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Estate of Nova Scotia mass killer Gabriel Wortman valued at $2.1 million

Estate of Nova Scotia mass killer Gabriel Wortman valued at $2.1 million

MICHAEL TUTTON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Dec 22nd, 2020

HALIFAX — The estate belonging to Nova Scotia mass murderer Gabriel Wortman is valued at $2.1 million — about one-third of which is in cash seized by police, according to newly released court documents.

Wortman was shot dead by a police officer at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., on April 19, after the gunman had killed 22 people during a 13-hour rampage across the province.

The Dec. 14 appraisal prepared for the probate court says six properties listed under the killer’s name in Halifax and Portapique, N.S., — the small community where the killing began — are worth approximately $1.2 million.

Three corporations — including the 51-year-old’s denturist clinic — are valued at $128,711, while the appraiser estimated the killer had roughly $3,760 worth of household goods. The total amount of “cash on hand” is listed as $705,000, which the RCMP seized from the killer’s residence in Portapique.

The estate is facing several lawsuits, both from Wortman’s common law spouse, Lisa Banfield, and from the families of his victims. The victims’ families are trying to get a class action certified that seeks compensation for the deaths and for the damage Wortman caused.

Sandra McCulloch, a lawyer for the families, said what’s left of Wortman’s estate belongs to his many victims.

“Whether it’s a couple of dollars or a lot of dollars, our view is that the families are the people to whom those funds should go,” she said in an interview Monday. “The lawsuit would have carried on regardless of the size of the estate.”

Court documents have said the cash was stockpiled in the final weeks before Wortman drove through the province in a replica police vehicle, killing people he knew and didn’t know, and burning properties.

In applications for search warrants, police have stated that Wortman liquidated $475,000 of investments and requested the money in $100 bills, which he had picked up from a Brinks outlet in Halifax on March 30.

Witnesses quoted in the search warrant applications have said a “paranoid” Wortman was growing increasingly anxious about COVID-19 before he had liquidated the investments.

The newly released court document says a bank account in Wortman’s name had about $40,919 in it. It also lists a CPP death benefit worth $2,500 and a few small balances on credit cards.

The application for the class action against Wortman’s estate names three categories of plaintiffs. The first involves direct relatives of those killed, such as parents, children and spouses. The second involves all people who suffered personal injuries from the gunman, excluding Banfield. And the third category involves all people who suffered damage to property.

Banfield filed a notice of claim on the estate in probate court on Nov. 10. In the document, the lawyer for Wortman’s common law spouse said while Banfield isn’t a shareholder, “she and the deceased operated the (denturist) business as a joint venture,” adding that her work was critical to its success.

She also claimed the deceased and the estate would be “unjustly enriched if the applicant (Banfield) were not entitled “to a share of the assets in the name of the deceased (Wortman) at the time of his death.”

In addition, Banfield — who has renounced her right to be an executor of the estate, and has asked it be administered by the public trustee — launched her own legal action in August for damages against the estate.

At the time, she said she was the victim of assault and battery the night Wortman began his rampage and said she had suffered “intentional infliction of mental suffering.”

The RCMP has said Banfield was handcuffed but managed to escape and fled to nearby woods on the night of April 18. She emerged the next morning and told police at 6:30 a.m. that Wortman was driving a police replica vehicle.

On Dec. 4, the RCMP announced that three people, including Banfield, had been charged with supplying ammunition to the gunman. Police have said the alleged offences occurred between March 17 and April 18, but that those charged “had no prior knowledge of the gunman’s actions.”

The Halifax-based probate court provides for the protection of heirs, recipients of legacies and of estate creditors. It also provides a forum for adjudication and appoints executors, administrators, appraisers, and guardians in relation to all estate matters.

Adrienne Bowers, the solicitor for the public trustee, said in the court document that the initial value of the estate was pegged at about $1.2 million. She said that if new assets are discovered, she would alert the probate court within 30 days.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2020.

