Health ministry says respiratory illnesses driving hospitalization rates
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Uber Canada
For me, the holidays always remind me of two things: The first is the unyielding power of consumerism, and the second is the incredible value of generosity, kindness, and community.

I think there’s a reason the latter persists year after year despite the commercialization of Christmas and other holiday celebrations. Deep down, beneath the gifts and treats, we know that connection and empathy are at the root of what makes us human.

The third annual Capital Daily Holiday Drive in support of United Way Vancouver Island launches today, and all gifts made this season will be matched dollar for dollar by Capital Daily’s major donors. Our goal is $200,000—an amount that would support 5,000 children and their families with early-year programming. To kick it all off, we’re hosting an early childhood development panel tonight from 6-7pm. You can register for that here.

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☀️ Today's Weather: Sunny with a high of 8 and low of 1

The cost of food for a family of four in Greater Victoria has increased by 25.7%, according to the latest living wage report by the Community Social Planning Council. 📸: Jolene Rudisuela / Capital Daily

Living wage jumps 20% in Greater Victoria, surpassing Vancouver

The hourly pay necessary for two people to support themselves and two children in Greater Victoria has jumped up to $24.29 this year—a 20% increase from the $20.46-per-hour living wage in 2021.

The living wage is calculated each year by the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria based on the costs of essentials like food, housing, transportation, and childcare. The number represents what two working parents of two young children must each earn to meet the family’s basic needs.

The cost of living is rising across the province, but Greater Victoria has been affected more than most, especially when it comes to high food prices. For the first time ever, this jump puts Victoria’s living wage above Vancouver's. The only municipality higher than Victoria this year was Golden.

Read the full story by Jolene Rudisuela

Capital Bulletin

🚲 Capital Bike is looking for new applicants to join its board of directors. The deadline for applications is Nov. 25 at 11:59pm.

🚔 Victoria police are looking for missing 23-year-old Riley Norman Jones. Jones was last seen on Nov. 5 in Esquimalt and is described as 5’9” tall with a slim build, blue eyes and short blonde hair.

Kids’ surgeries postponed as respiratory illnesses rise, but no mask mandate for schools

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reasserted their position on mask mandates Wednesday morning: the measure is too “heavy-handed,” they said, and will not be reinstated.

Across BC, reports of increases in pediatric hospital wait times and school absences prompted questions of whether the health ministry would, at a scheduled press conference, bring back mask mandates in school settings.

“We're not in the situation right now where I think every single child and adult in the school setting has to wear a mask all the time,” Dr. Henry said, emphasizing that masks should be available and encouraged in schools, even if not mandatory.

Esquimalt council talks housing for doctors, community safety

Health care and policing were the main topics of discussion at Esquimalt’s latest Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, when mayor and council received their third quarterly report on community safety from VicPD Chief Del Manak.

Manak said he's pleased with a "downward trend in the volume of calls compared to the same quarter last year." The third quarter represents July, August, and September. In particular, police were called for nearly half as many social order incidents—everything from drug overdoses, domestic violence, and weapons, to indecent acts and “annoying circumstances”—in those three months in 2022 as they were for the same period in 2021.

Plans for the Pacific House building at 899 Esquimalt Rd. were upheld as a model to follow for future developments. The first two storeys of the Lexi Development property—nearly 4,000 sq. ft.—will be reserved for a health clinic that will have subsidized rent for 10 years. Through a covenant, the previous Esquimalt council set strict requirements for this space: it must be staffed by at least four family doctors and also employ nurses, technicians, and office support staff.

The subject of subsidizing housing for physicians was debated by council members, with Coun. Tim Morrison pointing out that doctors who make six figures are less likely to have trouble finding a place to live during the current housing crisis than lower-income residents.

“I get really uncomfortable when we do that in isolation of all the other people in our society who are much more desperately impacted, and just as needed in our society and workforce and not getting that same kind of treatment,” Morrison said.

In response, Coun. Andrea Boardman floated the idea of the township making sure housing is available for physicians, but not necessarily subsidizing it.

Staff were directed to focus less in their report on the idea of subsidizing housing for physicians and more on the option of creating spaces for them to practice.

—By Brishti Basu

Uber Canada

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Connecting communities

Across Canada and around the world, Uber connects communities to safe, reliable, and affordable transportation options.

With growing local demand and support, Uber hopes to expand its rideshare service to Victoria and Kelowna.  

Support for this expansion comes from UFCW Canada, MADD Canada, Destination Greater Victoria, Ending Violence BC, and the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association. They all believe an expansion of Uber’s rideshare service would support a strong economic recovery enhancing tourism and supporting local businesses while providing a safe transportation option for residents and visitors alike.

There are many local residents waiting to drive. Uber offers flexible earning opportunities for people looking to work when and where they want.

Capital Picks

🛳 Victoria Harbour Ferry launches new seasonal harbour tour: Celebrate the holidays from the sea this December. Victoria Harbour Lights: A Winter Dream, is a 45-minute narrated child’s story choreographed to lights, music, and video animation. Tickets must be purchased online in advance.

🍷 Happening tonight: Discover Bear & Joey Cafe’s Portuguese Wine Night. Welcome reception and 7+ courses with pairings! Book your spot now. Just a few spots left. Capital Daily readers use promo code whatsgood.*

💸 Who can afford to live here? Capital Daily’s managing editor Jimmy Thomson will moderate a panel on the city’s affordability crisis today at Rising Economy Week. Details here.

😃 A great place to work! Luther Court takes a team-based, collaborative approach in their nursing model, helping to sustain, enhance, and enliven those in their care. Join their team today.*

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In Other News

🏛 Killer of 20-year-old Emily Caruana sentenced to life in prison: The Times Colonist reported Tuesday that Alan Charles Chapman was high on nitrous oxide and crack cocaine when he broke into the home of Caruana’s grandmother in May 2019 and stabbed Caruana to death, believing her to be someone else. Chapman will not have the possibility of parole for 18 years.

🏘 The province says its new Supported Rent Supplement Program will be available in early 2023. The program will provide rental, health, social, and cultural support, offering a monthly rental supplement of up to $600. [Ministry of Attorney General]

📄 BC Liberals vote for name change: Party members voted in favour of changing the party's name to BC United on Wednesday, reports CBC News. The name was one of 2,000 suggestions and was passed with 80% support from members who cast a ballot.


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In Case You Missed It

🚔 Victoria police board member steps down over lack of information access, authority: Read Capital Daily’s story on retired lawyer Paul Schacter’s decision to step down from the nine-member board he’s served on for two years.

💥 Today is the last day of Rising Economy 2022, a gathering of leading change-makers challenging housing, healthcare, and Greater Victoria's most critical topics. Join this morning virtually and for free!*

🐟 Unique Island fish faces threat: CTV covered volunteer efforts to protect habitat in the Comox Valley for the Morrison Creek lamprey, a parasitic fish that predates sharks.

🎟️ Don’t miss the Capital Daily and United Way special virtual event on early childhood education tonight from 6 to 7pm.*
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