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Dyllan Petrin at large after removing court ordered electronic monitoring

Dyllan Petrin

SURREY RCMP announced on Tuesday that an arrest warrant had been issued for 19-year-old Dyllan Petrin, and asked for information to assist in his arrest.

Petrin is charged related to an ongoing Surrey RCMP Serious Crimes Unit investigation involving a kidnapping and assault which occurred in July 2019. He was arrested on those charges in July 2019, and had been held in custody until February 2020, when he was released on strict court ordered conditions including electronic monitoring via ankle bracelet. On May 28, Petrin removed his electronic monitoring bracelet and is currently at large.

On June 2, a British Columbia-wide warrant was issued for his arrest. New charges include breach of his court ordered conditions.

Surrey RCMP are seeking assistance from the public in locating Petrin.

Petrin is described as white, 5’5 tall, 126 lbs, with brown hair and brown eyes (see photo). He also has a prominent tattoo on the left side of his neck.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or, if they wish to make an anonymous report, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or www.solvecrime.ca.

BC Assembly of First Nations: End of systemic racism and oppression is long overdue

Regional Chief Terry Teegee Photo submitted

BCAFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee issued the following statement on racialized police brutality on Tuesday:

BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN) stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and we express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Black, Indigenous, and other minority individuals who have been killed at the hands of the police. We remember two black citizens who recently died under direct police involvement: George Floyd from Minneapolis, MN, and Regis Korchinski-Paquet from Toronto, Ont. We also recognize and remember the lives of Indigenous people who also recently died under police jurisdiction or actions, Dale Culver (2017) and Everett Patrick (2020) in Prince George, BC, and another three Indigenous people in Winnipeg, MB: Eishia Hudson, Jason Collins and Stewart Kevin Andrews, who were killed by Winnipeg police.

“Police forces in Canada and the United States have a long history of being instrumental in enforcing colonial law and order to eradicate Indigenous peoples, and control people of colour, and other minorities. Authorities utilized genocidal laws and policies such as forced displacement and assimilation tactics. Indigenous families were torn apart by the apprehension of children to submit them to the residential school system, and they continue to suffer from this trauma. Significant attention is being placed on the United States of America’s judicial system; however, Canada cannot claim moral superiority in this area. Our nation too needs justice reform in order to end systemic racism towards minorities.

“The BCAFN calls on the government of Canada to co-develop a National First Nations Justice Strategy in order to address the disproportionate rate of incarceration, and police-involved deaths and injuries of Indigenous peoples in Canada. In addition, we insist the Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada push forward the release and implementation of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2-Spirited People Action Plan, rather than delay it as recently announced. Further delay of this Action Plan is ethically irresponsible.

“The BCAFN also calls on the Crown to pursue charges against five police officers involved in the in-custody death of Dale Culver in Prince George in 2017, as is recommended by the Independent Investigation Office (IIO). Additionally, we urge the IIO to expedite the investigation into the in-custody death of Everett Patrick.

“Justice reform is urgently needed to protect racialized people’s lives; police brutality must stop. The end of systemic racism and oppression is long overdue.”

UBC associate professor Dr. Faisal Khosa receives two more awards

Dr. Faisal Khosa Photo submitted

UNIVERSITY of British Columbia associate professor in radiology Dr. Faisal Khosa, who’s garnered a raft of awards around the world in the past decade, has received two more awards.

Khosa, who bagged the 2019 Canadian Association of Radiologists Award last year, has received the following honours this year:

1. May Cohen Equity and Gender Award by the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada

2. Dudley Pennell Research Award by Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance.

The citation for the May Cohen Equity and Gender Award reads: “Dr. Faisal Khosa is an Associate Professor in Radiology at the University of British Columbia. He received his medical degree in Pakistan followed by board certifications in radiology from Ireland, the USA and Canada. He subsequently completed an MBA at Goizueta Business School. He is an internationally renowned speaker with 169 peer-reviewed publications and has received over six million dollars in collaborative grants in North America. His book on leadership is being pu blished by Bloomsbury: https://faisalkhosa.com/books/.”

