Feds to create new system to help process immigration applications more quickly


Feds to create new system to help process immigration applications more quickly

by BBG Hub

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process immigration applications more quickly after the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a new system.

The federal government pledged in the 2021 budget to spend $428.9 million over the next five years to deliver the platform that would gradually replace the existing case management system.

The new platform will launch in 2023 to improve application processing and provide more support for applicants, the government said.

Read more:
Migrant workers, international students face barriers to new government immigration program: advocates

Alexander Cohen, a spokesman for Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, said the new system is part of a wider shift towards digital platforms across the department and government.

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“(This new) platform will ensure that our immigration system can efficiently handle the increasing number of cases,” he said. “It will reduce the use of paper applications and be simpler and easier for applicants.”

Robert Falconer, a researcher at the University of Calgary School of Public Policy, said the processing rate of permanent residency applications has been declining over the last six years.

Falconer said an analysis of government data shows that the number of received permanent residency applications was 34 per cent higher than the number of finalized applications last year.

In 2019, he said, that figure was 21 per cent.

Cohen said intake of applications has significantly increased over the past few years.

“There are just more applications than ever before and so we’re only going to process as many applications as there are spaces for in the (immigration) plan.”

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Canada announces new, expedited immigration pathways for Hong Kong residents

Canada announces new, expedited immigration pathways for Hong Kong residents – Nov 12, 2020

The department has launched an online application portal that allows some permanent residency applicants to apply digitally, Cohen said.

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While the portal will eventually expand to all permanent residency programs, it is now available to a random selection of applicants in seven programs, he said.

Falconer said there are around 120 immigration programs in Canada and close to half of them require applicants to fill out paper-based applications.

COVID-19 restrictions probably made it more challenging for immigration officers to process applications, especially paper-based applications, he said.

He said officers would have to travel to a central receiving location to pick up the applications or find a way to have them mailed securely to their homes.

Falconer added the government has recently created several new programs under the economic immigration class, including one to allow Hong Kong residents to immigrate to Canada and another to enable temporary residents including international students to apply for permanent status.

“Using the economic class as a catch-all, when there’s already a lot of paper-based applicants, I think, can put a lot more stress and confusion and complexity on economic class immigration officers,” he said.

“Each new public policy, there are going to be specific requirements there, and the more requirements we have for officers, the slower it means the applications will (be processed).”

Improving the integration between the federal immigration system with the provincial nomination systems should also be a priority, Falconer said.

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Read more:
Children’s immigration applications must be processed in 6 months, advocates say

“We have 10 different provinces, each with their own paper-based application processes or electronic systems,” he said.

“Alberta for a long time — my home province here —  their provincial nomination system was purely paper-based. But then, in the past couple years, they decided to integrate their provincial nominee system with the Canadian federal government system.”

He said almost half of all immigrants who arrive in Canada under economic class programs come through sub-provincial programs.

“The actual larger issue here, I would say, is actually federalism, and maybe to align the provincial and federal governments on the issue of immigration,” he said.

Andrew Griffith, a former director of citizenship and multiculturalism at the Immigration Department, said it has tried to simplify the process recently by allowing more online transmission of documents.

“These changes are not that easy to implement overnight,” he said.

Griffith said Ottawa’s promise to spend close to a half billion dollars to put in place a new immigration application processing system will be an interesting one to watch because implementing big IT projects presents challenges for the government.

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The department should find ways to get rid of any duplication and overlap that may exist in the current immigration system, he said.

“Do we need all those steps? Can some of these steps be automated? Can we use (artificial intelligence) to make determinations?”

Cohen said the immigration department launched in 2018 two pilot projects using computer analytics to help immigration officers triage some online visa applications.

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Mendicino on if increased immigration will lead to less jobs: ‘Immigrants create jobs’

Mendicino on if increased immigration will lead to less jobs: ‘Immigrants create jobs’ – Oct 30, 2020

“This computer analytics technology analyzes data and recognizes patterns in applications to help identify routine and complex cases,” he said.

“The goal is to help officers to identify applications that are routine and straightforward for thorough but faster processing, and to triage files that are more complex for a more extensive review.”

He said all decisions on every application are made by a visa officer in all cases and the department’s artificial intelligence tools are not used to render decisions.

