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Richmond Hill councillor loses 90 days’ pay over bullying complaint

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Richmond Hill councillor Karen Cilevitz has been docked 90 days pay after an investigation by the town’s integrity commissioner found she had violated the part of the council’s code of conduct that forbids bullying and intimidation.

In her report, Richmond Hill integrity commissioner Deborah Anschell detailed lengthy back-and-forth between Cilevitz and the complainant, Steffi Goodfield, in part over the use of the term “Ward 5” in an open mic event co-run by Goodfield called the Ward 5 jam.

The CBC first reported on the issue in May, when it came to light that Cilevitz had left Goodfield an angry voicemail and several messages warning that only she was entitled to use the term “Ward 5.”

Ultimately, Anschell found Cilevitz’s communications were “bullying in tone and intended to intimidate.”

“Not only was Councillor Cilevitz incorrect on the facts when she claimed exclusive domain over the use of the term “Ward 5″, she also communicated her inaccurate stance inappropriately with a member of the public,” wrote Anschell.

90 days without pay

On Monday, Richmond Hill council voted to suspend Cilevitz’s pay for 90 days, the maximum amount of time permitted under the Municipal Act.  

“It’s clear in the report that Goodfield said, ‘it’s not my fight, I don’t want anything to do with it’… and yet [Coun. Cilevitz] was relentless,” Richmond Hill Coun. Carmine Perrelli told CBC Toronto.

Perelli, who introduced the motion to dock Cilevitz’s pay for the maximum length of time, said he “couldn’t imagine a scenario that could be worse” than a councillor intimidating a member of the public.

Anschell’s report lays out a complex series of exchanges over the last year between Cilevitz, Goodfield, Goodfield’s friend and open mic co-organizer Matt Bergman, and other unnamed third parties.

Richmond Hill Coun. Karen Cilevitz left this message on a constituent’s voicemail. 1:51

Both Cilevitz and Goodfield say they began as friends, though the length of time they remained friends is disputed.

Beginning in Dec. 2017, Cilevitz messaged Goodfield repeatedly over an interpersonal conflict playing out between her romantic partner, various other friends, and Matt Bergman.  

By January, she began raising the issue of the name of an open mic night co-organized by Goodfield, the Ward 5 jam, and threatening legal action.

The complaint was filed in May. 

Cilevitz ‘respects’ integrity commissioner’s findings

Cilevitz responded to the council’s decision in a statement on her Facebook page attributed to her lawyer.

It says she “respects the decision of the Integrity Commissioner” but finds council’s Dec. 17 decision to dock her pay to be “driven by political forces.”

Cilevitz had also argued the Goodfield’s complaint was also part of a political plot against her during the course of the integrity investigation, according to Anschell.

“Councillor Cilevitz looks forward to 4 more years of successful work on behalf of her residents as the duly elected Ward 5 Councillor for Richmond Hill,” reads the statement.  

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV

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A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence

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Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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