Category "Canada"


Waterloo Region hydro companies announce plan to merge – Kitchener |

by BBG Hub

The corporations behind Waterloo Region-based utilities Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro and Waterloo North Hydro announced plans on Friday to merge.

In a news release, the two companies said plans to combine operations come after thorough discussions and in-depth analysis.

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“By combining with Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro, our board believes this is a good deal for Waterloo North Hydro customers and our shareholders in Waterloo, Woolwich, and Wellesley,” said David Petras, chair of Waterloo North Hydro Holding Corp.

“Ontario’s electricity sector is changing quickly and this proposed merger is a local solution that will help our communities adapt to these changes and thrive in the years ahead.”

The merge still needs approval from the five municipal councils which are affected: the cities of Waterloo and Kitchener, and the townships of Woolwich, Wellesley and Wilmot. It would then need to be approved by the Ontario Energy Board.

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Combining the two utilities would create the seventh-largest utility in Ontario by the number of customers.

“Customers will benefit from having a larger, local and publicly owned utility that can maintain the highest quality of service for customers while having the capacity to modernize and adapt to significant changes in Ontario’s electricity sector,” the companies stated in the news release.

“The combined utility will have more resources to invest in new technologies that benefit customers, such as managing smart home and energy data, automated restoration of power outages, microgrids and local renewable generation.”

The companies also said the merger will help distribution rates remain “competitive and stable” for customers. They claim that distribution rates for all customers are projected to increase at less than the rate of inflation over the 10 years following the merger.

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Municipalities are also expected to receive an increase in incremental dividends and interest on their investment over the 10-year period following the merger.

Each municipality would also receive proportional ownership in the new company and representations on a new board of directors.

Layoffs are not expected either because of the merger.

“There are vacancies that have not been filled and some pending retirements. The head office will be the current Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro office in the city of Kitchener, with a second work location at the current Waterloo North Hydro office, at which activities will include leading innovation and new technology development,” the companies said.

The proposed merger will be presented to all five municipal councils for approval next week.

That will be followed by engagement with the community and employees, including public information sessions. A new website has also been launched.

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Coronavirus: Ontario hydro rate cap ending – Jan 25, 2021

The five municipalities are then expected to make a decision on the merger in December.

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If approved by all municipal councils, the merger applications will then be submitted to the Ontario Energy Board for regulatory approval, which is expected in the third quarter of 2022.

The new company would begin operations soon after.

Read more:
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“From a financial standpoint, this merger is a win for customers and municipal shareholders as the combined utility will keep rates competitive while reducing costs through operational efficiencies,” said Jim Phillips, chair of Kitchener Power Corp.

“And when it comes to employees, this local merger will keep jobs here in our community.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Home sales in Canada fell for the 3rd straight month in June – National |

by BBG Hub

The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales last month fell on a month-over-month basis for the third straight month as the market continued to slow after hitting an all-time record in March.

The association says home sales were down 8.4 per cent month-over-month in June, as sales cooled in 80 per cent of all local markets.

However, compared with a year ago, sales in June rose 13.6 per cent to set a new record for the month.

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What a developer’s plan to buy $1B in homes could mean for Canada’s housing market

What a developer’s plan to buy $1B in homes could mean for Canada’s housing market – Jun 15, 2021

CREA chair Cliff Stevenson says while there is still a lot of activity in many markets across Canada, things have noticeably calmed down in the last few months.

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The number of newly listed homes edged up 0.7 per cent in June compared with May.

CREA says the actual national average price of a home sold in June was a little over $679,000, up 25.9 per cent compared with a year ago.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Hurdles to pulling seniors out of long-term care during pandemic | Watch News Videos Online

by BBG Hub

Many Canadians have pulled their loved ones out of long-term care homes due to the pandemic’s devastating impact on those facilities. But what if those seniors need to return to nursing homes? As Mike Drolet explains, there can be complications.

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Choosing care at home instead of a care home: B.C. senior opts to move in with family | Watch News Videos Online

by BBG Hub

The pandemic has made many Canadians rethink how they care for seniors. Some people, like Audrey Danard, have decided to move back in with family, rather than live in a long-term care facility. Mike Drolet has Danard’s story, and what this trend says about the LTC system.

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Deadly Canadian Forces helicopter crash linked with software glitch: report

by BBG Hub

A military investigation has found that a software glitch played a major role in the deadly crash of a Cyclone helicopter off the coast of Greece last year.

The military’s flight safety directorate says manual inputs to the flight controls overrode the aircraft’s automation system, causing the naval helicopter to plummet into the Ionian Sea, killing all six personnel on board.

READ MORE: Canadian Forces pilots not warned about autopilot before deadly Cyclone crash in 2020

The report lists several recommendations, including the need to modify flight control software and establish a working group to review operational requirements around complex turning manoeuvres for the new CH-148 Cyclone.

