As the on-site investigation into a house explosion in Mississauga comes to a close, residents are being allowed to return to the site and investigators are shifting their focus to mysterious letters found at the scene in an attempt to determine the cause of the blast.
About 700 homes were evacuated after a house located at 4201 Hickory Dr. was levelled by an explosion around 4:20 p.m. Tuesday, leaving as many as 25 neighbouring residences damaged and nine people injured.
Two bodies were recovered from the rubble, 55-year-old Dianne Page on Tuesday and 55-year-old Robert Nadler on Thursday. Police said Thursday that although the explosion is considered a criminal investigation, the homicide bureau is not yet involved.
READ MORE: Mississauga house explosion: Investigators identify second body pulled from rubble
Paul Camilleri, Page’s nephew, told Global News Saturday that Nadler had served 10 years in prison in connection with the killing of a friend after a dispute over money in 1982.
“We had a happy family until this all happened,” Camilleri said.
“We can’t get back our aunt, none of us personally said our goodbyes … I’m basically going to live my entire life in regret that this happened.”
WATCH: Nephew of house explosion victim says aunt was ‘wonderful person,’ deeply religious
Peel Regional Police Sgt. Josh Colley said Monday that police and the Ontario Fire Marshal had concluded their on-site portion of the investigation, which now shifts towards the letters found at the scene.
“They’ll be working extremely hard to analyze letters that were found, some of the documentation that was found … and it will continue behind the scenes,” he said.
“They’re still working on the cause of the explosion and that will take some time and we want to make sure that we analyze all the evidence and are certain with the cause.”
READ MORE: Mississauga house explosion: Investigators identify body of woman found in rubble
Colley said expert analysis of the evidence is required, which could take weeks, so he could not provide a time frame on the investigation.
“I spoke earlier about handwriting analysis, the biggest portion is making sure the letters are associated to the right addresses,” he said.
“Because there have been numerous houses that were destroyed, we just have to make sure that what we have recovered thus far we can put back to the specific addresses.”
WATCH: Police still working to determine cause of Mississauga house explosion
Colley said the cause of the explosion is the main focus of the investigation and that autopsies on both bodies had been completed, but the cause of death was not released.
“Unfortunately that’s part of the investigation and that’s why they’re analyzing every piece of evidence,” he said.
“They want to be certain when a determination is made whether deliberate, accidental so that’s what’s taking so much time with this investigation.”
READ MORE: Mysterious notes found at Mississauga house explosion scene may lead to cause: police
Colley said he could not confirm Nadler’s criminal background because it is something police will be focusing on as part of their investigation.
“When we’re able to provide more information and we’ve figured out a cause and moved forward from there, we’ll be able to provide a lot more information to the media and to the public just to give them a sense of why and how this happened,” he said.
Colley said Wednesday that notes found at the scene of the explosion could provide insight into the cause of the blast.
WATCH: Investigators looking at mysterious notes found in rubble of Mississauga home explosion
Global News obtained one of the notes found at the scene and turned it over to police Wednesday.
The notes appear to be written by a woman who complains of an inability to maintain her house due to persistent health issues.
“I am sorry the house is a mess. I stopped vacumming [sic] when the power went off in the upstairs bathrooms. I stopped ironing a few month ago; When I could not stand up for long periods of time. I stopped dusting when I had to deal with my vertigo (the last year it began and now I have it often),” the note stated.
“I just stopped caring as much because of my pain … I trust God to look after me and my husband to take us home. I sleep away my days cause I am in pain. Vertigo is the worst.”
The notes also make several references to the Bible and the woman’s husband, who was also categorized as having health issues.
“Dear God, You know that my health and my husband’s health are in poor condition. We ask that you help us, we have trusted you with all of our lives and possessions because everything belongs to you; including us,” it reads.
“We have put all of our faith and trust in you. Only you can save us from man and his laws … Why are we still here God?”
WATCH: 700 addresses initially impacted by evacuation in Mississauga: fire chief
Mississauga Fire Chief Tim Beckett said Monday families in 69 residences remain under an evacuation order, but residents will continue to be allowed back to their homes this week.
