Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Secondary School Completion Rates Edge Upward

Nov. 30, 2010
Ministry of Education

VICTORIA - While the trend in overall secondary school completion rates continues upward in B.C. this year with a small increase to 79.7 per cent, there is more work to be done said Minister of Education Margaret MacDiarmid.

"We have a good education system in B.C. While student completion rates are gradually heading in the right direction, we recognize there is significant room for improvement," said MacDiarmid. "Going forward, we need to work with our partners to offer our students a more personalized approach to learning to meet every student's needs."

Completion rates are determined by tracking the number of students entering Grade 8 who graduate within six years with a Dogwood diploma, B.C.'s secondary school graduation certificate. This year, B.C. saw a slight overall increase of less than one per cent to the provincial completion rate due to a large number of districts increasing their rates a little, rather than a few big districts increasing by large numbers.


* Forty school districts saw small increases in student completion rates, while 20 saw small decreases.

* Just over half of Aboriginal students (50.4 per cent) completed school last year - that's 1.6 per cent more than in 2008-09.

* Twenty-three school districts have Aboriginal completion rates of 60 per cent or more, up eight districts from last year.

* Nearly 60 per cent of the students in Gold Trail are Aboriginal - their Aboriginal students have a completion rate 16 per cent higher than the provincial average.

* Revelstoke had a completion rate of 97.9 per cent last year - 100 per cent of the girls completed.

* Independent school completion rates remain high at 88 per cent for 2009-10, down from 89.7 per cent in 2008-09.

"More Aboriginal students are successfully completing secondary school than ever before and they deserve our congratulations for their achievements," said MacDiarmid. "But we need to continue working with First Nations, educators and school districts to ensure that every student has the opportunity to achieve their best at school and in life."

Government continues to develop innovative ways to support student achievement. Measures include creating provincial superintendents of achievement who work closely with boards of education to examine student outcomes and cross-referencing Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) scores with completion-rate data. FSA scores provide a reliable predictor of a student's likelihood of completing school on time.

In addition, 51 school districts have now signed Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements, which are one component of the collaborative process that the Province is undertaking to help support Aboriginal student achievement.

Others include the B.C. First Nation Education Agreement, developing Aboriginal content for the K-12 curriculum and adding Aboriginal languages to the choices for second-language requirements.

Factsheet with details on completion rates available online at: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/news/docs/2010/fs_CompletionRates_101130.pdf

This year's completion rates are available online at: www.bced.gov.bc.ca/reports/pdfs/graduation/prov.pdf

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Recall Petition To Be Issued for Oak Bay-Gordon Head

November 30, 2010


VICTORIA – Acting Chief Electoral Officer Craig James today approved an application for a petition to recall the Honourable Ida Chong, Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Oak Bay-Gordon Head. The proponent of the recall is Michael Roy Hayes.

James said, “The petition will be issued on Monday, December 6, 2010, and at that time, registered canvassers may begin collecting signatures. The petition must be returned to this office no later than Friday, February 4, 2011.”

In Oak Bay-Gordon Head, 38,419 voters were registered to vote on May 12, 2009. Registered canvassers will have 60 days to collect 15,368 or more valid signatures on the recall petition. The expenses limit for the proponent and the Member is $35,938.72.

Elections BC has 42 days from the date the petition pages are submitted to the Chief Electoral Officer to verify that those who signed the petition were entitled to do so. The Chief Electoral Officer cannot make a final determination as to the success of the recall petition until the financial report of the proponent is reviewed and it is determined that the proponent did not exceed the expenses limit. The financial report must be filed with the Chief Electoral Officer within 28 days after the end of the recall petition period.

In the event of a successful recall petition, the recalled Member’s seat becomes vacant and a by-election must be called within 90 days. The recalled Member can run as a candidate in the by-election.

Proponent’s opinion of why the recall of the Member is warranted:

I am proposing the recall of Oak Bay-Gordon Head Member of the Legislative Assembly, Ida Chong, because she supported the deceptive introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax and refuses to represent the clear wishes of her constituents, in the Legislative Assembly.

During the two thousand and nine election, the Premier and Finance Minister stated that the Harmonized Sales Tax was NOT on their agenda, and British Columbia voters re-elected them significantly on that assurance. Only seventy two days later, British Columbia Liberals, with NO public consultation, debate or enabling legislation, implemented this tax through an “Order in Council”. The successful Fight-Harmonized Sales Tax Initiative Petition campaign to repeal the Harmonized Sales Tax was an undeniable message to Ms. Chong, but was without effect.

Ms. Chong supports a costly Harmonized Sales Tax referendum (over thirty million dollars!) more than a year later, creating economic uncertainty, harming businesses and consumers.

Oak Bay-Gordon Head voters deserve honesty and accountability from elected representatives. A successful Recall unequivocally tells this, and future governments, that they must openly and fairly represent those who elected them.

NOTE: Elections BC has not altered the wording of this statement in any way.

For more information, visit the Elections BC website at www.elections.bc.ca/index.php/referenda-recall-initiative/recall/rp-obg-2010-002/

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135 Tourism Suppliers Showcase BC To The World

Nov. 30, 2010
Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment

VICTORIA - British Columbia will be represented by 135 tourism suppliers as over 500 industry professionals from around the world gather this week for Canada's West Marketplace, Western Canada's premier travel trade show.

"This is a one-stop opportunity for B.C.'s tourism businesses to promote their range of products to tour operators and wholesaler representatives from Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas, said Margaret MacDiarmid, Minister of Tourism, Trade and Investment. "It provides the tourism sector a real avenue for creating jobs for British Columbians."

"This trade show enables us to showcase our product to the world," said Glenn Mandziuk, CEO of Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA), who is also attending the 23rd annual show, held this year in Edmonton. "There may be larger shows, but this one puts a tight focus on B.C. products, making it especially valuable to tourism operators in our region."

TOTA is a not-for-profit society governed by an elected board-of-directors who represent business and community tourism interests throughout the Thompson-Okanagan.

The owners of Prince Rupert Adventure Tours Ltd. are an example of a B.C. supplier selling their tourism experiences at the show. They are promoting North Coast marine wildlife tours, including grizzly-bear viewing and whale watching.

Debbie Davis started the eco-tour company with her husband Doug 16 years ago. Today they employ up to 15 workers during the summer. "We've been attending this trade show for the past five years and have seen a direct increase in our business from the connections we have made."

"It's basically like speed-dating for the tourism industry," said Davis. "This event enables us to meet face-to-face with important travel agents and wholesalers, and build their confidence with our product, all within a relatively short amount of time. Being an owner-operator, it's important for me to make these international connections without having to travel too far from home."

Established in 1989, the Canada's West Marketplace trade show is a partnership between Tourism British Columbia, as part of B.C.'s Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment, and Travel Alberta. The trade show provides an annual forum for promoting Western Canada tourism products to domestic and international tour operators and buyers. Each year, the trade show alternates locations between B.C. and Alberta.

From Nov. 29 through Dec. 2, the trade show program will combine pre-scheduled appointments, social events and networking opportunities into a focused and highly productive industry forum. This year's event includes more than 110 buyers representing 13 countries, including those from the United Kingdom, China, the United States, Australia and India.

The trade show showcases a wide range of B.C.'s tourism suppliers. These suppliers represent the breadth of tourism experiences throughout the province, including accommodations, attractions, destination resorts, transportation and sightseeing tours, recreation and activity sites and destination management organizations.

After last year's trade show in Victoria, 84 per cent of buyers planned to expand the Western Canada product carried in their brochures and 82 per cent of B.C. tourism suppliers established business with buyers with whom they had no prior existing relationship.

Tourism British Columbia, as part of the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment, promotes the Super, Natural British Columbia brand to the world. For more information on Tourism BC's programs, visit: http://www.gov.bc.ca/tti/

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Coleman Commends BCLC For Responsible Gaming

Nov. 30, 2010
Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General

VICTORIA - Rich Coleman, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, commends the British Columbia Lottery Corporation for receiving the World Lottery Association's highest honour recognizing outstanding achievements in the area of responsible gaming.

"BCLC is to be congratulated for delivering gaming in a responsible manner," said Coleman. "BCLC has worked hard to attain the provincial government's commitment to British Columbians to provide gaming in a safe environment, and it can now add the Responsible Gaming Award to its list of international achievements."

The WLA assessed BCLC as having the best overall responsible gambling program - showcasing best practices ranging from key innovations and overall effectiveness of their responsible gambling program.

"We're particularly proud to receive this acknowledgement because all the organizations considered for this award are committed to the highest standard of responsible gambling," said BCLC president and CEO Michael Graydon. "Clearly, the industry as a whole is demonstrating that we understand the value of delivering our products in a socially responsible manner."

