PR fails, etc.

Cheers to Matt from MELD PR for this post


Gloucester boy ‘falling through cracks’ at school

Leland Warren has been at home, instead of school, for more than a week.

The autistic seven-year-old isn’t receiving enough support from the public board to accommodate him, his mother told the Sun.

“I’ve made it clear, they need to find a solution,” said Debra Warren of Gloucester.

“They’re not fit to deal with Leland’s needs.”

Leland functions at the level of a two or three-year-old, she said, and is enrolled at Queen Elizabeth PS, near St. Laurent Blvd. and Montreal Rd., where he’s in Grade 2.

“The sad part is, across the hall from his class is a specialized program for autistic children,” said Warren.

Leland was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, said Warren — specifically DSM-5.

He doesn’t qualify for the specialized class, because, Warren said, “he speaks very well … to them, he’s fine.”

School staff are pegging Leland’s as behavioural, said Warren, even throwing around attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as a cause.

“They keep calling me to pick him up every time there is an undesirable behaviour, despite me telling them I cannot lose my job,” said Warren.

The school has proposed Leland attend for three hours each day, from 9 a.m. until noon, she said, adding Nov. 13 was Leland’s last day in class.

Olga Grigoriev, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board’s superintendent of learning support services, wouldn’t comment on Warren’s case, calling autism “a complex exceptionality.”

Along with medical documentation, “we absolutely rely on what the parent tells us,” said Grigoriev.

In addition, “we do need a collaborative relationship,” she said.

The Warren family moved to Ottawa from the Prescott-Russell area about two years ago in the hopes of finding resources and options for Leland.

He was initially with the Catholic board, then made the switch this school year.

“It’s a process,” said Grigoriev.

“It’s not a quick fix.”

There’s no wait list for special education programs geared to children with autism, Grigoriev confirmed.

Nonetheless, Warren is now exploring legal action.

“It’s a really outrageous story,” lawyer Kevin Butler, adding, “somehow, he’s falling through the cracks.”

“He has a right to go to school,” Butler said.

Warren said she just wants her son placed in a supportive environment where he can learn.

Special streams in the public system:

Who qualifies for specialized programs?

We follow the tiered intervention approach and when schools have been unable to successfully support the children in experiencing success in collaboration, and with the support of parents/care givers, it may be appropriate to consider admission to a specialized program.

Which schools offer such programs?

We currently have 35 specialized classes (K-12) serving 192 students.

Is there a waiting list at any school?

As a result of our move to a geographic model for autism classes, there are currently no children on the waitlist for ASD. There are no children on the waitlist for DD classes.

Source: OCDSB

Garbage truck hits, kills cyclist along Clyde Ave.

Witnesses are being asked to come forward after a cyclist was killed after colliding with a garbage truck in Nepean Thursday morning.

Emergency crews were called at 8:05 to Clyde Ave. and Lotta Ave., just north of the Merivale Ave. split. The victim, a man, was dead when paramedics arrived, spokesman J.P. Trottier said.

It appeared both the cyclist and garbage truck were southbound on Clyde when they collided, but cops are working to confirm the details, said Ottawa Police Sgt. Wally McIlquham. They are trying to determine if the man was on his bike or walking it across the intersection when he was struck.

A blue tarp covered the victim’s body, while investigators waited for the coroner to arrive.

A maroon Supercycle mountain bike was lying on the road, with a white shoe a few metres away.

Police and Ministry of Transportation inspectors were at the scene examining a blue BFI garbage truck.

The southbound lanes of Clyde and the westbound lane of Lotta Ave. were taped off.

The road was closed for most of the morning while police investigated.

It’s “way too early” to know if charges will be laid against the truck driver, said Ottawa Police spokesman Const. Marc Soucy.

“It’s going to take a while.”

The garbage truck driver was “shaken up” and being comforted by family and friends.

“It’s a horrific thing that nobody wants to be in,” McIlquham said.

A spokeswoman for BFI Canada, the company that owns the garbage truck, called it a tragic accident and expressed condolences to the victim’s family. The company and its driver were co-operating with the police investigation, she said.

“It’s a sad day for the company,” said Chaya Cooperberg, a vice-president for BFI, whose parent company Progressive Waste is headquartered in Toronto.

Cooperberg said she didn’t have any information about the experience of the driver or the route he was on Thursday morning. The truck was collecting garbage on one of its commercial routes, she said.

Martin Settle said he’s been cycling for 25 years “in four different countries,” and feels “a deep sense of loss, even though I have no idea who (the victim) is.”

