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In The News for Jan. 31: Will proposed new standards make long-term care better?

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
A resident is shown in a room at a seniors residence in Laval, Que., Saturday, September 26, 2020. Proposed new standards for long-term care issued by a panel of experts at the Health Standards Organization on Tuesday say residents should get at least four hours of direct care a day and workers must be paid more. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Proposed new standards for long-term care issued by a panel of experts at the Health Standards Organization on Tuesday say residents should get at least four hours of direct care a day and workers must be paid more.

But experts with the non-profit organization said the new standards will only be useful if the government puts them into practice and makes sure they are followed.

"These standards are only useful if … they become the basis of enforcement and accountability measures, not only accreditation measures," said Dr. Samir Sinha, the chair of the technical committee that developed the updated standards.

The organization issued the updated guidance for operating care homes in light of the deadly and tragic toll the COVID-19 pandemic took on Canadian residents and their quality of life.

The authors say the ball is now in the government's court.

Long-term care as a health service falls under provincial jurisdiction, and there is a patchwork of rules across the country that govern how the homes should be designed, operated and maintained.

Typically it would be up to provincial governments to mandate the standards if they choose, but in the 2021 election Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to legislate safety in long-term care across the country.


Also this ...

Statistics Canada is set to release its November reading of real gross domestic product this morning.

RBC is forecasting real GDP grew by 0.1 per cent in November, a figure that is in line with Statistics Canada's preliminary estimate.

The federal agency will also provide a preliminary estimate of economic growth for December and the fourth quarter.

Economic growth is expected to slow in response to higher interest rates, with many economists anticipating a mild recession this year.

The Bank of Canada has raised its key interest rate eight consecutive times since March, bringing it to 4.5 per cent, the highest it's been since 2007.

After hiking interest rates last week, the central bank signalled it would take a pause to assess how higher interest rates are affecting inflation and the economy.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

Top Republican legislators in Kansas are focusing on helping conservative parents remove their children from public schools over what's taught about gender and sexuality rather than pursuing a version of what critics call Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law.

A proposal to allow parents to use state tax dollars to pay for private or homeschooling was to be available online Tuesday, a day after a committee on K-12 spending introduced the measure in the House.

The introduction comes as funding and lesson plans for public schools have become hot-button issues for conservative politicians across the U.S. Lawmakers in Iowa approved a similar law last week and at least a dozen states are considering similar legislation.

Funnelling public funds toward private schools is not a new idea, but it picked up fresh steam following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic partly because of parents' concerns over masks and vaccines.

The issue also has been driven by opposition to how some schools conduct lessons about topics such as gender, sexuality and race.


Also this ...

As five Memphis police officers attacked Tyre Nichols with their feet, fists and a baton, others milled around at the scene, even as the 29-year-old cried out in pain and then slumped limply against the side of a car.

Just like the attack on George Floyd in Minneapolis nearly three years ago, a simple intervention could have saved a life. Instead, Nichols is dead and the five officers are charged with second-degree murder and other crimes.

More disciplinary action may be coming now that the harrowing video of Nichols' treatment has been released. Memphis police relieved two other officers of duty Monday and say the department is still investigating what happened.

The Memphis Fire Department also fired three emergency response workers who arrived on the scene for failing to assess Nichols' condition.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, in Japan as part of his East Asia tour, said "our security is closely interconnected" and called for stronger ties with Japan as Russia's war on Ukraine raises global dangers and shows that democracies need stronger partnerships.

Japan has been quick to join the U.S.-led economic sanctions against Russia's war on Ukraine and provided humanitarian aid and non-combative defence equipment for the Ukrainians.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has sounded the alarm that Russia's aggression in Europe could happen in Asia, where concerns are growing over already assertive China and its escalating tension near Taiwan. Japan also has significantly stepped up ties with NATO recently.

"The war in Ukraine also demonstrates that our security is closely interconnected," Stoltenberg said during his visit at the Iruma Air Base north of Tokyo, where he started his Japan visit Tuesday after arriving late Monday from South Korea.

"If President (Vladimir) Putin wins in Ukraine it will be a tragedy for the Ukrainians, but it will also send a very dangerous message to authoritarian leaders all over the world because then the message will be that when they use military force they can achieve their goals," he said. "So the war in Ukraine matters for all of us."


On this day in 1907 ...

Timothy Eaton, founder of the T. Eaton Company of Canada, died in Toronto at age 72. He revolutionized Canadian retailing by introducing cash sales and fixed prices for goods -- replacing the old credit, bargain and barter method.


In entertainment ...

Cindy Williams, who was among the most recognizable stars in America in the 1970s and 1980s for her role as Shirley opposite Penny Marshall's Laverne on the beloved sitcom "Laverne & Shirley," has died, her family said Monday.

Williams died in Los Angeles at age 75 on Wednesday after a brief illness, her children, Zak and Emily Hudson, said in a statement released through family spokeswoman Liza Cranis.

"The passing of our kind, hilarious mother, Cindy Williams, has brought us insurmountable sadness that could never truly be expressed," the statement said. "Knowing and loving her has been our joy and privilege. She was one of a kind, beautiful, generous and possessed a brilliant sense of humour and a glittering spirit that everyone loved."

Williams worked with some of Hollywood's most elite directors in a film career that preceded her full-time move to television, appearing in George Cukor's 1972 "Travels With My Aunt," George Lucas' 1973 "American Graffiti" and Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation" from 1974.

But she was by far best known for "Laverne & Shirley," the "Happy Days" spinoff that ran on ABC from 1976 to 1983 that in its prime was among the most popular shows on TV.


Did you see this?

A New York congressman wants to add some Zoom to the sluggish effort to clear a bilateral backlog of Nexus trusted-traveller applications.

If passed, the "Make Nexus Work Act," introduced by Democrat Rep. Brian Higgins, would require U.S. Customs and Border Protection to rely on video teleconferencing instead of in-person interviews.

Higgins says that thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, a 2021 pilot project showed the agency is already well-equipped to use remote interviews to handle Nexus renewals.

The Nexus enrolment process in Canada has been slowed to a crawl by a dispute between the two countries over what sort of legal powers and protections U.S. agents would have on Canadian soil.

A new workaround, announced earlier this month, splits the joint interview process into two separate meetings _ one with Canadian border officials, the other with their U.S. counterparts.

Air travellers bound for the U.S. from certain Canadian airports can make that second interview part of their travel plans, provided the first interview has already taken place.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2023

The Canadian Press