Competition for the award was open only to World Lottery Association level 4 certified lottery members, the highest level of certification available. Submissions were received from organizations in North America, Europe and Australia.

BCLC's GameSense program assists players in making informed choices about gambling. GameSense comprises online and offline resource material and information centres in gaming facilities where players can learn more about responsible gambling and access information on problem gambling resources.

For more information on BCLC's responsible gambling programs, visit: www.bclc.com/cm/gamesense/home.htm

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Survey finds one in four Canadians expect something to go wrong when they travel

Aspire World MasterCard offers cardholders Master Global Services and Emergency Travel Medical

TORONTO, Nov. 30 /CNW/ - The new Capital One Aspire Travel Survey found that more than 1 in 4 Canadians (26%) expect to experience some form of travel mishap or inconvenience before they even begin to travel. Concerns over travel mishaps increase for Canadians living in Atlantic Canada who are more concerned over travel mishaps (34%) than Quebecers (18%). While the majority of people find these mishaps frustrating (60%), a solid amount of respondents (21%) found their experience to be humorous indicating that some Canadians can still find the lighter side of travel.

The poll also found some interesting gender differences when it comes to planning for and dealing with the unexpected. Women are far more likely than men to buy travel insurance (49% to 35%) even though they are no less or more likely than men to think that something will go wrong on the trip. Women also found travel mishaps to be more frustrating (63%) than men (57%).

"With 94 percent of Canadians reporting that they have experienced at least one travel mishap over the past three years, it was surprising to learn that more than one-third of Canadians (37%) never bother to purchase supplementary travel insurance," said Laurel Ostfield, Spokesperson, Capital One Canada. "The good news is that credit cards, such as the Aspire World MasterCard, can be a good source of protection if you haven't purchased insurance in advance and you run into unexpected trouble."

The poll also found:

- The most noted travel mishaps or inconveniences are: bad weather (59%), travel delays (48%), lost luggage (28%), and uncomfortable/dirty accommodations (38%).

- When booking travel, the two most popular annoyances are finding a better deal after you've already booked your flight (39%) and getting the travel dates you want (36%)

- Canadians are doing considerably more research (41%) before traveling in an effort to prevent travel mishaps. The trend is especially pronounced among younger Canadians, with nearly half of them (49%) saying they are doing more research these days

- Older respondents are significantly less likely to forget something important at home (19% versus, 28% for middle aged and 37% for younger Canadians)

- Almost two-thirds of Canadians (61%) blame someone other than themselves or their travel companion for travel mishaps

- Travel agents are seen as the friendliest and most knowledgeable people in the industry. Credit card and rental car companies top out for availability, while credit card companies win out for ability to solve travellers' problems

"Fortunately, despite the reality that something can go wrong when you travel, a significant majority (81%) of respondents told us that their mishaps were satisfactorily resolved," said Ostfield.

The Capital One Aspire World MasterCard offers the following tips for a stress free holiday:

- Leave additional time to get to the airport or train station in case of traffic or line ups

- Pack smart; either carry-on your luggage or spread your belongings out over a few bags in case one gets lost

- Do a lot of research; increase your chances of getting the best deal and take the time to learn a little bit about your destination to avoid getting lost or running into language barriers

About Capital One

Located in Toronto, Ontario, Capital One has offered Canadian consumers a range of competitive MasterCard credit cards since 1996, when the company first introduced the Platinum MasterCard in Canada. Capital One Canada is a division of Capital One Bank, a subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation of McLean, Virginia (NYSE: COF).

About the Survey:

From November 11 to November 15, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,006 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panellists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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Celebrate the Holidays with the Royal BC Museum #YYJ #VictoriaBC

VICTORIA, BC – Come celebrate the holiday season at the Royal BC Museum and experience the magic of a festive old town, carol along with the Carillon and enjoy hot chocolate and goodies to keep you warm!
The annual Carol-Along with the Carillon event takes place Sunday, December 5th, 2010 from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. on the plaza at 675 Belleville Street. Live music will be provided by Provincial Carillonneur Rosemary Laing, the Newcombe Singers, fellow carolers and you. Song sheets and complimentary hot chocolate and cookies will be provided by the Royal BC Museum so dress warm and bring your singing voice. Following the concert, the Carillon will be lit for the season.

“Our team has been busy decorating old town and preparing the museum for the holidays.” says Royal BC Museum CEO Pauline Rafferty. “We are looking forward to welcoming the many families that have made a tradition of visiting the museum this time of year.”

Festivities continue inside the museum as well. Old Town is decorated with bright holiday garlands and a 4.7-metre (15-foot) Christmas tree decked with snow and the town is filled with the delicious smell of baking and spice. Just like a Victoria Christmas centuries ago.

For a unique outing with visitors or family during the holidays, the Royal BC Museum is offering backstage tours as part of the Behind the Scenes exhibition. Peek into the inner workings of the museum with tours running between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on December 15th and 29th and visit the invasive species exhibition Aliens Among Us before it closes in the new year. The museum is open throughout the holidays except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

As the provincial museum and archives, the Royal BC Museum preserves and shares the stories of British Columbia – on‐site, off‐site and online – through its research, collections, exhibitions and educational programs. Its two‐hectare cultural precinct also includes a number of historically significant buildings and First Nations sites.

For more information on the Royal BC Museum’s latest activities, events and exhibitions, visit http://www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/ or call 1-888-447-7977.

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Fringe That Stole Christmas @IntrepidTheatre silent auction #YYJ #VictoriaBC

2010 has been an incredible year for Intrepid Theatre - we've seen the biggest attendance for Uno Fest and Fringe ever! Plus we've just recently finished revamping the Metro Studio and we've launched great new programs like our Playwrights' Unit and the YOU SHOW. To celebrate it all and to thank you for your support throughout the year, we hope you'll join us for a glass of Christmas cheer at the Fringe That Stole Xmas silent auction.

Merry Christmas!

From the Intrepid Team

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Vancouver Island volunteer honoured with BC #Cancer Agency Community Care Award

Vancouver – Vancouver Island resident, Lorne Mackie, was recently honoured as this year’s BC Cancer Agency Community Care Award recipient.

The BC Cancer Agency Community Care Award, sponsored by the BC Cancer Foundation, recognizes exceptional caregivers who go beyond the call of duty to help improve the lives of people living with cancer.

Since 2001, Lorne Mackie has volunteered at the BC Cancer Agency Vancouver Island Centre, providing compassionate care to cancer patients.

“Lorne’s commitment to volunteerism in the area of cancer care is the reason why he was selected as this year’s recipient,” says Dr. Ursula Lee, oncologist with the BC Cancer Agency Fraser Valley Centre. “His tireless efforts and unwavering devotion to help others inspires those around him which is why he deserves to be honoured.”

Lorne suffers from a debilitating spine condition, and after working in dentistry for 31 years, he was unable to return to work. Despite this setback, he wanted to make the most of his skills and began his volunteer career with the BC Cancer Agency.

He provides a personal touch throughout the care journey. Patients often meet Lorne at the outpatient clinic and are relieved to see a friendly face when they come into the pain and symptom management clinic or are admitted to the hospice.

Lorne has played a key role in supporting Screening for Distress, a project aimed at improving care for cancer patients by enabling them to self-report their symptoms. This relies heavily on volunteers helping patients use a computerized screening tool. Lorne helps guide patients through the assessment and communicates the results to the care team—ensuring a team effort.

“He is absolutely phenomenal with our patients. When he’s not there, the patients ask for him,” says Jennifer Finck, a registered nurse at the BC Cancer Agency Vancouver Island Centre symptom management clinic. Jennifer organized the nomination on behalf of the staff. “As the only volunteer on the team, Lorne has become the eyes and ears in the waiting room, taking note of patient changes and progress and passing this information onto the team.”

Lorne’s medical background has made him somewhat of a rare volunteer.

His dentistry background provides him with a deeper understanding of the physiology of what patients are going through, and he has been able to provide insights to the healthcare team that have helped improve quality of care.

In one example, when greeting a patient, Lorne observed the patient’s demeanor had changed from previous visits, and he was able to take some extra time to talk to the patient and elicit some critical information that shaped the care plan for that patient.

His intuition and warm approach helps the medical team treat patients who are suffering from symptoms difficult to control.

Humbled and surprised by the news, Lorne describes his volunteer role as an incredibly rewarding experience. “To be intimately involved with people at the most vulnerable stage in their life is a privilege,” says Lorne.

He encourages others to volunteer and share his experience. “I don’t think people know how much they have to give or the talents they have,” says Lorne. “When I had a job, I had to go to work. I volunteer because I want to.”

For more information on the BC Cancer Community Care Award, visit www.bccancer.bc.ca/communitycareaward 

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Traffic Advisory: Traffic delays on Lansdowne Road and Richmond Road Nov 30

On Tuesday, November 30, 2010 there will be traffic delays on Lansdowne Road and Richmond Road.

