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Looking for an egg or sperm donor? Here’s what you need to know

This is the latest article in a Global News investigation into fertility in Canada, and the emotional and financial impact infertility has on Canadians struggling to conceive.

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Cherie Cohen was 40 years old when she first tried to get pregnant naturally. But after four miscarriages in three years – each being more devastating than the last – she knew she had to explore other options.

She sought the help of doctors and specialists, none of which could tell her what was wrong. The problem, she says, wasn’t getting pregnant – it was staying pregnant.

“I was very career-driven and I didn’t even think about having a baby until after I turned 40,” Cohen says. “But because I was able to successfully get pregnant – and with such great ease – no alarm bells really went off in anyone’s mind that perhaps there could have been some problem.”

Then she underwent testing.

Several diagnostic tests later it was determined Cohen had a hypothyroid condition as well as a blood clotting issue. The quality of her eggs was also considered to be poor.

READ MORE: Assisted reproduction rules to be revamped by Health Canada

“There was no question that my age was a factor and that my egg viability had diminished because of my age,” Cohen says. “Considering that I was able to conceive, it just seemed like ‘why would we continue to waste time trying to get pregnant naturally when in fact my eggs were not going to change in terms of their poor quality.’”

So Cohen and her husband decided to use egg donation.

“It made logical sense to us,” she says. “It seemed like a really positive way to almost turn the clock back.”

After two tries, Cohen was pregnant with twins. Though one passed away early in her pregnancy, Cohen was able to carry her baby boy Coby Jack to term.

Cohen’s decision to pursue egg and/or sperm donation is one that many Canadian couples grapple with at one point or another in their journey to build a family.

In fact, it’s a route that is growing so steadily in popularity that the Canadian Fertility & Andrology Society (CFAS) has recorded a 30 per cent jump in procedures using both fresh and frozen donor eggs between 2014 and 2015.

In 2014, there were 874 procedures (631 using fresh eggs and 243 using frozen eggs) in Canada; in 2015 that number increased to 1,139 (722 using fresh eggs and 417 using frozen eggs).

(The number of procedures using donated sperm is not available, according to CFAS.)

For some couples – like Cohen and her husband – navigating through the egg and sperm donation process can be overwhelming and a bit confusing.

So Global News spoke with Dr. Arthur Leader of the Ottawa Fertility Centre and professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine, to break down what couples need to know before deciding if egg or sperm donation is the right choice for them.

Who needs a donor?

There are several reasons why women and/or couples require an egg or sperm donor.

For a woman, it may be because the quality of their eggs have diminished, ovarian failure, cancer treatment or genetic causes, among others, according to the Reproductive Centre at McGill University Health Centre.

For women needing sperm donors, it may be because their partner’s sperm quality is considered poor. If they’re single, they’ll need sperm for insemination (artificial or natural).

Same-sex couples also seek donors when eggs or sperm are needed.

The decision to use egg and sperm donation should be made between the patients and their attending physician after tests are able to determine if this would be a viable route.

The process

When it comes to getting a donor, some couples choose to ask people who they already know, says Leader.

By choosing this option, couples will most likely be dealing with fresh eggs and sperm.

(More on why and how people donate eggs and sperm below.)

But for those who choose the anonymous donor route, patients should know that eggs and sperm are stored in banks in the United States. Canada does not have these storing services available.

(More on fresh vs. frozen eggs below.)

READ MORE: Everything men and women should know about fertility testing

Before anything, patients must first choose a donor through an online catalog provided by their bank of choice in the U.S. Each donor has a profile that lists their age, race, physical appearance, education, interest, hobbies and possible medical conditions within the family.

Once the order is place, the eggs or sperm are shipped frozen in liquid nitrogen through delivery services (like FedEx for example). The eggs or sperm are then thawed when they’re ready for use, Leader explains.

The egg or sperm is mixed together in a lab and left in an incubator for up to three days to encourage fertilization and cell division.

The fertilized eggs or embryos are then implanted into the woman’s uterus. According to the McGill Centre, this works best when a number of eggs can be fertilized and transferred, because not every egg will fertilize or result in a pregnancy.

For those using egg donation, the recipient is usually asked to take medications so that the lining of the uterus is prepared for the implantation of the embryos. The medication will vary depending on the treatment plan. (You can read more on treatment plans, here.)

Fresh vs. frozen and success rates

According to a study last year by the Center for Human Reproduction, frozen donor eggs that are used for IVF commonly result in fewer live births when compared to the use of fresh eggs.

The team studied data from 380 fertility centers in the U.S. in 2013. Of the 11,148 IVF cycles using donor eggs, almost 50 per cent of those using fresh eggs resulted in a live birth, compared to 43 per cent who used frozen eggs.

The reason for the difference was unclear, researchers admitted. They speculate that the egg quality may be affected by the freezing and thawing techniques – or a smaller starting number of frozen eggs results in less opportunity for the proper selection, Medical Daily reports.

It’s important to note, however, that only donated eggs were looked at, not cycles in women who freeze and use their own eggs.

Success rates are also dependent on other factors.

The Reproductive Centre at McGill University Health Centre says the success is often related to egg quality, as well as the age and fertility of the donor. It is not thought to be related to the age of the recipient.

