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Coronavirus Update
Nearly 100 cases in Canada - B.C. reports first death

Canada releases coronavirus guidelines on when to cancel major events
The Public Health Agency of Canada has posted guidelines aimed at helping event planners figure out whether to cancel mass gatherings of people as the federal government works to quell the potential spread of the novel coronavirus. The next best thing to stopping the virus completely is to slow it down, public health officials have said, and try to delay widespread community transmission as long as possible to ease the burden on the health-care system.

The newly released federal guidelines urge organizers to assess risk, highlighting factors like the ages of the attendees, given the virus hits older populations hardest, and whether they are likely to be arriving from regions that have been impacted by COVID-19.

They also offer ways to reduce the risk without cancelling the event altogether, such as by limiting the number of people who attend, staggering arrivals and departures, making more hand-washing stations available, or even live-streaming activities online.

But they don't dictate whether certain types of events should be shut down, and under what conditions. Rather, they're intended to help event planners, municipalities, provinces and territories make informed decisions.

Exclusive: Millions of masks stockpiled in Canada's Ontario expired before coronavirus hit
Millions of face masks stockpiled by Ontario in the aftermath of the SARS outbreak to protect healthcare workers during a future epidemic have expired, according to provincial officials and documents, raising questions about the readiness of Canada’s most populous province to deal with the spreading coronavirus.

Thirteen years ago, Ontario stockpiled some 55 million N95 masks and other medical equipment after the province bore the brunt of the SARS epidemic in Canada in 2002 and 2003. But provincial officials have confirmed that the masks in the stockpile have passed their expiration date and sidestepped questions about how many masks, including expired ones, remain.

Public health officials have said masks may be less effective beyond the expiration date determined by the manufacturer. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the past has recommended use of expired masks only under “crisis” shortage situations.

Canadian supply chains scramble to avoid coronavirus shutdowns
North American manufacturers and retailers haven't yet experienced widespread disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak. But contingency plans are in effect for industries that use Chinese suppliers — which, these days, means a lot of different businesses. China was Canada's second biggest source of imports in 2019, trailing far behind the U.S. (which supplies half of what Canada buys) but supplying more than double the imports from Mexico or any European or Asian country. And a lot of those American products are made with Chinese supplies, too.

Many businesses that rely on Chinese suppliers know to stock up before the holiday, so serious shortages in Canada may not emerge until later this month or next. On the other hand, recent disruptions in Canadian rail shipping may already have forced some facilities to dip into their reserves.

COVID-19: B.C. announces Canada’s first coronavirus death

Number of Canadian coronavirus cases approaches 100; most in British Columbia & Ontario

Coronavirus could infect 35 to 70 per cent of Canadians, experts say

Coronavirus: Starbucks halting use of personal, in-store cups in U.S. and Canada

Meth supply, organized crime focus of Pan-Canadian group tackling rural crime

Rural crime ’carnage’ continues to grow, says Alberta justice minister

Organized syndicates believed to be behind methamphetamine-fuelled crime sprees are the focus of a pan-Canadian working group struck to develop a national strategy to combat rural crime, Alberta Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer says. Canada's deputy ministers of justice and public safety, who had their first call on Feb. 27, are also looking at stiffer sentences for offenders, Schweitzer told CBC in an interview Monday.

The group, co-chaired by Schweitzer and federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, was formed after Alberta Justice forced the issue of rural crime onto the agenda at a ministers' meeting in January and proposed a national strategy.

Criminals on a "meth-bender" go from community to community stealing more and more property to "fuel their next hit," Schweitzer said.

"And we're seeing that type of carnage continue to grow," he said. "It's really making sure that we have the ability to go after organized crime, which is preying on people that have addictions to meth and other drugs and make sure we get it off the streets. The group aims to finalize a strategy to be tabled by Schweitzer and Blair at the next ministers' meeting this fall.

Changes have included laying out plans to hire hundreds of new RCMP officers, amendments to legislation preventing offenders from suing landowners, adding 4,000 new drug treatment beds and expanding the drug treatment court program.