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Monday, Dec. 22, 2020

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Dec 22nd, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday Dec. 22, 2020.

There are 515,314 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 515,314 confirmed cases (77,361 active, 423,621 resolved, 14,332 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 6,381 new cases Monday from 73,365 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 8.7 per cent. The rate of active cases is 205.81 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 46,452 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,636.

There were 68 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 779 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 111. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.3 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 38.13 per 100,000 people.

There have been 13,188,981 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 382 confirmed cases (31 active, 347 resolved, four deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday from 187 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 5.94 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 23 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 70,421 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 91 confirmed cases (seven active, 84 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday from 905 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 4.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 76,326 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,447 confirmed cases (38 active, 1,344 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were two new cases Monday from 960 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.21 per cent. The rate of active cases is 3.91 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 27 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been 169,862 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 578 confirmed cases (49 active, 521 resolved, eight deaths).

There were four new cases Monday from 272 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.5 per cent. The rate of active cases is 6.31 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.03 per 100,000 people.

There have been 112,489 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 179,093 confirmed cases (18,458 active, 152,869 resolved, 7,766 deaths).

There were 2,108 new cases Monday from 10,456 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 20 per cent. The rate of active cases is 217.54 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 13,558 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,937.

There were 30 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 233 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 33. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.39 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 91.53 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,416,126 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 158,053 confirmed cases (19,019 active, 134,867 resolved, 4,167 deaths).

There were 2,123 new cases Monday from 52,723 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 130.57 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 15,932 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,276.

There were 17 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 195 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 28. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 28.61 per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,183,206 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 23,025 confirmed cases (5,736 active, 16,717 resolved, 572 deaths).

There were 166 new cases Monday from 6,503 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 2.6 per cent. The rate of active cases is 418.85 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,761 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 252.

There were three new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 73 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 10. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.76 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 41.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 395,762 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 13,761 confirmed cases (3,990 active, 9,649 resolved, 122 deaths).

There were 206 new cases Monday from 1,232 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 17 per cent. The rate of active cases is 339.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,523 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 218.

There were four new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 31 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.38 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 10.39 per 100,000 people.

There have been 293,909 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 91,459 confirmed cases (19,165 active, 71,434 resolved, 860 deaths).

There were 1,240 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 438.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,473 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,353.

There were nine new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 127 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 18. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 19.67 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,547,298 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 47,067 confirmed cases (10,847 active, 35,455 resolved, 765 deaths).

There were 529 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 213.89 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,124 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 589.

There were five new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 118 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 17. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.33 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 15.08 per 100,000 people.

There have been 904,763 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 59 confirmed cases (one active, 57 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday from 33 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.45 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,855 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 24 confirmed cases (three active, 21 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday from 26 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 6.69 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,661 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 262 confirmed cases (17 active, 243 resolved, two deaths).

There were three new cases Monday from 68 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.4 per cent. The rate of active cases is 43.84 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of six new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There were zero new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.74 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 5.16 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,227 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Dec. 22, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, dubbed ‘Christmas Star,’ visible tonight

ROB DRINKWATER, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Dec 21st, 2020

A rare celestial event is making an already unique holiday season even more unusual, as what’s been dubbed the “Christmas Star” is set to appear over Canada on Monday evening, brighter than it’s been in nearly eight centuries.

It’s not really a star at all — it’s a convergence of Jupiter and Saturn — but because of their close proximity they will appear to the naked eye to be one, single bright star.

For the last few weeks, the two planets have appeared nearer and nearer in the night sky, and will be at their closest on Dec. 21, appearing above the southwest horizon shortly after sunset.

“It’s a sense of anticipation, which of course, is what Christmas is all about, that waiting. And here we’re waiting for those planets to almost merge in the sky,” said astronomer and physicist Brian Martin, a professor emeritus at King’s University, a Christian institution in Edmonton.

“It captures the sense of what it’s like to be waiting for the birth of Christ and to celebrate that on the 25th of December.”