“Because of this, your success with egg donation treatment will be very much higher than it would be if you were undergoing treatment with your own eggs,” the centre states.

When it comes to sperm though, a 2013 study by PLOS ONE found that there is no difference between frozen and fresh sperm in terms of a successful pregnancy through IVF, Medical News Today reports.

Being a donor

Women donating eggs must meet certain criteria in order to be accepted as donors.

They must be between the ages of 21 and 34, fertile and in good health. Egg donors are asked to complete a health history and some diagnostic tests before being accepted, the McGill Centre details.

If accepted, the donor will be asked to take fertility drugs to stimulate their ovaries then have surgery to remove them.

Sperm donors must also go through testing by a clinic and provide a complete medical history, the Government of Canada says.

READ MORE: 7 fertility myths and misconceptions Canadian women need to know

If the eggs or sperm are being donated to no one in particular, then they will be shipped to a bank in the U.S. for storing.

For more details on how to become a donor in Canada, visit the Government of Canada’s Healthy Canadians website.

As for why someone would choose to donate, Leader says it could come down to a variety of unique reasons.

“If it’s direct donation then it might be because they want to help a friend, relative or colleague – it’s truly altruistic,” says Leader. “Many times when men want to donate their sperm it’s to help other people because they know someone who has suffered infertility – and they’re often mature. For egg donors, they may be doing this to help someone but there may also be financial incentive – especially in the U.S. – and these donors tend to be students.”

(Note: While egg donation itself is legal in Canada, it is illegal in to sell and/or purchase eggs. However, personal expenses may sometimes be covered. More on fertility law at Fertility Law Canada.)

Things to consider

Before women and couples consider egg or sperm donation, Leader says there are a few things couples should keep in mind.

First, consider the baby may have a half-sibling somewhere in the world.

“When a man donates sperm, for example, one sample might donate enough sperm for three, four or five inseminations,” he says. “When a woman donates eggs there might be enough eggs for three or four pregnancies. So people need to be comfortable with that.”

Leader also says that patients need to assure themselves that there may be a chance the child has an illness they weren’t planning on, considering all donors may not be forthcoming with their medical histories.

“Nowadays, I think the screening for infection is fairly thorough,” Leader says. “The genetic screening is not as thorough as could be. The problem is the medical histories of the [anonymous] donors are not always validated. A lot of the banks take what the donors say at face value and don’t double check.”

Because of the possible emotional, physical and psychological effects donors and recipients may go through, they are often asked to meet with a counsellor or psychologist to ensure that they’re ready to go through with their decision.

Doing it all again

Despite the initial frustration and complications of her first experience with egg donation, the now 45-year-old Cohen says she would consider doing it again.

“Coby is our miracle baby,” says Cohen. “For him to be with us today and continue to grow and thrive and bring so much joy to us, he is truly our miracle. He is loved by many and he’s surrounded by a lot of love. I think he knows it – I hope he knows it and can feel it. He is our true joy.”

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Ontario couple killed in Tennessee wildfires were set to celebrate 50th wedding anniversary

Canadians John and Marilyn Tegler, the parents of Woodstock Fire Chief Scott Tegler, were set to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary before they were tragically killed with 11 others in the wildfire-ravaged city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

“The last contact we received was somewhere shortly after 8 p.m. Monday night, a text that they were in the process of evacuating the house in Tennessee,” Dave LaPointe, the Teglers’ son-in-law, told Global News from his Woodstock home Friday.

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READ MORE: Canadian couple John and Marilyn Tegler killed in Tennessee wildfires

“I think for the most part we’d come to the reality that we weren’t going to get good news,” LaPointe said, adding family hung onto hope that their loved ones were safe.

“When I saw Scott come in the house last night it was just — no words can describe it.”

He added that Scott Tegler has spent his career saving people from fires and it was incredibly difficult for him to be so far from his parents and unable to help them.

“I guess the irony of the whole thing, I mean he’s 20 plus years with the service and he’s seen it all but to lose his own parents in that respect is just overwhelming,” he said.

“They’re going to be greatly missed.”

LaPointe said family members had travelled to Tennessee in an effort to bring their loved ones’ remains back to Ontario in the near future.

John Tegler, 71, worked in corporate finance and lived in Woodstock with his 70-year-old wife most of their lives.

“Just very family-oriented nice people that would do anything for you,” LaPointe said, adding that the couple also had three grandchildren.

WATCH: Ontario couple among 13 people killed in Tennessee wildfires. Mark Carcasole reports. (Dec. 2)

“[They] doted on their grandkids and their accomplishments and [they were] just two of the nicest people you would have ever met.”

“They were great people and nobody deserves to go out this way.”

LaPointe said they moved to Georgia a little over 20 years ago and later retired and bought a vacation home in Tennessee where they spent their spare time.

READ MORE: Tennessee wildfire: Firefighter records terrifying drive through heart of Gatlinburg blaze

“If anything good could come out of it, they were together and they were in a place they liked to be if there’s a silver lining to it I guess,” he said, adding that the local community has rallied around the family.

“It’s been overwhelming, all the support. My phone’s been blowing up all day and the house phone, the cell phone, the emails —; as Woodstock’s getting bigger it’s still a small town.”

