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Who have provinces pegged to receive COVID-19 vaccines in the coming weeks?

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Mar 5th, 2021

As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here’s a list of their plans to date:

Newfoundland and Labrador

The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of “advanced age” and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority.

Newfoundland and Labrador announced Wednesday it was extending the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months.

Public health officials said the change will help them vaccinate 40,000 more people with a single dose by the end of March. Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey said the decision is a game changer for the province’s vaccination prospects.

Nova Scotia

Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province’s first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23.

Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021.

Nova Scotia will get 13,000 doses of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine the week of March 8.

Health officials said March 3 the upcoming shipment must be used by April 2 and therefore all 13,000 doses will be administered to residents across the province aged 50 to 64 years starting March 15.

The vaccine will be given out at 26 locations in Nova Scotia on a first come, first served basis.

Prince Edward Island

Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some.

Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be.

New Brunswick 

The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March.

The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees.

The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots.

Quebec 

Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city.

The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal.

Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March.

Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses.

The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said.

Ontario

Ontario has given its first vaccines to people in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, some health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings.

The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will include a service desk and online portal.

It said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units.
Several regions in Ontario have moved ahead with their plans to vaccinate the general public using their own booking systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments.

The province has also said it will extend the interval between doses of COVID-19 vaccines to up to four months.

Toronto began vaccinating police force members who respond to emergency calls on Monday and has also started offering vaccines to people experiencing homelessness.
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones has said the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will go to residents between the ages of 60 and 64, but has not elaborated yet on how it will be distributed except to say it won’t be through mass immunization sites.

The province has said it will follow the advice of a national panel that has recommended against using the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot on people aged 65 and older.

The health minister said the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot could be used in correctional facilities, but further details haven’t been released.

Manitoba

Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months.

Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province’s vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady.

Like British Columbia, Manitoba has already indicated it would opt for a four-month interval between doses.

Saskatchewan

The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage.

The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age.

It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable.

Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce.

Premier Scott Moe said Thursday that people will get their second shot up to four months after the first, which falls in line with a recent recommendation from Canada’s national immunization committee.

Alberta 

Alberta’s health minister says 437,000 people can soon begin booking appointments for the next round of COVID-19 vaccinations and the province hopes to hit a major milestone before July.

Tyler Shandro said the province expects to offer all Albertans aged 18 and over a first dose of vaccine by the end of June.

So far, Alberta has delivered 266,000 doses of vaccine. About 176,000 Albertans have been vaccinated, including 90,000 fully immunized with the recommended two doses.

Shandro said residents aged 65 to 74, and First Nations, Inuit and Metis aged 50-plus, can begin booking March 15. The province had originally not expected to begin this stage of vaccination until April.

The AstraZeneca vaccine will for now be offered to adults aged 50 to 64 who don’t have a severe chronic illness.

Alberta has also said it will follow other provinces by extending the time between the first dose and the second to four months.

British Columbia

British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors’ supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff.

Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up.

Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned.

She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.

It’s now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says.

Nunavut

The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18.

After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose.

Nunavut’s priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff.

Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated

The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month.

Yukon

Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March.

Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Poll finds Trudeau, Ontario have done ‘bad job’ with vaccine rollout

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Mar 5th, 2021

A majority of Canadians believe the Trudeau Liberals have done a bad job when it comes to vaccine distribution while an almost equal number of Ontarians find fault with Doug Ford’s vaccine rollout plan.

A Maru Public Opinion poll finds 57 per cent think the federal government is not doing a good job in delivering vaccines . That’s up from 43 per cent who felt the same way during the first week of January.

Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – the original two vaccines approved by the federal government – ran into supply issues in the month of February, which severly affected deliveries to Canada, forcing many provinces to scale back their vaccination programs.

Earlier this week, the Public Health Agency of Canada said it expected delivery of about 445,000 doses of various vaccines this week, following last week’s record high of 640,000 doses in a seven-day period.

In Ontario, 52 per cent believe the Ford government has done a bad job when it comes to the vaccine rollout, which is the worst assessment of all provinces and regions. Sixty-one percent of Ontarians also expressed dissatisfaction with the federal government’s performance.

As the vaccine supply has increased, so has Canadians appetite to get vaccinated. Sixty-two per cent say they would get the vaccine if it was made available to them right now, while only three in 10 say they would prefer to wait out of safety concerns.

Meanwhile, two thirds of Canadians have expressed concerns that they will contract COVID-19, which is down slightly since the first week of January but is much higher than almost a year ago at this time when only 52 per cent were concerned about being infected.

The Maru Public Opinion poll surveyed 1,506 Canadian adults between March 1 and 2, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Majority of Canadians say domestic terrorism greatest threat in Canada: poll

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Mar 5th, 2021

Seven in 10 Canadians believe domestic terrorism is a greater threat to national security than any other threat from outside the country.

A Maru Public Opinion poll conducted for the Conference of Defence Associations finds 70 per cent of Canadians believe the threat of extremist ideologies and terrorist action within Canada is a “greater security threat” nowadays than those that originate from outside of Canada.

At the same time, more than 74 per cent of Canadians believe the world is a safer place now following the election of Joe Biden as U.S. president.

The survey also found that while 51 per cent of Canadians believe Canada does not have more influence in the world today than the past few decades, more than seven in 10 believe Canada is pulling its weight to enhance human rights around the globe.

The survey was conducted among 1,506 randomly selected adults Feb. 12-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Thursday, March 4, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Mar 4th, 2021

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 4, 2021.

There are 875,559 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 875,559 confirmed cases (29,930 active, 823,524 resolved, 22,105 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 2,812 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 78.75 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,365 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,909.

There were 60 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 299 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 43. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.16 per 100,000 people.

There have been 24,676,396 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 997 confirmed cases (153 active, 838 resolved, six deaths).

There were three new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 29.3 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 35 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five.

There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.03 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people.

There have been 199,347 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 137 confirmed cases (22 active, 115 resolved, zero deaths).

There was one new case Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 13.78 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 20 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 107,377 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,646 confirmed cases (30 active, 1,551 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were three new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 3.06 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 30 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people.

There have been 343,260 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 1,438 confirmed cases (38 active, 1,372 resolved, 28 deaths).

There were three new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 4.86 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.58 per 100,000 people.

There have been 238,399 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 289,670 confirmed cases (7,336 active, 271,908 resolved, 10,426 deaths).

There were 729 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 85.56 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,198 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 743.

There were 19 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 81 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.59 per 100,000 people.

There have been 6,320,910 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 303,763 confirmed cases (10,397 active, 286,352 resolved, 7,014 deaths).

There were 958 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 70.56 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,590 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,084.

There were 17 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 121 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 17. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.6 per 100,000 people.

There have been 10,964,481 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 32,000 confirmed cases (1,146 active, 29,953 resolved, 901 deaths).

There were 50 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 83.09 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 413 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 59.

There were three new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 14 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.32 per 100,000 people.

There have been 535,163 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 29,059 confirmed cases (1,431 active, 27,239 resolved, 389 deaths).

There were 121 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 121.41 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,079 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 154.

There were two new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 10 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 33 per 100,000 people.

There have been 579,326 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 134,454 confirmed cases (4,649 active, 127,903 resolved, 1,902 deaths).

There were 402 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 105.14 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,421 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 346.

There were 12 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 36 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 43.01 per 100,000 people.

There have been 3,414,903 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 81,909 confirmed cases (4,718 active, 75,819 resolved, 1,372 deaths).

There were 542 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 91.65 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,559 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 508.

There were seven new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 34 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.09 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.65 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,941,589 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one death).

There were zero new cases Wednesday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,183 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (two active, 40 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 4.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 14,664 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 359 confirmed cases (eight active, 350 resolved, one death).

There were zero new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 20.33 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of eight new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,718 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Survivors, NGOs call for criminal investigation into porn giant MindGeek

CHRISTOPHER REYNOLDS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Mar 4th, 2021

OTTAWA — More than 100 survivors of sexual exploitation along with hundreds of non-governmental organizations are urging Ottawa to pursue a “full criminal investigation” into Pornhub’s parent company.

In a letter to the House of Commons ethics committee this week, the coalition asked the federal government to push for a police probe into MindGeek, which they accuse of violating child protection laws and sharing intimate images without consent.

The Montreal-based company has come under heavy criticism in the past few months following accusations it distributed exploitive videos and failed to adequately screen for illegal material.

MindGeek executives have denied any wrongdoing and said their company is a “world leader” in preventing the distribution of content showing child sexual abuse and non-consensual acts.

“MindGeek has zero-tolerance for non-consensual content, child sexual abuse material (CSAM), and any other content that lacks the consent of all parties depicted,” the company said in an email.

“The harrowing stories of the survivors of CSAM and non-consensual imagery shake us to our core.”

In December, several major credit card companies suspended payment services to Pornhub, prompting the world’s largest pornography platform to scrub some 10 million videos posted by unverified users.

At least five lawsuits have been filed against the company in the U.S. and Canada over the past year on behalf of survivors of child abuse, sex trafficking and non-consensual image uploads.

“I too feel like Pornhub has become my human trafficker, and they have been relentless in doing so,” said survivor Victoria Galy, testifying before the ethics committee last month about videos posted without her consent and depicting what she says was sexual assault.

“Thanks to Pornhub, today is day 1,292 that I have been naked on these porn sites,” another witness testified on Feb. 19.

The group behind the letter, whose signatories include 104 survivors and 525 NGOs in countries ranging from Austria to Zambia, applauded the committee for studying the issue.

The coalition called on the government to encourage an investigation by the RCMP and to take “immediate legislative and regulatory action to protect children from this predatory and unethical corporation.”

The letter points to MindGeek’s role in enabling and profiting from “a range of criminal content” distributed across some of its 160-odd platforms.

MindGeek CEO Feras Antoon and chief operating officer David Tassillo testified last month that all content on the website is screened using multiple software tools before being approved by human moderators.

“We always instruct all our agents to err on the caution side. If you have any doubt at all, just don’t let it up,” Tassillo told the committee on Feb. 5.

However, the coalition says that testimony implies the company “knowingly and wilfully distributed child sexual abuse materials.”

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children — both signatories to the letter — and the RCMP have all said they only began receiving reports of child sexual abuse images from Pornhub in late 2020.

“It also appears that MindGeek has violated Canada’s laws on publication of intimate images without consent,” the letter states.

“By its failure to implement age verification during pornography content upload and pornography consumption, MindGeek has facilitated harms against large numbers of children, both in front of the screen — through exposing children to pornography — and behind the screen — through facilitating images and films of child sexual abuse.”

The company said in a statement it goes “above and beyond” the demands of Canadian law.

“Those who post CSAM and nonconsensual imagery are criminals — we will not stop working to improve our security until we have prevented every one of these criminals from abusing our platforms,” MindGeek said.

The company said it works with more than 40 non-profit organizations to moderate and report content on its platforms.

MindGeek voluntarily registered to report child pornography to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in March 2020, said John Clark, the center’s executive director. Pornhub submitted more than 13,000 reports to the U.S. organization, though 9,000 of them were “duplicative,” Clark said last month.

The House ethics committee continues to weigh concerns around privacy and streaming platforms such as Pornhub. It is expected to file a report with recommendations later this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021.

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

How COVID-19 will impact your taxes this year

The Big Story | posted Thursday, Mar 4th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, it’s tax season! If you took any form of government COVID-19 relief this year, you’ve probably got all sorts of questions about how that impacts your return. If you didn’t, but you worked from home, you might be eligible for deductions you haven’t even considered.

As tax season begins, the pros are being swamped with questions from anxious Canadians. We asked one of those pros to clarify the confusion she hears from clients, debunk the most common misconceptions about the CERB, and share her best tips for navigating the most complicated tax year in recent memory.

GUEST: Shannon Lee Simmons, The New School of Finance

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Tuesday, March 2, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Mar 3rd, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 64,485 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,014,128 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 5,314.423 per 100,000.

There were 40,180 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,482,350 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 81.14 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 33,820 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 966 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,596 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 79.405 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 14,715 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.6 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 5,505 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,471 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 34.298 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 61,980 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 54 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 7,424 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,741 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.255 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 46,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 16,513 new vaccinations administered for a total of 455,328 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.213 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 537,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.66 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 22,326 new vaccinations administered for a total of 727,021 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 49.494 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 903,285 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 1,535 new vaccinations administered for a total of 78,205 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 56.794 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 108,460 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 947 new vaccinations administered for a total of 80,236 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 68.045 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 74,605 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 107.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 9,546 new vaccinations administered for a total of 245,054 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.668 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 274,965 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 7,501 new vaccinations administered for a total of 283,182 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.184 per 1,000. There were 40,180 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 364,020 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.79 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 1,097 new vaccinations administered for a total of 17,168 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 411.397 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 90.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting 3,321 new vaccinations administered for a total of 19,775 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 438.285 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 103.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 664 new vaccinations administered for a total of 8,066 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 208.284 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 23,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 62 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 33.75 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Verdict expected today in Toronto van attack trial

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Mar 3rd, 2021

A judge is expected to deliver her verdict Wednesday in the case of a man who deliberately drove a van down a crowded Toronto sidewalk killing 10 people and injuring 16 others.

Alek Minassian has admitted to planning and carrying out the attack on April 23, 2018.

But he has argued he should be found not criminally responsible for his actions due to autism spectrum disorder.

The 28-year-old from Richmond Hill, Ont., has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Justice Anne Molloy’s judgment will be delivered via video conference and broadcast on YouTube.

The key issue at Minassian’s trial, which began last November without a jury, was whether he had the capacity at the time of the attack to make a rational choice.

The Crown argued that Minassian is a mass killer who knew right from wrong and happens to have autism spectrum disorder.

But the defence argued that because of autism, Minassian never developed empathy, and that lack of empathy left him incapable of rational choice.

A forensic psychiatrist testifying for the defence said Minassian did not know that what he did was morally wrong.

But the Crown pointed to numerous statements Minassian himself gave to various assessors when he said he knew that killing was morally wrong.

Two other forensic psychiatrists concluded Minassian did not meet the test to be found not criminally responsible.

The trial heard that Minassian had fantasized about mass killings for years, starting when he was in high school, where he was bullied for years.

Minassian told several psychiatric assessors he wanted to shoot up his high school, but was unable to find a gun.

At one point he became fixated on an American mass murderer who hated women. He joined an online community of so-called “incels” – males who are involuntarily celibate.

Minassian told a detective hours after the attack that he sought retribution against society because he was a lonely virgin who believed women wouldn’t have sex with him.

Later he mentioned different motives to different doctors who analyzed him.

He told them he had a strong desire to commit a mass killing, he was lonely, worried he’d fail at his upcoming software development job, a belief he’d never have a relationship with a woman, his infatuation with a mass murderer and, what many point to as his biggest motivator, the quest for notoriety.

Three weeks before the attack he booked a rental van for the day after he completed his final college exam, court heard.

Around 1:30 p.m. on a bright and warm April day, Minassian sat in the driver’s seat at Yonge Street and Finch Avenue at a red light.

When the light turned green, he floored it, hopped the curb and began the attack.

He drove for about two kilometres on and off the sidewalk as he killed and maimed unsuspecting pedestrians along the way.

He was arrested moments later following a failed attempt to commit suicide by cop.

Betty Forsyth, Ji Hun Kim, So He Chung, Geraldine Brady, Chul Min Kang, Anne Marie Victoria D’Amico, Munir Najjar, Dorothy Marie Sewell, Andrea Bradden and Beutis Renuka Amarasingha died in the attack.

Greater Toronto housing on fire in February as average price surpassed $1 million

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Mar 3rd, 2021

The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board says the housing market remained on fire in February with the average price surpassing $1 million for the first time.

The real estate board says February home sales reached 10,970, a 52.5 per cent jump from the 7,193 homes sold in the same month last year.

The average selling price was up by 14.9 per cent to $1,045,488, an increase from $910,142 in 2020 as price changes were higher in the 905 area code than in 416.

Condominiums led the sales volume, increasing 64.3 per cent but average prices dropped 3.7 per cent to $642,346. Townhouse sales climbed 62.5 per cent and prices increased 17.3 per cent to $858,025.

Semi-detached sales increased 53.1 per cent and prices grew 20.3 per cent to $1,050,820. Detached sales increased 43.8 per cent to 4,943 and prices rose 23.1 per cent to $1,371,791.

“It’s clear that the historic demand for housing experienced in the second half of last year has carried forward into the first quarter of this year with some similar themes, including the continued popularity of suburban low-rise properties,” said TRREB president Lisa Patel.

