Western U launches survey, faculty union wants COVID-19 vaccine mandate

The union representing faculty at Western University is continuing to push for a broader COVID-19 vaccine mandate and says a survey meant to estimate vaccination rates and “inform health and safety measures” is unnecessary.

University of Western Ontario Faculty Association president Nigmendra Narain says UWOFA has also drawn support from the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents teaching assistants, as well as the King’s University College Faculty Association (KUCFA).

On Wednesday, Western University launched the confidential survey, which consists of just two questions: Have you been fully vaccinated against COVID-19? And, if not, do you plan to be fully vaccinated before the start of the fall semester?

“This is just one piece of information that we’re trying to collect to help guide us in all of the decisions we have to make to ensure that our campus will be safe,” Western University acting provost and vice-president Dr. Sarah Prichard told Global News on Thursday.

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COVID-19: Faculty union seeks vaccine mandate at Western University

Campus community members are being notified of the survey via email and the survey is being conducted by Metrics@Work out of St. Catharines, which will provide the university with only aggregated group data.

UWOFA, however, does not anticipate that the information gathered from the survey will be revelatory.

“A survey, I don’t think, is going to change the necessity for a vaccine mandate. It’s just going to create a situation where they’ve got some information,” Narain said, before raising concerns about the information itself.

“How many people are going to reply, what sort of data is this going to generate?”

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Western University has already implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for students living in residence, but UWOFA says that’s not enough.

When asked what additional action UWOFA is willing to take in pursuit of a mandate, Narain said that the focus now is on the administration’s response.

“If it comes down to what happens if there’s no vaccine mandate, we have to consider what are our options and we’ll have to look at those seriously. But at this juncture, I would prefer to sort of ‘let’s figure out a way to get what we need done,’ which is the vaccine mandate.”

Narain added that the Middlesex-London Health Unit has already said it would support a mandatory vaccination policy, if implemented, and KUCFA and PSAC have also joined UWOFA’s call.

However, Prichard says there has not been support for a mandate at the provincial level.

“The chief medical officer for public health for the province of Ontario has said that he does not believe that it is necessary and has not been interested in mandating it,” she explained.

“Public health, they’re our partners and we work with them and we work with the same data, much of the same data, that they have and we follow along with them. It’s always been our commitment to follow public health guidance.”

She added that there are also legal considerations but that “legal considerations alone would not stop us” from requiring vaccination “if, indeed, that became the appropriate and mandated decision from Public Health (Ontario).”

Narain addressed potential criticisms that a mandatory vaccination policy could infringe on individual rights, arguing that it is necessary to provide a safe workplace and would even help protect those who are unvaccinated.

“We will still have individuals who have medical and religious grounds for not being vaccinated. And if they are back at Western with the vaccine mandate and they have their exception, they themselves are safer.”

Read more:
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In the absence of a mandate, Narain said some faculty are considering different options like moving an in-person class online.

“What our members are not able to focus on right now is the teaching that they are going to be doing in a few weeks because they’re worried about this overhanging, looming issue… In the absence of (a vaccine mandate), we are going to keep hearing from members and they are emailing us about ‘what about this option’ and ‘what about that option.’”

Prichard says Western’s first concern is safety and they have “a lot of confidence that we can have a campus that is safe.”

She added that for those with serious concerns, there are mechanisms for various accommodations are available for students, staff and faculty through their human resources department.

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

Edmonton Elks do some scrambling to prepare for the Redblacks on Saturday

Preparation for the first game of the regular season is always challenging. Throw in a 21-month gap against a team that went through an overhaul, and the the Edmonton Elks are facing a process that’s even more of a challenge.

The Edmonton Elks host the Ottawa Redblacks on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday night. Both teams have a new head coach, as well as new offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators.

Read more:
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For the Elks, they have to look at film from when Paul LaPolice was the offensive coordinator of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Mike Benevides is the Redblacks defensive coordinator. The last time he was in the CFL was from 2016 to 2018 when he held the same role with Edmonton.

Quarterback Trevor Harris says it makes the process of preparation very interesting.

“We’re doing specific things to attack their defence and we’re just going to do what we do because there’s a lot of stuff that changes over the last year and a half,” Harris said.

“Their coordinator hasn’t coordinated since 2018, so we’re prepared for a wide range of things. Just basically heading out there and trying to execute the best we can and do the best we can to prepare for Bene.”

Defensive back Aaron Grymes played under Benevides during his second stint with the green and gold. He also played with Redblacks starting quarterback Matt Nichols when was in Edmonton.

