Sun, 27 Sep 2020 14:12:38 +0000 en hourly 1 New temporary public policy will allow visitors to apply for a work permit without having to leave Canada Sun, 27 Sep 2020 14:04:02 +0000 nenette Change intended to benefit employers who are still facing difficulties finding workers

Ottawa—Visitors who are currently in Canada and have a valid job offer will be able to apply for an employer-specific work permit and, if approved, receive the permit without having to leave the country, thanks to a new public policy announced today by the Honourable Marco E.L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

This temporary policy change takes effect immediately and will benefit employers in Canada who continue to face difficulties finding the workers they need, as well as temporary residents who would like to contribute their labour and skills to Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic, temporary residents who remained in Canada were encouraged to maintain valid legal status. With air travel limited around the world, some visitors to Canada have been unable to leave, while some foreign workers had to change their status to visitor because their work permit was expiring and they didn’t have a job offer to be able to apply for a new work permit. Some employers in Canada have also faced ongoing labour and skills shortages throughout this period, including those who provide important goods and services that Canadians rely on.

To be eligible, an applicant looking to benefit from this temporary public policy must

  • have valid status in Canada as a visitor on August 24, 2020 and remain in Canada
  • have a job offer
  • submit an application for an employer-specific work permit that is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or an LMIA-exempt offer of employment, no later than March 31, 2021
  • meet all other standard admissibility criteria

This temporary public policy also provides the opportunity for applicants who meet these criteria and who had a valid work permit in the past 12 months to begin working for their new employer before their work permit application has been fully approved. To do so, they need to follow the instructions for the process described here:


“We have heard from employers who continue to face challenges recruiting and hiring the workers they need during the pandemic. At the same time, some visitors in Canada may be able to contribute their skills where there are labour shortages. The measures introduced today will now allow visitors to apply for work permits without having to leave the country first. This exemption from the normal temporary work permit requirements is aimed at removing barriers to create a more agile workforce that leverages visitors with the skills and experience to accelerate our economic recovery.”

—The Honourable Marco E.L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Quick facts

  • Any type of visitor who meets the criteria is eligible to apply under this new public policy, including super visa holders, business visitors and those who entered Canada through a Global Skills Strategy work permit exemption.
  • Foreign nationals who arrive in Canada as visitors after August 24, 2020, are not eligible under the public policy.
  • Prior to this temporary policy change, a person applying as a temporary resident would usually need to apply for their initial work permit before they came to Canada. If they were already in Canada with visitor status when they were approved for a work permit, they would need to leave Canada and return before their work permit was issued to them.
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Tips for Taking Online Classes Sun, 27 Sep 2020 14:01:24 +0000 nenette If you’re considering taking online college courses (or you’re already enrolled in a program) the tips and advice below can help you address their unique challenges to get the most value out of your online program.

1. Treat an online course like a “real” course.

When it comes to online classes, you need to have the discipline to sit down and say, “I am going to work on this,” as well as the dedication to actually follow through. Though you can be flexible as to when you choose to complete your work during the week, you can’t put it off indefinitely.

One of the easiest ways to ensure follow through is to remember that you are paying to take this online course, just as you would for a traditional, in-person class. You must “show up” if you’re going to get real value out of your class. Treat your online classes the same way you would a face-to-face class—or, better yet, a job—and you’ll be off to the right start.

2. Hold yourself accountable

Set goals at the beginning of the semester, and check in with yourself weekly. In a traditional classroom setting, you’ll often receive verbal or visual reminders of an assignment’s upcoming due date. But without a professor actively reminding you, it’s up to you to make sure you’ve allotted enough time to complete the work so you’re not starting an assignment the day before it’s due.

If you’re having trouble holding yourself responsible, pair up with a fellow classmate, or enlist the help of a spouse or friend to check in as an accountability partner. By being organized, proactive, and self-aware, you can get the most from your online class even when life outside of school becomes chaotic.

3. Practice time management.

The flexibility to create your own schedule is often one of the biggest appeals of taking online classes. But that freedom can also be detrimental if you do not have solid time management skills. Without them, you might easily to find yourself cramming before classes or handing in subpar assignments.

Though how you manage your time will depend on your schedule, learning style, and personality, here are some universally valuable tips to help you practice and improve your time management skills:

Look at the syllabus at the start of the semester and make note of major assignments. Mark them on a calendar you check regularly so you know what workload is coming in the weeks ahead. Don’t forget to factor in prior commitments that may interfere with your regular study schedule, such as weddings or vacations, so you can give yourself enough extra time to complete assignments.

Create a weekly schedule that you follow, designating certain hours each week to reading, watching lectures, completing assignments, studying, and participating in forums. Commit to making your online coursework part of your weekly routine, and set reminders for yourself to complete these tasks.

When working on your assignments, try time-blocking, allotting yourself a certain amount of time for each task before moving on to the next one and setting a timer to keep you accountable.

Check in periodically throughout the term, and look at how you’re spending your time. Ask yourself: How much time am I dedicating to course reading and assignments? Am I regularly underestimating the time it’s taking me to get things done, forcing me to cram the nights before the exams? A little self-reflection and adjustment can go a long way.