Word of a fellow cyclist being killed took Settle back to his own experience in Nepean in 2012.

He said he was hit at Merivale Mall while heading south.

“A light had changed as I approached — heavy traffic, as usual, on the street,” said Settle.

“Essentially, without signalling, a large SUV just turned right into the parking lot.”

Settle said he was beside the SUV.

“I managed to pull myself onto the curb but the truck hit my shoulder, and I ended up going down, and rolling across the intersection … I’m not sure that the driver even noticed.”

Two motorists behind the SUV stopped to check on Settle, he said.

“I was kind of scraped and bruised,” he said.

Settle said he was planning to join a group of cyclists for a “critical mass” ride on Bank St. later Thursday.

Witnesses to the Clyde Ave. fatal are asked to call 613-236-1222, ext. 2481.

Love your daily commute? You’re not alone, study shows

Sina Fattizzo recently moved to Kemptville and has no problem heading south on Hwy. 416 at the end of the workday.

“I always found when I lived in the city, by the time I got home, I was still just jacked from the day,” said Fattizzo.

“I’d almost have to go into a room just to decompress.”

Now, it takes Fattizzo 25 to 30 minutes — time she uses to catch up on phone calls or blast tunes.

“By the time I come home, I’m relaxed,” she said.

“I’m ready to come in the house and start supper right away.”

Turns out Fattizzo isn’t the only who doesn’t dread the drive.

Canadians actually enjoy their commute and find it relaxing, says a report released Wednesday from Toronto advertising agency Bensimon Byrne.

Three quarters of commuters reported being in a better mood after their haul.

“The results are an eye-opener and contradict the prevailing narrative of commuting, which is often conveyed as long and negatively affecting our work-life balance,” said Bensimon Byrne’s managing director of strategy, Max Valiquette.

“In fact, our findings show that having some time to relax and rest, or a few quiet moments to reflect, is what makes commuting so important and desirable.”

D’Arcy O’Donnell of Carleton Place has a 15-minute jaunt to Perth but said he doesn’t mind commuting “upwards of a half-hour. It’s reasonable. You can relax … have your coffee,” said O’Donnell.

Two-thirds of Canadians gauged their commute at 30 minutes or less.

But forget carpooling — the study revealed 75% of respondents wanted time alone, something Valiquette called a “precious commodity that commuters are embracing.”

While transit users may face a more difficult commute, they relax or rest during that time.

Half of the people polled said they drive a car, truck or van as their primary mode of transportation, while 25% use public transit, 14% are automobile passengers, and the remainder walk or cycle.

Nearly three quarters of drivers reported listening to AM or FM radio often, if not always, compared to public transit users, who tended to consume a wider range of media.

“Listening to music is a big part of it,” said Fattizzo.

“That, alone, makes you happy, right?”

Valiquette said it has marketing implications for everything from radio ads to billboards.

Twitter: @kellyroche6


-44% of Ontarian commuters look forward to their commutes while only 13% dread them.
-79% are generally in a better mood after their commute while 25% are in a worse mood.
-Commute times in Ontario are more likely to be longer; 43% of Ontarians have a commute of 30 minutes or more while only 36% of all Canadians have such long commutes.
-Ontarian commuters are more likely to primarily use public transit than the average Canadian (31% vs 25% nationally); 18% bus or streetcar, 10% subway or elevated rail, and 3% commuter train.
-In terms of the mental, emotional and physical health impacts of commuting, Ontarians are no different than the rest of Canadians; in as much as commuting has any effect on health, it is overwhelmingly positive.
Source: Bensimon Byrne

Calling all open data fans: CODE 2015 kicks off

Picture 5
Carlos Saavedra looked at his parents for inspiration during a national open data competition.

With friend Jason Ernst, they created newRoots, an app helping immigrants — before they’ve arrived in Canada – determine which city to settle in based on their background and credentials by “looking at unemployment rates, looking at labour industries, cultural group populations, and really determining the probability of you being successful in different cities across Canada,” said Saavedra, 27.

The Kitchener-Waterloo resident said his parents hail from Poland and Ecuador.

Now he’s taking the application to the next level, “connecting you to other service providers as well … YMCAs and United Ways, immigration consultants, immigration lawyers,” said Saavedra.

The 2.0 version is called Imminy.

newRoots took the top prize, voted fan favourite, at the Canadian Open Data Experience (CODE) last March.

The app is just one of the creative possibilities using open data.

