Minister expresses condolences to family after ambulance debacle

first_imgMinister Regina Doherty has expressed condolences in the Dáil to the family of a Letterkenny who died after it took an ambulance 71 minutes to reach her home just 2km away.An inquest at Letterkenny Coroner’s Court yesterday heard that mother-of-eight Margaret Callaghan died in the early hours of January 9, 2018 after waiting for an ambulance at Mountain Top.The coroner hearing the inquest called on the HSE to review their protocols for ambulance turnaround times at hospitals across the country following the tragedy. In the Dáil, Ms Doherty admitted that an increase in the number of patients attending emergency departments has in turn put extra strain on ambulance services.However, Fianna Fáil deputy leader, Dara Calleary, said that blaming increases in patient numbers shows a “complete disconnect between the Government and what’s happening in hospitals”.He said: “The difficulties in our emergency departments are nothing to do with people getting sick and presenting to emergency departments — they are to do with the fact that there were 300 or fewer staff nurses employed in our system in October compared to last December. There’s 350 consultant vacancies.”Mr Calleary said 20 extra beds were promised for Letterkenny University Hospital but only 10 have opened. “That is where the difficulties are — our emergency departments are under-resourced, are understaffed, nursing resources and consulting resources that are absolutely necessary are not in place.”Ms Doherty expressed her condolences to the family and told the Dáil that she hopes no other family has to go through a similar tragedy:“I can’t genuinely begin to probably understand or appreciate how difficult it will be for them to get over her death given that it potentially shouldn’t have happened.”She added: “It’s the case that when the emergency care hospital system is under pressure, there’s going to the potential for delays in the transfer patients from an ambulance into our emergency departments.”She said ambulance turnaround times are currently below target. ‘We cannot say exactly where it is going to end up’ – Chairman on children’s hospital costsBetween January and October this year, 85.5% of ambulances achieved a turnaround time 60 minutes or less, which is below the target of 95%.Ms Doherty told the Dáil that in the first 10 months of 2019, the numbers of patients attending hospital emergency departments increased by 2.7% across the country and the number of emergency department admissions increased by 1% compared to the same period last year.“But I do understand that the trolley numbers at 8am in Letterkenny University Hospital have been persistently high for this entire year,” said Ms Doherty. Minister expresses condolences to family after ambulance debacle was last modified: December 6th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:ambulancedaildonegalhospitalMargaret CallaghanMinisteroffload delayslast_img read more

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MTN’s ‘risky business’ succeeds