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“We’re always looking to leverage technology to improve the process for Canadians and those who wish to come here.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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The Ottawa Hospital unveils designs for $2.8-billion Civic campus

by BBG Hub

The Ottawa Hospital on Tuesday morning showed a first look at plans for its new Civic campus, a long-awaited $2.8-billion project with designs influenced by lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new site, set to open to the public in 2028, will be built just down Carling Avenue from the existing Civic campus, coming to a head at Preston Street and Prince of Wales Drive.

A view of The Ottawa Hospital’s planned Civic campus from overtop Dow’s Lake.

The Ottawa Hospital

The 2.5-million-square-foot facility’s main building will see two towers of 11 storeys and seven storeys connected by a central atrium. Emergency care will be one floor below grade, while acute care will occupy the west wing and critical care beds will be in the eastern-facing tower.

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Additional buildings with clinical, educational and research functions will be built on the lower portion of the campus.

The campus will be integrated into the nearby Experimental Farm and Dow’s Lake areas, with access via numerous roadways and a covered walkway connecting the hospital to the forthcoming light-rail transit station as part of Stage 2 LRT.

The main access to the site from Carling Avenue will see an underground entrance take patients directly to emergency care and a cul-de-sac approach for non-emergency visits. Ambulance access would be primarily from the rear of the building.

The proposed flow for visitors to the new Civic campus.

The Ottawa Hospital

A proposed flow for emergency vehicles accessing the new Civic campus.

The Ottawa Hospital

Traffic impacts from the new Civic campus will be studied and presented to the city for consultation this coming summer.

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The Ottawa Hospital’s CEO Cameron Love, who presented the Civic campus vision to the city’s finance and economic development committee on Tuesday morning, told Global News that the COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to stress health-care capacity across the nation’s capital, has informed the design of the next-generation facility.

All of the new Civic campus’s beds will be in fully private rooms, with even bathrooms set aside for single patients. Avoiding shared touch points and other spaces can greatly reduce transmission risks between patients and their caregivers, Love said.

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Coronavirus outbreak: AHS takes steps to minimize transmission of COVID-19 at hospitals

Coronavirus outbreak: AHS takes steps to minimize transmission of COVID-19 at hospitals – Mar 23, 2020

Not including the Heart Institute, the new facility will have 640 beds in total, compared with 460 existing beds at the current Civic down the road.

“Having that bed capacity increased, in addition to them all being private rooms, would be a significant difference in terms of the mechanism by which we can manage in another pandemic environment,” Love said.

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The layout of the hospital itself is being design to implement infection control protocols that minimize the impact to operations and avoid compromising patient wellness.

Entrances to the hospital can be designed to easily implement screening protocols in the event of a pandemic, and the intensive care unit can be built from day one with surge capacity to double the number of available beds without squeezing multiple ICU patients into one room, Love said.

Read more:
Pushing Ontario’s ICUs to the brink — How some hospitals are preparing for the worst

The new Civic campus is also being designed to adapt patient care for years of technological advancements.

At a minimum, this means devices like digital charts in each patient’s room to allow physicians, nurses, patients and their family to access the latest test results and prognoses as they’re available.

But it also means translating those technologies beyond the walls of the Civic itself, with digital care to monitor outpatients after they’ve left the hospital. Connections like these can help physicians determine whether a patient needs to be readmitted to the hospital or even if they can be treated from home, Love said.

And while The Ottawa Hospital is already making use of some robotics in surgical procedures today, Love only sees those applications growing over the coming decades. While the shape of future health-care innovations is unknown, the new Civic campus is being built with the “flexibility” to accommodate future technologies, he said.

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“The robotics, the automation and artificial intelligence are going to inform and transform health care, probably for the next 25 years if not longer.”

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30-year-old woman battling for her life in the COVID-19 unit

30-year-old woman battling for her life in the COVID-19 unit

The massive Civic campus project is just one phase of a multi-decade plan that will see ripple effects on health-care institutions across Ottawa.

The Riverside Campus, for example, will see a new long-term care centre built in concert with the new Civic. Love said the hospital is taking this move in recognition that many patients with chronic conditions such as heart disease or diabetes require post-acute care and already have to visit clinics at the Riverside to treat these conditions on an ongoing basis.

Similarly, as the new Civic comes online, the old campus will be repurposed for post-acute and community-based care. Between the old Civic, the new Civic and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre down the road, Love said during Tuesday’s meeting that he imagines Carling Avenue becoming something of a “hospital row” akin to University Avenue in Toronto.

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Construction on early works such as a parking garage on the site could begin as soon as next year, with fulsome development on the project starting in 2024.