Read more:
New head coach and new identity for the Edmonton Elks

Grymes has played against Nichols plenty of plenty of times as well when Nichols was a member of the Blue Bombers under LaPolice’s direction. Grymes says it’s a system that he’s seen many times before, but questions how different the Redblacks offence will look under LaPolice as their head coach.

“We know the type of offence LaPolice likes to run, but that’s with a whole different group of guys. He’s going to be doing that with a whole new different team now,” Grymes said.

“Some of those things might not work or they might not look the same. We’re going to try and get a good idea of where he’s going to hit us, but after that we react on the sidelines, we’ll make some changes, and we expect to go out there and win the football game.”

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Schemes in the CFL are often duplicated, but the players who run those schemes are different with each team. So what’s more important to Elks head coach Jamie Elizando?

“I think they’re hand-in-hand,” Elizondo said. “You look at what somebody does schematically, but it’s usually tied to the strengths and weaknesses of those players. Why are they playing a certain coverage (on defence)? On offence, why are they in a certain formations? So I think it’s probably 50-50.

You can hear the Edmonton Elks season and home opener on Saturday against the Ottawa Redblacks on 630 CHED, starting with an extended edition of Countdown to Kick-off at 6pm. The opening kickoff on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium will be at 8 p.m.

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

N.B. medical society backs mandatory vaccines for health workers

The New Brunswick Medical Society is backing a national call to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for health-care workers. But as Tim Roszell reports, the health authorities are non-committal.

The New Brunswick Medical Society (NBMS) is backing a national call to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for health-care workers.

But the province’s health authorities remain non-committal.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) issued a joint statement Tuesday saying vaccinations should be made mandatory for health-care workers because of ongoing concerns over COVID-19 variants and a stalled vaccination rate.

They say mandatory vaccinations would be “an additional measure” to protect patients and workers themselves.

“As health providers, we have a fundamental duty of care towards our patients and the public,” said CMA President Dr. Ann Collins. “There is significant evidence that vaccines are safe and effective and as health professionals who are leading the vaccination campaigns, it is the right call and an appropriate step.”

READ MORE: COVID-19: Growing support for mandatory vaccination of B.C. health-care workers

NBMS President Dr. Jeff Steeves said it’s the right approach.

He said education and time have proven effective in getting many people vaccinated. With plenty of vaccines available, along with the likelihood of needing to surpass an 80 per cent vaccination coverage for herd immunity, the vaccines “need to go somewhere.”

“We’ve always decided in the past people have the right to choose,” Steeves said. “But also, people have the right to go to the hospital and know that the people providing their care are not going to harm them.”

It’s not clear if Horizon Health Network and Vitalité Health Network will force the issue with staff. Both tell Global News that no final decisions have been made on mandatory vaccinations.

“At this time, we are continuing to strongly encourage our staff to get the vaccine and we fully expect our health care employees to be ambassadors for health and scientific advancements to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Erin Arsenault, Horizon Health Network’s acting chief human resource officer, in an email to Global News.

Steeves said health-care facilities should have some flexibility on what, if any, restrictions they choose to impose, rather than having a blanket policy from government.

York Care Centre’s  president and CEO, Tony Weeks, agrees.

The Fredericton long-term care home announced Tuesday it would make vaccinations mandatory for all new employees, under what it calls an interim policy.

Weeks said the policy came together through discussions with staff, residents and their families.

“We’re just taking this to using the same logic we applied throughout the pandemic,” Weeks said. “What makes the most sense, what’s the right thing to do to protect everyone.”

READ MORE: COVID-19: Public has mixed reaction to N.B. move to green

Weeks admits more challenging discussions lie ahead, with policies for current staff and unvaccinated residents still to come, although he said his staff’s vaccination rate is at 94 per cent.

Steeves believes there are parallels between mandatory vaccinations for health-care workers and previous vaccinations required for travel to certain countries.

“When I traveled for the military in the past, you had to have a yellow fever vaccine,” Steeves said. “My dog has to have a distemper shot to go to America.”

“We have responsible safeguards in many places in society, so this is not that novel.”

In an email to Global News, Department of Social Development spokesman Robert Duguay said the department is working with facility owners and the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes to encourage workers to be vaccinated.

“At this time, mandatory vaccinations are not being considered,” Duguay said.

The Department of Health did not respond to a request for comment by deadline.

