP continue to investigate the incident, the Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team, an independent police oversight body, said its investigation into injuries the woman sustained is in its preliminary stages.

SIRT’s Ron Legere said the agency was called in to investigate by the New Brunswick RCMP. 

« Our investigation is ongoing, » Legere said, adding no other information would be released at this time.  

RCMP spokesperson Nick Arbour said he couldn’t comment on the use of force by RCMP officers or how many shots were fired because the actions of the members were under review by SIRT.

« Any questions about the use of force will have to be directed towards the Serious Incident Response Team, » Arbour said. 

The woman was arrested on Saturday after she allegedly opened fire on emergency workers responding to a motor-vehicle crash on Adélard-Savoie Boulevard, about a half kilometre from the Moncton airport. She was taken into police custody after about 45 minutes.

A vehicle involved in the ongoing RCMP investigation remains at the scene covered with a green tarp. (Guillaume Aubut/Radio Canada)Her injuries are not believed to be life threatening. RCMP said no one else was hurt. 

On Saturday, police said in a release a woman shot at responders. But on Sunday, their release said « she took actions threatening first responders » and they believe those threats were shots, but that they won’t say for certain. They are still investigating.

When asked if discharging the firearm caused the woman’s injuries, Arbour said that was part of the investigation.

Questioned about the timeline of Saturday’s event, Arbour said after the woman exhibited the threatening behaviour toward first responders « they caught up with her 45 minutes later » to make an arrest.

Asked if she had driven away, Arbour said those details were part of the ongoing investigation.

Road remains closed

A small section of Adélard-Savoie Boulevard remained closed Sunday as RCMP and SIRT continued to investigate.

A vehicle remains in a wooded area covered by a green tarp. An RCMP vehicle, covered in snow, sat on the side of the street with two orange cones standing beside a rear tire on the passenger side of the vehicle. 

Legere said investigators with SIRT were at the scene overnight Saturday and into Sunday morning. 

SIRT can be called in to investigate matters that involve death, serious injury, sexual assault and domestic violence or other issues of significant public interest that may have arisen from the actions of any police officer.

« It’s a significant investigation so it’s going to take quite some time, » Legere said.

Disturbing events

Chris Hood, executive director of the Paramedic Association of New Brunswick, said what happened is disturbing.

Hood said it is not only concerning for the general public, but also for first responders who don’t expect something like that to happen when they are trying to help someone. 

« We’re not entirely clear of what the details are but all indications are somebody fired a weapon at them, » Hood said. 

Hood said the paramedics association will be in contact with those on duty at the time to offer any assistance they require.

A RCMP vehicle sits covered in snow with two orange cones by the rear tire. (Guillaume Aubut/Radio Canada)

« We’re not seeing this as an isolated incident as much as we would like to think, » Hood said. « The last few years have certainly brought to light issues where people aren’t always so happy to see first responders showing up at their doorstep. » 

Hood said it appears the paramedics in Saturday’s incident reacted appropriately to the situation. 

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Container ship headed for N.S. being evacuated as firefighting underway

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The U.S. Coast Guard says the entire crew of a large Nova Scotia-bound container ship about 1,500 kilometres southeast of Halifax is being removed, with efforts underway to fight a fire that has been burning on the vessel since Thursday.

Twelve members of Yantian Express will disembark onto the Smit Nicobar, an offshore support tug from Belgium, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua Canup. 

« It’s simply because the fire is continuing. They have safety concerns just to go ahead and evacuate the crews. However, there have been no reports of any injuries, » he said. 

Eleven of the crew members were already moved to the Smit Nicobar on Saturday. The tug’s crew is now in the process of fighting the fire on the Yantian Express, with the aid of improved weather conditions, Canup said. 

The window for favourable conditions is expected to be short, with the potential that poor conditions could return later Sunday, he said. Poor weather also hampered firefighting efforts Friday and Saturday. 

Meanwhile, he said another tug, the Maersk Mobiliser, is en route from St. John’s to tow the 320-metre ship to Halifax. It’s expected to arrive Sunday evening. 

The international shipping company Hapag-Lloyd said the Yantian Express was en route to Halifax on Thursday when a fire started inside a container on the forward deck and then spread to several other containers. Coast Guard officials in Boston received a call for help early Friday.

Eight officers and 15 seafarers were aboard the ship, which was built in 2002 and is capable of carrying 7,510 standard 20-foot containers. It was en route from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Halifax. 

A cargo ship from the Netherlands, the MV Happy Ranger, was on scene Friday to offer assistance, but left after the Smit Nicobar arrived Friday night.

A spokesman for international shipping company Hapag-Lloyd, which owns the Yantian Express, told the Canadian Press Saturday that it was too early to assess damage to the ship or cargo. There was also no estimate for when the ship would arrive in Halifax.

Tim Seifert said in an email that the Smit Nicobar was equipped with fire monitors to assist with fighting the fire as weather permits.

Coast Guard officials are monitoring the situation and co-ordinating assets in the area « to make sure all safety and precautions are taken during this time, » Canup said. 

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Poor conditions hamper efforts to fight fire on ship headed for N.S.

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A firefighting tugboat arrived Friday evening to help extinguish a fire burning aboard a container ship that’s about 1,500 kilometres southeast of Halifax, but weather conditions remain too poor for the crew to carry out its work.

The international shipping company Hapag-Lloyd said the 320-metre Yantian Express was en route to Halifax on Thursday when a fire started inside a container on the ship’s forward deck and then spread to several other containers.