The Ottawa Hospital has submitted the initial designs as part of its Stage 2 proposal to the Ministry of Health and is expecting sign-off on the project this summer.

The Ontario government is covering $2.1 billion of the costs. A portion of the remaining shortfall is expected to be covered by a $400-million fundraising campaign, and Love said he expects revenues such as parking, retail and food arrangements to cover off the remaining costs.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Managing hospital capacity remains key battle ground with nearly 900 in Ontario ICUs'

COVID-19: Managing hospital capacity remains key battle ground with nearly 900 in Ontario ICUs

COVID-19: Managing hospital capacity remains key battle ground with nearly 900 in Ontario ICUs

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

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Calgary Parking Authority cancels more than 1,500 tickets issued at vaccine clinic

by BBG Hub

The Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) is cancelling 1,528 tickets that were handed out at Calgary’s downtown vaccine clinic.

In a statement, CPA said the tickets were handed out between April 5 and 30 at the Telus Convention Centre Parkade.

Read more:
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Calgarians can get 90 minutes of free parking as long as they register their vehicle through the MyParking app or a pay machine.

“We’d like to thank the more than 23,000 parkers who’ve attended the Telus Convention Centre vaccine clinic and successfully registered their licence plate in our system,” the CPA said in a statement. “This process allows us to accommodate as many parkers as possible in our limited capacity parkade.”

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The CPA said that no action is required for anyone who did receive a ticket, and added that it’s reminding people to continue to register their licence plates when they park to get their vaccines.

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Can your employer require proof of COVID-19 vaccination?

Can your employer require proof of COVID-19 vaccination?

The authority said it is working with Alberta Health Services and the convention centre to monitor the average appointment lengths to make sure tickets are not handed out if there is a longer wait for vaccines.

This comes a day after Mayor Nahed Nenshi was asked about the tickets during Thursday’s update on COVID-19 in Calgary.

“This isn’t meter men and meter maids going wild. There’s an automated enforcement system in the parkade so unless you’re in the system, you’ll automatically be mailed a ticket,” said Nenshi. 

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Those arriving by transit will also get two free tickets when they get vaccinated, one to reimburse their trip there and one for the trip home.

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

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Families remember those lost in Cyclone helicopter crash on one-year anniversary

by BBG Hub

For family members of the six Canadian Forces members lost when a Cyclone helicopter crashed in the Mediterranean a year ago, this week is a time of grieving loved ones amid the challenges of a pandemic.

At the CH-148 helicopter’s home base in Nova Scotia, Sailor First Class Shane Cowbrough had hoped to be gathering with crew members of the HMCS Fredericton on Thursday. His stepdaughter, Sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough, was among those who died on April 29, 2020.

But the 47-year-old’s plans to be with Abbigail’s shipmates at Canadian Forces Base Shearwater on the anniversary of the crash off Greece have been cancelled.

READ MORE: Canadian helicopter crash victim remembered as ‘spunky,’ dedicated cadet, piper in Peterborough

“That gathering would have been a healing point, but we’ll raise a glass to our fallen comrades at some point down the road when (COVID-19) numbers are back under control,” said Cowbrough, who entered the military at roughly the same time as his stepdaughter.

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Originally the military had planned an outdoor ceremony to unveil a memorial near the entrance to the base in Eastern Passage, N.S., but due to COVID-19 restrictions the ceremony Thursday will be virtual and released on video. Family members were being allowed to visit the site Wednesday in small groups.

Meanwhile, in the base’s museum, Abbigail Cowbrough’s cadet cap is among the items on display in a remembrance room – a spot where crew, friends and families can sit and reflect in the years to come.

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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

On Monday, Shane Cowbrough sat before a carved, wooden heart with the words “Nova Scotia Strong,” and described his stepdaughter’s unusual combination of self-discipline and effusiveness.

“Free spirited, determined, giving, loving, all the best characteristics of what we aspire to,” he said of the 23-year-old, who first came into his life as a determined teenager in Peterborough, Ont., after he married her mother.

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Many Canadians viewed a video of the young officer piping “Amazing Grace” on the ship’s deck after a mass shooting in Nova Scotia killed 22 people, just 11 days before the Cyclone crash.

Tanya Cowbrough, Abbigail’s mother, said in a telephone interview it was her daughter’s nature to try to make others feel better, and she had a deep faith nurtured at a Baptist church in Dartmouth.