LaPointe said the couple were on foot close to their vacation property when they were killed in the blaze.

READ MORE: Tennessee wildfire: Gatlinburg man desperate to find his missing family

“We don’t know why they abandoned the vehicle or if they couldn’t get through and were possibly trying to get back to the house to try to ride it out,” he said.

“I don’t know that we’ll ever know that answer.”

Joe Da Ponte contributed to this report

WATCH: 2 Canadians among dead in Tennessee wildfires

Donald Trump saves 1,000 jobs in Indiana: good PR, bad economics or something else?

As president-elect Donald Trump celebrates his deal with heating and air-conditioning manufacturer Carrier to keep roughly 1,000 jobs in Indiana, economists and critics are questioning the politics behind the agreement.

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Speaking at the factory in Indianapolis on Thursday, Trump lauded Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies, for keeping jobs on U.S. soil versus shipping them to Mexico.

“United Technologies has stepped up. And I have to say this, they did it in such a nice and such a professional way,” Trump told factory workers and reporters. “Companies are not going to leave the United States any more without consequences. Not going to happen.”

WATCH: Donald Trump strikes deal with Carrier to keep 1,000 jobs in Indiana

Trump reiterates promise to build physical wall on U.S./Mexico border

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Trump reiterates promise to build physical wall on U.S./Mexico border

01:45

Trump: Companies are not going to ship jobs away without consequences

02:23

Donald Trump forgot he promised that Carrier wouldn’t ship away jobs during campaign

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Trump, Pence headed to Indiana to kick off national ‘Thank You Tour’

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Indiana Senator Dan Coates praises President-elect Donald Trump for saving Carrier jobs



Although the details behind the Carrier agreement have not been fully revealed, the Wall Street Journal reports Trump and Vice-President-elect Mike Pence — the governor of Indiana — agreed to give about $7 million in tax incentives over a roughly 10-year period to save the 1,000 jobs, which include headquarters and engineering staff.

The Journal also reports that 400 jobs will still be cut in Indianapolis and another 700 will be lost at a United Technologies plant in Huntington, Ind., which is scheduled to close.

‘Disastrous’ in the long run

William Watson, associate professor of economics at McGill University, called the Carrier deal “great PR” for the incoming Trump administration.

 “In the short run, 1,000, [people] — three weeks before Christmas — get to keep their jobs thanks to Donald Trump,” Watson said. “What could be better for Trump’s image than that?”

However, Watson said this decision could be “disastrous” for the U.S. economy in the long run.

“It’s essentially going to mean firms don’t choose where’s the most efficient place in the world to produce things, they choose on the basis of who pressures them the most,” Watson said.

READ MORE: Donald Trump vows to leave business to avoid conflict of interest; experts say he needs to sell

Mohan Tatikonda, a professor at Indiana University Kelley School of Business, also called the deal a “massive win” for Trump but said it’s a “spot solution” for a larger problem facing manufacturing.

“It’s for one facility, one group of employees for a certain point in time. It’s not a policy, it’s not a framework. It’s a one off,” Tatikonda told Global News. “It gets at the symptom, but it doesn’t get at the underlying cause. There isn’t any underlying relief here for Carrier and its employees or for other manufacturing employees.”

WATCH: Carrier to keep nearly 1,000 jobs in U.S. following deal with Trump

There could be other factors at play in the Carrier deal as well.

The New York Times reports United Technologies, based in Connecticut, receives US$5 billion in defence contracts from the government annually. Losing those contracts would result in a 10 per cent loss in revenue, according to the Times.

“That’s real money,” Watson said. “If I’m a CEO and I’ve picked a fight with the president and some subordinate in the defence department is trying to figure ‘who should we give this contract too?’ I don’t think it would be a good idea to pick a fight with the president.”

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau, Mexican President to discuss NAFTA strategy in wake of Trump presidency: source

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders lashed out at Trump’s deal which he called a “dangerous precedent” as other companies could threaten to move jobs overseas and be rewarded with a tax break.

“In essence, United Technologies took Trump hostage and won. And that should send a shock wave of fear through all workers across the country,” Sanders wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post.

“Trump has endangered the jobs of workers who were previously safe in the United States. Why? Because he has signalled to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives.”

Meanwhile, Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, defended the president-elect.

“I think it’s pretty darn good that people are keeping their jobs in Indiana instead of going to Mexico,” Ryan told reporters Thursday.

Manufacturing jobs not coming back

When looking at the bigger picture, the 1,000 jobs represent just 0.2 percent of all Indiana manufacturing jobs.

On Friday, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. added 178,000 jobs in November while the unemployment rate hit a nine-year low of 4.6 percent.

While Trump repeatedly accused NAFTA and China of stealing American jobs during the campaign, the reality is that automation at U.S. factories is a much bigger factor than foreign trade in the loss of jobs.

READ MORE: It’s mainly robots, not NAFTA or China, stealing millions of jobs from U.S.

A 2015 study from Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research found 88 per cent of American factory jobs were taken by robots and other homegrown factors that reduced the need for human labour.

“The proportion of the U.S. labour force that works in manufacturing has been on a pretty much steady decline for 75 years,” Watson said. “The share of output from manufacturing has not been declining nearly as much because manufacturing workers have become more productive.”