The number of new listings surged 44.6 per cent but active listings were down one per cent to 8,727.

“It’s also evident that the supply of listings is not keeping up with demand, which could present an even larger problem once population growth picks up following widespread vaccinations later this year and into 2022.”

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Monday, March 1, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Mar 2nd, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Monday March 1, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 66,691 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,949,643 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 5,144.275 per 100,000.

There were 500 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,442,170 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 79.83 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 33,820 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,485 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,176 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 76.758 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 14,715 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.75 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 5,335 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 32,856 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.667 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 61,980 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 53.01 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 7,424 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,741 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.255 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 46,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 6,560 new vaccinations administered for a total of 438,815 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 51.284 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 537,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.59 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 17,424 new vaccinations administered for a total of 704,695 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 47.974 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 903,285 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.01 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 1,222 new vaccinations administered for a total of 76,670 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.679 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 108,460 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 70.69 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 1,063 new vaccinations administered for a total of 79,289 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 67.242 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 74,605 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 106.3 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 7,830 new vaccinations administered for a total of 235,508 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.50 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 274,965 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 23,308 new vaccinations administered for a total of 275,681 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.722 per 1,000. There were 500 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 323,840 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 897 new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,071 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 385.109 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 85.03 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,454 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 364.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 126 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,402 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 191.138 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 23,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 62 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 30.97 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Canadian economy contracted 5.4% in 2020, worst year on record

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Mar 2nd, 2021

The Canadian economy posted its worst showing on record in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the country, shutting down businesses and putting millions out of work.

Statistics Canada says real gross domestic product shrank 5.4 per cent in 2020, the steepest annual decline since comparable data was first recorded in 1961.

The drop for the year was due to the shutdown of large swaths of the economy in March and April during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that crushed the economy.

Since then, economic activity has slowly and steadily grown.

Statistics Canada says the economy grew at an annualized rate of 9.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year, down from an annualized growth rate of 40.6 per cent in the third quarter.

That was higher than expected, with financial data firm Refinitiv’s average economist estimate at 7.5 per cent.

Who are we vaccinating now? Who should be next?

THE BIG STORY | posted Tuesday, Mar 2nd, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, provinces are rolling out their vaccination plans for the general public, and they all seem pretty similar. After the initial push to vaccinate frontline health-care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, programs will proceed by age groups, starting with the 80+ cohort. It makes sense, as the elderly are most at risk from COVID-19.

But what if there was another factor that could guide our plans to where shots would do the most good? Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table has published a new report that offers evidence that simply using age is not the best way to save lives and stop the spread of the virus. But will health units take their advice, if it means prioritizing at-risk neighbourhoods over wealthy ones?

GUEST: Peter Jüni, member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Monday, Mar. 1, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Mar 1st, 2021

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Mar. 1, 2021.

There are 866,503 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 866,503 confirmed cases (30,731 active, 813,778 resolved, 21,994 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 2,307 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 80.86 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 19,873 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,839.

There were 35 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 320 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 46. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.87 per 100,000 people.

There have been 24,425,703 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 988 confirmed cases (266 active, 716 resolved, six deaths).

There were seven new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 50.95 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 62 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people.

There have been 196,011 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 132 confirmed cases (18 active, 114 resolved, zero deaths).

There were five new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 11.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 17 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 102,000 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,641 confirmed cases (38 active, 1,538 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were three new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 3.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 32 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people.

There have been 329,339 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 1,430 confirmed cases (39 active, 1,364 resolved, 27 deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of seven new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There was one new reported death Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.46 per 100,000 people.

There have been 236,401 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 287,740 confirmed cases (7,817 active, 269,530 resolved, 10,393 deaths).

There were 737 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 91.16 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,618 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 803.

There were nine new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 86 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.21 per 100,000 people.

There have been 6,280,259 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 300,816 confirmed cases (10,492 active, 283,344 resolved, 6,980 deaths).

There were 1,062 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 71.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,730 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,104.

There were 20 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 119 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 17. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.37 per 100,000 people.

There have been 10,849,514 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 31,859 confirmed cases (1,194 active, 29,770 resolved, 895 deaths).

There were 50 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 86.57 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 473 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 68.

There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.89 per 100,000 people.

There have been 528,966 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 28,647 confirmed cases (1,543 active, 26,719 resolved, 385 deaths).

There were 141 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 130.91 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,027 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 147.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 13 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.66 per 100,000 people.

There have been 573,125 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 133,504 confirmed cases (4,584 active, 127,034 resolved, 1,886 deaths).

There were 301 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 103.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,441 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 349.

There were three new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 59 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is eight. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.65 per 100,000 people.

There have been 3,387,838 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 79,262 confirmed cases (4,719 active, 73,188 resolved, 1,355 deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 91.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,448 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 350.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.32 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,910,966 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,142 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (three active, 39 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 6.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 14,451 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 357 confirmed cases (18 active, 338 resolved, one deaths).

There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 45.74 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 18 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,615 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Mar.1, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Meng’s defence team to argue for admission of evidence to bolster its case

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Mar 1st, 2021

VANCOUVER — The chief financial officer of telecom giant Huawei is set to return to the British Columbia Supreme Court today for arguments over the admission of evidence in her extradition case.

Meng Wanzhou’s defence team alleges the evidence will prove that international bank HSBC was aware of the relationship between Huawei and Skycom, a subsidiary of the technology company.

Meng was arrested at Vancouver’s airport in December 2018 at the request of United States authorities over claims she misrepresented that relationship, putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

She is wanted on fraud charges in the United States that both she and Huawei deny.

Later this week, the court is expected to hear her team argue that former U.S. president Donald Trump used Meng as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations with China and that she should be released.

Her team alleges she was subjected to an abuse of process but Canada’s attorney general says that argument is irrelevant now that Trump is out of office.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press

How can we learn to embrace boredom?

THE BIG STORY | posted Monday, Mar 1st, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, even without a global pandemic, we’re spending less and less time just doing nothing. The urge to check our phone every 20 minutes is the same urge that leads us to online shopping and bread making and … anything else to distract us from our current predicament.

But what if we could learn to turn our boredom into a strength? If we could train ourselves to once again sit quietly in the moments we get to ourselves? It’s no secret the past year has taken a toll on our mental health. But can we help ourselves by embracing the stillness forced upon us?

GUEST: Mark Hawkins, author of The Power of Boredom

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Feb 26th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 55,116 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,707,398 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 4,505.094 per 100,000.

There were 3,510 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,043,599 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 83.55 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 26,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.69 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,485 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,176 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 76.758 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 13,045 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 8.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 93.34 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 5,716 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 30,748 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 31.507 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 47,280 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 65.03 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 5,135 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 26,317 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.738 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 35,015 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.16 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 10,166 new vaccinations administered for a total of 387,076 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 45.237 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 509,325 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 19,112 new vaccinations administered for a total of 621,960 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 42.342 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 683,255 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 91.03 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 2,688 new vaccinations administered for a total of 69,060 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 50.152 per 1,000. There were 3,510 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 102,360 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 67.47 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 2,091 new vaccinations administered for a total of 65,436 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.494 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 59,395 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 110.2 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 9,000 new vaccinations administered for a total of 195,572 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.428 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 205,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 95 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 9,008 new vaccinations administered for a total of 239,883 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 46.746 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 307,849 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.92 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 810 new vaccinations administered for a total of 15,174 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 363.615 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 80.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,454 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 364.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 184 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,257 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 187.393 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 15,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 40 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 47.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press

A note of optimism on the climate crisis

THE BIG STORY | posted Friday, Feb 26th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, temperatures are rising everywhere. Severe weather is becoming more common. And climate disasters are becoming an increasing part of our lives. So it can feel like we’re hurtling off a cliff.

But in the past few years, we’ve also made incredible progress on reducing emissions, renewable energy and other efforts—so much so that the grimmest of possible futures is much less likely to occur. It can feel like a naive question to ask, but are we turning a corner in our fight to save the Earth?

GUEST: David Wallace-Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Health Canada approves AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Feb 26th, 2021

Health Canada has approved the COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, the third to be given the green light for national use.

Details of the approval and when Canadians might see doses begin arriving are due at a technical briefing later this morning in Ottawa.

Canada has pre-ordered 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was co-developed by researchers at the University of Oxford.

It will also receive up to 1.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine through the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as COVAX by the end of June.

Vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna had already been approved by Health Canada.

Approximately 1.7 million doses of those formulas have been administered in Canada.


RELATED: Health Canada reviewing Johnson & Johnson vaccine


Health Canada is also reviewing two other vaccines.

Approval of Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine will likely not come until early March and Novavax is not expected until April.

The European Union has also approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca formulas.

AstraZeneca’s vaccine, like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s formulations, requires refrigeration and takes two doses for maximum efficacy.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Feb 25th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 49,917 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,652,282 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 4,359.666 per 100,000.

There were 36,279 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,040,089 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 80.99 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were 2,340 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 26,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.69 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,020 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 11,630 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 73.316 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 13,045 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 8.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 5,188 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 29,237 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 29.959 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 47,280 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 61.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 5,135 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 26,317 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.738 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 35,015 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.16 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 10,932 new vaccinations administered for a total of 376,910 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.049 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 509,325 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 74 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 17,141 new vaccinations administered for a total of 602,848 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 41.041 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 683,255 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.23 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 2,402 new vaccinations administered for a total of 66,372 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 48.20 per 1,000. There were 14,040 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 98,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 67.14 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 1,003 new vaccinations administered for a total of 63,345 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.721 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 59,395 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 106.7 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 5,817 new vaccinations administered for a total of 186,572 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 42.383 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 205,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 90.62 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 6,521 new vaccinations administered for a total of 230,875 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.991 per 1,000. There were 19,899 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 307,849 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 941 new vaccinations administered for a total of 14,364 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 344.205 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 76 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 16,454 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 364.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 62 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,073 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 182.642 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 15,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 40 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 45.93 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Government back in court seeking extension on medical assistance in dying reform

JOAN BRYDEN, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Feb 25th, 2021

The federal government will be back in court Thursday to seek a fourth extension to the court-imposed deadline for expanding access to medical assistance in dying.

The government is asking for one more month, until March 26, to pass Bill C-7, which is currently stalled in the House of Commons with no prospect of being passed by Friday — the current deadline.

The bill is intended to bring the law into compliance with a 2019 Quebec Superior Court ruling that struck down a provision allowing assisted dying only for people whose natural deaths are “reasonably foreseeable.”

Should the court refuse to grant one more extension, Justice Minister David Lametti has warned that as of Saturday assisted dying would become legally available in Quebec to intolerably suffering individuals who are not approaching the natural end of their lives, without any of the safeguards proposed in the bill.

The same people elsewhere in the country, meanwhile, would continue to be denied access to the procedure.

Despite Friday’s looming deadline, the Conservatives have refused to facilitate debate in the Commons over a motion that lays out the government’s response to five amendments to C-7 approved last week by the Senate.

They talked out the clock on the motion Tuesday and then refused the unanimous consent needed to extend the debate until midnight, despite calling last week for extended hours to allow thorough debate on the issue.

They refused unanimous consent again Wednesday to allow the Commons to sit into the night to wrap up debate on the motion.


RELATED: Poll finds strong support for expanding access to medical assistance in dying


The Bloc Quebecois offered Wednesday to give up its opposition day today to allow debate on the motion to continue but the minority Liberal government decided that would be pointless, given the Conservatives’ stalling tactics.

“Conservatives have twice blocked our proposal that the House sit late to debate this important issue, despite claiming that they want extended hours,” said Mark Kennedy, a spokesman for government House leader Pablo Rodriguez.

“Based on this, we now know that Conservatives will continue to obstruct, and cancelling the Bloc opposition day tomorrow will not change anything.”

The Conservatives were largely opposed to the original bill and object even more strenuously to the amended version the government is now proposing.

The bill originally would have imposed a blanket ban on assisted dying for people suffering solely from mental illnesses. The government is now proposing a two-year time limit on that exclusion, six months longer than the time limit approved by senators.

The government has rejected another Senate amendment that would have allowed advance requests for assisted dying, as well as an amendment intended to clarify what constitutes a mental illness. It has accepted a modified version of two others.

The Bloc has said it will support the government’s response to the Senate amendments, assuring the motion’s eventual passage. But until Conservatives agree to wrap up debate, it can’t be put to a vote.

Once the motion is passed, the bill will still have to go back to the Senate for senators to decide whether to accept the verdict of the elected parliamentary chamber or dig in their heels on their amendments.

Would you let your face be your passport?

THE BIG STORY | posted Thursday, Feb 25th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, what if your face could serve as your passport and identification? Does that sound convenient, or incredibly creepy and invasive? As advances in technology spread from pilot programs to wider use at borders around the world, there’s very little governing what agencies can and can’t do with the data they capture. And there’s almost no way for us to opt out—at least, if we want to ever visit the United States again.

How far can this technology go? What can it be used for? Are there any regulations in place to protect you? And just how much of our body’s unique signature are we prepared to hand over, anyway? Where does this end?

GUEST: Hilary Beaumont, freelance investigative reporter

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Liberal cabinet minister Jean-Yves Duclos steps aside to recover from illness

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Feb 24th, 2021

OTTAWA — Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos is stepping aside due to illness.

Duclos says in a statement that he felt persistent chest pain over the past several days.

He went to hospital on Sunday and was told he had a pulmonary embolism.

He says he is home again and feeling well, but his doctor recommended he rest for a few days.

Joyce Murray, the minister of digital government, will assume his duties for now.

Duclos has been the Liberal MP for a Quebec City riding since 2015, and was the minister for social development in the Trudeau government’s first mandate.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021.

The Canadian Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Feb 24th, 2021

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.

There are 852,269 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 852,269 confirmed cases (30,677 active, 799,830 resolved, 21,762 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 2,760 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 80.72 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,693 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,956.

There were 40 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 367 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 52. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.26 per 100,000 people.

There have been 23,880,652 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 955 confirmed cases (375 active, 576 resolved, four deaths).

There were 15 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 71.82 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 244 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 35.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 183,360 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 115 confirmed cases (one active, 114 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 0.63 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 99,303 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,613 confirmed cases (20 active, 1,528 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were three new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 2.04 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people.

There have been 316,029 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 1,424 confirmed cases (76 active, 1,322 resolved, 26 deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 9.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.33 per 100,000 people.

There have been 232,291 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 283,666 confirmed cases (7,880 active, 265,456 resolved, 10,330 deaths).

There were 739 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 91.9 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,479 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 783.

There were 13 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 86 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 120.47 per 100,000 people.

There have been 6,127,867 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 295,119 confirmed cases (10,296 active, 277,939 resolved, 6,884 deaths).

There were 975 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 69.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,383 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,055.

There were 12 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 165 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 24. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 46.72 per 100,000 people.

There have been 10,578,867 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 31,551 confirmed cases (1,212 active, 29,453 resolved, 886 deaths).

There were 76 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 87.87 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 620 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 89.

There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.24 per 100,000 people.

There have been 521,439 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 27,923 confirmed cases (1,530 active, 26,017 resolved, 376 deaths).

There were 126 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 129.81 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,094 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 156.

There were four new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 19 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 31.9 per 100,000 people.

There have been 560,268 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 131,603 confirmed cases (4,516 active, 125,234 resolved, 1,853 deaths).

There were 267 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 102.13 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,265 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 324.

There were 10 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 62 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.2 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 41.91 per 100,000 people.

There have been 3,353,608 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 77,822 confirmed cases (4,733 active, 71,753 resolved, 1,336 deaths).

There were 559 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 91.94 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,539 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 506.

There was one new reported death Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 22 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.06 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 25.95 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,876,985 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,071 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (five active, 37 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 11.07 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of four new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 14,026 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 351 confirmed cases (33 active, 317 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 83.86 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 28 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,462 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 23, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Is Canada’s government about to go to war with Facebook?

THE BIG STORY | posted Wednesday, Feb 24th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, the social media giant is currently negotiating with the Australian government—which is a big improvement from last week, when Facebook was blocking all links from Australian news media. In Canada, the federal government has indicated it will follow Australia’s lead in taxing Facebook and distributing the revenue to struggling news media. Facebook has no plans to let that happen and has shown it will do whatever it takes to keep its ad money for itself.

Why does this fight matter? How nasty could it get? And who would even decide what qualifies as “news” on the platform anyway? Welcome to the first volley in what could be a long war.