READ MORE: Why Canada’s navy and helicopters are deployed to the Mediterranean

The mother said she had watched with amazement as her daughter announced in her early teens she had joined the air cadets and then went on to take up the bagpipes – both pursuits that were unknown to her family.

“She was fierce, she was a badass and she didn’t take any nonsense,” she said. “She took her military job seriously. It was her life.”

Marie-Claude Miron, the mother of Capt. Maxime Miron-Morin, travelled from her home in Trois-Rivieres, Que., to be with her son’s widow in Halifax on the anniversary, even though pandemic restrictions meant she had to stay in self-isolation near the base.

“I came to get support, to be with Catherine, his wife, and be together in such a difficult time. I could have stayed in Quebec, but it was important for me to come down,” she said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

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Her son is remembered by the family for his curiosity and “zest for life,” she said. “It’s such a loss, for not only us, but for the military. He was a genius,” she said.

“From a really young age, he was always asking, ‘Why this? Why that?’ The number of questions he could ask in one day was incredible …. He would ask not only why the Earth is round, but where is it located, how big is the universe? It was never-ending, he was curious about everything,” his mother recalled.

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Helicopter involved in deadly Ionian Sea crash had just undergone maintenance: RCAF spokesperson

Helicopter involved in deadly Ionian Sea crash had just undergone maintenance: RCAF spokesperson – May 19, 2020

The crash was the largest loss of life in one day for the Canadian Armed Forces since six Canadian soldiers were killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan on Easter Sunday 2007.

Cowbrough served with Sub-Lt. Matthew Pyke, a naval warfare officer in the Royal Canadian Navy, while the aircrew included Miron-Morin, Capt. Brenden MacDonald, Capt. Kevin Hagen and Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins.

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Major Simon Rocheleau, who was in charge of the air detachment on the deployment, said in an interview Monday that each crew member had memorable qualities.

MacDonald, from New Glasgow, N.S., was “an excellent pilot, and it was almost frustrating how easy everything came to him,” adding that he behaved as “a big brother” to his colleagues. The other pilot, Hagen, originally from Nanaimo, B.C., was “cool, calm and seemed shy, but when you got to know him was an excellent colleague to have.”

READ MORE: Family mourns Master Cpl. Matthew Cousins, lost in Cyclone helicopter crash

He described Matthew Cousins, an electronic sensor operator from Guelph, Ont., as the oldest one in the group, “who would wait in the back and let the young folks try, and – just before we failed – would jump in and suggest a better way.”

Rocheleau recalled Matthew Pyke, a naval warfare officer from Truro, N.S., as “new in his trade and always willing to learn,” and “after each shift he would ask questions.”

Senior military officials investigating the crash have revealed there was a “conflict” or “competition” between the Cyclone helicopter’s automated controls and its pilot moments before the aircraft plunged into the water at high speed.

A pilot attempted to make a number of manoeuvres while the Cyclone’s autopilot was still engaged. Rather than shutting off, the autopilot started to work against the human pilot before the helicopter crashed.

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The aircraft fleet has resumed operations despite the investigation not being fully completed, and Miron said she is hoping for more answers from the final report.

Click to play video: 'U.S. Navy helping Canada recover helicopter from fatal military crash'

U.S. Navy helping Canada recover helicopter from fatal military crash

U.S. Navy helping Canada recover helicopter from fatal military crash – May 19, 2020

“We need (the report) to understand …. When they told us the same type of helicopter was flying again, one month after the accident, I got so mad,” she said. “It was incomprehensible. It felt like Max gave his life to test a machine.”

In the meantime, the crew of HMCS Fredericton has created a memorial patch, designed by Sgt. Scott Galbraith, who participated in the deployment aboard the frigate. It depicts the evening sky that would have been over the sea when the helicopter crashed.

Rocheleau said military members will wear the patch until the anniversary and then bring it back annually to wear in the month before the date of the crash, as a lasting tribute.

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Miron says the gesture is a comfort, and she is working on other memorial efforts so her son will be recalled in his hometown.

“What’s important is to remember that they are deeply courageous and they were giving part of themselves so we can keep our freedom. They are all unique,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2021.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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New Alberta subscription service helps Indigenous entrepreneurs

by BBG Hub

An Edmonton woman is hoping to bring more awareness to Indigenous entrepreneurs through a new subscription box.

