Alberta Ombudsman aligns with provincial counterparts calling for cautious approach to vaccine certification schemes
As countries around the world, and some jurisdictions in Canada contemplate how or if certification of COVID-19 vaccination status will be implemented in daily life, Canadian Ombudsman are stressing a cautious approach that places fairness at the heart of any potential vaccination certification system that is applied to public services.
The Canadian Council of Parliamentary Ombudsman (CCPO) issued a guidance document today aimed at provincial and territorial public sector organizations under the jurisdiction of Ombudsman across the country. This includes agencies and government ministries providing services such as public education, housing, and health services.
“Although we are not seeing yet that people are having to show vaccination status to receive public services in Canada, with the guidance we are providing, we want to plant the seed both with public organizations, and with the public, that if this does start to happen it is done in a way that is fair, reasonable and just,” said Bill Smith, President of the CCPO and Ombudsman for Nova Scotia.
The guidance document calls on provincial and territorial governments to consider key fairness principles when contemplating COVID-19 vaccination certification approaches including:
- Clear direction for the use of vaccination certification must be given by government via legislation or publicly available policy.
- Any vaccine certification program must be evidence-informed, and all decisions must be subject to review and appeal processes.
- Accommodations must be made for those who have not received the vaccine, including alternative service delivery options.
- Decisions about restricting access to a service based on a person’s vaccination status must be done in a transparent, procedurally fair manner and be clearly communicated to the affected person in an accessible way
“Implementing new measures such as vaccine passports runs the risk of creating a lot of confusion, concern and formal complaints,” said Smith. “This guidance today serves as a reminder that may help prevent unfairness from occurring if this is something governments decide to apply to their public services.”
Marianne Ryan, Alberta Ombudsman and Public Interest Commissioner, joins her counterparts across Canada in advising government and public sector organizations to account for fairness principles.
“As governments continue to evolve in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is reasonable to consider administrative measures aimed at protecting citizens,” Ryan explains. “However, public administrators have a duty to act fairly and must ensure any vaccine certification program includes principles of procedural fairness rooted in law.”
To view the CCPO guidance document visit here. These administrative fairness principles have been developed by the Canadian Council of Parliamentary Ombudsman.
Bedard shines, host Canada downs Latvia 5-2 at world junior hockey championship
EDMONTON — Team Canada needed some time to shake off the rust as they embarked on a late-summer campaign for gold.
Coming into their first game of the world junior hockey championship in Edmonton, many on the squad hadn’t laced up their skates for a competitive bout in several months.
The time away showed at moments, but Canada held on for a 5-2 victory over Latvia to open the tournament on Wednesday.
“I know a coach is never happy with the game, but considering the time of year and where we’re at in this tournament, I think it was good.” said head coach Dave Cameron.
The 2022 tournament is being held in August after the original iteration was called off on Dec. 29 after just four days as rising COVID-19 cases among players and officials forced games to be forfeited.
Teen phenom Connor Bedard hasn’t played a “real game” in three months, and said getting back to competition felt good.
The 17-year-old was quick to show his offensive prowess, opening the scoring in the first period and adding an assist on a second-period power-play goal.
“It always feels good to score, especially that first one of the tournament,” said Bedard, an early favourite to go first overall in the 2023 NHL entry draft.
“I think it’s always exciting no matter who gets it. So definitely felt good. And it was cool to kind of be going to the corner and seeing some fans.”
Ridly Greig and William Dufour each had a goal and a helper for Canada (1-0-0), while Lukas Cormier and Olen Zellweger also scored. Captain Mason McTavish notched two assists.
Rainers Darzins and Bogdans Hodass put away goals for the Latvians, who were coming off a 6-1 drubbing by Finland on Tuesday.
Canada’s Sebastian Cossa made 22 saves and Patriks Berzins stopped 39 of 44 shots for Latvia (0-2-0).
The Canadians broke out with a three-goal performance in the second but found themselves in trouble in the final frame due to a series of undisciplined penalties.
Latvia got nine seconds of five-on-three play midway through the third when Greig was called for hooking after Kent Johnson had already been sent to the box for delay of game.
The Canadians weathered being down two men and Cossa preserved the advantage with a collection of timely stops.
Earlier in the period, Latvia cut the deficit to 4-2 on a power play after Greig was called for tripping.
Just four seconds into the man advantage, Hodas — a Medicine Hat Tigers defenceman — ripped a shot off from the top of the faceoff circle, sailing the puck over Cossa’s pad.
Dufour gave the Canadians some breathing room with 5:16 to go in the third period. The New York Islanders prospect collected a slick pass from Greig and sent a quick shot in past Berzins to give his side a 5-2 lead.
Greig capped a big middle frame by collecting a pass from Dufour along the boards for an odd-man rush and streaking up the ice, using one arm to hold back Latvia’s Peteris Purmalis. With his free hand, the Ottawa Senators prospect poked the puck in past Berzins at the 17:16 mark to give Canada a 4-1 lead.