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

What you need to know about Saskatchewan Roughriders game day transportation

With just one more sleep before the Saskatchewan Roughriders kick off the 2021 CFL season against the B.C. Lions on Friday, the City of Regina is reminding residents of ways to travel to and from the game.

Apart from driving, biking or walking to Mosaic Stadium, Rider Transit is a free service offered two hours and 15 minutes before the game up until 30 minutes to kickoff.

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Buses return at the beginning of the fourth quarter and are available up to one hour after the game has ended.

Riders are being asked to arrive early at designated pickup spots listed below:

  • Southland Mall
  • Northbound Albert Street at Ninth Avenue
  • University of Regina – Lot 2
  • Sixth Avenue at Hamilton Street
  • Eastbound Saskatchewan Drive at Hamilton Street
  • Dewdney Avenue at Scarth Street
  • Westbound Victoria Avenue at Scarth Street
  • Dewdney Avenue at Lorne Street

Roughrider ticket holders can ride regular transit free of charge, including registered clients for Paratransit service, by showing their game-day ticket.

Transit riders are encouraged to bring a mask although they are optional and to use hand sanitizer available on all Regina transit buse, or to.stay home if they feel sick.

Evraz Place is offering a bike valet service located outside Gate No.1 located in the southwest corner of the stadium beside Confederation Park.

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The city reminds people of Mosaic Stadium’s clear bag policy. More details can be found at riderville.com.

There will be vehicle restrictions on game day to allow foot traffic to safely move around the stadium.

The following locations have restrictions due to foot traffic or construction:

  • Southland Mall
  • Argyle Street south of Dewdney Avenue to Ninth Avenue
  • Elphinstone Street between Saskatchewan Drive and Dewdney Avenue
  • Ninth Avenue from McTavish Street to Montague Street
  • 10th Avenue closed westbound at Montague Street
  • North Railway Street closed westbound at Elphinstone Street

Residents can stay up to date on construction restrictions by visiting the city’s road report.

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

Trace Adkins Knew About Blake Shelton & Gwen Stefani’s Secret Wedding

Even Trace Adkins did not get the invitation to Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani’s wedding.

Shelton and Stefani tied the knot in an ultra-private ceremony on July 3. The wedding took place at a private chapel on Shelton’s Oklahoma ranch and the only celebrity in attendance was “The Voice” host Carson Daily, who officiated the ceremony. Even Adkins, a good friend of Shelton’s who was informed about the wedding in advance, didn’t make the list.

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“Oh, yeah. He told me,” Adkins said in a recent phone interview with The Boot. “I mean, he didn’t invite anybody to the wedding.”

“I probably wouldn’t want to come, anyway, because I didn’t want to witness that woman throw her life away like that,” Adkins added in a teasing deadpan. “So, I didn’t wanna go, anyway… I’m sure a lot of people had some choice words for him.”

RELATED: Blake Shelton Details Writing Process For That Romantic Song

Shelton previously told Storme Warren of “The Highway” on SiriusXM how some of his friends reacted to the secret wedding.

“So I’ve had awkward conversations with so many of my friends since,” Shelton confessed. “It’s, ‘Oh, oh, yeah. I read, y’all. Yeah, I read about that. How was that?.. Listen, you know, we kept it small, get over it.”

© 2021 Entertainment Tonight Canada, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Dolly Parton Named One Of Forbes’ Richest Self-Made Women In 2021

Forbes just released their annual list of Richest Self-Made Women, and for the first time ever, Dolly Parton was included.

According to the outlet, the country music icon, 75, made $350 million.

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In their announcement, Forbes noted, “In a year when most of the music industry slowed down, the country singer and co-owner of amusement park Dollywood was busier than ever: She wrote a song inspired by her experience during the pandemic, released her first holiday album in 30 years and starred in a Netflix film, ‘Christmas On The Square’.”

They added, “Arguably her most important contribution: a $1 million donation that helped fund Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine research.”

RELATED: Dolly Parton Spent Royalties From ‘I Will Always Love You’ On Office Complex In Black Neighbourhood

Of Dollywood, which she cofounded 1986, is the biggest ticketed tourist attraction in the Tenessee and accounts for nearly 4,000 jobs, making it the largest employer in the community.

Forbes also noted that Parton’s musical catalogue alone “makes up a third” of her wealth at $150M.

Parton also signed a deal with IMG Models in 2019.

© 2021 Entertainment Tonight Canada, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Cardi B Tests Her Skills In Rhythmic Gymnastics For New Episode Of ‘Cardi Tries’

We all know Cardi B can rap, but she can perform rhythmic gymnastics too.

