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Students stressed and anxious as universities deny residence spots due to COVID-19
Some Canadian universities are turning down residence applications by the hundreds this year, and the rejected students — who were hoping for an on-campus experience after the COVID-19 pandemic ate their final years of high school — say it's a major disappointment. Many say they're struggling to find alternative housing.
"It was a little bit stressful that it had to happen like that," said Dylan Bentley, a 17-year-old incoming first-year student at the University of Victoria. "The whole situation kind of sucks."
He and his parents are now looking for a rental in Victoria remotely from Metro Vancouver. Bentley said he may have to quit his job and move on short notice if he signs a lease that begins Aug. 1 or Aug. 15, if nothing for Sept. 1 is available.
The University of Victoria says the crunch is happening because the pandemic has led to a jump in enrolment and there are hundreds of students who deferred last year who now want to live in residence. The school also removed two old residence buildings in order to start building a new residence and dining facility.
UVic received 2,500 applications for 2,100 rooms this year, Jim Dunsdon, associate vice-president of student affairs, told CBC News.
Students at other universities, such as Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., and Dalhousie University in Halifax, are in the same boat.
A spokesperson for Queen's said in an email that it received 4,700 applications for 4,140 spots. The school's residences will operate at 93 per cent of the typical capacity this year, as triple, quad and loft double rooms will no longer be offered, and some spaces will be left for isolation.
Dal has reduced capacity to 80 per cent because of COVID-19, housing only one student in rooms that usually house two and leaving space for people who have to quarantine or self-isolate, the spokesperson said.
Other institutions say they've met demand by increasing capacity and requiring COVID-19 vaccinations to live in residence. Read more on this story here.
Passing the flame
(Yuki Iwamura/AFP/Getty Images)
Torchbearers transfer the Olympic flame ahead of today's opening ceremony for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. CBC will have live coverage of the ceremony on CBC TV network, CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports' Tokyo 2020 website. It begins at 7 a.m. ET and will re-air on CBC TV at 7 p.m. ET.
Female security guards at the Royal Canadian Mint operation in Ottawa faced constant sexual harassment and racial taunts while superiors either stood by or joined in, according to several former employees who spoke to CBC News. The former staffers said white protective services officers used the N-word against Black colleagues, called them slaves and compared one woman to a chimpanzee, while another former female employee said she was sexually harassed frequently. They said the sexism, harassment and racism drove them to quit their jobs and abandon their dreams of entering law enforcement. CBC News interviewed five employees who described a toxic, destructive workplace atmosphere that was enabled by management. Four spoke on the condition they not be named. A fifth filed a human rights complaint and is speaking publicly. "The damage is done," said Joelle Hainzelin, who worked as a Mint protective services officer from 2011 until 2019. "I am not the same person I was a few years ago." Read more on this story here.
Team Canada's chief medical officer said no members of Canada's delegation in Japan have tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the official start of the Olympic Games. "The plans we have in place are robust. There are a lot of Canadian, homegrown systems in place, including monitoring of air quality," Dr. Mike Wilkinson said at the Canadian Olympic Committee's media availability prior to Friday's opening ceremony. "I am confident that we've done everything we can to keep everyone safe." Wilkinson said the Canadian doctors and support staff have taken extra precautions and measures above what is being asked of them in Japan to keep Canada's athletes safe. Tokyo is operating the Olympics in a state of emergency that began July 12 and continues to Aug. 22 — well after the Aug. 8 closing ceremonies — because of infection cases. The 1,979 new cases Thursday were the highest since 2,044 on Jan. 15, according to a published report. About 23 per cent of Japanese are vaccinated. Read more about the health measures.
A controversial monument being built in Ottawa to honour victims of communist regimes has received donations in honour of known fascists and Nazi collaborators, according to a list posted online by the organization spearheading the project. The Memorial to the Victims of Communism is being financed partly through a "buy-a-brick" campaign called Pathways to Liberty, which is run by the registered charity Tribute to Liberty. The campaign sells "virtual bricks" that appear on the organization's website and in their newsletter. The bricks are dedicated to alleged victims of communism and include biographical notes about the individuals being commemorated. But some donors seem to be attempting to sanitize the records of known fascists and war criminals. An organization calling itself the General Committee of United Croats of Canada purchased bricks dedicated to Ante Pavelić, describing him only as a "doctor of laws." Pavelić was the wartime leader of the Ustaša, the fascist organization that ran the Independent State of Croatia, a Nazi puppet regime. In this role, he was the chief perpetrator of the Holocaust in the Balkans. Approximately 32,000 Jews, 25,000 Roma and 330,000 Serbs were murdered by the regime. Read more about the monument.