Work is scheduled to start at approximately 8:30 am and is expected to continue until 5:00 pm.

All vehicles including emergency vehicles will have access.

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Kitselas First Nation signs impact benefit agreement in support of BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line

Terrace, B.C. – The Kitselas First Nation and BC Hydro announced today the signing of an impact benefit agreement that will provide the First Nation with economic development funds and training related to the construction of the Northwest Transmission Line project.

The Kitselas First Nation is also expected to gain work from the project through the negotiation of a contract for clearing and road building on the Northwest Transmission Line’s right-of-way in their traditional territory. The work is expected to be undertaken by Kitselas Forest Products Ltd., owned and operated by the Kitselas First Nation.

The Northwest Transmission Line will be a 344-kilometre, 287-kilovolt transmission line from Skeena Substation, near Terrace, to Bob Quinn Lake. The $404-million project will provide a secure interconnection point for clean energy generation projects, supply clean electricity to support industrial developments in the area, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enabling communities now relying on diesel generation to connect to the BC Hydro grid.

“The Kitselas First Nation is supportive of development that makes responsible use of our lands and resources and delivers benefits to the region that are in balance with the impacts of the project,” said Kitselas Chief Glenn Bennett.

“We are continuing to participate actively in the environmental project review of the Northwest Transmission Line, and subject to the issuance of an environmental assessment certificate for the project, Kitselas, pursuant to our stewardship policy, will fully support BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line,” he stated.

The Skeena Substation is located on Kitselas traditional territory. The impact benefit agreement with BC Hydro will provide the Kitselas First Nation with economic development funds and training and networking resources to develop business partnerships and initiatives related to the project’s development, such as construction, transportation and other services, and for industrial and commercial opportunities once the transmission line is complete.

“The signing of this impact benefit agreement marks an important milestone and reflects BC Hydro’s commitment to building a trusted relationship with the Kitselas First Nation,” said Dave Cobb, BC Hydro CEO and president.

“Our goal is to foster economic development opportunities throughout BC so we are very pleased to be working with the Kitselas First Nation and we look forward to partnering with other First Nations as we move forward in developing the Northwest Transmission Line, which will open up an entire region of the province to job-creating resource projects.”

BC Hydro recently sponsored a utility training camp for 22 Kitselas First Nation members in preparation for the project’s construction, expected to begin in spring of 2011.

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The 11th Annual #VictoriaBC Public Works Food Drive Begins Next Week

Monday, November 29, 2010

VICTORIA, BC — Starting next Monday, City of Victoria Public Works crews will be collecting donated food items from Victoria households to support the Mustard Seed Food Bank for the 11th Annual Public Works Food Drive.

Victoria residents can participate by placing non-perishable food items in bags labeled “Food Drive” and set them next to your garbage can for pick up on your designated collection day the week of December 6. Special bins attached to City trucks will be used to collect the food. Donations will be delivered daily to the food bank.

What: 11th Annual Public Works Food Drive
When: Monday, December 6 to Friday, December 10, 2010
Where: Victoria households

Over the past 10 years, the City of Victoria Public Works Food Drive has collected close to $300,000 worth of food for the Mustard Seed Food Bank. Last year, Victoria residents donated almost 16,000 pounds of non-perishable food items with an approximate value of $39,000.

The Mustard Seed Food Bank assists more than 7,000 people each month, providing many families, children and seniors with nutritional food hampers.

Victoria residents can look up their garbage collection day online, visit: www.victoria.ca/garbagecollection
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Camosun College presents INSIGHT Speaker Series 2011 #yyj @camosun @FCousteau

McPherson Playhouse

Give an “insightful” holiday gift this season! Tickets are on sale now for Camosun College’s 2011 Insight Speaker Series featuring:

March 15: Fabien Cousteau – Oceans expert & environmental advocate

April 6: Alanis Obomsawin – First Nations storyteller & filmmaker

May 18: Wayson Choy – Canadian author of The Jade Peony

Tickets: $22.25 each / $14.50 students (includes service charges). Call the McPherson Box Office: 250-386-6121 or for info visit: camosun.ca/speaker-series.

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In Song and Dance Dec2 Metro Theatre #VictoriaBC - Proceeds to triPOD Dance Collective

Some of Victoria's finest songwriters have chosen original works they would like to see physically embodied by contemporary dance.

Thursday, December 2nd Metro Studio Theatre

For one night only the mystery of collaboration, improvisation and skilled artistry will meet to wrap its audience in exciting experiences of physical and aural connection.

All proceeds will support the creation of new contemporary dance works by members of the triPOD dance collective.

Featuring solo singer/songwriters:
Anne Schaeffer,Galen Hartley, Roger Dean Young,
Paul O'Brien, Fintan O'Brien, Tina Pearson,
Brooke Maxwell and Cathy Lewis

Performing live with contemporary dance artists:
Brandy Baybutt, Jung-ah Chung, Lori Hamar,
Stacey Horton, Treena Stubel and Matilda Cobanli

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010, 8 pm
Metro Studio Theatre
1411 Quadra Street, Victoria, BC
tickets: $20 each
available in advance at Moka House on Cook Street (cash only)

For more information 250.388.0600

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BC Marks World AIDS Day


By Terry Lake

Parliamentary Secretary for Health Promotion to the Minister of Health
Nov. 29, 2010
(441 words)

VICTORIA - On Dec. 1, British Columbians will join millions around the world in commemorating World AIDS Day, which raises awareness about HIV and honours those who have died from AIDS.

The day also marks a time where we can restate our Province's commitment to eliminating the health barriers, stigma and discrimination faced by those living with and at risk of HIV/AIDS, while also working to ensure those British Columbians living with the disease have access to the very best care, treatment and support available.

Providing access to prevention education, testing and comprehensive care are our most powerful tools in preventing the spread of this terrible disease and in eliminating the prejudices associated with it.

In British Columbia, we've made significant investments in prevention, treatment and care, and on a per capita basis, the Province funds one of the most robust responses to HIV in Canada.

The recent launch of the Seek and Treat pilot program, with $48 million in provincial funding over four years, will better connect at-risk populations in both Prince George and inner- city Vancouver with appropriate treatment services. The pilot program is supported by government and led by Dr. Julio Montaner and his team at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. It utilizes Highly Active Anti-retroviral Therapy (HAART), the current gold standard in HIV treatment.

HAART has the ability to change the way people live with HIV by both improving their quality of life and reducing transmission rates. The latest research from the BC Centre for Excellence shows that the number of people living with HIV in B.C., who were receiving HAART, increased by 547 per cent from 1996 to 2009. During that same time period, new HIV diagnoses fell by 52 per cent.

The expansion of HAART is proving to be an important prevention tool, and every person living with HIV in the province, who is medically eligible, can access anti-retroviral drug treatment at no cost. This complements the efforts of community organizations and regional health authority staff throughout the province working to educate people about HIV, prevent new infections and support those who are living with the disease.

B.C. is proud to be a global leader in addressing HIV/AIDS, and also to be internationally recognized for our research achievements - but we know there's more work to be done.

Please join me on World AIDS Day in acknowledging the people in B.C. and Canada, along with those worldwide, who have been impacted by the AIDS epidemic - people who are living with HIV, those we have lost, and the caregivers, families, friends and communities who have provided and who continue to provide support in the fight against AIDS.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Single Lane Traffic - Monday Nov. 29 at 4525 West Saanich Road #VictoriaBC #YYJ

On Monday November 29, 2010 there will be single lane traffic at 4525 West Saanich Road. Work is scheduled to start at approximately 10:00 am and is expected to continue until 4:00 pm.

The southbound curb lane will be closed.

There will be traffic control people on site to assist with traffic control. Please obey their directions and all traffic signs.

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BC To Fund Resiential Facility for Eating Disorders

Nov. 26, 2010
Ministry of Health Services

VICTORIA - The Province of British Columbia today announced a partnership with the Looking Glass Foundation to provide operating costs of up to $4.1 million for a new residential treatment facility for eating disorders.

"Families in British Columbia must cope with tremendous stress and challenges on a daily basis when a loved one has an eating disorder," said Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon. "That is why we have agreed to further improve care options for individuals suffering from eating disorders by providing operating funds for a dedicated residential facility as part of strengthening our provincial eating disorders services."

When the non-profit Woodstone Residence on Galiano Island opens its doors in February 2011, it will provide residential care for medically stable patients with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Based on discussions between the Ministry of Health Services, the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the health authorities, the primary age group for patients is between 17 and 24 years of age.

While the vast majority of patients with eating disorders are supported in the community, the residential facility builds on a comprehensive provincial system of services for people with eating disorders.

