#Ontario; #SPARKOntario; #Seniors&Vulnerable; #Volunteers, #Covid19Pandemic
Toronto, Apr 9 (Canadian-Media): A partnership is being established by the Government of Ontario with SPARK Ontario to help seniors and the most vulnerable stay connected and healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak self-isolation, media reports said.
Spark Ontario. Image credit: Facebook
Ontario's first bilingual volunteer hub, SPARK Ontario aims to direct volunteers to where they are needed most. With varying needs of each community, groups across the province are in need for volunteers to help deliver food or medicines, run errands, check-up on seniors and the most vulnerable by phone or email during their self-isolation.
To protect the health and safety of seniors and people with disabilities during this outbreak, Ontario is investing an additional $20 million over two years to better protect seniors and staff at retirement homes and support the delivery of foods and medicines to seniors and people with disabilities to ensure they can stay home and stay healthy.
Besides this, Ontario is investing $100,000 as part of a government-wide initiative to help connect community organizations to the volunteers Ontario needs through www.sparkontario.ca.
$200 million in social services relief funding was recentlly announced by Ontario to help the province’s most vulnerable during COVID-19.
During this challenging time it is more important than ever that volunteers get together to support the most vulnerable in our communities.
By working with SPARK Ontario and supported by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, the volunteers are being mobilized to help those most in need, especially our older adults and physically challenged, Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility said.
Volunteer organizations can encouraged to visit www.sparkontario.ca to post available volunteer opportunities in their communities, while Ontarians interested in volunteering are encouraged to check the website for opportunities to make a difference where they live.
Seniors, people with disabilities, and others in need of assistance can also be connected to essential services in their community at any time by visiting www.211ontario.ca or by dialing 211 or 1-877-330-3212 (toll free). TTY service is also available by dialing 1-888-340-1001.
#Rawanda; #HateSpeech; #Xenophobia; #InternationalDayofReflection; #CounterHatred
New York, Apr 8 (Canadian-Media): Remembering the more than one million people who over the course of just 100 days, were systematically killed in Rwanda, 26 years ago, the UN chief underscored on Tuesday that “we must never again let such an atrocity occur”, UN reports said.
Rwandan refugees who fled the country during the genocide are pictured returning home in 2005. Image credit: UN Photo/John Isaac
In honouring everyone who perished as well as survivors of the carnage against the mostly Tutsi, but also Hutus and others who opposed the massacre, Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message on the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, that we “must say no to hate speech and xenophobia, and reject the forces of polarization, nationalism and protectionism”.
While the COVID-19 pandemic precluded the usual commemorative event at UN Headquarters, the day was marked through virtual observance, where victims and survivors of the 1994 genocide were remembered by a renewed commitment to, among other things, identify early warning signs and collectively protect all persons affected by conflicts and crises.
“Only by recognizing that we are all one human family sharing the same planet, will we be able to rise to the many global challenges that confront us – from COVID-19 to climate change”, he spelled out.
Maintaining that those who survived the genocide inspire “reconciliation and restoration”, the UN chief stressed that since that dark chapter, Rwanda has demonstrated how “to rise from the ashes, to heal and to rebuild a stronger, more sustainable society”.
In closing, the Secretary-General encouraged everyone to take motivation from “the ongoing lesson of Rwanda” in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Upholding that those “unspeakable crimes pierced the conscience of the world”, UN General Assembly President, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, said that it was “our collective responsibility” to recommit to protecting civilians and preventing genocide from ever occurring again.
“Early intervention is key, and we must prioritize inclusion by fostering tolerance, combatting hate speech, and promoting intercultural dialogue”, he elaborated.
In memory of the victims, Mr. Mohammad-Bande urged everyone to “counter hatred in all its manifestations” as he saluted the courageous survivors and those who tried to prevent the murders.
“I commend all Rwandan troops deployed to United Nations peacekeeping missions around the world”, he emphasized. “Your service, born from sacrifice, gives hope to us all”.
Over the last 26 years, the country has become known for peace and prosperity, the Assembly president observed, saying, “we look forward to even brighter days ahead for Rwandans, who remain united in their commitment to reconciliation”.
“We must learn from their experience”, he concluded, “we must always remember, kwibuka”, when the national mourning period begins.
Although 26 years have passed, the Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva, Tatiana Valovaya, pointed out that “the memories of this tragedy are very much alive”.
“The 1994 genocide in Rwanda has changed the collective psyche of an entire nation and left deep scars and traumas in the lives of the survivors”, she said, noting that generations to come will continue “to endure the unbearable pain created by the loss of family members and friends”.
Although Rwanda has learned from its tragedy, as mass atrocities occur with alarming frequency, she noted, it is obvious that the international community has not. Around the world, there is a groundswell of xenophobia, racism, antisemitism and intolerance.
“Hate speech not only challenges human rights norms and principles, it also undermines social cohesion, erodes shared values and lays the foundation for violence – setting back the cause of peace, stability, and the fulfilment of human rights for all”, she detailed, flagging that more than a decade later, preventing genocide remains “a cardinal task of our time”.
Keeping the memory alive and promoting tolerance, human values and peaceful co-existence, would prove that diversity is an asset, not a threat, according to the UN official.
“We owe it to our common future”, she concluded.
#Ontario; #PinecrestNursingHome; #Bobcaygeon, #SpaceConstraints; #16 deaths
Toronto, Apr 7 (Canadian-Media): Delay of separation of healthy patients from the the sick in Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon, Ontario due to space constraints had resulted in COVID-19 pandemic killing 16, more than a third of the residents, media reports said.
Image credit: Twitter
The nursing home which housed 65 residents declared a respiratory outbreak only after 2 weeks that private rooms became available bu till then 16 residents had already died, said Sarah Gardiner, who had worked at the Pinecrest Nursing Home for 12 years.
"That's the reason why we actually have the space now. Because we've lost ... residents," said Gardiner. "But before, there really was not the space to do that. It would have been an impossibility, I think."
Staff and members of residents' families were notified on Apr 3 by the Pinecrest Nursing Home administrator Mary Carr that the facility had implemented changes including separating all the sick residents from the healthy patients in two different sections of the nursing home to mitigate any potential spread of the virus.
As of yesterday, 26 residents had died including one volunteer whose husband is a resident in the nursing home.