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Call police for COVID-19 offenses? Not that simple



Police, Ottawa city councillors and news organizations have all been fielding complaints about people not complying with the instructions from public health officials on reducing the transmission of COVID-19.

Complaints from neighbours telling on neighbours who aren’t self-isolating, or groups of kids hanging out at a local park, not following social distancing — now called physical distancing — practices have been pouring in.

And people want to know where they can report those rule-breakers.

On Friday evening, for example, police were called to the Glebe after someone complained that about a dozen neighbours were having a “driveway party”, although they were standing two metres apart and in different driveways. Officers told people not to stand on the sidewalk while drinking, and then left. 

Ottawa Coun. Tim Tierney told his city council colleagues during Wednesday’s virtual council meeting: “I’ve had some people come to me, saying, ‘Look, my neighbours — I don’t want to be a rat — but they just got back from a trip, I see them going out to a grocery story.’

“Do we have any policies and procedures on that, to report people?” asked Tierney. 

The unsatisfactory answer: it depends.

Quarantine Act, state of emergency now in effect

There’s a difference between what public health officials are asking of society, and the hard-and-fast rules about what people are allowed to do. And those details are changing on an almost daily basis.

Tierney asked his question of city officials the day before the federal government enacted the Quarantine Act, which makes it an offence for most people not to self-isolate for 14 days when returning from travel outside Canada.

Last week, the province declared a state of emergency that prohibits, among other things, a whole slew of businesses from being open, and gatherings of more than 50 people.

The provinces have opened up non-compliance hotlines or websites for the public to report people who are not following social distancing or isolation rules. 1:56

The official enactments allow law-enforcement officers to charge people breaking these specific rules if necessary.  Staff Sgt. Carolle Dionne, the media spokesperson for the Ontario Provincial Police, says officers would, for example, absolutely respond to a request from a quarantine officer “to apprehend a person who failed to comply” with the rules.

But charging people is the last, not the first, line of defence for enforcement officers.

“It is not about, go and find people because they haven’t complied,” Dionne told CBC.

The OPP’s primary goal, she said, is to help educate people on how to reduce COVID-19 transmission.

“Once we’ve been able to determine that that piece of education has been done and there is a repetition of failing to comply, then definitely issuing fines … at the discretion of that investigation of the officer.”

Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly says he’s taking his cue, “philosophically and practically”, from Ottawa’s medical officer of health, Dr. Vera Etches and her team.

“For them, enforcement is not the priority,” Sloly told CBC’s Ottawa Morning host Robyn Bresnahan Friday. “Education of the public, engagement of those who still don’t recognize the risk, who don’t understand how to protect themselves and therefore protect the broader community, is the first and biggest priority and will remain so until we see a change from Dr. Etches.”

Officers following up, even if not illegal activities

Some of the complaints that people are filing — and authorities say they are following up on them — aren’t illegal or sometimes based on misunderstanding.

If you’re caught disobeying the physical distancing rule you can now be charged, under the Quarantine Act. We hear from the Chief of the Ottawa Police Service about how their force is handling coronavirus law-breakers and policing in the age of COVID-19. 10:09

For example, Ottawa police have received calls about restaurants being open illegally, when in fact they are open only for take-out, which is allowed.

Early this week, the city received complaints about groups of young people in local parks, which is against the recommendation for physical distancing. Hanging around in a gang of 10 friends isn’t illegal, though.

Still, the city’s by-law officers showed up and managed to dispatch them.

Now that the City of Ottawa has declared its own state of emergency and closed many public amenities, including playgrounds and dog parks, it is unclear what additional charges or fines its own by-law officers may be able to lay.

The city was not able to respond to CBC’s request from late Wednesday for more information.

Neighbours shouldn’t use police to settle disputes

Authorities say they understand people’s impulse to report activity that looks as if it could be endangering public health.

“I can certainly believe that there’d be a lot of frustration,” said Dionne.

(CBC News)

She says most people are complying with orders — official or otherwise — to stay home, and to stay two metres away from others when they have to go out. These folks then find it difficult to hear that “police can’t do anything” about people who aren’t complying.

There isn’t an official COVID-19 snitch line in Ottawa, but officials say they do want to hear serious concerns about public health risks. In Ottawa, residents can call 3-1-1, and those outside the city can call the OPP’s non-emergency line. 

Still, the police aren’t there to mediate disputes among neighbours.

“Do not use or abuse the police to settle issues that shouldn’t be dealt with through the police,” said Sloly. ” Do not frustrate the efforts of Ottawa public health by being petty or uninformed. There’s no excuse for anybody to not be informed.”

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English board teachers in Quebec balk at government’s school-like ‘camps’




While most high school students in Quebec are set to remain at home until September, some secondary students with special needs will be invited to attend what the province’s Education Ministry is calling a “pedagogical camp.” 

The three-week-long learning camps will be held at high schools, which have remained closed since mid-March, as well as at elementary schools in Montreal which have yet to reopen.

Quebec’s Ministry of Education provided general instructions to school boards in a four paragraph letter dated June 1, which indicates the camps must be operating by the week of June 8.

The union representing teachers who work in the province’s English schools is critical of the plan.

“This is typical of this government from the day that the schools closed — very last minute, very improvised,” said Heidi Yetman, president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers.

“We’re always running around with each new directive that the ministry is throwing us and there is no time to actually sit down and properly plan the return [to class] of the fall,” she said.