Every year around this time, Stephen Jeans, who teaches earth and space science at Ambrose University, another Christian institution in Calgary, delivers a “Star of Bethlehem” lecture for the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation, a fellowship of Christian scientists.

The lecture, which isn’t being held this year due to COVID-19, focuses on the star that the Magi, or the Three Wise Men, followed to Bethlehem, and what astronomical event it possibly could have been.

There’s some who speculate it was a comet, but Jeans said those are typically bad omens, so he suggests it may have been a conjunction of planets similar to what’s on display now.

“The nice thing about this is it can be seen across the country at the same time,” Jeans explained.

“You’re going to have the opportunity to see the same event that all your friends and relatives will see: a really large double planet that looks like the Christmas star.”

The last time there was such a convergence of Jupiter and Saturn was in the 17th Century, but it wasn’t visible at night. You have to go back to March 4, 1226, that the conjunction was seen by people.

Martin notes that in 2 BCE, there was a conjunction between Jupiter and Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo, which the Magi may have been following.

Jupiter was the Roman god of sky and thunder while Leo, the lion, is king of the beasts.

“If you saw the king of the gods circling around the king star, Regulus, in the constellation Leo, that would get your attention of you were an astrologer,” Martin said.

“It’s kind of interesting that we have this wonderful conjunction right now in one of the darkest Christmases we’ve experienced, and just before the birth of Christ there was this amazing conjunction of three kings, in a sense bowing before one another.”

Stargazers typically gather in groups at observatories or with backyard telescopes for such events, but that won’t be happening this year due to COVID-19.

There’s also the chance the conjunction won’t be visible because of the weather. Clouds, heavy snow, or rain are in the forecast for many Canadian cities. The planets will still be visible on Tuesday night, but by then they will be moving apart.

Jeans said to look south between where the moon is visible and the sun just set. He said if you bring your cellphone, you can call friends and family and look at it at the same time.

“It only lasts about an hour and then the ‘Christmas Star’ will follow the sun and set itself in the west.”

A look at officer shootings by police force in Canada in 2020

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Dec 21st, 2020

There were 55 police shootings that resulted in death or injury in Canada between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30 of this year. Of those, 34 were fatal.

The Canadian Press tracked each shooting using information from police, independent investigative units and independent reporting. Here is a break down of the shootings by police force:

 RCMP: 15 (12 fatal)

— Peel Regional Police, Ont: 6 (3 fatal)

 Winnipeg Police Service: 5 (4 fatal)

 Sûerté de Québec: 5 (5 fatal)

 Ontario Provincial Police: 5 (4 fatal)

— Service de police de la Ville de Montréal: 4 (1 fatal)

— Edmonton Police Service: 3 (1 fatal)

 Toronto Police Service: 3 (2 fatal)

 Hamilton Police Service: 1 (fatal)

— Edmundston Police Force, N. B: 1 (fatal)

 Nishnawbe Aski Police Service, Ont: 1

— Timmins Police Service, Ont: 1

— York Regional Police, Ont: 1

— Delta Police Department, B. C: 1

— Abbotsford Police Department, B. C: 1

 Halifax Regional Police: 1

— New Glasgow Police Service, N. S: 1

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2020.

The Canadian Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Monday, Dec. 21, 2020

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Dec 21st, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Dec. 21, 2020.

There are 507,795 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 507,795 confirmed cases (76,859 active, 416,708 resolved, 14,228 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 6,203 new cases Sunday from 81,813 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 7.6 per cent. The rate of active cases is 204.47 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 45,664 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,523.

There were 74 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 755 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 108. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.29 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 37.85 per 100,000 people.

There have been 13,115,616 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 382 confirmed cases (34 active, 344 resolved, four deaths).

There were two new cases Sunday from 364 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.55 per cent. The rate of active cases is 6.52 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 70,234 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 91 confirmed cases (seven active, 84 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 75,421 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,445 confirmed cases (41 active, 1,339 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were two new cases Sunday from 982 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.20 per cent. The rate of active cases is 4.22 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 30 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been 168,902 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 574 confirmed cases (46 active, 520 resolved, eight deaths).