Treasury Board president Tony Clement kicked off the 2015 CODE competition during a press conference at the Chateau Laurier Monday.

“Open government, at its heart, is about giving Canadians more access to information,” said Clement.

The 48-hour coding sprint draws teams to build the best app using data from the feds’ open data portal.

The competition has the potential to improve lives and drive change, added Clement.

Roughly 931 people took part in the 2014 hackathon.

“It was so exciting,” said Clement.

Subject matter is divided into three categories: Youth, commerce, and quality of life.

Participants aren’t limited to federal data, Clement said, noting it can be combined with provincial and municipal data.

Last year, the second place app went to a submission titled A Healthier Commute, giving users personalized feedback about the costs of their daily commute.

Third place went to A Deep Breath, an app collecting and analyzing toxic emissions and comparing results among cities using Environment Canada data.

“I’m a big, big believer in hackathons,” said Ray Sharma, founder of Toronto-based XMG Studio, a critically acclaimed gaming developer.

Sharma said last year’s event had a shortage of women — something he’d like to see change, given females are rabid consumers of video games.

The CODE competition takes place Feb. 20 to 22.

Visit for more information.

Twitter: @kellyroche6

CODE 2014 Quick Facts:

-931 participants
-290 teams
-111 open data apps
-2 apps have been acquired or submitted to market
Source: CODE

Rochester Field for western LRT?

Gary Boyd is applauding the National Capital Commission’s decision to deny the city’s request for an LRT extension across federal land.

“That’s what we were hoping for,” said the Fraser Ave. resident.

“We really don’t want it to go by here at all and have the disruption.”

NCC officials held a surprise press conference downtown Friday morning, announcing two options for the city and its massive transit project: Bury the stretch near the Sir John A. Macdonald Pkwy., or use Rochester Field.

“That was always, what we felt, was the best option … to go across Rochester Field,” Boyd said.

The city is now left finding an acceptable preferred route.

Boyd has been considering selling his home for at least a year now, due to the project.

“It is getting very busy; another condo being built behind us so I don’t think anything’s changed that way; move somewhere quieter,” he said.

But many residents are staying put.

Kitchissippi Coun. Katherine Hobbs said the community was never happy about the prospect of Rochester Field being an option for an LRT cut-through.

“I think now it looks like we’re going to have to look at that corridor,” Hobbs said, adding she believes it’s a “valuable piece of land” that should be used for something “green-related.”

Hobbs’s term as councillor ends Nov. 30 since she was defeated in the municipal election.

Jeff Leiper, the councillor-elect for Kitchissippi, said any impact to the green space in Rochester Field would be “unacceptable.”

The fear in the community now is that the Byron linear park could once again be in play after the city found a route that avoided eliminating the strip of parkland.

Leiper said it would be a surprise if council agreed to any option that would sacrifice the Byron linear park, something he’s “adamantly opposed” to.

“I’m still digesting the implications of the announcement,” Leiper said.

A spokesman for federal minister John Baird said the NCC’s move isn’t political, noting the city can’t take federal land availability for granted.

“The NCC has an important responsibility to protect our nation’s capital and its green space. The city’s job is public transit,” Adam Hodge wrote in an e-mail.

The feds “remain confident” the NCC and city “can come to a decision that is beneficial for the people of Ottawa.”

-With files from Jon Willing


Health report finds access to care an issue

Nearly all of Eastern Ontario residents have a primary care provider, but less than half can access care the same or next day, according to a report released Thursday.

That puts us lower than the provincial average of 60%.

Measuring Up, the annual report from Health Quality Ontario, found province-wide, slightly more than half of people surveyed (54%) report evening or weekend access to primary care — without going to the emergency room — is very difficult or somewhat difficult.

“For each of us in Ontario, health plays a central role in our lives, and we rightly expect to have a top-quality health system that is there for us when we need it,” HQO president and CEO Dr. Joshua Tepper said in a statement.

“Knowing how healthy we are and how well our system is working helps us all identify what needs to improve.”

But overall, HQO found Ontarians are living longer and feeling better about their health.

Life expectancy in Ontario has improved to 81.5 years — second-highest among Canadian provinces, after British Columbia.

Ontario’s health system is performing better in some areas versus five and 10 years ago.

When it comes to how we view our health, two-thirds of Ontarians rate their health as excellent or very good, more than in most other peer countries in the world.

Many Ontarians have unhealthy lifestyles, though, with nearly half inactive.

One in five still smokes.

And challenges surrounding access to care may depend on geography.