According to Dr. Dermot Kelleher, Dean of Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia: “In his career he has mentored more than five hundred medical students, residents, fellows and junior faculty from groups that are underrepresented in medicine (URM), imparting skills and knowledge, and therefore, encouraging, promoting, sponsoring and empowering them. Dr. Khosa serves the URM through his research and mentoring and is the recipient of accolades and awards in Canada, USA, Ireland, Pakistan and The Middle East. He is spearheading the most comprehensive gender and racial disparity research in academic medicine, its professional societies and the editorial boards of medical journals. He is invited to speak and conduct workshops on equity, diversity and inclusion all over the world.”

Incidentally, Khosa’s first book, which is a comparison of former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, former Pakistani prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and former Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and which has received endorsements from 17 best-selling authors, historians and political science experts, is being published by Bloomsbury in September 2020: 

https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-making-of-martyrs-in-india-pakistan-bangladesh-9789388630863/

His second book is a comparative analysis of former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto and current Bangladeshi prime minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed and will be published in 2021.

Khosa has been featured in The VOICE several times over the past few years.

Nearly 60,000 students return on first day of in-class instruction

THE Province said on Tuesday that it reopened in-class instruction to all students on June 1 with about 30% of expected enrolment in attendance.

At the high end were Grade 6 students at 48.3% of expected enrolment, while Grade 12 students were at the low end with 14.5%. These numbers reflect only the first day of the return to part-time, in-school learning. Other students will gradually be back in their classrooms over the course of this week.

As part of Stage 3 of B.C.’s return to schools, all families have been given the option to have their children back in classrooms for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

Kindergarten to Grade 5 students are limited to 50% of the school’s capacity, with a half-time or alternating schedule. Grade 6 to 12 classes are limited to 20% of the school’s capacity and approximately one day a week.

Children of essential service workers and students who need more support will continue to be offered full-time classroom instruction.

Families who choose not to send their children to school are still being supported by teachers remotely. Schools are designating specific time for teachers to focus on remote education.

If families change their minds about in-class learning, they are asked to contact their child’s school as soon as possible so the school can plan to support the child.

All school districts have health and safety plans approved by the Ministry of Education that follow strict guidelines provided by the provincial health officer and WorkSafeBC.

Some of these health and safety measures include:

* limiting the number of students in school, avoiding groups or gatherings of students in hallways or other common areas and taking students outside more often;

* regular cleaning of high-contact surfaces like door knobs, toilet seats, keyboards and desks at least twice a day, and cleaning the school building at least once a day;

* staggered drop-offs, lunch and recess breaks, with increased outside time; and

* asking staff and students (or their parents/guardians) to assess themselves daily for symptoms of COVID-19, with clear policies not to come to school if unwell. If any student or staff member has even mild symptoms, arrangements will be made for that person to be returned home.

Local safety plans are posted on each school district’s website for parents to access.

B.C. Liberals recommend regional reopening strategy

Andrew Wilkinson

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson on Tuesday announced that he is recommending the government work with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to explore the possibility of a region-specific approach to safely accelerate reopening parts of the province with low case counts when it is safe to do so.

“It’s clear, based on the evidence, that some regions and industries have been hit harder than others across the province. It seems reasonable to at least consider tailored, regional reopening plans based on the specific case counts of each region,” said Wilkinson. “I’ve sent a letter to the Premier [John Horgan] today asking government to look at lifting more restrictions in regions with lower case counts such as Vancouver Island, the Okanagan, the Kootenays, and the North to get people back to work and bring in much-needed revenue for business sooner.”

He noted that COVID-19’s impact on all of B.C.’s major sectors is being felt deeply across the province, particularly in the area of tourism. Tourism operators, restaurants, and small business owners are all trying to figure out how to best navigate this unprecedented challenge. As we slowly begin to reopen our economy and ease some restrictions on travel, the BC Liberals believe a regional approach to reopening sectors, such as the tourism industry, makes sense as long as it can be done safely.