Police double up downtown Winnipeg foot patrol

Response to spike in liquor thefts, homicides

The number of officers walking the street beat in downtown Winnipeg has been stepped up significantly as police aim to make people feel safer in the city's core. The additional officers come from a staffing shuffle that started last fall when the city was dealing with a spike in crime. The number of liquor store thefts was soaring as was the number of homicides, which hit a record-setting 44 by the end of the year.

Hamilton police launch new platform for reporting hate crimes online

Service heard 'loud and clear' that people want a way to report
without visiting a station

"Hate crime in Hamilton is not acceptable. Left unchecked, we know hate crime can have a far reaching impact on communities," stated Deputy Chief Frank Bergen in a media release. "This new online reporting system is a way anyone can report a hate/bias incident and ensure appropriate resources are assigned to make our community safer."

A total of 92 hate and bias incidents — including both suspect occurrences and criminal offences — were reported to police last year, according to the service. Most of those incidents were related to religion, racial bias or sexual orientation. Police say the Black, Jewish and LGBTQ communities were the groups that were targeted most frequently.

Northwest business owners fed up with repeated crime

Pharmacist robbed at gunpoint wants to start support group for his peers

Canadian Security Roundtable
Cannabis security experts share best practices on industry direction

On January 22, Canadian Security magazine hosted the Cannabis Security Roundtable at its office in Toronto, Ont. The thought leadership event brought together security experts to discuss, debate and share their subject-matter expertise on how licensed producers, retailers and other cannabis-related businesses in Canada can protect their facilities, assets, staff, customers and data.

Sponsored by GardaWorld, Pivot3, Johnson Controls Inc., and Raytec Systems Inc., roundtable participants included:

Paul Baziuk, Johnson Controls Inc.
Ken Doige, CannTrust
Charles Ethier, GardaWorld
David Hyde, Hyde Advisory
Mike Jamieson, Raytec Systems Inc.
Dave Scott, Pivot3
Brandon Smith, Canopy Growth Corp
Mike Soberal, Aurora Cannabis

Click here to view the whitepaper, videos and Q&A articles produced from Canadian Security's Cannabis Roundtable

Q&A: Paul Baziuk, senior account executive, Johnson Controls discusses what types of solutions Johnson Controls provides the cannabis market in Canada

Staffing Shortages Remains a Significant Challenge for Retailers in Canada

Some stores and malls are forced to close early - or not open at all

As it stands, the Canadian retail market is struggling to find available and efficient talent to drive sales. Today the number of available jobs vastly exceeds the number of job seekers, proving that the situation is chronic and somewhat of an emergency as Canada is hit with a 40-year low of available and willing staff.

A a recent IDC/Telus study conducted last year shows that 47 percent of all retailers say staffing is a significant problem, higher than 44 percent across other industries. This dwindling talent pool is decreasing foot traffic and in turn greatly sabotaging sales.

Brick and mortar stores rely on the provision of exceptional customer service and educated sales associates. The retail industry is part of the service industry and brands are struggling to provide adequate service with the calibre of talent available to them, meaning many are failing in their field and no wonder ecommence is thriving.

Retailers and brands can pump investments into every other area of business, but without appropriate employment they run the risk of failing. Retail has to recreate its entire employment programs.

Studies have shown that some stores are so understaffed that they are unable to adhere posted open times and are being forced to close early or sometimes close for days at a time. This is happening in both neighbourhood retail and major malls. Budgets for recruiting ads are sky-rocketing with lower-than-ever returns as retailers are at a loss as to how to entice new talent.

Why so many Metro Vancouver retail spaces are closing up shop

'Property taxes are the deal killer'

shuttered its outlet at Kitsilano Beach in January and at 18 other Metro locations in the past year, part of a retail trend that has seen 73,443 square feet of Metro Vancouver retail space close in the second half of 2019. The retail bricks-and-mortar cutbacks have been forecast for some time, but the latest data throws the speculation into stark relief.