“Over the period of the next couple of days we will start releasing that site, whether it be all at once or within sections, back to the residents, back to the insurance companies and in a very co-ordinated effort to ensure that the residents’ safety and the safety of any public coming into the area is addressed,” he said.
“On Tuesday, the night of the explosion, we had some 700 addresses that were impacted by the evacuation zone. Over time we have now been able to bring people back into the area and we’re now currently at 69 addresses that are unable to return to their homes.”
READ MORE: Explosion destroys home in Mississauga; at least 1 person dead, up to 25 houses damaged
Beckett added that of the 69 addresses, 32 units were in an apartment building located at 1360 Rathburn Road East in addition to 37 other homes.
He also said that some residents will be allowed into their homes on a 15-minute supervised visit to get their “personal needs,” before the homes are turned over to insurance companies and engineers are brought in to assess structural damage and whether they are safe to be occupied.
“Walking down the street was a little surreal just seeing where houses were and where it no longer is,” said neighbour Anna Wolanin.
“We eventually walked up the steps and they deemed that we could not go in to retrieve things. There’s a lot of glass everywhere, the ceiling is hanging.”
WATCH: Residents returning to site of Mississauga house explosion
Marco Mastrorilli said his grandparents live a few houses down from the blast, while his uncle lives across the street.
“It’s just devastating to see what happened. Never expected anything like this in my life,” he said. “I’ve been visiting them … for 17 years and never, never in my life expected this.”
Sandra Marasovic said emergency crews allowed her back into her house to retrieve some of her belongings and she’s grateful for the help they have provided.
WATCH: Displaced residents speak out after Mississauga house explosion
“That was the best phone call I’ve ever had in my life when they said, ‘You can go to your house for 10 minutes,’” she said.
“I was so ecstatic just to be in there for 10 minutes and see everything’s fine —; yeah there’s broken stuff but you know, it’s your life, your life is in there.”
Excitement was building Monday as NASA — as well as both professional and amateur astronomers — anxiously awaited the arrival of Juno, the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter since Galileo came to an end in 2003.
Overall, Juno’s mission is to better understand the evolution of Jupiter, a planet so large that more than 1,300 Earths could fit inside it. Jupiter, and its collection of more than 60 moons, has presented planetary scientists and astronomers with many mysteries yet to be uncovered.
WATCH LIVE: Juno mission to Jupiter
READ MORE: WATCH: Hubble captures brilliant aurora on Jupiter as Juno spacecraft nears
Scientists hope to explore Jupiter’s atmosphere in an effort to ascertain how much water it contains. This, in turn, will help planetary scientists to determine if theories on planet formation are correct.
Juno’s journey to Jupiter
Juno’s journey to Jupiter
Jupiter: Into the Unknown (NASA Juno Mission Trailer)
Hubble captures bright aurora in Jupiter’s north pole
NASA’s Juno spacecraft makes its way to Jupiter
Our solar system was created from a swirling cloud of dust and gases. When Jupiter — a giant gas planet — formed, it held on to much of that primordial material, acting like a giant history book. Juno will measure not only the water but other elements such as ammonia contained in the atmosphere, which will lead to a better understanding of our early solar system formation.
Then there is Jupiter’s rich and interesting cloud system, something that it is well known for, most notably, the largest and longest-lasting storm known in our solar system, the Great Red Spot.
Like the sun, different parts of Jupiter rotate at different speeds, depending on the latitude. This churns up gases and produces the colourful bands of clouds we see today. Juno will study their composition, temperature and motions and will also measure the clouds to unprecedented depths.
An illustration depicting Jupiter’s interior.
One of the most interesting things about Jupiter is its powerful magnetic field. It is the strongest of any other planet in our solar system.
WATCH: Astrophysicist Jesse Rogerson joined Global News to discuss the significance of Juno reaching Jupiter.
Here on Earth, our magnetic field is created by a combination of a liquid layer of iron, nickel and other metals around our inner solid core where the flow of liquid iron becomes electrically charged.
