Fredericton Cab driver tests positive for COVID-19; other riders notified

A part-time driver with Fredericton’s Checker Cab company tested positive for COVID-19, the company has confirmed. Photo: Morguefile

Source:Daily Gleaner (April 01, 2020)

Adam Bowie | The Daily Gleaner

A part-time driver with Fredericton’s Checker Cab company tested positive for COVID-19 days after picking up a virus-positive passenger from the city’s airport.

Anne Mooers, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, confirmed the details Wednesday.

“Public Health has been working with the cab company to identify anyone who had been in close contact with the driver,” she said.

Cab company co-owner Patrick Tahan said officials informed the company on either March 20 or 21 the passenger had arrived back from a Sunwing vacation.

“Everybody on the plane was notified. We notified all our customers as well. As a precaution, [the driver] hasn’t worked since,” he said.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell previously reported a passenger on Sunwing Flight 169 from Punta Cana to Fredericton on March 18 later tested positive for COVID-19.

So far, the company has not heard of anyone in contact with the driver reporting any illness, Tahan said.

Co-owner George Youssef said the cab company’s new app for passengers needing rides is also ideal at keeping records of riders, so anyone who had contact with the driver has been notified.

He said his drivers are taking special precautions while on the job – sanitizing surfaces after every passenger to minimize the risk of transmission.

“They have a spray bottle. They have gloves. They’re wearing masks. We’re wiping down the machine before anybody uses it. I’ve asked all the drivers to do it in front of the customer, so that they’re not afraid to get into the car,” he said.

“We’re doing what we need to do to keep not only the customers safe, but also my drivers safe.”

He said cab companies are among those who have taken a hit to their bottoms lines, while trying to provide a service during the pandemic at risk to their own health.

“Considering everything, I think we’re very, very lucky [there haven’t been other cases],” said Youssef. “I hope we can stay open … This is an emergency service for people. I’m losing money by staying open, but we have to stay open.”

Tahan said the driver is now “almost cleared” of symptoms.

Union Busting AFIMAC out City of Fredericton and CUPE 508 Reach Tentative Agreement

The City of Fredericton and CUPE Local 508, which represents the City’s outside workers, have agreed to a tentative wage package tied to the Consumer Price Index for New Brunswick (CPI NB).

The five-year agreement is retroactive to January 2019 and will see the outside workers get a one-time wage adjustment of one dollar per hour, plus 2.13% CPI for 2019 in year one of the contract. Wage increases for the remaining four years of the contract will be based solely on CPI NB and aligns the CUPE 508 contract with the City policy of granting future wage increases equal to CPI.

Additional details related to the contract will be formally ratified at a future meeting of City Council. No other details of the agreement will be released until that time. CUPE Local 508 outside workers will return to work on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.

Premier’s Progress Report Unveiled

Brian Gallant
Premier Brian Gallant

FREDERICTON (GNB) – Premier Brian Gallant today highlighted the progress the provincial government has made on the priorities of New Brunswickers.

“Over the last year, as your government, we have continued to invest in our multi-year economic growth plan,” said Gallant. “Instead of an austerity agenda, we are investing to create opportunities so our youth can work here in New Brunswick and so people who have left our province can come back and work here.”

Over the last three years, New Brunswick experienced the best economic growth in a decade. The province hit a 10-year high in 2015 and the trend continued into 2016 when real GDP growth reached 1.24 per cent.

Other economic indicators include:

Since 2014, the government has cut the province’s deficit by 67 per cent, and plans to eliminate the deficit by the 2020 budget.

Private capital expenditures have rebounded, exceeding 2013 levels in 2014 and 2016. In 2015, they reached almost $2 billion, a level not seen since 2011.

Average weekly earnings were up by 2.3 per cent in 2016 – compared to 2.8 per cent growth in 2015 – and above the national result of 0.4 per cent. Tied with Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick had the highest growth in average weekly earnings countrywide in 2016.

The unemployment rate has been in the single digits for all of 2017.

Some of the measures the provincial government has taken to support job creation include:

Reduced the small business income tax rate to three per cent and introduced legislation to lower it even more.

Increased the minimum wage three times since December 2014 to put more money in New Brunswicker’s pockets.

Increased taxes for the richest one per cent so the government can invest in the economy, health care and education.

Invested more money in infrastructure to create jobs and improve roads and schools.

Increased investment in the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, as well as in infrastructure, reflecting the government’s commitment to developing tourism in New Brunswick.

Implementing and maintaining pay equity as part of an ongoing government commitment to achieving equality for women in the province, giving a better quality of life to women, children and families.

Developed a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy with industry leaders, academia and government to help establish New Brunswick as an epicentre of cybersecurity and create high-value jobs.

Supported the Sisson Mine Project as it will create jobs and generate business opportunities for the province.

“Your government’s multi-year economic growth plan includes major investments in education and post-secondary education,” said Gallant. “These investments help develop a strong workforce, which, in turn, helps strengthen our economy.”

The government is investing more in education than ever before, including:

Creating 10-year education plans so that young people have the strongest education system possible.

Investing more than $292 million to upgrade current schools and build new ones since October 2014.

Entering into a $71 million three-year bilateral early learning and childcare agreement with the federal government.

Created the Free Tuition Program and the Tuition Relief for the Middle Class program, to provide upfront assistance to New Brunswick students and make post-secondary education more accessible and affordable.

Developed the Youth Employment Fund to give youth more opportunity to stay in New Brunswick and the chance to get hands-on work experience.

Launched Unleashing the power of literacy: New Brunswick’s Comprehensive Literacy Strategyto improve literacy rates in the province.