“Tourism, an integral part of our provincial economy which brings in about $20-billion in revenue and employs over 160,00 British Columbians, has especially struggled,” said Wilkinson. “We’re hopeful that government will seriously consider a regional approach that will help mitigate some of the social and economic impacts this pandemic has created.”

The consideration suggested in today’s letter to the Premier supplements the earlier calls from the BC Liberal Caucus for specific restaurant supports and broader economic actions such as temporary PST relief, a commercial rent relief plan, and the need for funding for businesses and non-profits to secure personal protective equipment, he pointed out.

B.C. modernizes family court rules

AN order-in-council published on Monday, June 1 will repeal and replace the provincial court family rules and improve how British Columbia families can resolve their legal issues in family court, the government announced on Tuesday.

The new family court rules come into force in May 2021. These rules include modernized court processes recognizing electronic communication, enabling electronic filing and giving judges more flexibility in determining the best use of court time. Some of these changes are particularly relevant in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These rules focus on early resolution of family law cases, a new approach to case management including family management conferences, streamlined court processes and new forms that are easier to use and understand. The changes are aimed at enhancing the ability of the provincial court to resolve family disputes more efficiently and effectively, while creating a better experience for families resolving their legal disputes.

Early resolution of family disputes keeps the focus on the best interests of children and families. The new rules will introduce a process that will be implemented by registry to enable mandatory assessment, including early screening for family violence. Assessments will also include determining suitability for dispute resolution and other referrals.

The emphasis on early resolution services through assessment, referral, education and in some cases, mediation, will help families resolve their disputes in a more sustainable and holistic way. The case management and court process changes are aimed at making things easier for users with a more streamlined and managed court process.

New court forms have been redesigned to use plain language and a conversational, question-and-answer approach that will be easier for court users to use and understand. The new forms will help people tell their story, especially those who are representing themselves in court.

The new provincial court family rules follow a public consultation held in 2019 and have been developed through collaboration between the Ministry of Attorney General, the Provincial Court of B.C., members of the bar and a community advocate. Some parts of the rules will apply in certain registries that can be expanded as resources are available.

For more information about the order and the new provincial court family rules, visit: 

http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/oic/oic_cur/0287_2020

Government will expand Program Integrity Unit of Provincial Nominee Program

Michelle Mungall

FOLLOWING criticism by Acting Auditor General Russ Jones that the B.C.’s Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness “isn’t doing enough to manage fraud risks” regarding the BC Provincial Nominee Program, minister Michelle Mungall announced on Tuesday that the Program Integrity Unit will be expanded.

She said: “The enhanced unit will strengthen our capacity to investigate, conduct site visits, support staff training and develop a dedicated reporting process for people who witness fraudulent activity in the program.”

Mungall noted: “The BC PNP supports economic growth and delivers positive results for employers and applicants by attracting and retaining international talent. The program helps address labour market needs and contributes to B.C.’s economic development.

“The Office of the Auditor General has identified important opportunities to further strengthen the BC PNP, including enhancing program integrity. The B.C. government agrees with the auditor general’s findings and accepts all four recommendations. We will be taking firm action to address and maintain the effectiveness and integrity of the program.

“Work on the auditor general’s recommendations are already underway, including developing a formal framework to better assess risks of misrepresentation, fraud and corruption.”

Mungall added: “We are defining comprehensive key performance measures to better assess the effectiveness of the BC PNP. Through the BC PNP online case management system, we are making improvements to the quality of data and how we collect it. Part of this work includes enhancing staff training to improve data collection practices and quality assurance.

“Newcomers contribute significantly to the social and economic fabric of our province. We are committed to enhancing and improving the BC PNP to protect the integrity of the program and the newcomers who have chosen to make B.C. their home.”

‘B.C. immigration program helps fill labour gaps, but fraud safeguards need work’

REGARDING a new report, Skills Immigration Stream of the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program, released on Tuesday, B.C.’s Acting Auditor General Russ Jones said: “We found the ministry has managed the PNP’s performance to support the economy and fill labour gaps, but we also found the ministry isn’t doing enough to manage fraud risks.”

