City spent more than $83K for temporary employee COVID-19 tests
A COVID-19 report presented at Regina city council Wednesday, shows the city spent $83,200 from October to mid-November.
The site was staffed by members of the Regina Fire and Protective Services and set up to give employees time to plan for a mandatory vaccination or negative COVID-19 test policy, that started in October 2021 at city facilities.
According to the report, the site ran from October 1 to November 15. Initially 403 employees required testing, by the end of the six week site, that total dropped to 162.
It adds as of January 7, 94 per cent of city employees are fully vaccinated, and 114 employees are providing weekly tests at their own cost instead of providing proof of vaccination.
As the Omicron variant is causing increased COVID-19 case numbers, the city said it continues to monitor the situation, employee absences and is working to limit service disruptions.
The report stated there are about 2,000 employees working at the city this time of year and “at this point service delivery has not been impacted due to staffing shortages. Emergency services, transit and servicing city infrastructure currently pose the primary risks for service and disruptions.”
The report said risk mitigation strategies like staggering cohort shifts and rotating crews have been implemented to ensure essential services continue.
City administration said the city continues to promote booster vaccines, rapid tests and public health measures including physical distancing, hand washing and staying home when sick.
“The city expects, like all industries, service disruptions may occur throughout the fifth wave and we will continue to update council and the public in the event of disruptions,” the report stated.
Regina Transit update
During Wednesday’s meeting, the city said transit vehicles are still equipped with temporary barriers, with permanent ones expected to be installed by the second quarter of 2022.
“Ridership has been slowly increasing, particularly since students returned to school in September,” Chris Holden, city manager, said. “Since then conventional transit has returned to full service, with ridership at 60 per cent of the pre-pandemic levels.”
Holden added paratransit is operating at 80 per cent capacity due to lower demand, with ridership at about 65 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
City facilities update
Saskatchewan has extended the public health order requiring masks, proof of vaccination, or a negative test to February 28.
The report states the city implemented its mask and proof of vaccination requirements for all facilities, expect for Regina Public Libraries and the Transit Information Centre, for everyone over the age of 11, in October.
“Compliance has been extremely high with very few customer complaints,” said Holden.
Administration stated Wednesday participation levels at city leisure centres are at about 60 per cent of pre-COVID-19 numbers. Over the last few years that number has shifted, as public health restrictions changed.
The city said once the proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test requirement started, participation numbers increased.
City skating arenas have been fully booked.
Holden said the vaccination and mask mandates will stay in place until the city gets further direction from the province.
Frost Festival still a go
As COVID-19 discussions continued, so too did questions on if Frost Festival will go ahead.
Sandra Masters, mayor of Regina, said she has been in communication with the province and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), and because it’s an outdoor event, the festival still plans on going ahead.
“The province, right now, does not have a view that it’s at any risk of being cancelled or postponed,” Masters said.
She said if ICU numbers start to spike and models show Regina could be at risk of another COVID-19 variant, plans could change.
Firefirghters working COVID-19 testing drive-thru
The city also confirmed members of Regina Fire and Protective Services are working at the COVID-19 drive thru testing site at the former Costco.
Holden said due to staffing shortage within the SHA, the city has agreed to send firefighters who are properly trained to work at the PRC testing site and vaccine clinic.
“The SHA covers all of the costs of our city staff,” Holden said.
He added if staffing levels within the fire departments starts to become an issue, the city will cancel the agreement.
Council votes to rename Regent Park
Council voted unanimously to rename the parks and land around the former Regent Par Three Golf Course, on Wednesday.
The goal is for the park to carry an Indigenous name.
This is in line with the Civic Naming Committee guidelines that requires 25 per cent of streets and 50 per cent of park names to have Indigenous connection.
“It’s important to kind of reset our history which has exclusionary in nature,” Sandra Masters, mayor of Regina, said. “We work towards, as one small piece of reconciliation, just that acknowledgement of Indigenous ancestry, Indigenous history, Indigenous culture and we work towards putting that on our civic infrastructure.”
