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Saskatchewan to require proof of COVID vaccination to try to increase uptake: premier

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REGINA — Saskatchewan will be bringing in a proof of vaccination program in an attempt to increase the number of people immunized against COVID-19. 

Premier Scott Moe made the announcement on his social media accounts Thursday.

He said the policy is expected to come into effect Oct. 1 and will apply to businesses, establishments and event venues, but will exclude civil services. 

People will have to show proof of vaccination or show a negative test. 

Moe also said all government employees of Crown corporations and in ministries will be required to be vaccinated or consistently show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. 

He is also reinstating a provincewide mask mandate for all indoor public places, which he said could be lifted by late October. 

“These are not measures we wanted to implement — and as a government we have been patient in providing the opportunity and access to get vaccinations — but that patience has come to an end,” Moe said in a video posted on social media. 

“The vast majority of Saskatchewan people have grown tired of the reckless decisions of the unvaccinated that are now driving our fourth wave.”

Moe had previously said he would not bring in vaccination passports and that getting a shot was a personal choice.

“As a province, and as a government, we have been very patient. Possibly too patient,” he said. 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who had also been adamant that he would not require proof of vaccinations, on Wednesday announced he was bringing in a similar program.

Saskatchewan is the last province in Western Canada to implement such a policy. 

Moe was to be joined by the province’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, at a news conference later Thursday, when more details were expected to be released.

On Wednesday, the province reported 475 new cases, 22 per cent of which were in children under the age of 12, who are ineligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2021.

Mickey Djuric, The Canadian Press

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Mohawk Council of Kahnawake ‘repulsed’ by politicization of Habs’ land acknowledgment

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MONTREAL — The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake is blasting the Quebec government for questioning a land acknowledgment by the Montreal Canadiens that refers to the unceded territory of the Mohawk Nation.

The statement, which has been read before the NHL team’s home games this season, acknowledges the hospitality of the Mohawk Nation “on this traditional and unceded territory where we are gathered today.”

Quebec Indigenous Affairs Minister Ian Lafrenière told reporters on Wednesday the acknowledgment may be an error.

In a statement Thursday, the elected council for the First Nations reserve across the river from Montreal commended the hockey club’s gesture as an example of true reconciliation and added it was “repulsed” by the province’s attempt to politicize the effort, which it said undermines the Mohawk presence in the Montreal region.

On Wednesday, Lafrenière told reporters that referring to a specific nation may be a mistake as historians differ on which nation was the first to live in Montreal, while adding it was important to recognize that First Nations were the first occupants.

Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer said in a statement that land is an essential part of Mohawk identity.

“It holds the knowledge of our ancestors, our history and our presence, now and for the future,” Sky-Deer said. “Opinionated commentary that challenge and discredit our presence are not only insulting, they are taken as displaced attacks on our existence.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Supreme Court of Canada sides with injured woman in snow-clearing squabble

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OTTAWA — A woman will get another chance to sue for damages over a leg injury she suffered while climbing through snow piled by a city’s plow, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled.

Taryn Joy Marchi alleged the City of Nelson, B.C., created a hazard when it cleared snow from downtown streets after a storm in early January 2015.

The removal effort left snow piles at the edge of the street along the sidewalk early in the morning of Jan. 5.

Late in the afternoon of Jan. 6, Marchi — then a 28-year-old nurse — parked in an angled spot on the street and, wearing running shoes with a good tread, tried to cross a snow pile to get on to the sidewalk.

Her right foot dropped through the snow and she fell forward, seriously injuring her leg.

Marchi contended the city should have left openings in the snowbank to allow safe passage to the sidewalk.

She pointed to the neighbouring municipalities of Castlegar, Rossland and Penticton in arguing there were preferable ways to clear the streets so as to ensure safe access for pedestrians.

However, the trial judge dismissed her case, saying the city was immune from liability because it made legitimate policy decisions about snow clearing based on the availability of personnel and resources.

In any event, the judge concluded, Marchi assumed the risk of crossing the snow pile and was “the author of her own misfortune.”

The B.C. Court of Appeal overturned the decision and ordered a new trial, saying the judge erred in addressing the city’s duty of care and the question of Marchi’s negligence.

The ruling prompted the City of Nelson to seek a hearing in the Supreme Court.

In a written submission to the high court, the city said its actions amount to “a clear example of a core policy decision” that should be immune from liability.

In her filing with the court, Marchi said city employees made a number of operational decisions that fell below the expected standard of care of a municipality — decisions not required by the written policy.

In its 7-0 ruling Thursday, the Supreme Court said a fresh trial should take place because the city has not proved that its decision on how to clear the snow was “a core policy decision” immune from liability.

While there is no suggestion the city made an irrational or “bad faith decision,” the city’s core policy defence fails and it owed Ms. Marchi a duty of care, justices Sheilah Martin and Andromache Karakatsanis wrote on behalf of the court.

“The regular principles of negligence law apply in determining whether the City breached the duty of care and, if so, whether it should be liable for Ms. Marchi’s damages.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2021.

Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press

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