The expected length of stay for resident is about two to three months with the province providing funds for 10 of the 20 beds. The remainder will be privately funded. The Province is providing operational funding of up to $4.1 million over three years, until October 2013, with startup costs covered by the Looking Glass Foundation.

"Locating the residential facility on Galiano Island should provide an excellent balance between separation from the pressures of urban life and access to a range of important support services," said Saanich North and the Island MLA Murray Coell. "With support from the provincial government, the Woodstone Residence will offer a safe, efficient, sustainable and accessible treatment option to individuals and families in need."

The Woodstone Residence will provide treatment to intercept eating disorders before they reach medical crisis and risk of hospitalization as well as treatment for patients discharged from hospital-based care but needing care prior to returning to their community.

The Woodstone Residence will also work together with the individual's community health-care team to ensure ongoing care and support in the community after discharge. This approach supports the early intervention and appropriate treatment focus of the 10-Year Plan to Address Mental Health and Substance Use in British Columbia, Healthy Minds, Healthy People.

"In keeping with the cross-ministry approach put forward in the 10-Year Plan, we are working closely with the Ministry of Health Services to provide a continuum of effective, results-oriented, community-based services to support children and youth with mental health issues and their families," said Mary Polak, Minister of Children and Family Development.

A decade in the making and spearheaded by three mothers - Cindy Dobbe, Dolores Elliott and Deborah Grimm - who lived through the heartache of their daughters' experiences, the facility will be operated by the Looking Glass Foundation, which provides support for individuals and families struggling with eating disorders. Licensing of the facility will be through Vancouver Island Health Authority to ensure the highest level of health and safety for the residents at Woodstone.

"We are thrilled to see this day arrive and to know that our perseverance has paid off for the benefit of so many in B.C. who suffer from various eating disorders," said Looking Glass Foundation chair and founder Cindy Dobbe. "We would not be here today without the support of the provincial government and Health Services Minister Kevin Falcon, as well as the generosity of a number of B.C. companies and individuals, all of whom have come together to provide the funding necessary to open our doors in February."

Creating this new residential facility also supports the Action Plan for Provincial Services for People with Eating Disorders, which committed to minimize the need to refer client out-of- province and out-of-country for residential treatment and strengthen the continuum of care in B.C.

Currently, British Columbia offers 14 inpatient beds for youth with eating disorders and seven for adults. These are for the most severe cases, which require constant medical attention. Outpatient services are also offered to patients diagnosed with an eating disorder.

The Woodstone Residence will deploy telehealth outreach, assessments and treatment as a result of a funding contribution from TELUS.

In 2008, an estimated 55,432 British Columbians, aged 15 years and over, were at risk for developing an eating disorder. That same year, an estimated 52,187 girls and women and 5,267 boys and men in British Columbia, aged 10-54 years, were living with a clinically diagnosed eating disorder.

The vast majority of affected individuals are adolescent girls and young women in their peak childbearing years.

In British Columbia, women with anorexia nervosa have a mortality rate almost 15 times higher than women of the same age in the general population. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder and a substantial proportion of these premature deaths are the result of suicide.

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BC Communities Get $1.6M for Newcomer ESL Programs

Nov. 26, 2010
Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development

VICTORIA - Community groups across B.C. will receive another $1.6 million in funding from the Province to deliver free English language support programs to immigrants and refugees, announced Ida Chong, Minister for Regional Economic and Skills Development.

"Speaking, reading and writing English are crucial skills for immigrants and refugees when looking for work, building new friendships and getting to know a new community," said Chong. "We want new British Columbians to be able to fully participate in all the social and economic opportunities that our province has to offer, and this training program will help them do that."

The English as a Second Language Settlement Assistance Program (ESLSAP) is an innovative way to provide access to language support to recent immigrants and refugees in more rural and remote communities. Funding allows for a co-ordinator to recruit and provide standardized training to volunteer tutors and match those tutors with immigrants who want to improve their English language skills. Tutoring is focused on the learner's individual goals and functional language skills that can vary from reading a menu to functioning successfully in a workplace.

This year three new programs are being offered in Gibsons, Pemberton and Powell River. The $1.6-million investment will enable 42 service providers to deliver tutoring services in over 50 regional and remote communities and their surrounding areas. Last year, more than 600 volunteers across B.C. provided English-language tutoring to over 800 immigrant and refugee learners in regional and remote communities.

"This funding will assist newcomers in finding jobs, accommodation and access to community resources such as health care, education and legal services", said Alice Wong, MP for Richmond and Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism, on behalf of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. "The sooner newcomers can benefit from settlement services, the sooner they can integrate into their communities and improve their job prospects."

The ESLSAP is one of the programs offered through WelcomeBC, the Province's umbrella of services for immigrant settlement and integration services and welcoming communities initiatives. ESLSAP is made possible through funding from the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

Since 2008, more than $100 million in federal and provincial funding has been invested in English language development services for immigrants under WelcomeBC.

Information on becoming an ESLSAP volunteer tutor can be found at: www.mytrainingbc.ca/eslsap/recruitment/

Information on WelcomeBC can be found at: http://www.welcomebc.ca/

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24 Lawyers Appointed Queen's Counsel

Nov. 26, 2010
Ministry of Attorney General

VICTORIA - Attorney General Michael de Jong, QC, today announced 24 British Columbia lawyers have been appointed Queen's counsel.

The Queen's counsel designation is an honour conferred on members of the legal profession to recognize exceptional merit and contribution. Successful candidates demonstrate professional integrity and good character and must be members of the British Columbia bar for at least five years.

Each September, the attorney general calls for Queen's counsel nominations from the public. All applications were reviewed by an advisory committee, which recommended deserving candidates to the attorney general. The appointments were made by cabinet.

The advisory committee includes the chief justice of British Columbia, the chief justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the chief judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia, the president of the Law Society of British Columbia and a Law Society member appointed by the benchers (directors). The committee also seeks the views of the Canadian Bar Association (B.C. branch).

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Camosun's 12th Annual Holiday Craft Fair @camosun #yyj

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Leadership Victoria Celebrates A Decade Of Community Success #VictoriaBC

Media and members of the public are invited to join in the community celebrations for Leadership Victoria’s 10th anniversary and annual general meeting (AGM) on Monday, Nov. 29, 2010.

What: Leadership Victoria’s 10th anniversary celebration and AGM

When: 5:30pm to 7:00pm, Monday, November 29, 2010

Where: Maritime Museum, 28 Bastion Square, 2nd Floor

The AGM will feature keynote speaker Danella Parks, Community Development Manager at VanCity and three Leadership Victoria graduates speaking about the impact of our program on their career and the community. Light refreshments will be served.

Founded in 2000, Leadership Victoria is a community-based, voluntary organization committed to developing, supporting, recognizing and honouring outstanding community leaders in building a vibrant community. Over the last decade, we have become the “go to” organization for community leadership development in Greater Victoria. As volunteer board members, coaches, mentors, facilitators and program partners, we put our collective skills and expertise to work to develop Victoria’s emerging generation of leaders.

Over ten years, Leadership Victoria has grown from an advisory group within Volunteer Victoria to a CRA-registered charity that is part of a national and international network of like-minded organizations. Leadership Victoria offers its hands-on, experiential-based learning program that provides diverse leaders the opportunity to hone their skills and really make things happen throughout Greater Victoria.

To date, Leadership Victoria has graduated nearly 200 leaders who have completed almost 40 local community action projects that leave a lasting and tangible legacy throughout the region. Results have included upgrades to our parks, urban neighbourhoods and school playgrounds, enhanced capacity of non-profits to work collaboratively and a vibrant network of well-informed and dedicated leaders working across all sectors.

Additionally, Victoria’s Leadership Awards (VLAs), held annually, are led by Leadership Victoria in partnership with the University of Victoria, the Rotary Clubs of Greater Victoria, and the Victoria Foundation. Nomination packages are available online or directly from Leadership Victoria at Suite 306 – 620 View Street or by phone at 250-386-2269. All nominations must be received by 4 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010. The awards will be presented on Feb. 16, 2011 at a special ceremony at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in downtown Victoria.

For more information, please visit our website at: http://www.leadershipvictoria.ca/

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Commissioner Orders Disclosure of Outsourcing Contracts

November 25, 2010
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia

VICTORIA -- In two orders issued today, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) ruled that the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) and the Ministry of Citizens' Services (the ministry) must disclose commercial and financial details of two outsourcing contracts.

"These two orders continue the trend in our decisions requiring the release of contract details between public bodies and service providers," said Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham. "These decisions demonstrate that public agencies should consider the routine release of these types of outsourcing contracts. Proactively releasing these contracts would save everyone considerable time, money and paperwork."

In her recent report, It's About Time: Report Card on the Timeliness of Government Access to Information Responses, the commissioner highlighted that a policy of routine release and proactive disclosure of information would also promote trust and confidence in government.