GUEST: Jesse Hirsh, metaviews.ca

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Monday, Feb. 22, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Feb 22nd, 2021

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Feb. 22, 2021.

There are 845,652 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 845,652 confirmed cases (31,375 active, 792,603 resolved, 21,674 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 2,351 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 82.55 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18,985 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,712.

There were 44 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 367 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 52. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.03 per 100,000 people.

There have been 23,703,735 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 926 confirmed cases (433 active, 489 resolved, four deaths).

There were 25 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 82.93 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 229 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 33.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 183,360 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 115 confirmed cases (two active, 113 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 1.25 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 98,642 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,609 confirmed cases (19 active, 1,525 resolved, 65 deaths).

There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 1.94 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 16 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people.

There have been 312,821 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 1,424 confirmed cases (88 active, 1,311 resolved, 25 deaths).

There were four new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 11.26 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There was one new reported death Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of three new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.2 per 100,000 people.

There have been 230,912 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 282,122 confirmed cases (8,278 active, 263,537 resolved, 10,307 deaths).

There were 666 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 96.54 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,332 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 762.

There were 15 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 94 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 13. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 120.2 per 100,000 people.

There have been 6,087,066 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 293,086 confirmed cases (10,371 active, 275,854 resolved, 6,861 deaths).

There were 1,087 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 70.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,218 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,031.

There were 13 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 168 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 24. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 46.57 per 100,000 people.

There have been 10,499,526 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 31,386 confirmed cases (1,180 active, 29,322 resolved, 884 deaths).

There were 57 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 85.55 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 621 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 89.

There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 13 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.09 per 100,000 people.

There have been 515,740 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 27,620 confirmed cases (1,670 active, 25,578 resolved, 372 deaths).

There were 182 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 141.68 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,070 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 153.

There were four new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 18 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.22 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 31.56 per 100,000 people.

There have been 555,977 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 131,063 confirmed cases (4,758 active, 124,478 resolved, 1,827 deaths).

There were 328 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 107.6 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,239 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 320.

There were nine new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 47 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is seven. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 41.32 per 100,000 people.

There have been 3,331,615 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 75,835 confirmed cases (4,538 active, 69,970 resolved, 1,327 deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 88.16 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,202 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 315.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 24 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.07 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 25.78 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,857,754 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (two active, 69 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.76 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,029 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (eight active, 34 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 17.71 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of four new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 13,858 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 339 confirmed cases (28 active, 310 resolved, one deaths).

There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 71.15 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 28 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,359 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 22, 2021.

The Canadian Press

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Feb. 22, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Feb 22nd, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Feb. 22, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 40,424 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,492,270 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 3,937.463 per 100,000.

There were no new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,851,710 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 80.59 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 1,771 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 16,458 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 31.431 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 24,460 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 67.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,552 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 10,691 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 67.396 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 13,045 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 8.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.95 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 2,689 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 25,032 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 25.65 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 47,280 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 52.94 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 2,539 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 21,182 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 27.155 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 35,015 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 60.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 15,576 new vaccinations administered for a total of 344,900 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 40.308 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 401,685 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.86 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 16,404 new vaccinations administered for a total of 556,533 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 37.888 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 683,255 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.45 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 1,611 new vaccinations administered for a total of 61,426 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.608 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 84,810 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.43 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 2,919 new vaccinations administered for a total of 60,743 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 51.514 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 59,395 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 102.3 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 3,914 new vaccinations administered for a total of 169,441 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.491 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 205,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.3 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 192,942 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 37.599 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 243,490 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 79.24 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 11,850 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 283.962 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 62.7 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 14,157 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 313.77 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 74.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 6,915 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 178.562 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 15,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 40 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 44.9 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published February 22, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Stricter public health measures now in effect at Canadian borders, airports

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Feb 22nd, 2021

A mandatory three-day hotel quarantine for most travellers landing at Canadian airports comes into effect Monday, along with a suite of measures meant to prevent contagious COVID-19 variants from entering the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the tighter border controls are meant to keep everyone safe, not punish travellers.

Anyone flying into the country will be required to foot the bill for their hotel stays.

They will also have to complete multiple COVID-19 tests in the days after they arrive in Canada.

Most incoming travellers will need to get tested for the virus upon arrival and again towards the end of their mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Travellers arriving at land borders will be given self-swab kits, and testing will be provided on-site at five high-volume border crossings.

They’ll need to complete a second test on Day 10 of their self-isolation period.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Feb 19th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Friday Feb. 19, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 25,253 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,354,289 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 3,573.39 per 100,000.

There were 45,825 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,584,685 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 85.46 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 1,771 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 16,458 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 31.431 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 20,950 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.56 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,863 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 10,691 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 67.396 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 11,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 90.03 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 4,000 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 25,032 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 25.65 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 36,750 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 68.11 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 2,539 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 21,182 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 27.155 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 26,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.96 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 2,445 new vaccinations administered for a total of 302,118 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 35.308 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 401,685 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.21 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 12,383 new vaccinations administered for a total of 501,867 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 34.166 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 523,675 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 95.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 995 new vaccinations administered for a total of 57,702 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 41.904 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 69,600 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.91 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 139 new vaccinations administered for a total of 50,465 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 42.798 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 46,525 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 108.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 3,476 new vaccinations administered for a total of 155,532 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 35.332 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 159,075 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 97.77 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 4,676 new vaccinations administered for a total of 180,691 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 35.212 per 1,000. There were 45,825 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 234,325 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.11 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 30 new vaccinations administered for a total of 11,544 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 276.629 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 61.08 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 14,157 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 313.77 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 74.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 45 new vaccinations administered for a total of 6,850 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 176.884 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 15,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 40 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 44.48 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press

‘I’ve been pushed to my absolute breaking point;’ Canadian zoos struggle to survive

LIAM CASEY, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Feb 19th, 2021

Last week, Paul Goulet’s 10-year-old daughter quietly went to his wife with worry about her father.

“It’s like he’s here, but he’s not really here,” she said.

That nearly broke Goulet, the owner of Little Ray’s Nature Centre, a zoo and animal rescue organization with locations in Hamilton and Ottawa.

Usually an eternal optimist, Goulet said the pandemic is killing his business and wearing him down.

He’s cut costs where he can, but the vast majority of his costs are fixed — the snakes, sloths and tortoises still have to eat.

Gross revenue is down 94 per cent, he said, due to the forced closures and capacity limits during the pandemic, and he’s taken out loans totaling more than $900,000 to help pay the bills.

“I’ve been pushed to my absolute breaking point,” Goulet said.

Other zoos and aquariums across the country say they’ve also reached their breaking points.

Jim Facette, the executive director of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums, said institutions across the country are having a hard time.

“They’re hanging on, but it’s a struggle,” Facette said.

He said some of the facilities qualify for the federal wage subsidy program and have received support, but others are not eligible, including those that are owned by another level of government, like the Toronto Zoo, which is owned by the City of Toronto.

“Our institutions are unique, you can’t just shut the lights, lock the door and leave,” Facette said.

“The Number 1 thing they want though, I hear this all the time, is they want to open.”

Cherry Brook Zoo in Saint John, N.B., shuttered its doors last year largely due to the pandemic and the uncertainty going forward, Facette said.

Zoos have an entire revenue-generating ecosystem that includes hosting corporate events, weddings and the like, he said. The Zoo de Granby in Quebec had to cancel more than 30 weddings last year.

Facette has spent a lot of his time lobbying various governments during the pandemic to figure out how to keep zoos and aquariums afloat.

“We need to increase capacity when they are open, so we’ve asked if they’d consider rapid testing as part of reopening strategies,” he  said.

“We haven’t heard back.”

For Dolf DeJong, the CEO of the Toronto Zoo, the last year has been a trying one.

Last year, when China imposed a lockdown in Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus originated, DeJong said the zoo began stockpiling food for the animals.

They were shut down for two months in the spring during the first lockdown, then were able to do drive-thru visits for about a month before members were allowed back in at a significantly reduced capacity.

Then they moved to a pre-booked model from July until they reverted to drive-thrus in late November. They closed their doors again on Dec. 26 when the province issued a stay-at-home order.

The zoo had about 600,000 guests last year, DeJong said, about a third of those coming from the drive-thru. Daily guests last summer peaked at 5,000 – half of what they used to see the previous summer.

They’ve been able to raise about $1 million through their non-profit arm for a program called Zoo Food For Life, which is about enough to cover the cost of food for the facility’s 5,000 animals.

January and February are historically down months for the zoo, DeJong said.

“Being closed right now doesn’t hurt as badly as it hurt last year being closed on the Friday of March Break,” DeJong said.

“We are cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to host guests on the new April break, that the weather will be great, and we have Easter in there. We’d like to think we can start rallying from these early in the year losses.”

For Goulet, he said he has used every possible government program for help, including the wage and rent subsidy programs, which have kicked in about $240,000.

But he needs about $840,000 for Little Ray’s to survive to the end of this year.

The company’s biggest money maker, he said, are animal festivals that run from January to April.

“None of those are happening,” he said.

Provincial restrictions have eased somewhat in Ottawa and Hamilton, so Little Ray’s is now allowed to have small groups inside. They’re also doing live Zoom shows now, but they only bring in about five per cent of the money the live shows at schools and birthday parties used to.

“I’m happy we’re open, so instead of losing $80,000 a month, we’ll lose maybe $60,000,” Goulet said. “It will curb our losses, but we’re still losing money at massive rates.”

He has turned to the public for help with a GoFundMe campaign that has raised nearly $200,000 from more than 2,000 people in just over a week.

His supporters also organized a bottle drive where they collected some 200,000 bottles.

“We’re slowly trying to turn the ash into something and that’s only because we’ve had a ton of public support,” Goulet said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 19, 2021.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

How America’s biggest flour company survived 2020

THE BIG STORY | posted Friday, Feb 19th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, remember when flour disappeared for a brief moment as we stocked up for the pandemic? It wasn’t because we bought up all the flour in the world. Companies were just struggling to mill it, package it, and transport it to us as quickly as we were using it. Take King Arthur Flour, one of the oldest companies in the United States. It saw sales skyrocket by 2,000 per cent. When demand started to shoot up, their mills had the flour to replenish supply but had run out of packaging. So how did they cope? And will the unprecedented demand for flour continue in 2021?

Guest: Meghan McCarron

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Feb 18th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 22,252 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,329,036 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 3,506.758 per 100,000.

There were 91,260 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,538,860 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 86.36 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 2,438 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 16,458 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 31.431 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 20,950 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.56 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,782 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 10,610 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 66.886 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 11,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.35 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 4,036 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 24,049 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 24.643 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 36,750 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 65.44 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 2,539 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 21,182 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 27.155 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 26,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.96 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 1,979 new vaccinations administered for a total of 299,673 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 35.022 per 1,000. There were 91,260 new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 401,685 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 74.6 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 9,107 new vaccinations administered for a total of 489,484 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.323 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 523,675 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 93.47 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 663 new vaccinations administered for a total of 56,707 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 41.181 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 69,600 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.48 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 485 new vaccinations administered for a total of 50,326 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 42.68 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 46,525 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 108.2 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 2,918 new vaccinations administered for a total of 152,056 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 34.542 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 159,075 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 95.59 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 4,260 new vaccinations administered for a total of 176,015 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 34.30 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 188,500 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 93.38 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 11,514 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 275.91 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 60.92 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 14,157 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 313.77 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 74.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 160 new vaccinations administered for a total of 6,805 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 175.722 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 15,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 40 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 44.19 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published February 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Canadian Mars scientist excitedly awaits landing of NASA’s Perseverance probe.

BOB WEBER, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Feb 18th, 2021

EDMONTON — Chris Herd plans to be in his living room in Edmonton today but his heart will be on Mars.

The University of Alberta planetary geologist — one of a select team of scientists working with NASA — hopes to watch the successful touchdown of the Perseverance Rover, a probe designed to eventually bring back rocks from the red planet that could reveal signs of life.

It’s 204 million kilometres to Mars. Herd says that’s about the size of the scale needed to measure his excitement.

“Somewhere up near the top of that.”

Herd planned to relax a little Wednesday night by coaching his son’s basketball team.

“It’ll take my mind of things, hopefully. I might get a good night’s sleep. We’ll see.”

He admitted the ball was likely to remind him of a certain planet.

Perseverance, launched last June, is to land on the Jezero Crater — just north of the Mars equator, drill into the surface and take between 20 and 35 core samples up to 10 centimetres long.

The rover will stash those samples on the surface. As early as 2026, another rover is to retrace Perseverance’s journey and retrieve the samples for eventual return to Earth, perhaps by 2031.

Herd’s job, together with his colleagues, will be to monitor the rover and tell it when to sample.

Careful measurements of the immediate environment around the core are also to be taken.

Perseverance will be able to send much information back on its own. It has 23 cameras to record everything about the landscape and an on-board laser that can vaporize rocks and analyze their makeup.

Perseverance will be able to detect organic matter in the rocks and will carry ground-penetrating radar. Scientists will be looking for evidence recorded in the rocks of environments that could have been habitable.

Mars is thought to have had water at some time in the distant past. About 3.5 billion years ago, that all vanished.

Jezero was chosen because it’s thought to be an ancient lake bed. If there was life on Mars, lake sediments or a long-ago shoreline could be a good place to look for signs.

Until the images and data start returning to Earth, though, Herd will be watching and waiting like everyone else.

He will be on an online link with his scientific colleagues.

“We will have a private social event. We’ll be able to congratulate people.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2021.

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press

Here are five projects by companies tackling COVID-19 to watch in Canada

BRENNA OWEN, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Feb 18th, 2021

VANCOUVER —
It’s been a little more than a year since scientists and biotech companies around the world pivoted to understanding, treating and preventing COVID-19. Here are five projects to watch led by experts in Canada:

CanCOGeN. Led by Genome Canada, the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network aims to identify, understand and track faster spreading variants, including those first found in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil. Tracking variants involves targeted and some random genomic sequencing of COVID-positive samples to determine if there’s a change in the virus’s genetic blueprint. The network’s executive director, Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa, said the variants have spurred scientists to track changes to the virus at a speed and scale never seen before.

“Genomic epidemiology is now at the centre of our strategy to understand and control the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

The provinces are sequencing COVID-positive samples at different rates for an average of about five per cent across the country, she said. A new federal strategy focused on variants of concern is set to increase data sharing among researchers.

APN01. Data is expected soon from the phase two clinical trial for APN01, a treatment candidate for COVID-19 developed after the outbreak of SARS in 2002. Dr. Josef Penninger, the director of the University of British Columbia’s Life Sciences Institute, was working in Toronto at the time and helped pinpoint the key receptor by which SARS entered and began to replicate in human cells. It turns out the enzyme ACE2 is also the gateway into cells for the new coronavirus, said Penninger, who co-founded Apeiron Biologics.

The Austrian biotech company is now developing APN01 as a “soluble ACE2” therapy or drug to treat COVID-19 patients. It has “dual action,” Penninger said in a news release last fall, meaning it can both block the virus and also protect the lung, blood vessels or heart from injury. In September last year, the Lancet’s peer-reviewed respiratory medicine journal published a case report describing “significant clinical improvement” after APN01 was administered to a patient suffering from severe COVID-19.

Peptide possibilities. At the University of Regina, biochemist Mohan Babu is leading a team of researchers across Canada exploring how peptides – short chains of amino acids that make up proteins – could play a role in both diagnosing and treating COVID-19. They’re working to identify a peptide sequence that points to the illness in asymptomatic, mildly symptomatic and symptomatic patients, Babu explained. Their goal is to lay the foundation for a low-cost rapid test using saliva instead of the standard nasal swab and molecular (PCR) test.

“Those peptide signatures that are highly abundant in your saliva (are) going to be your diagnostic kit,” he said, adding the peptides are more stable and don’t degrade as quickly as the genetic material used in other tests.

On the treatment side, Babu said his team aims to “hijack” the virus using antiviral peptides that block it from entering and replicating inside human cells. They’re using a tiny part of the virus’s own sequence, coaxing it to bind to the ACE2 receptor, he said, while the remainder of the peptide sequence is randomized and the virus’s gateway into cells should wind up destroyed.

The researchers have so far identified four antiviral peptides that appear to inhibit the virus and they’re starting to test against several variants, said Babu. The results of their work have yet to pass through a peer-review process. Babu is receiving more than $900,000 in federal funding through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for his research on COVID-19.