She said Regent Park is an easy park to rename, because “Regent Par Three isn’t overly inspiring, there’s a lot of investment going into that park and given its location, it just makes a lot of sense that we would honour Indigenous culture by renaming the park.”
The City of Regina will work with Regina/Treaty Status Indian Services and the University of Regina linguistics department, to come up with a name.
Administration said it will also consult local community organizations and Elders during this process.
School zone time change being discussed
A report proposing changing times school zones are active was brought forward on Wednesday.
The report suggested changing schools zones to be active from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., instead of the current 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m...
“Being cognizant of the fact that 7:00 a.m. does perhaps interfere with morning commutes and there aren’t a lot of children playing in the parks at 7:00 a.m.,” Masters said.
According to the report, the change would also accommodate activities and sports happening in the evenings at schools and playgrounds.
Masters said the report is part of a bigger plan called “Vision Zero” to keep individuals around schools zones and parks safe. She said this includes flashing lights, markers and painted curbs.
“Vision Zero” will be bringing an updated report to council at a later date, which will now include school zone times.
That report is expected in the city’s third quarter.
Regina council's next meeting is scheduled for February 2, 2022.
Regina Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Students trapped inside a classroom with a gunman repeatedly called 911 during this week's attack on a Texas elementary school, including one who pleaded, 'Please send the police now,' as nearly 20 officers waited in the hallway for more than 45 minutes, authorities said Friday.
As Johnny Depp's high-profile libel lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard wound down, Heard took her final opportunity on the stand to comment on the hate and backlash she’s endured online during the trial.
A new report says Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto rank among the top 20 cities around the world when it comes to work-life balance.
Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino will table new firearms legislation on Monday, according to his colleague Justice Minister David Lametti. In an interview with CTV's Question Period that will air on Sunday, Lametti pointed to the advance notice given to the House of Commons, and confirmed the plan is to see the new bill unveiled shortly after MPs return to the Commons on May 30.
An 11-year-old survivor of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas, feared the gunman would come back for her so she smeared herself in her friend's blood and played dead.
For 70 years, Andre Hissink has held a grudge against the Dutch government, but this week, the 102-year-old Second World War veteran’s persistence paid off – the Dutch king granted his wish for a rare dual citizenship.
Canada has tapped into its own strategic stockpile of emergency medical supplies -- stored for a national emergency -- to help Ukraine. It has donated over 375,000 items of medical equipment and medicines from Canada's strategic stockpile since the invasion by Russia began.
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, more commonly known as 'broken heart syndrome' or stress-induced cardiomyopathy, is an actual medical condition triggered by severe emotional or physical stress and is different from a heart attack.
After a six-week trial in which Johnny Depp and Amber Heard tore into each other over the nasty details of their short marriage, both sides told a jury the exact same thing Friday -- they want their lives back.
Barrett Ross says his dog Indy suffered a punctured bowel, lost a tooth and had his stomach injured when he was attacked by three other dogs.
The Saskatoon Tribal Council's (STC) temporary downtown shelter has been granted an extension to operate at its present location until April 2023 — but Tribal Chief Mark Arcand hopes to relocate well before then.
A pedestrian injured by a vehicle in Prince Albert has died.
Pembina Trails School Division is confirming to CTV News that a group of students found a body during community cleanup at Ècole South Pointe School.
Winnipeg police are telling people to find an alternate route this afternoon as they are investigating a fatal crash near the St. Boniface Industrial Park.
'It's one way to be creative': Winnipeg student wants to be a bartender when older; school doesn't like comment in yearbook
Bartender. That is what one Grade 4 student said for the yearbook when asked what he wanted to be when he grows up, an answer the school is asking him to change.
A southern Alberta man who killed three people, including a two-year-old girl, could have the ability to request a release from jail earlier than his original sentence intended, thanks to a landmark Supreme Court decision Friday.
Calgary Flames fans are still coming to terms with a playoff series loss to the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night in a game that saw both controversy and heartbreak following a Connor McDavid overtime goal.
