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Lethbridge residents worried about self-care management funding being cut

Some Lethbridge residents with disabilities have concerns about annual individual assessments of their provincial self-managed care, resulting in funding cuts.

MLA Shannon Phillips is hearing about it first hand.

Phillips says four constituents tell her this year’s questionnaire is longer, with more invasive questions.

Her assistant, Lisa Lambert, says several clients have seen cuts of between $800 and $1,000 a month in self-managed care funding since the fall. Lambert says those constituents have gone through appeals but have only been able to get some of their funding back.

“Every single person we have talked to has felt like they were being pressed into moving into long-term care,” Phillips said Friday afternoon.

“People who choose to live in their own homes should not see care reductions,” Phillips said.

Ryan Gerstenbuhler, a Lethbridge West resident and quadriplegic, is one of those people.

The funding pays for a health-care worker to assist him at his apartment and he’s currently appealing cuts to that support.

“If they reduce my funding, if they take it away, then that result for me — and for just about everybody else who doesn’t have friends or family who can assist you — is institutionalization,” Gerstenbuhler said.

He said he would prefer to live in the comfort of his own home where he has his own schedule and routine.

He also feels the questions being asked as part of this year’s review are “undignified” due to their invasive nature.

“Ask yourself this: how would you feel if someone came into your home and very politely asked you to account, down to the minute or the second, how long it takes you to go to the bathroom,” Gerstenbuhler said.

He says it’s just one example of the questions on a form that self-managed care patients were asked to fill out recently, focusing on daily living tasks.

He adds the forms also indicate how long it should take individuals to perform these tasks under self-managed care.

When Global News reached out to Alberta Health Services, the director of communication for the South Zone provided the following statement in regards to the new process change and funding cuts:

“We understand that a change of process can cause concerns for clients. This questionnaire was adopted over the last year in the South Zone of Alberta Health Services (AHS) as self-managed care processes were updated. It is meant to enhance the annual review for self-managed care clients and provide consistency throughout the province. The form gives a snapshot of an individual’s requirements from their own perspective to ensure they are properly identified in the needs assessment.

“We know that Albertans want to live in their own homes and be independent for as long as possible. Our goal is to help people be as healthy, well and independent as they can be in their homes and communities while ensuring they are receiving the right care in the right place, and can lead meaningful lives.”

Self-managed care:

“Self-managed care is a type of funding model available to eligible home-care clients that allows individuals to choose and hire who they would like to provide their personal care, home support service or respite support,” explained Gwen Wirth, communications director from AHS South Zone.

“Under self-managed care, clients receive funding to hire and pay their own caregivers to meet their home-care needs.

“The self-managed care program is particularly suited to individuals who have heavy or unique needs who wish to, and are able, to remain safely supported at home with flexible customized care. Self-managed care is not for everyone since clients must be able to manage their own care and pay their own caregivers.

“Home Care, including self-managed care, is intended to supplement the client care provided by family, community or other supports, based on the client’s unmet needs. Like all home care clients, the amount of personal care and support services funding provided through self-managed care is based on an individual’s assessed unmet need.

“If a client is unhappy with their assessment for any reason, they can contact their case manager who will escalate their concern to the zone home care manager. If the client still feels there is no resolution, they can request a review panel in the zone look at their case. As a very last resort, the client can request a review of their case by the provincial appeal board.”


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Looking back at Toronto’s Indigenous history as city marks 186th birthday

On Toronto’s 186th birthday, a new poll by Myseum of Toronto suggests Torontonians want to know more about the city’s Indigenous history.

Toronto was incorporated as the City of Toronto on March 6, 1834, but before European settlers arrived here, Canada’s largest city was home to Indigenous peoples for thousands of years.

According to the City of Toronto, this land is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

For decades, Indigenous Elder Duke Redbird has been involved in various First Nations educational initiatives.

“Remember that the word Toronto comes from (the) Haudenosaunee word tkaronto and it means meeting place,” said Redbird.

The educator and poet partnered with Myseum in the summer with his idea to create a moving houseboat called the Wigwam Chi-Chemung that would become an Indigenous Learning Centre on Toronto’s waterfront.

“And one of the reasons I wanted to have a presence on the waterfront here … and it was to give a presence that there were Indigenous people all through this waterfront,” said Redbird.

A new Ipsos poll, conducted for Myseum of Toronto, surveyed Toronto residents aged 18 and over, to explore how they feel about and experience the history of the city.

Poll highlights included:

● Over eight in 10 (83%) feel they should know more about the history of Toronto/their local community
● Three quarters (75%) feel they should know more about the Indigenous history of Toronto/their local community
● Only half (51%) of Torontonians feel that museums in general, and Toronto museums, do a good job of sharing the stories of marginalized or underrepresented communities
● Over six in 10 (61%) of Torontonians have watched a video or read an article about history in the last six months, and four in 10 (41%) have listened to a podcast

Redbird and his educational boat house installation is the subject of a new documentary called, Wigwam Chi-Chemung: A Story of Reclamation, which will be released online in the coming weeks.


