Skip to main content

Police and educators in Greater Victoria say an uptick in gang recruitment activity in area schools has them increasingly concerned. In a letter distributed by the school district Tuesday, administrators say police in the region have recently sounded the alarm about local gangs and those from the Lower Mainland recruiting youth in Victoria high schools. The letter says police have noted an increase in violent crimes involving imitation firearms and knives among young people recently, and that social media has played a role in promoting gang associate behaviour. Constable Markus Anastasiades (ann-ihs-STAH’-zee-aht-his) with the Saanich Police Department says the force seized a sizable haul of vaping products back in March destined for area high schools that officers believe was gang-related.

Pharmacy retailers say BC’s move to allow pharmacists to prescribe drugs for a number of minor health issues will improve people’s access to health services. Shoppers Drug Mart president Jeff Leger says the health-care system in Canada requires innovative solutions as it wrestles with complex challenges and pressure that pharmacy professionals can help alleviate. Leger says the BC government’s shift to allow pharmacists to assess and prescribe treatments for things like pink eye and urinary tract infections optimizes their role and unlocks formerly untapped potential. He says pharmacists were already a trusted pillar of the province’s health-care system, able to dole out contraception and administer vaccines, and their new powers will give patients quicker access to health services.

Researchers at Simon Fraser University say Indigenous Canadians face higher risks of childhood sexual abuse, highlighting the need for better services to address historical harms of colonialism. SFU criminology researchers Maaike Helmus (mye-kah hell-muss) and Ashley Kyne’s research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health this month was based on a survey of 282 Indigenous Canadians across the country. The researchers say rates of abuse among participants were found to be drastically higher than global averages, pointing to a public health crisis that needs to be addressed immediately. They say the long-lasting harms of colonization have put Indigenous children at greater risk of exploitation, leading to a host of difficulties as they age including mental health issues, chronic pain and higher rates of involvement with the criminal justice system.

The federal government says it’s launching a new multimillion-dollar program to help residents of Lytton to rebuild their homes after a fire decimated the town in June 2021. International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan says the Lytton Homeowner Resilient Rebuild Program will give residents grants to rebuild their homes to conform to fire-resilience standards. Sajjan says the six-million-dollar program is now open for applications after announcing its creation last June. Sajjan says the government worked to make the program accessible to those who lost homes in the fire, and will help the town recover and rebuild after the fire that devastated the village two years ago.

The City of Vancouver says travel volumes on city streets and use of public spaces have yet to fully recover after the pandemic, but new data indicates that people are getting out more. The city says results of the annual Vancouver transportation survey show an increase in people taking walks, bike rides, and transit trips over last year, though the numbers fall short of pre-pandemic levels. The survey results, the city says, show transit ridership is up 16 per cent compared to 2021 with 48-thousand more trips, while car usage decreased six per cent over 2020 and 2021 numbers. Mayor Ken Sim says current transportation and public space-related projects in the city will play a crucial role in Vancouver’s future, and reducing injuries and deaths on city streets remains a key priority.

BC’s attorney general says courthouses in Prince George, Kelowna and the Lower Mainland will benefit from the graduation of 10 new sheriffs from the Justice Institute. Niki Sharma says sheriffs play an important role in keeping courts safe, and are crucial to ensuring people have access to the province’s justice system. The Ministry of Attorney General says the new class recently completed an 11-week course at the Justice Institute of B-C, which has physical, practical and academic components. The ministry says sheriffs are in charge of safety and security at 89 court locations in BC, providing security during trials and transporting criminal defendants, and the next class is poised to graduate in October.