READ MORE: Juno’s mission to Jupiter: 7 weird and wonderful facts about this giant planet
When it comes to Jupiter, scientists believe that the powerful magnetic field is created as hydrogen is squeezed into metallic hydrogen where it acts like an electrically conducting metal.
Jupiter’s intense magnetic field allows for bright, strong aurorae at its poles, just like our northern and southern lights here.
Juno will sample some the charged particles and magnetic fields near Jupiter’s poles while also observing the aurorae.
Scientists hope that studying this relationship will help better understand magnetic fields as well as aurorae.
Measuring the magnetic field will also help scientists determine if Jupiter has a solid core, something that remains unknown.
WASHINGTON — Donald Trump is blaming the press for the fuss over an anti-Hillary Clinton tweet that appeared to depict the Star of David atop a pile of cash.
It was his first response to the matter since his official account tweeted— then deleted — the image Saturday in the face of an uproar over its potentially anti-Semitic connotations. Trump’s account later posted a new version with a circle in place of the six-point star.
READ MORE: Donald Trump forced to delete tweet after allegations of anti-Semitism
“Dishonest media is trying their absolute best to depict a star in a tweet as the Star of David rather than a Sheriff’s Star, or plain star!” Trump tweeted Monday.
Dishonest media is trying their absolute best to depict a star in a tweet as the Star of David rather than a Sheriff’s Star, or plain star!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 4, 2016
It remains unclear where the campaign found the image, but it previously appeared on a white supremacist message board filled with anti-Semitic messages as well as the 桑拿会所 feed of a self-identified comedian who tweeted out provocative and offensive images.
Trump’s campaign has not responded to questions since Saturday about who posted the message and where it was found.
READ MORE: Donald Trump appears as supervillain in new Marvel comic
Sarah Bard, Clinton’s director of Jewish outreach, said in a statement Monday that “Trump’s use of a blatantly anti-Semitic image from racist websites to promote his campaign” was part of a pattern. “Now, not only won’t he apologize for it, he’s peddling lies and blaming others,” she added. “Trump should be condemning hate, not offering more campaign behavior and rhetoric that engages extremists.”
Trump has long professed his support for Israel and his daughter converted to Judaism before her marriage. But he has come under scrutiny for repeatedly re-tweeting posts from white supremacists’ accounts and for not immediately renouncing the support of former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke.
Albertans call it the Big Hitch and when you see it, it’s easy to understand why.
Crews hooked up 30 Percheron horses to eight wagons Monday, all under the control of just one man: Neil Dimmock.
“This is the semi truck of today,” Dimmock told Global News in Strathmore, Alta.
“Back then (in the 1920s) if you wanted to move large and bulk items, you used many horses and many wagons.”
Slim Moorehouse’s Big Hitch in 1925 Calgary Stampede Parade with 36 horses and ten wagons.
Dimmock and his volunteer crew are now trying to re-create history with the animals.
In 1925, Slim Moorehouse made history driving a hitch of 36 horses and 10 wagons in the Calgary Stampede Parade.
READ MORE: City looks to Calgary Stampede for boost in tough economic times
The horseman broke a world record for the ride.
Moorehouse passed away in 1981, at the age of 71, but his daughter, Joan Riise, says he’d love that his work was being honoured.
“I think he’d think it was great.I really think he would,” Riise said. “Mind you he’d want to get up there himself and show them how it’s done,” she laughed.
Slim Moorehouse, in a photo provided by his daughter, Joan Riise.
Calgary Stampede ramps up security after 2015 stabbing, severe weather, terror attacks
What’s new for Calgary Stampede 2016
The hitch is attracting a lot of attention, not just in Alberta.
Billy Wilson travelled from his home in Texas to volunteer with the crew.
“To put this many animals in a hitch and be able to control them by one man is amazing to me.”
Even farm-raised Albertans like Sharon Lashmar agree.
“We used teams as kids, but you only had two or four (horses) hooked up…but to have more than two or four hooked up is pretty unique.”
The roughly 100-kilometre journey from Gleichen, Alta. began July 2. By Thursday the group will be in Calgary to help recreate what Moorehouse accomplished in the ‘20s, and ride in the Stampede Parade.
