4.2-magnitude earthquake strikes near Fort St. John

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An earthquake struck an area in northeastern B.C. close to Fort St. John on Thursday after 5 p.m. PT. 

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 4.2 and the epicentre was 22.4 kilometres southeast of Fort St. John. 

People in Fort St. John, as well as Taylor, Chetwynd and Dawson Creek reported feeling the earthquake on social media, but there are currently no reports of damage.

Honn Kao, a research scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada, said early data suggests the quake had a relatively shallow depth which is likely why the quake was widely felt. 

« This is certainly an event that has been felt quite a bit by the local residents, » Kao said. « Although this is a significant event for the region I don’t think it’s going to cause significant damage. »

Hydraulic fracturing in the area

Although it is unconfirmed what caused this earthquake, Kao said the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission is investigating if the quake is related to hydraulic fracturing operations in the area. 

Hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — is when water, sand and other chemicals are injected underground at a very high pressure to fracture shale rock deep underground in order to extract natural gas. 

« They will have to link the location and time of this event to the injection operations nearby, » Kao said. 

This area of the country — western Alberta and northeast B.C. — has a high rate of fracking-induced earthquakes, according to a study from the University of Alberta.

With files from Johanna Wagstaffe

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Postal union launches protest campaign as employees halt rotating strikes

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Federal back-to-work legislation may have ended rotating strikes by postal workers — but their union now says it’s switching to a campaign of « non-violent civil disobedience » to press its contract claims.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Canadian Union of Postal Workers Union (CUPW) National President Mike Palecek said that while legal strike action is ending, the pressure campaign is just beginning.

« You cannot legislate labour peace. We are now moving to a different phase of the struggle, » he said.

Union members were instructed to return to regularly scheduled shifts as of noon ET today, and to await further instructions.

Striking Canada Post workers stay warm around the fire as they walk the picket line in front of the Saint-Laurent sorting facility in Montreal on Thursday November 15, 2018. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

« In the coming days we will be calling on our allies and membership for a campaign of mobilizations, demonstrations and non-violent civil disobedience, » Palecek said.

« All options remain on the table to achieve negotiated collective agreements that address health and safety, inequitable treatment, fair wages and working conditions, and the democratic right to free collective bargaining. »

The union also warned it’s considering legal action against the federal back-to-work legislation, but offered no details.

The rotating strikes ended after senators voted Monday night in favour of the Liberal government’s legislation to force Canada Post employees back to work.

Bill C-89 was debated in the upper chamber Saturday after the Liberal government fast-tracked the legislation through the House of Commons. The Senate vote passed by a margin of 53 to 25, with four senators abstaining, as walkouts by Canada Post workers entered their sixth week.

C-89 imposes fines of between $1,000 and $50,000 per day on anyone found in contravention of the Act, and up to $100,000 per day against Canada Post or the union if they are found guilty of violating its terms.

Negotiations between Canada Post and the union have been underway for nearly a year, but the dispute escalated when CUPW members launched rotating strikes on Oct. 22.

The union wants better pay and job security, guaranteed hours for its 8,000 rural and suburban carriers, and equality for those workers with the corporation’s 42,000 urban employees.

CUPW also wants Canada Post to adopt rules that it said would address workplace injuries — a problem the union has described as a « crisis. »

Canadian Union of Postal Workers National President Mike Palecek. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Palecek has called the back-to-work bill a slap in the faces of Canada Post employees and accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of turning his back on postal workers.

The former Conservative government forced an end to a lockout of postal workers during a 2011 dispute by enacting back-to-work legislation, which was later declared by a court to be unconstitutional.

Labour Minister Patty Hajdu has insisted the Liberal legislation is dramatically different, since it tasks an independent mediator-arbitrator with reaching a contract settlement in 90 days. Failing that, a settlement could be imposed by the arbitrator.

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Appeal court strikes down reduced, ‘artificial’ sentence for convicted refugee

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The Manitoba Court of Appeal has overturned a reduced sentence handed down by a Manitoba judge to prevent the deportation of a convicted refugee.

In its Oct. 31 decision, the court looked at « the extent to which a sentencing judge can craft a sentence in order to avoid collateral immigration consequences. »

Mustaf Ahmed Yare, 23, pleaded guilty to four charges after ramming a police car and then leading police on a chase before crashing into a sign post in September 2017.

The decision states that Yare threatened officers while he was being taken to the police station by saying: « I’m going to get my gang and I’m going to find you and kill you. I’m a real gangster and you will die. Trust me, you fucking goofs. »

The Crown sought a sentence of 18 to 19 months in jail, but ultimately the judge imposed a sentence of five months and 25 days of incarceration.

During the sentencing the judge concluded Yare « ought to be jailed for about a year for these charges, » according to the Court of Appeal’s decision.