Blood biomarkers. Immunologists at Dalhousie University in Halifax are working with critical care specialists in Spain to examine key “biomarkers” in the blood of COVID-19 patients, which could help predict the severity of the illness. For a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Critical Care, they tested 250 patients with varying degrees of illness for ribonucleic acid or RNA – the virus’s “genetic blueprint” – and found 78 per cent of those who were severely ill had higher amounts of viral RNA than mild cases.

“We now have an extremely reliable indicator for identifying severe COVID-19 patients who require critical care and should be admitted to the ICU, which will help intensive care unit doctors prioritize severely ill patients,” said David Kelvin, Canada research chair at Dalhousie’s microbiology and immunology department, in a December statement.

The team also linked viral RNA to dysfunctional immune response among COVID-19 patients and they’re now examining how new variants of the virus affect host immunity compared with the first wave of the pandemic, he said. Their work is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Wastewater testing. Testing for COVID-19 in raw wastewater is scaling up in several provinces, including Ontario, B.C. and Nova Scotia. Gail Krantzberg, a professor in the engineering department at Hamilton’s McMaster University, said COVID-19 is “absolutely detectable” in many of the southern Ontario municipalities participating in the project.

A network of researchers at different universities is also working to make the testing more sensitive to detecting the virus. They recently had a sample and couldn’t detect it, but got a signal after refining their methods, said Krantzberg, adding the virus found in wastewater is “deactivated” and no longer live.

The researchers hope to use wastewater to sound the alarm about potential clusters in real time, before new individual cases are found, she said.

“People who are asymptomatic may not get tested. They’re walking around, they’re sick (and) nobody knows, even though they’re excreting (the virus).”

They should soon be able to deliver test results to health officials three times a week within 24 hours of sampling, said Krantzberg.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2021.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press

Family of former CFLer Mike Labinjo says police bungled investigation into his death

CRYSTAL.LADERAS | posted Wednesday, Feb 17th, 2021

CALGARY – Over two-and-a-half years since the death of former CFL star Mike Labinjo–and 10 months after police deemed his death suspicious – Labinjo’s family is calling out “sloppy” police work.

In an exclusive interview with CityNews, the family points to a series of mistakes Calgary police made during the investigation and a lack of action they feel is turning the case cold.

Labinjo’s surviving relatives believe his killer is still out there.

Labinjo was a star with the Calgary Stampeders from 2007-2010. He was found dead in his southwest Calgary condo on Sept. 21, 2018. He was only 38.

ORIGINAL STORY: Former Stampeder Mike Labinjo dead

At the time, police did not believe his death was criminal in nature. Just days later, his family flew west from Toronto to collect his belongings but were shocked to find his condo in disarray.

“We noticed right away that the place was kind of in a ransacked condition. There were garbage bags filled with his belongings, in different rooms, drawers were emptied completely. My brother had a safe and the imprint of the safe was on the ground but the safe was not there. And then we saw a huge bloodstain on his bed,” recalled Labinjo’s brother Randy.

“And so I started kind of freaking out and I got really mad and I turn to his friends and I was like, ‘Hey, where’s Mike’s stuff? What is going on here? Why is stuff missing?”

Randy says Mike’s identification and wallet were also missing. He urgently called Calgary Police and says it took 24 hours for an officer to arrive.

“I asked him, I said, ‘Did you guys check the cameras to see who was here around the time when Mike passed?’ He said, ‘There’s cameras?’”

Randy also handed the officer Mike’s cell phone. Randy says later that night police said there were four people seen on camera emptying out the footballer’s home.

In May 2020–more than a year-and-a-half later—Calgary police released still images from security camera footage during a press conference with the family, showing four people entering Labinjo’s condo just before his death.

READ MORE: Former Stampeder Mike Labinjo death deemed suspicious

Police also revealed for the first time a number of Labinjo’s personal items were missing, including a championship ring. Tips from the public provided them with new information on the case.

“What we’re trying to determine is if Michael’s death was intentional and if that intentional death was used to facilitate the theft of his personal items,” said Martin Schiavetta with CPS on May 11 of last year.

Police at the press conference officially declared his death suspicious.

For months afterward, Labinjo’s mom Margaret called CPS sensing their frustration every time until an officer calls informing the family she’s handling the case.

“In my mind, we’ve now given you the footage, my brother’s dead, you guys are the police, what are you doing? I thought, in my mind, that they would be actively doing something. There’s missing items, they could be searching for these people, I thought something would be [done]. But every time I called her, she gave me the same response: ‘We’re waiting for the Medical Examiner’s report,’” said Randy.

“I told [the officer], ‘These people killed my brother. If they’re willing to rob him, they killed him. If he’s dead, now they’re responsible.’ And she said, ‘Well, you know, I agree, but every time I take it to homicide [detectives] they tell me there’s nothing here, just put it to bed.’”

The family revealed to CityNews that Mike’s daughter was home the night her father died and both saw and interacted with four people in the home.

“And my granddaughter is telling [Randy], she saw the four people. Two female and one male, one had red hair. And she asks, ‘Can I see my dad?’ because she didn’t know these people and they said to her ‘No, your dad is dead, go back to your room,’ because she had her own bedroom,’” said Margaret.

The family says they were told by CPS that the police interviewed Mike’s daughter, but she stayed in her room and only heard voices that night.

CPS says the investigation into Labinjo’s death remains active.

“Investigators continue to collect evidence and speak with any identified witnesses. To protect the integrity of this investigation we are unable to speak further about any details that may later be used to the detriment of potential court proceedings,” reads a statement from Calgary police.

“We appreciate Mr. Labinjo’s family is seeking justice and we are committed to doing everything we can to determine exactly what led to his death.”

This is the first in a series of stories CityNews has on the death of Mike Labinjo. CityNews will have more on this story on Thursday.

Statistics Canada says annual inflation rate climbs to 1.0%

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Feb 17th, 2021

Statistics Canada says the consumer price index rose 1.0 per cent compared with a year ago as the annual pace of inflation picked up.

The reading compared with a year-over-year increase of 0.7 per cent in December.

Economists on average had expected a year-over-year increase of 0.9 per cent for January, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

Fuelling the increase in January was rising gasoline prices that Statistics Canada says increased 6.1 per cent compared with December.

Still, gasoline prices were 3.3 per cent below where they were in January 2020 when the first hints of demand uncertainty hit global markets as COVID-19 began to spread.

Statistics Canada says that excluding gasoline prices, the consumer price index in January was up 1.3 per cent compared with a year ago.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Feb 17th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 33,289 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,306,784 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 3,448.045 per 100,000.

There were 7,800 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,447,600 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 90.27 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 2,091 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 14,687 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 28.048 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 20,950 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 70.11 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,782 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 10,610 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 66.886 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 11,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.35 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 4,314 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 23,140 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.711 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 36,750 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 62.97 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 2,539 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 21,182 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 27.155 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 26,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.96 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 2,808 new vaccinations administered for a total of 297,694 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 34.791 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 310,425 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 95.9 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 12,751 new vaccinations administered for a total of 480,377 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 32.703 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 523,675 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 91.73 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 979 new vaccinations administered for a total of 56,044 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 40.70 per 1,000. There were 7,800 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 69,600 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.52 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 196 new vaccinations administered for a total of 49,841 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 42.268 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 46,525 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 107.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 2,535 new vaccinations administered for a total of 149,138 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.879 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 159,075 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 93.75 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 8,773 new vaccinations administered for a total of 171,755 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.47 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 188,500 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 91.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 11,514 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 275.91 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 60.92 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 14,157 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 313.77 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 74.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 440 new vaccinations administered for a total of 6,645 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 171.59 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 15,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 40 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 43.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 17, 2021.

The Canadian Press

“One moment of romance in an otherwise stressful year”

THE BIG STORY | posted Tuesday, Feb 16th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, in a breakaway from the pains of the pandemic, today we bring you the sappiest Canadian love story we could find. She was a master’s student visiting London, searching for someone to see her favourite show with. He already had tickets. It was love at first sight. Ten months later they were engaged. Yes, the pandemic forced them to cancel their big 200-member transatlantic wedding, but a quiet elopement and a perfect first dance in their living room somehow made things even more special.

Host: Fatima Syed

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Feb 16th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday Feb. 16, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 1,704 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,272,470 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 3,357.505 per 100,000.

There were no new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,439,800 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 88.38 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 2,091 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 14,687 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 28.048 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 20,950 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 70.11 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 802 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 9,139 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 57.612 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 11,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.96 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 4,124 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 22,343 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.895 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 36,750 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 60.8 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting zero new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 18,643 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.90 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 26,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 942 new vaccinations administered for a total of 294,886 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 34.463 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 310,425 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 94.99 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 467,626 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 31.835 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 523,675 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.3 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 55,065 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 39.989 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 61,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 49,645 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 42.102 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 46,525 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 106.7 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 762 new vaccinations administered for a total of 146,603 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 33.303 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 159,075 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 92.16 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 162,982 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 31.761 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 188,500 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.46 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 11,514 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 275.91 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 60.92 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,132 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 291.053 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 68.75 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 6,205 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 160.228 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 15,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 40 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 40.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published February 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Singh pledges military deployment in election campaign-style promise

CHRISTOPHER REYNOLDS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Feb 16th, 2021

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is calling for a quicker, clearer vaccination plan that would see Canada’s military deployed across the country to speed up provincial COVID-19 inoculation efforts.

The federal government should engage military personnel along with more medical and nursing students and retired health-care workers to ramp up Canada’s faltering vaccine rollout, Singh said Tuesday.

The announcement, presented as a campaign-style pledge ahead of a possible election this year, comes despite the fact that provinces have not publicly requested military assistance with vaccine delivery.

“The provinces haven’t specially asked for that,” Singh said in an interview. “But we’ve got the capacity to use the military, set up sites in federal facilities and federal buildings across the country.

“There seems to be this notion that, ‘OK, we get the supply, then it’s up to the provinces to deliver it.’ And I don’t buy that.”

Health care remains primarily provincial jurisdiction, but the New Democrat leader cited deployment of armed forces to help set up and run vaccination sites in the United States and Scotland.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has ordered more than 1,100 troops, including nurses and vaccinators, to several sites. The British army is dispatching roughly 100 soldiers to organize deliveries, vaccine storage and patient registration at about 80 vaccination centres in Scotland.

Provincial leaders in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta, while accepting military support at nursing homes as outbreaks reached a lethal crisis point over the past year, have remained wary of federal overreach in long-term care and other areas.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet have both balked at the idea of nationally imposed long-term care standards, saying provinces are better poised to direct health-care funding in their own backyards.

Singh also called on the Trudeau government to revive domestic production of vaccines by establishing publicly owned manufacturing facilities.

He highlighted Connaught Laboratories, a public-health institute founded in the early 20th century to combat diphtheria, as a model for government-owned vaccine production. Connaught, which churned out polio and influenza vaccines, was affiliated for decades with the University of Toronto before being bought by a federal Crown corporation and later fully privatized under the Mulroney government in the 1980s.

The third board in the NDP platform plank demanded that Ottawa call off the planned delivery of 1.9 million doses from the international vaccine-sharing program, which is designed mainly to help poor countries afford pricey vaccines.

Canada could get about 500,000 doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine from the program known as COVAX before the end of March, though it has been heavily criticized for taking vaccines from a plan aimed at developing countries that have no direct deals of their own with manufacturers.

“People are not satisfied with the current situation when it comes to vaccines,” Singh said.

A new poll suggests the vast majority of Canadians blame Ottawa rather than provincial governments for delays in COVID-19 vaccine delivery.

Sixty-nine per cent of respondents believe Canada is behind on deliveries due to federal trouble obtaining doses on the global market, according to an online survey by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies. Only 14 per cent of respondents point the finger at provincial governments.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says all Canadians who want a dose will get one by the end of September, despite recent hiccups in production of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Canada sits far below the top of the heap in vaccine doses administered per 100 people, ranking 40th in total and 17th out of 24 large countries, according to two lists.

Canada’s vaccine shipments are slated to rev up again this week, with more than 878,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses and 168,000 Moderna doses scheduled for arrival by the end of the month.

They follow smaller-than-expected deliveries due to production issues in Belgium and Switzerland.

Let’s unmask the confusion about masks

THE BIG STORY | posted Friday, Feb 12th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, as new variants of Covid-19 spread around the world, we’re all a little worried about the strength of our masks. New guidelines are now emerging from various health agencies around the world recommending that everyone should double-mask: that’s a cloth mask over a medical mask. So how do we best do that? Is it a sure-fire way to keep us safe from the aerosol transmission of Covid-19? What’s the difference between a mask and a respirator? And how can we know if the masks we’re buying are the real deal or counterfeit products?

Guest: Dr. Jennifer McDonald

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Feb 12th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 32,101 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,186,090 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 3,129.585 per 100,000.

There were 13,600 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,309,715 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 90.56 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 2,091 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 14,687 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 28.048 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 19,975 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 73.53 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 491 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 8,828 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.652 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 10,200 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.55 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 4,584 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 21,032 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 21.551 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 34,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 60.44 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 1,366 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 18,643 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.90 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 25,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 5,742 new vaccinations administered for a total of 272,332 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 31.827 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 310,425 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 87.73 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 14,717 new vaccinations administered for a total of 426,836 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 29.058 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 437,975 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 97.46 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 702 new vaccinations administered for a total of 51,256 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 37.223 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 66,090 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.55 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 892 new vaccinations administered for a total of 46,263 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 39.234 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 44,575 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 103.8 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 6,123 new vaccinations administered for a total of 135,575 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 30.798 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 132,475 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 102.3 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 2,090 new vaccinations administered for a total of 159,887 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 31.157 per 1,000. There were 13,600 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 186,550 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 90 new vaccinations administered for a total of 11,434 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 273.993 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 35 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 79.4 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,132 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 291.053 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 32 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 91.19 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 59 new vaccinations administered for a total of 6,185 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 159.712 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 12,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 31 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 51.54 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Air Canada posts ‘bleak’ financial results as Transat deal comes through

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Feb 12th, 2021

Air Canada says it lost $1.16 billion in the final three months of last year, releasing a financial report on the heels of last night’s news that the Canadian government approved Air Canada’s $190-million purchase of Transat A.T.

Air Canada’s fourth quarter financial report, released this morning, says the company had a net loss of $1.16 billion or $3.91 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared with profit of $152 million or 56 cents per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The airline’s operating revenue dropped to $827 million in the fourth quarter, down from $4.43 billion in the same three months of 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered air travel.

Analysts polled by financial data firm Refinitiv expected Air Canada to  lose $735.67 million dollars, or $2.84 per share, on revenue of $885.36 million.

Chief executive Calin Rovinescu says the 2020 financial year was the bleakest in the history of commercial aviation, as the number of passengers declined 73 per cent following several years of record growth for Air Canada.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said last night that the proposed purchase of Transat A.T. by Air Canada will bring greater stability to Canada’s air transport market amid devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.

Rovinescu, who will retire on Feb. 15, said in the financial report that he is also “very encouraged by the constructive nature of discussions” with the Government of Canada on sector-specific financial support over the last several weeks.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Feb 11th, 2021

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2021.

There are 813,982 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 813,982 confirmed cases (38,242 active, 754,736 resolved, 21,004 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 3,185 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 100.62 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24,331 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3,476.

There were 95 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 649 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 93. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.24 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 55.27 per 100,000 people.

There have been 22,553,847 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 510 confirmed cases (113 active, 393 resolved, four deaths).

There were 53 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 21.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 100 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 14.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 150,561 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 114 confirmed cases (four active, 110 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 2.51 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 94,650 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,588 confirmed cases (nine active, 1,514 resolved, 65 deaths).

There was one new case Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 0.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been five new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people.

There have been 297,106 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 1,375 confirmed cases (176 active, 1,178 resolved, 21 deaths).

There were 14 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 22.52 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 73 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 10.

There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of three new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 2.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been 220,218 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 272,726 confirmed cases (10,994 active, 251,620 resolved, 10,112 deaths).

There were 989 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 128.22 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,147 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,021.

There were 34 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 213 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 30. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.35 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 117.93 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,736,438 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 281,566 confirmed cases (13,270 active, 261,700 resolved, 6,596 deaths).

There were 1,072 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 90.06 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,469 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,353.

There were 41 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 291 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 42. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.28 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 44.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 9,950,523 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 30,417 confirmed cases (1,573 active, 27,985 resolved, 859 deaths).

There were 57 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 114.05 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 559 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 80.

There were six new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 24 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.25 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 62.28 per 100,000 people.

There have been 500,288 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 25,843 confirmed cases (1,968 active, 23,527 resolved, 348 deaths).