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) is an immigration program that lets B.C. attract and retain immigrants to help address labour market needs and contribute to economic development.

B.C.’s Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness nominates successful applicants to the federal government for permanent residency. Almost all nominees come through the Skills Immigration stream of the BC PNP – the focus of this audit.

Because of the BC PNP’s significance to the province’s economy, the audit examined:

* how well the ministry managed the program’s performance, which included looking at its targets and outcomes; and

* whether the ministry had effectively managed the risk of fraud

Jones said both issues are key to knowing whether the ministry is choosing applicants who are most likely to contribute to economic growth.

The audit found the ministry always nominated the maximum number of workers allowed by the federal government. More than 85% of immigrants who became permanent residents through the program stayed in B.C. and more than 90% of those who have come since 2012 were still employed.

“Those are indicators the program is working as intended,” Jones said. “More could be done to refine targets and analyze the program’s design to maximize economic benefits, and that work is underway.”

The audit found that the ministry had safeguards, but it had not done a structured assessment of all risks posed by fraud. “That’s key to knowing the ministry has the right safeguards in place and that they work,” Jones said.

The audit also found that certain expected safeguards were missing and that the ministry had not consistently monitored the use of its safeguards.

The report (see link below) states that there were gaps in the ministry’s safeguards against misrepresentation and fraud.

It notes: “We found areas where the ministry was missing safeguards against the risk of fraud and misrepresentation identified by both staff and good practice recommendations for managing fraud risk. Gaps included the lack of a sanction for fraud by immigration representatives or of a fraud reporting mechanism for the public, and no flagging of high-risk applications in the case management system. These gaps heightened the risk of the ministry not detecting or addressing fraudulent applications and then approving them.”

Under “Lack of sanction for fraud by immigration representatives,” the report states: “Applicants to the PNP can use representatives to assist them with the registration and application process, although this is not a requirement. During our audit period, more than half of applicants had declared that a representative assisted them with their application. PNP staff encountered situations where an immigration representative knowingly supported an applicant’s lying about qualifications or a job offer. Staff also encountered situations where they believed an applicant, employer and representative had colluded to get around PNP rules.”

It adds: “While the Provincial Immigration Programs Act allows the ministry refuse to accept applications for two years from applicants or employers who commit misrepresentation, it does not provide a similar sanction for immigration representatives. The ministry must rely on the regulatory bodies—the Law Society and the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC)—to investigate and discipline representatives who behave unethically. The ministry’s policy is to not communicate with the immigration representative if they are suspended or not in good standing with the regulatory body. It is unclear whether this is an effective deterrent.”

The audit recommends:

1. The ministry define a comprehensive set of key performance measures and targets for the BC PNP to more fully understand progress made in meeting labour market needs and supporting economic development.

2. The ministry assess the effectiveness of the Skills Immigration stream’s program design (i.e., categories, criteria and point system through periodic analysis of program and outcome data, and make improvements as needed to achieve program objectives.

3. The ministry make changes to its systems and procedures to ensure that it collects reliable data to enable regular analysis of program performance.

4. The ministry develop and implement a risk management framework consistent with good practice expectations to:
a) identify and assess the risks of misrepresentation, fraud and corruption
b) design and implement safeguards to mitigate the identified risks
c) monitor effectiveness of safeguards and take action to address any deficiencies identified

Background:

Economists predict 861,000 job openings in B.C. between 2019 and 2029, due to factors such as retirement and new jobs. Too many unfilled openings can hurt the economy by slowing business productivity, which impacts government’s ability to raise taxes to fund programs and services. Immigrants are expected to fill about 30% of the openings.

Each year the ministry reviews applications from thousands of potential immigrants to the PNP. Applicants must demonstrate their ability to contribute to the economy based on criteria such as work experience, education and language ability. Most also need a job offer.

