British Columbia Residential Care Facilities Quick Facts Directory

A new directory compiled by the Office of the Seniors Advocate offers families a chance to compare services offered by 292 publicly funded licensed care facilities in B.C.

The B.C. Residential Quick Facts Directory lists services such as nursing, physio and speech therapy, recreation and social work, as well as the total funded direct care hours per resident per day.

The  British Columbia Residential Care Facilities: Quick Facts Directory lists information for 292 publicly subsidized facilities in British Columbia.

The Directory contains a range of information from a variety of sources, includingfacilities themselves, health authorities, licensing bodies and the Canadian Institute of Health Information.

Excluded from the directory are facilities that offer specialized services to unique populations that are not part of traditional residential care.

36 NRI names removed from ‘Blacklist’ after CM Badal writes to PM

New Delhi, March 28

A “blacklist” maintained by the Central government imposing visa restrictions on Sikhs settled abroad has been pruned, reportedly following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention.His “intervention” came after Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal wrote a letter urging him to remove names of 36 Sikhs settled overseas from the “secret blacklist”. Some names have been removed after detailed discussions among various stakeholders, sources said.The “blacklist”, prepared at different levels by security agencies, has been maintained on mostly Indian-origin people allegedly involved in subversive or anti-India activities abroad.Such people are barred from visiting India.Badal had urged Modi after he became Prime Minister in 2014 to direct the Home Ministry to evolve a mechanism for a regular review of all such cases. Badal had said he wanted removal of the names of persons from the list against whom no cases or legal proceedings were pending.Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal too had written to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to review the “blacklist”.A delegation of British Sikhs too had urged Modi for removing the names of Sikh individuals from the list.During the 1980s and 1990s, a large number of Sikh families had migrated to the US, Canada, UK, Germany and other countries seeking political asylum.Many asylum seekers were booked in India and have not been allowed to visit India in the past decades. — PTI

IIO investigating woman’s death in White Rock RCMP cell

by  Tom Zytaruk – Surrey Now

WHITE ROCK — The Whalley-based Independent Investigations Office is investigating an in-custody death after a 58-year-old woman died in a White Rock RCMP cell on Tuesday morning.

The deceased, whose name has not yet been released, was arrested last Friday on an outstanding warrant and was scheduled to appear in Surrey provincial court on Tuesday. She was examined by Emergency Health Services at 7 a.m., at the RCMP’s request, and at 10:38 a.m. a cell guard found her lying on the floor, unresponsive. She could not be revived.

The IIO was set up in September 2012 with the aim of keeping B.C. police officers accountable in cases involving in-custody deaths and serious injuries. Its spokesman, Marten Youssef, said the IIO will try to determine if there’s a connection between her death “and actions and inactions” of the officers.

B.C. Coroner Service spokeswoman Barbara McLintock said the deceased’s name won’t be released until all of her family is notified.

Knowing how to slice, cook your onions makes big difference


Back in the ’80s and ’90s, I used to work behind the scenes with Julia Child during her appearances on “Good Morning America.” It was my job to prepare the food she would put before the cameras.

Once, when I knew in advance that I couldn’t be there for one of her upcoming appearances, I invited a pal of mine — a culinary professional — to try out for the gig. We prepped the food as usual, and at the end of the day I thought my friend had done a dandy job. Julia flatly disagreed and said she wouldn’t hire her. I was flabbergasted. “Why not?” I asked.

“Because she sliced the onions the wrong way,” Julia replied.

Yikes! I simply hadn’t focused on how my friend sliced the onions. I didn’t think this detail was that important. But all these years later, I realize Julia was right. Exactly how you slice an onion makes a difference. So does how you cook it.

Everyone knows that chopping onions can literally bring tears to your eyes. Here’s why. When an onion’s cells are ruptured, they give off pungent sulfur fumes. The more roughly an onion is treated — such as when it is chopped with a dull knife or pulsed in a food processor — the more fumes it gives off.

There are any number of quaint folk remedies for this problem. Put a piece of bread in your mouth while you’re chopping. Do your chopping near a running faucet. And so on. None of them works.

What does work — at least when you’re chopping up a lot of onions — is wearing onion goggles. Modeled on welder’s goggles, these babies prevent the onion’s fumes from reaching your eyes. But the best everyday tactic is to chop or slice the onion quickly and with a very sharp knife. Chilling the onion for an hour or two ahead of time also is a good idea.

