New Brunswick looks to other jurisdictions for nurses amid ongoing shortage

Shortly after Ontario outlined it would allow health-care workers registered in other Canadian jurisdictions to immediately practise in Ontario without having to register with a provincial regulatory college, New Brunswick moved on to Quebec, poaching nurses at a career fair.

Officials from Vitalité Health Network told Global News that they anticipate being at several career fairs in the next few weeks, making stops in Chicoutimi, Montreal and Rimouski in an attempt to alleviate a critical nursing shortage.

“It should be noted that recruitment from other Canadian provinces is not new,” stated Frederic Finn, vice president of employee experience with Vitalité, in a statement to Global News.

“Vitalité Health Network recognizes the current health human resources challenge and is working with the Department of Health and Horizon Health Network to find solutions. We also recognize that all Canadian provinces and jurisdictions are facing this same challenge.”

Researchers in Nova Scotia aren’t surprised by the moves, saying that shortages have been in the sightlines for a significant period of time.

Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy, vice-president of research with Nova Scotia Health, said she has seen many health-care professionals leaving the province looking for a change in workload and looking for better opportunities.

She said that opening the doors to having workers not need to register with regulatory colleges could ease some of the issues in health-care systems in Atlantic Canada, noting that possibly working on licensing with other eastern jurisdictions may be beneficial.

“There’s a different way we could be doing this,” told Murphy on Tuesday. “In Atlantic Canada, we could be looking differently than doing it in all four provinces.”

Almost all doctors in Canada support changes to medical licensing that would make it easier for health workers to see patients anywhere in the country, according to a new survey.

The Canadian Medical Association online survey of more than 5,000 working and retired physicians and medical learners found 95 per cent would like to see a pan-Canadian licensing program adopted in Canada. The survey was conducted Nov. 18-30, 2022.

“Multi-jurisdictional licenses have actually improved the mobility of workers across the United States and Australia,” told Dr. Kathleen Ross of the Association.

“There would be very little desire to have job fairs and recruit to other areas if the standards were the same across the country.”

Ross said that opening up pan-Canadian licensing would open the doors to more nurses in rural and northern parts of Canada.

According to the New Brunswick nursing union, there are roughly 1,000 vacant positions across the province.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

1 person in custody after baby taken to hospital with serious injuries in Markham: police

A baby has been taken to hospital with serious injuries and one person is in custody in Markham, Ont., police say.

York Regional Police said officers were called to a hotel on Woodbine Avenue and Highway 7 at around 2:10 p.m. on Tuesday.

Police said a baby was located with serious injuries and was rushed to hospital.

According to police, a man was taken into custody.

“There is no threat to public safety,” police said in the tweet.

More to come…

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Vancouver council considers plan to improve fire safety in city's SROs

Vancouver city council will consider a new initiative to improve fire safety in SROs across the city.

Vancouver city council is considering a new initiative aimed at fire safety in single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels Tuesday.

The proposal comes amid a troubling — and sometimes deadly — increase in fires and fire-related calls in the city’s Downtown Eastside.

The worst disaster was the fire that destroyed Gastown’s Winters Hotel, killing two people and leaving 71 others permanently displaced.

It was the first of seven SRO fires in Vancouver in 2022, and a sign of an alarming trend.

The number of SRO fires in the city more than doubled between 2016, when there were 104, and last year, when the city recorded 223.

Marvin Delorme, a resident of Vancouver’s Woodbine Hotel, said his building has seen two fires in the last four months alone.

“Basically everybody was lost, nobody knew what to do, nobody knew where the fire extinguishers were and trying to knock on every door, it was difficult — when the caretaker and his sidekick are not very healthy,” he said.

“I saw those fire trucks and police and ambulances outside and I thought, ‘I’m going to be homeless.’ I don’t even have a sleeping bag or a tent. My mind was racing, I thought, ‘Where am I going to stay? Where am I going to live?'”

The proposal at council Tuesday from the SRO Collaborative Society is seeking a $110,000 grant to run a one-year fire safety pilot project.

The initiative would focus on 18 privately operated SROs, teaching tenants about the resources in their buildings and helping them build fire response plans.

“Tenants will meet fire inspectors and fire educators who will come into their building and meet with tenants, do a walkthrough so tenants can learn about things that relate to fire safety that they don’t know in their buildings, they will do workshops with us, they will do a fire drill and barbeque once a year,” society executive director Wendy Pederson explained.