Regional malls in Metro Vancouver lost 48,878 square feet of space and community malls shed 21,682 square feet of stores in the six months ending Dec. 31, according to commercial real estate broker Cushman & Wakefield.

Streetfront stores are also closing in shopping strolls such as Robson Street, Alberni Street and South Granville, said Patrick Bourne, retail analyst at Cushman & Wakefield in Vancouver, but this data was not included in the survey.

Vacant storefronts are appearing across Vancouver, often tied to the triple-net lease rates that require retail tenants to pay property taxes based on escalating land values. An informal survey by the Vancouver Courier found 25 for-lease signs on former retail outlets along a 10-block section of South Granville last fall.

Didier Facchin, who owns the Figaro Café + Bakery on West 10th Avenue in Vancouver, said property taxes are the deal killer.

Nygard Companies Trying to Restructure and Get Financial Support
Still reeling from allegations of rape and sex trafficking against apparel magnate Peter Nygard, the Nygard Group of Companies filed a notice of intention to file a proposal pursuant to the Canadian Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act Tuesday night. A statement issued by a company spokesman stated the decision to restructure and seek financial support was done in order “to protect the livelihood of thousands of dedicated employees,” as well as retail customers, vendors and suppliers.

Fifty-five per cent of Canadians admit to having shared their PIN or security passwords
with family or friends

Louis Garneau Sports to file for bankruptcy protection

Spiritleaf on track to open 46 stores countrywide

Outerwear retailer Arc’teryx expands safely, smartly

Ontario received 450 cannabis store applications on March 2

Businesses & shoppers want stores open on stat holidays, but employees would rather not work them

Hamilton, ON: 2 dead, 2 injured after early morning shooting
A man walked into a bar and fired multiple shots, killing two people and wounding two others early Sunday morning at the Urban Lounge on Barton Street East and Chestnut Avenue according to Hamilton police. Detectives say they are in the early stages of investigating the city's third and fourth fatal shootings of the year. Officers were called to the lounge, which is in the basement of Sam's Hotel and Tavern, shortly after 5 a.m. Police believe this man walked in to the bar and started firing shots. When first responders arrived, they found three men and a woman wounded at the scene before rushing all of them to hospital. A 39-year-old man was pronounced dead on arrival and a 25-year-old woman died later in the morning at roughly 8 a.m. Hamilton police said the bullets fired at Urban Lounge on Sunday were likely meant to only hit one person — instead, they hit four and now two are dead.

Toronto police arrest 15-year-old in 10-store armed robbery spree
Toronto police have arrested a 15-year-old after he allegedly robbed 10 stores across the city in the span of three months. In each robbery, between Dec. 4 and March 4, police say the suspect wore a disguise and was armed with a knife. “He made demands for money and products and threatened to stab the employees if they did not cooperate,” police alleged in a news release. The accused allegedly took cash and liquor before leaving, police say. The teen faces numerous charges including 10 counts of robbery with a weapon. He cannot be named because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Edmonton, AB: Crime wave on Jasper Avenue, multiple businesses
targeted by robber
Several businesses on Jasper Avenue have reported break-ins over the last few weeks, and the owners wonder if the crimes are connected. They've already identified a number of similarities between the robberies. In all cases, locks and metal doors were breached. Surveillance cameras were torn off walls and alarms were unplugged. But one other common theme has owners wondering if the same person is responsible for all of it, with images of the break-ins were still captured on all of their surveillance systems.

Saskatoon, SK: Police investigate shooting near busy shopping area

6 arrested following multiple armed robberies in Etobicoke, Yorkdale mall

Prince George, BC: RCMP seeing 8 percent spike in calls for service


Robberies & Burglaries

C-Store - Toronto, ON - Robbery/Counterfeit
C-Store - Sarnia, ON - Armed Robbery
Grocery Store - Brampton, ON - Robbery
Pharmacy - Toronto, ON - Robbery (3x)
Unnamed Store - Guelph, ON - Armed Robbery (2x)