Western Canada's premiers want to reform their health-care systems by expanding services but they say Ottawa first needs to pick up the phone.
A hotly-controversial decision on whether or not to freeze base funding for police in Edmonton was delayed Friday as fallout from a dispute between the mayor and the provincial justice minister continued to rattle political circles.
A 19-year-old man is in police custody after a shooting near Rogers Place after an Edmonton Oilers viewing party ended Thursday evening.
Police are looking for a man who they say sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman on Thursday.
WATCH | New video appears to show man carrying air rifle on Toronto streets before being killed by police
A man shot dead by police officers near a Toronto elementary school on Thursday afternoon appears to have been captured on home security footage carrying an air rifle moments before the incident.
A 21-year-old Toronto man is facing a slew of charges following a suspected hate-motivated incident at a Jewish school in North York.
Toronto Pearson International is warning travellers and Mississauga residents they may notice unusual activity at the airport this weekend.
As of Friday evening, 26,000 Hydro Ottawa customers remain without power in all neighbourhoods of the city.
Approximately 25,000 people will take part in Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend on Saturday and Sunday.
Ottawa Bylaw says the "mama and her 4 kittens" were abandoned outside the PetSmart on Innes Road sometime between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Friday.
With ridership still well below pre-pandemic levels, TransLink looks for 'long-term revenue solutions'
Metro Vancouver's public transit system will be dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for years to come, according to recent funding and ridership announcements by TransLink.
The federal government needs to come to the table to discuss more money for health care, Western Canada's premiers said at their annual meeting.
Charges approved in 'very serious and traumatic' Surrey sexual assault involving break-in, confinement
A man identified previously by police has now been charged in connection with what officers call a "very serious and traumatic" sexual assault in Surrey, B.C.
Is it unconstitutional to make someone pay to get a legal document translated into French? One of Montreal's top lawyers thinks so, and pointed out two other things from Bill 96 that he thinks the courts would most easily find fault with.
Canada's highest court has ruled that Alexandre Bissonnette, who murdered six people at the Quebec City mosque in 2017, will be eligible for parole after 25 years.
Hydro-Quebec is still struggling to restore power to tens of thousands of homes left without electricity, six days after deadly storms hit in Quebec and Ontario.
B.C. speedboat driver arrested with 650kg of meth 'feared for his family's safety,' he told U.S. investigators
New details are emerging after a 51-year-old Alberta man was arrested aboard a speedboat that U.S. authorities say was carrying 650 kilograms of methamphetamine between Washington state and British Columbia.
The emergency department at Port McNeill Hospital unexpectedly shut down on Friday evening due to a staffing shortage.
At least one building was destroyed Friday afternoon as firefighters rushed to a large fire at the vacant Pioneer Square Mall in Mill Bay, B.C.
A lawyer for families of victims killed in the Nova Scotia mass shooting says an 18-hour delay in finding five bodies of those murdered is a sign of "deficient" policing.
A Cape Breton father is warning the public of the dangers in the area he lives after his teenager son fell nearly 40 feet over a cliff in Glace Bay.
Two Muslim sisters in St. John's, N.L., are speaking out after a man approached them where they work, screamed at them and then smacked the 15-year-old sister across the head, nearly knocking her over.
Members of the NDP, Liberal and Green parties attended a meet and greet at Nipissing University's Student Centre on Friday afternoon.
The Ontario Provincial Police is closing its detachment in the town of Black River-Matheson. The building is approximately 90 years old and is located in Matheson on Railway Street.
A northern Ontario man says he jumped through several hoops and dealt with red tape as he tried to launch an inflatable water park on Ramsey Lake this summer.
A man, who was a referee at high school volleyball games in Guelph for more than 30 years, is facing sex assault-related charges.
The Region of Waterloo says there's a high safety risk at a Kitchener encampment and they are working with residents to prepare them for their eventual move.
Two low-cost airlines are butting heads over an agreement at the Region of Waterloo International Airport. Swoop wants to offer flights but the airport already has an exclusivity deal with rival Flair Airlines