The U.S. has lost roughly five million manufacturing jobs since 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Having the president of the United States determine which plants operate where both in the world and in the country is just nuts,” he said. “[Trump] has much more important things to do.”

12 foods dietitians always keep stocked in their fridges, freezers and pantries

When you’re hungry and in a rush to whip up a healthy meal, the only thing you can count on is how well you stocked your kitchen.

You might keep ketchup, Kraft Dinner and chicken strips stocked year-round but here’s a look at 12 healthy food staples registered dietitians always keep in their fridges, freezers and pantries.

Greek yogurt

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    A handful of the experts listed Greek yogurt as their go-to staple because it’s packed with protein and is incredibly versatile.

    Jennifer Sygo, a sports nutritionist at Cleveland Clinic Canada, told Global News she uses it for snacks, to make frozen treats and in baking. It’s even a sour cream substitute in some recipes.

    READ MORE: Trying to lose weight? 10 tasty foods you’ll like and can eat guilt-free

    “We usually have a tub of plain and a tub of flavoured Greek yogurt open in our house and we mix them together to reduce the sugar in the flavoured varieties,” Sygo said.

    Nicole Osinga, a Courtice, Ont.-based registered dietitian, uses it to make breakfasts, such as smoothies, overnight oats and oat crumbles. There are 10 grams of protein per half a cup of Greek yogurt, Osinga said – that’ll fill you up at breakfast time.

    Frozen chicken or turkey meatballs

    Christy Brissette, a Toronto-based registered dietitian and president of 80 Twenty Nutrition, told Global News the biggest challenge is finding healthy sources of protein for each meal.

    This is why she relies on lean turkey or chicken meatballs always kept frozen in her kitchen.

    “I have a lean protein source I can prepare in two minutes. Sometimes I’ll make up a batch of these as a quick snack to fill me up if I know I won’t have a chance to eat for a while,” she said.

    Dates

    Forget raisins or dried cranberries. Dates are “nature’s candy,” according to Sygo. They’re high in potassium and fibre, provide a boost of energy before working out, and they’re sweet to keep sugar cravings at bay.

    “They’re an easy, portable snack, and also great for baking. I use them for one of my favourite recipes for coconut date energy balls along with cocoa and almonds or almond butter,” she said.

    Unsalted pumpkin seeds

    Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are usually green in colour, semi-flat and oval shaped. They have a nutty taste and a chewy texture.

    Andrea D’Ambrosio, a registered dietitian at Dietetic Directions in Kitchener, Ont., said they’re a great source of protein and heart healthy. They’re also packed with antioxidants.

    READ MORE: In a rush? Here’s what to eat for a healthy breakfast

    She adds them to hot or cold cereal, sprinkles them on top of green salads and uses them as a topping on yogurt. She even eats a handful with a piece of fruit for a snack.

    Eggs

    Eggs were another popular staple for the experts. Krista Leck Merner, Halifax-based registered dietitian at Bent Fork Nutrition, loves eggs because they make a quick, satisfying meal.

    A large egg has about six grams of protein and they’re budget-friendly.

    A quick omelette could be loaded up with spinach and red peppers. That’s Leck Merner’s “fallback meal” when dinner needs to be on the table fast.

    READ MORE: Your guide to what to eat before and after a workout

    D’Ambrosio keeps hard-boiled eggs on hand all the time, and recommends the same to her clients.

    “I encourage my clients to not skip the yolk, since the yolk contains half the protein and most of the nutrition such as choline for brain functioning, selenium to prevent the breakdown of tissues and vitamin A for healthy skin and eyes,” she said.

    Her suggestion? Hard boil four to six eggs on the weekend and keep them in the fridge for up to one week. They can be added to meals or even eaten as a snack.

    Edamame

    D’Ambrosio keeps frozen edamame in her freezer so they’re ready to be steamed or microwaved. She adds them to stir-fries, salads, soups or stews. They’re also great in quinoa or rice dishes for extra protein. She even mashes them into guacamole.

    Edamame beans are fresh young soy beans that are harvested before the seeds harden. They’re like peas, but have a subtle buttery flavour, are crunchy in texture and are found inside a fuzzy green pod.

    “Edamame beans are low in calories, with 120 calories per half a cup serving as well as 12 grams of protein, eight grams of fibre, and an excellent source of folate,” D’Ambrosio said.

    Chickpeas

    The World Health Organization named 2016 the International Year of Pulses. Toronto-based registered dietitian Andrea Miller turns to chick peas because they’re a great source of fibre, protein and iron.

    READ MORE: Add beans. lentils or chickpeas to your daily diet to lose weight

    They can be worked into most dishes, too: in salads, in soups, to pasta sauce or even roasted into a crunchy snack.

    Keep in mind, they’re also an inexpensive source of plant protein, so if you’re trying to save money or cut down on meat, they’re a great option.

    Miller blends them into a hummus dip to spread in wraps and sandwiches. They can also be ground into flour and used in baking to increase fibre and protein in baked goods.

    Frozen vegetables

    Leck Merner makes sure her family always has vegetables on the dinner table by keeping a stockpile of frozen options in the freezer. She keeps pre-chopped vegetable mixes at the ready to throw into spaghetti sauces, chilis or casseroles.