There were 189 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 166.97 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,413 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 202.

There were two new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 26 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.32 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 29.52 per 100,000 people.

There have been 533,180 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 127,570 confirmed cases (5,706 active, 120,136 resolved, 1,728 deaths).

There were 339 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 129.04 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,480 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 354.

There were six new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 57 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is eight. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.18 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 39.08 per 100,000 people.

There have been 3,258,829 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 71,856 confirmed cases (4,420 active, 66,167 resolved, 1,269 deaths).

There were 469 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 85.86 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,076 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 439.

There were six new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 35 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 24.65 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,783,339 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,782 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 34 confirmed cases (three active, 31 resolved, zero deaths).

There was one new case Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 6.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been two new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 12,753 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 300 confirmed cases (six active, 293 resolved, one deaths).

There was one new case Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 15.25 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been six new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,104 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Netflix plans to open an office in Canada and grow its relationship with its creators

VICTORIA AHEARN THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Feb 11th, 2021

Netflix plans to open an office in Canada in what the streaming giant calls “a big first step” toward content creation in this country.

Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos says the California-based company is still figuring out the office location.

But they’re thinking of Toronto and Vancouver, since the company has so much production happening in both markets.

Two years ago, Netflix announced plans to set up a production hub in Toronto by leasing two studio spaces along the downtown industrial waterfront area.

Sarandos says adding an office in Canada will allow Netflix executives to be closer to Canadian creators, so they can build relationships and field pitches.

He adds that Netflix executives will also be able to be more on the ground here and “can keep their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in the creative community in Canada.”

“You should think about this as a big first step,” Sarandos said in an interview from Montecito, Calif.

“We’re not just going to put one person in a little office in one city, in one place in Canada. We’re looking to grow our relationship with the creative community in Canada. So that’ll be as open geographically as Canada is.”

Netflix has 21 offices around the world, including Amsterdam and Rome.

For the Canadian location, the company is in the process of hiring a local content executive and hopes to introduce that person “very soon,” said Sarandos.

The content executive will be a point person to guide creatives through Netflix while trying to get their programming in a variety of genres onto the service, whether it be in English or French.

“It’s someone who will have a very close relationship with the creative community, and be a good shepherd and a good ambassador, and help to develop programming from Canada for the world on Netflix,” Sarandos said.

The company also plans to expand the Canadian office staff base to include such departments as marketing and publicity.

“So this is kind of the ongoing evolution of a deep and deepening relationship in Canada,” he said.

Netflix recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary in Canada and has seven million Canadian subscribers.

Sarandos said since 2017, Netflix has spent C$2.5 billion on production in Canada, on titles including the Toronto-shot “The Umbrella Academy” and the new Vancouver-filmed series “Firefly Lane,” which is currently their No. 1 show in the world.

Other Netflix programming shot in Canada includes “Virgin River” in British Columbia, “The Adam Project” in Vancouver and “Locke & Key” in Toronto.

“We’re in this for the long haul with Canada”

Quebec is also an important centre of Netflix investment for VFX and animation, and the company intends to continue that presence, Sarandos said.

Canada is “an important part of our production ecosystem” with “world-class crews,” he said.

“The density of talent in Canada is remarkable, and we’ve found that everywhere we shoot in Canada.”

In 2017, Netflix pledged to spend $500 million to fund original content made in Canada over five years, and has already met that target.

Asked if Canada might see a similar commitment from Netflix next year, when that five-year date expires, Sarandos said: “We’re in this for the long haul with Canada.”

Sarandos pointed to homegrown content produced by Netflix, including the B.C.-made Canadian-American animated film “The Willoughbys” and documentary series “Rust Valley Restorers,” and two Quebec-shot projects — the film “The Decline” and the series “Can You Hear Me?”

Then there are Canadian-made shows that have been vaulted to international fame by their presence on Netflix, from “Schitt’s Creek” to “Kim’s Convenience,” he added.

He said Netflix also recently held a virtual Canadian pitch day between creators and executives, which yielded more than 10,000 submissions from across the country. Netflix also plans to do a French pitch day in the near future.

Until now, streaming platforms like Netflix have been exempt from Canada’s Broadcasting Act, which sets regulations for the amount of money contributed to the creation of Canadian content in Canada and how much of it should be aired here.

But proposed changes to the act through Bill C-10, which was introduced in November and is now before the House of Commons, could mean those streaming platforms have to face the same regulations as traditional broadcasters.

Sarandos said Netflix loves “the kind of flexible nature of the bill as proposed,” and doesn’t think it should face the same spending requirements broadcasters face.

“Our businesses are very different, our investment in Canada and our investment in production is very different,” he said, noting about 70 per cent of the funds that local broadcasters spend to meet their Cancon requirements goes towards news and sports.

“We spend all of our programming dollars on filmed entertainment. And it’s the nature of live linear television versus on-demand television. They’re very, very different. And I do think that those types of quotas often cut against consumer desire. We’re a company that has had great success by focusing on consumers’ desire — consumers in Canada and consumers around the world.”

Bombardier to cut 1,600 jobs in move to reduce costs and consolidate work

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Feb 11th, 2021

Bombardier Inc. says it will reduce its overall workforce by about 1,600 jobs as it moves to cut costs.

The company says the cuts come as it consolidates its Global aircraft completion work in Montreal and reviews options for underutilized hangar and industrial space at its Quebec facilities.

Bombardier also says it will end production of Learjet aircraft later this year, allowing it to focus on its more profitable Challenger and Global aircraft families.

The company says the cuts will bring its global workforce to 13,000 by the end of the year.

The moves come as Bombardier, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, reported a net loss of US$337 million or 18 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with a net loss of US$1.72 billion or 74 cents per diluted share a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter totalled US$2.34 billion, down from US$2.41 billion.

On an adjusted basis, Bombardier says it lost 20 cents per share in its most recent quarter compared with a break even result on an adjusted basis in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Ontario RCMP say six people charged with human trafficking 80 workers from Mexico

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Feb 10th, 2021

The RCMP say six people have been charged with human trafficking over allegations they brought workers into Canada from Mexico to work through their companies.

Police say the foreign nationals entered Canada as visitors through airports in Toronto, Montreal and Hamilton, Ont., and then worked through employment agencies operated by the accused.

A joint investigation by Mounties and the Canada Border Services Agency say these workers were being exploited.

Police say during searches in July and September of 2019 police found about 80 foreign nationals living in places in Hamilton and Milton, Ont., infested with bed bugs, cockroaches and other vermin.

Investigators say some of those employment agencies included Nora Services, Trillium Management and Bryan Enterprise Agency.

The accused are to appear in Hamilton court on March 8.

Christian Vitela, 33, Mario Roca Morales, 47, Cheang Kim, 60, Miurel Bracamonte, 43, Nora Rivera Franco, 36, and Myriam Vitela, 55, all face human trafficking charges.

“The investigation uncovered a group of individuals exploiting foreign nationals, as well as manipulating our immigration systems and processes for personal gain and profit,” Ann Koenig, officer in charge of the RCMP Hamilton-Niagara Regional Detachment, said Tuesday in a release.

The RCMP and CBSA say the investigation continues and more charges are pending.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Feb 10th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 25,230 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,123,563 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 2,964.603 per 100,000.

There were 4,000 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,278,015 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 87.91 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 2,516 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,596 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 24.055 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 17,475 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.08 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 972 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 8,828 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.652 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 10,200 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.55 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 3,661 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 18,826 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 19.291 per 1,000. There were 4,000 new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 34,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 54.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 1,366 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 18,643 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.90 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 25,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 3,406 new vaccinations administered for a total of 262,594 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 30.689 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 294,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.07 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 12,462 new vaccinations administered for a total of 398,633 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 27.138 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 437,975 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 91.02 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 1,186 new vaccinations administered for a total of 49,373 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 35.855 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 66,090 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 74.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 1,534 new vaccinations administered for a total of 44,521 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 37.757 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 44,575 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 99.88 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 3,968 new vaccinations administered for a total of 124,325 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 28.243 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 132,475 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 93.85 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 1,089 new vaccinations administered for a total of 155,585 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 30.319 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 172,950 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.96 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 175 new vaccinations administered for a total of 11,234 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 269.20 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 35 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 78.01 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting 225 new vaccinations administered for a total of 12,466 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 276.292 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 32 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 86.57 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 87 new vaccinations administered for a total of 5,939 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 153.36 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 12,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 31 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 49.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Feds promise new funds for public transit, most money won’t arrive for years

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Feb 10th, 2021

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government will provide nearly $15 billion for public-transit projects across the country — though most of the money won’t arrive until later in the decade.

Trudeau says the promised $14.9 billion in new public-transit funding will be spread over eight years, though most of the money won’t start flowing until 2026.

The government says the new funds will provide cities with predictable funding to plan for their long-term needs while helping Canadians move around easier and fight climate change.

Trudeau announced the new funding during a teleconference this morning ahead of a virtual meeting with mayors from Canada’s largest cities.

Many of those mayors and their local governments are struggling to make ends meet as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage economies due to the need for lockdowns.

They are also facing uncertainties when it comes to how their communities will look after the pandemic, including the extent to which public-transit needs be affected by telework and other changes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press

World economy will lose trillions if poor countries shorted on vaccines: OECD

MIKE BLANCHFIELD, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Feb 9th, 2021

As the Trudeau government is forced to explain delays rolling out COVID-19 vaccines, some of the world’s economic and health leaders are warning of catastrophic financial consequences if poorer countries are shortchanged on vaccinations.

At a video meeting convened by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Monday, Secretary-General Angel Gurria predicted that rich countries would see their economies shrink by trillions of dollars if they don’t do more to help poor countries receive vaccines.

The leaders of the World Health Organization and others also bemoaned the long-term damage of continued “vaccine nationalism” if current trends continue — rich countries getting a pandemic cure at a much higher rate than poorer ones.

It was a message that could provide some political cover for the Liberals, who have been widely criticized for shortfalls in deliveries of vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna while also facing international criticism for pre-buying enough doses of vaccines to cover Canada’s population several times over.

Some international anti-poverty groups have also criticized Canada for planning to take delivery of 1.9 million doses from the COVAX Facility, a new international vaccine-sharing program that is primarily designed to help poor countries afford unaffordable vaccines, but also allows rich donor countries — including Canada — to receive vaccines.

Trudeau and his cabinet ministers on the vaccine file have repeatedly said that the pandemic can’t be stamped out for good if it isn’t defeated everywhere.

They say Canada is a trading nation that depends on the welfare of others for its economic prosperity — especially with the emergence of new variants of the virus in South Africa and Britain.

But their protestations are usually drowned out in the domestic clamour that tends to highlight unfavourable comparisons of Canada’s vaccine rollout with the United States, Britain or other countries.

On Monday, Gurria — the veteran Mexican politician who has led the OECD for 15 years — brought the full force of his political gravitas by offering up a pocketbook argument that eschewed any pretence of altruism.

“It’s a smart thing to do. It is ethically and morally right. But it is also economically right,” said Gurria.

“The global economy stands to lose as much as $9.2 trillion, which is close to half the size of the U.S. economy, just to put it in context … as much as half of which would fall on advanced economies, so they would lose around $5 trillion.”

The OECD is an international forum of more than three dozen mainly democratic and developed countries, including Canada, that aims to help foster economic growth and trade. It also conducts comprehensive economic research and issues the world’s most authoritative annual report on what rich countries spend on foreign aid.

Canada’s former finance minister Bill Morneau, who resigned last summer during the WE funding scandal, had said he was leaving politics because he long wanted to pursue the OECD leadership when Gurria departs later this year. In January, Morneau abandoned that ambition, saying he didn’t have enough support among member countries.

Meanwhile, Trudeau said last week that Canada remains committed to helping poor countries cope with COVID-19 through its $220-million pledge to COVAX, and its $865-million commitment to the ACT Accelerator, which tries to ensure low- and middle-income countries have equitable access to medical treatments during the pandemic.

But Jorge Moreira da Silva, the OECD’s development co-operation director, said COVAX is underfunded by US$5 billion, while the World Health Organization is predicting at US$27-billion shortfall for the ACT Accelerator.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, said 75 per cent of vaccine doses are being administered in 10 wealthy countries.

“It’s understandable that governments want to prioritize vaccinating their own health workers and older people first. But it’s not right to vaccinate young, healthy adults in rich countries before health workers and older people in low-income nations,” Tedros told the OECD forum.

“We must ensure that vaccines, diagnostics and life-saving therapies reach those most at risk and on the front lines in all countries. This is not just a moral imperative. It’s also an economic imperative.”

Trudeau has repeatedly said that all Canadians who want a vaccine will get one by the end of September but that it is too soon to say how the government will eventually decide to share its excess doses globally.

At Monday’s forum, a spokesman for the pharmaceutical industry said the bumps and grinds of vaccine delivery to poor countries would be transformed into “a huge success” in the coming months.

“I think it’s dangerous to talk about, you know, this is a huge moral injustice already now because … you will have significant rollout to developing countries,” said Thomas Cueni, the director-general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations.

“I haven’t seen a single industrialized country, maybe with the exception of Israel, where young and healthy people are vaccinated.”

Poll suggests Americans split over decision to impeach Trump as Senate trial begins

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Feb 9th, 2021

When it comes to impeaching Donald Trump, a new poll suggests Americans are just as divided as the United States Senate.

The online Léger poll, conducted last month for the Association for Canadian Studies, found 49 per cent of U.S. respondents supported impeachment.

Forty per cent said they opposed it, while 11 per cent said they didn’t know.

A similar split exists in the Senate, where the former president will stand trial beginning today on a single count of inciting an insurrection.

The week-long trial isn’t currently expected to end in conviction, which requires two-thirds of the 100 senators to vote in favour.

Online polls cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

Trump was impeached in the House on Jan. 13, days after an angry mob of his supporters laid siege to Capitol Hill while lawmakers were certifying President Joe Biden’s election win.

He’s the first U.S. president ever to be impeached twice.

Trump won’t be there in person, but his lawyers are set to argue that the trial is unconstitutional because he’s no longer the commander-in-chief.

They would be wrong, prominent conservative lawyer Chuck Cooper wrote in the Wall Street Journal — an opinion Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democrats’ leader in the Senate, felt obliged to mention Monday.

“For the past few weeks, the political right has been searching for a safe harbour, a way to oppose the conviction of Donald Trump without passing judgment on his conduct,” Schumer said.

“The truth is, no such safe harbour exists.”

Conviction in the Senate would be followed by a second vote on whether to prohibit Trump from seeking the presidency again — a constitutional wrinkle that applies only to “former officers,” thereby undermining Trump’s own defence strategy, Cooper wrote.

“If the former president is convicted,” Schumer said, “we will proceed to a vote on whether he is qualified to enjoy any office of honour, trust or profit under the United States.”

Of the U.S. respondents to the poll, 54 per cent said they would like to see Trump banned from a 2024 run, while 39 per cent said he should be allowed to seek the job again.

The Léger poll also asked Canadians a separate set of questions that suggest they’re ready to turn the page on the Trump era.

Some 61 per cent of the poll’s 1,559 Canadian respondents said they expect Canada-U.S. relations to improve under Biden, compared with 15 per cent who anticipate more tension.

Another 13 per cent said they expect no change and 11 per cent didn’t know.

The poll was conducted during the final week of January, which was after Biden signed an executive order on his first day in the White House cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline expansion.

Of those respondents who anticipated worsening relations, 38 per cent were in Alberta and 25 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Meanwhile, only 43 per cent of U.S. respondents who were asked the same question expected relations to improve, compared to 28 per cent who said they expect a downturn.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Feb 9th, 2021

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday Feb. 9, 2021.

There are 808,120 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 808,120 confirmed cases (40,175 active, 747,110 resolved, 20,835 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 3,860 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 105.71 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24,531 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3,504.

There were 68 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 699 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 100. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.26 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 54.82 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 427 confirmed cases (30 active, 393 resolved, four deaths).

There were 11 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 5.75 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 19 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 113 confirmed cases (three active, 110 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 1.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,586 confirmed cases (eight active, 1,513 resolved, 65 deaths).

There was one new case Monday. The rate of active cases is 0.82 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been five new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 1,346 confirmed cases (183 active, 1,143 resolved, 20 deaths).

There were two new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 23.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 82 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 12.

There were zero new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 2.56 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Quebec: 270,911 confirmed cases (11,504 active, 249,361 resolved, 10,046 deaths).