“There will be a couple of lead tenants in the building who will survey all their neighbours about fire safety. For example, they will learn who is shut-in and who is going to need help if there is a fire.”

Pederson said the Winters Hotel fire has weighed heavily on the minds of residents across the Downtown Eastside, and that the community is eager to take steps to ensure it isn’t repeated.

“Two people died there that didn’t need to die, and tenants didn’t really understand why that happened,” she said. “I think if tenants were more knowledgeable they can also be part of the monitoring that needs to happen, and that fire could have potentially been prevented.”

Jean Guy Gagnon lives at Vancouver’s Arlington Hotel, where some residents got a recent tour from a fire safety educator.

The experience left him feeling safer, but he said other residents, and those living in similar buildings need to have the same information.

“That was super good. He gave us some pointers because nobody knows what to do during a fire. They don’t know where the extinguishers are. So we need a system and we need a drill and to get everyone involved,” he said.

“There’s so many old people living in the building, we have to take care of them too.”

Council received a staff report on the proposed pilot project and is slated to vote on the item Tuesday afternoon.

However, at least one councillor has already signalled he likes the idea.

“There’s been tragic loss of life and we need to do everything we can to prevent that from happening, so I think it’s money well spent,” ABC Coun. Peter Meiszner said.

The SRO Collaborative Society said if approved, the funds will be used to cover staff, honorariums for participants and food for workshop sessions.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

2 Hamilton, Ont. residents celebrating recent six-figure lottery wins

A pair of Hamilton, Ont., residents are enjoying recent six-figure lottery wins while another has picked up a five-digit win.

Leon Jane Aisho, a 57-year-old retail worker, picked up the biggest win of the three, cashing in on a Crossword Deluxe ticket worth a cool $250,000.

“This win is life-changing. I feel very lucky,” said Aisho, who picked up game card at at Mac’s on Mohawk Road.

A new car, retirement savings and an investment in his children’s education are in his future with his newfound wealth.

Debra Weber, 61, was also a Crossword winner, picking up $50,000 from a recent $3 play.

“I felt frozen — my mind became blank,” the mother of three recalled when scratching off a winning ticket.

“When I told my parents and daughter, they were so excited for me.”

Weber says the cash will help pay off some of her bills and for her parents and daughter.

Tanya Monahan says part of her $100,000 Instant Ultimate win will also go into paying some bills as well as a new vehicle and a birthday present for hubby, who gifted her the winning ticket as a stocking stuffer at Christmas.

“At the end of a busy Christmas Day, I sat down to play my ticket and realized I won $100,000,” Monahan remembers.

“My heart was pounding! My whole family was around for that moment.”

 

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Mi'kmaw Nova Scotia MP says updated electoral map kicks him out of his own riding

A Southwest New Brunswick MP is crying foul over changes to electoral boundaries in the province. Saint John – Rothesay MP Wayne Long says Saint John will be left at a disadvantage when his riding is shifted. But as Zack Power reports, this comes as a nearby town is applauding the move.

A Mi’kmaw member of Parliament said Tuesday that proposed changes to the boundaries of federal ridings in Nova Scotia would remove two Indigenous communities from the area he represents, including his home of Eskasoni First Nation.

The proposed change for Sydney-Victoria was done without the consultation of its Indigenous constituents, said Jaime Battiste, who lives on the reserve. He said that does nothing to help foster inclusion in politics.

“We’re seeing that these boundaries are currently working to give Mi’kmaw people voices where they never had them before, for the first time in our history,” Battiste said in an interview, referring to the existing electoral map.

“And the fact that they’re changing things around, to me, it’s very much looking at trying to reconstruct that glass ceiling that I broke when I was elected.”

An independent commission tasked with redrawing the boundaries had focused on making Nova Scotia’s 11 ridings more similar in population size, but critics say their method discounted Indigenous and racialized groups and the province’s history.

The Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act says about 88,000 people should live in each Nova Scotia riding, but the commission can depart from that target by 25 per cent to account for community interest, identity or history.

That means each riding could have no fewer than 66,095 people, and no more than 110,158 people.

Battiste lives in a riding that saw one of the largest population declines in Nova Scotia since the lines were last redrawn, but its current population would still fit within the rules.

