Want to avoid the polling station? This is how you vote by mail

Here’s how you can vote by mail in the upcoming federal election. Voting by mail is called ‘special ballot.’ Voting by special ballot is different than voting on election day or at advance polls. You use the special ballot process when you vote: by mail, at any Elections Canada office across Canada, in a hospital, in a correctional institution, as a member of the Canadian Forces voting at a military poll.  An increase in mail-in voting is expected this year, given the COVID-19 pandemic.  Canada’s federal election is scheduled to take place Sept. 20. To , you must apply in advance. Your application must be received at Elections Canada by 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 14.  Once your application is accepted, you will be given a special-ballot voting kit. This kit includes: • A special ballot. • Two envelopes (they keep your vote secret). • Instructions on how to mark and mail in your special ballot. Your completed special ballot must arrive at Elections Canada by the election day deadline (Monday, Sept. 20), or it will not be counted. Once your application to vote by special ballot has been accepted, this is the only way you can vote. You cannot change your mind and vote at advance polls or on election day. You can get a special ballot application form from the Elections Canada website, by calling , at any Elections Canada office or at any Canadian Embassy, high commission or consulate. What if I’m homeless? Eligib […]

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Ontario a ‘week or 10 days’ away from easing more COVID-19 restrictions, top doctor says

Ontario remains a “week or 10 days” away from as vaccination rates slow and case counts rise, says chief medical officer Dr. Kieran Moore. Painting a picture of how the pandemic will unfold in the next few months, Moore said daily infection levels — which have almost doubled in the last two weeks to an average of 306 a day — will continue rising and “take off” sometime in the fall unless more people get their jabs to fight the contagious Delta variant. “The risk is going to rise in September as we head indoors,” he told his weekly news conference Tuesday. “The coming months will require vigilance … COVID-19 will be with us for some time.” He attributed the recent jump in cases to an easing of restrictions last month that allowed gyms, cinemas and restaurants to reopen indoors, and to the August civic holiday weekend where people “let down their guard.” Most of those people catching COVID have not been vaccinated, Moore said. Ontario has vaccinated about 72 per cent of people age 12 and up, just shy of the 75 per cent threshold for lifting capacity limits indoors at gyms, theatres and other venues. Gyms, for example, are now limited to 50 per cent capacity. In the months ahead, the province will rely on a combination of “basic public health measures” such as masking and hand washing to keep the virus in check in tandem with vaccinations, Moore said. Local medical officers will be able to […]

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‘Passerby’ finds dead body in Orillia woodland: OPP

Orillia OPP are investigating after a dead person was found in a wooded area of the city on Tuesday, Aug. 17, said Orillia OPP Const. Lori Barker. Police said they were called to the location shortly before 3 p.m. after a passerby came across the body, Barker said. Police are not releasing the location at this time. The Orillia OPP Crime Unit is assisting with this ongoing investigation.  Police said there is no risk to the safety of the public. “Based of the investigation at this point we’re not deeming it as a risk to anybody else’s safety,” Barker said.  Further information will be released after an autopsy examination, police said.  “We’ll be releasing more information once it becomes available,” Barker said.  If you have any information about crime in our community please contact the OPP at- or report minor occurrences online by visiting www.opp.ca/reporting. You can also call Crime Stoppers at , or submit your information online at .

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Court rejects former Tory MPP’s challenge of COVID-19 lockdown measures

A former Progressive Conservative MPP’s challenge of some COVID-19 lockdown restrictions imposed by Premier Doug Ford has been dismissed in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice. The court found Roman Baber, who now sits as the Independent MPP for York Centre, did not meet the legal test for “public standing” to pursue the case. “With our greatest respect to the court, we believe the court erred,” Baber said Friday. A lawyer by training and a prominent member of Toronto’s Russian Jewish community, Baber under his own name and that of a group he incorporated called Lift The Lockdown. Baber said he is considering next steps. He launched the legal challenge in March, saying a limit of 50 people at outdoor gatherings at the time was “heavy-handed,” and violated Charter of Rights guarantees of free association and free expression in hampering the ability to “protest, pray and gather outdoors,” given lower risk of outdoor transmission of COVID-19. The case was heard by Justice J. Vella in May and a written decision was released this week. In part, it said Baber did not have a direct interest in the case, which alleges restrictions hampered activities at the Jewish Russian Community Centre at Rockford. “Mr. Baber does not attest that he is a member of the Jewish Orthodox faith and admits he does not follow the protocols which are at issue in this complaint,” Vella wrote. Baber was in January after he publicl […]

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What you need to know about the new Sept. 30 holiday in Canada