READ MORE: Stampede bars say corporate spending down at least 35%
Originally Dimmock wanted a hitch of the same size as Moorehouse, but due to a shortage of horses and restrictions on Calgary’s downtown streets, his hitch will be shortened to 20 horses and five wagons.
The Calgary Stampede says it’s thrilled to welcome the Big Hitch, but also wants to ensure the safety of the horses, its other entries and the spectators lining the parade route.
“In my opinion you’re more in danger from being struck by a band going by playing music than one of my horses,” Dimmock said.
READ MORE: Paul Brandt and Jann Arden announced as 2016 Calgary Stampede Parade marshals
He’s simply happy that new generations of Canadians can see one way this country was built.
“It’s draft horse history, it’s Alberta history, it’s farming history.”
Dellen Millard will appeal his first-degree murder conviction in the death of Tim Bosma, meaning both men convicted in the slaying are now seeking to overturn their verdicts in the high-profile case.
Millard’s lawyer during the trial, Ravin Pillay, confirmed to Global News that Millard is seeking an appeal.
A lawyer for co-accused Mark Smich, who was also found guilty of first-degree murder, said after the verdict was handed down last month that Smich would be appealing.
Pillay offered few details Monday, and could not say if he would be representing Millard for the appeal process.
READ MORE: ‘This does not bring Tim back’: Bosma’s widow speaks out after guilty verdicts
The jury deliberated for five days before coming to a decision June 17.
The conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years, which means Millard and Smich won’t be eligible for parole before 2038 after being credited for time already spent in custody.
Both are barred from owning weapons or communicating with the Bosma family and have been ordered to submit a DNA sample for the national databank.
Tim Bosma: Jury finds Millard, Smich guilty of first-degree murder
Tim Bosma: Jury finds Millard, Smich guilty of first-degree murder
‘We have waited for justice’: Tim Bosma’s widow speaks Millard, Smich guilty verdict
‘Justice has been done’: crown attorney discusses Millard, Smich guilty verdict
Dellen Millard and Mark Smich guilty of first-degree murder in Tim Bosma murder
The two men are also charged with first-degree murder in the death of Laura Babcock, a 23-year-old Toronto woman who vanished in the summer of 2012. Police say Babcock, whose body was never found, was romantically involved with Millard. The trial into her slaying is expected to begin early next year.
Bosma’s disappearance on May 6, 2013 after taking two men for a test drive of his truck made headlines across Canada and sparked a massive week-long search that saw more than 100 police officers scouring Millard’s properties in Waterloo Region.
READ MORE: Tim Bosma trial: Dellen Millard and Mark Smich guilty of 1st-degree murder
Millard, the heir to an aviation empire, was arrested before Bosma’s charred remains were found. Smich was arrested more than a week later, just hours before a memorial service that saw hundreds pay tribute to the Hamilton man.
More than 1,700 insurance claims have been filed by Alberta farmers bearing the brunt of severe weather.
Hail and tornado-level winds have damaged crops across central and southern Alberta.
“We do our hail claims by month, so at the end of June we had just over 1,200 claims,” said Nikki Booth, Agricultural Financial Services Corp. “So we are starting off July with almost 500.”
Alberta has battled several weeks of severe weather.
Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued just after noon Monday, for central regions including the Red Deer, Ponoka, Innisfail and Stettler area and then extended south to include Airdrie, Cochrane, Olds and Sundre at around 12:40 p.m..
Throughout the afternoon watches and warnings continued to extend south and east, with some areas flipping between the two as cells continued to track across the province.
As of 7:54 p.m. all warnings in the province had been reduced to watches, with the only affected areas being east central regions. By 10 p.m., all watches had been dropped.
Earlier in the day Environment Canada warned that conditions were favourable for the development of funnel clouds in the central regions, as seen in photos shared on social media.
11:55am Funnel cloud over Burnt Lake Industrial Park in Red Deer. #abstorm pic.twitter长沙桑拿/zX9VjlsMQC
— John Barnes (@Johnny_B500) July 4, 2016
For a full list of current alerts click here.
