Canada Post work stoppage: Medical marijuana producers switch to courier services

Faced with potential labour disruptions at Canada Post, licensed medical marijuana producers have turned to alternative methods for delivering patient prescriptions.

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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.”

Montreal men charged after forcing woman into sex trade, threatening to kill dog: police

Two Montreal men have been charged after Toronto police said they forced a woman into prostitution and threatened to kill her dog if she didn’t continue.

Toronto police said a 20-year-old woman was taken from the Montreal-area to Toronto by two men, who allegedly forced her into the sex trade industry.

Investigators said the men took photos of the woman in various stages of undress and posted them on an escort website that also advertised her sexual services.

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READ MORE: Ontario promises to spend up to $72 million to fight human trafficking

The men then also allegedly “managed all incoming calls” and police said they made arrangements with clients to meet the woman.

Police said the woman was forced to turn over all of her money to the men, but eventually refused to work and attempted to leave.

That’s when police said the woman was assaulted and forced to stay with the men unless she was able to pay an “exit fee.”

READ MORE: Man, woman from Brampton arrested in human trafficking investigation

The men then allegedly took all the woman’s belongings, which police said included her pet dog that the men threatened to kill “in an attempt to control her.”

Amine Chakar, 19, and Anass Ahaouaze, 19, both of Montreal, were arrested Tuesday by the human trafficking enforcement unit and charged.

Chakar faces seven charges, including trafficking in persons by recruiting, financial/material benefit by trafficking persons, withholding travel or identity documents, assault, procuring prostitution, advertising another person’s sexual services and forcible confinement.

READ MORE: Teenage girl charged in recruitment of Toronto high school student into sex trade

Ahaouaze has been charged with trafficking in persons by recruiting, financial/material benefit by trafficking persons, withholding travel or identity documents, assault, advertising another person’s sexual services and forcible confinement.

Both men appeared in a Toronto court on Wednesday and police said they are concerned there may be other alleged victims.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7474, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 长沙桑拿按摩论坛长沙夜生活222tips长沙桑拿, or by texting TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).

Low-income bus pass applications now being accepted by Halifax Transit

Halifax Transit is now accepting applications for it’s low income bus pass pilot program.

Successful participants will be able to buy monthly transit passes for half price.

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To be eligible, you must be a resident of Halifax Regional Municipality and have a combined gross annual household income of less than $33,000. You cannot apply if you get transit costs covered by another agency, including the the Department of Community Services Employment Support and Income Assistance Program.

The first phase of the pilot program will run six months, from September of this year to February 2017.

The pilot program was approved by Regional Council in June, with the objective of making transit in the city more affordable for low income residents.

Applications for the 500 passes will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications can be made online here, or in person at one of the following municipal Citizen Contact Centres:

Acadia Centre, Lower SackvilleAlderney Gate, DartmouthBayers Road Centre, HalifaxScotia Square, Halifax

In May, Patricia Huges with Halifax Transit said they didn’t know how many people in the municipality might be eligible for the program.

“It’s hard to get an exact number. We do know that as of a few years ago, there was about 34,000 that would have met the Stats Canada low-income cut off, which is a slightly different metric. We do anticipate it would be around that number today,” Hughes said.

“There are more than 7,000 that do receive a transportation subsidy from the province that wouldn’t be eligible, so certainly somewhere around 25,000 would be a good estimate.”

Halifax council will re-evaluate the pilot program after the six-month pilot project is over.

Toronto Board of Health approves safe injection sites, sending issue to council

Toronto’s Board of Health has unanimously endorsed the opening of three safe injection sites, sending the proposal to a decisive council vote next week.

The locations would be inside a Public Health office near Yonge-Dundas Square, the Queen West-Central Toronto Community Health Centre near Queen and Bathurst Streets, and the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David McKeown, said safe injection sites are shown to be effective in reducing overdose deaths and harm tied to intravenous drug use.

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READ MORE: Toronto’s top doctor calls for 3 safe injection sites in city

He said public opinion has changed since the idea to follow Vancouver and open a site was first floated three years ago.

“I think we’ve come to a point in Toronto where supervised injection is something that people recognize is important and are willing to support even in their own neighbourhoods,” McKeown said.

An online survey conducted as part of city consultations on the proposed sites found overwhelming agreement that they would be beneficial, with less than one-third of respondents flagging them as a concern.

There were 258 overdose deaths in the city in 2014, a 10-year high, a city report states.

Health board chair Coun. Joe Mihevc said he was brought to tears listening to deputants at the hearing tell of losing loved ones to drug use and a “tough love approach” that did more harm than good.

“Today is a victory for communities concerned about drug use in their local neighbourhoods,” said Mihevc.

“Now we will have three sites where people can go and make sure, if they are using injection drugs, that they will be able to do it safely. And that’s a victory.”

He said the goal of the sites will be to bring overdose deaths “down to zero.”

“These are human beings, these are our brothers, our sisters, our friends, our colleagues —; and it’s an intolerable public health epidemic.”

The consultation process leading up to the vote helped build public support for safe injection sites, Mihevc said.

“I think that was one of the genius parts of the process. This was city hall really saying ‘to make this work we needed to reach out in a broad and healthy way.’ And we did that and it’s obviously paid off.”

He said the cost of the program would be $3 million in capital and operational funding, with the money to come from the province.

Mayor John Tory and Police Chief Mark Saunders have expressed support for the proposal.

WATCH: March 14, 2016: The Medical Officer of Health is calling on the city to launch consultations on opening injection sites in three existing health centres downtown. Mark McAllister reports.

Drop the chemicals: Green cleaning products you have around the house

We can likely all agree that cleaning isn’t fun but what’s lurking in common cleaning products can also irritate skin or cause respiratory issues.

Even some “green” cleaning products can contain toxic ingredients.

READ MORE: Spring cleaning: how to declutter and get organized

The good news is it’s likely you have some effective cleaning products in your kitchen cupboards right now. Here are some everyday natural products to get your home squeaky clean.

Baking soda  – whitens, cuts grease, deodorizes and lifts dirt.

Clean your fridge with a teaspoon of baking soda per litre of water.Remove stains from coffee and tea cups with a paste of baking soda and water.Clean your toothbrush by soaking it in warm water mixed with baking soda overnight.Wash your veggies and fruit in a large bowl of cool water with a few tablespoons of baking soda.Clogged drain? Pour a cup of baking soda and a cup of hot vinegar. Let sit for a few minutes, then flush with a litre of boiling water.

Vinegar  – cuts grease, deodorizes and disinfects.

A vinegar and baking soda solution will help remove stubborn grease stains on and inside the stove.Deodorize your fridge by wiping surfaces with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar.Run your coffee maker with vinegar instead of water. Run at least twice more with just water before making coffee.Clean windows and TV screens with a solution of 10 parts water to vinegar and a soft cloth.Pour vinegar into toilet bowl and let sit for five minutes before flushing or scrubbing.

WATCH: All natural cleaning solutions get the job done 

Lemon – deodorizes, cuts grease.

Freshen your home by simmering sliced lemons in water on the stove for an hour.Mix one tablespoon of lemon juice with two tablespoons of salt to make a rust-removal scrub.Remove smells from wooden cutting boards and bowls by rubbing with lemon peel —; don’t rinse.Remove discolouration from plastic utensils by rubbing with cloth soaked in lemon juice, then rinse.Remove odours from your skin by rubbing with fresh lemons.

You can also mix your own cleaners, laundry soaps. The David Suzuki Foundation has a list of “green cleaning recipes” online.

Here’s one for furniture polish:

2 cups warm water2 Tbsp olive oil2 Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice

Pour all ingredients into a spray bottle. Shake well, spray, rub, and polish with rag.

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