“It was a pretty lucky bounce,” Greig said. “And the tracker was right on me so I just tried to get it on net with one (hand).”
A power-play goal gave the Canadians a three-goal lead after Latvia captain Ralfs Bergmanis was called for slashing.
Bedard set up the play with a no-look backwards pass to Zellweger at the blue line. The defenceman wound up and fired a rocket through traffic, finding the back of the net 16:17 into the second.
Minutes earlier, Cormier scored with the man advantage after Dans Locmelis was called for roughing.
Joshua Roy calmed a bouncing puck and dished it to Cormier, who sent it sailing past Berzins from the top of the faceoff circle.
Canada’s power play looked to be in trouble on its first attempt of the tournament earlier in the period.
The man advantage saw Cossa nearly send a puck into his own net while trying to clear and Johnson come within inches of scoring an own goal. The host nation turned the puck over multiple times and Latvia registered a pair of short-handed shots.
“That was just to give the fans their money’s worth,” Cameron said.
“That was at the time where we were in their zone for a period of time five on five and we thought that was going to carry over into the power play and we got too comfortable and we thought it was going to be easy.
“We stalled in our execution and hats off to Latvia, they didn’t give up.”
The Canadians went 2 for 4 on the power play Wednesday and Latvia was 1 for 5.
Canada kept Berzins busy across the first period, outshooting Latvia 18-4.
The host nation dominated play but Latvia scored the equalizer with less than two minutes to play in the opening frame. Darzins chipped a shot up and over Cossa stick side to make it 1-1.
Bedard opened the scoring 7:31 into the game, blasting a shot through a pair of Latvian defenders and over Berzins’ glove from the top of the slot.
With a different roster than the December tournament and a short training camp, Canada is still trying to build chemistry as the world juniors get underway, Cossa said.
“We’ve been practising but nothing’s really game speed,” he said. “So it was nice getting into the game now and just kind of fix things coming up here, practice and get ready for the rest of the games.”
Earlier Wednesday, Winnipeg Jets prospect Daniel Torgersson scored twice as Sweden (1-0-0) took a 3-2 victory over Switzerland (0-1-0) in Group B play.
In the final game of the day, Germany (1-0-1) defeated Austria (0-0-1) 4-2 for its first win of the tournament.
The Canadians will continue round-robin action Thursday when they take on Slovakia (0-0-1).
NOTES: Greig turned 20 on Monday. The world juniors are a showcase of the best under-20 players across the globe, but the International Ice Hockey Federation has allowed athletes born in 2002 who have already turned 20 to play in this summer’s championship. … Cossa was playing on familiar ice, having helped the Edmonton Oil Kings to a WHL championship in June. … Canada’s goal song is “Can’t Stop” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 10, 2022.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press
World food crisis prompts rise in child marriages: Canadian aid agencies
OTTAWA — Canadian aid agencies are warning that the world food crisis, made worse by the war in Ukraine, is leading to a rise in underage girls being forced into marriage.
Plan International Canada says it has seen a worrying increase in the number of teenage girls in the developing world being forced into marriage because their families cannot afford to feed them.
The agency says 12 million girls under the age of 18 become child brides each year, forcing them to abandon school while putting their health at risk through early pregnancies.
It warns a 15 per cent decrease in child marriages over the past decade is now in reverse, with the problem acute in countries such as South Sudan, Niger, Mali, Chad and Bangladesh, a major importer of Ukrainian wheat.
World Vision says in Afghanistan, where over 22 million people are going hungry, girls are being pulled from school and married off, including into violent homes, because their families can’t afford to feed them.
Tanjina Mirza, chief programs officer at Plan International Canada, says the rise in food insecurity is exposing more girls to forced marriage and child labour to ease the burden on struggling families.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published August 10, 2022.
The Canadian Press
The Cooler: Harper Attempts To Pacify CPC Over Poilievre
AUDITOR GENERAL MUST INVESTIGATE CASH BONUS SCHEME: NDP
Sri Lankans break the Net Zero suicide pact
Air Canada denying passenger compensation claims for staff shortages, citing safety
Alberta2 days ago
It’s time for the Alberta Sovereignty Act – Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan
COVID-192 days ago
Top commander defends military’s vaccine requirement, says ‘tweak’ in the works
Business2 days ago
Hootsuite to lay off 30 per cent of staff, begin global restructuring
International2 days ago
FBI searches Trump’s Florida estate for classified records
Justice2 days ago
House ethics committee begins second day of hearings into RCMP use of spyware
Arts2 days ago
Motown songwriter-producer Lamont Dozier dead at 81
National2 days ago
Crowded tent encampment on main Vancouver street set to be removed by city
Red Deer2 days ago
Rebels acquire Armstrong from Prince George