    “Double check your frozen veggies to ensure there are no seasonings or sauces added, but otherwise frozen veggies are just as jam-packed with vitamins and minerals as their fresh counterparts. A quick saute or steam and they’re ready to go,” Leck Merner said.

    Chia seeds

    Brissette keeps a jar of chia seeds in her pantry at all times because they provide a dose of protein, fibre and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids to her meals and snacks.

    READ MORE: 8 so-called ‘healthy’ foods registered dietitians wouldn’t (or rarely) eat

    Chia seeds have about five grams of fibre per tablespoon. They can be worked into breakfast oats, smoothies, homemade muffins and other breakfast snacks. Brissette even puts them into soup and egg recipes.

    Lentils

    Leck Merner also loves lentils because they’re nutrition powerhouses and versatile.

    “I always have at least a few cans of lentils in my pantry. Eating primarily a plant-based diet, I’m always on the lookout for high-protein and micronutrient-rich foods,” she said.

    READ MORE: This food will make you feel fuller if you’re trying to lose weight

    One cup of lentils is packed with 18 grams of protein and eight milligrams of iron. Leck Merner works lentils into salads and casseroles, or mixes them into marinara sauce for a quick weeknight meal.

    Avocados

    Not only are avocados delicious, but they’re filling and a source of healthy fats. Half of an avocado has five grams of fibre and 10 grams of monounsaturated fats – enough to keep Leck Merner satiated for a few hours.

    She uses avocado in smoothies, salads and with scrambled eggs on toast. They can be prepared into guacamole, as a sandwich spread instead of mayonnaise and even sliced and eaten with salt, pepper and olive oil.

    Ground flax seed

    Miller stocks ground flax seed in her kitchen because it’s a great source of soluble fibre. This can help to manage cholesterol, keeps us regular and is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, important for heart, eye and brain health.

    She adds ground flax seed into yogurt, oatmeal, and baked goods, like banana bread and muffins.

    READ MORE: 7 high-fibre foods that help with losing weight, feeling full

    “Store it in the fridge and add one to three teaspoons a day. You can buy them whole and grind them in a coffee grinder, or purchase them already ground,” she said.

    Ground flax seed has a mild, nutty flavour and blends easily into many foods.

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Duties of ‘paid and employed’ teachers outlined in memo from Nova Scotia gov’t

Ahead of Monday’s job action, the Nova Scotia government sent teachers and principals a refresher on their duties under the education act.

Next week, the province’s 9,300 teachers will start working-to-rule. The union has told them to limit their availability to students outside of instruction time and not to supervise students over the lunch hour, among many other changes.

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READ MORE: What will work-to-rule mean for parents and students?

A late-night memo sent to Nova Scotia’s public school teachers and principals Thursday appears to suggest that teachers’ and principals’ responsibilities stretch beyond class time.

Parts of the memo, obtained by Global News, are highlighted in bold and capitalized.

“THIS NOTICE is being issued to ensure safety of students and full compliance with these duties at all times when you are being paid and employed as a Teacher at work and on School property,” the letter reads.

“You are directed to comply with these duties at all times while you are employed and being paid as a Teacher in the public education system in Nova Scotia.”

The memo reminds principals that it is their duty to keep attendance records, communicate regularly with parents, and to ensure a safe learning environment. The union’s rules for work-to-rule tell principals not to update school websites, social media or newsletters, and not to supervise over the lunch hour unless they’re responding to a safety issue.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia teachers’ 16 contract demands and what the province says they cost

For teachers, the memo reminds them to communicate regularly with parents, keep required records, and maintain a “safe learning environment.”

The union’s rules for teachers during work-to-rule instruct them not to do any record keeping on the software systems, only to take attendance on paper and not to update electronic communication “unless it is related to health and safety matters.”

The memo goes on to tell principals and teachers to follow the Education Act wherever there’s a conflict between that act and the collective bargaining act.

‘We are maintaining the safety’: N.S. Teachers Union

The union says the memo wrongly implies that teachers and principals will be “stepping over the line” while they work-to-rule.

Nova Scotia Teachers Union President Liette Doucet told reporters Friday the work-to-rule mandated by the union is legal and complies with the Education Act. “The minister is implying that we are not following the education act in the sense we are no providing for the health and safety of our students, we are in fact doing that,” Doucet said.

“We are maintaining the safety, safety is our number one priority for our students and we don’t believe that student safety is in jeopardy at all.”

She also said the memo to teachers fails to note that the ultimate responsibility for student safety lies with school superintendents. And says the union gave more notice on their job action than required by law to make sure school boards could adjust.

Because the union will be in a legal strike position on Monday, Doucet said there will be no repercussion for teachers when they work-to-rule.

Casey declined an interview request and her department didn’t answer questions put to it by Global News.

Read the memo below:

View this document on Scribd

Protesters rally at Calgary City Hall ahead of Monday’s vote on Chinatown development

Protestors gathered together on Friday to rally against proposed bylaw changes which they believe will erode Chinatown’s heritage and history.

City council will be debating the controversial issue at City Hall on Monday.

