Saskatoon police show off new screening device for testing drug-impaired drivers – Saskatoon


It’s a new tool to help law enforcement sniff out if someone’s high on drugs behind the wheel. The Dräger DrugTest 5000 has been distributed to six municipal police services and nine RCMP detachments in Saskatchewan as officers begin to train to use the device.

The Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) was issued its instrument approximately two weeks ago and held a show-and-tell to demonstrate how the machine works.

352 impaired driving offences in Saskatchewan during December

“This is not an evidentiary device – so what that means is that this instrument is not the evidence that will convict someone or acquit them,” SPS Staff Sgt. Patrick Barbar said.

“It’s only to let officers know whether they need to go further with their investigation.”

In late August, the Dräger DrugTest 5000 was the first device approved in the country by the federal government to screen for drug-impaired drivers.

It will detect if someone has cannabis in their system as well as cocaine.

Here’s how it works: a saliva swab is collected from the person then popped into the machine. From there, it takes the instrument four minutes to analyze before the results blink on the screen and a paper record is printed off for documentation.

While it’s still unclear how much of a problem drug-impaired driving is on Saskatchewan roadways, Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) spokesperson Tyler McMurchy said it’s reassuring to know there’s another mechanism to catch motorists that don’t plan for a safe ride home.

“It’s never been a worse time to be an impaired driver and it’s never been harder to get away with it.”

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Given the amount of time it takes to conduct a test and the limitation of the devices, Barbar said it’s likely they will only be used in the event where a field sobriety test isn’t an option, i.e. the motorist is in a cast, a lack of mobility or the individual has been hospitalized after a crash.

“Our goal is not to test as many drivers as possible on this instrument,” Barbar said.

“We plan to rely heavily still on the standardized field sobriety tests. The main reason for that is this detects two drugs, our standardized field sobriety detects a whole gamut of drugs.”

The Dräger DrugTest 5000.

File / Global News

In Norway, the number of drug-impaired drivers detected by police doubled with the device, but 10 per cent of the results were false positives. The instrument is sensitive when used in cold weather, it can’t be tilted and its reliability has been questioned.

SPS admitted it has never left the station, and the 10 people it was used on during its trial were completely sober.

“It’s the only approved instrument in Canada for what it does,” Barbar said.

“Everybody anticipates with this as with any new law that it will be challenged – that’s the nature of our court system, it’s adversarial.”

Sask. families asked to submit names for victims of impaired driving monument

The device cannot be administered at random – an officer will need reasonable grounds to conduct the test which was a concern among medicinal marijuana users.

If people refuse to provide a sample, police said it’s considered an offence that could have criminal consequences.

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


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‘It’s a huge thing’: Film starring 2 Nunavik teens screening at Sundance Film Festival


Two Nunavik teenagers are starring in a film about Inuit throat singing, which will be showing at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

The three and a half minute film, Throat Singing in Kangirsuk, features Manon Chamberland, 15, and Eva Kaukai, 18, singing on the tundra outside their home village Kangirsuk.   

« It’s a huge thing, » said Chamberland. « We had never heard about the Sundance before, but when we did it was so amazing. »

Wapikoni, a production company that makes films about Indigenous youth, shot the video in February 2018.

Chamberland said Kaukai was working with the film company in the community. She asked Chamberland to join her in the film as a throat singer.

« This is an Inuit village so every one of the young girls learns throat singing growing up, » said Chamberland. « Our grandparents taught us throat singing to keep the generation alive. »

Chamberland said they wanted to show how they are carrying on traditional Inuit culture in the video.

Watch the trailer for Throat Singing in Kangirsuk:

Though Chamberland and Kaukai shot the video in the winter, much of the short film shows Kangirsuk in the summer. Aerial drone shots show local hunters taking apart a caribou and young kids playing in the village.

« This is a great opportunity to show that we are here, » said Chamberland. « That we have our culture. »

Chamberland said it’s hard for her to put into words just how much this video has impacted her life. Kaukai and Chamberland will be traveling to Utah for the screening of the film on Jan. 24.

« Everyone in the village was so happy and excited about it, » she said. 

Throat Singing in Kangirsukwill be screened four times at the festival.


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West Island Assistance Fund implements new screening for food basket recipients – Montreal


The West Island Assistance Fund (WIAF) has been serving the community for more than 50 years.

They offer food baskets, a low-cost furniture outlet and run a thrift store in Roxboro.

People of all income levels are invited to support their thrift store, but food baskets, which are prepared daily and are offered to those eligible twice a month, are meant for those really in need.

“Anybody in low-income, we serve them — any country, any colour, any language, we are here for them,” said Claudine Campeau, the executive director of the WIAF.

In the summer, Campeau was short-staffed and took over looking after applications. That is when she saw a few surprises.

“We caught a woman with her two daughters going to private school, and we got someone else with over $10,000 in their bank account,” said Campeau.

So the organization is changing its criteria to receive food baskets.

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Previously, people had to show proof of address and proof of revenue, but now the organization will be looking at bank statements going back several months.

There is a lot of what Campeau calls “hidden poverty” on the West Island, so the longtime advocate knows that sometimes a “wealthy”-seeming person is not in fact, but the organization says it needs to be able to verify that it really is those in need who are receiving the food baskets.

“We were refusing asylum seekers because we don’t have enough baskets, that is not OK,” said Campeau.

Now that the new rules are in place, Campeau says they will be able to include some baskets for new arrivals.

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


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Lindsay Wellness Fair hosts 45 vendors to promote health and screening – Peterborough


The City of Kawartha Lakes held its 2nd Annual wellness fair on Thursday. From health screenings to live demonstrations, its purpose is to bring health and wellness, together with businesses, under one roof.

“We have a naturopath, chiropractor, physiotherapists, sleep specialist in CPAP, individuals that are dealing with orthotics and footcare,” said Samantha Yip, a workplace health and safety officer, with the City of Kawartha Lakes

Among the vendors, the City of Kawartha Lakes paramedics featured an automated CPR device.

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“It doesn’t get tired like a human being would get. It plugs into the back of an ambulance and it does perfect CPR — it frees our hands, so we can now give medications, we can manage an airway,” said primary care paramedic, Evan Forbes.

Meanwhile, the Community Care Health and Care Network was highlighting the importance of screening.

“Some of the programs we screen for is breast, cervical and colorectal screenings, so if you’re eligible for a pap test, or if you’ve had a mammogram recently, those are some of the things our primary care team can help connect the dots with,” said health promoter, Jordan Prosper.

Even though colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in Ontario, Prosper says most people aren’t familiar with its screening process. He says it isn’t just as simple as going for a colonoscopy.

“There’s actually a simple at-home test that you can do called an FOBT kit that we’re really encouraging our clients that are eligible for colorectal screening to complete,” said Prosper.

Another at-home test comes from LEX Scientific Inc. which offers a way to detect radon levels in homes.

The company says one in 16 homes in the city of Kawartha Lakes has high radon levels. The radioactive gas comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil and can accumulate in homes.

“It can reach cancer-causing levels in our basement, so it’s the second-leading cause of lung cancer, and the first if you’re a non-smoker,” said Elyssa Loewen from LEX Scientific Inc.

This year’s fair featured more than 45 vendors and even included a free flu shot clinic, and was held at the Lindsay Armoury.

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


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