Month: February 2019

Customer compensated after being denied access to cruise line while pregnant – Toronto

WATCH ABOVE: Michelle Ligori answered an unusual question honestly before boarding a cruise ship. As Sean O’Shea reports her early pregnancy made her unable to get on the ship.

TORONTO – Five months after Michelle Ligori and her family took a cruise aboard the ‘Oasis of the Seas’,  she still can’t believe the question asked by a Royal Caribbean representative when she tried to board.

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“She said, ‘are you pregnant?’ And I said ‘well, actually, yes,’” Ligori told Global News.

The question – and Ligori’s admission – turned the family’s cruise plans upside down. Although she had paid in full for the cruise, Ligori was told she could not board.

The cruise line company insisted Ligori provide medical proof of fitness to travel, something required of all pregnant travellers.

She did not have such a letter. The company’s website states that no woman more than 24 weeks along in her term may board the ship. But Ligori was only five weeks pregnant.

She had taken a home pregnancy test just before leaving home in Hamilton, Ont. She had not yet been to her doctor to confirm she was expecting a third child.

In Osoyoos, British Columbia, Marnie Boers said the same thing happened to her earlier this year when she tried to board the ‘Oasis of the Seas’.

“The pit boss of customer service said: ‘any chance you’re pregnant?” and I said “yes,” after which Boers says the Royal Caribbean representative demanded a letter. Boers, who was 17 weeks pregnant at the time (less than half of a full-term pregnancy) was able to telephone her midwife at home who faxed the letter to the ship and she was allowed to board.

Royal Caribbean is among the few carriers to demand medical evidence of fitness to travel for every pregnant woman. A Royal Caribbean representative told Global News the purpose of the policy is to ensure the safety of the unborn child. .

“I can’t understand why they would have that policy,” said Dr. Jon Barrett, Chief of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.

“There’s no increased risk of travel, no matter what week you are,” said Barrett, an obstetrician and professor.

Many woman say it’s offensive for a company to inquire about pregnancy, especially in public.

“I think it’s a breach of privacy; it’s sensitive, it’s a personal thing,” said Karen Judd, who owns Moms to be and More, a Toronto store catering to new mothers.

Ali Johnson, who’s 38 weeks pregnant, agrees.”If you choose to share (the news of pregnancy) with family and friends you can but it shouldn’t be anyone’s business.”

Lauren Bull, clutching her newborn daughter Verity inside the store, says a cruise ship isn’t owed that information.

“We didn’t tell anyone until three months because you never know,” Bull said.

Royal Caribbean excludes pregnant women from traveling on ships entirely after their 24th week of pregnancy, but the company doesn’t limit travel for other passengers.

“Are they going to ask people   – are you going to have a stroke, a heart attack? How far do you go?” said Judd.

Boers says it’s wrong to single out pregnant women.

“I’m healthy, I’m young and pregnant – it’s not an illness at all,” she said.

A day after our first story on Michelle Ligori, who paid more than $1,200 for additional hotels, taxi fares and a flight for her family to catch the cruise in the Bahamas two days late, Royal Caribbean contacted her to offer an apology.

“They would like to refund us two days of our trip (for all four of us) as well as our additional expenses incurred. (They) also indicated they would look into revising the wording of their policy and training their customer service representatives,” said Ligori.

“My husband and I are satisfied with this outcome. Thank you for hearing and airing our story. Because of you we were able to get a response that was otherwise going unheard,” she said.

Continue reading Customer compensated after being denied access to cruise line while pregnant – Toronto

Mass murderer forgoes parole hearing

The mass murder who mercilessly wiped out a West Kelowna family more than 30 years ago will remain behind bars for at least the next two years.

David Ennis, formerly known as David Shearing, shot to death six members of the Bentley-Johnson family in an ambush attack in August 1982. He was set to go before the parole board in September, but has now waived his right to a full parole hearing, which automatically happens every two years. Ennis had also applied for day parole, but according to Gary Sears at the Parole Board of Canada, Ennis also withdrew that application.

Previous parole applications by Ennis have been fiercely opposed by relatives and friends of the Bentley-Johnson family, and all have been rejected by the parole board.

WATCH: Petition to keep killer David Shearing locked up

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Tammy Arishenkoff spearheaded a petition protesting Shearing’s bid for parole and started a facebook page called “Justice for Johnson-Bentley families.”

She posted this on the page after hearing the news:

“Got the call this morning and David Ennis (Shearing) has waived his right to a full parole review as well as withdrawn his application for day parole! Considering he hasn’t even seen our impact statements yet, this is a testament to the power of the people. THANK YOU to everyone who signed a petition, got signatures, sent in a letter and supported us. With hope, our legislation will change and we will not have to do this for another 5 – 7 years.”

Continue reading Mass murderer forgoes parole hearing

South Hamptons condo residents return to suites for first time since fire – Edmonton

Watch above: For the first time since Monday’s fire, residents of the Park Place South Hamptons condo complex were allowed back inside briefly to grab some belongings. Fletcher Kent has more.

EDMONTON – Three days after a massive blaze tore through their homes, residents of the Park Place South Hamptons condo complex were allowed back in their suites Thursday.

Homeowners were given 20 minutes to go inside, assess the damage and grab their personal belongings.