If approved, the bylaw changes would alter the density and land-use designation in Chinatown’s Area Redevelopment Plan (ARP), effectively paving the way for the construction of a 27-storey building which would be almost double current height restrictions.

The building would be constructed on a parcel of land which is now a parking lot on 3 Avenue S.W. and 1 Street S.W.

Considerable controversy has been caused by a proposed development on a vacant parcel of land on 3 Avenue S.W. and 1 Street S.W.

Global News

Opponents argue the project is too tall for the area just north of Calgary’s downtown core.

“We have height that is four to six stories,” said Terry Wong of the Chinatown BRZ. “This will impose a 30-storey tower, which is five times more than any Chinatown has.”

However, the project’s design architect claims the mixed-use project would revitalize the community and include residential, commercial and retail space.

“It will bring a lot of development into Chinatown, which has not seen any development in the last 30 years,” Manu Chugh said. “It will bring more people into Chinatown.”

The project was originally up for discussion by city councillors in April, but council decided to delay a decision until they had heard from community members and area stakeholders. The City of Calgary then began seeking public input on Chinatown’s future in July.

“The bylaw amendments are a concern because they are developer-driven and are potentially not in the best interests of Chinatown,” a statement on the I Love YYC Chinatown website reads. “In addition, these bylaws have been proposed without adequate community engagement or due process.”

A news release said the rally was being held to “ensure that Chinatown’s unique place as a cultural jewel in Calgary is preserved.”

Related

  • City of Calgary seeks input on Chinatown’s future

  • Calgary city council delays decision on Chinatown development

  • ‘One Love One Chinatown’ Festival in Calgary draws attention to proposed redevelopment

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Canadian couple John and Marilyn Tegler killed in Tennessee wildfires

A Canadian couple from Woodstock, Ont. are among 13 people killed in the wildfire-ravaged city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, officials confirmed Friday.

People in cars and trucks rolled into the wildfire-ravaged city of Gatlinburg on Friday to get a first look at what remained of their homes and businesses, and a mayor raised the death toll to 13, including a woman who died of a heart attack during the firestorm.

Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters also increased the number of buildings damaged, saying it now approaches 1,000.

READ MORE: Tennessee wildfire: Firefighter records terrifying drive through heart of Gatlinburg blaze

“I can’t describe to you the feelings we have over this tragedy,” he said during a news conference with the governor and U.S. senators.

WATCH ABOVE: Officials announce 2 Canadians among dead in Tennessee wildfires

Local officials, bowing to pressure from frustrated property owners, said they would allow people back into most parts of the city Friday morning. Residents have to pass through a checkpoint and must show some proof of ownership or residency, Gatlinburg City Manager Cindy Cameron Ogle said.

“The city is not implying that private property is safe,” she said. “People may encounter downed powerlines or other hazards.”

WATCH: Tennessee firefighter captures dramatic video as he drives through Gatlinburg wildfire

Among those anxiously waiting to return was Tracy Mayberry. He and his wife, 12-year-old son and five dogs have bounced between hotels since they were forced to evacuate their rental home Monday night. They were struggling to find a place to stay Thursday as many lodges began to discontinue the special rates for evacuees.

“It feels like Gatlinburg is more worried about how to rebuild than they are about their people,” he said.

The dead included a Memphis couple who was separated from their three sons during the wildfires. The three young men — Jared, Wesley and Branson Summers — learned that their parents had died as they were recovering in the hospital.

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“The boys, swaddled in bandages with tubes hanging out and machines attached, were allowed to break quarantine, and were together in the same room, briefly, when I confirmed their parents’ death,” their uncle Jim Summers wrote on a Facebook page set up for the family. “Their injures pale in comparison with their grief.”

Seventy-one-year-old John Tegler and 70-year-old Marilyn Tegler, and May Vance, who was vacationing in Gatlinburg and died of a heart attack after she was exposed to smoke. Identities for the other victims have not been released.

In communities near Gatlinburg, there were signs of normalcy. In Pigeon Forge, the Comedy House rented an electronic billboard message that said it was open. A hotel flyer urged guests to check out the scenic Cades Cove loop: “Take a drive and remember what you love about the Smokies!”

READ MORE: 4 dead as devastating wildfires rip through Tennessee resort towns in Great Smoky Mountains

Dollywood, the amusement park named after Parton, will reopen Friday afternoon after it was spared any damage.

The Associated Press was allowed access into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Thursday. A forest of bare trees standing amid a scorched landscape could be seen along with fire crews sawing up a tree stump.

In Gatlinburg, the center of the devastation, officials there hope to open the city’s main roads to the public by Wednesday.

WATCH: Gatlinburg man desperate to find his missing family

Authorities searching the charred remains of homes and businesses said they expected to finish by nightfall Friday.

Despite recent heavy rains, fire officials warned people shouldn’t have a false sense of security because months of drought have left the ground bone-dry. Wildfires can rekindle, they said.

The trouble began Monday when a wildfire, likely caused by a person, spread from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into the Gatlinburg area as hurricane-force winds toppled trees and power lines, blowing embers in all directions.

READ MORE: Tennessee wildfire: Gatlinburg man desperate to find his missing family

“We had trees going down everywhere, power lines, all those power lines were just like lighting a match because of the extreme drought conditions. So we went from nothing to over 20-plus structure fires in a matter of minutes. And that grew and that grew and that grew,” Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said.