To get your weather on the go, download the Global News’ Skytracker weather app for iPhone, iPad and Android.
Watch below: Global’s coverage of the tornado activity near Ponoka Thursday.
Severe weather across Alberta poses danger for storm chasers
Severe weather across Alberta poses danger for storm chasers
Ponoka residents clean up after storm packs serious punch
Frightening funnel cloud forms in central Alberta
Funnel cloud spotted in central Alberta
Global’s Brienne Glass from Ponoka
Videos and photos of funnel cloud in Ponoka
Central Alberta residents clean up after vicious storm rips through
Watch below: A massive storm cell blew through the Killam/ Hardisty region Sunday afternoon.
Watch below: A timelapse between about 11 p.m. and just before midnight Sunday shows the stormy skies over Calgary looking south toward Okotoks.
A video showing an unidentified man throwing insulting remarks at the driver of a bus in Whistler has caught the attention of BC Transit.
The nearly four-minute video originally published on the Whistler Summer 2016 Facebook page shows a man walking onto a bus and getting into a verbal exchange with the driver.
It is not clear what started the altercation, but at one point in the video the man can be heard saying, “I have a cigarette outside. I put it out and I get that.”
He says, “I was smoking outside the bus, not on the bus, and when I got on the bus, I threw out the cigarette. You’re harassing me and I’m simply trying to get downtown.”
The man can then be seen going toward the back of the bus and telling the driver, whose face can’t be seen, to not talk to him again and call the police instead.
The man can be heard saying to the driver, “my $2,600 [Armani] suit is worth more than you make in six months” and “you need to go back to your country.”
He can then be heard telling the driver he needs to “understand who he works for.”
“You work for me. Understand that I am a customer,” he said.
It appears the man is a Whistler resident because, at one point in the video, he mentions that he owns a condo in Whistler and has never had a problem in 16 years of living there.
However, he also mentions TTC, the Toronto Transit Commission, prompting some online commenters to suggest he may be from out of town.
The exchange was filmed by another passenger on a rather empty bus. No one else got involved in the altercation.
The video has caused outrage on social media, with many suggesting the man’s behaviour was unacceptable.
John Barry with BC Transit told Global News the incident actually took place on the evening of June 18.
Barry says the bus operator handled the situation very professionally and reported it to Whistler Transit operations as it happened.
“The operator did not request any further assistance from operations, or local police, at the time as the passenger left the bus without further incident,” said Barry.
“BC Transit is always concerned with these types of passenger situations, but we are confident that our operators are well-trained to be able to deal with these types of difficult situations.”
Barry says the person who took the video didn’t formally follow up with Whistler Transit, but he is encouraging them to come forward and talk to BC Transit.
Sgt. Rob Knapton with Whistler RCMP says the matter was not reported to them by any of the people involved.
“We investigate all reports to determine if an offence has been committed so that appropriate action can be taken,” said Knapton. “If anyone involved wishes to, they can call us at 604-932-3044 to report the matter and provide a statement.”
WATCH: A disturbing confrontation on a bus in Whistler was caught on camera late night last week. John Hua has the details of the altercation and how people are reacting to the video on social media.
In case you missed it, the John Oakley show brought you the big stories of the day by talking to the story makers.
Mississauga residents displaced by Hickory Drive explosion get tax break
Mississauga councillors voted to offer grants on the city portion of property taxes to homeowners displaced by Hickory Dr. explosion after getting criticized for initially saying they would not waive the taxes.
Residents displaced by Mississauga house explosion will not pay portion of property tax
One of those residents, Mena Suh, told the John Oakley show she wants a full rebate for the taxes she has paid in the home she has not been able to live in since the explosion.
Councillor for Ward 3 Mississauga, Chris Fonseca, joined the show to detail a plan which would only rebate the municipal portion of the tax bill.