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Cardiology patients at QEII’s Halifax Infirmary to be notified about appointment changes due to flooding

The Nova Scotia Health Authority announced Friday that patients with upcoming appointments at the QEII’s Halifax Infirmary cardiology clinics and diagnostics will soon be contacted with location change details for their clinic or diagnostic appointment.

The NSHA said notifying patients will continue over the weekend.

“Flooding that occurred overnight on March 6 has affected these clinic areas,” stated the NSHA in a press release.

The health authority also noted that work is underway to repair the damage, but due to the extent of the flooding, it is expected it will take several weeks to complete this work.

The majority of patient appointments will be relocated, according to NSHA, within the Halifax Infirmary or at the QEII’s Victoria General Hospital site.

Some patients may also be asked to visit the cardiac clinic at the Mumford Professional Centre in Halifax or the Cobequid Community Health Centre in Lower Sackville.


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U.S. creates new envoy position to counter rising terrorism in Sahel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has created a special envoy for Africa’s Sahel region, a State Department spokesman said on Friday, to counter rising violence from groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State which are expanding their foothold.

Envoy Peter Pham, started his new role earlier this week, the spokesman said. He has been serving as U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa since November 2018.

“Sahel is one of the places where the situation is getting worse in the continent,” the spokesman said.

Security has progressively worsened in the Sahel, an arid region of West Africa, just below the Sahara desert, with militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State strengthening their foothold across the region, making large swathes of territory ungovernable and stoking ethnic violence.

Former colonial power France intervened in 2013 to drive back militants who had seized northern Mali the previous year. Fighters have since regrouped and spread. Over the past year, militants have stepped up attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

Particularly worrying for Europeans has been possible U.S. troop cuts. The Pentagon is considering withdrawing the personnel as part of a global troop review meant to free up more resources to address challenges from China’s military, after nearly two decades of prioritizing counter-terrorism operations around the world.

Such a potential move has alarmed France, which relies on U.S. intelligence and logistics for its 4,500-strong mission in the Sahel. The deaths of 13 French soldiers in a helicopter crash during a combat mission in Mali in November increased France’s determination to secure more support in the zone.

The U.S. currently has around 6,000 military personnel in Africa. Although some experts say a repositioning of forces is overdue, many U.S. officials share French concerns about relieving pressure on militants in Africa.

State Department’s latest counter terrorism report, which was published in November 2019, said attacks by militant groups in the region have been on the rise.

“In the Sahel, terrorist groups – including affiliates and adherents of al-Qaeda and ISIS as well as non-aligned groups – have expanded their operations in north and central Mali and the Tri-Border Region of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger,” the report said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in November warned that there was growing concern over Islamic State in West Africa and called on the global coalition against Islamic State to focus on Sahel.

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B.C. approved deployment of more RCMP officers in Wet’suwet’en territory, say groups

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Premier John Horgan wasn’t truthful when he said the province had no control over the RCMP before Mounties enforced an injunction against pipeline opponents in northern British Columbia last month.

The chiefs have jointly released a letter with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs that they say was sent by Solicitor General Mike Farnworth to RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan on Jan. 27.

“To be clear, no elected official in British Columbia directs police operations,” said Farnworth in a statement.

The Ministry of Public Safety says the RCMP has the ability to request additional resources for temporary situations, which it did following the B.C. Supreme Court’s granting of the injunciton.

It said it is the minister’s responsibility to ensure police have adequate resources, but that it is up to the RCMP to decide whether, when and how enforcement takes place.

The RCMP and a spokesperson for Horgan could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Moncton musician’s Taiwan tour cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

A Moncton pianist won’t be travelling to Taiwan to perform later this month after his tour was put on hold due to COVID-19 concerns.

Roger Lord, who is also a professor at Université de Moncton, admits he’s disappointed the tour had to be postponed.

The novel coronavirus has prompted government officials in Taiwan to cancel or postpone large gatherings of more than 100 people, he says.

Lord, who has been playing piano since the age of seven, was expected to play two concerts during his trip between March 15-23. One, he said, was in the capital city of Taipei and the other in Kaohsiung.

Lord credits his family roots for the passion that started about 50 years. He says he’s been in Asia more than 60 times in the last 20 years, mostly for his classical performances.

He says he was recently in contact with the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei discussing the status of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“It’s funny because we had talked about two days prior and everything was fine. They said ‘look, there’s no worries here, there’s only about 20 cases, everything’s under control, it’s probably a bit like Canada right now and people are not in panic mode.’”

But despite monitoring the situation day-by-day, a phone call shortly after changed plans.

“I think out of precaution, one or two days later these new guidelines came out,” he says. “These new guidelines issued by the government concerning public gatherings came out and this did not really permit or allow a gathering of over 100 people.”