He questioned the decision to remove two of the three Mi’kmaw First Nations that are within his riding, including his own large community.

“It seems rather strange, and rather peculiar, that out of an entire riding, the only place that is removed is the largest Mi’kmaw community,” he said.

Other Liberal MPs from Nova Scotia, including Immigration Minister Sean Fraser and Lena Metlege Diab, raised concerns that the new boundaries could also divide other communities of racialized Nova Scotians.

The three testified on Tuesday at the House of Commons procedure and House affairs committee, which is studying the proposed new electoral boundaries.

Another proposed change for Halifax West would see a diverse part of the community removed from the urban riding, Diab said.

In its report, the commission acknowledged the concerns, saying it received “a significant volume of telephone and email inquires” about their proposals, but that “people don’t like change” and there’s “a strong sense of history in the province.”

“There is a clear desire, especially in rural areas, to have particular counties remain together in the same electoral districts ‘as they have since Confederation’,” the report says.

The report also pointed out that residents were confused about the consultation process, but it left out any mention of Indigenous Peoples.

Last year, the commission held nine hearings, including some in French and one held virtually, to hear from Nova Scotians.

However, the three Liberal MPs raised concerns that they didn’t accommodate Indigenous people, immigrants, newcomers and other racialized groups.

Battiste said that most Mi’kmaq people live about 40 minutes away from where consultations were being held, many of them don’t speak English and many didn’t have transportation to get there.

He said the commission failed in their duty to consult, and that First Nation chiefs in Nova Scotia are considering escalating the issue to Federal Court.

“There’s a reason why there’s systemic racism embedded into the system, because (it’s) not meant to accommodate Indigenous Peoples,” Battiste told MPs during the committee meeting.

The MPs’ objections are to be sent back to the commission for review.

Fraser said after the hearing that he wants the commission to re-engage with First Nations, Black communities and municipalities.

He said the commission’s initial consultations were done in small rooms that couldn’t fit everyone who wanted to attend, and on one occasion, the location was changed at the last minute.

“A clarity in process to allow people to fairly participate is really important. I hope they take the opportunity to re-engage impacted communities who raised objections so they can end up with a better result at the end of the day,” Fraser said.

Despite the airing of objections, the final decision-making on redrawing federal ridings in each province lays solely with the provincial commission, whose members are appointed by the House of Commons Speaker.

In Nova Scotia, the commissioners include Louise Carbert and David Johnson, who are political science professors at Dalhousie University and Cape Breton University respectively.

A third commissioner for the province is Justice Cindy Bourgeois, who sits on the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.

Any approved changes will take effect during a general election held after April 1, 2024, at the earliest.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2023.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Greater Vancouver home sales to remain flat in 2023, forecast says

Home sales in Greater Vancouver are predicted to stay in line with last year’s slower pace, while prices inch up slightly.

The forecasts are contained in the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s outlook for 2023 released Tuesday.

Historically, the report says rapidly escalating mortgage rates haven’t had as big a negative affect on prices as they have had on sales in Metro Vancouver.

It predicts 28,500 home sales in 2023, a 2.6 per cent decrease from last year.

While the current downturn has resulted in a price decline of about 10 per cent, the forecast says steady population growth in Metro Vancouver will underpin prices and maintain or even increase values.

It says the average home price this year for apartments, attached and detached homes is expected to climb slightly to $1.2 million, a 1.4 per cent increase.

However, the report says the risks to its predictions are an economic recession and even higher mortgage rates.

“The precise impact of a recession on the Metro Vancouver real estate market is difficult to predict since it largely hinges on the severity of the recession and the Bank of Canada’s policy response,” the report says.

 

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan continues talk about drug decriminalization following start of B.C. trial

The Saskatchewan government is not considering decriminalizing any illicit drugs at this time, but the conversation is continuing among authorities and advocates in the province as a pilot project gets underway in B.C.

Beginning Tuesday, B.C. will start a three-year trial to test the effects of drug decriminalization in the province.

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) in B.C. says on its website that people 18 years of age or older will be able to possess a cumulative amount of 2.5 grams of certain illicit drugs without fines, arrest or seizure.

“B.C. gets to be the guinea pig, if you like, for this pilot project with the federal government,” Saskatchewan Minister for Justice Bronwyn Eyre said in December 2022 after the plan was announced.