View link »
Premier Kathleen Wynne to announce hydro relief plan
Reports indicate that the Premier of Ontario will announce a plan that will save Ontario residents 25 per cent on their hydro bills. Progressive Conservative MPP and Finance Critic, Vic Fedeli joined the Oakley show and said the plan just takes “money out of one pocket and puts it in another”
View link »
The Oakley Panel
On the panel today, Oakley and friends discussed Trump Tower in BC, hydro rates in Ontario, and other topics worthy of discussion. Joining us in the AM640 studios today were:
Vince Gasparro – former advisor to Prime Minister Paul Martin and former Managing Director of The Green Tomorrow Fund; a Toronto-based Private Equity firm.
Peter Tabuns – MPP for Toronto-Danforth and the NDP’s Energy; Environment and Climate Change Critic.
Ross McLean – former police officer, bodyguard and security expert, McLean has extensive experience in both public and private security. He also has media experience and is a television, radio and print commentator.
It’s Independence Day in the U.S., and that means fireworks and celebration for the folks down south, including celebrities.
There are a lot of stars in Tinseltown who have Canadian lineage and ancestry; A-listers like Ryan Reynolds, Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling and Jim Carrey are open Canucks, but there are several stars who have an almost-secret Canadian history.
READ MORE: Pamela Anderson officially joins The Rock’s Baywatch movie
Here are a few of the stars you (probably) didn’t realize are actually Canadian.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Yes, The Rock hails from the Great White North. Well, kinda. His father is Nova Scotia-born wrestler Rocky Johnson, which makes him, at the very least, half-Canadian. And lest we forget Johnson’s brief stint in the CFL.
The Jackass alum and all-round dare-taker is proud of his Canadian heritage, frequently flashing his Canuck passport as proof. Steve-O, whose real name is Stephen Glover, is actually something of a self-proclaimed “mutt,” with relatives in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.
The man who played the beloved Scotty on the original TV series Star Trek, James Doohan, is another Canadian who may have fooled you into thinking he was of another nationality. Nope, he wasn’t Scottish by birth. Doohan, who died in 2005, was born in Vancouver, B.C.
Before you cry foul, read this and rejoice: the man who created arguably the greatest animated series of all time is Canadian. OK, half-Canadian. Groening’s father (named Homer, natch) was born in Main Centre, Sask.
We’ve been duped into thinking that Paquin is from the deep south after her time on True Blood, but nope. She was born in Winnipeg, Man. and raised in New Zealand.
This hilarious fellow may seem like a hard-as-nails American, but Macdonald is pure Canuck, originally from Quebec City and raised in Ottawa, Ont. You just wouldn’t know it, because Macdonald absconded to the U.S. as soon as possible to pursue his career in comedy (and he never looked back).
The star of Firefly and Castle is another example of a flying-under-the-radar Canadian. Fillion blends in so seamlessly with the hunky stars of primetime TV, it’s like no one bothered to check his Canadian pedigree. The uber-popular dreamboat was indeed born and raised in Edmonton.
OK, so we haven’t seen Fraser in a while, but if you’re a ’90s kid, you’ll recall his star power in films like Encino Man and School Ties, among many others. Fraser spent a lot of time travelling around the world, but stopped for a while in Toronto (at the prestigious Upper Canada College) before moving on to the U.S. Both of his parents are Canadian.
Cameron is so huge in the movies biz, it’s easy to forget he was born in Kapuskasing, Ont. At least he’s — sort of — returning to his roots; in 2014, he purchased Beaufort Vineyard and Estate Winery in Courtenay, B.C., at the cool price of $2.7 million. Hey, at least he’s giving back, eh?
ST. PETERS BAY, P.E.I. – The Atlantic premiers have announced details of a first-in-Canada pilot project designed to boost the region’s flagging economy through immigration, with a particular focus on ensuring that newcomers don’t join the steady stream of outmigration to other parts of the country.
Under the plan, the government will accept up to 2,000 immigrant applications in 2017, with increased numbers in the following years depending on performance.
“So it could be something like 4,000 people, and that number is scheduled to rise in coming years, depending on how well we do,” said John McCallum, the federal minister of immigration.
He said the immigration component will be largely driven by the provincial governments and their specific needs.