Mallory Yawnghwe, originally from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation in Northeastern Alberta, said she has attempted to help Indigenous entrepreneurs for most of her life. She was ecstatic this year when she was able to take the support further.

In March, Mallory launched the Indigenous Box, a subscription that celebrates Indigenous entrepreneurs. It can hold about seven items, and it highlights businesses all over Canada.

“When we did our incorporation and we got the documents back from the lawyers, and it said president and CEO, I was just in tears,” Yawnghwe said.

Yawnghwe said it was made possible after she won a pitch contest for startup companies.

Read more:
Indigenous entrepreneur using tech to help Alberta women find work

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“We actually just put up a countdown timer. It was a blank web page, with my emoji on there. Nobody knew what the countdown was for,” Yawgnhwe said.

“People were constantly viewing and we got more and more traffic everyday. We saw hundreds of people were visiting our website.”

Afterward, the launch orders poured in, and the boxes were quickly sold out. Yawnghwe said they made more available, and it sold out again.

All the boxes are packed by Yawnghwe and her family at their Edmonton home.

People have ordered boxes from every province and territory in Canada.

“We’re overwhelmed, but we have so much gratitude, too,” Yawnghwe said. “We didn’t do any marketing or take out any ads. It’s all word of mouth.

“I got it down to a very specific calculation of how things fit in the box, the weight of the box and how it’s all themed together. Our first box was with women and honing in on the self-care.”

Her family, meanwhile, doesn’t just help her pack.  Yawnghwe’s 13-year-old daughter, Kamryn Yawnghwe, is excited her handmade kokum scarf button earrings were part of the first edition box.

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“It’s exciting, because I used to sell them at craft sales, and mostly family and a few people in Edmonton were wearing my earrings, but now it’s across Canada,” Kamryn said.

Kamryn is also inspired to see her mom living her dream.

“I am proud of her. She has been waiting to start this business with my dad, and it’s good that she go the grant to start the business.”

Edmonton-based business Mother Earth Essential is also included in the first box. Carrie Armstrong has been making soaps, candles and other products for 15 years, and has soap products in hotels across the country.

“It’s so exciting. I’m proud of (Yawnghwe), and she has done such a good job of it,” Armstrong said.

“Someone was going to do it because it’s such a great idea. I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner, but I think it happened with the perfect person, because she has done such a remarkable job.”

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Women more likely than men to see jobs transformed by automation: StatCan

Armstrong said when she first started her company, there weren’t many other Indigenous businesses. She hopes the box will lead to people learning more about Indigenous culture.

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“When I first started, it was 2006. Things have shifted a lot in Canada since I’ve started the business, as far as acceptance of Indigenous business,” Armstrong said.

“It’s that sharing of knowledge, and breaking down stereotypes and misconceptions that are out there.”

The summer Indigenous Box will soon be available, and it’s also expected to sell out. Yawnghwe has dreams of demand growing in leaps and bounds.

“To see just our cartoon image on the box means a lot for our communities, and our kids,” she said. “So to see people that look like them represented in mainstream contemporary ways.

“If we can help somebody find an Indigenous product, then we are just over the moon.”

Click to play video: 'High school student project on Indigenous culture endorsed by one Alberta school division'

High school student project on Indigenous culture endorsed by one Alberta school division

High school student project on Indigenous culture endorsed by one Alberta school division

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

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London’s Globally Local makes history, again, with public offering on TSX Venture Exchange – London

by BBG Hub

The London vegan fast-food company Globally Local, which several years ago opened Canada’s first vegan fast-food restaurant, has now become the world’s first vegan fast-food company to go public.

As of Friday, investors can purchase stock in Globally Local Technologies Inc. (TSXV:GBLY), parent company of the fast-food chain, which has been listed on TSX Venture Exchange, a stock exchange for emerging companies.

James and Vasiliki McInnes, the husband and wife duo who founded the company, say it’s part of an ambitious multi-million-dollar plan to expand the fast-food chain’s footprint across North America, and to disrupt the fast-food industry with the “proprietary plant-based proteins and dairy alternatives” it manufactures.

“We think that our public offering and subsequent expansion will make it easier for people to eat sustainable food,” James McInnes told 980 CFPL Friday by email.

“We need to make the choice to eat-for-the-planet easy and affordable – (I) think that’s something people can really get behind.”

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With two locations currently open, in Toronto and Windsor, work is underway for Globally Local to open six new stores in Ontario, along with at least 20 more across North America in the next 12 months. The company also plans to expand its manufacturing capability.