The drugs being decriminalized in B.C. are opioids, including heroin and fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamines and MDMA (ecstasy), with the FNHA noting that these are the drugs that are poisoned in B.C.’s toxic drug supply.

B.C.’s goal is for this to reduce shame and stigma surrounding drug use so people can feel more comfortable seeking help.

“This will mean that many people are likely to be more open about their substance use, talk about it with friends, families and care providers, and feel like they do not have to hide their use – and use alone, where no one is available to provide naloxone or call for help,” FNHA’s website reads.

The government of Saskatchewan confirmed in a statement to Global News on Tuesday that it is not considering criminally exempting any drugs like methamphetamine or cocaine.

“It is unknown what potential long-term effects that decriminalizing illicit drugs will have with regards to public safety,” read the statement.

“The Government of Saskatchewan’s focus continues to be on funding programming and services to help individuals experiencing addictions issues and providing pathways to treatment.”

Saskatchewan Minister of Health Paul Merriman was asked for his reaction to the trial several times at a press conference on Tuesday. He said that decriminalization is not being considered in Saskatchewan and passed the question off to Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Everett Hindley.

“It’s not on our radar right now,” said Hindley. “We are focused here on treatment and recovery and the additional investments we have made towards harm reduction.

“Ultimately, we want to make sure that we are providing to people access and avenues to long-term treatment and recovery.”

B.C. confirmed that this does not mean that drugs are legalized.

“The drugs covered under this exemption remain illegal,” the province said in a release. “The selling (or trafficking) of controlled substances remains illegal under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, regardless of the amount.”

Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police president Rick Bourassa said that while there are no plans to decriminalize drugs in the province, it has been a conversation among authorities.

“We support it as long as the appropriate resources and supports are in place to make it successful,” said Bourassa.

He explained that if a similar trial were to be considered in Saskatchewan, police and authorities would look at the consequences of addictions in the community.

“One of the metrics that we would be looking at is the harms in terms of death in our province.”

The Saskatchewan Coroners Service reports that there were 200 suspected drug toxicity deaths in the province between Jan. 1, 2022, and Oct. 31.

Executive director Kayla DeMong of Prairie Harm Reduction in Saskatoon said she hopes this is a move in the right direction for the country.

“It will be really interesting to see what happens on the justice side of things as far as if people will still continue to be harassed and arrested,” said DeMong.

DeMong feels strongly that decriminalization should be implemented across the country.

“Decriminalization has been shown in other countries to be incredibly beneficial and have huge impacts on the justice side of things and the social side of things.”

She said she has heard the topic being discussed locally in Saskatoon but wishes it would extend across Canada.

“We wish them all the success in the world that this is a successful program, and we will be speaking with them and learning from it as we move forward,” Bourassa said.

“It’s a conversation that needs to continue.”

— with files from Global News’ Brody Langager, Amy Judd and Kristen Robinson

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Okanagan surpasses grim milestone with record number of overdose deaths

B.C.’s toxic drug supply pushed the Okanagan to a grim new record.

Throughout 2022, there were 192 toxic drug deaths across the Okanagan, compared with 176 a year earlier. The year before that it was 149, and a decade ago, there were only 16 toxic drug deaths.

Of the Okanagan deaths, 2022 saw 87 people die in Kelowna compared with 76 a year earlier. Vernon saw 40 people die in 2022 from toxic drug deaths, which was a slight improvement from a year earlier when 42 people died. Penticton saw 27 illicit drug deaths.

At least 2,272 British Columbians lost their lives in 2022 to toxic drugs, which is the second-highest number of drug deaths in B.C. history.

“Our province continues to lose an average of six lives every day, and many more people experience serious health consequences as a result of the unpredictable, unregulated drug supply,” said Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner, in a press release.

Drug toxicity remains the leading cause of unnatural death in British Columbia, and is second only to cancers in terms of years of life lost.

By Local Health Area (LHA), in 2022, the highest rates were in Vancouver – Centre North, Terrace, Merritt, Hope, and Prince George.

In 2022, 84 per cent of illicit drug toxicity deaths occurred inside, 55 per cent in private residences, and 29 per cent in other inside residences including social and supportive housing, SROs, shelters, and hotels and other indoor locations, and 15 per cent occurred outside in vehicles, sidewalks, streets, parks, etc.