first_imgKhanyi Magubane The forceful thrust of South African cellphone network operator MTN into the global telecommunications arena has not only taken its competitors by surprise, but it has also proved that calculated risks do pay off. Following a slow start since its inception in 1994, MTN took off rapidly in 2002 with remarkable expansion into Africa and the Middle East. Bolstered by a new vision-driven Chief Executive Officer, Phutuma Nhleko, the network operator went into over-drive to not only reposition itself, but to set new trends.Under Nhleko’s direction, MTN has expanded aggressively into markets that are sometimes deemed volatile – but the risk has paid off. Now MTN operates in 21 countries in these two regions: Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, Afghanistan, Benin, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Liberia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Iran. The MTN group has operations in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East.Over the past six years the company’s share price has risen more than ten times in value since Nhleko was appointed. MTN is now worth an estimated R250-billion ($US32-billion), making it the sixth-biggest company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and putting it among the 10 largest mobile phone operators in the world.Setting up shop in developing countries has paid off in monetary terms for the company. For the year ending 31 December 2007, the group reported operating earnings of R31,8-billion ($4.08-billion) on revenue of R73, 1-billion ($9.34-billion), an operating margin of close to 45%.Fending off the bigger players Besides obtaining operating licenses in the different global regions, the group is also keen on making acquisitions in countries that it hopes to expand into. Nhleko’s acquisition plans include buying assets in Southeast Asia and Central America. Analysts are predicting that the company will also target Pakistan and India – both countries have low telephone penetration.The network’s main objective at the moment is to continue cementing its position as a global telecommunications player, in a bid to prevent the company from being swallowed up by bigger players. Speaking to Financial Mail, Nhleko said, “We do not have a ‘for sale’ sign up. But, being a publicly listed company, we can’t say if someone approached the company, the shareholders would necessarily be in agreement with management to sell or not to sell. Our job is to manage the company and grow the values until the shareholders tell us differently.” MTN’s success has attracted the attention of other international telecommunication companies in the industry. China Mobile, the world’s largest operator by subscriber number (it has an estimated 400 million users) is believed to be in serious talks with MTN. The talks allegedly started 18 months ago although both parties have been silent on the topic.The UK’s Vodafone, which currently holds 50% of Vodacom (MTN’s biggest competitor in South Africa), is believed to be cajoling the network into allowing it to buy a stake in its operations outside of South Africa. MTN has, however, denied this. As at 31 March 2006, MTN recorded more than 28 million subscribers across its operations, including those of the newly acquired Investcom LLC. In the last quarter of 2006, the network launched commercial operations in Iran, following the successful purchase of a 49% shareholding in Irancell. Growth has been so phenomenal that it is estimated that by the end of this year MTN will have more subscribers in Iran than South Africa.Since operations started in that country 18 months ago, the network operator now has nine million users. South Africa currently has 14,8-million users. With rapid expansion though comes the challenge to continually provide the infrastructure for an efficient service. To this end, MTN intends spending more than R30-billion this year alone on expanding its infrastructure and improving the quality of its coverage.The group has of late come under fire from regulatory bodies, especially in Nigeria, to improve the quality of its services or pay the fines. Nigeria is one of the network’s biggest markets. MTN Nigeria, one of four cell phone networks in the West African country, has been operating since 2001.During the period under review, MTN Nigeria aggressively focused on subscriber growth, supported by rapid network roll out amid keen competition in the market. As a result, the company significantly increased its subscriber base from 5,6 million to 8,4 million currently.In February 2008, in a bid to empower Nigerians, MTN South Africa reduced its stake in MTN Nigeria to 76,08%. Nigerian individuals and key institutions acquired a 9,45% interest in MTN Nigeria from MTN. The company said that it had sold 5,96% in MTN Nigeria as part of a US $594,5-million (R4.632-billion) private placement.The man taking MTN forwardPhutuma Nhleko first became involved with MTN by way of Worldwide Africa’s investment in Johnnic (now Avusa). Nhleko, along with top businessman Wiseman Nkuhlu, founded Worldwide in 1994 as one of the first black empowerment investment companies in South Africa. The company, of which Nhleko still remains a major shareholder, invests in various energy and technology companies across sub-Saharan Africa. Nhleko is described by industry insiders as driven and determined. Colleagues say he contemplates everything deeply and methodically but is not afraid to take risks once he’s weighed all his options and is certain of the move he is about to make. His deal-making skills were honed at Standard Bank, where he worked from 1990 until he started his own company in 1994 but his background is in engineering. He studied engineering at the University of Ohio in the US and also has an MBA from the University of Atlanta. Despite having achieved phenomenal success for MTN, Nhleko is reluctant to renew his contract when it expires in 2010, saying that by then the company will need someone younger and fresher with new ideas to take the company forward.Nhleko is not a one-man island at the company and works closely with a core group of seven:Rob Nisbet – Finance director. Nisbet is highly rated by analysts for the clear way he presents MTN’s financials.Sifiso Dabengwa – Chief Operating Officer. Since joining MTN in 1999, the Zimbabwe born Dabengwa has held a number of high profile posts within the company, including CEO of Nigerian operations.Karel Pieneer – Chief technology and information leader. He has been with the company since 1994 and is responsible for its technology choices.Santie Botha – Executive: Marketing. She joined the company in 2003, she oversees the groups’ multibillion rand marketing budget.Christian De Faria – Vice President: West and Central Africa. He joined the network operator in 2006, has a history of increasing turnover at XL, the largest mobile operator in Indonesia.Tim Lowry – MTN SA managing director and Vice President – South And East Africa. He comes with vast experience in the telecom industry. He has worked for a large number of European operators across the world.Jamal Ramadan – Vice President Middle East and Africa. He joined the company from Investcom and has experience heading up the IT departments of international telecommunication companies.Useful linksThe Empowerment Charter for the ICT SectorMTN South AfricaMTN globalDepartment of CommunicationsDo you have any queries or comments about this article? Email Khanyi Magubane at khanyim@mediaclubsouthafrica.comlast_img read more