4. Create a regular study space and stay organized.

Set up a dedicated learning environment for studying. By completing your work there repeatedly, you’ll begin to establish a routine. Whether your workspace is your kitchen table, a library, or the corner booth in a local coffee shop, it’s important to determine what type of environment will work best for you. Experiment to discover which type of setting boosts your productivity. Wherever you choose, make sure there’s high-speed internet access so you’re not trying to take an online course over a lagging connection.

Setting up a regular workspace or office will also help you to stay organized. Knowing exactly where important dates, files, forms, syllabi, books, and assignments live will help keep you on track towards hitting your goals. When setting up your study space, make sure you:

  • Have a high-speed internet connection
  • Have the required books, materials, and software for the course
  • Have headphones for listening to lectures or discussions (especially important in shared spaces)

5. Eliminate distractions.

From Netflix to social media to dishes piling up in the skink, you’ll be faced with many distractions that can easily derail your studies. The best online students know how to lessen these distractions and set aside time to focus.

Exactly how much of a challenge these distractions will prove to be will depend on your own unique personality and situation. Some might find that they can tune out a noisy home by listening to music. Others might choose to work from a local coffee shop or library to eliminate their urge to multitask at home. Ultimately, you will need to find a strategy that works best for you.

Regardless of where you choose to work, consider turning your cell phone off to avoid losing focus every time a text message or notification pops up. And if you’re still having trouble resisting the temptation to check your email or surf the web, try downloading a website blocker. Using applications like Cold Turkey and Freedom can help eliminate distractions by blocking the apps or websites that tend to compete for your attention, such as Facebook and Twitter.

6. Figure Out How You Learn Best

Once you’ve established where you’ll learn, think about when and how you accomplish your best work. If you’re a morning person, make time to study first thing. More of a night owl? Set aside an hour or two after dinner to cozy up to your computer. If the kids require your morning and evening attention, try to carve out a study session mid-day while they’re at school. Brew your usual cup of coffee, put on your go-to playlist, and do whatever you need to get into the zone and down to business.

Not everyone learns the same way, so think about what types of information help you best grasp new concepts and employ relevant study strategies. If you’re a visual learner, for example, print out transcripts of the video lectures to review. Learn best by listening? Make sure to build time into your schedule to play and replay all audio- and video-based course content.

7. Actively participate.

Participate in the course’s online forum to help you better understand course materials and engage with fellow classmates. This might involve commenting on a classmate’s paper on a discussion board or posting a question about a project you’re working on. Read what other students and your professor are saying, and if you have a question, ask for clarification.

Make sure you are checking in as often as you can, too. The flexibility of online learning means that if you have 30 minutes before dinner plans, you could squeeze in a discussion response around your schedule. Set a goal to check in on the class discussion threads every day.

And if you do feel yourself falling behind, speak up. Don’t wait until an assignment is almost due to ask questions or report issues. Email your professor and be proactive in asking for help.

8. Leverage your network.

Online classes may sometimes make you feel like you are learning on your own, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Most online courses are built around the concept of collaboration, with professors and instructors actively encouraging that students work together to complete assignments and discuss lessons.

Build relationships with other students by introducing yourself and engaging in online discussion boards. Your peers can be a valuable resource when preparing for exams or asking for feedback on assignments. Don’t be afraid to turn to them to create a virtual study group. Chances are good that they will appreciate it just as much as you will.

Practice Makes Perfect

Online classes are an excellent option to help you earn that degree you need to fulfill your goals. Though they come with their own unique challenges, following the advice above can help you be successful even in the most chaotic of times.

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ABS-CBN LAUNCHES ONLINE EDUTAINMENT HUB “JUST LOVE KIDS”“just-love-kids”/“just-love-kids”/#comments Sun, 27 Sep 2020 13:56:45 +0000 nenette“just-love-kids”/ ABS-CBN extends its digital innovation into children’s virtual world as it launches Just Love Kids, an online hub that will be up and running starting this Friday (September 11) to support parents in teaching their kids and reinforce values relevant to Filipino families.

Just Love Kids is a one-stop shop interactive platform nested within the ABS-CBN website that parents and guardians can access to find videos, music, and activities to entertain and educate the little ones.

Intended to supplement kids with additional avenues for discovery and fun as they go through online schooling this year, Just Love Kids will house parent-trusted, child-friendly selections not just for learning but also for entertainment and play.

The showpage will feature kid-approved playlists consisting of various ABS-CBN content that are themed for easy selection and navigation. The themes range from good habits, proper conduct, and important family values presented in colorful stories that children can easily comprehend.

The selections are further categorized into three age buckets—preschool for kids ages 2 to 5; primary for 6 to 8-year-old children; and intermediate for older kids ages 9 to 12—to ensure that they are age-appropriate and suitable for young minds.

Kids will surely enjoy watching stories of value-laden Star Cinema movies, ABS-CBN shows, and programs from curriculum-based educational TV channel Knowledge Channel, kids channel YeY, streaming app iWant TFC, and The Filipino Channel or TFC.

The young visitors can also listen to TuTuBee musical learning videos and enroll in online classes on singing, acting, and dancing led by Star Magic Workshops.

Just Love Kids will also introduce printable worksheets and activities that will engage children offline and allow for some bonding time as parents and kids work on them together.