Only one death occurred at an OD prevention site.

The number of deaths being investigated by the BC Coroners Service in 2022 is the second-largest total ever in a calendar year, and only 34 fewer than the 2,306 deaths reported to the agency in 2021. Toxic drugs were responsible for an average of 189 deaths per month in 2022, or 6.2 lost lives each and every day. The final number for 2022 will almost certainly increase as investigations are completed and final causes of death are established.

Starting Tuesday, adults with up to two-and-a-half grams of drugs for personal use, including opioids, cocaine and MDMA, will not be arrested or charged.

The goal is to reduce the shame and stigma surrounding drug use, which the province says keeps people from accessing life-saving services.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Alberta and feds agree to next phase in affordable child-care plan

The federal government has introduced Bill C-35, which is aimed at securing long-term funding for national child care. Mackenzie Gray looks at what the legislation does and doesn't do, and the challenges some parents still face.

Alberta parents will soon have access to more subsidized licensed private child-care spaces.

The province signed on to the federal Liberal’s $10-a-day child-care program in November 2021 and now the two governments have agreed to a key component in the next phase of their funding agreement.

Alberta Children’s Services Minister Mickey Amery says 1,600 private spaces will be eligible for funding almost immediately, with up to 2,000 more as soon as licensing requirements are completed.

He says an additional 22,500 spaces may become eligible for funding support over the next three years.

Municipal Affairs Minister Rebecca Schulz says the extra spaces will free up time for parents who want to further their education or return to work.

Alberta is receiving $3.8 billion in federal funding over five years with the goal of reducing daycare fees to $10 a day by 2026.

“At a time when the cost of living continues to rise, these new affordable child-care spaces will make all the difference in the world for my family,” said parent Kristen Bailey. “Having our child-care fees cut in half will go a long way in helping to reduce the financial burden when it comes to paying the bills.”

“This announcement is great news not just for us but also for our Alberta families,” said Cynthia Nerling, president of the Alberta Association of Child Care Operators.

“Including private operators in the child-care agreement will meaningfully impact Alberta families seeking affordable child care. We are excitedly looking forward to continuing to offer families choices when deciding where their child or children can go to for affordable high-quality child care.”

More to come…

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Fiery meeting held over proposed health hub in Edmonton's Ritchie neighbourhood

A packed community meeting to discuss a proposed health hub operated by Boyle Street Community Services (BSCS) in Edmonton’s Ritchie neighbourhood was held Monday night.

At times erupting in shouting, the meeting was standing-room-only and was held so residents could hear more from the organization on how it plans to be a “good neighbour,” according to BSCS’ Elliott Tanti.

“We need to be good community partners, and what’s been said loud and clear tonight is that we need to work directly with business owners, landowners and residents to make sure that we’re upholding our part of the bargain and being good partners in this new facility,” Tanti said.

BSCS said it was tasked by the provincial government to create a health hub south of the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton.

The health hub, which will include a supervised consumption site (SCS) and recovery and treatment services, was slated for the Ritchie area because people there are dying of drug overdoses and there aren’t any SCSs nearby to help prevent that, Tanti said.

“We know that there’s open air drug use in this community right now,” he said. “We know that there are overdoses occurring.

“We know that people are dying. And so we want to create services that are addressing those issues.”

A spokesperson for the provincial ministry of addictions said the ministry is exploring the need for a new SCS south of the river and will provide BSCS with up to $2.15 million a year to support its operations if the proposal ends up going forward.

About 800 people have signed a petition to move the proposed supervised consumption site elsewhere. Opponents, like Rob Bligh of Scona Concerned Citizens, say they believe the health hub will hurt the neighbourhood.

“The biggest concerns essentially are an increase of crime, a decrease in public safety and a destruction of the revitalization of our neighbourhood,” Bligh said.

“People won’t invest in an area where they even just perceive that those are problems.”

The Ritchie resident said while he supports the idea of an SCS, he doesn’t want one in his neighbourhood. He said that within half a kilometre of the proposed site, there are three daycares, the homes of more than 3,000 people and more than 400 small businesses.

Julian Schulz lives in the nearby community of Strathcona but attended Monday’s meeting. He said he would be delighted if the service came to his neighbourhood.