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Brand South Africa breaks ground in Free State

first_imgFree State delegates sign the Brand SouthAfrica pledge to uphold the nation brandand position the country as a topinvestment and tourism destination. Free State MEC for Economic Development,Tourism and Environmental Affairs,Mxolisi Dukwana.(Images: Nicky Rehbock) MEDIA CONTACTS • Brand South Africa+27 11 483 0122RELATED ARTICLES• KZN innovators show how it’s done • South Africa is Africa’s top nation brand • Building a thriving nation brand• EC entrepreneurs in the spotlight Nicky RehbockBrand South Africa headed to the Free State on 17 November 2011 to urge all residents of the province to build the nation’s reputation and position it for global competitiveness.This was the message relayed at the fifth Brand South Africa Stakeholder Summit in Bloemfontein, attended by representatives from government, business and civil society.Taking place in each of the nine provinces, the summits aim to increase provincial participation in the nation-branding effort and encourage active citizenship – which, in turn, will help position the country as a top investment and tourism destination.Speaking at the summit, Brand South Africa programme manager for civil society Leo Makgamathe said that the branding of the country is not a matter of choice, but a necessity.To be successful it requires the combined effort of government, citizens, business, political parties, charities, the media, academia and sporting organisations.“With globalisation speeding up the production and movement of goods, services, investment and talent, perceptions of nations have to be actively managed,” Makgamathe added.And this is no different in South Africa.The country has recently achieved four key milestones: it managed a highly successful Fifa World Cup; came through the world-wide recession almost unscathed; joined Brazil, Russia, China and India in the BRICS economic bloc; and held its fourth free and fair local elections since 1994.“This has underlined that South Africa is an important developing nation in its own right – which has to be marketed to the world,” Makgamathe said.Strong nation brand vital for Free State “The economy of the Free State is built on agriculture and its mines, but increasingly we are looking to tourism as a growth sector and hope to expand our manufacturing base,” the province’s MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Mxolisi Dukwana said at the summit.The Free State is also looking to diversify by developing its logistics capacity, ICT sector, innovation and research, agri-processing and pharmaceuticals.“So what we, and South Africa, need is more investment. How people see a country is vital in this regard. The image of a country makes an integral contribution in attracting tourists, investors and in building trade relationships,” Dukwana added.The government’s role in this is ensuring the country has enabling policies to attract trade and investment, but South Africans also have to believe in themselves to position the country as a viable destination.“We must be bold enough to face our fears and challenges, and understand what we’re about. In doing that we can become our own marketers. In our diversity we also need to have one identity and be proud of it. Often we’re too negative and hard on ourselves,” the MEC told summit delegates.“I urge all of you to do your ‘national service’ and respond when Brand South Africa calls, so that we can work together to create a truly great South Africa for all.”last_img read more

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Germany’s Highest Letterbox — Geocache of the Week