There were -4 new cases Sunday from 307 completed tests, for a positivity rate of -1.3 per cent. The rate of active cases is 5.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 17 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.03 per 100,000 people.

There have been 112,217 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 176,985 confirmed cases (18,205 active, 151,044 resolved, 7,736 deaths).

There were 2,146 new cases Sunday from 11,533 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 19 per cent. The rate of active cases is 214.56 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 13,070 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,867.

There were 21 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 228 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 33. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.38 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 91.17 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,405,670 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 155,930 confirmed cases (18,567 active, 133,213 resolved, 4,150 deaths).

There were 2,316 new cases Sunday from 67,142 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.4 per cent. The rate of active cases is 127.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 15,749 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,250.

There were 25 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 201 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 29. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.2 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 28.49 per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,130,483 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 22,859 confirmed cases (5,749 active, 16,541 resolved, 569 deaths).

There were 229 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 419.8 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,836 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 262.

There were 13 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 79 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.82 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 41.55 per 100,000 people.

There have been 389,259 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 13,555 confirmed cases (3,880 active, 9,557 resolved, 118 deaths).

There were 226 new cases Sunday from 1,485 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 15 per cent. The rate of active cases is 330.36 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,584 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 226.

There were three new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 29 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.35 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 10.05 per 100,000 people.

There have been 292,677 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 90,219 confirmed cases (19,201 active, 70,167 resolved, 851 deaths).

There were 1,286 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 439.25 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,120 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,446.

There were 10 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 132 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 19. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.43 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 19.47 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,547,298 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 45,400 confirmed cases (11,087 active, 33,589 resolved, 724 deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 218.62 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,216 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 459.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 84 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.24 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 14.28 per 100,000 people.

There have been 904,763 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 59 confirmed cases (one active, 57 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.45 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,822 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 24 confirmed cases (nine active, 15 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 20.08 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,635 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 259 confirmed cases (32 active, 225 resolved, two deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 82.52 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.74 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 5.16 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,159 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Dec. 21, 2020.

The Canadian Press

RCMP officers recognized N.S. gunman after pulling up at gas pump next to him

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Dec 18th, 2020

HALIFAX — A new report from an independent police watchdog reveals that the April 19 fatal shooting of the Nova Scotia mass killer occurred after two RCMP officers happened to pull up at a gas pump next to the gunman’s vehicle.

Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team says when the officers arrived at the Enfield, N.S., gas station, it was not known Gabriel Wortman had switched vehicles and was driving a grey Mazda3 stolen from a victim.

The watchdog agency’s report says two officers stopped at a pump next to the Mazda, and when the officer who was driving got out to refuel, he saw a man with a noticeable injury and blood on his forehead.

The report says the driver recognized the gunman, who had killed 22 people in a rampage beginning the previous night, drew his service weapon and alerted his partner that Wortman was in the vehicle next to theirs.

The agency says the second officer moved across the front of the vehicle and Wortman raised the pistol he had stolen from RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson, whom he had killed about 30 minutes earlier. Both officers opened fire and Wortman died at the scene.

Nova Scotia’s police watchdog concludes the officers were justified in their actions and no charges are warranted.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 17, 2020.

The Canadian Press

“Christmas is a little different this year”: An interview with Santa

THE BIG STORY | posted Friday, Dec 18th, 2020

In today’s Big Story podcast, over the past ten months we’ve been accustomed to seeing our daily routines change in ways large and small. Covid-19 has popularized phrases from “in these unprecedented times” to X “will look a little different this year”. And for many Canadian families there is no annual tradition as profound as the holidays. And for those families’ children there’s nothing quite like Santa Claus.

So how is the Jolly Old Elf coping with Covid, keeping his workplace safe and making sure that even if Christmas is different, it’s still special? Well, we asked him.

(Yes, this episode is child-friendly! Happy holidays from the Big Story team.)

GUEST: … Santa!