Up north, there are significantly higher rates of obesity and smoking, and twice the rate of premature avoidable death than those in other parts of the province.

This translates to a five-year difference in life expectancy between the healthiest region in the province and the north.

Patients receiving emergency department care are being discharged more quickly than they were several years ago, but targets have still not been achieved, the report reads.

“It’s very important to identify what works and what could be better,” said VP of health system performance Dr. Irfan Dhalla.

“We all deserve a system that provides great care, and that allows each of us to flourish.”

Twitter: @kellyroche6

How Champlain stacks up:

-93.7% of people in the Champlain LHIN region have a primary care provider -Only 44.1% can see a primary care provider the same day or next day when they are sick -The median number of days to access a long-term care home is 59 from hospital, and 143 from home.

– 62% say they are in very good or excellent health (0.6% lower than the provincial average) -9.8% say they are in fair or poor health -Life expectancy at birth – 81.9 years – 6th highest of the 14 LHIN regions

Source: HQO

Upscale food fight on the horizon in Ottawa?

fruitAn upscale food fight may very well be in Ottawa’s near future.

It starts in the Glebe, where Whole Foods opens Wednesday.

With its penchant for organic, locally sourced items — and endless stream of Hollywood stars photographed leaving — the anticipated debut at Lansdowne Park is days away.

“We have so many items,” said team leader Lisa Slater, adding they “believe in choice for the customers.”

It’s a serious business.

In 2014, Ottawans will spend at least $2.2 billion at supermarkets, and $2.7 billion at all supermarkets and other food stores combined, including Walmart and Farm Boy, said retail analyst Barry Nabatian from Shore-Tanner & Associates.

As to whether Whole Foods will have a ‘Walmart effect’ — forcing mom and pop stores to close — concerns have been raised about impacting local businesses, and even the annual Farmer’s Market, said Slater.

She said she believes the chain’s presence will raise the standard, and local businesses will “rise to meet the challenge.”

With 15 stores and established roots in Eastern Ontario, Farm Boy president and CEO Jeff York doesn’t appear fazed by the American behemoth’s arrival.

“New competition makes good businesses get better, and makes mediocre businesses close,” York said.

“We will see if a second-floor location with underground parking proves to be a viable business model, as it will open up many potential locations for us in the future.”

The chain began in 1981 with a fresh produce stand in Cornwall, and opened a London, Ont. location last June.

Two more London stores will be opening in spring 2015.

Farm Boy employs 1,980 people, primarily in Ottawa, and the chain is eyeing further expansion in southwestern Ontario.

Penetrating the Greater Toronto Area may be in the cards.

“It’s going to be tough but they are very (sharp) and very successful,” Nabatian said.

“It would not surprise me.”

Nabatian warns of expanding too quickly.

“They have developed a market niche for themselves,” said Nabatian.

“They are growing quite rapidly.”

With more stores, “the quality can go down,” he said.

Most supermarkets have been raided by Monday morning, said Nabatian.

“You go to any Farm Boy store on a Monday. They are fully stocked with good, fresh, stuff.”

The chain is known for produce, meat, and its own private label line.

Loblaw remains a heavyweight in the grocery conversation.

The Toronto-based powerhouse ruled the retail food sector in Ottawa eight years ago, ranging from discount store No Frills to Independent Grocers to Real Canadian Superstores.

An upscale ‘Inspire’ format opened on Isabella St. last year.

“The results have been both fantastic and better than we expected,” said VP of corporate affairs and communication Kevin Groh.

Customers are “looking for food discovery and a shopping trip that’s special. We would gladly put our Isabella store up against any grocer in the world,” Groh added.

Twitter: @kellyroche6

Fantino wants Canadians to let cops handle ‘imposter’ investigation

Canada’s Veterans Affairs Minister is calling off the hounds from threatening an alleged fake soldier following a Remembrance Day incident sparking national outrage.

“I think we should, as Canadians — I mean, even though we may be upset, offended, or otherwise ticked off, if you will — I think the appropriate response is to let the authorities investigate it,” Julian Fantino said Thursday evening.

The former Ontario Provincial Police commissioner called the matter “very serious,” and “particularly troubling,” following recent terror attacks which killed two soldiers.

“I think there should be consequences,” said Fantino.

The family of the West Quebec man accused of posing as a soldier during a Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial said earlier Thursday that they’re facing threats and harassment after being outed.

“We’re not going to respond to questions at the moment,” said a woman at Franck Gervais’ Cantley home.

