Ideological tussle over child care as province moves to full-day kindergarten

December 1, 2009

By Teghan Beaudette


Daycare kids. Photo: Tanya Springer



Plans to implement full-day learning programs for four and five year-olds in Ontario are moving ahead despite a heated debate between early childhood researchers and the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada about who should be caring for Canada’s children.

Ottawa school boards released a preliminary report with a list of schools to be considered for full-day kindergarten programs Tuesday—the first step towards realizing the McGuinty government’s long promised full-day learning plan.

The plan – which would see kindergarten programs extended from the current half-day – aims to improve reading, writing and math skills for four and five year olds and smooth the transition to Grade 1.

The full day learning program was harshly criticized this week by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC), who released a report advising that the program would cost taxpayers billions at a time when the province is running a record deficit.

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World AIDS Day arrives, report says infections still rising

December 1, 2009

By Adam Hooper

World AIDS Day display at Carleton University.

World AIDS Day display at Carleton University. Photo: Britt Harvey


A new Canadian report released in time for World AIDS Day reveals that HIV, the virus that leads to the AIDS, continues to spread throughout Canada and particularly in Ottawa, where infection rates are the second-highest in the country.

The report – released in advance of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 – estimates 65,000 Canadians were HIV-positive by the end of 2008, a 14.7 per cent increase over 2005’s count of 57,000.

The incidence of infection in Ottawa is much higher than in the rest of Canada and is climbing faster. The Ontario Public Health Agency confirmed over 3,000 infections in Ottawa by 2007 and added another 165 diagnoses in 2008. And those are just the known cases.

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Gas blast causes evacuation of Gatineau buildings

December 1, 2009

Almost 5,000 workers were evacuated from three buildings at Terrasses de la Chaudière in downtown Hull after a pipe carrying refrigerant gas burst early Tuesday morning.

Police said 10 Wellington St. and 1 Promenade du Portage would be reopened around 10 a.m. The offices at 25 Eddy St. were to remain closed for longer.

No one was injured in the blast.

Police said a maintenance worker accidentally caused the leak.

Two years after student vote, Carleton to consider centre for sexual assault

December 1, 2009

Students were asked to 'air out their dirty laundry' at a sexual assault task force meeting last month. Four of the students who wrote on clothing at the meeting said they had been sexually assaulted by someone who still goes to school at Carleton. Photo courtesy of Coalition for a Carleton Sexual Assault Centre.

By Kim Mackrael

After two years of student lobbying, Carleton University says it is prepared to consider a proposal for the creation of a sexual assault centre on campus.

“The sexual assault centre has always been a possibility,” Carleton president Roseann Runte said in an email Monday.

But Runte’s statement contrasts with what student groups have characterized as strong resistance to the centre on the grounds that it could be bad publicity for the school.

“I cannot emphasize enough how much of a shift this is from [the administrations’] previous attitude that the centre was just not going to happen,” said Julie Lalonde, co-founder of the Coalition for a Sexual Assault Centre.

Runte’s comments came one week after the university’s equity services department posted a notice on its website asking for student feedback on the school’s sexual assault services and stating that a student-run sexual assault centre “will be included in our review“ of services.

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Government ups funding to fight colorectal cancer

December 1, 2009

By Paul Moore


Drugs. Photo: Meghan Potkins


People fighting colorectal cancer got some long-awaited good news this week when the province announced that it is extending coverage of Avastin, a costly drug used to treat colorectal cancer.

Sandra Thompson-Bednarek, who organizes a local support group for people with the disease, called Avastin “almost the wonder drug of the last few years.”

Anywhere from 10 to 25 people regularly attend her meetings, many of whom are treated with the drug. She said she knows cancer patients who have lived for years on Avastin.

But some patients simply didn’t have enough money to keep taking the drug.

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Ottawa hits H1N1 vaccination target

December 1, 2009


H1N1 vaccination clinic. Photo: Britt Harvey.

Ottawa Public Health announced today that it has reached its initial target of vaccinating more than 40 per cent of the city’s population.

In an interview earlier this week Dr. Earl Brown, a University of Ottawa virologist, said that the second wave of H1N1 appears to be cresting, but it’s hard to know for sure if we have seen the last of a serious outbreak for the time being.

“We have seen a staggering of outbreak – the more people that we have vaccinated the more that the virus will hit brick walls,” he said. “The more people that we make immune the harder it will get for there to be an epidemic.”

Vaccinations continue at designated sites throughout the city, and a temporary clinic at Carleton University opened this Monday to offer vaccinations exclusively to Carleton students, faculty and staff.

City hopes new technology will reduce the amount of salt on roads

November 24, 2009

By Mark Brownlee

Rock salt. Photo: Chris Ferguson

The City of Ottawa is hoping new technology will help reduce the adverse effects of salt spreading on roads during the winter months.

The new technology, consisting of a black box with antennas that attaches to each snowplow, will tell city officials how much salt has been set down and which roads have been covered by transmitting data from each plow to a central system.

“Salting is our first defence against winter storms,” said Councillor Maria McRae, chair of the transportation committee in a statement issued Tuesday. “With this technology, we can better manage what we spread while maintaining safe roadways for motorists.”

City officials say the global positioning system (GPS) technology could reduce the amount of salt used on city roads by as much as 13,300 tonnes. That could save the city as much as $1 million each year.
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