Apart from the kids’ online hub, ABS-CBN will continue to feature child-friendly shows on Kapamilya Channel for the new Just Love Kids morning block airing every weekend starting Saturday (September 12). Well-loved cartoons “Robo Car Poli” and “Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, with preschool musical “Pop Babies,” and popular edutainment live action “Team YeY,” complete the Saturday roster.  Educational programs “Wikaharian” for Filipino, “MathDali” for Math, “Bayani” for Araling Panlipunan, and “Hirayamanawari” for values education round up the Sunday line-up.

Just Love Kids is one of ABS-CBN’s newest digital offerings following the launch of Kapamilya Online Live that streams its new and well-loved shows live and on-demand, TuTuBee channel on YouTube, and digital events on portal to reach more Filipinos looking for the Kapamilya brand of entertainment.

Check out starting Friday (September 11). For more details on Just Love Kids, like @JustLoveKidsPH on Facebook. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or visit

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Embrace the Cold Sun, 27 Sep 2020 13:54:46 +0000 nenette By Erwin Maramat

It is A Rainy Day, Come Out and Play

“It rained wildly, desperately, as though the sky had something to prove.”

— Abby Geni, The Lightkeepers, 2016

2020 has been horrendous so far. Numbers three, four, thirteen and the infamous six-hundred and sixty-six were all submerged in the depths of bad luck are now displaced out of the superstition pool and they now tremble at the sight of this year.

Yet, around the corner, sparing not even the venerable towers of our city looms winter.

Myles a wise friend of mine once said, “if a situation is not in your favor, it raises an important question; what do I need to learn from this?” So, what do we all need to learn from this? Nothing more pressing comes to mind than the notion that in this time of helplessness and pandemonium, how do we look at circumstance with a sense of optimism? It feels as if it were an endless tunnel. Times like these make me reflect on my life. Drawing out from my thought’s archive, I come upon something I have learned decades back.

To my child’s limited scope, nothing was a beautiful as the falling rain at dusk. There was a window in our living room where flies hangout and die in the summer and droves of aunts act as hearses for these pitiful creatures. It was once my favorite spot because you can hear everyone on the ground floor having the most animated conversation and once it starts raining they disperse like the ants on the ledge of our window.  I might have been nine or ten at time and to the best of my recollection as soon as I get home, I would grab one of those Nescafé jars and make myself black coffee and pollute it with three lumps of sugar and as soon as I hear the pouring rain beating on the roof, I would jump on our saggy sectional and pop my head out.

The process of precipitation was a theatrical classic happening outside our living room window. Thunderclaps and lightning crashes set the mood and drops of rain use the roofs as snares. It starts with a subtle thump and then another and then another slowly building into a groovy crescendo. Act one is mostly about pandemonium: people swearing for limited sunshine they have gotten as they pull their damp clothes off the clotheslines; children bolt back home grumbling; people bringing out their pail and basins to collect as much free water they could. It was a joy to watch and the soundtrack playing in the background was surreal.

Through all this fiasco, rainy season is nothing out of the ordinary, yet subtle when it falls it is in unison with people’s faces. Nothing enrages my mom more than a dark overcast heralding rain. Not me, I love it. It is a preference more than it is a fetish. Well, tell me who is not really enamoured with the idea of making love while the pouring rain serenades in the backdrop?

As soon as a child steps out in the comforting world of innocence, the young one is launched into the harshness of reality. Unlike Peter Pan, Neverland issued me an eviction letter, so I can embrace adulthood and to frame it in a vocabulary that everyone can understand—it sucks!

Embrace Winter

“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter…. In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity.”

—John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers,” 1866

Christmas is big in the Philippines. Back in the tropics, nothing can enthral people than how it is depicted on TV. Of course, what is Christmas without snow? Snow is created there to adorn trees and only the imagination is the limit. From grated Styrofoam to plastic foil, you name it, everyone turns their creative minds up another notch just to get in the spirit of the season. In fact, there is a Christmas village where I lived that held an event which showcased a snow machine which spew soap suds to simulate snowflakes.

Fast forward, here I am. I cannot express my elation when I saw snow falling for the first time. The world around me paused and I looked up to the sky in a parking lot at Chinook Mall and I can almost hear the high-pitch sound of sleigh bells and it rang Yanni, to some Laurel. I was wearing sweat suit and then ill-humoured truth stroked my face and whatever joy was in me froze.

Fast forward, every year, I am one of those who mutter despicable adjectives when summer is over, because once construction season has ended, time skips autumn as if it were a bad CD player.

But winter does what it does best, and that is be itself. It does not care how many times we all slip on ice. It does not care how long it takes for us to shovel the walkway in the morning. It just does not care.  I can imagine Father Winter shrugging his shoulders while giving out a spiteful smirk followed by the copyrighted question, “why so serious?”

Besides winter to keep us company, most of us are guilty of keeping one more charming mistress—despair. In faculty, kindred. In spirit, one. Amidst joy, amidst drudgery, she beckons and lulls us into a trance, the likes of which is unleashed by pills peddled in dark alleys. Our despair turns into the most devoted seductress we have—no surprise we invite her this time of year.

The funny thing is we always let it get to us. We know that it comes around every year. We treat winter like we do Mondays. We morph into grouches. Is it really that bad though? Not for hockey fans it ain’t. I was revisiting memories when I remembered how I loved the rain as a child. People can only have so much of it if you do not believe me ask someone from Vancouver.