“I think there’s a desperate need for the service,” he said. “We saw that overdose deaths really skyrocketed during the (COVID-19) pandemic. Maybe they’ve come down a bit, but still extremely high.”

According to data from the provincial government, deaths by drug poisoning in Edmonton reached a high in December 2021 with 70 deaths reported. There were 527 deaths by drug overdose between January and November 2022 and 549 in the same period in 2021.

“These are people — they are mothers, brothers, sons, daughters. I myself lost my brother to an overdose,” Schulz said.

“It is very hard when you hear people speaking out against this… people are wanting to deny people a service that could have saved my brother’s life. And that really hurts me.”

Evidence shows decrease in open drug use, discarded needles after SCS opening

In 2020, the provincial government commissioned a review of the social impacts of existing and proposed supervised consumption sites in the province.

While the data from across the province shows mixed results, survey answers from both residents and businesses in Edmonton suggest that SCSs made no change or even decreased the prevalence of litter, discarded drug paraphernalia, erratic behaviour and public drug use.

The study shows that 82 per cent of Edmontonians and 63 per cent of business owners were supportive of a SCS in the area of their business or home, numbers significantly higher than in other Alberta cities.

The survey asked business owners and residents whether they saw an increase or decrease in behaviours like open drug use, drug dealing, urinating or defecating in public, erratic behaviour and violent acts. It also asked about impacts on the neighbourhood, like garbage and discarded needles and other drug paraphernalia.

Most Edmonton residents surveyed reported no increase in any of the above behaviours and neighbourhood effects.

Two-thirds of Edmontonians living near an SCS reported seeing a decrease in open drug use. Only seven per cent reported seeing an increase in open drug use.

Sixty-four per cent of Edmontonians polled said they saw a decrease in discarded needles and 58 per cent saw a decrease in other discarded drug paraphernalia. Half of respondents felt no change to their safety when walking through their neighbourhood during the day or night, with about one-third feeling safer than before the SCS was opened in the area. For all of the unwanted behaviours, only a maximum of 10 per cent of respondents reported an increase.

Edmonton business owners were more likely to report an increase in social disorder, though the majority still reported a decrease or no change.

About 40 per cent reported seeing an increase in erratic behaviour, with about 60 per cent reporting a decrease or no change. Forty-two per cent of business owners reported an increase in seeing people sleeping on sidewalks and in doorways, with 56 per cent reporting a decrease or no change.

Almost half of business owners reported seeing a decrease in the number of discarded needles and other drug paraphernalia.

More than 40 per cent of business owners said there was a decrease in public drug use following the opening of an SCS near their business. About a quarter said there was no change and 32 per cent said there was an increase.

More than a dozen studies from the past 20 years support the conclusion that SCSs are associated with lower levels of discarded drug paraphernalia, open drug use and other disorder.

Bligh said despite the studies, people in his neighbourhood are still worried about the effects of the hub on the community.

“People’s actual observations and personal experiences with fires, with break-ins, with vandalism, with theft, seem to be at odds with the quoted statistics that are being presented that claim that (crime is) already there and there will be no increase,” Bligh said.

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said he supports the SCS and other interventions like safe supply and treatment and recovery beds.

“Across the country, and Edmonton is no exception, we are facing a huge crisis of overdoses and drug poisoning and we need to look at all the options,” said Sohi.

“I hope Edmontonians embrace a compassionate approach to helping Edmontonians get better.”

The city councillor for the area, Michael Janz, declined a request for an interview and said this is the province’s jurisdiction.

Temitope Oriola, criminology professor at the University of Alberta, believes a balance between providing harm reduction and protecting businesses can be achieved.

“I do believe that crime is not an inevitable outcome of a location of a… (supervised) consumption site,” he said. “Disorder, however, is a real possibility.”

Oriola gave sleeping on sidewalks and public intoxication as examples of disorder. He said area residents will want to know how future problems will be dealt with.

“What I think has been missing from the narrative is a clear and unambiguous series of plans and clear demarcation of resources to deal with potential issues that may come up,” he said.

Tanti said the BSCS will take the feedback received at the Monday meeting and apply it to its Good Neighbour Commitment and will ultimately apply for a licence to operate an SCS in the space.

“The provincial government has outlined really strict regulations to operate these services, and our goal is to adhere to that as closely as possible,” Tanti said.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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