This year, for the first time, Sept. 30 will be observed as a statutory holiday to commemorate the horrific legacy of residential schools in Canada. Here’s what you need to know about the new holiday and the meaning behind it.  What is the name of the holiday? The new stat holiday is called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It is meant to be a day for Canadians to spread awareness of and reflect on the tragedies experienced by Indigenous people as a result of the country’s former residential school system.  When was the holiday created? The federal government passed in June, to allow for the creation of this stat holiday. The holiday is in line with one of the 94 calls to action of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which states: “We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” What is the significance of Sept. 30? Since 2013, Sept. 30 has been observed as Orange Shirt Day across the country — a day, created by residential school survivor , on which Canadians wear orange shirts to commemorate the Indigenous children who were taken from their homes and placed in residential schools. According to the Oran […]

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Canada’s emergency wage and rent subsidies for businesses extended to June 5

The federal government has announced it is extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support rates until June 5 to provide support for “workers, businesses and other affected organizations in the face of ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic.” Federal finance minister Chrystia Freeland made the announcement March 3, stating that the current rates will remain in place past the original date of March 13. This means the maximum wage subsidy rate for active employees will stay at 75 per cent, the maximum rent subsidy rate at 65 per cent, and lockdown support at 25 per cent. Lockdown support will continue to be available in addition to rent subsidy. For furloughed employees, the weekly wage subsidy will also remain unchanged and will be aligned with Employment Insurance benefits. “Workers and businesses have showed incredible resilience over the past year, especially through this difficult winter …” Freeland said. “With variants in Canada and many regions still under lockdown, we are giving workers and businesses the certainty they need that strong government support will be there to get them through this crisis and ensure they come out strong.”

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‘Customers are going to be blown away’: Midland Canadian Tire undergoing ‘seven-figure’ renovation

The Midland Canadian Tire is getting a significant upgrade. Owner Mike Ferris is undertaking a massive renovation of the County Road 93 store, which will overhaul every single department. “It’s going to be one of the largest Canadian Tire stores around,” said Ferris. “The total square footage of the warehouse, retail store and garden centre is going to be over 160,000 square feet.” The revamped interior of the store will feature an upgraded automotive department; home decor department; paint and lighting department; and expanded fishing, hunting and camping departments. A marine and recreational vehicle section will be added, along with a Party City boutique and Petco branded store. “Customers are going to be blown away,” said Ferris. “As we have grown over the years, we have compromised space. (With this renovation) customers are going to get wider aisles and a better flow and layout.” When planning for the renovation, Ferris took into account customer feedback he has received over the years. The top complaints involved washrooms, the tight store layout and lack of parking. All of those issues will be addressed. The garden centre will be removed from the parking lot and built onto the northwest side of the store. Combined with the renovated retail space, it will span 110,000 square feet. A 55,000-square-foot warehouse being constructed at the back of the store will allow for more product to be stored on site and will open […]

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Superior Propane fire in Barrie ruled ‘accidental:’ OFM

The massive fire at Superior Propane on July 30 has been ruled ‘accidental,’ said Aman Kainth, spokesperson for the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM).  “The fire will be ruled accidental, as the actual source of the leak is not known. Due to the damage caused by the fire and explosions, it is difficult to narrow down,” Kainth said in an email. The damage estimate is approximately $1 million, he said.  Asked if a propane leak caused the fire, Kainth said: “That is what is currently under investigation.” Kainth did not share further information. Emergency crews were called to the scene at 789 Bayview Dr. around 2 p.m. on July 30, arriving to find the facility in flames. Video captured by a passerby showed the facility engulfed, and the sounds of explosions could be heard. Due to the potential for explosions, emergency crews evacuated a one kilometre radius around the site. By 3 p.m., Barrie Fire had the fire under control.  Barrie Fire and Emergency Service’s assistant deputy chief of fire prevention and public education Carrie Clark said there is a pre-set plan to address a fire at a propane facility, starting with on-site employees who initiate an emergency plan in the event one happens. Clark said that in this case, Superior employees undertook that plan, called 911, and the site was evacuated without any injuries. – With files from Ian Adams. 

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Barrie woman pockets $100,000 after buying lotto ticket on a whim

Playing the lottery every once in awhile was enough for Melissa Gagnon of Barrie after she pocketed $100,000 with the purchase of a Big Spin ticket at an Innisfil convenience store. Gagnon, 24, said she usually doesn’t play the lotteries, but decided to buy a Big Spin ticket on a whim. “When I scanned the ticket on my phone, I didn’t believe it at first,” she said at the OLG Prize Centre in Toronto while picking up her winnings. “I told my mom and then my fiancé! He thought I was joking.” The personal support worker plans to put some money away for her children, pay for her upcoming wedding and save some for a house. The winning ticket was purchased at Pioneer On The Run on Yonge Street in Innisfil.

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