When my son was little, he was always persistent to go outside to build a snow fort in a field near his school. Since I was working nightshifts and I was a grouch, I often refused to take him, but on days that I could, his face would light up as he jumped with joy. Even when thermometers say that it is a bad idea, he would wear his oversized snow boots run out in the field, scoop wintry crystals, and lay them down like Lego.

It was good sign to embrace the cold.

The Parallel

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I could not think of a better time to write this. We are in deep, but we all have each other. Our seductress is at the door trying to move in and on top of that we have people trying to politicize the crisis at hand. Our economy is at an all time low and that rings true around the globe. Senseless killings and racial divide has been a constant plague and we have the antibiotics to cure us as humans, but we must be willing to help ourselves. Winter is here, and all we can do is make the most out of it.  That the essence of unity commences when trying times arise is certain. When darkness has us in its grip that the burden of collective spark where we never had must be supplied. No courage is antecedent to difficult times, for this unpleasant event rouses courage into being. Hence, we must stand together, for we are all in this together..

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Lawmakers slam ‘ridiculous’ MTRCB plan to censor Netflix‘ridiculous’-mtrcb-plan-to-censor-netflix/‘ridiculous’-mtrcb-plan-to-censor-netflix/#comments Sun, 27 Sep 2020 13:52:03 +0000 nenette‘ridiculous’-mtrcb-plan-to-censor-netflix/ MANILA, Philippines — If they would have their way, government censors could spoil one of the few things Filipinos still enjoy during the pandemic by chopping or completely banning the movies they would be binge-watching on Netflix.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Friday said they would have none of that and criticized a plan by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to censor shows on digital video streaming services.

Sen. Grace Poe, a former MTRCB chair, also opposed such a move, saying it was “counterproductive and ridiculous.”

“I am personally against it,” she said.

Speaking at a hearing of the Senate trade committee on Thursday, MTRCB legal affairs division chief Jonathan Presquito said “we have to regulate” the contents of Netflix and other online movie streaming platforms, which became more popular during the lockdown to contain COVID-19.

‘Objectionable portions’

One of the “regulatory” powers and functions of the MTRCB is to approve or disapprove or delete “objectionable portions” from movies and television shows or ban them completely.

Reacting to Presquito, Cayetano said on Facebook: “This is the kind of bureaucratic thinking that gives government workers a bad name …. Our countrymen have so many problems and this is what the MTRCB chooses to prioritize?”

Cayetano said the plan to censor Netflix was absurd. He said the MTRCB should instead help the struggling entertainment industry, such as improving the plight of Filipino actors, filmmakers and other creative agents.

The 1985 decree which created the MTRCB said its function was not only to review and censor foreign and local films and television programs but to also “initiate the plans and cooperate with the industry to improve, upgrade and make viable the industry as one source of fueling the national economy.”

“The irony here,” Cayetano said, “is while Congress and other government agencies are doing everything it can to open up lines of communication with the public, and increase transparency, the MTRCB is focused on the outdated mindset of information regulation and censorship.”

“What decade is it anyway? What makes this even more mind-boggling is that, in the first place, MTRCB has no jurisdiction over Netflix and other online content,” the Taguig lawmaker said.

Marcos creation

The MTRCB was established a few months before the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, replacing his decades-old Board of Censors for Motion Pictures.

Drilon pointed out that the regulatory body was created by Marcos “as a tool for censorship” and to stop the prevalence of crime and sex-themed movies at the time.

“It is unfortunate that the MTRCB has not been able to evolve and rise above its martial law origins inclined toward censorship and has not been a driver of self-regulation in the industry,” Drilon said in a statement.

“It should focus its efforts on being an instrument to improve the quality of content being produced, instead of being a tool for censorship,” he said.

But the veteran lawmaker said regulating Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other video streaming apps would be “impractical” as they offer thousands of films that subscribers could watch anytime on the internet.

Self-regulation instead

Drilon, a former justice secretary, also reminded the MTRCB that regulating the contents of online movie services would contravene the 1987 Constitution, which prohibits prior restraint on mass media and guarantees the right to free expression.

Instead of imposing regulations, he said the MTRCB should promote self-regulation, which is what Netflix has been doing through the ratings of the movies that its users may access using their subscriptions.

“The ratings are very specific,” Drilon said. “Upon subscription to Netflix, the parents can set what content their children can view. It has mechanisms that limit children’s access, a feature that free TV does not have.”

“If the platform is able to effectively self-regulate and has installed features through which access, particularly by certain age groups can be limited, then there is no role left for the MTRCB to play,” he said.

Poe also supported self-regulation since the board’s “main role is to classify” movie and TV shows.

“As it is, there isn’t enough manpower or even resources to view or evaluate every single program on cable [television],” she said.

Cayetano said he would give MTRCB officials a chance to explain “how they came up with this ridiculous idea” when they are called to a hearing on their budget.

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PH Consul General Congratulates Calgary-based Binhi ng Lahi for Showcasing Philippine Folk Dances Sun, 27 Sep 2020 13:49:42 +0000 nenette 2 September 2020, Calgary – Philippine Consul General to Calgary Zaldy Patron congratulated Calgary-based cultural group Binhi ng Lahi Philippine Folk Dance Troupe for successfully staging its first-ever Online Dance Recital on 29 August 2020.

