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Top stories of the week: Surprise eviction, international students, DNA test connection


Evicted family given access to home, contemplating legal action


CTV News recently spoke to a family in Cambridge who were evicted from their rental home after their landlord appeared to have lost possession of the property. The Gray family has been going from home to home since being forced out but are now staying at a friend’s house in Paris, which they plan to officially rent.

“Rent [is] significantly less than I was paying at the other place,” Rebecca Gray explained. “And I actually known this person for years and can trust this person, so we feel very comfortable.”

Gray said she was allowed back into the rental home Tuesday, so she could grab her glucose monitor and some her kids’ stuff, and the property management company has indicated they will let her back inside, under supervision, sometime next week to start packing. Moving day is currently set for April 6.

Gray said the ordeal has been tough on her whole family, especially the kids. One of her daughters was in an enrichment program at her school in Cambridge, but she’s had to change schools because of the eviction.

"They want to have a place to stay. My daughter's teacher, he's her biggest advocate. He got her into that enrichment program. He said: ‘I am going to make sure that she's getting into an enrichment program in Paris,’" Gray added.

Why experts say more international students are applying for asylum in Canada

From 2022 to 2023, there was a 324 per cent increase of international students from Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ont., applying for asylum in Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada confirms 450 students from the college applied for asylum in 2023 compared to 106 in 2022.

People can apply for asylum or refugee status if they have reason to fear returning to their home country.

“Some of the questions are have you been mistreated, threatened or face persecution in your country?” Eunice Valenzuala, a refugee specialist with Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre said, adding sexual orientation, political opinion, gender and domestic violence are just some of the reasons why people apply.

Applying for asylum is a lengthy and difficult process that can sometimes take years to complete.

Lawyer Elizabeth Kim, who only works on immigration refugee cases, said it can take anywhere from six months to two years, from the beginning of the process to a decision. She called it a “last resort” to apply, and said lawyers often look to see if other options exist.

'Enough is enough': Contractor calls out government for inaction of Dutchie’s non-payment

Another person has come forward claiming they were not paid what they were owed by Dutchie’s Fresh Market. In late 2021, Vamco Inc. signed a contract with Dutchie’s company director Michael Renkema to install the refrigeration system at the new Dutchie’s location on Gateway Drive in Kitchener.

Vamco co-owner David McLaughlin says it’s a job they soon came to regret.

“Within the first two weeks of us starting this job, there was a lot of red flags with Mike,” said McLaughlin.

He said they heard from other businesses that payment might be a challenge.

“We found out through a local supplier that he [Renkema] had a lot of issues paying contractors for other jobs that he had done in the past,” said McLaughlin. “Every time we asked for payment, there was an excuse and those excuses kept growing and growing and growing.”

The Dutchie's sign in Kitchener, Ont.

Teachers' union urges school board to reconsider plans for solar eclipse

The union representing elementary school teachers in Waterloo Region is urging the public school board to let students out early out on April 8 for the solar eclipse.

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) – Waterloo Region says the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) is posing “significant risks to student safety” by having classes run normally during the eclipse.

“It's naive to assume students won't look directly at the sun. The board's strategy of building excitement and curiosity about the eclipse and sending students outside unsupervised poses a significant risk to their safety. This cannot be considered 'every measure necessary' to ensure student well-being,” said Jeff Pelich, the ETFO president, in a news release.

Earlier this month, WRDSB announced that schools would be open as usual on April 8. The move was in contrast to several other boards across the province, including the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, who decided to move one of their PA days to coincide with the eclipse out of fear of students could damage their eyes by looking directly at the sun.

Gianluca Mazzuca, 12, watches a partial solar eclipse at the Frost Science Museum on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in downtown Miami. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald via AP)

From strangers to siblings: DNA testing unveils family connection and sparks musical collaboration

In a story of discovery and connection, two musicians from southern Ontario have found themselves not just united by music, but by blood, thanks to DNA testing.

At the age of 14, Bryan Fontez of Hamilton, now 37, discovered that he was conceived through a sperm donor. His journey to uncover his genetic roots spanned decades, until advancements in technology allowed him to take a DNA test in 2019. This moment led him to his biological father, who revealed he has a half-sister named Erica Yost, 61.

“He was gracious in answering all my questions,” Fontez recalled.

The revelation prompted Fontez to reach out to Yost on Facebook with a message introducing himself. It read in part: “We share a natural passion for music. But we also share something that makes this coincidence even more fascinating to me...DNA. I am in fact your little brother.”

Their initial meeting revealed they share more than DNA, but a deep-seated love for music.

From left to right, Eric Walters, Erica Yost, and Bryan Fontez stand for a photo. (Sijia Liu/CTV News Kitchener) Top Stories

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