Having managed to blunt an onion’s ability to bring you to tears, let’s turn to the correct way to slice one, a la Julia. Lengthwise, not crosswise, is the way to roll. Cutting an onion in half through the root end and then slicing it from stem to stern stimulates far fewer sulfur fumes. These lengthwise slices also happen to hold together much better than crosscut slices, precisely because you’ve sliced with the grain instead of against it. This is especially important for a dish like onion soup, when you want the slices to maintain their shape.

Finally, we come to how to cook an onion, which affects not just the flavour of the onion, but of the whole dish. If you throw it into a hot pan and quickly saute it over high heat, the onion and the dish it’s added to will be bland. If you do it slowly over low heat, you’ll maximize the onion’s flavour.

All of these tips apply to making my Alsatian onion pie. The French call it tarte flambee. The Germans call it Flammkuchen. It strikes me as more like a pizza than anything else. I tasted it for the first time on a river cruise in France a couple years ago, and I was really knocked out by its combination of simplicity and big flavour. Accompanied by a fresh salad, this treat would make the perfect light supper for the beginning of spring.

Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes

6 oz bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onion
kosher salt and ground black pepper
8 oz creme fraiche
1 large egg yolk
pinch nutmeg
1 1/2-lb ball purchased pizza dough, room temperature
3 oz coarsely grated Gruyere cheese

1. In a large skillet over medium, cook the bacon, stirring, until it starts to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the onions. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about another 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
2. Heat the oven to 500°F. Arrange one of the oven racks on the oven’s bottom shelf.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the creme fraiche, egg yolk, nutmeg and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
4. Divide the dough into 3 even pieces. On a lightly oiled surface, roll out each piece into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer each to a 15-by-17-inch sheet of kitchen parchment. The dough may shrink and lose its shape. If so, roll it again on the parchment.
5. One at a time, transfer each piece of parchment and dough to a bak sheet (unless your oven can fit 2 sheets on one shelf, you’ll need to bake these one at a time). Spread a third of the creme fraiche mixture over the piece of dough on the baking sheet, then top with a third of the onions and bacon. Sprinkle with a third of the cheese, then bake on the oven’s lower shelf for 10 minutes, or until the crust is crisp. Repeat with remaining dough and toppings. Serve right away.
makes three 10- to 12-inch pizzas

Nutrition information per half pizza: 640 calories; 310 calories from fat (48 per cent of total calories); 35 g fat (16 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 120 mg cholesterol; 1260 mg sodium; 60 g carbohydrate; 4 g fibre; 6 g sugar; 17 g protein.

Toronto police to honour their old adversary Rob Ford at his funeral on Wednesday

Richard Warnica

It will be in many ways a fitting end to a relationship that was by turns strained and strange — both combative and close, like so much during the Rob Ford years.

On Wednesday, the former Toronto mayor will be carried from city hall by an honour guard of Toronto police officers. His body will be led to a nearby church accompanied by a mounted police unit and the police service pipe band. Dignitaries at the funeral will include police Chief Mark Saunders and Mike McCormack, the head of the Toronto Police Association.

The former mayor’s casket is set to be taken from city hall at 11 a.m., after an hour of greetings inside the rotunda. He will be marched through Nathan Phillips Square and through downtown to the Cathedral Church of St. James.

Once at the church, honorary pallbearers, including Ford’s brothers Randy and Doug, nephew Michael, former staffers Amin Massoudi and Dan Jacobs and friend Dom Sgambelluri, will walk the casket inside for a full service, overseen by Rev. Colin Johnson, the Anglican Archbishop of Toronto. Former premier Mike Harris will be among those paying tribute to Ford during the service.

Mourners stream in to see casket of Rob Ford at City Hall

Afterward, the family will bury Ford in a private ceremony before reconvening for a public celebration of Ford’s life at the Toronto Congress Centre in Etobicoke.

The police display will mark perhaps the most unexpected honour for a man who spent so much of his mayoralty under investigation — and one who, in a secretly recorded video, hurled expletives at former police chief Bill Blair.

Ford’s relationship with the police service, from the time he was a city councillor, through his 2010-14 mayoralty and even into his darkest days, was always complicated, though.

He long had a reputation as a friend of the rank and file. But as mayor he earned the ire of the police union and the police brass by backing calls for a freeze and eventual cut to the police budget.

Ford was subject to an expensive investigation into his conduct, and that of his associates, following revelations on a crack video. But he also maintained deep wells of support within the force.

(Ford’s former chief of staff, Mark Towhey, wrote last year that two separate senior police sources told him officers “had pulled over (Ford’s) car late at night on multiple occasions and driven him home rather than charging him with driving under the influence.”)