Ontario's long-awaited paid sick day program — created to protect vulnerable workers from COVID-19 — has seen far less uptake than anticipated, new figures reveal. Premier Doug Ford's government announced the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit in late April, after the pandemic's third wave was already receding. The government reimburses employers for paying their workers up to $200 per day for as many as three days if they can't do their job for any range of reasons related to COVID-19, including getting tested, caring for sick family members, and suffering side effects from vaccination. As of July 16, claims had been submitted for 39,887 employees since the program took effect, with an average of 1.8 days claimed per worker, according to published provincial numbers. To put those numbers in context: over the same 13-week period, Ontario reported more than 126,000 confirmed new cases of COVID-19 and administered some 13 million doses of vaccine.The program is due to end on Sept. 25. Read about the province's paid sick day program.
During the heat wave that suffocated the Pacific Northwest at the end of June into the first week of July, more than 800 people died in British Columbia. In the same period last year, there were 232 deaths, according to B.C. Coroners Service's chief medical officer, Dr. Jatinder Baidwan. The coroner's office is continuing to investigate all of the deaths in order to nail down exactly how many were heat-related. While we know that daytime temperatures are rising, in some regions — specifically in parts of Ontario and Quebec — nighttime temperatures are warming faster. Those warmer nights mean our bodies don't have any time to cool off. For people with health issues like heart disease or asthma, for example, this can be extremely problematic and potentially deadly. "Our bodies were not designed to put up with environmental heats that exceed the high 30s," Baidwan said. Read more on the dangers of rising nighttime temperatures.
The price of lumber rose at its fastest pace in more than a year on Thursday, after timber companies warned that wildfires in Western Canada are hurting their business. The price of a lumber futures contract jumped by more than 10 per cent, triggering circuit breakers designed to halt trading. Late in the day on Thursday, a contract for 1,000 board-feet of lumber was going for $647 US, up by more than $60 from the previous day's close. Prices are spiking because lumber companies in B.C. and elsewhere are scaling back operations because of wildfires. Vancouver-based Canfor said it will produce about 115 million fewer board-feet of product this quarter because wildfires have damaged the rail network on which it depends. CN lost the use of at least one rail bridge on its line into Vancouver, and CP is facing similar bottlenecks. Read more about the rebound in lumber prices.
Now for some good news to start your Friday: Vanessa Genier of Timmins, Ont., is collecting quilt blocks and assembling them for residential school survivors across the country. It's a project she's calling Quilts for Survivors. Her goal was to collect 215 blocks plus one, a number inspired by the recent reports of unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. That would allow her to make 18 quilts of 12 blocks each. However, the Facebook group for the project has received an overwhelming response. She has already beaten her goal just three weeks after asking for submissions, well ahead of her expected completion this fall. "Now, I have over 700 people in that group," Genier says. "I am now getting blocks not just from Canada, but from the U.S., and monetary donations instead from Mexico. There's even a lady in Norway making blocks to send." She now has enough to make at least 21 quilts. She says she'll continue stitching them together as long as people keep contributing. Read more about the quilting project.
Front Burner: The deepfaking of Anthony Bourdain
Deepfake technology — the use of algorithms to create realistic copies of people in video, audio, or photography — is once again in the spotlight. That's after Morgan Neville's documentary Roadrunner used the technology to copy the voice of the late Anthony Bourdain. MIT Technology Review senior artificial intelligence editor Karen Hao breaks down the risks for how we perceive our reality.
Today in history: July 23
1935: The Liberals under Walter Lea win all 30 seats in the P.E.I. legislature. It was the first time in the Commonwealth that a parliament was elected without any sitting opposition. Frank McKenna's New Brunswick Liberals repeated the feat in 1987.
1962: An agreement is signed settling Saskatchewan's medicare dispute between the provincial government and doctors. Canada's first universal health care plan had come into effect in Saskatchewan on July 1, but its implementation was delayed by controversy, including a strike by the province's doctors.
1983: An Air Canada 767 makes an emergency glide landing on an airstrip in Gimli, Man. The plane ran out of fuel in mid-air due to confusion over the metric system and fuel metering problems. None of the 61 passengers were hurt during the landing but some suffered minor injuries during the emergency evacuation. The infamous incident gained the aircraft the nickname — the "Gimli Glider."
1993: Carlos Costa, 20, a swimmer with both legs amputated above his knees, becomes the first disabled person to swim across Lake Ontario. He completed the swim from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., to Toronto in 32 hours and 43 minutes.
With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters