Nous croyons que les médias civiques générés localement, à partir de perspectives diverses, rendent notre ville plus forte. Rejoignez l’équipe ACTUALITÉS et participez au renforcement de notre démocratie locale. En tant que contributeur(trice) à l’équipe ACTUALITÉS, vous aurez accès à une formation sur tous les aspects de la collecte d’ACTUALITÉS et de la production audio. Nous recherchons des individus pour contribuer:
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2) Histoires de ACTUALITÉS. Ce sont des histoires de 5 à 7 minutes qui rapportent un problème ou un événement spécifique. Ces histoires de NEWS comprennent généralement des recherches, des entretiens et un bref résumé écrit. Voici un exemple.
Kara Brulotte – – OTTAWA • ON | 17-05-2023
The recent twelve-day public worker strike brought striking back to Canada’s public eye, with the last nation wide strike happening in 2004, nearly 20 years ago. Strikes have been used throughout history to push for workers rights, but what exactly are they, and what are the circumstances surrounding this most recent one? A strike is defined as a refusal to work organized by a body of employees as a form of protest, and they can last anywhere from a couple of hours to multiple months. Workers can strike for many different reasons, including to raise wages, improve benefits, get types of leave, and more recently, to remain working virtually instead of in person.
In Canada, legal strikes are organized by unions, which many employees, both public and private, are a part of, with the striking union being the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). This union represents 155,000 workers in various government departments, whose jobs range from Service Canada to Veterans Affairs. There are multiple different types of strikes, both legal and illegal, but the Canadian public workers strike was an economic one. So, what caused these workers to strike?
The recent public workers strike had many factors involved in its conception, but the main two causes of it were inflation and the pandemic. Over the past three years, government workers were not required to go into the office due to risk of Covid infection, and many grew accustomed to this. Sudbury CRA representative Chris Foucault said “Now that people have made these accommodations, they’ve got rid of their daycare, they homeschool their children and now they’re being forced to come back to the office”. Now, federal government workers are required to come to work in person for two out of the five days in the work week, and many are having trouble adapting to this change.
The second reason is current inflation rates. If wages remain the same while inflation continues to rise, that wage is losing value. This factor caused CPAC to reject a 9% wage increase over three years, continuing to push for a better deal. The federal workers strike had two main demands caused by the current situation, which were a wage increase and the ability to work from home all days of the week in order to avoid upending the lifestyle the pandemic had caused. The striker affected many federal services, including tax processing and passport renewal, as well as Social Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, and Canada Pension plan application. It also affected services provided by Veterans Affairs and Indigenous Services Canada. Picket lines were set up in cities across the country, with many protesting in Ottawa.
The Canadian government struck a deal with 120,000 of the striking workers after 12 days of protest, offering a 12.6% wage increase over four years, as well as a one-time payment of $2,500, according to the Treasury Board of Canada. There was also negotiated language targeting job security for PSAC employees and better managing of remote work requests, as well as the creation of a union-employer panel to discuss remote work issues and a joint committee to review equity training, according to a PSAC statement. The government did not change their stance on in-person work, and public workers are still required to go into the office two out of five days. This could lead to future tension, as many are not content with the required two in-person days, despite having only returned to this system last December.
This strike was substantial, being the first Canada wide worker strike since 2004, and before that, 1991. It included around 155,000 people, almost half of the 319,000 people employed by the federal government, Canada’s largest employer. Strikes and union organizing give workers power, and as Canada struggles to return to a pre-pandemic normal, how the workplace adapts will pave the way.
A Look Back at the Federal Worker Strike
Kara Brulotte – – OTTAWA • ON | 05-05-2023
Climate, Environment, Community
Spring flooding is a reality that Ottawa faces each year, with a growing intensity. Many people are forced to use sandbags to stop rising water, deal with flooding basements and even evacuate their homes each year. But why is this a regular part of Ottawa springs, and what can be done to ameliorate or even prevent these extreme weather events?
Ottawa flooding isn’t really restricted to the Ottawa urban area. Rather, it refers to the banks of the Ottawa river between Arnprior to Hawkesbury, which is around 150 km of affected area. More flood prone locations such as Britannia, Cumberland, Rockland, Hawkesbury, and Constance Bay are at an even higher risk, according to a statement from the City of Ottawa. A flood plain map released by the City of Ottawa shows land at risk of flooding, with the dark blue being representative of a 1 in 50 flood and the grey being representative of a 1 in 100 flood.
Flooding has many different effects, both minor and major. There are three types of flooding, the one occurring in Ottawa is river flooding, where water exceeds its channel due to high levels of snow melt and/or rainfall. It can cause erosion and destabilize portions of land, contaminate water supplies, damage infrastructure, and pose a threat to human life. Outside of the human cost, it can destroy habitats. However, floods are extremely important to the environment. River overflow is a natural phenomenon, replenishing groundwater and bringing new life to wetlands, according to the Natural Geographic. The problem comes with urban development in flood plains. Many developers avoid building in common flood plains and areas where floods occur less frequently aren’t viewed with as much concern.
There is also the issue of increased precipitation caused by climate change. According to the City of Ottawa, annual average precipitation is increasinging, as well as becoming more unpredictable. This has led to extreme flooding in the past few years, such as 2017, record levels in 2019, 2022, and currently. In a future where high and irregular precipitation is becoming the norm, Ottawa and other flood prone areas must adapt. But what is there to do?
There are many ways to deal with flooding, both short term and long term. When it comes to dealing with the floods, there are many methods currently in use in the Ottawa area, such as sandbagging to control the spread of water, and the building of emergency stations to provide water, food, and shelter to those forced to evacuate. There are also longer term solutions, such as building flood resistant housing in at-risk areas, halting development on flood plains, and educating people about the danger of living on flood plains and the increasing risk of yearly floods. Flooding isn’t going anywhere, being the most common natural disaster in our country according to the Government of Canada, and it will only grow worse with increasing precipitation. It’s important now more than ever to become educated on the subject, and to grow accustomed to this new flooding reality.
Spring Flooding in Ottawa
Kara Brulotte – OTTAWA • ON | 27-3-2023
The Ontario health care system is a controversial topic. Our universal health care is not as simple as the title suggests, being more similar to a two tiered health care system. Some hospitals are government run, but many clinics are actually privately owned. Most family doctors are part of private practices, and sleep tests, physiotherapy, and dermatology are all private services incorporated into the public system. All these services, public or private, are paid for with an Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card. Now, there are services such as optometry and dentistry that are paid for out of pocket or by private insurance, but these do not encompass the majority of health care.
The most striking fact about our current health care system, especially coming out of the pandemic, is the capacity. There are not enough beds, equipment, or staff to handle the number of patients that are coming in. Just this October, wait times in emergency rooms are insanely high, with CHEO patients having to wait more than 14 hours for care. The Montfort Hospital had patients waiting more than 16 hours, and the Ottawa General Hospital had to open up their gymnasium to house the overflow of patients. This leads to patients having a much harder time assessing the care they require, even in emergency situations. It can take years to access specialists or to receive surgeries, for cases that aren’t at the top of the priority list. Staff are also a victim of the current system, with skeleton crews becoming the norm over the pandemic. Conditions have gotten increasingly worse, to the point where 42% of nurses saying they would leave the profession, and 69% saying they would leave their current position, in the next five years, according to a survey from the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario. President of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions Micheal Hurley has said this level of strain on the system is not normal, and that there is something dramatically wrong with the lack of capacity and staffing.
As a result of these problems and their worsening due to the Covid pandemic, Premier Doug Ford has put several changes into motion in order to help with the surgical backlog, namely integrating private surgery clinics into public hospitals. Here in Ottawa, the private surgery group Academic Orthopaedic Surgical Associates of Ottawa is operating in unoccupied surgical suites at the Ottawa Hospital’s Riverside campus to do simple knee and hip procedures. The group is asking nurses to work on weekends, and compensating them more than their regular pay. However, this is more than a temporary measure, as Premier Ford said this will be implemented permanently. There are worries that these independent clinics will poach staff from the public system and decrease quality of care, with CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahnn saying that privatization will only worsen staff shortages and rob public health care of resources. Many are worried about this expanded use of independent clinics, with co-chair of Ottawa Health Coalition Betty Yakimenko saying that this could diminish public health care.
The overwhelming pressure on it is leading to suffering for both patients and staff, with the strain being unbearable in the aftermath of the pandemic. However, the solution can be complicated. The integration of more independent clinics isn’t widely supported, but something still must be done about the surgery backlog. The logistics of adding more private elements to the public health system are unclear, with a lack of transparency from the government and clinic owners. This is an issue that will continue to plague the Canadian population, particularly as our population continues to age.
An Overview of the Privatization in the Health Care System
Kara Brulotte – OTTAWA • ON | 2-3-2023
Refugees, Syria, Ukraine, Justice
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainian citizens are being forced to flee to various countries across the world and sending the global community into a familiar frenzy. Whenever a major war occurs anywhere in the world, refugees once again become a hot topic of debate. Through the generations, politicians have to decide what to do, and public opinion sways on whether their country should accept or deny asylum seekers. This time, most Canadians seem to be in support of Ukrainian refugees – as of July 2022, 64% of Canadians supported accepting more, according to an Ipsos poll. However, Canadians haven’t always been so open.
During the Syrian civil war, the attitude towards refugees was starkly more negative in Canada. The Trudeau government brought in a bit more than 44,000 Syrians as of 2020, about 0.2% percent of their population. The public reaction to this was extremely mixed, with only 47% of Canadians agreeing with the number of refugees, according to an Angus Reid Institute poll in early 2017. 41% believed Canada has already accepted too many and should immediately halt the entry of Syrians to the country. One month before this poll was conducted, former US president Donald Trump enacted his “Muslim ban”, banning immigrants and refugees from several Muslim majority countries, including Syria. In the Angus Reid Institute study, a quarter of Canadians believed that the Canadian government should have enacted a similar ban, a stance worlds away from the current acceptance of Ukrainian refugees.
Since the Russia invasion, Canada has accepted more than 150,000 Ukrainians immigrants (this includes permanent Canadian residents), according to the Canadian government. It has also approved temporary residence visas for more than 550,000 Ukrainians, more than 1% of Ukraine’s total population, in only one year. This is more than twelve times the amount of Syrian refugees accepted into the country over five years, with far less pushback being experienced from the Canadian population. The divide is clear, especially now, with only 35% of Canadians being in support of accepting more Syrian refugees, despite the fact that the conflict is far from over.
The reasons for this difference in perception are numerous and unclear. Ukraine is fresher in the minds of the global community. It’s being invaded by a foreign power, while Syria is involved in a civil war, even with the large amounts of foreign intervention. The situation in Syria is far more complicated, with multiple groups inside the country all vying for control. There is also the influence of Iran, the neighbouring Gulf States, and the United States, who all have their own agendas in the region. All in all, the blame is a lot more difficult to place. More simply, there are the divisions in language, religion, and most of all, race. But war, in both countries, has been devastating.
Racism and Islamophobia have been on the rise in the West since the beginning of the century. It has taken hold here in Canada, with bills outlawing public service workers from wearing religious symbols, which predominantly affects Muslims, as well as Hindus and Sikhs. Hate crimes against Arabs and West Asians have risen by 46% from 2019 to 2022, according to Stats Canada. Hate crimes against the Muslim population were up by 71% , according to the same study. It is clear in Canada’s reluctance to accept immigrants from Syria, with strong public pushback, while it welcomes Ukrainians with open arms.
With a steady stream of refugees and immigrants coming from all corners of the world, the biases of Canadian citizens and the government must be closely examined. This can even be seen with the current situation at Roxham road, where thousands cross over from the United States every year. There is a wide push to close the road, with even Quebec Premier Francois Legault and Progressive Conservative Party leader Piere Polieve calling for the unofficial border crossing to be closed. It isn’t just Syrian asylum seekers being heavily regulated. Ukrainian citizens are in need of aid, and letting them into Canada is the right thing to do. However, this open door policy must be applied to all people equally. Refugees, from any country, are people that deserve Canada’s help. Once we begin to choose, it is the ones who need it most who are left behind.
Canada’s Perception of Refugees: The Ukraine-Syria Dichotomy