first_img SharePrint RelatedHagen med det rare i— Geocache of the weekJanuary 11, 2017In “Geocache of the Week”Top 10 Geocaches of the Week 2017December 27, 2017In “Geocache of the Week”Selfie Letterbox — Geocache of the WeekMay 23, 2018In “Community” Location:Bavaria, GermanyN 47° 20.885 E 010° 12.946 Share with your Friends:More A geocache that has the words “oldest”, “highest”, or “largest” in its title is bound to be interesting. Because—let’s face it—geocachers are drawn to extremes like a magnet is drawn to the underside of a park bench. But isn’t it especially great when the cache that’s the something-est is also just a really cool cache in itself?That’s exactly what makes GC6F6C8 Geocache of the Week.Yes, it’s the Höchste Letterbox Deutschlands (highest letterbox in Germany). It also has a remarkably beautiful view, is large enough to carry trackables, and greets you when you open it.Geocachers 123MAINE in front of GC6F6C8That’s right. When GC6F6C8  is opened or closed, the pastoral sound of a cowbell rings out. (You know, in case you’d missed the flowering meadows, towering white-capped peaks, and swinging cable-car next door and didn’t realize you were in the Bavarian Alps.)The mailbox-like metal container is safely secured—it can only be opened with a key hidden in a nearby hide-a-key box—and for good reason. The cache is plainly visible and clearly labelled, making stealthiness a bit irrelevant. Thanks to hubersports for placing and maintaining this bucket-list geocache!Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form. LetterboxGC6F6C8by hubersports Difficulty:2Terrain:2.5last_img read more

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Slowdown is just a passing phase, says Piyush Goyal

first_imgUnion Minister of Railways and Commerce Piyush Goyal on Thursday termed the current economic slowdown as just a passing phase and said that efforts being taken by the government only showed that it cared.Reacting to former prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s views on the economic slow down the country is facing, the Union Minister said that he was surprised to know that Dr. Singh was saying that the BJP government was failing in handling the economy. “The country gave Dr. Singh, an eminent economist, the opportunity to run the country for 10 years. But they [UPA government] damaged the entire economic system. It was during their tenure that reckless bank loans messed up the banking sector, prices of commodities soared up, Mumbai faced a major terrorist attack and the government could not face the public,” he said addressing chartered accountants, industrialists and traders at an Assembly election-related event in Bhayandar. “Before the Modi government came to power people had lost hope and so did not demand anything from the government. But in last five years public has been demanding better facilities because they have immense hope in this government. Even a beggar will beg only in front of someone whom he knows will give him something,” Mr. Goyal said. The last five years have seen 75-78% rise in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and it will continue to grow with the efforts the Prime Minister is taking, Mr. Goyal added. “I hope you all remember the double digits inflation we faced during the United Progessive Alliance government. Fiscal deficit was as high as 6-6.5% and current account deficit was 4.5%. The country was handed to us with a damaged economy and we have brought about development across sectors,” he said. Talking of the steps by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to revive the economy, Mr. Goyal said, “ours is a responsible government. The efforts being taken show that the government cares about the economy.”last_img read more

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Harley Davidson sells its bike to a woman in Bangalore

first_imgSheeja Mathews became the first woman in India to own the iconic cult motorcycle.Why should men have all the fun with Harley Davidson? Bangalore-based HR professional Sheeja Mathews on Tuesday became the first woman in India to own the iconic cult motorcycle, thus breaking the stereotype of only tattoo sporting muscular hunks riding the bike.The 34-year-old, who has been riding to her office on her husband’s Yamaha RD 350 for the past 10 years, is now looking to cruise the new ‘Iron 883’ to her workplace at least once a week.”I didn’t know that I was the first woman to buy a Harley Davidson in India till the company people told me. I thought of upgrading to a Harley when they opened a showroom here,” Mathews said.When asked what prompted her to go for a Harley Davidson, she said: “Well, I have been riding my husband’s bike for the past 10 years and I thought it was high time I upgraded.”Mother of a 7-year-old son, Mathews said even her son is excited about the new bike, on which the family has spent about Rs 8 lakh in total, although the ex-showroom price of the bike is Rs 6.5 lakh.”Oh, he wants me to drop him to school on the bike so that he could show off his mother’s bike to his friends,” she said, adding, she would be taking the bike on long rides on weekends.A self proclaimed foodie and a shopaholic like any other woman, Mathews said she has been a drag racer as well.advertisement”I do drive a (Tata) Safari and (Chevrolet) Cruze but I love bikes,” she said, adding, her businessman husband chipped in 20 per cent of the amount for her Harley Davidson.The American cult bike maker started selling its bikes in India from last year and announced to set up an assembly plant in India in order to cater to demands here.The Iron 833 model is one of the two models to be assembled at the Bawal facility in Haryana. The other model is the Super Low.The company offers a total of 15 models in India priced between Rs 5.5 lakh to Rs 38.66 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).last_img read more