“We will be open to a variety of skill classes, and we, in my office, will work with each government to develop a plan specific to their own province with a focus on particular occupations, particular regions and with a focus on engaging companies to not only recruit the immigrants but to undertake measures to keep them here,” he said.
The details were announced Monday at a meeting in Prince Edward Island of the premiers and a number of federal cabinet ministers.
McCallum said the two levels of government will look for ways to ensure that once immigrants arrive, they’ll stay in a particular region. He said that could include efforts to expedite credentials for different jobs.
He said while the program will be a pilot project in Atlantic Canada, it could be the model for the rest of the country in years to come.
When asked what’s being done to entice people who have left their provinces to return, New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said attracting new people and repatriating residents is all part of the same effort.
Prince Edward Island Premier Wade MacLauchlan agreed.
“I truly believe by succeeding on immigration we will make Prince Edward Island a more attractive place in terms of repatriation,” MacLauchlan said.
He said the workforce in his province must grow in order to create sustained prosperity.
Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball said while increased immigration is necessary, it doesn’t mean that existing residents that are unemployed will be overlooked.
“Newfoundland and Labrador will always continue to invest in our residents who are ready and looking for employment. We will continue to train those that are under-skilled and looking for work,” he said.
Ball also stressed that the immigration plan is only one of the five pillars in the new Atlantic Growth Strategy.
Details will later be announced dealing with innovation, clean growth and climate change, trade and investment, and infrastructure.
“Our fundamental goal is to increase the number of good paying jobs and opportunities here in Atlantic Canada,” said Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development.
He said the growth strategy won’t be just another report that gathers dust.
“It’s legitimately about us focusing on areas of action and we can really move the agenda forward in a collaborative manner where we align our priorities and resources and we are outcome driven,” he said.
Faced with potential labour disruptions at Canada Post, licensed medical marijuana producers have turned to alternative methods for delivering patient prescriptions.
Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) are still locked in increasingly frosty contract negotiations, and though no work stoppage has been announced, medical marijuana producers have already made the switch to competing courier services.
“To reduce the risk of medication not making its way to our patients, which is our number 1 priority, we had to make the switch over to Purolator,” said Robyn Rabinovitch with CannTrust, a licensed medical marijuana producer based in Vaughan, Ont. “This is medicine that our patients need and we need to do all that we can to make sure that it gets into their hands.”
READ MORE: What are the Canada Post negotiations about anyway?
Rabinovitch said it is working with customers who use P.O. boxes to find an alternative solution, as Purolator doesn’t ship to P.O. boxes. Other companies that have made the switch include Canopy Growth Corp., Canada’s largest publicly traded marijuana company.
Under Health Canada regulations licensed producers are only allowed to ship marijuana products to customers by mail, with many opting to use Canada Post.
WATCH: Small businesses fear higher costs as Canada Post work stoppage looms
Jordan Sinclair, a spokesperson for Canopy Growth Corp., said while the company has shifted their package handling to courier services to avoid any shipping problems in the event of a work stoppage, the company doesn’t have any plans to abandon Canada Post.
“We are using a variety of courier services to be able to cover everywhere in Canada,” Sinclair said, adding that Canopy Growth moved away from Canada Post roughly 10 days ago. “We were happy with the level of service [Canada Post] provided and our customers seem to be happy with it as well. At least in the short term there isn’t any reason for us to think about permanently switching.”
READ MORE: What you need to know if service stops
The Crown corporation and CUPW, representing about 50,000 workers, have been in contract negotiations since late last year to reach a new agreement. Employee pension plans and what the union calls a two-tier pay scale for urban and rural mail carriers are at the heart of negotiations.
Neither side has provided the required 72-hour notice for a lock-out or strike.
There are 33 licensed medical marijuana producers in the country, all of which use the mail to ship tens of thousands of packages a year.
One of the co-founders of Gatineau-based Hydropothecary, which offers pricier buds starting at $15 a gram, said it will be unaffected by any job action at Canada Post.
“All of our deliveries are free of charge and through Purolator,” said co-founder Adam Mirron. “It will have very little if any impact on us and our customers.”