Globally Local’s first storefront on Dundas Street in London closed last month, but a new store is set to open soon on Commissioners Road East.

McInness said at least $4.2 million had been raised from the company’s go-public event, an amount he believes “will be enough for us to execute our 12 month plan.”

According to a press release, Globally Local worked out an agreement with TSXV-listed capital pool firm Black Lion Capital Corp. to consolidate as Globally Local Technologies Inc., rather than go with an initial public offering.

The couple were set to be on hand Friday to ring the closing bell of the TSX. By the end of the trading day, GBLY’s share price had risen to 0.97 from its opening at 0.70.

Click to play video: 'Canadian food audio series'

Canadian food audio series

Canadian food audio series

Globally Local’s debut on the stock market this week is just the latest chapter in a remarkable local success story that has played out over the last several years.

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The company first made a splash in the London food scene in 2016 when it debuted a plant-based burger at the city’s annual salute to barbeque — RibFest. Its chickpea-based burger, a play on McDonald’s iconic Big Mac, turned out to be a major hit.

“To our amazement, there was so much demand for it that we sold out at that event,” McInnes told 980 CFPL’s Mike Stubbs in a separate interview.

The amount of interest and support was just incredible. That kind of kicked off us going into the fast-food business, to be honest.”

Up until that point, Globally Local had been a vegan meal kit company running out of the old Farmer Jack’s location, he said.

“We had developed and tested a whole bunch of different meal kits, and we found that the ones that people loved the most were the ones that were those iconic fast-food items that, at the time, they were making in their home,” he said.

Following the success of their RibFest appearance, McInness says Globally Local then expanded to a popular food truck, and by December 2016, had its first storefront location on Dundas Street in downtown London — the country’s first vegan fast-food restaurant.

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How to live a zero-waste lifestyle — Small steps toward a greener future

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Months later, a second (since-closed) drive-thru location opened at Highbury and Cheapside streets, and the Globally Local food truck found itself traversing the province, popping up at various festivals.

“We knew that we had to bring this to the world, we had to scale this up,” McInnes said.

“We’re so fortunate to have started here, because, I believe, if you can get something to succeed in London, it can succeed anywhere in the world,” he added, referring to London’s status as a popular product test market.

“That was that proof of concept that just took us to the next level.”

In 2018, the company opened its own London-based manufacturing facility in a bid to keep its product supply chain controlled, keep costs and prices in line with other fast-food options, and develop new products, including “proprietary automation technology” in its restaurant kitchens, according to a press release.

More information can be found on the Globally Local website.

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

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3 Hamilton long-term care homes affected by COVID-19 to get $7M from government for upgrades – Hamilton

by BBG Hub

Three Hamilton-area long-term care homes – the subject of outbreaks amid the COVID-19 pandemic – will receive millions from a one-time combined federal-provincial program for upgrades.

The combined investment of $6.68 million for Idlewyld Manor, St. Peter’s Residence and St. Joseph’s Villa is part of a $100-million project to improve HVAC systems and make retrofits or repairs to fire sprinkler systems in 95 long-term care homes across the province.

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Idlewyld Manor on Sanatorium Road on the Mountain will get just over $2.76 million for a new HVAC system, chiller and boilers.

St. Joseph’s Villa in Dundas will get about $1.34 million to replace a chiller plant and fire sprinklers, while St. Peter’s Residence at Chedoke will receive about $2.58 million, which will also include an HVAC system and building automation.

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Each of the homes has had outbreaks of varying degrees amid the pandemic.

St. Joseph’s Villa closed two of its units in an effort to contain an outbreak in late November. The outbreaks in the South and Birch Unit-North towers combined had 40 infected residents and 25 staff members. There were a pair of deaths among seniors in the outbreaks.

Idlewyld manor has had three outbreaks amid the pandemic, with an early November outbreak accounting for 25 cases among 13 residents and 12 staffers, and one resident death.

Read more:
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“Our Government is reversing decades of neglect and underfunding by repairing and rebuilding long-term care in Ontario like never before,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, minister of long-term care. “Today’s investment in homes across the province is another part of our government’s plan to ensure our loved ones live in comfort and with the safety, dignity and respect they deserve.”

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The funding is part of a combined federal-provincial investment of up to $1.05 billion to build or renovate health and safety-related projects in long-term care, education and municipalities through the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream (CVRIS) of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).

