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Alberta

What the World Needs Now is More Pro Bono

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5 minute read

July 14, 2020

What the World Needs Now is More Pro Bono

Lawyers and the legal community use their performance skills to bring awareness and raise funds to support access to justice for our vulnerable population during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association (ACTLA) is staging a virtual Public Awareness Campaign partnered with United Way.  Major supporters include the Canadian Bar Association – Alberta Branch and the Legal Archives Society of Alberta.  The show is called Laywers Vs Talent: A2J – Virtual Edition. Here’s a link to the lineup.  You can watch by simply making a donation.  The United Way is helping out so it’s a very secure and safe procedure.  Click here to get your exclusive link.  (You will receive an email with the link prior to showtime.)

COVID-19 caused cancellation of fundraising events (e.g. Battle of the Bar Bands-Calgary) within the profession where proceeds went to Pro Bono legal advice clinics.  The Alberta Bar decided to innovate and create the virtual event for this Thursday, July 16th, from 6:00 PM to 8 PM (MDT) to raise a “behind the scenes” Awareness.  Due to the Pandemic, Pro Bono clinics require technology for remote meetings or remote court attendance or require supplies for their clients such as masks and shields to attend meetings or attend court if people are forced by subpoena or otherwise need to attend.

Donna Purcell, member of the ACTLA COVID-19 Emergency Response Team said “We were going to call our event ‘lawyers got talent’ but one lawyer objected saying Simon Cowell would complain.  Well what about ‘lawyers got no talent’? No, he might still complain, maybe try Lawyers vs Talent” and the seed was sown to invite professional talent, with entertainers from the United States, Mexico, Europe, Asia and South America under the Global A2J Alliance banner.  The campaign is meant to highlight the need for everyone to protect the Rule of Law for vulnerable populations.

Forecasts for Alberta include 25% unemployment.  The profession is concerned about providing Pro Bono services given the anticipated domestic situations, personal bankruptcies, foreclosures and evictions flooding antiquated justice systems.

“The legal profession and our judiciary have decided to lead the way in ensuring innovative access to justice for our growing vulnerable populations and all Albertans”, notes Purcell, “And we can’t only work for free, that is called being unemployed.  And no lawyer jokes please, we might not get them.  Grab a Shaq-a-roni, set up a Zoom after party, and come enjoy the entertainment, including some pros who know what they are doing and learn from our feature presenters and feature reporting.”

The show has many serious moments as well. You will hear from Rumana Monzur, Counsel at Department of Justice, Canada. In June 2011, she was brutally attacked and blinded by her husband at the time, Hasan Sayeed Sumon, while visiting in her home country of Bangladesh. As well, you will meet Maria Mitousis, Principal, Mitousis, Lemieux, Howard Law Corporation. Maria became national news when in the summer of 2015, she dropped into her office and opened a package that was on her desk.  In the package was a bomb, and in the ensuing explosion, Maria lost a hand. Hers is a tragic but inspiring story.

A committee will decide where funds that are raised will have the most impact and includes consulting the United Way’s The Social Impact Lab, a platform to research, create, and test new services and business models. The goal is toensure the impact on organizations who support vulnerable populations through the legal sector is maximized.  It is also hoped that public awareness of the out-of-date state of the justice system will encourage a provincial and national discussion.

A minimum $50 donation to United Way receives the Premiere Access link; donate any amount for an after the event link.

For more information and to donate, sponsor or to purchase tickets to the event, visit www.lawyersvstalent.com

Remember, the show goes live Thursday, July 16th, at 6 PM

Disclosure:  Todayville is a proud partner in the production of this innovative program. 

Read more on Todayville.com.

Alberta

Care home residents prioritized: Alberta begins second doses of COVID-19 vaccine

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says the province has begun giving second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine with priority for residents in long-term care homes.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says adjustments are being made on the fly to make sure everyone who has received a first shot gets the booster in the recommended time frame.

Timelines have been put in flux because of delays in shipments from Pfizer-BioNTech, which produces one of two vaccines approved by Health Canada.

Hinshaw says health officials are working to get residents of long-term care and supportive living facilities their second doses within a month of the first shot because they are at high risk.

She says “everything possible” will be done to find second doses for others no later than six weeks after their first shot.

Alberta has given more than 95,000 doses to those considered a high priority, including care-home residents and front-line health workers.

“We are also looking within our available supplies to be able to provide the second dose to all others who have received their first dose within the maximum allowable window of that 42 days,” Hinshaw said Wednesday.

“We are needing to adjust plans.”

