Good morning, Greater Sudbury! Here are a few stories to start your day
Compensation claim negotiations: Forcibly retired Laurentian prof expects to receive ‘peanuts’
A Laurentian University professor who lost his position as part of the university’s insolvency restructuring this spring says he expects to receive “peanuts, basically” when he finally sees some of the severance money he’s owed. “That was the message that was unequivocal since the beginning,” said Jean-Charles Cachon, who taught business at Laurentian until he was forced to retire as part of the university’s cuts this spring. “That has been told to us since the month of February. The term used was cents on the dollar. But there is no indication whether it will be half a cent or two cents. I mean basically there will be nothing for people who are shaping this institution. “I’m not expecting anything really substantive, and unfortunately, for people who are in the middle of their career, and who should have been receiving proper compensation, unfortunately this is not going to happen. “That’s the most terrible part of all of this. There is no way people can recoup anything.” For the full story, click here.
Gas Tax program pumps $2.9M into Greater Sudbury’s transit system
The City of Greater Sudbury received almost $2.9 million from the province’s Gas Tax program this year. “Public transit has played a critical role throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will continue to well beyond,” said Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney in a news release. “Our government is committed to helping municipalities like Greater Sudbury sustain and improve their public transit networks now and for the future.” The province is providing $375 million in Gas Tax program funding to 109 municipalities. In total, these municipalities provide public transit service in 144 communities across Ontario. These communities represent more than 92 per cent of Ontario’s total population. For the full story, click here.
Zero new Covid-19 cases reported by Public Health Sudbury and Districts for July 22
Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) has reported no new cases of COVID-19 in the local jurisdiction for July 22. The health unit is also reporting there are now four active cases being monitored. Also, since the PHSD began tracking COVID-19 cases just over 16 months ago, there have been 2176 total COVID-19 cases confirmed locally. PHSD also said 2172 of those cases have now been resolved. The details were outlined today on the PHSD website. As an aside, the health unit also reported a minor discrepancy in Wednesday's case count. PHSD initially reported one new case, but it was from another jurisdiction. The error was corrected later in the day, on Wednesday. PHSD also reports general demographics each day about the people who are becoming infected. No changes or increases were reported for today. Epidemiological data showed that the majority of local cases are persons in the 20 to 39 age category with 713 total cases (no increase). The next highest group number was 547 cases for the 40 to 59 age group (no increase). The next highest number was 519 cases for the 19 and under age group (no increase). Seniors in the 60 to 79 age group amounted to 302 cases total (no increase).
People aged 80 and over are currently the lowest category with 95 cases (no increase).
With respect to COVID-19 testing, 266,826 tests have been performed in the PHSD region; an increase of 284 in 24 hours. As for local vaccinations, PHSD reported a cumulative total of 226,354 vaccines given in the entire PHSD area. There are also 97,709 local residents who are now fully vaccinated. PHSD is also reporting there are still six cases of "confirmed" variants of the COVID-19 virus, no change after several days. There are 982 cases that are "screened positive" for variants of concern; no change in the past 24 hours. PHSD said additional time is required to genetically-sequence the virus in a positive sample and confirm it as a COVID-19 variant of concern. PHSD has also reported there are no current outbreaks declared in any local settings. Also, at Sudbury's Health Sciences North, as of July 22 there are no patients with confirmed COVID-19 at the hospital, said the HSN website. In addition to this there are four admitted patients "being tested" for COVID-19. HSN said none of the patients being tested has been admitted to the ICU at this time.
Ontario reports 185 new COVID cases Thursday
Public Health Ontario has reported 185 new COVID-19 cases today in the July 22 daily update. Today's update includes 149 new recoveries and seven deaths. The deaths reported today include one person between 20 and 39 years old, two people between 40 and 59 years old, two people between 60 and 79 years old, and two people over 79 years old. Since yesterday's report, 10 people have been hospitalized with COVID-19 and four COVID patients have been admitted to intensive care units. Public Health Ontario has confirmed 548,794 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and reported 538,124 recoveries and 9,307 deaths.
More four-laning of Hwy 69 on the books under 2021 Ontario Highways Program
The Ontario government has released the 2021 Ontario Highways Program, an online resource that provides information on highway projects that are planned and underway. Among the highways on the books is the continued four-laning of Highway 69 between Sudbury and southern Ontario. Currently underway is the widening from two to four lanes of 14.8 kilometres of roadway north of Highway 522 at the French River. The section is to be completed in 2022. For the full story, click here.
Striking Steelworkers ‘optimistic’ as bargaining teams return to the table this week
With the labour dispute between Vale and United Steelworkers Local 6500 now in its eighth week, there is renewed optimism as the bargaining teams returned to the table Monday with the assistance of a third-party facilitator. The intent of these discussions is for both parties to seek a path forward that will help in ending the current dispute, said Vale spokesperson Danica Pagnutti. “We expect these talks to continue throughout the week, and out of respect for that process, we will not be making any public comments as talks continue,” Pagnutti said in an email. Local 6500 vice-president Kevin Boyd said the mood among the 2,500 members on the picket line is one of optimism. “Members are happy to hear talks resumed this week,” Boyd said. Union members walked off the job on June 1 after rejecting Vale’s first offer. A second offer was also rejected by the membership.
Inquest announced into 2017 workplace death of Wiikwemkoong man
An inquest has been announced into the 2017 workplace death of a Wiikwemkoong man. Dr. Emily Groot, the regional supervising coroner for the North Region out of Sudbury, announced July 21 that an inquest will be held into the death of Carl Peltier. Peltier, 53, died in hospital Aug. 21, 2017, as a result of injuries sustained while working at a construction site in Chelmsford. An inquest is mandatory under the Coroners Act. Published reports at the time of his death state Peltier, an employee of Prosteel North in Wiikwemkoong, was injured after trusses on the building he was working on collapsed. “The inquest will examine the circumstances surrounding Mr. Peltier’s death,” the coroner said. “The jury may make recommendations aimed at preventing further deaths.” The inquest is expected to last two days and will hear from approximately seven witnesses, the notice stated. The inquest will start at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 9 at the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre in Little Current. Dr. Steven Bodley will preside as inquest officer, with Mathieu Ansell and Caroline Jacobson as inquest counsel. His obituary states Peltier, known by the nickname “Mandy,” is survived by his partner Faye Corbiere, children Keasha (Nathan), Jackilene, Ethan, Corey and Tanya, and grandchildren Cameron and Serenity Lynn, Jlyn, Conan, Shayla, Lillie, Aiden and Kyla. “He'll be remembered as a hard worker and someone who always liked to laugh and was always there to lend a helping hand,” the obituary said. “He enjoyed walks in the bush, playing pool, horseshoes, watching hockey and working. He spent 10 years working for the Wikwemikong Nursing Home, two years as a home care provider for Amikook and his handiwork can be seen all around the community of Wikwemikong as he also worked for Wikwemikong Housing for 25 years. He'll be dearly missed by everyone who got to know him.”