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  • Smokers caused 700 Edmonton fires over past decade: Edmonton Fire

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    Fire Chief Ken Block

“We were both pretty anxious to get in and to see,” said Bethany Erickson, who lives in the building with her husband Tim. “But when we stepped in, and the smell, that’s when I started to get pretty worried.”

Erickson and her husband were lucky; their unit was spared by the fire.

Not everyone was quite as lucky, though. Monika and Steve St. Jean say it’s been an emotional week waiting to see what was left of their home after fire ripped through the west Edmonton condo building early Monday morning.

“We tried to cut the emotion out. It wasn’t until I got to my son’s nursery and the ceiling was down,” said Monika, holding back tears, “with your first born, there’s baby things… you don’t have as much attachment to your own things as you do baby things.”

READ MORE: Residents displaced by west Edmonton condo blaze looking for answers

The St. Jeans’ suite is below the burned out floor. They didn’t even need their full 20 minutes to grab their belongings.

“When you walk in with gumboots into standing water, into everything that you owned, you just shut down,” said Monika.

“You have to realize that pretty much everything left behind after today will be pretty much unrecoverable due to water.”

Fire investigators have since determined the blaze – which caused an estimated $10 million in damages – was started by a cigarette that was improperly extinguished in a flower pot.

READ MORE: Improperly disposed of cigarette likely cause of Edmonton condo fire

Residents are now trying to figure out what to do next. According to the condo board, “longer blocks of time to allow residents to recover larger items will be scheduled over the next several weeks.”

At this time it’s not known exactly when residents will be allowed to return home for good, which is frustrating to many.

“Right now I’m in the situation where I don’t have a home,” said Renols Dehari, who lives in the building with his wife and daughter. The couple also has another baby on the way.

“This is ridiculous. I’m going from hotel to hotel and I don’t know. I don’t know what to say, I’m just basically in the middle of nowhere.”

While frustrating, the St. Jeans say they’ll start looking for a place to rent, adding they’re happy they were able to make it out of the fire with the things that matter most.

“We got our son out and we got our cats out,” said Monkia. “And we have each other.”

Follow @CaleyRamsay

With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News.

Continue reading South Hamptons condo residents return to suites for first time since fire – Edmonton

Critics sound off about Alberta’s long term care troubles

CALGARY- The story of an Airdrie family who can’t move their father from Ontario due to the cost of long-term care is touching a nerve with Canadians.

Legislation states that anyone moving from out of province must live in Alberta for 12 months before being eligible for any kind of continuing care subsidy. If the Hirons family  were to move to Airdrie, they would be on the hook for $7,500 per month for an entire year.

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It turns out they’re far from alone in their struggle.

“We have a member of our family who is in a vulnerable state, who we can’t look after the way we would like to,” complains Rob McNaughton.

His sister-in-law suffered a brain injury eight years ago while living in Saskatchewan, and was eventually admitted to a long-term care facility. Her family tried to get her moved to Calgary to be with them, but they also would have been forced to pay for her care on their own.

“We’re all here,” McNaughton says. “We go back and visit her for a week at a time or so, but really we need to bring her here because this is where our lives are.”

Critics are miffed at the legislation.

“Other provinces don’t have this issue, other provinces can make this work for families, because they understand keeping the family whole is a priority,” says Kerry Tole from the Wildrose Party. “The reality of it is that anyone else who is coming to this province can get health services, and it’s billed back to the province in which they came.

“Even then it’s only a three month wait, not a 12 month wait.”

Alberta’s health minister declined Global News’ requests for comment.

Continue reading Critics sound off about Alberta’s long term care troubles

416: People spending a lot of money to get original Toronto area code – Toronto

TORONTO –  People are paying a lot of money to get a hold of a 416 number.

Bill Pollock is one of those people. He won’t say how much he spent but admits to buying his 416 number.

“We wanted to have a centrally located number that anybody can call from any part of the city and not have a long-distance fee,” said Pollock.

But Pollock says the area code holds status above Toronto’s other area codes.

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“416 is identified as Toronto. Toronto, and in fact it’s referred to often as the 416,” he said.

Pollock obtained his number through vip416numbers杭州夜网, a website which distributes 416 numbers for a fee ranging from $99 to $2000.

And the website may be the only way to get a 416 number, because the Canadian Numbering Association doesn’t distribute 416 numbers anymore.

“The last large group of CO codes, the first 3 digits of the phone number, we handed out would have been 2006.” said Glen Brown, a project manager with the Canadian Numbering Administrator.

The 416 area code has been used since 1947. The area code 647 was introduced in 2001. Some people are not even aware of a third area code, 437, which was introduced in March, 2013.

And of course 905, a Toronto area code Brown says, people forget about.

“What they now associate as the 905 area code was also originally part of the 416 area code and it was sort of split off at one point,” he said.

Many former Torontonians keep their 416 number when they move away. Chris Butryn did when he moved to Durham in 2006.

“It helps you keep in touch with your friends from the old region and makes it easy for them,” Butryn said.

Now a realtor in the Durham Region, Butryn said he is glad he still has the number because it helps connect him to his clients.

“I think it lets people know that you know them. I did live in the city. I have a 416 numbers. I know areas, I know people in the city,” he said.

Continue reading 416: People spending a lot of money to get original Toronto area code – Toronto