Alberta Health says missing the window does not mean the first dose will be ineffective.

“Evidence is still emerging on all the vaccines,” said department spokesman Tom McMillan in a statement.

“There is evidence that the immune response begins to develop within two weeks of the first dose and continues to develop after that. But it is not known how long any protection from a single dose lasts.”

McMillan said the expectation remains that Alberta will be able to deliver the second dose within the window.

But if not, current recipients “would not need to begin the series over. They would simply receive the second dose as soon as available,” he said.

Premier Jason Kenney said earlier this week that no new first doses would be offered for the time being.

Hinshaw reported 669 new COVID cases on Wednesday, with 10,565 active cases. Some 744 people were in hospital, 124 of them in intensive care.

There were 21 more deaths for a total of 1,484.

Alberta first began delivering doses in mid-December from two suppliers, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.

Canada was to get more than 417,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and next, but is now to receive just over 171,000 this week and nothing next week. Both vaccines require two doses several weeks apart for full effectiveness.

The delay has also forced the province to put off implementing its next phase of priority vaccinations: Indigenous seniors over 65 and other seniors 75 and older.

Alberta remains under lockdown measures, which include a ban on indoor gatherings. Bars, restaurants and lounges can offer takeout or pickup service only. Retailers are limited to 15 per cent customer capacity, while entertainment venues, including casinos and movie theatres, remain shuttered.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

After a strong start, Calgary Flames get early breather in short NHL season

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CALGARY — Just three games into a condensed season, the Calgary Flames are already on a break.

A 2-0-1 start for five points out of a possible six is momentum the Flames will try to carry through their five days off before hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.

Days off will become precious in Calgary’s 56 games over 115 days, although the Flames weren’t desperate for a breather this early in the schedule.

The time is nevertheless welcome, says head coach Geoff Ward, with a half-dozen new players in the lineup.

“If we had a team that had been together for a long, long time, I’d probably be looking at it maybe not as much of a positive thing as it’s going to be for us,” Ward said Wednesday.

“These days are good for us just with how many new players we’re trying to assimilate into our lineup. 

“It allows us to really reinforce a lot of things, allows us to evaluate more things and allows our players to become more comfortable playing with each other, so this week for us has been real timely.”

Calgary posted two straight home wins over the Vancouver Canucks after opening the season with an overtime loss to the Jets in Winnipeg.

The Flames enjoyed a gentler start to their regular season than Vancouver’s four road games in six days, but Calgary’s heavy lifting starts immediately following the break with nine games in 14 days, including back-to-back games in Winnipeg.

“We’re going into an awful lot of hockey once this break’s over,” Ward said.

Three games is a small sample size, but the Flames can feel encouraged by an abundance of goalscorers and the performance of new goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who was signed in the off-season for US$36 million over six years.

Eight different Flames have put the puck in the net with Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk leading the way at two goals apiece.

“When you get some balanced scoring like we have early, it just makes everybody believe a little bit easier,” Ward said.

Gaudreau, Lindholm and Sean Monahan each have four points. 

The emergence of Lindholm, Tkachuk and Dillon Dube as a potent line takes production pressure off of and defensive attention away from Gaudreau and Monahan, who worked well with newcomer Dominik Simon in Monday’s 5-2 win over the Canucks.

Simon, who has spent time on Sidney Crosby’s wing in Pittsburgh, provided the screen for Gaudreau’s first goal of the season and Calgary’s first goal of that game.

“He’s a smart hockey player,” Ward said of Simon. 

“He can think ahead like Johnny and Monny do. There’s a lot of things there that we like about the potential fit of them.”

Markstrom is so far living up to his price tag with a 32-save shutout against his former Canuck teammates in his first outing against them Saturday.

The six-foot-six Swede was a difference-maker Monday when the Flames were outshot 16-4 in the first period.

Calgary’s power play produced six goals on 16 chances for a 37.5 conversion rate, and gave up one short-handed goal. 

The Flames have killed all but one of their opposing teams’ man advantages for a 91.7 success rate.

“Outside of a couple of periods, we liked our work and we liked our compete an awful lot,” Ward said. 

“There’s some areas we can be better in terms of staying with things, producing a little bit more. 

“All in all, we liked how we played on both sides of the puck. Our special teams we’re real happy with.”

The break gives Dube time to heal from whatever lower-body injury took the 22-year-old out of Monday’s game against the Canucks. 

Ward isn’t ruling him out to play Sunday against the Maple Leafs, who face the Flames again two days later at Scotiabank Saddledome.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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