The Cyclones are typically deployed on board Canadian frigates and used for search and rescue, surveillance and anti-submarine warfare.

READ MORE: CAF Cyclone helicopter crashed ‘at low altitude, was unrecoverable,’ report finds

The crash of the Stalker 22 on April 29, 2020, marked the third incident involving a Cyclone, with defective software blamed for one of the helicopters’ suddenly dropping several hundred feet during a test flight in 2017. Another had a “hard landing” on a ship in February 2019.

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Several restrictions were placed on the helicopters after the 2017 incident forbidding crews from performing certain manoeuvres.

Click to play video: 'Recovery mission for Cyclone helicopter crash officially over'

Recovery mission for Cyclone helicopter crash officially over

Recovery mission for Cyclone helicopter crash officially over – Jun 3, 2020

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Canadian Forces pilots not warned about autopilot before deadly Cyclone crash in 2020

by BBG Hub

As a pilot guided one of Canada’s navy helicopters up into a tight turn, neither his training nor cockpit indicators warned of how a built-in autopilot would take control and plunge the Cyclone into the Ionian Sea, a military report has concluded.

All six Canadian Forces members on board died in the crash on April 29, 2020.

According to a board of inquiry report obtained by The Canadian Press, when the pilot was flying the turn, commonly called a “return to target,” he had pointed the nose up and used his feet to turn the helicopter’s tail, overriding the autopilot to complete the manoeuvre of less than 20 seconds.

The report, however, said testing wasn’t done during the aircraft’s certification to identify what would happen if a pilot overrode the autopilot more than “momentarily” and in certain complex situations.

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“The automation principles and philosophy that governed the Cyclone’s design never intended for the (autopilot) to be overridden for extended periods of time, and therefore this was never tested,” it said.

This was the case even though — as the report stated — pilots are known on occasion to override the autopilot system without manually pressing a button on their control stick, called the cyclic.

Canadian Armed Forces members (clockwise from top left) Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, Capt. Brenden MacDonald, Capt. Kevin Hagen, Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins and Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke are shown in a Department of National Defence handout photos. All were aboard a Cyclone helicopter which crashed into the Ionian Sea off the coast of Greece on April 29. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Department of National Defence MANDATORY CREDIT.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Department of National Defence

The report said that at the time of the crash, the autopilot – referred to as the flight director – was set to an air speed of about 260 kilometres per hour before one of the pilots pitched the aircraft’s nose upward for the turn.

It was supposed to fly back over HMCS Fredericton and practise hoisting people onto the deck. Instead, the frigate’s CH-148 Cyclone helicopter crashed off the coast of Greece while returning from a NATO training mission. That crash caused the worst single-day loss of life for the Canadian Armed Forces since six soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan on July 4, 2007.

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Read more:
CAF Cyclone helicopter crashed ‘at low altitude, was unrecoverable,’ report finds

The report indicated the crash might have been averted if the pilot had manually chosen to turn off the autopilot during the turn. But it also stated that it wasn’t unusual for pilots to override the autopilot and there were no explicit instructions in the manuals on the necessity to manually turn off the flight director.

In addition, the report said the pilot appeared unaware the computer would attempt to regain control near the end of the turn.

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Chopper crash in Greece was unavoidable, says federal government

Chopper crash in Greece was unavoidable, says federal government – Jun 16, 2020

When the helicopter flipped around, the report said, the pilot pulled back as far as he could on the cyclic, attempting to right the aircraft that the computer was flying into the sea. Within seconds, the helicopter hit the ocean at massive force.

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The board of inquiry said it found no evidence the flying pilot recognized he had lost control of the aircraft until it was too late.

Critical to the crash, the report said, was the aircraft’s software, which was certified by the military. If the autopilot is overridden, the computer accumulates digital commands, referred to as “command bias accumulation.” The more commands a pilot sends manually to the computer while the aircraft is coupled with the autopilot, the more this bias accumulation occurs, the report said.

After a pilot overrides the air speed set by the autopilot, a “feed forward look” occurs, the report said, adding that in some situations, “the pilot’s ability to control the aircraft will be reduced or lost.”

More training needed: report

The board of inquiry said the pilots’ training didn’t cover “with sufficient detail” certain risks of flying the aircraft, leaving the flyers unaware the autopilot would seek to keep control of the helicopter.

The return-to-target manoeuvre, which led to the crash, was being flown by others in the maritime helicopter community, the report said. That manoeuvre has been disallowed since the crash.

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The report makes six recommendations, five of which involve better training for pilots to make them aware of the potential problems that could occur if they override the autopilot. It recommended creating special cockpit signals pilots could use to warn each other about overriding flight directors for extended periods of time.