“He was a very complex person,” said McCormack, who clashed with Ford at times on budget issues, but praised him Tuesday as a “forthright” politician who spoke plainly about his views.

McCormack said he planned to attend Ford’s funeral Wednesday “out of respect.” Mark Pugash, a police service spokesman, confirmed that Saunders, too, would be in attendance. Members of the Chief’s Ceremonial Unit have also been standing guard over Ford’s casket at city hall since Monday morning.

Peter J. Thompson/National Post

Peter J. Thompson/National PostThen-mayor Rob Ford poses for a photo with Toronto police officers after handing out community safety awards in 2014.

Alok Mukherjee, who served as police board chair throughout Ford’s mayoralty, said Ford always backed his efforts to modernize the police budget. He said he has no real issue with the police honouring Ford now, despite his assorted troubles as mayor.

“The fact remains that while he was investigated by the police, there were not any charges,” Mukherjee said. “To that extent there is no reason for police to be not honouring him now.”

Ford maintained that the police investigation was payback for his attempts to cut the budget. “It should never have happened in the first place,” he said in an interview with the National Post, conducted last fall. “It all came down to politics.”

Blair, whom he blamed for that investigation, is now a Liberal MP in Scarborough. A spokesman for Blair was unable to say Tuesday whether the former chief planned to attend Ford’s funeral.

Man pays $400 a month to sleep in wooden box in friends’ San Francisco living room

Yanan Wang, Washington Post

By now, the high price of rent in and around San Francisco has become at once a familiar lament and an easy punchline. In 2014, BuzzFeed highlighted nine private islands that cost less than an apartment in the California tech capital; a year later, a local website found the same of five castles.

Along with the cheeky comparisons came clever workarounds: a backyard tent in Mountain View, a garage in Palo Alto, a refurbished FedEx van at San Francisco University.

In October, The Washington Post even spoke with a Google engineer who has made his home in a truck at company headquarters.

With the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment at $3,670 a month, the city’s housing crisis has pushed frugal renters to the edge of their comfort limits.

From tents to trucks, the next logical step in San Francisco has taken shape — in the form of a literal box.

This makeshift bedroom, which its owner prefers to call a pod, is no larger than a wide bookshelf and inconspicuously stationed at one corner of an apartment living room in the Sunset District neighborhood. Its exterior resembles a large crate, while its inside houses a twin bed, a fold-up desk and some LEDs.

Couresty of Peter Berkowitz

Couresty of Peter BerkowitzPeter Berkowitz’s makeshift bedroom, which its owner prefers to call a pod, is no larger than a wide bookshelf and inconspicuously stationed at one corner of an apartment living room.

At 8 feet long and 4.5 feet tall, the wooden box requires Peter Berkowitz to duck to get inside, but he assured The Post in a phone interview Monday night that his new home is “honestly very comfortable.”

“I really don’t feel like I’ve taken a hit in terms of my quality of life,” said Berkowitz, 25. “I don’t really notice I live in the pod anymore.”

Berkowitz moved into the box two weeks ago, after an attempt to find affordable housing in the city proved futile. Fortunately, he had “very generous” friends who allowed him set up “this contraption” in their living room.

The box sits in an apartment where the roommates living in conventional bedrooms pay about $1000 for rent. For $400, Berkowitz lives in his pod and has full access to the amenities. Constructing the pod cost $1,300.

The freelance illustrator and University of Chicago graduate moved to San Francisco after working as a cook at New York’s Gramercy Tavern. He grew up outside New York City, where admittedly “the real estate hunt isn’t fun” either.

But for Berkowitz, whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, the box isn’t so much a sign of desperation as it is a creative solution. He isn’t in “dire straits,” and his decision wasn’t “fueled by poverty.”

“It seems silly, and people have this dystopian take on it, like, ‘Is this what it’s come to?’” he said. “But I firmly believe that it makes a lot of sense. There should be some kind of middle ground between having a bedroom and sleeping on a couch.”

I firmly believe that it makes a lot of sense. There should be some kind of middle ground between having a bedroom and sleeping on a couch

The design of Berkowitz’s pod was inspired by Japanese “capsule” hotels, inexpensive lodgings the size of cubicles. When he was 12 years old, Berkowitz climbed inside a capsule hotel model in an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Museum, in New York, and the experience has stuck with him ever since.