More than 14,000 residents and visitors in Gatlinburg were forced to evacuate, and the typically bustling tourist city has been shuttered ever since.

Deputy Park Superintendent Jordan Clayton said the initial fire on area called Chimney Tops, which is a double peaked ridge line about 4 miles away from Gatlinburg, was caused by a person or people. It’s near the end of a popular hiking trail and there were people on that trail on Nov. 23 when the fire started, as there are almost every day.

READ MORE: Tennessee wildfire kills 3, forces thousands to abandon homes

“Whether it was purposefully set or whether it was a careless act that was not intended to cause a fire, that we don’t know,” Clayton said. “The origin of the fire is under investigation.”

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are helping investigate the cause.

___

Mattise reported from Nashville, Tennessee. Associated Press writers Rebecca Yonker in Louisville, Kentucky, and Kristin M. Hall in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, contributed to this report.

Nanaimo mill shooter sentenced to life in prison, no parole eligibility for 25 years

The man behind a deadly shooting at a Vancouver Island sawmill was sentenced to life in prison without any eligibility for parole for 25 years on Friday.

Kevin Addison was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the attack that killed Michael Lunn and Fred McEachern, his former colleagues, at the Western Forest Products mill in Nanaimo on April 30, 2014.

Addison was also charged with attempted murder in the wounding of Tony Sudar and Earl Kelly.

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Related

  • Guard says Nanaimo sawmill shooter was like a ‘zombie’

  • Crown lawyer relays chilling account of Nanaimo mill shooting

    During a three-week trial in September, the Crown argued that Addison was motivated by revenge after he was laid off by the company and not rehired two years later.

    But Addison’s defence lawyer said his client’s violent actions were the result of his severe depression and that he never intended to kill anyone, and should be convicted of manslaughter instead.

    READ MORE: B.C. mill shooter was depressed: defence lawyer

    It took the jury only 24 hours to return a guilty verdict for Addison.

    WATCH – From the archives: Guilty verdict in a Nanaimo mill shooting that left two people dead and two others injured. Catherine Urquhart has more on the decision and reaction.

    Today, the judge said Addison’s conduct has shocked and dismayed the residents of the city, province and country, calling what happened “an ambush in a workplace, where people were going about their daily affairs.”

    The court also heard from the families of Michael Lunn and Fred McEachern about how the shooting changed their lives.

    Michael Lunn’s daughter, Marley, said her dad was her hero.

    “My dad said life goes on,” she said. “We will go on. I will remember him always.”

    Lunn’s daughter-in-law, Kendra, said many families were torn apart by the violence committed by Addison.

    “Nanaimo lost its innocence,” she said. “Workplace violence needs to end.”

    -With files from the Canadian Press

Things get heated as Trump, Clinton aides spar at post-election forum

The fight between the Hillary Clinton camp and the Donald Trump camp doesn’t seem to be stopping, despite election day being nearly a month behind us.

Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, and Clinton’s director of communications, Jennifer Palmieri, raised their voices and lashed out against each other during a round table discussion at Harvard University Thursday night.

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READ MORE: Angry New Yorkers refuse to pay $1M per day for Trump security

The round-table, a post-mortem on the election, has become a tradition every four years.

The topic that sparked the heated exchange? The so-called alt-right movement and Trump’s support from white supremacists.

Palmieri at one point called on a speech that Clinton gave in late August, denouncing the alt-right movement.

Palmieri claimed that Trump helped elevate white nationalist views by bringing on Steve Bannon, a former top executive at Breitbart長沙桑拿 who will be Trump’s chief strategist.

READ MORE: House Democrats implore Trump to drop Steve Bannon 

At one point during the discussion, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, called Clinton’s staffers “bitter” over their election loss.

 “If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant strategist, a brilliant tactician, I am glad to have lost,” Palmieri said,

She added that she “would rather lose than win the way you guys did.”

LISTEN TO THE FULL DISCUSSION: 

Conway then shot back, “Are you going to look at me in the face and say I provided a platform for white supremacists?”

Palmieri answered yes.

Conway responded, “How about, it is Hillary Clinton? She doesn’t connect with people. How about you have no economic message?”

Palmieri said that Trump spoke to people in the country “to an underlying cultural anxiety about change in a way we were just not willing to do.”

Trump’s team, meanwhile, defended their candidate and their campaign. David Bossie, the deputy campaign manager, said that Trump had a “unique ability to go past the media and speak directly to the American people.” He also defended Bannon, calling him a “brilliant strategist” and a “really terrific guy.”

The Clinton team argued that they faced the challenge from the start of running in a year when voters wanted change —; as they tend to do after one party holds the White House for eight years.

Friday morning, Conway discussed the heated exchange, saying the accusations of “race-baiting” were false.

“I took that personally, and I know that’s not true,” Conway said on CBS’s This Morning. “President-elect Trump has denounced every single element of that awful movement. He’s never met these people. He doesn’t ask for their endorsement.”

The round table also offered a behind-the-scenes perspective for the campaigns, with Clinton’s aide saying interference from the FBI‘s director cost her the White House.

