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Anti-carbon tax sticker law unconstitutional, Ontario court finds


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The stickers show the federal carbon tax adding 4.4 cents per litre to the price of gas now, rising to 11 cents a litre in 2022. They do not include information about rebates available to residents.

Morgan said in the decision that the message was “blatantly advantage-seeking by a political party and a misuse of a governing party’s legislative power.”

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He pointed to a statement Energy Minister Greg Rickford made in April 2019 in which he said the province would “stick it to the Liberals and remind the people of Ontario how much this job-killing, regressive carbon tax costs.” That, said Morgan, shows the true purpose of the sticker was partisan.

Rickford said he respects the court decision, “but our government will always stand up for the people of Ontario when it comes to matters that make everyday life more expensive for hardworking families.”

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which brought the challenge, is thrilled, according to the director of its fundamental freedoms program.

“CCLA is very pleased that the Court recognized these stickers for what they are, an attempt to compel private entities to convey a government’s partisan political message,” Cara Zwibel said in a statement.

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A spokesman for the Ministry of the Attorney General declined to comment, saying the department is reviewing the decision.

“As this matter is still in the appeal period, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further,” Brian Gray said.

But the Official Opposition urged the government not to appeal.

“He has already wasted enough of people’s money on his anti-carbon price stickers that don’t stick — a partisan and dishonest propaganda campaign,” NDP Energy and Climate Crisis Critic Peter Tabuns said in a written statement.

Ontario has challenged Ottawa’s right to impose a carbon tax, and the Supreme Court is set to hear that case in September.

— With files by Shawn Jeffords.



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Ford forges ahead with back-to-school plan


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Teacher unions, school trustees and, according to polling, the majority of parents have concerns about school reopenings.

A committee of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) passed a motion Tuesday to ask Chair Alexander Brown to write to the Ford government for more resources to implement a COVID-19 plan.

Going before the full TDSB board Thursday is a motion to require all students including the youngest learners to wear masks in schools.

The Ministry of Education has made masks mandatory for students in Grades 4 and up, and recommended face coverings for those in Grade 3 or lower.

When asked about the issue Wednesday, Ford said that as a father of four daughters, he’s not convinced it will be easy to get kids in junior and regular kindergarten to safely wear masks.

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“When they’re four years old, five years old, it’s hard to keep the mask on them,” Ford said. “But, again, we’ll be there, we’ll support the board if that’s what they want to do, but keeping a mask on a JK or senior kindergarten[er] might be difficult. But we’ll support it.”

In Ontario, 2,564 people aged 19 or younger have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the latest public health data.

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Is COVID-19 peaking in Ontario?


Public health modelling predicts Ontario could hit its COVID-19 peak this week and then start to decline, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says.

If Ontario residents continue to practice social distancing — something the vast majority have been doing — then the crisis could begin to ebb after the peak, she said.

“There will still be cases, but we’ll be on the downside,” Yaffe said Monday. “So that does give me a glimmer of hope but with some caution built in.”

Ontario confirmed 421 new COVID-19 cases Monday, the second day in a row with a 6% increase in new cases.

The province has 7,470 confirmed cases overall with 291 deaths, a daily increase of 17.

The greatest number of lives lost — 120 — has been among residents of long-term care homes where there have been 89 outbreaks.

Premier Doug Ford said he wants every resident in a long-term care home tested for COVID-19.

“We have a duty to take care of those who cannot look after themselves,” Ford said, adding his own mother-in-law is in a residence that his wife, Karla, is not allowed to enter.

Ontario public health testing guidelines do not go that far. They recommend that even in cases where COVID-19 has been confirmed in a long-term care home or retirement home, only asymptomatic contacts of the confirmed case, including residents in adjacent rooms, be tested.

The Ontario government has yet to order part-time workers to stop going to multiple jobs at different long-term care facilities, although it is recommended, Yaffe said.

Such a move, as has occurred in British Columbia, would likely still have an effect in stopping the spread of the coronavirus in long-term care homes, she said.

A pregnant nurse, who told the Toronto Sun a week ago that staff in long-term care homes were not being given appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), said they are now supplied with gowns and masks.

“But I think it was really too late,” the source said Monday. “The government missed it… That’s why we’re really getting growing numbers of infected older people in nursing homes, because they missed that.”

In the two most deadly outbreaks, 22 residents died at the Seven Oaks long-term care facility in Scarborough and 29 residents passed away at the Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon.

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LILLEY: Ford government announces new measures as cases spike


As the province announced more than 150 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, new social distancing measures are now in effect.

All social gatherings and events over five people are prohibited according to a press release issued Saturday evening.

Exceptions include private homes of five people or more, and authorized childcare facilities serving families of first reponders or front-line healthcare workers — provided it doesn’t exceed 50.

Funerals will also be permitted, but limited to 10 people.

Organized public events include parades, weddings, social gatherings and worship services.

This new order replaces a previous one limiting gatherings to no more than 50 people.

The new cases were reported by the province on Saturday, morning bringing the total to 1,144, including 8 cases deemed resolved and 18 more where the patient died.

The current death toll includes 2 cases awaiting official laboratory confirmation from a nursing home in Bobcaygeon, Ontario where three other residents have tested positive and 35 have shown symptoms.

The province remains on a mostly upward trajectory — there have been 453 new cases since Thursday.

Against the backdrop of an increasing number of cases and strain on hospitals, the province announced they were taking control of purchasing all key medical supplies needed in the COVID-19 fight.

Items such as ventilators, masks and swabs will now go through central purchasing and distribution to ensure adequate supplies arrive where and when they are needed.

“COVID-19 is impacting supply chains across Canada, and around the world,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services.

“That’s why we are proclaiming the Supply Chain Management Act to make sure we can deploy critical supplies, equipment and services to where they are needed most.”

Ford also announced the province would take aim at those attempting to make extreme profits off the crisis.

“I have zero tolerance for this kind of nonsense,” Ford said of the province’s new anti price gouging legislation.

“It’s un-Canadian, it’s wrong.

“If you’re selling face masks, protective gloves, cold medicine, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes and you’re hiking the price five times, ten times what it should be — you’re done, you’re gone because we’re coming after you.”

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Fines range from $750 for an individual to $500,000 for a company director, while corporations could face penalties of up to $10 million.

Jail time is also possible.

The premier encouraged anyone who spots price gouging to report it through the provincial hotline at 1-800-889-9768.

The premier said that the government understands the difference between a convenience store charging a couple more dollars for a product than large retailers, and said they would listen to all sides during investigations — including finding out if wholesalers are the ones responsible for gouging retailers.

Ford also ripped into a young woman facing charges for faking a COVID-19 diagnosis to get out of her shift at a Hamilton McDonalds.

After presenting her manager a forged doctor’s note, the restaurant sent all its employees home to self-isolate and engaged in an extensive and expensive cleaning.

“It’s disgusting,” Ford said.

“What human being would do stuff like this? We’re in a crisis and they’re going out there and lying and putting people in jeopardy.”

The 18 year-old woman now faces fraud, forgery and mischief charges.



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