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

12 big Canadian companies to start voluntary rapid COVID-19 testing of employees

RICHARD SOUTHERN | posted Friday, Dec 18th, 2020

Some of Canada’s largest companies are joining together for a pilot project to screen their employees for COVID-19 before they enter the office.

Called the ‘Rapid Screening Consortium,’ it sees 12 different companies including Air Canada, Loblaws, Magna, Scotiabank and Suncor administer a rapid COVID-19 screening test twice a week to employees who volunteer to be tested. Those who sign up will be screened before entering their workplace and will receive the results within 15 minutes.

The project was spearheaded by Creative Destruction Lab at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and Professor Janice Stein.

Stein tells 680 NEWS that the project is aimed at making essential workplaces safer.

“This is an attempt to make those people who are actually at a work site feel safer and be safer because their colleagues that are with them are being screened on a voluntary basis twice a week,” she said.

The rapid screening tests are from Health Canada and use a light nasal swab administered by a health professional. Employees will wait to get the result before entering their workplaces. The screening is not meant to replace mask wearing or social distancing, but is intended as an extra layer of protection.

The program relies on volunteer signups, but the Consortium says it is hopeful that it can increase the level of participation to a point where it becomes meaningful.

The trial will get underway on Dec. 28 and will last until April, at which point the Rapid Screening Consortium will present a handbook and will set up a mentoring system for other, smaller companies that wish to do the screenings, creating what it says will be a “plug and play model.”

The complete list of companies taking part in the pilot project are:

Air Canada
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Genpact
Loblaw Companies Limited
Magna
MDA Space
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
Nutrien
Rogers
Scotiabank
Shoppers Drug Mart
Suncor

As vulnerable youth face CERB clawbacks, Trudeau says Liberals looking over options

JORDAN PRESS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Dec 17th, 2020

Marie Christian recalls the confusion that reigned as the young people she works with tried to navigate government aid at the onset of the pandemic.

The program director for Voices: Manitoba’s Youth in Care Network, works with those aged 12 to 30 who are or have been in foster care. Many who aged out of care lost their part-time jobs during the first wave of COVID-19.

They were encouraged to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit when the $500-a-week income support was rolled out amid historic job losses this spring. And many did.

“Receiving CERB finally allowed them to take a breath,” Christian said.

“Not only did it help them to provide food and keep a roof over their head for themselves, and maybe for their young family, it just helped them to catch up a little bit, maybe pay off a little bit more of that hydro bill to make sure that their lights can stay on.”

They are now among the 441,000 people who have received letters from the Canada Revenue Agency questioning their eligibility for the CERB, and warning they may owe back some of the payments.

Groups that support them are warning repayment efforts could lead many to become homeless, and asking the government to grant amnesty for any of these youth who received the CERB.

“You would receive amnesty from repayment as a measure of recognizing your particular vulnerability,” said Rachel Gouin, executive director of the Child Welfare League of Canada.

“It should not be that hard.”

Faced with the issue, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government didn’t give aid to vulnerable people to pay the bills through the pandemic “to then claw it back afterwards.”

“We need to have a system that goes after people who are deliberately trying to defraud the system,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “But people who received money that they needed, or made good-faith mistakes about the application, should not worry about it.”


RELATED: Self-employed Canadians may have to pay back CERB


The letters have created a groundswell of anxiety as the Canada Revenue Agency questions whether some of the nearly nine million CERB recipients met eligibility rules for the payments.

The government has always said it would check afterward on eligibility and recoup wrongful payments.

While self-employed people have received much attention over a dispute about eligibility, letters have also gone to some of the estimated 6,000 to 7,000 young people who aged out of care each year — meaning they turn 18 or 19, depending on provincial rules, and are left to a patchwork of supports.

Christian said her group helped young people connect with officials and experts to understand the eligibility requirements before deciding whether to apply.

“We were all searching, we were all scrambling trying to figure out how to survive during the pandemic,” she said. “The different rules and the different recommendations that were put out caused a little bit of confusion.”