There were 853 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 134.16 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,438 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,063.

There were 15 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 220 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 31. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.37 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 117.16 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Ontario: 279,472 confirmed cases (14,331 active, 258,603 resolved, 6,538 deaths).

There were 1,265 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 97.26 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,292 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,327.

There were 33 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 314 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 45. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.3 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 44.37 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 30,289 confirmed cases (1,622 active, 27,817 resolved, 850 deaths).

There were 52 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 117.6 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 638 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 91.

There were four new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 18 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 61.63 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 25,574 confirmed cases (2,204 active, 23,029 resolved, 341 deaths).

There were 171 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 186.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,563 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 223.

There were two new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 35 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 28.93 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Alberta: 127,036 confirmed cases (6,196 active, 119,130 resolved, 1,710 deaths).

There were 269 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 140.12 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,473 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 353.

There was one new reported death Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 61 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.2 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 38.67 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 70,952 confirmed cases (4,088 active, 65,605 resolved, 1,259 deaths).

There were 1,236 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 79.41 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,015 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 431.

There were 13 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 49 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is seven. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 24.46 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 32 confirmed cases (one active, 31 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 2.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 299 confirmed cases (five active, 293 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 12.71 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of five new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 9, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Alberta’s COVID-19 economic relaunch plan: restaurants, bars reopen to indoor customers

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Feb 8th, 2021

Alberta restaurants can reopen Monday for in-person dining as part of the province’s four-step plan to reopen the economy.

Restaurants had been closed to in-person dining after a resurgence of COVID-19 late last year sent case numbers soaring.

Premier Jason Kenney says reduced case numbers have made it possible to ease some restrictions, but he has also criticized some restaurants for ignoring public health orders by opening their doors prematurely.

Fitness training can also resume but only for one-on-one workouts — individual workouts without a trainer are not permitted.

Sports and entertainment-related activities can resume in schools, and the province also said over the weekend that youth will be able to take part in lessons and practices for team-based minor sports and athletics, although games are still prohibited.

Indoor gatherings are still banned and outdoor get-togethers are capped at 10.

The plan has been criticized by some as too risky given there are more than 500 Albertans still in hospital with COVID-19 and more than 60 cases of two variant strains of the virus.

The two variants, originating in the United Kingdom and South Africa, are exponentially more contagious than the original strain and, if left unchecked, could quickly swamp hospitals.

The Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association wants the staged reopening shelved given the uncertainty of the variants.

The Opposition NDP says the province has put small- and medium-sized businesses in a no-win situation by not providing supports they need to stay closed and pushing them to move forward with risky reopenings.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, says the new strains are a concern, but adds more resources have been put in place to deal with them, including the capability of testing 300 positive cases a day for the variants.

As for the reopening, Hinshaw has said comparable provinces like British Columbia and Saskatchewan have similar per-capita COVID-19 rates with comparable economic measures.

There is a minimum three-week lag between stages to fully assess the impact on case rates. Both Hinshaw and Kenney have said if the reopening must be paused or rolled back, it will be.

The four-stage scenario is tied mainly to hospitalization rates. Stage 1 is moving ahead because there are fewer than 600 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19.

When fewer than 450 are hospitalized, there is to be a further easing of restrictions on hotels, retailers and conference centres. Right now, retailers are open at 15 per cent capacity.

If there are fewer than 300 COVID-19 patients in hospital, entertainment venues — including casinos, cinemas, theatres and art galleries — will be able to open and the 15 per cent capacity limit for faith-based services will be eased.

Large events such as indoor concerts, trade shows, and weddings are to get the green light when there are fewer than 150 hospital cases.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Monday, Feb. 8, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Feb 8th, 2021

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Feb. 8, 2021.

There are 804,260 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 804,260 confirmed cases (44,727 active, 738,766 resolved, 20,767 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 3,203 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 117.69 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24,407 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3,487.

There were 65 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 735 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 105. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.28 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 54.64 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 416 confirmed cases (19 active, 393 resolved, four deaths).

There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 3.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been eight new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 113 confirmed cases (three active, 110 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 1.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,585 confirmed cases (eight active, 1,512 resolved, 65 deaths).

There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 0.82 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been five new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 1,344 confirmed cases (204 active, 1,120 resolved, 20 deaths).

There were seven new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 26.1 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 88 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 13.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 2.56 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Quebec: 270,058 confirmed cases (11,915 active, 248,112 resolved, 10,031 deaths).

There were 1,081 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 138.96 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,475 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,068.

There were 32 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 237 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 34. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.39 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 116.99 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Ontario: 278,207 confirmed cases (14,799 active, 256,903 resolved, 6,505 deaths).

There were 1,489 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 100.44 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,996 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,428.

There were 22 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 317 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 45. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.31 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 44.15 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 30,237 confirmed cases (3,256 active, 26,135 resolved, 846 deaths).

There were 79 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 236.07 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 673 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 96.

There were four new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 17 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.18 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 61.34 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 25,403 confirmed cases (2,363 active, 22,701 resolved, 339 deaths).

There were 194 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 200.48 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,539 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 220.

There were three new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 35 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 28.76 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Alberta: 126,767 confirmed cases (6,242 active, 118,816 resolved, 1,709 deaths).

There were 351 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 141.16 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,559 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 366.

There were four new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 70 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 10. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 38.65 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 69,716 confirmed cases (5,903 active, 62,567 resolved, 1,246 deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 114.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,056 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 294.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 57 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is eight. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 24.2 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 32 confirmed cases (one active, 31 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 299 confirmed cases (14 active, 284 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 35.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of five new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Quebec reopens non-essential stores, salons and museums as COVID-19 restrictions ease

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Feb 8th, 2021

Non-essential stores, personal care salons and museums across Quebec will allowed to reopen Monday as the province eases some of the restrictions put in place to control the spread of COVID-19.

The province is also allowing universities and junior colleges to begin to gradually reopen their campuses to allow students to attend in-person classes and activities a few times a month.

But while the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations has dropped in recent weeks, the government says it’s still too early to remove measures such as a nighttime curfew.

Six of the province’s less-populated regions are moving to the lower orange-alert level, allowing their residents to eat inside restaurant dining rooms, work out at gyms and stay out until 9:30 p.m., instead of 8 p.m. like the rest of the province.

The province is also allowing people across the province to participate in outdoor activities with people outside their households.

Residents will be able to meet outside with up to three people from other households, while in orange zones, the limit will be increased to eight.

Indoor gatherings are still prohibited, and bars remain closed. The government is also ordering anyone who can work from home to do so.

Restaurants in orange zones will only be allowed to seat two adults and their children at each table, and reservations will be mandatory to facilitate contact tracing and to prevent people from outside the region from visiting them.

Men have vanished on Vancouver Island. What happened to them?

THE BIG STORY | posted Friday, Feb 5th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, over the past several years, vulnerable men have been disappearing from communities around Vancouver Island. They walk away, and then they are never seen again. Are they running? Have they gotten lost, and perished in the woods? Is there something more sinister happening? The host of Island Crime: Gone Boys, which launches on Monday, has spent months investigating the case, speaking to the families, authorities and experts in criminology. What did she find? What happens next?

GUEST: Laura Palmer, host of Island Crime (You can hear the trailer and subscribe for free to S2 of Island Crime right here.)

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Anti-poverty groups blast Canada for accepting vaccines needed in poor countries

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Feb 5th, 2021

OTTAWA — Two of the world’s leading anti-poverty organizations are criticizing Canada’s decision to draw COVID-19 vaccines from an international fund designed to help poor countries.

Oxfam Canada and the ONE Campaign say it is wrong for the federal government to agree to accept almost 1.9 million doses of vaccine from the COVAX Facility by the end of June.

Canada is one of the leading donors to COVAX, a new international partnership under the World Health Organization created last year to help deliver billions of expensive vaccine doses to poor countries that can’t afford vaccinations.

In return, donor countries are allowed to receive a small percentage of vaccines for their own use, but the Trudeau Liberals have been under fire from their political opponents for doing that as Canada faces shortfalls in doses from two major international biotech firms.

Diana Sarosi, Oxfam Canada’s policy director, says it is wrong for Canada to accept COVAX vaccines because of domestic political pressure and says it will ultimately do harm in poorer countries.

Stuart Hickox, the Canadian executive director of the ONE Campaign, says Canada looks bad by accepting the doses and should be making plans to share its excess vaccines.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Feb 5th, 2021

The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

10:40 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 1,670 cases of COVID-19 today, but public health officials say that number is likely overestimated.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health says 125 of them are older infections from Toronto that weren’t previously recorded by the province.

Public health officials have said that updates to the provincial case database are causing fluctuations in this week’s tallies.

Ontario is also counting 45 deaths linked to COVID-19 today.

10:10 a.m.

The Canadian Forces are being sent to a remote First Nation in Manitoba to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the army is being sent to Pauingassi First Nation.

The community is 280 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Feds ramp up efforts to help residents of Hong Kong immigrate to, stay in Canada

STEPHANIE LEVITZ, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Feb 4th, 2021

The federal government is moving forward on efforts to help citizens of Hong Kong remain in Canada rather than return home amid China’s clampdown on democracy.

One of several new immigration programs designed to give Hong Kong residents a safe haven in Canada will open for applications on Monday.

The program is open to Hong Kong residents who’ve graduated with a Canadian post-secondary diploma or degree in the last five years or hold an equivalent foreign credential.

They’ll be eligible to receive a work permit for up to three years, which could in turn open up the option for them to remain in Canada permanently.

While the program is available both to people living in Hong Kong and those already in Canada, given COVID-19 travel restrictions, it’s expected the majority of those who will benefit initially are already here.

“With flexible open work permits and a fast-track to permanent residency, skilled Hong Kong residents will have a unique opportunity to develop their careers and help accelerate Canada’s economic recovery,” Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said in a statement.

Details of the other two programs — one targeting residents with one year of work experience in Canada and the second for recent graduates coming directly from Hong Kong — are still being worked out.

All were announced last fall as demands grew for the Canadian government to do more in response to the Chinese government’s move to implement new laws and measures in Hong Kong understood as efforts to suppress the freedom of people living there.

Word that the open work permit program will open on Feb. 8 comes as the Chinese government appears to be putting pressure on Canadians in Hong Kong.

China doesn’t legally recognize dual nationality in Hong Kong, but as many as 300,000 people living there are believed to hold both Chinese and Canadian permanent residency.

Concerns are now rising that China will start enforcing the law on dual nationality more broadly which could cut Canadians off, for example, from consular access.

In recent weeks, reports have surfaced of people who hold both Chinese and Canadian passports being detained and forced to pick a nationality.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Feb 4th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 13,768 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,000,862 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 2,640.847 per 100,000.

There were 2,340 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,157,381 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 86.48 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 2,516 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,596 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 24.055 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 16,500 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.34 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 739 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,856 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 49.524 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 9,225 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.16 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 3,551 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 15,837 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 16.228 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 28,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 54.89 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 3,020 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 17,277 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.149 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 21,675 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 79.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 716 new vaccinations administered for a total of 241,546 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 28.229 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 256,625 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 94.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 3,716 new vaccinations administered for a total of 348,331 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.714 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 411,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.62 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 644 new vaccinations administered for a total of 43,318 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 31.458 per 1,000. There were 2,340 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 57,990 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 74.7 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 188 new vaccinations administered for a total of 35,763 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 30.329 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 35,091 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 101.9 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 1,903 new vaccinations administered for a total of 109,341 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 24.839 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 122,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.09 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 1,694 new vaccinations administered for a total of 142,146 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 27.70 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 156,250 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 90.97 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 1,706 new vaccinations administered for a total of 9,091 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 217.848 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 35 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 63.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 12,241 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 271.305 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 32 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 85.01 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 13 new vaccinations administered for a total of 5,519 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 142.514 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 12,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 31 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 45.99 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Federal Conservatives call for special Commons study of Canada-U.S. relations

STEPHANIE LEVITZ, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Feb 4th, 2021

The federal Conservatives are calling for a special House of Commons committee devoted to Canada-U.S. relations.

They’ll advance the idea during a debate in the House of Commons on Thursday devoted to Opposition business.

Their motion would see the committee focus on the economic relationship between the two countries, and notes, given the ongoing pandemic, the “the need for a serious plan for the economic recovery that recognizes the integration of the North American economy.”

While the proposed committee would have a broad mandate, the Conservatives want emphasis placed on two areas: Buy American provisions being advanced by U.S. President Joe Biden, and the case of an Enbridge pipeline known as Line 5, which some U.S. officials want to close.

If the motion is approved, the new committee would be tasked with producing reports on those issues by certain deadlines, and also have the power to call the deputy prime minister, foreign affairs minister and the Canadian ambassador to the U.S. as witnesses.

The committee would also explore what work the government is doing with the U.S. to procure a steady stream of COVID-19 vaccines.

Opposition day motions are not binding on the government though can be used to create political pressure for action.

The call for a Canada-U.S. special committee has echoes of a previous successful attempt by the Conservatives to get a similar committee struck to focus on Canada-China relations, over objections from the Liberals.

That effort was spearheaded by current party leader Erin O’Toole when he was the Conservative foreign-affairs critic.

Both Buy American provisions and the future of Enbridge Line 5 are hot-button political issues.

The pipeline carries millions of litres each day of the liquids used in propane, traversing parts of northern Michigan and Wisconsin with an end in Sarnia, Ont.

The governor of Michigan wants the pipeline shut down, and environmental activists are pressing Biden to support that in the spirit of his recent decision to cancel construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Conservatives accused the Liberals of not doing enough to convince Biden to change his mind on Keystone, and now say more needs to be done to ensure Line 5 stays open to protect the associated jobs.

Biden is also advocating for protectionist Buy American policies, an issue Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did address on his call with U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris earlier this week.

Canadian businesses have raised concerns they’ll be stopped from bidding on U.S. government contracts, and Trudeau’s office said part of his call with Harris was about “avoiding the unintended consequences” of a Buy American approach.

Doctors offer duelling views of what it’s like to receive an assisted death

JOAN BRYDEN, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Feb 3rd, 2021

OTTAWA — Senators have been presented with two starkly different descriptions of what it’s like to receive medical assistance in dying in Canada: a beautiful, peaceful death or a painful end akin to drowning.

The duelling descriptions came from two doctors during testimony Tuesday night at the Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs committee, which is scrutinizing Bill C-7.

The bill would expand Canada’s five-year-old regime for medical assistance in dying (MAID) to include people who are suffering intolerably but not near the end of their natural lives.

Dr. Timothy Holland, a Nova Scotia MAID assessor and provider, said for patients the procedure is “a relaxing drift into  sleep.”

“It is a beautiful and inspiring event,” he told the committee.

“This is a positive thing. The tragedy is the illness that has occurred, MAID is the blessing that allows the patient to have control over that loss.”

Holland choked up as he noted that everyone hopes to die peacefully, surrounded by their loved ones, “to be able to say those perfect last words and have that moment of peace to allow our loved ones to say those perfect farewells.”

“And that’s what happens in a MAID procedure. I feel so incredibly fortunate that I have the great privilege to be witness to these events, a lifetime of love and connection all culminating in this one beautiful goodbye.”

Holland also provided senators a detailed description of how the procedure is performed. Most commonly, he said, three drugs are injected: Midazolam to relax the patient, then Propofol to induce “a deep medical coma” that can stop breathing, and finally Rocuronium, a paralyzing medication to ensure the patient stops breathing.

The resulting lack of oxygen causes the organs to shut down one by one until the heart stops. Because the patient is in a coma, he said they feel nothing as their bodies shut down.

But Dr. Joel Zivot countered that an assisted death only appears outwardly peaceful because the paralyzing drug makes it impossible for the patient to move or show discomfort.

Zivot, a Canadian citizen and associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., admitted that he has never provided MAID or witnessed the procedure.

But based on his study of the autopsies of criminals in the United States who were executed by lethal injection, he said an assisted death “could be exceedingly painful and more like akin to drowning.”

In 85 per cent of the execution cases, he said the lungs were twice their normal weight and full of water, the result of using Phenobarbital in the drug cocktail.

“It means that when a person dies by lethal injection, they basically drown … more akin to death by waterboarding that we recognize to be cruel,” he said, referring to a torture technique used to simulate drowning.

If autopsies were performed on people who’ve received MAID, Zivot said: “Based on my knowledge of pharmacology and familiarity with these drugs, I would suggest that there is a high likelihood that the same things would be found.”

He contended that the drugs used in MAID procedures in Canada are similar to that used in U.S. executions, where  Midazolam has replaced Phenobarbital.