The orders rule on:

1. a request by the Hospital Employees' Union (HEU) to VIHA for contracts for cleaning and patient food services. The contracted service provider, Compass Canada, argued that releasing information about pricing, performance incentives, capital investment and other financial information would harm its competitive position, interfere with contract negotiations or cause undue financial loss--all reasons for withholding information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). The OIPC's adjudicator ruled that Compass did not establish that disclosure of its commercial and financial information would cause the company economic harm.

2. a request by the Freedom of Information and Privacy Association to the Ministry for a contract for workplace systems' support services. The ministry argued that releasing information about pricing, service levels, gain-sharing and financial penalties would harm the government's economic or financial interests, and other disclosures would affect the security of its computer systems-two reasons for withholding information under FIPPA. The OIPC's adjudicator agreed with the applicant that withholding the requested information did not compromise the ministry's interests or system security.

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Island Farms Santa Light Parade Warm-up in Spirit Square #YYJ #VictoriaBC

VICTORIA, BC – Spirit Square will sparkle on Saturday with free, festive, family entertainment and more than 25,000 colourful LED lights at the Island Farms Santa Light Parade Warm-up.

The media and the public are invited to drop by Spirit Square before the parade to enjoy musical performances by the Cynthia Davis Trio, and meet the magical Mad Hatter, a popular children’s performer. Children can participate in a variety of activities including Christmas crafts, face-painting, inflatables, a hockey shoot-out, and interactive Wii games. Complimentary hot chocolate and treats will be provided, and Santa and his elves will make a special visit.

What: Island Farms Santa Light Parade Warm-up

When: Saturday, November 27, 2010, from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Where: Spirit Square (in Centennial Square)

Admission is free. Dress for the weather as the event will happen rain or shine. (The parade starts at 5:45 p.m.)

Please help support your community and bring a non-perishable food item or cash donation for the Mustard Seed Food Bank.

The warm-up is part of Spirit of the Season in the Square, an annual series of festive events in Spirit Square, across from Victoria City Hall. Upcoming events include tomorrow`s Christmas Tree Light-up from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and the IEOA Truck Light Parade Warm-up and 1st Annual Victoria Figgy Pudding Carolling Competition on Saturday, December 4, 2010 from 4 p.m to 7 p.m.

Spirit of the Season in the Square is sponsored by the City of Victoria in partnership with A-News, CFAX 1070 and 107.3 KOOL FM. For more information, visit: http://www.victoria.ca/ and click on What’s New?

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Brian Jackson returns to the Symphony for Comedic Christmas Pops

Victoria, BC – Brian Jackson is back at the helm, conducting this year‟s annual Beltone Christmas Pops show, My Funny Christmastime, starring “Canada‟s foremost musical comedienne” Mary Lou Fallis. This year‟s show, which runs from December 10-12 at the Royal Theatre, includes a guest appearance by soprano Anna Madgett, an original arrangement by Roy Kaighin of the Naden Band, an assortment of holiday classics and a singalong.

Soprano extraordinaire Mary Lou Fallis returns to the Victoria Symphony for this season’s annual Beltone Christmas Pops show, My Funny Christmastime. Known across the country for her television, radio and theatre appearances, Mary Lou Fallis has made a career out of poking fun at classical music. Her training in classical music has helped her as a comedienne, and she admits to being very unique; “… very few people in the world do what I do, which is make fun [of] and satirize classical music.” Mary Lou is joined by her daughter, soprano, Anna Madgett, performing a medley written for the duo, “Christmas with Mary Lou and Anna” by Howard Cable. My Funny Christmastime marks Mary Lou Fallis‟s second appearance in a Victoria Symphony show; her first received an enthusiastic standing ovation at the 2010 gala, Unforgettable.

Brian Jackson also returns to the Victoria Symphony, resuming his reign as principal Pops conductor, after a sudden departure in September due to personal reasons. His reputation as an accomplished conductor and musician in the orchestral world has long made him a favourite amongst Victoria Symphony concert-goers, and his vibrant energy and dynamic conducting, coupled with Mary Lou‟s off-the-wall humour and wild antics will have audience members in stitches.

My Funny Christmastime will feature popular classics such as, „Twas the Night before Christmas, Sleigh Ride and The 12 Days of Christmas, as well as music from Tchaikovsky‟s famous, The Nutcracker Suite and will premiere a new arrangement of an old classic, He‟s Too Fat for the Chimney, by Scott Good. My Funny Christmastime will also feature a 5 piece singalong, in which audience members are encouraged to join in and sing along to classic Christmas songs we all know and love. This show will delight audience members young and old.

The Victoria Symphony is Vancouver Island’s largest and most active arts organization performing for more than 125,000 people each year, including 10,000 school children. Showcasing the outstanding talents of its musicians and guest artists, the Victoria Symphony’s 2010-2011 season offers a diverse and exciting line-up of over 50 concerts led by its vibrant Music Director Tania Miller.

My Funny Christmastime

Dec.9, 7:30pm, Cowichan Theatre, Duncan
Dec.10 & 11, 8pm Royal Theatre
Dec.12, 2pm Royal Theatre
Dec.13, 7:30pm Qualicum Beach Civic Centre, Qualicum
VS Box Office 250.385.6515

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Nuu-chah-nulth Nations Potlatch at Our Place #VictoriaBC #YYJ

Nuu-chah-nulth Nations Potlatch at Our Place: Feeding & Giving from the Heart

What: Experience the generosity and spirit of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations through a special event held at Our Place Society. Nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth, meaning “everything is one and all is interconnected,” are making major donations to help feed, clothe and support Victoria’s less privileged, and members of the Nuu-chah-nulth community who rely on Our Place.

Multiple self-governing tribes, spanning 300km of Vancouver Island’s Pacific coast, will coalesce to symbolize unity and strengthen community by feeding members of Our Place. Following the lunch, Nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth will perform songs and dance, present a photo exhibit and have a traditional potlatch give-away into the afternoon, before serving dinner. The event will be attended by Shawn Atleo, national chief of the Assembly of the First Nations. He is attending as a member of the host nation, Nuu-chah-nulth.

When: Nov. 26, 11:30 am – 4:00 pm

Where: Our Place Society, 919 Pandora Avenue

Who: Interview opportunity: Reverend Al, executive director, Our Place Society

Why: The Potlatch event also promotes opportunity for public donations. As part of the event, all local community members are encouraged to help the Nuu-chah-nulth Nations donate goods for Our Place, including:

• Seasonal clothing

• Socks and footwear

• Sleeping bags

• Linens

• Backpacks and luggage

• Feminine hygiene products

• Toiletries

• Non-perishables

• Journals and pens

• Art supplies, carving tools and drum/traditional item donations are also greatly appreciated for the art program and Aboriginal Committee of Empowerment (ACE Group)

About Our Place

Our place was incorporated June 2005 from the merger of the Open Door and the Upper Room societies. Offering transitional housing, meals, support and advocacy as well as hygiene facilities to Victoria’s inner-city family, Our Place offers hope and belonging as part of building and supporting a healthy community. Our Place provides outreach programs, advocacy, referrals, individual assistance and various programs designed to stimulate and engage the community with a focus on systematic root causes of poverty. Please visit www.ourplace.com for more.

About the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council

The NTC provides various programs and services to approx. 8,000 registered members: Child welfare, Fisheries, Economic Development, Membership, Education & Training, Financial Administrative Support, Employment & Training, Infrastructure Development, Health, Newspaper (Ha-Shilth-Sa) and Social Development. Approximately 2,000 Nuu-chah-nulth people live off reserve in communities across North America. Please visit www.nuuchahnulth.org for more, or “Feeding & Giving from the Heart” on Facebook for more.

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Terasen Gas Simple tips to keep cosy and warm this fall

Appliance maintenance can help customers save energy
and stay safe

SURREY, B.C., Nov. 25 /CNW/ - With colder weather here, Terasen Gas is encouraging customers to get their natural gas appliances and homes ready for a safe and comfortable heating season.

"Regular inspection and maintenance of natural gas furnaces by a licensed gas contractor will ensure they operate as safely and efficiently as possible," said Tom Loski, Vice President, Customer Service, Terasen Gas and FortisBC. "It is also important that the gas contractor locate and inspect the gas piping from the meter to the appliance to ensure it is functioning safely and free of any corrosion or damage."

Space heating in a typical home may account for between 40 and 60 per cent of a customer's annual energy consumption. "This winter, home heating will account for a significant portion of a customer's energy bill. Customers making home renovations, or shopping for new appliances, may want to consider upgrading to an energy efficient natural gas model to help keep energy costs down," said Loski.