Despite its location in a living room, the pod offers ample privacy, Berkowitz said, and he is working on fully soundproofing its walls because he is “pretty neurotic.” A fan and built-in ventilation help air travel through.

The most difficult part of the endeavor so far has been perfecting a method for putting his pants on without standing up.

As for sharing the humble abode, Berkowitz said he is currently single and promised to direct any visitors to The Post for comment. “When I have an overnight guest, I’ll let you know,” he said.

He anticipates living in the box for “the foreseeable future.” If he ends up building another pod, though, he plans on making it at least as tall as he is.

What’s new for this tax-filing season?

Vancouver, British Columbia, March 30, 2016…The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) would like to remind Canadians of new or improved tax relief measures and online services available for the 2015 tax-filing season.

 Important facts

  • Updated notice of assessment – The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has improved the notice of assessment! The new, simpler format provides the most important information about your assessment on the first page. This is part of the CRA’s effort to improve its correspondence with individuals. Online tax records are as official as a paper record.
  • Auto-fill my return – The CRA’s “Auto-fill my return” service is now available through some certified tax software. This service allows you to automatically fill in certain parts of your income tax and benefit return. To use the Auto-fill my return service, you must be fully registered for My Account.
  • Online mail – Online mail is the fast, easy and secure way to manage your tax correspondence. Get statements such as your notice of assessment online in My Account, instead of in the mail. To register, provide us with an email address on your income tax and benefit return or register directly online at New correspondence, such as benefits statements (summer 2016), will be added this year!
  • Universal child care benefit (UCCB) – For the 2015 tax year, under the UCCB, families will receive $160 per month for each child under 6 and $60 per month for each child aged 6 through 17.
  • Disability Tax Credit – This year, Canadians claiming the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) will be able to file their T1 return online regardless of whether or not their Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate has been submitted to the CRA for that tax year.
  • Children’s fitness amount – As of January 1, 2015, this is now a refundable tax credit available to families with children enrolled in a prescribed program of physical activity. For tax years prior to 2015, this credit was non-refundable.
  • Child Care Expense Deduction limits – As of the 2015 tax year, the Child Care Expense Deduction dollar limits have increased by $1,000. The maximum amounts that can be claimed have increased to $8,000 for children under age seven, to $5,000 for children aged seven through 16, and to $11,000 for children who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit.
  • MyCRA mobile app – Get your tax information anytime, anywhere, on your mobile device! In October 2015, new features were added to the MyCRA mobile app such as personalized benefit payment information, enhanced tax return status, and Canada child tax benefit application status. Starting February 2016, you will also be able to update your address, manage your online mail with the CRA, and sign up for direct deposit.

To get started on your tax return, go to

More funding for MEND: Healthy living program expands

KAMLOOPS – Families with children throughout British Columbia soon will have more help in achieving healthy lifestyles and healthy weights with $2 million to support the expansion of the free Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it! (MEND) program.

MEND is modelled on a U.K.-based program, which empowers families with children above a healthy weight to become healthier by participating in twice-weekly sessions focused on healthy meal planning, goal setting and physical activity.

“As a dad, I know having fun, learning healthy behaviours and growing together as a family are all great steps toward preventing chronic disease before it starts,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “Through accessible programs like MEND, making an active lifestyle a lifelong habit is easier for B.C. children and families.” With

MEND, children in B.C. aged five to 13 years, gain access to fun, interactive support in adopting healthier behaviours to help achieve a healthy weight. B.C. families were first introduced to MEND in 2013, and the new funding will help the program continue in existing sites and allow for expansion to more sites provincewide.

“The MEND program is not a diet or about being told what is right or wrong,” said Todd Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson. “Having the MEND program in local recreation centres creates new ways for families and children to learn, play and be supported in making healthier choices together.” MEND is delivered in partnership with the Provincial Health Services Authority and the Childhood Obesity Foundation, which work with the YMCA and B.C. Recreation and Parks Association to bring MEND to communities throughout the province.

MEND is available in 23 B.C. communities, including seven new expansion sites that opened in winter 2016: Fort St. John, Burnaby, Surrey, Richmond, Kent-Agassiz, Squamish, Penticton. For a comprehensive list of all current MEND sites, visit: “We were very pleased to see that families who participated in MEND 7-13 made healthy lifestyle changes and planned to make more changes after finishing the program,” said Dr. Tom Warshawski, chair of the Childhood Obesity Foundation.

“Children participating in the MEND program increased physical activity and met Canadian physical activity guidelines. MEND also helped families to build physical activity into their daily routine. In addition, children participating in the MEND program increased fruit and vegetable intake and MEND helped families to better understand healthy eating and to build it into their daily routine.”