Yare is a permanent resident of Canada, therefore subject to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which requires a punishment of at least six months in connection with a serious crime.

The sentencing judge acknowledged that a term greater than six months might result in deportation.

The panel of three appeal court justices said in their view an artificial sentence had been imposed. They imposed a sentence totalling 13 months and 10 days incarceration, which had been served prior to the appeal.

Yare was arrested after his release and has a court appearance in the new year. He is charged with five offences including assault with a weapon and uttering threats. 

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Canada Post to parents: despite rotating strikes, keep sending letters to Santa – National

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With the holidays arriving, Canada Post is feeling the pressure from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and parents to resolve the ongoing labour dispute in time for an important holiday tradition.

This holiday season, letters to Santa Claus have to be delivered by Dec. 10. But what if the strike continues until then?


READ MORE:
Canada Post’s request to pause strike over holidays rejected by union

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is demanding improvements to job security, an end to forced overtime and better health and safety measures. But Canada Post has said it has made a number of offers that include increased wages and better job security.

With the two sides at a crossroads, many Canadian parents are left wondering if the tradition of children writing to Santa Claus is going to be stamped out.

Canada Post’s letter-writing program to Santa Claus has been around since 1981. Last year more than 1.6 million children wrote to Santa, which involved more than 260,000 hours of volunteer work, according to the Crown corporation.

WATCH: Here are 3 other mailing service options during the Canada Post strike






“We continue to operate through the rotating strikes and continue to process Santa’s letters,” Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton said in an email to Global News. “We’ve also had volunteers at parades gathering the letters.”

“Parents should continue sending Santa letters from their children. Helping Santa with his letters is a longstanding tradition at Canada Post,” he said.

Kevin Matthews, a spokesperson for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), also told Global News, “if the strike action continues as it is,” Canada Post workers would be able to volunteer with the program, but with delays in some cases.

Trudeau puts pressure on Canada Post ahead of holidays

Although Canada Post is reassuring parents about the Santa Claus letter program, the continuing rotating strikes have also created a historic backlog of undelivered mail since they started on Oct. 22.

This has prompted some businesses and the Trudeau government to issue pleas for a resolution ahead of the busy Christmas season.

The prime minister is giving indications that his patience is running out. Last week, he said his government might soon act to end the dispute if Canada Post and CUPW cannot settle the dispute.

On Saturday, he also took Twitter urging Canada Post and the union to settle the dispute.

WATCH: Labour minister jokes that Canada Post strike ‘feels like parenting sometimes’






Trudeau isn’t the only one wanting both sides to resolve the issue. Many Canadians have taken to Twitter asking Canada Post if the ongoing strike will affect the letters to Santa program this year.

“The reindeer are on strike what’s Santa going to do?” Toronto artist and mother of two, Marjolyn Vanderhard, tweeted Monday.

Last year, Canada Post made changes to the Santa Claus letter program and stopped writing individual letters to children at school. Instead, the man in red now replies to the entire class with a large poster-sized letter that includes the names of all the children in the classroom.


READ MORE:
Canada Post says Santa won’t write individual letters to school kids — here’s why

But if children still want a personalized reply from Santa, they can write to him from home.

Where does the strike stand?

On Monday, Canada Post asked CUPW for a “cooling-off” period until the end of January to allow for negotiations. That meant union members would have to put down their picket signs over the holidays while talks are on.

“With the rotating strikes, resulting backlogs, and the massive Black Friday and Cyber Monday volumes that will arrive within days, we are trying everything we can to work together with the union — urgently — to deliver the holidays to Canadians,” Jessica McDonald, chair of the board of directors and interim president and CEO of Canada Post, said in a statement.


But the union quickly rejected the offer, saying it would not ask members to return to work under conditions that effectively have some employees working without compensation.

Canada Post workers also continued their rotating strikes Monday after rejecting the Crown agency’s latest offer and requesting the government appoint a mediator to help end the ongoing dispute.

— With files from the Canadian Press

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

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CUPW rejects latest offer from Canada Post: Rotating strikes to continue

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The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has rejected Canada Post’s latest offer in their labour dispute as a delivery backlog weighs on consumers placing orders for packages during the busiest shopping period of the year.

On Saturday, the union representing postal workers rejected the Crown corporation’s latest offer — so rotating strikes are set to continue. 

The company had imposed a deadline of midnight on Saturday for the union to accept its offer. The union said the offer was not good enough to put before its workers.

Kevin Matthews, spokesperson for the union, told CBC News on Saturday the offer didn’t address the issue of injured workers. He criticized what he called arbitrary deadlines set by management. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged the two sides to work out their differences. « The Christmas & holiday season is here – and Canadian businesses and families depend on Canada Post. We urge both sides in this labour dispute to resolve their differences quickly and reach a deal, » Trudeau said on Twitter after the union rejected the company’s latest offer. 