Composed of first-, second- and third-generation Filipino-Canadians, Binhi ng Lahi was formed in November 2017 in Calgary by Mr. Noel Lloren and Mr. Allan Lomboy, both products of the renowned Philippine-based Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group. Binhi ng Lahi aims to share with the Calgarians the Filipino culture and heritage through dance performances.

Dressed up in beautiful and colorful costumes and displaying their graceful dance skills, Binhi ng Lahi performers showcased 17 Philippine folk dances in four suites during their two-hour online dance recital.

Binhi ng Lahi’s Cordillera suite featured the folk dances Ragragsakan and Ngilin, both from Lubuagan, Kalinga Province; Idudu from Abra Province; and Uya-Oy from Mayaoyao, Ifugao Province.

Turning into Maria Clara suite, the group demonstrated the folk dances Lanceros de Negros from Silay, Negros Occidental; Estudiantina and Polkabal both from Atimonan, Quezon; Jota Quirino from Quirino Province; and Habanera Botolena from Botolan, Zambales.

For the Muslim suite, the group presented the folk dances Kinakulangan from Marawi, Lanao del Sur; Janggay and Sua Ku Sua, both from Sulu; Asik from Lanao del Sur; and Singkil from Lake Lanao, Lanao del Sur.

Lastly, the group performed the Rural suite folk dances Maglalatik from Binan, Laguna, Binasuan from Pangasinan, and Pandanggo sa Ilaw from Lubang Islang, Mindoro.

Binhi ng Lahi prepared for over a year for this full-length repertoire of Filipino folk dances.

In his video message during the event, Consul General Patron paid tribute to the men and women who worked hard to make the Binhi ng Lahi and its dance recital a reality. He thanked them for their passion and love for Philippine culture.

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CMOH Letter to Parents Sun, 27 Sep 2020 13:39:55 +0000 nenette Dear Parents/Guardians of Alberta students:

With the 2020-21 school year starting up, I wanted to reach out with a few reminders. We’re all going to need some help as we navigate the upcoming weeks and make our children’s school experience as comfortable as possible while we manage our own anxiety about what a school experience in a time of COVID-19 looks like.

Adjusting to living with COVID-19

Let me start by saying I’m a parent too. I know that all of us want the best for our children whether they are going back to a classroom or you’re supporting their learning at home. This pandemic is hard for everyone. Our kids are not going back to the same school environment they left in March. Things will not look or feel the same this year.

For my family, I truly believe that returning our children to in-person classes is part of ensuring their overall health. You may feel differently and your decisions must be made in the best interest of your family. Whatever your choice, your school authority has a program to suit your decision and my team is working to support your school authority.

Public health guidance for schools

We have been working with our partners in Alberta Education and Alberta Health Services (AHS) to develop the guidance for school re-entry. Your children’s schools and their school authorities have plans for putting this health guidance into action. I believe that this is the right next step to getting Alberta’s students back to classes in a way that reduces COVID-19 risks in our schools, but also considers other aspects of their health. My team and I will be closely watching the return to school experience to use this information to adjust our public health advice if needed. I have committed to posting any new orders Monday through Thursday, and will share information when new orders get posted online via social media, and at my regular updates.

If everyone works together to follow the public health guidance, we can help keep one another safe. Please screen your child daily for any symptoms with the list your school has provided. If your child is sick, please keep them home and arrange for them to be tested for COVID-19 through AHS. Appointments can be booked online at Some of you may have heard that it isn’t worth getting tested because it takes too long to get results. AHS is working hard to improve testing turnaround times and result notification, because it is so important to be able to get a test and results as quickly as possible.

Schools have put in place enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, physical distancing plans and cohort plans for students. Your school has developed a plan for implementing these measures within its specific setting. It is important that all members of your school community follow this plan to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Clarification of mask requirement

As a part of the safety measures to reduce COVID-19, mask use for students in grade 4 through 12, and all staff and visitors is provincially required.  This applies to all staff in all settings outside of seated classroom instruction where physical distancing of two metres cannot be maintained. Students will be required to wear masks in all shared and common areas, including hallways and on the school bus.

We recognize that wearing a mask all day during instruction may have impacts on communication and learning for children. The mask policy and guidance announced in early August has always stated that masks are not required when children are seated at their desks. Where two meters is not possible between desks or tables, students should be arranged with the greatest distance possible between them, and so they are not facing each other, such as in rows, so they are not likely to cough or sneeze directly on the face of another student. If close contact between students, or students and staff is occurring due to a non-seated activity, non-medical face masks should be used for the duration of the activity.

While the above information on the mask requirement has been part of our guidance for several weeks, it was formally adopted on August 29th through Order 33-2020. This order was finalized and issued over the weekend before schools started with the intent to ensure that school authorities could review the order before it came into effect on August 31st. The order does not change the policy or my advice for guidance in schools. I am sorry for any anxiety or confusion that this order may have caused.