« The weather and sea conditions are still difficult and further extinguishing work requires an improvement of these conditions, » said company spokesperson Tim Seifert in an email.

None of the Yantian Express’s eight officers and 15 seafarers are injured.

The ship was on its way from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Halifax via the Suez Canal.

Seifert said it’s not clear when the vessel will arrive in Halifax.

A cargo ship from the Netherlands, the MV Happy Ranger, was offering assistance to the Yantian Express, but has since been relieved by the firefighting tugboat.

Seifert said it’s too soon to know how much damage the cargo or ship suffered.

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One dead, one injured after single-vehicle crash in Morristown, N.S. – Halifax

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A 32-year-old man is dead after a single-vehicle crash in Nova Scotia on Boxing Day.

Police say it happened just after 6 p.m. Wednesday on Aylesford Road in Morristown in the Annapolis Valley region.

READ: Man facing charges after allegedly driving impaired, assaulting Halifax police officer on Christmas Eve

The driver, from nearby Waterville, was pronounced dead at the scene, and a female passenger suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

RCMP say a collision analyst has been called in to help with the investigation, and the road has been closed for an undetermined time.

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School buses go up in flames at N.S. gas station

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Three school buses have been destroyed after catching fire in a busy gas station parking lot in New Minas, N.S., about 98 kilometres northwest of Halifax, on Saturday morning.

The New Minas Volunteer Fire Department got the call about a bus on fire at the Irving Big Stop on Prospect Road just before 10 a.m.

It appears the fire started in an engine of one bus due to a malfunction with the electrical wiring, said fire chief James Redmond.

Flames engulfed three parked school buses in a busy gas station parking lot in New Minas, N.S. on Saturday morning. No one was hurt. (Matthew Eagar/Facebook) 0:29

He said the buses had their block heaters plugged in, but didn’t know if that was a factor.

« Three buses were extensively fire-damaged, » he said. « They were totally engulfed when the fire department arrived and their destiny was already sealed. »

Redmond said another school bus sustained minor damages, but that no one was injured and no other vehicles were damaged.

The school buses were parked in a line of about 12 buses at the far side of the Irving parking lot, he said. 

Tina Vaughan, a supervisor at the Big Stop Restaurant, made the call to 911 after another employee saw smoke.

There were about 12 buses parked in a row at the far end of the Irving parking lot, said Redmond. (Travis Tibbitts/Facebook)

« I ran down to the window and by then I could see flames shooting 10 feet [3 metres] in the air, » said Vaughan, adding the restaurant is about 15 metres away from the buses.

She said the restaurant and parking lot were packed at the time and curious patrons were taking photos from the window.

« I was scared. You think about it, one bus blows — are they all going to continue on to blow? You know, you can’t help but think of that, » said Vaughan, who thinks it could have been much worse.

Redmond said the fire doesn’t appear to be suspicious. (Travis Tibbitts/Facebook)

Matthew Eagar, a former firefighter, was waiting for a friend when he saw thick, black smoke. He went to grab the fire extinguisher he keeps in his car but by then flames had covered the entire first bus. 

« With the wind and everything it spread really fast, » he said. 

Firefighters were able to knock down the fire in a matter of minutes, said Redmond, and had cleared the scene within two hours. 

Redmond said the fire doesn’t appear to be suspicious.

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Cat accidentally shipped to Montreal in parcel reunited with N.S. family

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After an accidental trip via courier service, a 17-hour drive and a 2,400-kilometre round trip, the cat came back.

A Nova Scotia family was reunited with their pet Saturday night after the animal crawled into a box bound for Alberta more than a week ago. 

Purolator employees discovered the cat in Montreal and called the local SPCA, which tracked down its owners. 

Jacqueline Lake had been searching for her family’s one-year-old tabby for four days when she got the call. 

She and her family thought the cat might have escaped while the kids were leaving for school. They put up flyers and went around the neighbourhood knocking on doors and looking under sheds. 

« I was really starting to lose hope he was going to come back. He’s a very docile kitty, but he’s very curious and gets into things, » said Lake. 

Volunteers drove him home

Lake guessed that the cat, Baloo, had crawled into a package containing a tire rim in the hour before she shipped it off. She thought it was strange that one of the packages weighed 10 lbs more than the others, but dismissed it as a possible problem with the rims. 

« He never made a sound, a single sound, » she said. 

Lake said she is « eternally grateful » to the SPCA and the network of volunteers with the organization Freedom Drivers who relayed Baloo back home.

« I didn’t have money to travel to Montreal to get my cat back, but we got him. I didn’t have to pay anything. It was pretty amazing they did this for us, » Lake said. 

Her daughter Victoria Lake was bouncing up and down as she waited for her beloved cat.

« I told my mother, ‘Why did you mail my cat?' » she said. « He was probably sleeping and he snuck out to probably get some food. He does hide a lot. »

Baloo is safe and sound after volunteers drove him from Montreal to Dartmouth, N.S. (Montreal SPCA)

Baloo, for his part, appeared to be healthy. He ran straight to the family’s other cat and then to his food dish. 

« I think he was a little stressed out. He’s really a big baby. I can tell from being in with the rims he needs his own little shower, » said Jacqueline Lake. « He’s got a week’s worth of eating to do. »

Freedom Drivers, based in Montreal, usually shuttles animals to shelters in Ontario and Nova Scotia. One person took the cat and a puppy all the way to Truro, N.S. Ryan Dixon and his mother handled the last 90 kilometres of the journey.

« This was the first one we got to reunite with the actual owner of the pet … I think they’re going to have a good Christmas, » he said.

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