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

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What you need to know about Calgary’s 2021 spring street cleanup – Calgary

by BBG Hub

Gravel and debris that accumulated on Calgary’s residential roads throughout the winter will be cleared starting Monday, April 19, as the city launches its annual street sweeping program.

The City of Calgary says the spring cleanup will run Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at which time vehicles parked on the targeted routes will have to be moved.

Read more:
Calgary wraps up winter with more money in snow-clearing budget than expected

“During street sweeping, the Calgary Parking Authority uses our automated vehicles, or camera cars, because they are a quick and efficient way to enforce street sweeping parking bans,” Calgary Parking Authority spokesperson Todd Sullivan said.

“If you are working from home, it is still necessary to get your car off the road and onto a driveway, into a garage, a back alley or laneway or a surface lot.

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“If you don’t move your vehicle, you won’t see a ticket on the windshields — it will come in the mail.”

Click to play video: 'Road repair season kicks off in Calgary'

Road repair season kicks off in Calgary

Road repair season kicks off in Calgary – Apr 6, 2021

Street sweeping isn’t just done as a beautification project, the city says removing the debris from roads helps prevent it from entering Calgary’s stormwater system and increases road safety for vehicles.

The budget for the annual program is $9.8 million and includes the cleaning of over 16,000 kilometres of roads.

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To find out when street sweeping is happening in your community, you can visit the City of Calgary’s website at Calgary.ca/sweep and enter your address in the search function.

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“It’s a great resource for information on our street sweeping program and offers opportunities to sign up for automated notifications for street sweeping in your community and ask our new virtual assistant questions about the program,” City of Calgary roads department spokesperson Chris McGeachy said.

Residential street sweeping is expected to wrap up by the end of June 2021.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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The Future of Work – Impacts of Automation

by BBG Hub

One in five Canadians are working in jobs at a high risk of becoming automated. Darren Gresch of the Conference Board of Canada explains what industries and regions are most at risk and how companies and workers can best respond.

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Regina engineering technologists recognized for new health care technology – Regina

by BBG Hub

Two engineering technologists working primarily at the Regina General Hospital are being recognized for their work on an innovative health care project in Alberta.

The Bag Me Up Scotty 5000 (BMUS 5000) is a joint effort between Daniel Tkaczyk, Edgard Jose and their former classmate at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Zyryl Mariano.

The project makes substantial upgrades to manual bag valve masks, which are used by health-care workers during CPR and intubation.

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“You might have seen a manually operated bag valve mask on medical TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy or ER,” explained Tkazyck. “It’s when a mask is placed over the patient’s face and a medical professional manually squeezes the bag to deliver life-saving breath to the patient’s lungs.

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“Our project aims to automate this procedure, to reduce medical professional fatigue and increase patient outcomes.”

To accomplish this, the BMUS 5000 uses four main subsystems.

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“We have the touchscreen application, which allows the user to control the device. The bag compressing unit is responsible for delivering the life-saving breath to the patient. A CO2 sensor helps measure the effectiveness of the CPR that’s being performed, and the web application saves the CPR session results for remote viewing and assessment,” Tkazyck said.

The project is being honoured by the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) as a provincial finalist for the 2021 ASET Capstone Project of the Year Award.

ASET CEO Barry Cavanaugh said projects like these stand out not only because of creativity, but also because of how they will benefit the public.

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He feels Saskatchewan is lucky to have gained two promising recent graduates like Tkazyck and Jose.

“You can see what kind of a contribution these graduates of engineering technology programs are going to make out in the real world,” Cavanaugh said.

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“We have 16,000 members in Alberta, and the contribution they make is usually on the quiet, but in this innovative and powerful way.”

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Co-creator Jose has been living in Regina for eight months following his graduation from NAIT. Like Tkazyck, he now spends his days maintaining, installing and repairing medical equipment for local hospitals.

“We were all super excited,” Jose said about the award nomination. “Our team put a lot of work into it. It’s really nice to be able to see some recognition for it.”

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The winning project is expected to be announced in May, but Cavanaugh feels all participants should be proud of their submissions regardless of the outcome.

“Frankly, when I see these projects and see the results, these students are all winners by a long shot,” Cavanaugh said.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 vaccinations in Saskatchewan to be expanded to first responders'

COVID-19 vaccinations in Saskatchewan to be expanded to first responders

COVID-19 vaccinations in Saskatchewan to be expanded to first responders

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

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