Union in 4th week of rotating strikes

« It’s clear they’ll have to do better, » the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) said in a release Friday, as the union continued its fourth week of rotating strikes.

« A vote will take place when Canada Post presents offers that meet our demands for health and safety, gender equality and more full-time jobs, » the union’s national president Mike Palecek said in a separate statement.

Workload is at the heart of the dispute, because postal workers are delivering more and more packages, primarily because of internet shopping.

Our weekend business panel discusses CUPW’s rejection of Canada Post’s latest contract offer:

Our weekend business panel discusses the Canadian Union of Postal Workers rejection of Canada Post’s latest contract offer, Toronto’s failed bid for Amazon’s new headquarters and plummeting prices in the oil and gas industry. 12:36

Palecek said employees are overworked right now and delivering late into the night, with some walking up to 30 kilometres a day.

Canada Post suspended delivery-time guarantees to its customers last Tuesday as it reported a 30-day delivery backlog resulting from the dispute.

The company has since asked its international partners to halt mail and parcel shipments to Canada. It said more than 600 trailers are now parked at Canada Post yards, waiting to be unloaded.

In an interview with CBC News on Friday, Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton said the backlog is a record for Canada Post. He said each of the trailers contain an average of 2,500 parcels.

Decisions on how to end job actions by postal workers could come as early as Sunday, said a federal government source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, adding that « all the options include legislating. »

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Canada Post workers in Hamilton, La Mauricie, Que., join rotating strikes

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OTTAWA — More than 1,800 Canada Post workers have walked off the job in Hamilton and La Mauricie, Que., as the union’s overtime ban takes effect across the country.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says the walkout in La Mauricie began Wednesday at 11:30 p.m. and in Hamilton just after midnight on Thursday.

Those workers joined union locals in other communities taking part in the rotating strikes, including Regina, Sask.


READ MORE:
Canada Post rotating strike hits Regina

The Ontario communities of North Bay and Ottawa are also on strike, as well as the British Columbia cities of Campbell River, Courtenay, Nanaimo and Port Alberni.

In Quebec, Canada Post locals are also off the job in Outaouais after strikes in other areas of the province wrapped up Thursday.

On Wednesday, CUPW said the overtime ban means postal workers can refuse to work beyond their normal eight-hour days.

WATCH: Canada Post rotating strikes hit Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Weyburn






“We have a health and safety crisis at Canada Post. We’ve seen injury rates skyrocket,” Mike Palecek, CUPW national president, said in a statement Thursday. “This has got to be fixed.”

Meanwhile, Canada Post says it is facing a days-long backlog of parcel deliveries.


READ MORE:
Rotating Canada Post strike in Ottawa continues, ends in Arnprior-Renfrew

Dozens of trailers filled with parcels and packages were awaiting processing at the agency’s three biggest hubs — Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

Combined, the three key locations can process one million parcels a day from across the country, Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton has said.

The union and the postal service have been unable to reach new collective agreements for two bargaining units after 10 months of negotiations.

Canada Post has said it provided “significant” offers to its employees, including wage hikes.

READ MORE: Canada Post update: New rotating strikes hit Ottawa, parts of Quebec, P.E.I. and B.C.

“But they don’t address a single one of our major issues,” Palecek said Wednesday in a statement on the union’s website.

Those issues include health and safety concerns, he said, adding that the wage offers from Canada Post fall far below expected cost-of-living increases.

Last Tuesday, Labour Minister Patty Hajdu appointed Morton Mitchnick, a former chairman of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, to help the two parties resolve their differences.

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Canada Post rotating strikes hit Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Weyburn

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Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) have walked off the job at several locations in Saskatchewan.

CUPW said in a tweet union members in Weyburn walked off the job at 6 a.m. CT Tuesday, followed two hours later by those in Saskatoon and Moose Jaw.


READ MORE:
Montreal hit with rotating Canada Post strike; 6,000 workers walk off job

Rotating strikes have also hit Canada Post operations in Montreal, five cities in British Columbia, and seven Ontario locations on Tuesday.

CUPW and the postal service have been unable to reach new collective agreements for the two bargaining units in 10 months of negotiations.

“We outlined our major issues to Canada Post at the very beginning of the negotiation process … and clearly stated that we would not sign any agreements that don’t address overwork and overburdening, equality and full-time jobs,” CUPW national president Mike Palecek said in a statement.

“Our position hasn’t changed. We aren’t just bargaining for today, we are bargaining for the future – for our members and everyone who relies on the postal service.”


READ MORE:
Canada Post cuts workers’ disability benefits

Last Tuesday, Labour Minister Patty Hajdu appointed Morton Mitchnick, a former chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, to help the two parties resolve their contract differences.