Clinton aide Robby Mook zeroed in Thursday on letters sent in the waning days of the campaign by FBI director James Comey related to his agency’s examination of Clinton’s email accounts. Without those letters, Mook said, Clinton would have won.

He called the focus on Clinton’s emails during the campaign one of the “most over-reported, overhyped, over-litigated stories in the history of American politics.”

Conway, said one key tactical move that helped Trump was the decision to stop looking at national polls and instead focus on state polls, particularly in swing states.

“When I came onboard, we never did another national poll,” she said during the discussion, held at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

President-elect Donald Trump backs away from prosecuting Clinton

01:29

President-elect Donald Trump backs away from prosecuting Clinton

01:34

Clinton says work as citizens doesn’t stop with Trump’s election

01:07

Donald Trump announces Hillary Clinton called to concede election



She said a mistake made by the Clinton campaign was assuming the 2016 electorate would resemble the 2012 electorate, which gave Democratic President Barack Obama a second term, when it was closer to the 2014 midterm electorate, which handed big gains to Republicans in Congress.

She also credited Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic primary challenger, for helping “soften up” Clinton and paving the way for Trump’s victory. She said political observers who predicted the race would go to Clinton “ignored the phenomenon known as Bernie Sanders.”

Mook also blamed Clinton’s loss in part on the drip, drip, drip of apparently hacked Democratic emails.

The U.S. government has said Russia was responsible for hacking at least some of the emails released by WikiLeaks, including those from the private account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

“We cannot have foreign aggressors intervening in our elections,” Mook said.

Asked about the reports of Russian-backed hacking, which Russia has dismissed, Conway said, “We just don’t know it to be true.”

*with files from The Associated Press and Reuters 

Coast guard recommends oil be removed from shipwreck off Newfoundland coast

More than 30 years after the cargo vessel Manolis L. ran aground and sank off Newfoundland’s scenic Change Islands, the Canadian Coast Guard is recommending the full removal of the remaining oil from the wreck.

The Liberian-flagged vessel was carrying a load of paper when it went down off the Blowhard Rocks in Notre Dame Bay in January 1985 with more than 500 tonnes of fuel and diesel on board, most of which has already leaked.

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READ MORE: Oil leaking from shipwreck threatens small Newfoundland community

“There is a risk to the environment, most definitely,” the coast guard’s regional director, Anne Miller, said Friday. “That is why we are recommending the removal of the oil.”

Miller said it is too early to say how much removing the fuel would cost, but she said it was “safe to assume” it would take more than the $6 million allotted to conduct last summer’s assessment.

Miller said it was important to note that the report is positive about what was found by the examination and survey conducted by Resolve Salvage of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

She said officials have concluded the wreck, which is in about 82 metres of water, is stable, and that apart from the damage sustained in the grounding there is no other significant damage to the hull and no risk of it deteriorating quickly.

The survey indicated there had been only 10 per cent wastage of the steel in the 31 years since the sinking.

READ MORE: Hundreds of shipwrecks pose environmental threat to Canada’s coasts

“There was concern about an imminent release (of oil), and what we have found from this report is that the vessel is stable on the bottom and the structural integrity of the vessel is sound.”

Miller said the survey estimated anywhere from 113 tonnes to 150 tonnes of oil and diesel is still on board. There were more than 500 tonnes on board originally and Miller said it was lost as a result of the accident and through gradual leakage over time.

Change Islands deputy mayor Larry Hurley welcomed the coast guard’s recommendation.

“We’ve been waiting for that kind of news, and fighting for that kind of news,” said Hurley. “It (the oil) definitely needs to be removed.”

However, Hurley, who is also a fisherman, said he hoped news that the hull of the ship is stable isn’t used as an excuse to delay the oil’s removal.

“We know that the ship’s been there for 30 years and if she was sitting on top of the ocean and nobody touched her for 30 years she’d be in hard shape, let alone at the bottom of the ocean. I just hope this isn’t prolonged.”

READ MORE: Coast guard seals oil leaking from 1985 shipwreck off Newfoundland

Hurley noticed a six-inch band of oily tar around his wharf in February 2014. That was one of several earlier sightings of small oil slicks in the area and several reports of oiled eider ducks and other sea birds.

He said as far as he knows there have been no recent reports of oil sightings in the area of his village, which he said is home to about 200 people during the winter months and swells to around 400 or more in the summer when cottagers return.

Miller said there was no timeline yet for the oil salvage work and in the meantime, the coast guard would continue to monitor the wreck by sea and from the air.

READ MORE: Ship that sank in 1985 likely source of small oil slicks off Newfoundland

She said it would be “ambitious” to expect a cleanup by next summer.

Miller also said the removal of the entire vessel wouldn’t be “practical,” because it would be too expensive. In 2013, the coast guard launched a $50 million operation just to remove the fuel seeping from a U.S. army transport ship that sank off B.C.s remote north coast in 1946.

In 2015 the release of federal documents by the area’s Liberal MP, Scott Simms, indicated Ottawa had spent $1.7 million over the previous two years to plug oil leaks coming from the Manolis L.

Money was spent on remote operated vehicles, aerial surveillance and cofferdams to trap oil seeping from cracks in the hull.