Teaching trades in schools to better prepare young people for future opportunities and investing to upgrade and build trade spaces in schools.

Returned Grade 1 French immersion to 68 schools across the province beginning in September 2017.

“We understand how important health care and senior care are to New Brunswickers,” said Gallant. “We have a multi-year plan to strengthen the quality and accessibility of both health and senior care.”

The government is also contributing to the quality of life in the province by:

Investing $56 million with the federal government in affordable housing to give the most vulnerable a place to live.

Actively recruiting more women into positions of influence in the province.

Introducing Family Day, a statutory holiday beginning in February 2018 to recognize New Brunswick families.

Bringing in two new acts, the Local Governance Act and the Community Planning Act, which replaced the former Municipalities Act and Community Planning Act. This is the first update in 40 years and is intended to provide appropriate, effective powers and responsibilities to local governance.

Amending the Motor Vehicle Act to improve safety for cyclists by creating what is known as “Ellen’s law” in memory of New Brunswick cyclist Ellen Watters, who died in December 2016 as a result of her injuries from a motor vehicle while she was on a training ride near Sussex.

Tabling the Intimate Partner Violence Act to provide victims of intimate partner violence with additional tools to increase their safety while they seek more permanent solutions.

Enhancing animal protection by amending the Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals Act and the Municipalities Act.

Expanded the Integrated Service Delivery model, which features a team of intervention and support professionals collaborating in the community to provide mental health, addiction, social and emotional support, and other services to children and youth.

Signed a 10-year Bilateral Health Agreement with the federal government that will bring an estimated additional investment of $230 million for home care and mental health to New Brunswick.

Created the New Brunswick Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit to help senior’s make their homes safer and more accessible, so that they can stay in them for longer.

Preparing for the legalization of recreational cannabis in a way intended to ensure cannabis is out of the hands of youth and that the proceeds are out of the hands of criminals.

Showing leadership on climate change by creating a made-in-New Brunswick solution that respects the local economy while taking action on the biggest challenge facing mankind.

“We look forward to continuing to work with New Brunswickers in 2018 to invest strategically in our multi-year economic growth plan, to invest more to support our 10-year education plans and to deliver the best health-care system possible,” said Gallant.

MP Matt Decourcey Says Canadians Are Not Ready For Election Reforms

By André Faust (May 25, 2017)

The Trudeau government during their election campaign promised that 2015 would be the last year for “First past the post” elections the likely hood of that promise being honoured is now being questioned.

At a rally that coincided with the Fredericton Liberal Riding Association general annual meeting where Liberal MP Matt DeCourcey for Fredericton was scheduled to speak was held.

Upon his arrival, he was greeted by 40 to 60 people representing concerned citizens and various organisations of the riding about the Liberal government backing away from their election promise to dispose of the first past the post electoral system.

DeCourcey explained that from the government’s point of view there is no consensus among the Canadian people for an electoral change. According to DeCourcey, he believes that someday we will see a change in the electoral system, but right now is not the time.

Rally wide shot





Fredericton City Council Talks the Talk About Eradication of Homelessness but Fails to Deliver

By André Faust

Just when you think you have seen it all, then bang something out the blue is thrown at you. The city of Fredericton has boasted that they were the leaders in fighting poverty and homelessness in the city of Fredericton, Mayor O’Brien even created the task force on homelessness.

Here is a direct quote take from Mayor Mike Obrien’s bio which can be found on the city of Fredericton web page.

“Mike has been in the forefront of promoting Housing First, a proven model to eradicate chronic homelessness in his City. This effort has put Fredericton on the path to being the first City in New Brunswick to eliminate chronic homelessness.”
That objective has become totally meaningless. The City had the opportunity to show it’s commitment to the eradication of homelessness and really shine as a progressive city in the fight against homelessness. But they blew it!
Instead, they passed a motion that will place a minimum for individuals on the street because their landlord in his act of compassion for those socially disadvantaged individuals allowed an additional four people to live in his room house after being asked by several organisations to help these desolate people. In his act of kindness, he did not think about by-laws and regulations. He put people first.

Well that didn’t go over well with town council, the issue for refusing application to convert his duplex into to a triplex so wasn’t because his building didn’t meet building or fire codes, on the contrary, his building exceeded the legal requirements The Problem is the as a result of act of humanity where he provided sanctuary to people who couldn’t wait for a lengthy bureaucratic process. They need help now, not 6 months down the road or a year down the road their need was Immediate.

Get this and again I quote from the city’s web page ” Councillor Price is a proud supporter of the city’s drive to end homeless” Yet he reprimanded Keith young for not following procedures, Eric Price essentially told Landlord Keith young he was voting against the application for conversion because Keith Young didn’t follow the rules, the process. Price basically told to Young we have to follow the rules and so do you. Obviously, Price has diminished memory capacity or is showing the early symptoms of dementia. Because right before the election council had to apologise for breaking their own rules in regards to holding an illegal meeting. Or when the Fredericton City Police falsified document to the internet provider to retrieve personal information from Blogger Charles Leblanc. In The Bernard Richards report, she admitted that the documents were false, but she apologised and said yes it was wrong, but it was due to a bad “Cut” and Paste”.

So it appears that if you are the decision makers of this city you can break your own laws, and all you need to do is apologise and it justifies the action. Well, Eric price didn’t accept Mr Young’s apology for his oversight, even though Mr Young’s reason was for compassionate reasons. His application was rejected for a minor technicality.

All this hype about Fredericton to eradicate homelessness genuine or are the players just creating a halo effect to make themselves look good to advance their careers.