Moreover, Zivot said Propofol, when used to anesthetize a patient for surgery, can cause a burning sensation in the lungs — and that’s using one  tenth of the dose administered during MAID. But the use of the paralyzing drug in MAID means the patient can’t show distress.

“To state that the death that the person experiences is peaceful, well, this is unknowable or false … That’s a chemical myth  that is put in place. That is a trick of what is actually happening here.”

Holland vigorously rebutted Zivot’s contention, arguing that there can be no comparison between the “very crude” drug regimen used in executions and the “incredibly elegant regimen of medications” used in MAID.

Phenobarbital is not used in MAID procedures, he said, and Midazolam is not used to end life, as in U.S. executions, but only in small doses to relax the patient.

As for Propofol, Holland said it’s used all the time to anesthetize patients for surgeries, resetting broken bones or intubation. And he said doctors do, in fact, know precisely how it feels for the patients because, when they regain consciousness, “they have no memory of (the procedure they just underwent) and have had no sensation.”

Much larger doses of Propofol are used in MAID procedures to ensure patients fall into a deep state of unconsciousness, he added.

“The notion that it is burning alive their lungs, this has not been seen in operating theatres,” Holland said. “It is an impossible thought that this patient could somehow be conscious as they’re then paralysed with the Rocuronium. It goes against everything that we understand in medicine.”

Laurel Hughes, a nurse and director of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority assisted dying program, said in her experience patients are relieved to have their suffering ended.

Sen. Rosemary Moodie, a physician who sits in the Independent Senators Group, said she’s surveyed 17 MAID providers and all described the experience in the same way as Holland.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3. 2021.

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

Canada could get up to 1.1M more doses by March through global vaccine alliance

MIA RABSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Feb 3rd, 2021

Canada could get more than one million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March through a global vaccine sharing initiative known as COVAX.

But as with most things COVID-19, vaccine-related deliveries are mired in the uncertainty of regulatory reviews and potential production delays.

The COVAX Facility, co-ordinated by the World Health Organization and Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, pools funds from wealthier countries to buy vaccines for themselves and for 92 low- and middle-income nations that can’t afford to buy on their own.

Canada contributed $440 million to COVAX in September, half of which secured doses for Canada directly, from about nine vaccines that are participating in the program.

The other half goes into a pooled fund to buy doses for 20 per cent of the people in 92 low- and middle-income countries.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand tells The Canadian Press that up to 1.1 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine could arrive through COVAX by the end of March and up to 3.2 million total by the end of June.

“This represents a boost to the current six million doses expected from Pfizer and Moderna before the end of March,” said Anand.

Canada had planned to vaccinate three million people by the end of March and another 10 million people between April and June.

AstraZeneca requires two doses per person, meaning the COVAX doses could increase Canada’s vaccination plan to 3.5 million people by the end of March and between 11 million and 11.6 million by the end of June.

The extra doses could get some of Canada’s most vulnerable people vaccinated faster, but for many of the world’s poorest countries, the COVAX doses starting to ship this winter will be the first COVID-19 vaccines they will see.

Canada has now vaccinated close to a million people with at least one dose of vaccines from either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

The COVAX doses are also in addition to the 20 million doses Canada purchased directly from AstraZeneca, but neither those nor the COVAX doses will start flowing until Health Canada approves the vaccine for use here.

The regulatory review is in its final stages with a decision expected by the middle of February.

The COVAX doses could begin shipping by the end of the month, but in addition to Health Canada’s approval, the World Health Organization has to issue its own regulatory approval, one of the requirements under COVAX.

That too is expected imminently.

Anand said the size of the deliveries will depend on production. Most vaccine makers, AstraZeneca included, are hitting numerous snags bringing their manufacturing lines up to full tilt.

“All countries are being given a range, given variables that are present in the supply chain at the current time,” she said.

Canada’s two authorized vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have both been hit with delivery delays in the last three weeks because of production issues.

AstraZeneca is facing production problems at some of its plants in Europe. The vaccine maker is in a very public fight with the European Union that led to Europe imposing export controls on vaccines made in member nations.

Canada has received assurances its doses made in Europe will still be shipped.

However, Anand said Canada’s doses of AstraZeneca from COVAX are coming from South Korea, where the vaccine maker signed a deal with SK Bioscience to manufacture their product.

“The good thing about the South Korean option is that we are able to go there and not have a concern about the EU allocations,” said Anand.

She noted that deliveries to COVAX were exempted by Europe from export controls.

Anand said it’s not finalized yet where AstraZeneca intends to manufacture Canada’s other doses.

Canada and other developed countries have been criticized for using their wealth and influence to snap up a majority of vaccines for themselves. COVAX was supposed to prevent that, and International Development Minister Karina Gould said it is working as intended.

“It was designed so that you had developed countries be part of the process to encourage them to support it, but also to give COVAX the financial support that it needs to purchase vaccines on behalf of developing countries as well,” she said.

COVAX intends to distribute about two billion doses this year, which should be enough, it believes, to vaccinate the most vulnerable including front-line health workers and seniors.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Feb 3rd, 2021

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.

There are 786,417 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 786,417 confirmed cases (49,562 active, 716,642 resolved, 20,213 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 2,828 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 130.41 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 29,395 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 4,199.

There were 77 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 810 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 116. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.3 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 53.18 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 408 confirmed cases (16 active, 388 resolved, four deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 3.06 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 113 confirmed cases (five active, 108 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 3.13 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,582 confirmed cases (10 active, 1,507 resolved, 65 deaths).

There was one new case Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 1.02 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 10 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 1,288 confirmed cases (268 active, 1,002 resolved, 18 deaths).

There were 24 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 34.29 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 127 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 18.

There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of four new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is one. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.07 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 2.3 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Quebec: 264,526 confirmed cases (13,127 active, 241,537 resolved, 9,862 deaths).

There were 1,053 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 153.09 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 8,524 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,218.

There were 36 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 285 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 41. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.47 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 115.01 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Ontario: 270,925 confirmed cases (17,451 active, 247,236 resolved, 6,238 deaths).

There were 745 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 118.44 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12,225 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,746.

There were 14 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 329 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 47. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.32 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.34 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 29,733 confirmed cases (3,421 active, 25,480 resolved, 832 deaths).

There were 82 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 248.03 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 831 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 119.

There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 23 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is three. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.24 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 60.32 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 24,236 confirmed cases (2,320 active, 21,602 resolved, 314 deaths).

There were 225 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 196.83 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,590 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 227.

There were eight new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 46 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is seven. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.56 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.64 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Alberta: 124,831 confirmed cases (6,912 active, 116,259 resolved, 1,660 deaths).

There were 268 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 156.31 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,930 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 419.

There were 11 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 73 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 10. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.24 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 37.54 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 68,366 confirmed cases (6,019 active, 61,129 resolved, 1,218 deaths).

There were 429 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 116.93 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,132 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 447.

There were eight new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 50 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is seven. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 23.66 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 32 confirmed cases (one active, 31 resolved, zero deaths).

There was one new case Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 2.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been one new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 294 confirmed cases (12 active, 281 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 30.49 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people.

There have been zero tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 3, 2021.

The Canadian Press

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Feb 2nd, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Monday Feb. 2, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 18,290 new vaccinations administered for a total of 975,519 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 2,573.978 per 100,000.

There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,124,816 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 86.73 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 1,531 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 10,080 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 19.25 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 16,500 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 61.09 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 985 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,510 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 47.343 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 9,225 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.41 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 3,823 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 14,906 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 15.274 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 28,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 51.67 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 3,020 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 17,277 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.149 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 21,675 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 79.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 796 new vaccinations administered for a total of 239,023 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 27.934 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 238,100 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 100.4 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 2,256 new vaccinations administered for a total of 341,900 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.276 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 411,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 83.06 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 1,032 new vaccinations administered for a total of 41,817 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 30.368 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 55,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.14 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 88 new vaccinations administered for a total of 35,447 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 30.061 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 35,091 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 101 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 93 new vaccinations administered for a total of 106,347 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 24.159 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 122,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 9,651 new vaccinations administered for a total of 138,892 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 27.066 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 144,550 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 96.09 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 889 new vaccinations administered for a total of 7,385 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 176.967 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 35 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 51.28 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 9,471 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 209.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 32 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 65.77 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 148 new vaccinations administered for a total of 5,464 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 141.094 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 12,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 31 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 45.53 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published February 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Canada on verge of deal to make COVID-19 vaccines at home

MIA RABSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Feb 2nd, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to announce Tuesday the makings of an agreement to produce COVID-19 vaccines within Canada.

Industry Minister Francois-Phillipe Champagne tells The Canadian Press the government is moving quickly to start making COVID-19 vaccines itself, instead of being entirely reliant on foreign production for the most sought-after product in the world.

The deal could help Trudeau tamp down the political headache caused by Canada’s skeletal vaccine production capacity.

Canada’s inability to produce any COVID-19 vaccines at home has left the country at the mercy of foreign governments who could at any time slam the doors shut to vaccine exports until their own people are vaccinated.

That risk became ever more real this week as Europe’s new export controls on vaccines takes hold, putting at risk Canada’s entire supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

Champagne’s department and the National Research Council have been in talks with all the front-running vaccine makers in the world for months, trying to lure at least one of them to make some of their vaccines at the new facility, which is on track to be finished this summer.

None of those talks have borne any fruit until now.

“I have received positive feedback from some leading vaccine manufacturers in these discussions, and so we are moving full steam ahead to build Canada’s domestic production of vaccines,” said Champagne, in a statement to The Canadian Press.

The National Research Council was even rebuffed in offers to help all leading vaccine makers do research on scaling up their production processes to make the precious doses as fast as possible.

None of those offers was accepted.

Talks to do that with Novavax fell apart at the 11th hour last fall, right before an initial agreement for Canada to buy 52 million doses of Novavax’s vaccine was announced.

An email chain, released to the House of Commons health committee in the latest batch of documents on Canada’s pandemic response, shows a reference to the agreement was deleted from the memorandum of understanding with Novavax the day before the deal was made public.

Messy winter storm slams into the Maritimes

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Feb 2nd, 2021

HALIFAX — A winter storm is sweeping over the Maritimes, forcing the closure of schools and making driving treacherous.

Snowfall and winter storm warnings remain in effect for much of the region, though most of Nova Scotia is bracing for up to 80 millimetres of rain and winds gusting at up to 100 kilometres per hour along the coast.

Power outages were reported this morning along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast and on New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island.

Up to 30 centimetres of snow is in the forecast for northern New Brunswick, but the snow was expected to transition to ice pellets and rain this afternoon.

Environment Canada says residents of the Saint John River Valley can expect a few hours of freezing rain.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Questions remain over Canada’s vaccination rollout amid delays and fresh applications

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Feb 1st, 2021

Canada’s national vaccine rollout seems poised to dominate COVID-19 discussions in the coming week as Canada enters the 11th month of life during a global pandemic.

The federal government, which is overseeing the nationwide effort, has been facing strong criticism as it struggles to ensure there are enough immunization doses to go around.

The two companies whose vaccines have been approved for use here recently complicated matters by saying they wouldn’t immediately be able to deliver their promised number of doses due to production delays in Europe.

The Liberal government has repeatedly said both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna still intend to fulfill their promised delivery schedules and that current delays are temporary.

At least three other companies, Novavax, Astra-Zeneca  and Johnson and Johnson, have all launched the process of having Health Canada approve their vaccines.

Canada officially recorded more than 20,000 deaths caused by COVID-19 as of Sunday and is still logging high daily case counts in several provinces, though Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says overall totals are trending downward.

But she’s urging provinces and territories to maintain strict public health precautions to ensure case counts keep declining, noting the emergence of more infectious variants of the virus could send numbers soaring again.

One of the provinces hardest hit by the pandemic, however, is weighing the idea of loosening some restrictions as early as next week.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault is currently scheduled to announce revisions to the province’s public health measures on Tuesday afternoon.

He’s indicated a desire to relax some protective measures, primarily for retail stores, but says he’ll only do so if the COVID-19 situation in the province allows for it.

Alberta has already announced plans to ease restrictions on businesses such as gyms and restaurants as of Feb. 8.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Feb. 1, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Feb 1st, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Feb. 1, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 5,017 new vaccinations administered for a total of 957,229 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 2,525.718 per 100,000.

There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,124,816 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 85.1 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 1,531 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 10,080 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 19.25 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 16,500 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 61.09 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 985 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,510 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 47.343 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 9,225 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.41 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 4,014 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 14,589 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 14.949 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 28,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 50.57 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 3,821 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 14,257 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 18.277 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 21,675 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 65.78 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 84 new vaccinations administered for a total of 238,227 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 27.841 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 238,100 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 100.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 2,816 new vaccinations administered for a total of 339,644 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 23.122 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 411,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.51 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 1,495 new vaccinations administered for a total of 40,785 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 29.619 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 55,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 73.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 120 new vaccinations administered for a total of 35,359 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 29.987 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 35,091 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 100.8 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 502 new vaccinations administered for a total of 106,254 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 24.137 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 122,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.58 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 129,241 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 25.185 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 144,550 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.41 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 6,496 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 155.664 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 35 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 45.11 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 9,471 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 209.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 32 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 65.77 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 5,316 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 137.272 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 12,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 31 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 44.3 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Homeless in the winter, in a pandemic. A deadly combination.

THE BIG STORY | posted Monday, Feb 1st, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, a man in Montreal was found dead in a portable toilet. The shelter he often used had been temporarily closed for overnights due to a COVID-19 outbreak. The Canadian winter puts those without homes in danger every year—but COVID-19 has made it impossible for them to access many of the resources that can be lifesaving.

How did the system fail Raphaël André? How are advocates fighting to prevent further deaths? Have we learned anything during this horrible year that could help us solve the problem? And, simply, why hasn’t more been done?

GUEST: Jake Kivanc (You can read Jake’s reporting here.)

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Out-of-province travellers required to self-isolate for 14 days in Manitoba

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jan 29th, 2021

New travel restrictions requiring anyone who enters Manitoba to self-isolate for 14 days start today.

Since last June, only travellers arriving from areas east of Terrace Bay in northern Ontario had been subject to the requirement.

All out-of-province arrivals are now covered by the public-health measure.

Premier Brian Pallister has said the move is needed because of the growing spread of novel coronavirus variants and delays in vaccine supplies.

There are exceptions for people travelling for essential work and medical care, and for residents of border communities who cross into Saskatchewan or Ontario for necessities.

Dr. Jazz Atwal, acting chief health officer, says Manitobans who were outside the province before the new order came into effect will be exempt from quarantining.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Thursday, Jan. 29, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jan 29th, 2021

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of  4 a.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2021.

There are 766,103 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 766,103 confirmed cases (57,020 active, 689,419 resolved, 19,664 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 4,877 new cases Thursday from 92,645 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.3 per cent. The rate of active cases is 151.69 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 34,653 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 4,950.

There were 131 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 1,042 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 149. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.4 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 52.31 per 100,000 people.

There have been 17,290,560 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 404 confirmed cases (12 active, 388 resolved, four deaths).

There were four new cases Thursday from 264 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.5 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.3 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of seven new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 79,067 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 111 confirmed cases (six active, 105 resolved, zero deaths).

There was one new case Thursday from 528 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.19 per cent. The rate of active cases is 3.82 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been one new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 89,812 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,576 confirmed cases (11 active, 1,500 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were zero new cases Thursday from 896 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.13 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 11 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been 203,026 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 1,202 confirmed cases (314 active, 872 resolved, 16 deaths).

There were 27 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 40.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 145 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 21.

There were zero new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of three new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.06 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 2.06 per 100,000 people.

There have been 138,569 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 258,698 confirmed cases (15,263 active, 233,768 resolved, 9,667 deaths).

There were 1,368 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 179.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,838 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,405.

There were 37 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 394 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 56. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.66 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 113.93 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,695,925 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 262,463 confirmed cases (21,478 active, 234,971 resolved, 6,014 deaths).

There were 2,093 new cases Thursday from 62,549 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.3 per cent. The rate of active cases is 147.45 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 14,899 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,128.

There were 56 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 400 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 57. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.39 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 41.29 per 100,000 people.

There have been 9,123,649 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 29,128 confirmed cases (3,456 active, 24,851 resolved, 821 deaths).

There were 132 new cases Thursday from 2,267 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.8 per cent. The rate of active cases is 252.36 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,039 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 148.

There were eight new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.29 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 59.95 per 100,000 people.