In a new episode of Messenger’s “Cardi Tries” the rapper, 28, who is currently expecting her second child with husband Offset, tried her hand at the sport with “Insecure” actress Amanda Seales.

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Stasya Generalova, who’s a member of the United States’ rhythmic gymnastics national team, also joined in on the fun as their coach.

According to Cardi, her daughter Kulture, 3, is interested in trying out the sport so she decided to give it a go first.

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“I am not a flexible person, however, everything that I can do I’m gonna make sure my daughter can do,” Cardi says in the clip. “Now that she turned 3, I’m gonna put her in gymnastics class. I just want her to be really flexible because being flexible always takes you a long way with everything.”

She later added, “I watch these Olympic gymnasts and I think that gymnastics would be a good sport for my daughter,” she said.

© 2021 Entertainment Tonight Canada, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Welcome To Thomas Rhett & Lauren Akins’ Nashville Home

Welcome to Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins’ home.

Akins invites you into the couple’s Nashville home in a new magazine feature. The family took inspiration from their grandparents with a modern twist to design a house that truly feels like a home.

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“I really wanted it to feel like our grandparents’ homes,” Akins dishes to House Beautiful for the publications August/Sept 2021 issue. “Their homes — and the memories made in them — are what inspired us to build a home for our family and friends.”

“There are already stains on the carpets, markers on the walls, fingernail polish spilled on the wood floors, but it is a real and happy home,” she adds of the “perfectly imperfect” parts of her home. “I love how much love it holds.”

Home design maestro April Tomlin details how she constructed the home’s layout.

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“There’s not a lot of unused open space,” Tomlin shares. “Every wall has a chair or a painting—we had to overdecorate the space to give it that intimacy.”

The August/Sept. 2021 issue of House Beautiful is available on newsstands starting August 10.

© 2021 Entertainment Tonight Canada, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Disney Shot Down Ryan Reynolds’ Pitch For A ‘Deadpool’ & ‘Bambi’ Crossover

Ryan Reynolds had plans for the universes of “Deadpool” and “Bambi” to crossover.

Reynolds, 44, revealed that he pitched a short film to the House of Mouse involving the Merc with a Mouth and Disney’s klutzy fawn. Unfortunately, the Vancouver-born actor and the American conglomerate were not on the same page.

RELATED: Ryan Reynolds On Fangirling Over Mariah Carey

“I wanted to do a short film of Deadpool interrogating the hunter who killed Bambi’s mom,” Reynolds told IGN. “But the whole gist of it is that Deadpool is actually just a huge fan. He’s not interrogating – he just wants to know how he could be the most loathed Disney character in the history of Disney… and of course, Disney was like, ‘well, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.'”

While Reynolds and Disney were not on the same page about a Deadpool and Bambi crossover, Reynolds was able to clear a crossover with the “Thor” character Korg, portrayed by Taikia Waititi.

RELATED: Ryan Reynolds Remembers Final Phone Call With Alex Trebek

“Then we came back to them – we wrote the Deadpool-Korg piece… and we sent it to them, and they said, ‘yes!’,” Reynolds continued. “So, my next call was to Taik aand Taika was in. He’s also in ‘Free Guy’ so it wasn’t that hard… Taika’s an actual genius so I was thrilled to collaborate with him as this kind of character.”

The crossover marked the first time Deadpool crossover into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed the third “Deadpool” movie will have an R-rating.

© 2021 Entertainment Tonight Canada, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Billie Eilish & Finneas Cover ‘I’m In The Mood For Love’ By Julie London

Billie Eilish is in the mood for love.

Eilish, 19, and her brother Finneas dropped by BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge for a cover of Julie London’s rendition of “I’m In The Mood For Love”. The “bad guy” singer handled singing duties while Finneas accompanied her on acoustic guitar.

RELATED: Billie Eilish Is ‘Confident’ About Who She Is

“I’m In The Mood For Live” was originally released in 1935 by Robbins Music with composer Jimmy McHugh and lyricist Dorothy Fields. It was popularized by Frances Langford. Dozens of artists have since covered it; however, London’s is among the most popular.

Eilish and Finneas also performed live version of “I Didn’t Change My Number”, “NDA” and “Getting Older” from the songstress’ new album, Happier Than Ever.

RELATED: Billie Eilish Reveals How Stalkers Affect Her Life

Happier Than Ever, Eilish’s sophomore album, was released on July 30 to critical acclaim.

© 2021 Entertainment Tonight Canada, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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