Terasen Gas offers residential customers rebates and incentives on natural gas appliances such as EnerChoice™ fireplaces. Customers may also qualify for a $1,000 cash rebate if they change their oil or propane heating system to natural gas and install a new ENERGY STAR® rated heating system. More information is available in the Offers section on www.terasengas.com

In addition to regular appliance inspection and maintenance, there are many ways customers can lower energy costs, while also staying safe.

Home energy saving tips:

• Install a programmable thermostat. Set the thermostat to 20 degrees Celsius during the day and 17 degrees Celsius at night. This can save customers up to 15 per cent on their home natural gas bills. Try getting comfortable by putting on a sweater or slippers instead of turning up the thermostat.

• Go low-flow. A five minute shower with a low-flow showerhead uses as little as 45 litres of water. A

standard showerhead uses as much as 135 litres.

• Change the filter. Replace furnace filters every three to six months. This will help ensure the furnace operates at peak efficiency.

Safety tips:

• Smell gas? Report it fast. If you smell the distinct rotten egg, or sulphur-like odour of natural gas, leave the area immediately and call the Terasen Gas 24-hour emergency line at 1-800-663-9911, or 911.

• Keep kids safe around a gas fireplace. Consider installing an adjustable safety gate or screen and a fire-resistant hearth guard to better protect young children around a gas fireplace. A safety screen would ensure children do not touch the glass panels of a natural gas fireplace. Visit your local hearth products retailer to find a safety screen that's right for your home.

• Keep your meter clear of ice and snow. Remove any built-up snow by hand until the regulator and shut off valve are clear. If ice builds up on your meter, call Terasen Gas at 1-888-224-2710. Terasen Gas reads natural gas meters regularly, but you can also provide your own meter readings. Contact us at 1-888-224-2710 for more information.

• Ask the experts. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from natural gas appliances is extremely low, however regular maintenance checks by a licensed gas contractor is the best prevention.

For more tips and information on natural gas safety and energy conservation, visit http://www.terasengas.com/ 

Terasen Gas is composed of the operations of Terasen Gas Inc., Terasen Gas (Vancouver Island) Inc., and Terasen Gas (Whistler) Inc. Terasen Gas is a leading integrated energy solutions provider, focused on the safe and reliable provision of natural gas, propane and alternative energy solutions. Terasen Gas serves approximately 939,000 residential and commercial customers in more than 125 B.C. communities. Terasen Gas employs more than 1,280 people in British Columbia and is indirectly wholly owned by Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be accessed at http://www.fortisinc.com/ or http://www.sedar.com/ 

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DVBA Announces FREE Downtown Carriage Tours and FREE Parking #VictoriaBC

DVBA Announces Return of FREE Downtown Carriage Tours and FREE Parking

The Downtown Victoria Business Association is pleased to announce the return of the very popular FREE horse-drawn trolleys for Christmas, beginning this Saturday, November 27th.

Two trolleys will circle a pre-set route through the downtown every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. until December 18th. The carriages will allow people to move easily throughout the downtown and rest weary feet and tired arms between downtown shopping destinations.

Every Saturday, from 11 am to 2 pm, until December 18th, the DVBA will also be offering two hours of FREE parking at any one of five City-owned parkades: Bastion Square (575 Yates); Centennial Square (645 Fisgard); 750 Johnson Street; Library (745 Broughton); and 743 View Street. City parkades are free on Sundays.

In addition to the free carriage rides, the DVBA will continue to brighten the downtown with roving carolers and even Santa and Mrs. Claus roaming throughout downtown on Saturdays and Sundays! For full details of all of the exciting downtown events and offerings visit the DVBA website at http://www.downtownvictorica.ca/. Click on the Christmas Guide or the Christmas events calendar.

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Victoria Cougars and Peninsula Panthers Fight for 1st Place #VictoriaBC #YYJ


The Victoria Cougars will face the Peninsula Panthers in a colossal South Island Division matchup on Thursday, November 25.

Game time at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, located at 1151 Esquimalt Road, is 7:15 p.m.

With both teams nearing the mid-point of the season, both Victoria (18-3-0-0, 36 points) and Panthers (16-6-0-0, 32 points) are once again battling it out for first place. Conversely, both teams are also trying to stave off the surging Saanich Braves (10-9-0-3, 23 points), winner of their last four games.

Following their tilt with Peninsula, the Cougars will meet Saanich in a home-and-home series beginning Friday.

Both teams have met four times this season with the Panthers holding a three game to one series lead. Peninsula won the first two meetings by scores of 5-0 and 4-3 before Victoria clawed back for a 5-1 victory. The last time these two powerhouses met, which was back on Nov. 12, the Panthers erased an early one goal first period deficit en route to a 4-2 win.

Since that loss, the Cougars have won their last three games.

After downing the Oceanside Generals 9-2 and 6-5, Victoria made it three straight with a 16-0 pasting of the Westshore Stingers Monday night.

That game, Clark Anderson scored four times while Trevor McNeil and Matt Sheeran chipped in with a pair each. Also scoring for Victoria were Travis Stephens, Brandan Smith, Ryan Chan, Sam Rice, Brody Coulter, Eric Guthrie, Chris Savage, and Josh Wyatt.

Goaltender Zach Wear, who stopped ten shots, recorded is third shutout of the season.

Coulter, who sits sixth in league scoring with 17 goals and 15 assists, extended his point streak to 14 games.

Adam Steenbergen had three assists on Monday to extend his point streak to eight games. The league leader amongst all defensemen has six goals and 23 assists on the season. Steenbergen has lit the lamp three times and helped out on 15 others during the run.

Goaltender Corey Koop continues to lead the league with a 1.84 goals against average and a 93.23 save percentage. In 12 starts, Koop has allowed only 22 goals.

Peninsula is in the midst of a two game losing streak since defeating the Cougars two weeks ago.

On Nov. 17, the Panthers were upended by Saanich 5-3. Dane Gibson scored twice and Evan Campbell notched his league leading 18th goal of the season during the loss. Starting goaltender Brady Berisoff was replaced by Nick Babich at 16:26 of the second period after allowing four goals on 23 shots.

48 hours later, Peninsula was blanked 1-0 by the league leading Comox Valley Glacier Kings who were outshot 44-23.

Joe Densmore and Evan Campbell shares second place in league scoring. Both players have 18 goals and 22 assists and trail Kelin Hyrcuik of Comox Valley by two points.

STANDINGS: Victoria – 1st place, 36 points, South Island Division. Peninsula – 2nd place, 32 points, South Island Division

TEAM LEADERS: Victoria – Brody Coulter, Trevor McNeil, 17 goals; Adam Steenbergen, Justin Sotkowy, 23 assists; Brandan Smith, 74 penalty minutes. Peninsula – Joe Densmore, Evan Campbell, 18 goals; Joe Densmore, Evan Campbell, 22 assists; Jake Bryan, 64 penalty minutes

GOALTENDERS: Victoria – Corey Koop (1.84 goals against average, 93.23 save percentage); Zach Wear (2.56 goals against average, 88.32 save percentage). Peninsula – Brady Berisoff (2.58 goals against average, 89.37 save percentage); Nick Babich (2.61 goals against average, 88.39 save percentage)

SEASON SERIES: Peninsula leads, 3-1-0-0


September 9, 2010. Peninsula Panthers 5 @ Victoria Cougars 0

October 8, 2010. Victoria Cougars 3 @ Peninsula Panther 4

October 28, 2010. Peninsula Panthers 1 @ Victoria Cougars 5

November 12, 2010. Victoria Cougars 2 @ Peninsula Panthers 4

December 17, 2010. Victoria Cougars @ Peninsula Panthers

January 6, 2011. Peninsula Panthers @ Victoria Cougars

January 21, 2011. Victoria Cougars @ Peninsula Panthers

HOME/AWAY RECORDS: Victoria – Home, 10-1-0-0. Peninsula – Away, 7-3-0-0

STREAKS: Victoria, 3W. Peninsula, 2L

LAST TEN: Victoria, 9-1-0-0. Peninsula, 7-3-0-0

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BC Couple Compete for Outstanding Young Farmers Title

Ministry of Agriculture

VICTORIA - British Columbia is hosting a national competition to find Canada's most innovative young farmers who are growing food and farming in new ways, announced Minister of Agriculture Ben Stewart today. Young farmers from seven of the country's regions will compete in the Outstanding Young Farmers' National Competition being held in Victoria Nov. 23-28.

"The creative, dynamic young farmers who are competing this weekend are moving agriculture forward into new territory," said Stewart. "A growing number of British Columbians are supporting farmers and eating local food. Celebrating innovation in agriculture and our farmers' success stories is really important if we want to feed B.C. grown food to future generations."

Among the competitors are Gene and Shelly Covert, winners of the 2010 B.C. Outstanding Young Farmer Award who run a third-generation fruit and vegetable farm in Oliver and are also the parents of three young children. When Gene's father died suddenly in 2004, the Coverts were faced with about 142 hectares (350 acres) in production, hundreds of seasonal workers and low margins.