“We’ve seen how MEND helps children and families make positive decisions about their health and are thrilled to be a partner in bringing the program to more B.C. communities,” said Andrew Tugwell, director of Health Promotion & Prevention, BC Children’s Hospital, Provincial Health Services Authority. “MEND is a fun and effective way for kids and families to take the first step toward healthier living,” said Rebecca Tunnacliffe, CEO, B.C. Recreation and Parks Association.

“This funding enables more families to be active in this program and learn these life changing skills. As the network expands, the message about the achievable lifestyle goals is amplified beyond the core participants.” MEND encourages a healthy body and self-image, with a focus on physical and emotional health. Examples of MEND activities include teaching healthy skills to parents and children, like healthy eating, grocery store tours and one hour of physical activity for children. “We are proud to be hosting a beneficial program like MEND,” said Craig Sheather, YMCA’s vice-president of operations.

“It’s a great way to help B.C. communities get healthy and stay healthy.” MEND is just one component of the government’s strategy to promote childhood healthy weights. Other programs within the strategy include the Shapedown BC program, offered in five health authorities, which provides medical, nutritional and psychological assessment, education and support for children with weight management issues by physician referral. In addition, the HealthLink BC Eating and Activity Program for Kids is a telehealth service that helps British Columbia children, teens and their families reach healthy weights and improve their overall health and quality of life.

Launched in February 2015, the service provides healthy eating and active living coaching for at-risk families in rural and remote parts of the province who may have limited access to the direct, in-person supports provided in MEND and Shapedown BC. The Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) provided $6 million in 2011-12 to the Childhood Obesity Foundation for the Childhood Healthy Weights Strategy, which began with the Shapedown BC program.

PHSA provided an additional $2 million in 2012-13 and $2.4 million in 2013-14 to support expansion of the initiative and launch MEND. This additional $2 million provided by the Ministry of Health supports the continuation and expansion of the MEND program. MEND supports B.C.’s Physical Activity Strategy through Healthy Families BC, the government’s comprehensive health-promotion program aimed at improving the health and well-being of B.C. families and their communities.

Child Care Subsidy fix to support more families

VICTORIA – Child support payments will no longer impact eligibility for parents already receiving or applying for child care subsidies, starting April 1, 2016, putting money back in the pockets of the families that need it most.

These changes will have an immediate impact for approximately 900 existing families, either by making them newly eligible to receive subsidies, or by increasing the amount of subsidy they receive. The monthly subsidy is intended to support low-income families with the costs of child care.

The amount families receive depends on the family’s income and size, the ages of the children and the type of child care provided. The maximum rate a family can receive per child is $750 per month. Families are also no longer required to re-apply for their monthly subsidy each year and the child care subsidy application form has been streamlined to make it easier for new applicants to apply for and receive subsidies.

“Parents who receive child support payments shouldn’t be penalized when applying for additional supports. These changes fix what we have heard from parents needed to be fixed and makes sure that the Child Care Subsidy program is working for the families who need it most,” says Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development.

Government invests up to $119.9 million annually on the Child Care Subsidy program, which supports nearly 20,000 children and their families each month throughout British Columbia. The changes to the Child Care Subsidy program are part of the province’s overall commitment to make it easier for British Columbians to access services and supports. To learn more about the Child Care Subsidy Program or to see if you may be eligible for an increase in your subsidy allowance, please visit:

Impaired-driving charges laid against Balraj Cheema in head-on collision

By Vikki Hopes – Abbotsford News

Impaired-driving charges have been laid against a man in relation to a head-on crash last September

that seriously injured 21-year-old Jocelyn Visser of Abbotsford.

Balraj Cheema, 53, has been charged with impaired driving, dangerous driving causing bodily harm, and impaired driving causing bodily harm.

The collision took place at about 11:20 p.m. on Sept. 13 on Old Yale Road near St. Moritz Way.

When emergency crews arrived on scene, they located Visser trapped in a Dodge sedan and another driver in an overturned Dodge pickup truck.

Vissers was eventually extracted from the vehicle and was airlifted in serious condition to a Vancouver-area hospital.

The driver of the truck suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to hospital by ground ambulance.

A GoFundMe page was soon started to help Visser, who was on her way home from her job at the Save-On-Foods on Whatcom Road at the time of the crash, as she recovers from her injuries.

The page can be accessed at by searching “Jocelyn’s Road to Recovery.”