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

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Canada Post rotating strikes extend to Winnipeg and Brandon, Man.

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Manitoba is the latest province to be hit by rotating strikes by members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

CUPW says 1,500 members walked off the job in Winnipeg at 10 p.m. local time Sunday and that workers in Brandon, Man., set up picket lines at 12:01 a.m. Monday.


READ MORE:
Is it time to get rid of Canada Post?

The union also reported on its website Sunday night that strikes were continuing in Niagara Falls, Ont., and in IIes-de-la-Madeleine, Que. Those job actions began on Friday and Saturday respectively.

CUPW members have been conducting rotating walkouts across the country as special mediator Morton Mitchnick tries to resolve the labour dispute.

Nearly 9,000 CUPW members walked out for two days last week in the Greater Toronto Area, creating delivery delays for tens of thousands of Canadians awaiting letters and parcels across the country.


The union has said that Canada Post needs to come to the bargaining table ready to talk about the issues that matter – health and safety, equality for (rural and suburban mail carriers) and an end to precarious work.”

For its part, Canada Post says it has made “significant offers” to CUPW – which include increased wages, job security and improved benefits – and has not asked for any concessions in return.

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Ontario Cannabis Store warns day-one customers may see further delays amid Canada Post strikes and ‘unbelievably high demand’

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The Ontario Cannabis Store says first-day customers could see further delays as a result of ongoing Canada Post strikes and high demand.

The OCS said “unbelievably high demand” for cannabis products and “complicated” rotating strikes at Canada Post operations are causing ongoing shipment delays, according to a Tuesday news release.

Customers may have to wait a few more business days to receive their first order of legal weed due to ongoing Canada Post strikes, the Ontario Cannabis Store said.
Customers may have to wait a few more business days to receive their first order of legal weed due to ongoing Canada Post strikes, the Ontario Cannabis Store said.  (Ontario Cannabis Store, via CP)

“While a majority of first-day orders will be fulfilled within days, many first-day customers will still see delivery times that are longer,” the statement read.

“We ask for and appreciate the public’s patience as OCS continues to process orders as quickly as possible as this new business takes hold,” said OCS President Patrick Ford in the release.

Strikes at Canada Post’s Toronto-area sorting plants continued Wednesday after workers walked off the job just after midnight on Tuesday. Operations at a Mississauga facility, which processes about two-thirds of all parcels in the country, and an East York facility were virtually shut down when workers walked off the job.

The union and postal service have been unable to reach new collective agreements for the two bargaining units in 10 months of negotiations.

Should the strikes continue and orders can’t be shipped, the OCS said they have a contingency plan but will only reveal details if the plan must be executed.

In the first 24 hours of legalization on Oct. 17, the OCS received about 100,000 orders for legal weed, with 12 per cent of orders being placed in the first hour.

With files from the Canadian Press.

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

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3000 in Mississauga briefly without power after vehicle strikes hydro pole

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After a car struck a hydro pole in Mississauga, residents for miles were treated to dazzling flashes of blue and orange light—and then, darkness.

Over 3000 people were briefly without power Wednesday evening following the single vehicle collision, but Alectra Utilities says all the power has since been restored.

This photo was snapped moments after the blackout.
This photo was snapped moments after the blackout.  (Josh Patel / Twitter)

A video posted on Twitter showed bright pops of light leading up the blackout, including two distinctly larger flares of light, but Peel Regional Police say there was no explosion or fire. The sparks of light were “the wires shorting themselves when they came in contact with each other,” according to Peel Const. Harinder Sohi.

Police responded to the area of Hurontario St. and Burnhamthorpe Rd. E. around 7:30 p.m. for the report of a vehicle colliding with a hydro pole. There was only the driver of the vehicle in the car at the time of the collision, and they sustained no injuries. Police say there are no charges expected in this case.

Alectra Utilities tweeted just after 8 p.m. that there was an outage affecting 3,259 homes and businesses in Mississauga, stretching from Burnhamthorpe Rd. E. to Dundas St. E. Although the original estimated time of restoration was midnight, Alectra tweeted less than an hour later, at 9 p.m., that all power should have been restored.

Several residents took to social media in that hour to express their frustration, many complaining that they were missing out on the opening NHL game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.

“What a mess. We’re in the dark here,” tweeted Matthew McGilvery.

Another resident, Kathy DeRodriguez, said she was watching TV “and all of a sudden, darkness.”

Several condiminium complexes were part of the affected area, with tenants reporting no power, even after the power was meant to have returned. After numerous residents of 310 Burnhamthorpe Rd. E. expressed their concerns, Alectra tweeted a response, advising them to contact their “property maintenance to reset the building’s main breakers.”

With files from mississauga.com

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