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Genus Capital Management announced as a finalist of the 2020 RiA Leadership Awards



Vancouver, BC, June 10, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Vancouver, BC (8 June, 2020). Today, Genus Capital Management, an investment management firm, has been awarded the runner up position in the Market Education category of the 2020 RiA Leadership Awards, demonstrating its contribution to advancing responsible investment in Canada.

The Market Education category recognizes firms that drive awareness and demand for responsible investment by educating market participants on responsible investment and developing and promoting tools, research and resources related to RI.

Mike Thiessen, Partner and Director of Sustainable Investments at Genus Capital Management, commented: “We are delighted to be recognized for our contribution to the responsible investment movement in Canada. We have been offering innovative investment solutions for more than 30 years and have been managing socially-responsible money for over a quarter of a century. We are proud that our hard work in conducting pioneering research, developing reports and demonstrating thought leadership has been acknowledged for its impact in driving awareness and demand for RI.”



About Genus Capital Management Inc.

Genus Capital Management Inc. is an independent investment management firm based in Vancouver, founded in 1989. Genus is passionate about creating innovative investment solutions that meet our clients’ changing needs. With more than $1.6 billion in assets under management, at December 31 2019, Genus’ clients include leading environmental organizations, foundations, and individuals across Canada. Today, Genus Capital is at the forefront of Canada’s Divest-Invest movement with a complete suite of fossil fuel free funds that are tailored to meet the needs of investors who wish to invest in a sustainable, clean energy future.

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City’s mandatory mask bylaw calls for fines up to $400




Ottawa bylaw officers could soon be given the power to issue fines of up to $400 to people who aren’t wearing masks in indoor public spaces, but the city says it has no plans to launch a crackdown.

City officials offered more details Friday about a proposed bylaw to make masks mandatory in an effort to limit the community spread of COVID-19.

“We won’t be patrolling … for people that aren’t wearing masks to give fines. That’s not our approach,” said Anthony Di Monte, the city’s general manager of emergency and protective services, during a news conference.

The bylaw will have a fine component to it, but frankly I hope we never have to use that. ​​​​​​– Coun. Keith Egli

Rather, the fine of $200 to $400 would only be levied against those who repeatedly refuse to wear masks despite warnings and education, he said. That’s much less than the default fine of $880 under Ontario’s emergency legislation, Di Monte noted.

Mayor Jim Watson first signalled a week ago that the temporary bylaw would go before council for approval on July 15

It lines up with, and builds on, a directive by Ottawa’s medical officer of health that took effect Tuesday.

Dr. Vera Etches had already laid out the places where people would need to cover their nose, mouth and chin, such as stores, museums and hotel lobbies. OC Transpo has also been requiring masks on buses and trains for the past month.

Compliance ‘really encouraging’

Etches said she’s noticed Ottawa Public Health signs taped to storefronts alerting customers that masks are required inside, and said more and more residents appear to be complying.

“This is really encouraging, and I thank everyone for doing their part to keep COVID-19 low in our community,” Etches said.

Etches and her counterparts in neighbouring public health units said the focus is on educating people and making mask-wearing the norm to prevent a possible second wave of COVID-19 in the fall, and to help kids get back to school.

Coun. Keith Egli, chair of Ottawa’s board of health, said that’s the city’s approach with this bylaw, too.

“The bylaw will have a fine component to it, but frankly I hope we never have to use that,” Egli said. “What we’ve seen in the last couple of days with our businesses and with the customers is heartening, and shows we’re on the right track.”

Anthony Di Monte, Ottawa’s general manager of emergency and protective services, says able residents who refuse to wear a mask despite education efforts may be fined up to $400, though bylaw officers will only use the measure as a last resort. 1:12

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National teacher survey reveals that all is not well in education during the time of COVID




OTTAWA, ON, July 10, 2020 /CNW/ – Canada’s teachers have spoken, sharing their views in a national survey that shows that distance learning is not only failing to provide quality learning, but is fueling concerns of rising inequity and declining mental health.

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE) pandemic survey provides a look into how the closure of school buildings and an emergency transition to distance and online learning have affected teachers and students in every province and territory. The responses, from nearly 18,000 teachers from coast to coast to coast, show how current solutions are potentially detrimental to health, safety, and learning. 

“We have vulnerable students who have challenging home lives,” reads one submission. “For some of our students, school is their safe place and where their connections are to feel safe and secure.”

One teacher shared that they “worry about students’ well-being when they never, or seldom, connect on line,” while another said that “the current model only widens the gap between the haves and have nots.”

The report is available to read here

Responding to open and closed questions, teachers shared the reality of teaching and learning since school buildings were closed in March 2020. The findings make it clear that distance and online learning have not only led to a fall in quality education, but have also revealed existing inequities and posed other challenges on teachers, students, and families. 