Today, nearly half of Covert Farms produces organic crops grown in biodegradable, GMO-free cornstarch mulch. The operation relies almost entirely on ladybugs for pest control.

The Coverts' farm also features an organic winery, and a country market with food service and a cappuccino bar. Every year, around 2,000 people visit Covert Farms for the Festival of the Tomato, a one-day event that celebrates local agriculture.

"Before I was a farmer, I was a school teacher and I know there is a real need to educate the public about farming," said Shelly Covert. "That's something we try to do every day at Covert Farms. We want people to realize how connected farming is to the food they eat every day."

Canada's Outstanding Young Farmers' program is an annual competition that recognizes farmers who exemplify excellence in their profession. The competition is open to farmers between 18 and 39 years old who earn most of their income from on-farm sources. Participants are selected from seven regions across Canada, with two national winners chosen. Funding for the event's education sessions is provided in part by the Investment Agriculture Foundation, an organization that invests federal and provincial funds in innovative projects that benefit B.C.'s agri-food industry.

This year's event is being held at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Judging takes place over several days and the winners will be announced at an evening banquet on Friday, Nov. 26.

For more information, please visit: http://www.oyfcanada.com/

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BC Transit Service Update as of 7:45 am #VictoriaBC #YYJ

Victoria Regional Transit System Service Update

Due to the current snowfall and road conditions, buses may be running late.

The following routes have been affected:

#6 - Emily Carr - No service - routing via Chatterton

#13 - No service

#21 - No service to Viaduct

#30 - No service to Carey Rd. area, routing N/B via Carey,Glanford, Vanalman, to regular route

#30 - No service to Wilkinson Rd. area - routing S/B via Rte.31 to Glanford, R - Mann, L - Vanalman back to Glanford

#32 - Unable to service Cordova Bay hill, turning around at Sayward/Fowler

#35 - No service

#53 - No service

#54 - No service to Duke/Taurus/Sandgate

#56/57 - No service to Goldie/Gorman loop

#59 - No service to Triangle Mountain, detouring via:Jacklin, Sooke, Veteran's Memorial Parkway to Latoria and regular route.

#63 - No service

#66 East Sooke - No service

#73 - Unable to service Willingdon @ Canora - detouring via Canora, East Saanich to regular route.

#75 - No service to Verdier/Brentwood loop - staying on West Saanich

#77 - No service to Wayne/Madrona/Downey area

#81 - Unable to service Willingdon @ Canora - detouring via Canora, East Saanich to regular route.

#83 - No service to Beaver Lake/Quail Rd. area

#83 - Unable to service Willingdon @ Canora - detouring via Canora, East Saanich to regular route.

Customers are asked to please be patient, plan ahead, leave early, and bundle up.

Transit service will depend on road conditions.

Stay updated on the current transit conditions for the Victoria Regional Transit System by calling 250-382-6161, visiting our website, http://www.bctransit.com/ or following us on Twitter @bc_transit.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Book Signing with Victoria Author and Organic Gardener Carolyn Herriot, Dec 4

Carolyn Herriot will be signing copies of her book, The Zero-Mile Diet: A Year-Round Guide to Organic Gardening at Munro’s Books on Saturday, December 4th at 3:00 pm

It has only taken two generations for the majority of people to forget how to grow their own food. Most city dwellers have become alienated from the source of what sustains them, and have little understanding of the environmental and health impacts of processed and packaged food.

Ten years ago, in order to pacify her concerns about an increasingly uncertain future, Carolyn Herriot decided to grow as much of her own food as possible. Carolyn started The Garden Path, a plant nursery and display garden, in 1990. The Garden Path closed in 2006, and Carolyn now runs Seeds of Victoria, an organic seed company. In the process of her work with gardening she has discovered that it only takes five years to become self-sufficient in fruits and vegetables year round.

This book follows a year of sustainable homegrown food production, growing healthy organic food, eating seasonal recipes from the garden, saving seeds for future harvests and putting food by for the winter. Growing a “Zero-Mile Diet” is a fun way to increase regional food security while cooling down the planet.

Carolyn Herriot is the author of the bestselling A Year on the Garden Path: A 52-Week Organic Gardening Guide. She is much in demand as a speaker and workshop leader on organic gardening in the Pacific Northwest, with regular columns in GardenWise and Common Ground magazines. Carolyn grows her certified-organic seed business, Seeds of Victoria, at the Garden Path Centre for Organic Gardening in Victoria, BC.

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Archie Browning Sports Centre Open for Ice Activities #VictoriaBC

Esquimalt, British Columbia—Archie Browning Sports Centre is back on its regular schedule this morning after a shutdown on Tuesday evening because of a compressor malfunction in its ice plant.

The malfunction at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday resulted in a venting of ammonia gas to reduce system pressure. The amount of ammonia gas vented was considered to be minor. Both the BC Safety Authority and the Ministry of Environment were notified of the situation.

As a safety precaution while the ammonia was venting, the arena was evacuated and scheduled recreation activities were cancelled for the evening. Sports centre staff repaired the compressor and the plant was operational by 9:00 p.m. The plant was monitored throughout the evening to ensure it was operating safely and efficiently.

The facility is now open for regularly scheduled skating and curling programs.
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BC Hydro provides incentive to Nanaimo Forest Products for energy efficiency retrofit

Power Smart conservation and efficiency initiatives benefit all BC Hydro customers

NANAIMO – BC Hydro presented $1 million to Nanaimo Forest Products Ltd., Harmac Pulp Mill, today in a partnership to help the pulp mill modernize their vacuum pump system which will result in significant energy savings and performance improvements at the mill. The energy efficiency retrofit will result in 3.7 giga-watt hours per year of electricity savings – enough to power 340 homes.

The funding is made possible through BC Hydro’s Power Smart Partners Industrial Program. The program offers financial incentives and resources to help industrial customers, including those in the pulp and paper, mining, solid wood, manufacturing, oil and gas and food processing industries, manage and reduce energy use while generating conservation savings that benefit all BC Hydro customers.

Overall, BC Hydro saves roughly three dollars for every dollar that it invests in Power Smart programs because conservation reduces the need to build more generating capacity or import more electricity to meet British Columbia’s electricity needs.

“This funding allowed us to move ahead with the major retrofit and see the benefits of energy conservation,” said Levi Sampson, Nanaimo Forest Products Ltd., Harmac Pulp Mill president. “Energy conservation is one of our key business strategies and it makes good business sense since it enables us to reduce energy supply – one of our major costs of doing business.”

Most industrial customers require large amounts of electricity for their operations. BC Hydro estimates that the industrial sector uses about one third of the total electricity consumed in B.C. each year. This means that the sector also has a significant opportunity to achieve savings – the industrial sector represents approximately 45 per cent of the annual Power Smart savings.

“I congratulate Nanaimo Forest Products for showing real leadership by demonstrating how smart energy management can conserve energy and reduce waste, in turn, generating significant energy savings,” said Minister of Energy Steve Thomson. “These kinds of industrial initiatives will help us meet our province’s clean energy goal. By 2020, we are determined to meet our target of 66 per cent of the province’s incremental electricity needs through efficiency and conservation because this is the most cost-effective way to meet new demand.”

In addition to significant financial incentives, Power Smart’s Industrial Program offers a variety of funded initiatives to customers that provide them with an integrated approach focused on continuous energy improvement.

“The Power Smart Partners Industrial Program helps our industrial customers take advantage of their conservation opportunity through waste reduction, and at the same time allows them to improve their performance and achieve financial savings year-after-year,” said Lisa Coltart, executive director of Power Smart and Customer Care for BC Hydro. “We applaud Nanaimo Forest Products’ ongoing commitment to energy management and their participation in the Power Smart Partners program.”

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The Art of Photo Manipulation at @MaritimeMusBC

“Seeing is believing!” Or is it?

The Maritime Museum of BC is proud to announce our newest featured exhibit, Visual Trickery – The Art of Photo Manipulation. This exhibit delves into the technical nature of photography which offers fascinating opportunities for both serious and playful creativity. The core of the exhibition is a traveling exhibit from the Simon Fraser University Gallery, “Prints from CPR Magic Lantern Slides 1885-1930”, with 50 colourful enlargements made from original 3” square Magic Lantern slides.

We explore the legacy and impact of these slides of the early 1900s. These early photos began as black and white images captured in chemistry on clear glass plates. But, when tinted by hand with coloured dyes and projected on the wall of a darkened room, became “life-like” pictures in the eyes of the viewers.