While disappointed, Lord knows the decision made is for the best.

He says he expects the concerts will be postponed to fall, pending the status of COVID-19.


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4 west-end Toronto pharmacies allegedly robbed at gunpoint by multiple young suspects

Toronto police say four pharmacies in the city’s west end have been robbed at gunpoint by a group of young male suspects Friday afternoon.

Officers responded to the first call at 3:10 p.m. about a robbery at a pharmacy in the West Mall Bloor Plaza.

Police said four teen boys robbed the store using handguns before fleeing the scene in a dark-coloured pickup truck. A woman in her 70s was reportedly assaulted in the incident.

Officers then responded to a second call at 3:50 p.m. about a robbery at a pharmacy in the Rexdale Commerical Centre Plaza.

Police said four teen boys entered the store wearing ski masks and holding guns. The suspects allegedly assaulted a store employee and robbed the store of drugs and money before fleeing the scene in a dark-coloured pickup truck.

A third pharmacy in Elmhurst Plaza reported a robbery to police just after 4 p.m.

Police said four young boys again entered the pharmacy wearing masks and holding guns. The suspects allegedly assaulted an employee and stole drugs and money before fleeing the scene.

A short time later, a fourth pharmacy in the Yorkdale Plaza reported four teen boys entered, wearing their hoods up. Police said the suspects fled through a parking lot. The plaza was subsequently put into a hold-and-secure.

It is unknown at this time if anyone was injured in the most recent incident.

Police said one suspect has been arrested and officers are still searching for three others.

Const. David Hopkinson told Global News that police cannot confirm it is the same suspects in each incident. However, each robbery has a “clear signature” of guns and wearing masks.

Hopkinson said pharmacies in the west end have been warned to be cautious.


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5 Toronto detention centre guards charged with aggravated assault in alleged attack on inmate

TORONTO – Police have charged five guards from the Toronto South Detention Centre with aggravated assault.

The alleged incident occurred on Dec. 20.

Police say six correctional officers at the centre assaulted a prisoner.

They say the sixth man will be charged at a later date.

Police provided no other details of the alleged attack.

They say the five charged guards will appear in court on April 20.


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Driver issued 3 tickets, vehicle seized: Halifax police

Halifax police say they seized a vehicle only to find out later that the car had faulty brakes and a cracked and separated rear axle.

Police say that at approximately 3:30 a.m. on March 5, a police officer pulled over a vehicle that was operating without its tail lights on.

Upon further investigation, the officer discovered that the driver was not licensed and that he did not have a valid inspection sticker.

As a result, the officer issued three summary offence tickets to the driver and seized the vehicle.

Police discovered the faulty brakes and the damaged axle when the vehicle was placed on a tow truck.

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Coronavirus crisis: French voters want mayoral elections to go ahead despite outbreak

The poll, conducted by OpinionWay for UNCCAS-Public Sénat-La Tribune, showed that 76 percent of French people are in favour of sticking to the current voting schedule despite the worsening health crisis. Twenty two percent of respondents, however, said it would be best “to wait for the end of the epidemic” to hold the two-round vote. Two percent did not have an opinion.

However, 71 percent of those interviewed told pollsters they were “not concerned” about entering a polling station despite the high risk of contagion in public places.

President Emmanuel Macron, for his part, warned this week that the country was heading towards a coronavirus epidemic.

 M Macron said in a video posted on the Elysée palace website: “There is a moment when we all know that … an epidemic is inexorable.”

France had recorded 423 cases of the virus as of late Thursday, up by 138 in one day, according to the national health service – the biggest daily jump thus far.

Seven people have died from coronavirus infection in France, the deputy head of the health ministry, Jérôme Salomon, told reporters.

Twenty-three people are in serious condition in hospital, he added.

But while the government said that it would probably have to raise the epidemic alert to the maximum level of three – potentially leading to travel restrictions and clampdowns on public activities – it has repeatedly ruled out postponing the crunch elections slated for March 15 and 22.

The mayoral vote is especially important to M Macron, who is keen to consolidate his voter base and drum up support ahead of the 2022 presidential election.

Opinion polls expect his ruling La République en Marche (LREM) party to fare poorly in the elections, but the 42-year-old leader remains determined to win the race for the Paris city hall despite a sexting scandal that forced his top candidate to pull out of the race.

Benjamin Griveaux, one of M Macron’s closest allies, was forced to quit the Paris race after sexual images he sent to a woman were published online. He has since been replaced by former health minister Agnés Buzyn.

For M Macron, the episode marks a new low in his efforts to give his fledgeling centrist party a sustainable local base.

LREM has failed to maintain discipline, with several lawmakers deciding to defy M Macron by launching independent mayoral bids against the candidate chosen by the party’s decision-making committee.

• The OpinionWay poll of 1,047 people was conducted online between March 4-5.

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