Notable findings

  • 74% are concerned with the mental health and well-being of their students.
  • 73% have concerns or questions about getting their students what they need to be successful with online instruction.
  • 44% state that they have concerns with their mental health and well-being.

Of the teachers who responded to open-ended questions:

  • 92% say that access to technology and learning materials was a barrier to equitable quality public education.
  • 89% report concerns about student emotional health. Educators note that students are isolated and missing social connections with their classmates and schools, and they are concerned with students returning to school after a period of detachment.
  • 99% have concerns about the return to school buildings discussed anxieties around not knowing the plans, adding that constant changes from Ministries of Education, without proper time and supports to adapt, have taken a toll on their mental health and well-being.

With the participation of the CTF/FCE’s 18 Member Organizations, the survey was completed in English and French between June 1 and June 18, and sought to capture the experiences and observations of the teaching profession during the pandemic.

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation
Founded in 1920, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation is the national voice for the teaching profession.  As the national alliance of provincial and territorial teacher organizations, the CTF/FCE represents over 300,000 elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada. 

SOURCE Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE)

For further information: Media contact: Andrew King, Canadian Teachers’ Federation, [email protected], Mobile: 819.213.7847

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School district to add 50 janitors to casual list, but union wants them permanent




The province’s largest school district and its largest public sector union began meetings Thursday to discuss school staffing in September, and at the top of their list was the number of janitors being tasked with keeping schools sanitized.

With constant cleaning necessary for any return to classrooms, the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District told CBC News this week that it intends to add 50 to 60 janitors to its casual call-in list to ensure there are no shortages when custodians call in sick.

That’s not good enough for Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees’ (NAPE) president Jerry Earle.

“The resources that were in these schools pre-pandemic are not going to be sufficient to ensure the safety, the cleanliness of the schools during the health emergency,” Earle said. 

“Casual staff are not going to be the answer. A full-time complement of dedicated staff for each facility is a necessity.”

Jerry Earle is the president of NAPE, the union representing several groups of workers in schools around the province, including custodians. (Mark Quinn/ CBC)

Despite the union’s concerns, Terry Hall, the assistant director of education for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, said cleaning won’t be an issue, as it’s a top priority.

“We have every confidence in our cleaning staff,” he said. “We are doing a big push to have a robust and rather lengthy list of casuals that we can call upon at any time to come in and help to make sure these schools are clean.”

District disconnect?

Prior to the pandemic, casuals had been used to fill in behind full-time custodians when they called in sick or went on vacation. Hall said the minister of education is committed to increasing the budget for cleaning services if the need arises.

That “if” doesn’t sit well with NDP education critic Jim Dinn, who used to be the head of the province’s teacher’s association.

His experience is that there is often a disconnect between needs at the school level and action taken at the district level.

“I can tell you that there is often a vast gulf between the perception and the comments and the statements of district personnel, and the reality for many teachers,” Dinn said.

Dinn, like Earle, wants to see the roster of full-time staff bolstered before the school year starts.

“All I’m asking is government have the resources in place so they can do their jobs,” Dinn said.

In his experience as a teacher, many schools were understaffed when it came to janitorial staff. The district itself said it had a practice of not calling in casuals on the first day a janitor called in sick.

Terry Hall, with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, says cleaning is a top priority in the district’s planning. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Hall said they would often get other janitors to pull overtime to cover all the tasks for a sick day, before assessing if they needed to call in extra hands. He also said there were sometimes cases where nobody on the casual call list was available.

Whatever it took, Hall said the schools always got cleaned, and he guaranteed that mentality will only be amplified in September.

‘A prayer and a hope’

Dinn said his classroom experience suggests schools were always understaffed when it came to custodians. Earle agreed.

In the province’s return-to-school plans, it recommends all sports equipment be cleaned between classes. Dinn said while that is absolutely necessary, it has the potential to be a pressure point.

“Who is going to do that? The teacher? Is someone going to be there to help them?” he said.

NDP MHA Jim Dinn is concerned about cleaning in schools, and wants to see the NLESD hire more full-time cleaning staff. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

The NLESD and NAPE have a working group sorting through issues and assessing needs. Earle spoke to CBC News about his concerns before the group had a chance to dig into those discussions, and he balanced his concerns with optimism they would get things sorted out.

Dinn hopes so, too, since the status quo won’t do with the possibility of COVID-19 lurking in the classrooms and corridors.

“You cannot simply say we’re not going to assign additional resources. That is not a plan. That is a prayer and a hope.”

The province released its back-to-school plan on Monday, outlining different scenarios for students to return to classes dependent on the spread of COVID-19.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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