How to help your child prepare

You are critical in supporting your children to manage these changes. I know that it can be hard for children to stay at a distance from friends or to stay in one cohort. It is natural for children of all ages to want to be close to their friends and play together, especially after having been apart for a long time. You can help by talking to your child about the changes they will see in their school, helping them become comfortable with wearing a mask, showing them how to wash their hands and teaching them about the importance of keeping physical distance where possible. It is also important to help our children remember to be compassionate to others who may forget the new rules or are unable to wear a mask. Supporting each other to adjust to the new normal will be our best long-term defence.

Dealing with cases of COVID-19 in schools

Despite all the measures that will be taken in your child’s school, I expect there will still be some cases of COVID-19 in school settings. My team has developed a resource guide to help school communities understand what tools are available when responding to COVID-19 in school settings. That includes what to do when there are symptomatic students or staff in the school, what to expect when a case or outbreak is identified and information to provide to the school community. This COVID-19 School Outbreak Resource Guide can be found online at

You will be notified if there are any cases of COVID-19 at your child’s school. Our partners at AHS public health will work closely with school administrators to ensure that all close contacts of any COVID-19 case are identified and informed as quickly as possible. You will also be made aware of any additional public health measures being implemented at the school.

Supporting mental health

With the big changes to our children’s lives over the past several months, it is natural that they may be feeling anxious or fearful. If you need any supports for your children or for your own mental health, you can find resources at the AHS website “Help in Tough Times”. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of the resources listed there if you need them.


Finally, I want to say thank you for your continued efforts to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Successful re-entry depends on all members of our school community working together to ensure the safety of all those attending school. We are all in this together.

I wish your family a safe return to school.

Yours sincerely,

Deena Hinshaw, BSc, MD, MPH, CCFP, FRCP

Chief Medical Officer of Health

For more information on school re-entry, please visit:

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More support for Canadians through the Safe Restart Agreement Sun, 30 Aug 2020 15:18:33 +0000 nenette As we gradually restart the economy and take the initial steps to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, the Government of Canada continues to work with the provinces and territories to ensure Canadians stay safe and healthy, and have the support they need in these challenging times.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced a federal investment of more than

$19 billion to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies and make our country more resilient to possible future waves of the virus.

This investment, through the Safe Restart Agreement, will help address the key priorities, agreed upon by Canada’s First Ministers, for the safe restart of Canada’s economy over the next six to eight months. It will support measures to increase testing and contact tracing of the virus to protect Canadians from a future outbreak, and support the capacity of our health care systems, including services for people facing mental health challenges. It will also assist with the procurement of personal protective equipment to help our essential workers, and in protecting the most vulnerable, like our seniors.

The agreement will also help get funding quickly to municipalities so they can deliver essential services that Canadians rely on every day, like public transit. In addition, it includes actions to help Canadian workers during this challenging time, such as ensuring the availability of safe child care to help parents returning to work, and providing income support for people who do not have paid sick leave so all Canadians can stay healthy.

During this time of uncertainty, the Government of Canada is putting Canadians first by working together with our provincial and territorial partners to lay the groundwork to keep our communities strong and healthy, and ensure our economy is resilient.


“With Canadians doing their part and following public health guidelines, we are able to gradually and safely restart our economy. As we continue to deal with the impacts of the virus, we are committed to working with the provinces and territories to provide the support they need to help Canadians make it through this crisis. Together, our priority is to keep Canadians safe and healthy, while building a stronger, more resilient Canada

for everyone.” ~ The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“The investments announced today will help ensure a safe restart of our economy over the next six to eight months. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have worked collaboratively with provinces and territories to keep Canadians safe and support the economy, and that is exactly what we will continue to do through a Team Canada approach.”

~ The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada

Quick Facts

New federal funding will address seven priority areas:

enhanced capacity for testing, contact tracing, and data management and information sharing to mitigate future outbreaks.

investments in health care to respond to the pandemic, including support for Canadians experiencing challenges with substance use, mental health, or homelessness.

support for vulnerable Canadians – including those in long-term care, home care, and palliative care – who are at risk of more severe cases of COVID-19.

funding to secure a reliable source of personal protective equipment, and to recover some of the costs from previous investments made by provincial and territorial governments.

support to ensure that safe and sufficient child care spaces are available to support parents’ gradual return to work.

joint funding with the provinces and territories to support municipalities on the front lines of restarting the economy, including by putting in place precautions for public spaces and essential services to reduce the spread of the virus, as well as a dedicated stream of funding for public transit.

a temporary income support program that will provide workers who do not have paid sick leave with access to 10 days of paid sick leave related to COVID-19.

To access the funding, each province and territory will need to outline how they will invest these funds.

New federal investments for the safe restart of our economy are in addition to previous funding provided to provinces and territories and Canadians, as we deal with the impacts of COVID-19.

This includes:

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which has helped more than 8 million Canadians pay their bills and put food on the table during the pandemic.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which has kept about 3 million Canadians on the payroll.

$500 million to the provinces and territories for critical health care system needs and support for mitigation efforts, including access to testing, acquisition of equipment, and enhanced surveillance and monitoring.

Over $129 million to address health, economic, and transportation needs in the North.

Support to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses, which has helped over 29,000 small businesses lower rent by 75 per cent.

Up to $3 billion to help provinces and territories increase wages of low- income essential workers.

Investments in AgriRecovery and AgriStability programs to support farmers and producers.