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Cormier Takes Johnson For UFC Crown

first_imgLAS VEGAS — Daniel Cormier wore the conflict on his beaming face when he got the UFC’s light heavyweight title belt strapped around his waist in the same Vegas cage where he failed to win it a few months ago.While Cormier knew he could celebrate the biggest night of a fighting career that began in poverty and reached incredible heights, the new champion also realized a bigger bout casts a shadow over this achievement.“I have a message for one man,” Cormier said in the cage. “Jon Jones, get your (stuff) together. I’m waiting for you.”Cormier beat Anthony “Rumble” Johnson with a rear naked choke in the third round, dominating on the ground to win the vacant 205-pound title at UFC 187 on May 23.Cormier (16-1) controlled Johnson (19-5) throughout the final two rounds at the MGM Grand Garden to claim the title stripped from Jones, who was suspended indefinitely by the UFC last month after his arrest when police said he left the scene of a car accident.Cormier lost a decision at UFC 182 in January to Jones, widely considered the world’s best mixed martial artist. When Jones’ career imploded last month, Cormier agreed to replace him on less than four weeks’ notice, coming through with a dominant effort and ending Johnson’s nine-fight winning streak.The performance allowed Cormier to celebrate his second major MMA championship, along with his Strikeforce heavyweight title. He repeatedly said he didn’t feel the need to qualify his achievement against Jones’ misfortunes, even while he did exactly that.“That’s a gold belt,” Cormier said, indicating the hardware before him at the post-fight news conference. “That thing is reserved for the UFC champion. I didn’t disqualify myself from competition. Jon did. Jon is the pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter in the world. We all know that, but he disqualified himself from competition.”Jones is expected to get an immediate title shot when he returns to the UFC, and Cormier realizes his cathartic victory over Johnson will ring hollow to others until he beats Jones.“We’re so tied together, Jon and I, and I don’t think that’s going to change until we fight again,” Cormier said. “He beat me last time, but even in that, you don’t stop believing in yourself. I still think I can beat him, and I would love to compete against him again.”Cormier was knocked down for what he said was the first time in his MMA career by a huge right hand from Johnson in the opening minute, but Cormier recovered and survived the round.Cormier then lifted Johnson off his feet early in the second, dumping him onto the canvas and taking ground control for a dominant round that left Johnson blinking blood out of his eyes.Cormier was clinical in his finish, getting control on the ground again before forcing Johnson to tap out 2:39 into the third round.“He did everything I thought he was going to do,” said Johnson, who has revitalized his career after getting dropped by the UFC in 2012. “I have nothing but respect for him. Have you seen the size of his melon? I wasn’t surprised he could take (the punches).”Chris Weidman also defended his middleweight title in the final undercard fight of a thoroughly entertaining show in the UFC’s hometown, stopping Vitor Belfort in the first round with a relentless series of punches on the ground.Weidman (13-0) survived an early scare from Belfort and quickly took control of his third title defense, taking down the 38-year-old Belfort (24-11) and battering his head against the canvas until referee Herb Dean stopped the bout with 2:07 left. The Long Island native walked around the cage with an American flag on his back in celebration.“He hit me with some good shots, but I’ve been there in sparring,” Weidman said. “I was just covering, covering, covering, and I was ready to come back.”Belfort hadn’t fought since late 2013, waiting 18 months for his shot to become the third fighter in UFC history to win belts in two weight classes.The former light heavyweight champion won three fights with spectacular head-kick knockouts in 2013, but his late-career resurgence was colored by his enthusiastic embrace of testosterone replacement therapy, a medical loophole that allowed several UFC fighters to legally compete on steroids until the Nevada Athletic Commission and the UFC eliminated it last year.“He got me in a bad position, and he got some strikes,” Belfort said. “There’s no excuse. He was a better man tonight.”Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone earned his eighth consecutive lightweight victory earlier, apparently breaking John Makdessi’s jaw with a kick to the head in the second round.Former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski also stopped Travis Browne with 19 seconds left in the first round of a fantastic brawl named the Fight of the Night.The incredibly busy Cerrone’s eighth win in just over 18 months should lead to a title shot against Rafael Dos Anjos, who sent Cerrone to his last defeat in August 2013.“I think I might get this title by default sooner or later, huh?” Cerrone asked.Arlovski and Browne are friends outside the cage, and they put on a spectacular show, with both heavyweights badly hurting each other in less than five minutes of frenetic action. Arlovski twice knocked down the heavily favored Browne, who also floored Arlovski with a huge right hand.Arlovski eventually finished Browne upright against the cage with several enormous shots. “I hope tonight isn’t going to affect our friendship,” Arlovski said. “I love him like a brother.”(GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer) TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