Gouin said repayments may not be an option for many of these youth because they don’t have much to start with. Nor do they have families to turn to, she said.

The CRA said any recipients found ineligible will have to eventually pay money back, but noted that collection efforts won’t happen until “it is responsible to do so.”

Child-welfare groups have quietly raised concerns to federal cabinet ministers, but left meetings without any hint something would be done.

“The fact that the government is asking … them to repay something that they desperately needed to survive in the pandemic to me is atrocious. It’s inhumane, to be honest,” said Melanie Doucet, a McGill University researcher probing the effects on youth aging out of care during the pandemic.

Trudeau said in the Wednesday interview that the government will have more to say in the coming months about what the medium-term path for this group of aid recipients could look like, without going into further detail.

“We will be evaluating and looking at how we can help the vulnerable and make sure that we get through this, all of us, as best as we possibly can,” Trudeau said.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Dec 17th, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Thursday Dec. 17, 2020.

There are 481,630 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 481,630 confirmed cases (75,885 active, 391,946 resolved, 13,799 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 6,416 new cases Wednesday from 64,919 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 9.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 201.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 46,300 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,614.

There were 140 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 816 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 117. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.31 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 36.71 per 100,000 people.

There have been 12,756,869 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 364 confirmed cases (23 active, 337 resolved, four deaths).

There were five new cases Wednesday from 582 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.86 per cent. The rate of active cases is 4.41 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 11 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 68,326 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 89 confirmed cases (16 active, 73 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday from 939 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 10.19 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of five new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 74,161 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,430 confirmed cases (55 active, 1,310 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were four new cases Wednesday from 1,583 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.25 per cent. The rate of active cases is 5.66 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 41 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is six.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been 164,699 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 567 confirmed cases (52 active, 507 resolved, eight deaths).

There were eight new cases Wednesday from 567 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.4 per cent. The rate of active cases is 6.69 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 25 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.03 per 100,000 people.

There have been 110,544 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 169,173 confirmed cases (17,392 active, 144,168 resolved, 7,613 deaths).

There were 1,897 new cases Wednesday from 9,999 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 19 per cent. The rate of active cases is 204.97 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12,705 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,815.

There were 42 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 264 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 38. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.44 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 89.72 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,359,553 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 146,535 confirmed cases (17,084 active, 125,416 resolved, 4,035 deaths).

There were 2,139 new cases Wednesday from 47,580 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.5 per cent. The rate of active cases is 117.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 13,735 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,962.

There were 43 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 199 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 28. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.2 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 27.7 per 100,000 people.

There have been 6,876,041 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 21,826 confirmed cases (5,797 active, 15,506 resolved, 523 deaths).

There were 291 new cases Wednesday from 2,478 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 12 per cent. The rate of active cases is 423.3 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,171 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 310.

There were 15 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 85 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.89 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 38.19 per 100,000 people.

There have been 384,964 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 12,594 confirmed cases (4,213 active, 8,283 resolved, 98 deaths).

There were 162 new cases Wednesday from 1,109 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 15 per cent. The rate of active cases is 358.72 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,695 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 242.

There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 27 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.33 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 8.34 per 100,000 people.

There have been 286,679 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 84,597 confirmed cases (20,169 active, 63,668 resolved, 760 deaths).

There were 1,270 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 461.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 11,109 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,587.

There were 16 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 107 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 15. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.35 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 17.39 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,547,298 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 44,103 confirmed cases (11,035 active, 32,376 resolved, 692 deaths).

There were 640 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 217.6 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,766 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 681.

There were 24 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 133 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 19. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.37 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 13.65 per 100,000 people.

There have been 866,132 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 59 confirmed cases (one active, 57 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday from 17 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.45 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,790 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 22 confirmed cases (seven active, 15 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday from 44 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 15.62 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of seven new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,552 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 258 confirmed cases (41 active, 217 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday from 21 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 105.72 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 29 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,054 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Dec. 17, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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