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Erwinism: Route 231 Sun, 30 Aug 2020 15:09:20 +0000 nenette By Erwin Maramat

Whenever my two children grumble about Netflix’s lack of emotionally evoking shows, it makes me cringe.  It is maddening how our young ones jump from one title to another and nothing in this world could pique their interest and hold that splendid emotion for a day. Everything seems to be half-taken nowadays. There is so much to see that you do not really know what you are looking at anymore. Half-binged shows. Half-eaten doughnut. Half-read novels. The other half is ennui pointing at the direction of fixes that will give you half the high.

The mind defies the law of physics, it bends time, and once in a while you are going to get flash backs that got lost somewhere in the conceivable stream of time. We have a built-in time machine.

Each time a candle of thought is lighted it arouses a certain frisson of nostalgia. My heart sings Frère Jacques to awaken memories lounged somewhere in my hippocampus. It takes me back within the four familiar walls of our old rented house. When the sun dips its toes in the mountains in the west, we were expected to be at our dinner table  and after cleaning after ourselves we headed to bed with the night to shut our eyes and get up before the chaos of the rush hour does and bury us in the arms of tardiness.

Dining out was as special as Sundays. After attending mass at the Cathedral over the hill, we brave the descending steps of the steep stairs onto Session Road where local restaurants were lined.  Some days the sun was kind enough to share its warmth for a pleasant stroll, but most of the time, walks were accompanied by the rhythm of the pelting rain on umbrellas. Nevertheless, rain or shine, it was momentous because eating out lay in the lap of luxury; hence, a rarity—the passing of Hailey’s comet to be precise.

Most restaurants were animated. Your ears were caught in a wave of inaudible conversation of which the clarity comes to the surface when you decide to eavesdrop. The sweet-sounding music of flatware and plates clashing against each other fill the air and the aromatic scent of coffee that wafted about made me wonder what it tasted like.

These days, teens hang out at coffee shops holding a Starbucks plastic cup of mocha cookie crumble Frappuccino—a beverage name that always evaporates out of my head—with eyes fixed on the screen of their mobile devices, oblivious to the fact that they will never know what it is like to dream about those things.

Back then, you had to pay attention or miss the opportunity of getting to taste what is on the table. Snooze and you lose. Having many siblings, we learned the value of sharing and drawing contentment from our shares. Most of the time, we navigate the wilderness of our table in dire hopes that a distracted warrior had left his spoils unattended, sometimes victory finds the persistent. Sorry brave warrior, you snoozed. Then comes the crying, and out of our mom’s mouth was the ominous warning, ‘wait until we get home.’ How you wished that she forgets, but she never does.

A Liter of Coke

Coke, and I mean the pop, is an El Dorado in a cup. People got it good where I am today. Many fast-food chains offer refill on their pop and you can do it yourself, so that means for as long as you are in that fast-food restaurant you can top up yourself with a bottomless fill of any soft drinks, you can even mix them up as if you were Walter White and chug it down and be a likely candidate to win obesity and diabetes achievement award. A bottle of any pop back then did not get you far. It was a real treat to have that cool, refreshing, sugar-rich beverage slide down your parched throat on a hot day, but you only had half a glass of it because you had to share it with everyone. Whenever my mom asks me to buy one, I rush to the store so much that my shadow does not even have time to wear its flipflops.

So goes true for ice cream, chocolate, confectionaries, and pastries, I remember one time when I was in the classroom, I was drifting in a daydream, I thought of the Goldilocks jelly bouncing up and down and gracefully wiggling on a bowl, when I got home, I told my mom about it, she said, ‘get your grades up and you’d get it!” I wondered what my belly had to do with my aptitude in school.

Selling the Drama

Melodrama was exclusive to the soap opera that older people watched on TV and listened to on the radio. It was not something you performed when your parents call on you to do something. Failing to meet their demands triggers belts to lash. Then you will come to know what drama is. Ask anyone who has kids living here in the west, when you call to ask children to do something, you get a resounding, “Wait!!!!!!”

In the past, relatives and neighbors shared the same neural network. They were telepathic and were ever vigil. The were the unsleeping eye of Mordor who watched your every move. “Didn’t I tell you not to play along the creek?” (Internal thought) How in the world did my mom know that? Wait, it is that nosey neighbor again.

“Your aunt said you were climbing on their dresser and jumping on their beds,”

“It wasn’t my idea.”

“Answering back? Attitude correction power belt activated!”

Teachers were highly trained in the deadly arts of hurling projectiles. Have a little chat with your seatmate and boom they snipe you with a blackboard eraser or some chalk. I was one of the many casualties because I cannot control my yap. Sometimes you go a little too far and you get the whooping of your life in front of the class. It does not end there; the neural network is again activated. Not only did you anger your teacher, but you come home to this:

“Were you misbehaving in class?”


“Attitude correction power belt with go to your room without TV activated!”

We were taught to extend respect wherever we may be. To do so will not only reflect how you were raised, but it will bring honor to your family. There was no excuse for poor behavior; therefore, there is no excuse for this value not to be carried out to the next generation.

Walk the Walk

Half of my life was dedicated to walking which accounts for the reason why I am just so tired to do it at this point in my life, but that cannot be used as a justification because not only has there been marginal inflation in our economy, but my weight has steadily joined the trend.  My metabolism feels the same way, not a modicum of motivation to burn the fat with which I gladly supply it.