Attendance voluntary

In the letter to Quebec’s school boards, the deputy minister of education Erik Blackburn said student participation is voluntary and each board is responsible for creating a list of students to invite. No selection criteria are listed.

The camps should not include any formal evaluations and group size must be limited to 10, the letter says. 

Whether the camps will be beneficial for students and their parents remains highly questionable, said Yetman.

“I’m not sure exactly how this is going to help,” she said. “What about the kids that don’t show up?”

CBC Ottawa requested a comment and clarification from Quebec’s Education Ministry but has yet to hear back.

The Western Quebec School Board said it will respond once it has more information to share with CBC.

‘Unbelievable and frustrating’

Instead of putting energy into the camp, Yetman believes the ministry and school boards would be better off focusing on the eventual return of all students in the fall.

“Our teachers are working extremely hard right now. To have one more thing put on the plate of teachers and of the school board is unbelievable and frustrating.”

As for parents who fear their special needs child may be disproportionately affected by a lack of class time, Yetman wants them to have faith in teachers.

“When we come back in the fall, all students [will] have lost learning. But teachers are amazing. They will catch everybody up.”

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Market Insight, COVID-19 Impact, Competition and Forecast (2020-2025)




New York, June 03, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — announces the release of the report “Global Smart Education Market: Analysis By Component (Hardware, Software, Service), End User (Academics, Corporate), End User Sub segments, By Region, By Country (2020 Edition): Market Insight, COVID-19 Impact, Competition and Forecast (2020-2025)” –
The other factors driving the growth of the smart education market include the proliferation of connected devices in the education sector, adoption of eLearning solutions, and growing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in smart learning.

The global education industry is undergoing a significant transition, as primary and secondary school districts, colleges and universities, as well as governments, corporations and individuals around the world are increasingly recognizing the importance of using technology to more effectively provide information to educate students and other users.

Most governments around the world have temporarily closed educational institutions in an attempt to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. These nationwide closures are impacting over 91% of the world’s student population. Several other countries have implemented localized closures impacting millions of additional learners. However, COVID-19 has created a new normal for the higher education sector, revolutionizing the online learning landscape, reshaping application processes, and refreshing crisis management strategies.

Besides software segment, the hardware component is expected to experience notable shift in its trajectory, registering a CAGR of x% in the market for smart education over the forecast period. APAC region is anticipated to grow with the fastest rate during forecast period and China is a key market for smart education in APAC region.

Scope of the Report
• The report analyses the Smart Education Market by Component (Hardware, Software, Service).
• The report assesses the Smart Education market by End User (Academics, Corporate).
• The report assesses the Smart Education market by Academics Subsegment (K-12, Higher Education).
• The report assesses the Smart Education market by Corporate Subsegment (SMEs, Large Enterprise, Government).
• The Global Smart Education Market has been analysed By Region (Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, MEA) and By Country (United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, France, U.K, China, Japan, India).
• The key insights of the report have been presented through the frameworks of SWOT and Porter’s Five Forces Analysis. Also, the attractiveness of the market has been presented by region, Component and End User. Also, the major opportunities, trends, drivers and challenges of the industry has been analysed in the report.
• The report tracks competitive developments, strategies, mergers and acquisitions and new product development. The companies analysed in the report include Boxlight Corp., Blackboard Inc., Cisco Systems, Pearson, Adobe Inc., Smart Technologies, Ellucian, Instructure Inc, Educomp Solutions Ltd, NIIT Limited, Saba Software Inc.
• The report presents the analysis of Smart Education market for the historical period of 2015-2019 and the forecast period of 2020-2025.

Key Target Audience

• Smart Education Vendors
• Consulting and Advisory Firms
• Government and Policy Makers
• Investment Banks and Equity Firms
• Regulatory Authorities
Read the full report:

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Sacré-Cœur student Katiya Gareau-Jones one of 5 Canadian students to win $25K NSERC bursary




Katiya Gareau-Jones, a Grade 12 student at École secondaire du Sacré-Cœur, is among the five students in Canada to receive an Ingenium-NSERC Steam Horizon Awards in recognition of the excellence in STEAM fields: science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. 

This soon-to-be ES du Sacré-Coeur graduate will receive a $25,000 bursary which will go towards her post-secondary education. 

This national excellence award is designed to help set the stage for a new generation of Canadian innovators to excel in the STEAM fields.

Gareau-Jones stands out for her academic excellence, her academic and community involvement as well as for her success in sports, said a press release from the French Catholic school board.

Proud of her Cree heritage and committed to promoting the richness of First Nations cultures, she sits on the Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon’s Native Advisory Committee and is the Youth Ambassador of the “I Love First Peoples” campaign in Greater Sudbury. 

Having launched her company called KK’s Healthy Paws in the summer of 2018, Gareau-Jones was able to sell dog and cat treats at a local farmers market. 

Interested in structural engineering, Gareau-Jones will pursue her studies in this field at Cambrian College before heading to Lakehead University.

“It is with a feeling of great pride that we see Katiya, a former École St-Augustin (Garson) student and soon-to- be graduate of ÉS du Sacré-Coeur (Sudbury), stand out at the national level in light of her academic successes and community contributions,” said Paul Henry, CSC Nouvelon Director of Education, in a press release.

“An active leader in her school and community, this student is committed to improving the lives of her fellow citizens and investing in collective projects. Bright and articulate, Katiya takes great pride in her French, Catholic and Cree heritage and is making a difference in her community.”

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