Popular in their time, Magic Lantern theatres became the precursor to our modern day cinemas. It was common for these images to be manipulated. As an example, fairies and ghostly figures could be made to appear mysteriously in the projections, invoking shock or awe in the audience. As humans, our eyes and minds have built-in limits of perception, and these can be cleverly used to cause us to think we are seeing something quite different from what is really present.

Manipulated photos may provoke us into believing we know what we are looking at. In this display, we delight in the processes allowing these magical effects to happen.

Visual Trickery is a progressive exhibition that will continually develop until March 2011. As new items on the topic become available, we will include them in the displays. We would also like to invite you, the community to contribute to the exhibit. If you know of something that might be of interest and fitting with the theme, please bring it to the Museum, or let us know about it.

Visual Trickery – The Art of Photo Manipulation runs from November, 2010 to March, 2011. For more information, please call 250-385-4222 ext. 106 or visit our website at http://www.mmbc.bc.ca/  Come Join the Voyage!

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ICBC’s top five tips to prepare for winter road conditions

With below-freezing temperatures across B.C. set to turn into substantial snowfall by tomorrow, and then perhaps rain and black ice on the roads by the weekend, ICBC has these following tips to help you stay safe on the roads:

• Equip your vehicle: We issued an information bulletin earlier this week to answer customers’ questions about winter tires and insurance, but preparing your vehicle for winter driving comes down to much more than just choice of tires. Don’t use cruise control on slippery roads; check your tire pressure as they can deflate quickly in the cold; low-beam lights are more effective in the snow; and keep your gas tank full to prevent freezing in extreme temperatures. Keep a blanket in your car just in case you are unfortunate enough to get stranded in these wintery conditions. You can find more tips on icbc.com.

• Adapt our behaviour: While preparing our vehicles for winter driving is vital, nothing is more important than adjusting our behaviour as drivers. When we see a speed limit – say, 90km on a highway – that’s the limit in ideal road conditions. Conditions right now are not ideal so slow down and leave more space between you and other vehicles on the road to give you the time and distance needed to best avoid any potential hazards.

• When things get slippery: One of the most challenge road hazards at this time of year is black ice – it’s virtually impossible to see ahead of time, and that’s why it’s so important to slow down and try and anticipate what’s ahead by seeing how the vehicles around you are moving on the road. While it can be a natural reaction to slam on the brakes, the best thing you can do is try and slow your vehicle down to regain traction – ease off the accelerator and shift to a lower gear if possible. If you need to use the brake, be aware of the differences between using standard and ABS brakes.

• Know your journey: One of the most challenging aspects of driving in B.C. is that road conditions can vary greatly depending on where you are in the province. If you’re setting out from the Lower Mainland and driving to the Southern Interior, for example, you need to know that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure can designate winter tires to be required on certain roads and highways. If you are driving on these roads without winter tires, police can ticket you and make you turn back. Drivebc.ca is a great resource to consult ahead of time.

• If the worse happens: If you are unfortunate enough to be in a crash we know it can be a frightening and stressful situation, but we’re dedicated in providing a hassle-free experience and we’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to assist our customers. Customers in the Lower Mainland can reach us on our Dial-a-Claim line by calling 604-520-8222. Those who are elsewhere in, or outside of, B.C. can dial 1-800-910-4222. Download ICBC’s Claims Card to help you record the information you need at the scene of a crash.

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Allison Crowe and Bob Benvenuti “Tidings” concert at Fairfield United Church #VictoriaBC

“Music for the season and all time” – Allison Crowe and special guest Bob Benvenuti bring festive fun to warm body and soul with their “Tidings” concert at Fairfield United Church (1303 Fairfield Road, at Moss St.)

Saturday, December 4 at 8:00 pm (Doors: 7:30 pm)

Tidings stirs together traditional Christmas carols and holiday favourites with an organic blend of rock, jazz, folk, gospel and soul. "The Yuletide find of the year," says The Record. "Be prepared to be amazed," chimes ChristmasReviews.com

It also brings some aid to a pair of Victoria's tireless community-service agencies: Artemis Place and HepCBC.

Artemis, under a range of banners, for decades has been delivering an integrated counseling and educational program which provides a meaningful alternative to traditional school for at-risk girls. Artemis Place provides a sanctuary where girls are able to work on completing their high school while learning critical life skills in conflict resolution, and in building self esteem and successful relationships. As Lisa Ellis, Artemis' Executive Director, explains, they are in the unique business of tapping into the potential of the most at-risk girls in our community and helping them to transform their lives.

HepCBC, Tidings other partner in Victoria, strives to support those who are directly and indirectly affected by Hepatitis C. Dedicated to Hep C education and prevention for more than a decade, this non-profit society works to ensure that the public is aware of the existence and transmission methods of Hepatitis C and people know how and where to get tested. HepCBC is grateful to both individual donors as well as groups like the United Way for enabling it to carry on with its mission.

Bob Benvenuti opens this night of music with a big voice that mines deep - the way Joe Cocker and Van Morrison reach you. A native of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Benvenuti has gone back to the origins of his musical career. He has spent the past twenty years as lead vocalist in various bands throughout Canada, in the classic R&B and Soul flavour. Now after a two year hiatus in Canada's Arctic, Bob returns to British Columbia and his roots, as a solo acoustic performer with powerful and soulful song interpretations, delivered with the intimacy of the singer/songwriter tradition.

Following intermission, the Victoria Tidings concert resumes with a full set from Allison Crowe. The Nanaimo-born musician who now lives on both of Canada’s coasts, has gained a tremendous international fan base by following an independent path – outside the confines and compromises of the corporate record industry.

Along with releasing seven albums/CDs containing original song-writing of a singular range and quality, this century Allison Crowe has earned a reputation for her gorgeous voice, and unique ability to viscerally communicate emotion without sentimentality.

Crowe’s honest approach serves well, too, in making her, not only an uniquely exciting songwriter and live performer, combining voice, piano and guitar, but, at the same time, a peerless interpreter of a most varied songbook.

Upon returning to Canada, following her most recent European concert dates, earlier this month, popular Leonard-Cohen-centric blog, “1 Heck of a Guy”, commented:

"Allison, whose covers include not only outstanding versions of Joni Mitchell’s 'River' and 'A Case of You,' Leonard Cohen’s 'Hallelujah,' 'The Beatles’ 'In My Life' and 'Let It Be,' Lennon’s 'Imagine,' and Cyndi Lauper’s 'Time After Time,' but also the most provocative and seductive (forgive me, Aretha) take I’ve heard on Ronnie Shannon’s 'I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You).' And, I stand by my conviction that Allison Crowe is the best thing to happen to 'Me And Bobby McGee' since Janis Joplin changed Kristofferson’s lyrics."

No doubt several of these much-loved interpretations will ring in the Tidings concert mix this joyful Winter’s eve – joining Crowe’s fresh takes on such seasonal classics as “The First Noel”, “Silent Night”, and “O Holy Night”.

Tickets @: @: Lyle’s Place (770 Yates); Larsen Music (1833 Cook Street); Ivy’s Bookshop (2188 Oak Bay Ave.); and online in Allison's Box Office http://www.allisoncrowe.com/shoptickets.html ~ $20 General/ $15 Students & Seniors advance ($22/$17 door)

More info @: http://www.allisoncrowe.com/  + http://www.reverbnation.com/bobbybsoloacoustic  + http://www.artemisplace.org/  + http://www.hepcbc.ca/

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Province Launches Review Of Animal Health Policy

Ministry of Agriculture

VICTORIA - British Columbians are invited to participate in a review of the province's animal health policy and legislation during a 60-day web-based consultation, announced Agriculture Minister Ben Stewart today. The deadline to provide feedback is January 23, 2011.

"We're seeking the public's view on animal health issues and asking for input from those whose work is affected by animal health issues," said Stewart. "Animal health is important to all British Columbians. It's not only an important issue for farmers, ranchers, and food processors, but it can also impact human health when diseases are passed from animals to people."

Animal health management generally involves two broad sets of activities: disease prevention and outbreak management and control.

Managing animal health is important for the ongoing success of animal farming and ranching in B.C. The agriculture industry, veterinarians, and others all play important front-line roles in animal health management. The province has an important role in supporting successful animal disease prevention by having the authority to quickly act to control disease outbreaks.

"It's essential that B.C.'s animal health management system is responsive and that it safeguards both animal and human health, and the economic well-being of farmers and ranchers," said Stewart. "I'm really encouraging members of the general public and anyone with an interest in animal health to take part in this review."

The Ministry of Agriculture is reviewing the existing animal health legislation and policy, focussing primarily on the Animal Disease Control Act and related legislation, regulation, and policy. The Animal Disease Control Act is B.C.'s central animal health statute, and is over 50 years old. The goal of the review is to develop a robust framework for the management of animal health in British Columbia.

For more information on the animal health policy review or to participate in the consultation, please visit: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/ahb

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