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The report also recommended the military consider an engineering change “to automatically disengage the flight director under certain conditions, such as when the flight director is overridden in multiple axes, or for an extended period of time.”

According to a senior military source, that recommendation is not shared in a second, independent report by the military’s Directorate of Flight Safety, expected to be released next week.

A memorial pays respect to the victims of a military helicopter crash, at 12 Wing Shearwater in Dartmouth, N.S., home of 423 Maritime Helicopter Squadron, on Friday, May 1, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan.


The second report said pilots must be well trained to almost instantly press a single button on their control stick to disengage the autopilot if they’re not getting the response they want out of their controls. It said, however, that automatically disengaging the autopilot might pose its own risks in some situations, especially when a pilot believes the autopilot will keep functioning.

The second report instead argued that the software – and its “bias accumulation” – needs to be addressed by American aviation company Sikorsky Aircraft, the manufacturer of the Cyclone.

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“We need to look at that software … and see if we can eliminate this from the software altogether, being careful to understand when you make any changes like that you may introduce a butterfly effect and cause problems elsewhere,” the source said.

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The board of inquiry report, signed by three members of the panel on Nov. 20, 2020, concluded the pilots were not distracted and the crew “flew well together.” It added that the aircraft captain had a strong command of the helicopter and the co-pilot showed “good situational awareness” throughout the mission.

The second report is expected to provide further analysis on the factors behind the crash.

The military source said the recommendations of the two reports must be meshed into a single set of findings for consideration by senior Royal Canadian Air Force officers.

A spokeswoman for Sikorsky referred all questions on the report to the Canadian Forces.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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Guelph city council to consider lowering speed limits, installing speed cameras

by BBG Hub

Guelph city council is set to discuss the idea of lowering speed limits across the city and whether to use speed cameras.

The topic is scheduled to come up at a meeting on July 5 with staff recommending reducing speeds in 48 Guelph neighbourhoods to 40 km/h from 50 km/h.

Read more:
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Council will also consider reducing speeds on all streets downtown to 40 km/h, excluding Carden and Wilson streets which are already at 30 km/h.

Staff also suggests reducing speed limits on 12 collector and arterial roads by 10 km/h, including sections of Clair Road West, Gordon Street, College Avenue, Eastview Road, Wellington Street and Woolwich Street.

Speed limits in school zones currently posted as 30 km/h and flashing 40 km/h zones would stay the same and be designated as community safety zones where speeding fines are doubled.

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Along with reducing speeds across Guelph, city hall is calling on council to strengthen enforcement with speed cameras.

“We heard loud and clear from the Guelph community that they want to see lower speeds in areas with vulnerable road users and more enforcement of speeding,” said Steven Anderson, the city’s manager of transportation engineering.

“Reducing speed limits on selected roads, creating community safety zones and introducing automated speed enforcement will improve road safety and reduce collision severity in our city.”

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Durham region switches on automatic speed cameras

Durham region switches on automatic speed cameras – Sep 8, 2020

The Automated Speed Enforcement program would be placed in community safety zones and by schools.

If council gives the green light to all of the recommendations, staff will start reducing speed limits in 2022 and the cameras would be operational by 2023.

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The city plans to have two mobile cameras that would rotate to different roads every couple of months.

The cost to reduce speed limits would be $300,000 while the annual $120,000 to operate the cameras would be offset by fines, the city said.

The report and recommendations going to city council can be found on the city of Guelph’s website.

Read more:
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“We’re working towards a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all,” Anderson said.

“The changes we’ve proposed will help us get there.”

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Toronto speed cameras nab more than 20K speeders in month, 12 tickets to same vehicle

Toronto speed cameras nab more than 20K speeders in month, 12 tickets to same vehicle – Sep 8, 2020

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada Greener Homes Grant called confusing and unfair | Watch News Videos Online

by BBG Hub

A new federal program promising to lower energy bills, create good jobs and lower emissions is being called confusing and unfair. Tomasia DaSilva reports.

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Simcoe County to increase service on Route 3 of LINX Transit

by BBG Hub

The County of Simcoe is increasing service on LINX Transit’s Route 3, between Barrie and Orillia, Ont., beginning Monday.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, county officials have been monitoring transit ridership and have adjusted service levels accordingly.

Read more:
New LINX transit routes to connect more communities in Simcoe County

The new change will bring service on Route 3 closer to pre-pandemic levels.

Currently, Route 3 operates five trips per day, including morning and afternoon services, but on Monday, three additional trips will be added.

Read more:
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The additional trips for Route 3 northbound will include departure times of 5:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m., 12:25 p.m. and 2:05 p.m. The additional trips for Route 3 southbound will include departure times of 10:05 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 1:25 p.m.

