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Toronto police knew serial killer Bruce McArthur linked to 3 of his victims in 2013: court files





Toronto police knew Bruce McArthur “had a link” to three of the eight men he pleaded guilty to murdering after interviewing the serial killer in late 2013, according to a newly unsealed judicial order.

The Project Houston taskforce was launched in November 2012 to probe the disappearances of Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi and Majeed Kayhan, all of whom were connected to Toronto’s Gay Village. 

About a year into that investigation, police discovered McArthur was connected to all three of those missing men.

The information raises questions about how police handled the investigation into missing men who turned out to be McArthur’s victims. In the wake of 67-year-old’s arrest, some in Toronto’s LGBT community suggested that police failed to take sufficient action to find the men.

In September 2013, investigators discovered a common link between Navaratnam and Faizi when they found “silverfox51” in both Navaratnam’s deleted email contacts and Faizi’s notebook, according to the unsealed order.

The cell phone number attached to Navaratnam’s deleted email contacts was then traced back to McArthur through a contact card in a police database from when McArthur was caught driving without a valid insurance card in 2005. 

That’s what led police to interview McArthur on Nov. 11, 2013. As CBC News has previously reported, McArthur was considered a witness at the time of the interview.

Project Houston was launched in November 2012 to probe the disappearances of Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi and Majeed Kayhan, all of whom were connected to Toronto’s Gay Village.

In the interview, the serial killer confirmed that his email address was “” McArthur also admitted to having had a sexual relationship with Kayhan and to knowing Navaratnam, information that came out at McArthur’s sentencing hearing earlier this month. 

Going into the interview with McArthur, investigators knew that Faizi had “silverfox51” written in his notebook, but when shown photographs of all three men McArthur told police he did not recognize Faizi. 

McArthur still had criminal record in 2013

At the time of the interview, McArthur’s 2003 assault conviction would have still appeared on his criminal record, as it wasn’t expunged until June 2014.

It’s unclear if Project Houston investigators ever did a criminal record check on McArthur at the time of the 2013 interview. If they had, police would have found out that McArthur had assaulted a man with a metal pipe in the victim’s home in the Toronto’s Gay Village.

Project Houston was shut down in April 2014 because investigators said they couldn’t find any criminal evidence. 

It would be another four years before a second police taskforce, Project Prism honed in on McArthur again in the wake of victim Andrew Kinsman’s disappearance. 

McArthur was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years, after pleading guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder last month. 

​CBC Toronto and other media outlets have been in court for nearly a year fighting to unseal information in more than 88 heavily-redacted judicial orders obtained by investigators in Project Houston and Project Prism.

The Crown and McArthur’s lawyer had previously argued that the majority of the information in the orders should stay under seal so it wouldn’t infringe on McArthur’s right to a fair trial.

But the serial killer’s guilty plea has made fair trial rights a non-issue. There will be no trial. 

Justice Cathy Mocha unsealed the majority of one of the most fulsome judicial orders from Project Prism on Wednesday.

It’s from about a week after McArthur was arrested. Investigators were applying for an assistance order, so that forensic anthropologists could examine the Mallory Crescent home where McArthur stored his landscaping equipment.

Police had already discovered human remains in planters on the property and were looking for the help of forensic anthropologists to “investigate and excavate” any other found human remains.

To get the assistance order, police had to lay out details from their entire investigation up until that point. The document is more than 200 pages long.


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Record one million job losses in March: StatCan





OTTAWA — More than one million Canadians lost their jobs in the month of March, Statistics Canada is reporting. The unemployment rate has also climbed to 7.8 per cent, up from 2.2 percentage points since February.

Canada’s national statistics agency released its monthly Labour Force Survey on Thursday, using March 15 to 21 as the sample week – a time when the government began enforcing strict guidelines around social gatherings and called on non-essential businesses to close up shop.

The first snapshot of job loss since COVID-19 began taking a toll on the Canadian economy shows 1.1 million out of work since the prior sample period and a consequent decrease in the employment rate – the lowest since April 1997. The most job losses occurred in the private sector and among people aged 15-24.

The number of people who were unemployed increased by 413,000, resulting in the largest one-month increase in Canada’s unemployment rate on record and takes the economy back to a state last seen in October, 2010.

“Almost all of the increase in unemployment was due to temporary layoffs, meaning that workers expected to return to their job within six months,” reads the findings.

The agency included three new indicators, on top of the usual criteria, to better reflect the impact of COVID-19 on employment across the country.

The survey, for example, excludes the more commonly observed reasons for absent workers — such as vacation, weather, parental leave or a strike or lockout — to better isolate the pandemic’s effect.

They looked at: people who are employed but were out of a job during the reference week, people who are employed but worked less than half their usual hours, and people who are unemployed but would like a job.

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Employee at Ottawa’s Amazon Fulfillment Centre tests positive for COVID-19





OTTAWA — An employee who works at Amazon’s fulfillment centre on Boundary Road in Ottawa’s east-end has tested positive for COVID-19.

Amazon says it learned on April 3 that an associate tested positive for novel coronavirus and is currently in isolation. The employee last worked at the fulfillment centre on March 19.

Two employees told CTV News Ottawa that management informed all employees about the positive test in a text message over the weekend.

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Amazon spokesperson Jen Crowcroft wrote “we are supporting the individual who is recovering. We are following guidelines from health officials and medical experts, and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site.”

The statement also says that Amazon has taken steps to further protect their employees.

“We have also implemented proactive measures at our facilities to protect employees including increased cleaning at all facilities, maintaining social distance in the FC.”

CTV News Ottawa asked Amazon about the timeline between when the company found out about the positive COVID-19 case and when employees were notified.

In a separate email to CTV News Ottawa, Crowcroft said “all associates of our Boundary Road fulfillment centre in Ottawa were notified within 24 hours of learning of the positive COVID-19 case.”

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Ottawa facing silent spring as festivals, events cancelled





This is shaping up to be Ottawa’s silent spring — and summer’s sounding pretty bleak, too — as more and more concerts, festivals and other annual events are cancelled in the wake of measures meant to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The province has already banned gatherings of more than five people, and on Monday officials announced city parks, facilities and services will remain shut down until the end of June, nor will any event permits be issued until at least that time.

“This leaves us with no choice but to cancel the festival this year,” Ottawa Jazz Festival artistic director Petr Cancura confirmed Monday.

This was to be the festival’s 40th anniversary, and organizers announced the lineup for the June 19-July 1 event the day after Ottawa’s first confirmed case of COVID-19. 

The Toronto and Montreal jazz festivals had already pulled the plug because of similar restrictions in their cities, so Cancura said the writing was on the wall.

“We have a few contingency plans to keep connecting with our audience and working with our artists,” Cancura said.

People holding tickets to the 2020 festival can ask for a refund or exchange for a 2021 pass.

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