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Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to start your day

Welcome to Thursday
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Sudbury.com reader Linda Derkacz shared this image of the rising sun in Bell Park. Sudbury.com welcomes submissions of local photography for publication with our morning greeting. Send yours to editor@sudbury.com.

Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to start your day on this Thursday morning.

MPP France Gélinas speaks out on the failing state of Ontario's home and community care system

Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas, the NDP health care critic, spoke out in the Ontario legislature Monday, commenting on what she said was the sad state of Ontario’s home and community care system. “Mr. Speaker, I continue to receive numerous messages from patients and their family about the lack of care from Home and Community Care Support Services. Patients are receiving below-standard level and quality of care from overworked and underpaid home care nurses and PSWs. Not to mention the multiple missed visits every single week," Gélinas told the House. She said her concern was the Conservative government rushed Bill 175 through the legislature in 2020 with the goal of connecting people to home and community care. "What did they connect to Mr. Speaker? The same legacy for profit providers that underpay their staff and shortchange their patients," she said. 

Read the full story here.

Seven people displaced by fire at Flour Mill apartment building

Seven people were displaced after what’s believed to be an electrical fire at a three-unit apartment building on Whissell Avenue in the Flour Mill Tuesday night. Fire crews were called out to the scene shortly after 8 p.m. Greater Sudbury Deputy Fire Chief Jesse Oshell said there were no injuries to either the tenants or firefighters as a result of the blaze, which has caused fire, smoke and water damage estimated at around $100,000. The fire is not considered suspicious in nature. Firefighters worked with the Red Cross and victims’ services to ensure the tenants had somewhere to go. “Unfortunately the building is going to be in need of repair and remediation,” Oshell said, adding that power has been cut to the building. “That will take time.”

Northern community’s blastomycosis case numbers 'very concerning', Indigenous Services Canada says

With the federal government on the ground helping Constance Lake First Nation as it deals with a blastomycosis outbreak, the local MPP is calling on the province to support the community as well. Yesterday, a state of emergency was declared because of the outbreak of the lung infection caused by a fungus found in soil, wet wood or mould. The source of the fungus is not known and is being investigated. Indigenous Services Canada arrived in the community near Hearst today. As of Nov. 21, it reports there were nine probable cases of blastomycosis and eight people under investigation for blastomycosis. Three people also recently died. It’s not confirmed if it was due to the infection but it’s “very likely”, said Chief Ramona Sutherland in an interview yesterday. People have also been transferred to hospitals in Sault Ste. Marie, Ottawa, Sudbury, North Bay and Timmins. "Blastomycosis is not contagious, and it is not transmitted from person to person, nor between animals and humans. That said, the number of cases is very concerning and the department is mobilizing all efforts to support the community," said ISC in an update on the situation. The federal department says it's working with Sutherland, the Porcupine Health Unit, the Ontario Ministry of Health, the Matawa Chiefs Council and other partners to address the community's needs. 

Read the full story here.

Christmas tree shortage? It’s real, and affecting retailers and organizations in Sudbury

’Tis the season to purchase a Christmas tree and decorate your home for the holidays. But real or fake? It’s a hot topic every year around the holidays. Of course, many people opt for a fake tree. They are easier to maintain, they don’t lose their needles, you don’t have to water them, and they last for years. In 2017, Canada imported a total of about $120 million in artificial Christmas trees, according to Statistics Canada. Artificial Christmas trees are big business, but it seems more and more Canadians desire the real thing these days. The demand for real trees has grown so much since 2015, it has resulted in a shortage, said the executive director of the Canadian Christmas Tree Association (yes, it’s a real thing). Shirley Brennan said the farming of Christmas trees in Canada was a $53-million industry in 2015. In 2020, Christmas tree farming has become a $100-million industry. “In five years, we certainly could not have predicted that rapid growth,” Brennan said.

Read the full story here.

Ontario and feds continuing $10/day child care negotiations

Ontario’s Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, says the province remains “committed” to striking a deal with the federal government for $10/day child care, with negotiations set to continue on Wednesday. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government plans to spend $30 billion over five years to cut child care fees to an average of $10 per day across the country, but Ontario remains one of the final holdouts. Premier Doug Ford has stressed he wants a better deal for the province — one that’s flexible and sustainable beyond the initial five-year plan. “What’s going to happen after five years?” Ford asked last week. “They’re going to wash their hands and walk away and we’re stuck with the funding? No, we need a good deal.” While announcing $600 million in funding to build new schools and child care spaces across Ontario on Tuesday, Lecce said the government remains “committed to landing a fair deal” for child care.

Read the full story here.

Several efforts aimed at tackling homelessness approved by city council

Various efforts, including a nine-unit women’s shelter, are slated to house people experiencing homelessness following tonight’s unanimous decision of Greater Sudbury city council. The shelter will be within three kilometres of downtown and will, according to a report by city shelters and homelessness co-ordinator Gail Spencer, “allow for the potential diversion of women from 200 Larch Street and would build on the unique low barrier service needs of females experiencing homelessness.” The 200 Larch Street address in question houses the Off The Street Emergency Shelter. The new shelter will be operated by a non-profit service provider, which contacted city staff to express interest in operating the facility. It will cost an estimated $40,000 to $50,000 per month, pending it operates without a security detail in place. Other efforts include investing $100,000 toward flex funds, which support people wishing to relocate to return to their home communities for family reunification, or for situations that cannot be easily resolved by existing funding sources; spending $200,000 toward a master lease to a private landlord for up to 20 private units that can be assigned as housing for existing housing support programs, and; the renovation of 10 two-bedroom social housing units into 20 one-bedroom units to meet demands, at a cost of approximately $80,000. This is a continuation of an existing effort that began in October and saw 20 units undergo this same conversion, most of which are already online.

Read the full story here.

There’s snow in the forecast for today

Expect rain today that will change to flurries in the afternoon. Snowfall of between two and four centimetres is expected. Fog patches will dissipate in the morning and the wind will be out of the north at 20 km/h. High of two. Tonight, the temperature will dip to -11 overnight and more snow is expected.