“The PNP lets B.C. influence the skills and experiences that new British Columbians bring to the workforce, at a time when economists are telling us that we face significant labour and skill shortages in key areas of the economy,” said Jones. “It’s important to get things right.”

Most provinces have provincial nominee programs, which are set up with individual agreements with the federal government. In 2018, one in five nominees in Canada came to B.C. From 2015 to 2018, approximately 32,000 people (including nominated workers and their spouses and dependents) became permanent residents in B.C. through the PNP.

The audit covered the period from January 2017 to November 2019 and was completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While the pandemic may have an impact on the level of immigration to B.C., our audit findings will still be relevant to improving the program going forward,” said Jones.

Report: Skills Immigration Stream of the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program:
https://www.bcauditor.com/pubs/2020/skills-immigration-stream-british-columbia-provincial-nominee-program


Surrey’s Darts Hill Garden Park carefully reopens for the season

Photo: dartshill.ca/

DARTS Hill Garden Park reopens this week with new protocols to ensure community safety as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Now open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., visitors will need to pre-register for a 1.5-hour time slot. Registrations times will be available every 30 minutes. Final entrance time will be 2 p.m., with a maximum of 15 registered visitors for each time slot.

“After implementing new measures to ensure staff and visitor safety, we are pleased to announce the reopening of Darts Hill Garden Park for the season,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. “With an abundance of parks and greenspace, nature is never far away from us in Surrey and this beautifully preserved hillside garden park is a jewel in our community.  We hope you’ll join us.”

Darts Hill Garden Park is a 7.5-acre hillside garden located on the corner of 170th Street and 16th Avenue in Surrey. Originally created by Francisca and Edwin Darts, it is a beautiful display of 70 years of devotion, hard work and a pure love of horticulture. In 1994 the Darts chose to make their garden available to residents, students and visitors by entering into a 999-year agreement with the City of Surrey. Their intention was to give Surrey its own garden to be used as a horticultural centre for the preservation, enhancement, and development of plants. The non-profit Darts Hill Garden Conservancy Trust Society works in partnership with the City of Surrey towards these goals. Parking is available 1633 170th Street. 

The City of Surrey is the steward of 2984 hectares of parkland including 200 publicly accessible parks, over 600 natural area or green space parks and over 650 km of park trails and City greenways.

For more information, visit www.dartshill.ca

To register, click here.

BC Liberals call for clarity, immediate support for child care providers

Andrew Wilkinson

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson in a letter to Premier John Horgan on Monday asked the government for further supports for child care providers needing help in the wake of COVID-19.

“There’s been a lack of clarity for kids, their parents, and child care providers around how they can and should be operating right now,” said Wilkinson. “Child care plays an important role in the lives of B.C. families in every corner of the province. As British Columbia continues to reopen, parents need to know what the government’s plan is to help them meet their child care needs.”

Many child care providers fear they’ll have to permanently close due to the lack of support in recent months. To ensure the health of children, providers, and Early Childhood Educators (ECEs), Wilkinson and the BC Liberals are proposing that government:

  • Clarify the risk that parents and children, providers, and ECEs, are undertaking when they return to regular service;
  • Clearly define what is meant by a daily ‘screening’ of children​, and assure providers that they can require a COVID-19 test of any child or worker as a condition of entry;
  • Establish a ‘Provider Guarantee’ which will ensure that no provider is forced into insolvency as a result of COVID-19;
  • Make personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies part of the ongoing basic Child Care Operating Fund program, including simple diagnostic tools such as thermometers; and
  • Publish a comprehensive report on the state of the system, including the numbers of spaces and providers lost, program saving or extra costs, the numbers of centres and spaces open and closed, and the number of children attending versus enrolled during the crisis.

“In 2018, this government promised to create 24,000 new, incremental child care spaces within three years. However, only 2,400 functioning spaces had been created under the New Spaces Fund before the crisis,” said MLA Laurie Throness, the BC Liberal Critic for Child Care. “British Columbians deserve a clear statement of the government’s future agenda for child care, and that safety is the top priority when returning their kids to child care providers.”