When world war two ended, military jeeps were left in the Philippines. It was the Humvee of its generation. Budding entrepreneurs envisioned those abandoned vehicles to be the mode of transport in the country which gave birth to a cultural symbol for Filipinos. Years later it served as my ride to get to school, but the problem was is that they were always packed with other students before they can reach our community and I and my brothers had to walk a few miles just to get to school while lugging our heavy bags. It was a daunting task because you there were more uphills than there were downhills. On top of that was the ever-unforgiving rainy season.  Waterproof as you were, your spirits were damp your socks by the time you reach school and of course, you were tardy AF.

Today, my children just hop in our truck without a care in the world except who goes to sit up front, so they can play their music while I grumble. The up and up to that is I get to spend time with them, take them to places where we can share memorable experiences together, but best of all the long trips we take is an opportunity for me to get to know them a little better.


Philippines was fraught with superstition and to say that children were not afraid is ridiculous, but that did not stop us from being reckless and adventurous. We were a hub for the supernatural as were our Asian counterparts. There were shapeshifting humans who roamed at night to feed on people, there were women who left grew bat-like wings and left half of their body somewhere, there were giants who wore diapers while smoking cigars on a branches of trees, and there were whatever our imaginations can conjure. This deliberately stopped us from wandering where we should never be. Darkness was not something you trifle with and that held true until the age when I used the darkness of the night as a cloak on a way to a drinking spree.

If you caught pneumonia while playing outdoors, you were diagnosed by a spiritual healer and her common diagnosis was you stepped on an unseen spirits’ dwelling and might have damaged their garage and they cannot claim insurance so they are wreaking vengeance by weaponizing pneumonia. The spiritual healer then counters the attack by applying consecrated salve on your body while uttering an incantation. The liquefied placebo seemed to work, now you feel invigorated.

“That will be two hundred pesos.”

“Do you sell organic Viagra?” Ask one of our elderly neighbors.

Part One of Two

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JANNAH…….A GIRL WITH BIG DREAMS Sun, 30 Aug 2020 15:03:48 +0000 nenette Feature Article

Every girl has a dream…….Jhanna did not just dream…….she made her dreams come true and she has been living up to her dreams.

We had a question and answer with Jhanna and we discovered a lot about her.  So don’t be a stranger when you come across this very pretty young girl.

PT:   What is your full name?

JM:  Jhanna Mariel Villanueva
PTl:  Who are your parents:

JM:  Maribel Villanueva and Jeffrey Villanueva
PTl  When and where were you born?

JM:  I was born on  March 30,2010 in Canada.

PTl  Do you have any siblings?

JM: Yes, I have 2 siblings and their names are Joshua 17 yr. old and Justin 2 yr. old
PT:  What grade are you now when school starts and what is your favorite subject?

JM:  I will be in Grade 5 and my favourite subject is Music.
PT:  What’s her talents and skills?

JM:  I love dancing, fashion styling, singing, modelling, drawing, swimming, and acting.
PT:   Who is her role model?

JM:  My r role model are my parents.  I saw how my parents helped others, especially people in need.
PT:   What made you join pageants?

JM:  To be honest, at first, I thought that joining pageants is all about beauty, but as years passes by, I was inspired by Catriona Gray our Miss Universe 2018, I like that Catriona was using her title to help others and do charitable works. And I started to be like do the same vision.
PT:  What is her mission/advocacy?

JM:  My mission and advocacy is always about helping others and serve the community and give a helping hand as much as possible. And she believes that kindness is giving for free.
PT:  What are some of yourr accomplishments?

JM:  At my ageI had done so much accomplishments as follows:  the grand winner last year in Toronto and I got the title of National Canadian Girl 2019. I also got the charity award in every pageants. I also got  the title of Little Miss Young Ambassador Globe 2019. Social media award winner. First level graduated at Little Medical School. Gymnast badge. And now I will be competing again next year in Toronto at Canada Galaxy Pageant to get the title as Junior Miss Galaxy 2021.
PT:  What are some of yourr charitable works?

JM:  I have done so much of charitable events,like Run for Kids who has cancer. Preparing breakfast for a rehab. Support the Children’s Hospital Foundation. Helping the veterans to give assistance by assembling food kits. I also support the Drug Awareness Foundation Calgary and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I also supported the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada. I also support the Calgary Women’s Shelter. I also built a bear for kids at Healing Lodge Society. I also volunteered in spring planting, painting a wall mural, stocking the pantry and preparing lunch for group and help beautify the Home Space Society. I also supports the Orbiz plane pull for sight. She also sent donation in the Philippines to provide milk for children during this pandemic. I also did a fundraising for Give Kids The World Village, for kids who has critical illnesses. Ialso supported and volunteered at Barrio Kapuso to packed up food to those Filipino workers who are affected by Covid-19. And many more.

PT:  What can you advise to children who wish to follow her footsteps:

JM:  I just want to tell them that pageant is not about winning, it’s about what you do for others. Be a glass of water to others, because most of the time only a kind heart can lift up a someone’s burden. As Mother Theresa says, “Helping is not about pity, it’s about LOVE”, and I truly believed in that. So be a good example to every young children to DO GOOD and BE GOOD.

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