The woman confirmed she is Gervais’ wife, but refused to give her name.

During a live national broadcast on Nov. 11, CBC reporter Diana Swain interviewed a man, who identified himself as ‘Sgt. Franck Gervais,’ donning the uniform of a senior non-commissioned officer in the Royal Canadian Regiment.

The man wore a Governor General’s Bravery Medal.

Warrant Officer Michael Womack was watching in Alberta, and noticed too many discrepancies with the uniform.

He posted on social media saying something was fishy.

Gervais was exposed.

His wife told the Sun she understands why they’re the target of rage, but said the situation is still difficult to handle, calling it a shame.

She wouldn’t say if Gervais was authorized to wear the uniform.

Her husband was inside their small bungalow along a street just outside the village near Gatineau, about 25 km north of downtown Ottawa.

A gold Ford SUV with a “Support the Troops” sticker on the driver’s side door was parked outside.

The woman said Gervais did not want to discuss the controversy, suggested he may offer comment in a day or two.

Ottawa Police are now looking into the matter.

“The man possibly made unlawful use of military uniform or certificates at the Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa,” the service tweeted Thursday afternoon.

In an e-mailed statement, the Department of National Defence said it has “no indication” Gervais is a member of the military.

“Impersonating a Canadian Armed Forces member is an issue to be taken seriously and is covered under section 419 of the Criminal Code of Canada,” reads the statement.

“Such activities are a disservice to the proud men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, who earn the right to wear their uniforms through their hard work and the sacrifices they make for our country.”

Such was the sentiment in Ottawa Thursday.

“I lost a brother in the Navy, and I used to go, with my mom, up to the Memorial every year,” said Patricia Mullins.

She said she couldn’t fathom a motive for impersonating a soldier.

Fantino said he thinks people are pleased an investigation is underway.

“Without prejudging the outcome, at least we can now be assured that we will have some answers,” said Fantino.

— With files from Dani-Elle Dube

Twitter: @kellyroche6


Kingston: Turned in a uniform to military officials on Feb. 5, 2014, after posing for years as a Canadian military officer at events in the Kingston area.

Dale was reportedly remorseful for his actions and joining several veteran motorcycle groups under false pretenses, claiming he had served in the reserves for five years..

Dale told QMI Agency he was being harassed, bullied and threatened by someone in Ottawa last January, and was going to consult a lawyer.

Peterborough: Dodd apologized Jan. 22, 2014 for posing as a combat veteran.

Facebook postings eventually exposed him after he commented in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) Association Facebook group.

Dodd purported he was a former Patricia, had a soldier die in his arms overseas, and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

He was photographed on numerous occasions wearing medals at local Legion events.

Ottawa: The Cantley, Que. man was interviewed by CBC News during the 2014 Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial.

“For me, first it’s to remember what people have done for us in the past and the future,” the alleged fake soldier said, while sporting a uniform with medals.

His appearance tipped off many in the military.

The Department of National Defence confirmed Gervais isn’t with the Canadian Forces.

Ottawa Police are investigating.

*Gervais has not been charged by police and all statements are allegations*

Managing an election is no joke

Eat well.

Rest well.

You’re going to need all your strength.

That’s what the “team of horses” was told by coach, err, city election chief Catherine Bergeron in the days leading up to the election.

“In 2010, I lost my voice,” for three weeks due to stress, said Bergeron.

It’s an experience she’s learned from.

“You just, mentally, have to be able to deal with the situation, make your decision, and move on.”

Bergeron’s squad of 20 was dealing with last minute preparations Sunday.

Staffing is always top of mind.

“First thing we do when we get into the office is check the messages on the phone from people who are not able to work for us,” said Bergeron.

They’ll call as late as midnight, “very surprised that we were not there to answer the phone for them to tell us that they’ve now quit.”

Four years ago, 10 people bailed on election day “and they had boxes of ballots, and they had voting machines … so we have to get the equipment from their house,” Bergeron said, then wake people on the standby list.

Deputy returning officers have a brown box with the voters’ list, ballots, and additional forms, while senior deputy returning officers are responsible for the voting machine.

Bergeron raves about husband, Guy, who also works for the city, and is experienced with the election grind.

“He’s my rock,” she said.

He’ll drive her into work at 6:30 a.m. Monday.

At 5:30 p.m. staff will move downtown.

“All of the results come into City Hall in a server room we have there,” she said.

When it’s over, her plans?

“A nice glass of wine, relax.”

Twitter: @kellyroche6