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Analysis suggests Harper government all but abandoned protection of fish habitat

first_imgThe Canadian PressA statistical analysis of the Conservative government’s changes to environmental laws and procedures suggests Ottawa has “all but abandoned” attempts to protect Canada’s lakes and rivers.“Over the last decade, what we’ve seen is a not-so-gradual abandonment of the fish habitat protection field,” said University of Calgary law professor Martin Olszynski.He has sifted through reams of data and dozens of development applications to conclude that federal protection for fisheries and waterways has been declining for more than a decade.Olszynski found environmental oversight by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans dropped dramatically during the 2000s – a time when Canada saw huge spending in the resource industries.And he concludes changes to environmental law in 2012 weren’t intended to cut red tape, as the government suggested, but to lower the environmental bar.“What my data suggests is that the narrative provided doesn’t add up in terms of this unduly intrusive regulatory regime. It was never really about reducing red tape.”Fisheries and Oceans was not immediately available for comment.In a paper for the Journal of Environmental Law and Practice, Olszynski shows the number of proposals to the department’s Central and Pacific regions fell to fewer than 4,000 by 2014 from more than 12,000 in 2001.The drop came in two stages.In 2004, the government decided to minimize oversight for projects deemed low-risk, which cut the number of projects it reviewed in half. The rest of the decrease came in 2012 after the government revamped environmental laws.Over that same period, enforcement fell off a cliff.Olszynski reports that environmental warnings and charges under the Fisheries Act fell to about 50 from about 300. Staff time allotted to enforcement dropped to 10,000 hours from 35,000.The department’s budget was cut by $80 million in 2012. Another $100 million in cuts are planned over three years beginning this year.The analysis shows officials are granting approvals without seeing a developer’s plans to fix any problems, despite federal law that says such plans must be approved before a project goes ahead. Olszynski’s suggests most approvals are now granted with the understanding a developer will file a plan later.Meanwhile, records show that the pace of development on rivers and lakes has kept roughly stable. A number of studies and peer-reviewed papers have also documented rapidly increasing impacts on forests and waterways.The federal government has argued it’s getting out of the regulatory end, so provinces can take over and duplication is reduced.Olszynski said that if red tape alone had been the issue, it should have been solved in 2004 when Ottawa first backed off overseeing some projects.He writes: “(Department of Fisheries and Oceans) appears to have been exemplary in reducing the administrative burden on proponents carrying out what it deemed to be low-risk activities.“Rather, the problem appears to have been substantive; government (or) proponents, or both, deemed actual compliance (i.e. avoidance and mitigation of impacts to fish habitat) too burdensome.”Provincial approvals for development projects still have to abide by federal law. Olszynski said his analysis shows the department doesn’t even see many of those proposals.Scaling back assessments for low-risk developments can be a valid way to reduce regulatory burdens, Olszynski said. But to work, he said, it requires credible oversight and enforcement.“DFO says we will reduce the burden on you, but you still have to comply with the act. What evidence is available suggests that industry did not keep their end of the bargain.“The strong deterrent signal wasn’t there … in terms of enforcement.”last_img read more

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