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LINX Transit’s Route 3 moved to a reduced schedule due to low ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Georgian College and Lakehead University started to offer online classes.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Here’s what you need to know about Canada’s new home retrofit program

by BBG Hub

The federal government on Thursday launched a new program allowing Canadians grants of up to $5,600 in energy-saving home upgrades and evaluations.

The program, called Canada Greener Homes Grants, will be worth $2.6 billion over the next seven years. Homeowners would be allowed to get up to $5,000 for energy-efficient retrofits to their main homes, as well as another $600 to help with home energy evaluations.

The grants, announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan Thursday, comes as part of the Liberal government’s agenda to tackle climate change.

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“Canadians are looking for ways to save money on their energy bills and do their part to fight climate change,” said O’Regan in a press release Thursday. “The Canada Greener Homes Grant is good for your wallet, good for the economy, and good for the planet.”

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According to that statement, homeowners would be able to make improvements and upgrades including the replacement of windows and doors, sealing air leaks and adding insulation, as well as improving heating and cooling systems.

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Trudeau announces $10M commitment to train new energy advisors for launch of Greener Homes Grant – May 17, 2021

The grants also cover the purchasing of renewable energy systems, such as solar panels.

Here’s how Canadian homeowners can take full advantage of the program.

Who’s eligible?

Homeowners should first make sure they’re eligible for the program, having all the documents to prove homeownership on hand.

According to the federal government, only one homeowner per home would be able to register and would have to prove that the home is their “primary residence” through a government-issued ID or utility bill.

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Other groups, like local Indigenous governments and housing management bodies partnering with Indigenous organizations, are also eligible for the program, and are allowed to register multiple homes.

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Eligible property types for the program include:

  • Single and semi-detached houses
  • Row housing
  • Townhomes
  • All-season cottages
  • Mobile homes on a permanent foundation
  • Permanently-moored floating homes
  • Residential portions of mixed use buildings
  • Small multi-unit residential building, which must be three storeys or less and with a footprint no bigger than 600 m2.

If eligible, homeowners can now officially register for the program online or through a government phone number. Anyone registering for the program in Quebec and Nova Scotia need to apply directly through their province, while those in P.E.I. are encouraged to apply through theirs.

Applicants now need to make sure a pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluation gets completed — by an NRCan registered energy advisor — before and after they complete their retrofit upgrades. EnerGuide evaluations that were completed before December 1, 2020 will not be eligible for reimbursement.

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City of Edmonton offering rebates to homeowners for energy efficiencies – Jan 13, 2021

Earlier this week on Monday, O’Regan announced that the Liberal government was spending $10 million to recruit and train up to 2,000 people as energy advisors. According to the program, the evaluation would help homeowners choose which retrofits make the most sense for their home.

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Registrants can pick from several organizations who have these advisers, based on their location, to complete their pre- and post-evaluations — ending up with an EnerGuide home rating, label and a report with recommendations for home energy improvement.

Picking your retrofits

According to the program, retrofits recommended by your energy adviser are the only ones eligible for reimbursement and a list should be included in your pre-evaluation.

Before picking which retrofits you purchase and install, there are several things should know.

All retrofits must be purchased in Canada, and online purchases are only eligible if they are located in Canada.

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Certain types of retrofits can only be reimbursed to a certain amount as well, and there are some that can only be installed by licensed professionals.

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Heat pumps, water heaters, renewable energy — and furnaces and boilers in the case of homes located in Northern Canada — must be installed by those with a licence to do so, and can all be reimbursed at the maximum amount of $5,000.

Retrofits that are not mechanical or electrical and don’t need to be installed by licensed professionals include air sealing, insulation, windows and doors, thermostats and certain resiliency measures. All of these retrofits are eligible to be reimbursed at different values, with a full list available online here.

The program also warns to take your budget into consideration as well, and to make sure any contractors hired to install retrofits are fully licensed.

“As the homeowner, you are responsible for choosing products and materials and getting the necessary building and utility permits,” the program detailed.

“If a building permit is not required nor issued, you and your contractor are responsible for making sure all products, services and installations meet relevant building codes and standards.”

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Lastly, homeowners need to make sure they’re documenting all purchases and evaluations every step of the way. The program’s website said all invoices, receipts, proof of work and attestation forms need to be kept until March 31, 2028.

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After completing your retrofits, applicants can now book their post-retrofit evaluation, and apply for a reimbursement online with proof of their evaluations, retrofit receipts and installation costs.

According to mortgage and home value expert Alex McFadyen, home renovations are at an “all-time high” and people should be incentivized to do such improvements.

“Depending on what rebates someone uses, they could easily add that back into the prepayment of the mortgage or invest that into something that will pay them a greater return,” McFadyen said in an email.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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