There have been 452,461 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 23,038 confirmed cases (2,478 active, 20,275 resolved, 285 deaths).

There were 244 new cases Thursday from 1,094 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 22 per cent. The rate of active cases is 210.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,700 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 243.

There were 11 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 46 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is seven. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.56 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 24.27 per 100,000 people.

There have been 333,534 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 122,821 confirmed cases (8,041 active, 113,174 resolved, 1,606 deaths).

There were 461 new cases Thursday from 24,990 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.8 per cent. The rate of active cases is 183.95 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,707 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 530.

There were seven new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 106 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 15. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.35 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 36.74 per 100,000 people.

There have been 3,106,652 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 66,265 confirmed cases (5,940 active, 59,141 resolved, 1,184 deaths).

There were 546 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 117.13 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,289 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 470.

There were 12 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 65 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.18 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 23.35 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,044,931 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Thursday from seven completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people.

There have been 6,264 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 31 confirmed cases (three active, 28 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 6.69 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 9,064 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 283 confirmed cases (18 active, 264 resolved, one deaths).

There was one new case Thursday from 50 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 2.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 46.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 17 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.58 per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,530 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 29, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Statistics Canada says economy grew 0.7% in November

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jan 29th, 2021

Statistics Canada says the economy grew 0.7 per cent in November.

The gains in November was the seventh straight month of gains after steep drops in March and April.

The agency also says its preliminary estimate for December shows growth of 0.3 per cent, even as much of the country headed into heavy restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The preliminary estimate for the fourth quarter shows an annualized growth rate of 7.8 per cent.

For the full year, Statistic Canada’s preliminary estimate shows the economy contracted by 5.1 per cent.

Holiday season vacations coincide with rise in COVID-19 travel-related cases

MIA RABSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jan 28th, 2021

As the federal government prepares to slap new restrictions on international travel, Health Canada data suggest a worrying uptick of infections directly connected to foreign arrivals.

While travel exposures account for less than two per cent of all Canada’s COVID-19 cases, the number of cases in recent travellers, and people they came into close contact with after arriving, shows continual growth in recent months.

In December, 486 cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in recent travellers, the most since March and up from 312 in November and 204 in October. Despite mandatory two-week quarantines for international travellers, there were 1,258 COVID-19 cases confirmed in people who had close contact with a recent traveller in December, up from 744 in November and 704 in October.

In the first three weeks of January, 384 travel cases and 607 traveller-contact cases were confirmed.

The figures also correspond with a recent rise in the number of people travelling, at least by air. Land-border arrivals are typically fewer in the winter because of the weather in much of the country, but more people arrived from the U.S. by air in December than any month since March. Arrivals from other international locations were higher in December than any month except August.

Reports of notable Canadians ignoring pleas not to travel during the pandemic in favour of sun-kissed days on foreign beaches angered much of the country in the weeks after Christmas, and led to several high-profile provincial and federal politicians and health officials being fired, demoted or reprimanded.

Between Nov. 30 and Dec. 27, 86,953 people flew into Canada from the United States, and 184,260 arrived by air from other international locations.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been promising for more than a week that the government will bring in stronger measures for international arrivals, as Canada fears the impact of new variants of COVID-19 that have arisen in other countries.

That is on top of a mandatory two-week quarantine for all arrivals, which has been in place since last spring, restricting international flights to just four airports, and a more recent requirement for foreign travellers to provide proof of recent negative COVID-19 tests within three days of boarding planes to Canada.

A spokesman for Health Minister Patty Hajdu said “Canada has some of the strongest border measures in the world” and all future measures will be guided by both science and evidence. Cole Davidson said 6,500 phone calls are made daily to verify travellers are in quarantine, and that 99 per cent of nearly 50,000 checks on quarantine made by police have found people are where they are supposed to be.

There are more than 50 cases of the new coronavirus variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa now confirmed in Canada, most, but not all of them, in people who recently travelled into Canada from those countries. The variants are believed to spread more easily, and in recent days concerns have arisen about whether they are more likely to cause serious illness or death.

Conservative Health Critic Michelle Rempel Garner said while community spread within Canada still accounts for the vast majority of this country’s cases, Canada has to do more at the borders. She said the most effective option is to impose a mandatory rapid COVID-19 test on all arrivals, and have that test repeated midway through the two-week quarantine period.

Rempel Garner said Canada can’t “hermetically seal” our border as island nations like New Zealand have done, so testing all travellers for the virus, screening them all for the variants, and maintaining the quarantine would be effective and more efficient than requiring travellers to quarantine at a hotel for two weeks at their own expense.

Similar rules have been in place in Iceland for months. Singapore began requiring testing at all airports on Jan. 24, along with using drones and electronic surveillance to monitor people in quarantine.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said a trend in more travel-related cases is “alarming” and that Trudeau can’t wait any longer to act to stop it.

“With the catastrophic situation we are in, we cannot afford a spike because of non-essential travel,” Singh said.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jan 28th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 22,870 new vaccinations administered for a total of 891,324 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 2,351.823 per 100,000.

There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,122,450 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 79.41 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 1,531 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 10,080 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 19.25 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 16,500 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 61.09 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,207 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,117 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 44.866 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 9,225 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 3,111 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,286 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 12.589 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 28,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 42.59 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 3,821 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 14,257 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 18.277 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 21,675 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 65.78 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 4,340 new vaccinations administered for a total of 229,219 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 26.788 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 238,100 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 96.27 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 9,513 new vaccinations administered for a total of 305,330 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 20.786 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 411,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 74.17 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 1,992 new vaccinations administered for a total of 33,361 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 24.227 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 55,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.95 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 535 new vaccinations administered for a total of 34,615 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 29.356 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 32,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 105.8 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 1,309 new vaccinations administered for a total of 101,123 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.972 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 122,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.4 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 2,006 new vaccinations administered for a total of 124,365 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 24.235 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 144,550 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.04 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 773 new vaccinations administered for a total of 5,170 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 123.889 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 35 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 35.9 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 9,471 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 209.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 32 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 65.77 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 207 new vaccinations administered for a total of 4,930 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 127.305 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 12,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 31 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 41.08 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 28, 2021.

The Canadian Press

What the heck just happened on Wall Street?

THE BIG STORY | posted Thursday, Jan 28th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, the investors came from Reddit. They came in droves. They bought GameStop stock and sent it soaring. They cost massive hedge funds hundreds of millions of dollars. They sent shockwaves through the markets. Now a full-fledged mania is underway, with several other stocks in play as well.

How did all this happen? Is it a fluke? A new strategy that will change the game? Will the people who have the power on Wall Street take steps to shut it down? And what happens if and when these bubbles burst?

GUEST: Mike Eppel, Sr. Business Editor, 680 News, CityNews

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

MP Sangha expelled from caucus after baseless accusations against fellow Liberals

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jan 26th, 2021

OTTAWA — Brampton Centre MP Ramesh Sangha has been kicked out of the Liberal caucus.

Government whip Mark Holland says in a statement that Sangha was removed from caucus after making what he calls “baseless and dangerous accusations” against a number of fellow Liberal MPs.

He does not specify what accusations Sangha made.

Holland says Liberals have been clear that they won’t tolerate “conspiracy theories or dangerous and unfounded rhetoric about parliamentarians or other Canadians.”

Holland adds it’s not unusual for many Canadians to “experience suspicions because of their background” and that the Liberal caucus stands firm against racism and intolerance.

Sangha was first elected as a Liberal MP in 2015.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press

British Columbia long-term care home report reveals confusion, mixed messaging

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jan 26th, 2021

VANCOUVER — A third-party report examining how the British Columbia government responded to COVID-19 in long-term care homes during the first wave of the pandemic reveals confusion over policies and infection prevention.

The report, by Ernst & Young, says specific policy orders from the provincial health officer were interpreted differently by health authorities and there were gaps in infection prevention and control as well as emergency preparedness.

It also highlighted a lack of consistent provincial policy on how health authorities and facility operators handled residents who tested positive for COVID-19.

Ernst & Young did praise the government for its decision to create a health emergency command centre as well as restricting staff from working at multiple long-term care facilities, which it says contributed to stopping the spread of COVID-19 infections in care homes.

But it added that those restrictions also highlighted staffing shortages and other underlying issues.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said last week that his government has implemented all the recommendations in the report and its assessment of the province’s actions was “overwhelmingly favourable.”

The report was completed last fall and stakeholders and the Opposition Liberals have questioned why it was not released sooner.

More than 650 of B.C.’s over 1,100 deaths from COVID-19 have been in long-term care facilities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jan 26th, 2021

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Monday Jan. 26, 2021.

There are 753,011 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 753,011 confirmed cases (62,447 active, 671,326 resolved, 19,238 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 4,630 new cases Monday from 35,801 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. The rate of active cases is 166.13 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 37,939 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,420.

There were 144 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 1,118 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 160. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 51.18 per 100,000 people.

There have been 17,086,340 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 398 confirmed cases (eight active, 386 resolved, four deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday from 186 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.53 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 78,319 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 110 confirmed cases (seven active, 103 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday from 226 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 4.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 88,633 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,571 confirmed cases (15 active, 1,491 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 1.54 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 14 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been 200,424 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 1,151 confirmed cases (349 active, 788 resolved, 14 deaths).

There were 27 new cases Monday from 1,071 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 2.5 per cent. The rate of active cases is 44.93 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 178 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 25.

There was one new reported death Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people.

There have been 136,180 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 254,836 confirmed cases (16,428 active, 228,887 resolved, 9,521 deaths).

There were 1,203 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 193.61 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,488 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,498.

There were 43 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 434 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 62. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.73 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 112.21 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,695,925 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 256,960 confirmed cases (23,620 active, 227,494 resolved, 5,846 deaths).

There were 1,958 new cases Monday from 33,192 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 162.15 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16,596 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,371.

There were 43 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 413 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 59. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.41 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 40.13 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,978,001 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 28,810 confirmed cases (3,542 active, 24,464 resolved, 804 deaths).

There were 113 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 258.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,181 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 169.

There were five new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 31 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.32 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.71 per 100,000 people.

There have been 448,638 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 22,416 confirmed cases (3,272 active, 18,890 resolved, 254 deaths).

There were 239 new cases Monday from 992 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 24 per cent. The rate of active cases is 278.6 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,854 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 265.

There was one new reported death Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 35 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.43 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 21.63 per 100,000 people.

There have been 330,694 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 121,535 confirmed cases (9,339 active, 110,622 resolved, 1,574 deaths).

There were 742 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 213.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,224 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 603.

There were 25 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 127 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 18. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 36.01 per 100,000 people.

There have been 3,061,844 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 64,828 confirmed cases (5,843 active, 57,831 resolved, 1,154 deaths).

There were 346 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 115.22 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,381 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 483.

There were 26 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 76 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 22.76 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,044,931 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (zero active, 69 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday from 13 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people.

There have been 6,229 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 31 confirmed cases (seven active, 24 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 15.62 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 9,064 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 282 confirmed cases (17 active, 264 resolved, one deaths).

There were two new cases Monday from 121 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.7 per cent. The rate of active cases is 43.84 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.58 per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,382 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Hearing today in case of Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jan 25th, 2021

A court hearing is scheduled today in the case of Jacob Hoggard, the frontman for the Canadian rock band Hedley, who is charged with sex-related offences.

Pre-trial motions are expected to get underway, with a trial set for April — though there may be further delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hoggard has opted to be tried by a jury, and new jury trials have been put on hold until at least May to limit the spread of the virus.

The singer pleaded not guilty at his preliminary hearing to sexual assault causing bodily harm and sexual interference.

He was arrested and charged in 2018 in connection with alleged incidents involving a woman and a teenager.

The complainants cannot be identified due to a publication ban.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Jan. 25, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jan 25th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Jan. 25, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 15,213 new vaccinations administered for a total of 816,451 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 2,154.265 per 100,000.

There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 1,122,450 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 72.74 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 3,258 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 8,549 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 16.326 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 16,500 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 51.81 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,423 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 6,525 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 41.134 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 9,225 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 70.73 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 2,975 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 10,575 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 10.836 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 28,850 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 36.66 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 2,704 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 10,436 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 13.379 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 21,675 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 48.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 8,503 new vaccinations administered for a total of 218,755 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 25.565 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 238,100 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 91.88 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 4,427 new vaccinations administered for a total of 280,573 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 19.101 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 411,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 68.16 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 1,389 new vaccinations administered for a total of 28,941 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 21.017 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 55,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 52.01 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 654 new vaccinations administered for a total of 33,039 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 28.019 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 32,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 101 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 240 new vaccinations administered for a total of 99,047 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.50 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 122,725 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 110,566 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 21.546 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 144,550 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 3,730 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 89.382 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 35 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 25.9 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,893 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 41.956 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 14,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 32 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 13.15 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 3,822 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 98.693 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 12,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 31 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 31.85 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press

What do employees need to work through a long, dark winter?

THE BIG STORY | posted Monday, Jan 25th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, good morning. It’s Monday. It’s January. It’s cold. It’s dark. There’s a pandemic. If you have been following public health guidelines in many parts of the country, you probably went, roughly, nowhere this weekend. And saw nobody. And now it’s back to work.

What responsibility do employers have for helping their employees with their mental health? What’s the business case for taking it seriously? How can we all help our friends and coworkers make it to the spring with their mental health intact?

You can find the mini-guide on MHCC’s COVID-19 Resource Hub.

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jan 22nd, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 42,622 new vaccinations administered for a total of 738,864 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 1,949.546 per 100,000.

There were 13,260 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 920,775 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 80.24 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 3,258 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 8,549 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 16.326 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 13,575 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 62.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,423 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 6,525 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 41.134 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 8,250 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 79.09 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 5,996 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 9,827 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 10.07 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 23,000 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 42.73 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 2,704 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 10,436 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 13.379 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 17,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 58.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 11,950 new vaccinations administered for a total of 186,210 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 21.762 per 1,000. There were 975 new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 238,100 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.21 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 15,899 new vaccinations administered for a total of 253,817 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 17.279 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 277,050 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 91.61 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 1,519 new vaccinations administered for a total of 23,884 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 17.345 per 1,000. There were 9,360 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 55,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 4.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 42.92 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 2,548 new vaccinations administered for a total of 29,781 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 25.256 per 1,000. There were 2,925 new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 32,225 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.7 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 92.42 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 1,263 new vaccinations administered for a total of 96,506 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 21.923 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 101,275 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 95.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 6,776 new vaccinations administered for a total of 104,901 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 20.442 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 133,475 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.59 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 570 new vaccinations administered for a total of 3,160 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 75.723 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 17 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 43.89 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,893 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 41.956 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 26.29 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 830 new vaccinations administered for a total of 3,375 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 87.151 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 6,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 15 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 56.25 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 21, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Tory, Trudeau urge Pfizer to improve COVID-19 vaccine production

MIA RABSON AND JOHN CHIDLEY-HILL, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jan 22nd, 2021

Toronto Mayor John Tory has joined a chorus of Canadian politicians in urging Pfizer-Biotech to produce more COVID-19 vaccine.

Tory followed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, among others, in speaking directly to executives from the pharmaceutical multinational. Tory said he wanted to make a constructive case after the company said it would not be able to fulfil next week’s order to the federal government.

“The best way to go about these kinds of conversations is to make your case as a Canadian, which I did, and as the mayor of the largest city in the country, and to try to make Canada’s case,” Tory said.

Tory said he knows members of Pfizer’s management team from his previous career as a business executive, and that he reached out to them in concert with the federal government.

“I’m trying to help the country’s efforts to try to see if we can’t get more supply,” the mayor said. “I can’t tell you what results my intervention, or anybody else’s, will have.”

Toronto has had to shut down its two vaccination programs until the federal government provides more doses to the city’s public health unit.

An immunization clinic at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre closed after two days of inoculating front-line health care workers. The city also paused a pilot in shelters for people experiencing homelessness.

Dr. Eileen De Villa, Toronto’s chief medical officer, said everyone’s frustrated with the shipping delay, because the vaccine offers people hope.

“Having it slowed down and having the change in course is not what we wanted,” De Villa said. “But we expect there will be eventually vaccine coming available and we’ll do our very best.”

De Villa said there were 986 new cases of COVID-19 in Toronto on Thursday and 10 more deaths linked to the virus. The update included 102 cases from earlier in the week that had previously gone unreported because of a technical error.

Councillor Joe Cressy, chairman of the Toronto Board of Health, joined Tory and De Villa at the Thursday afternoon news conference. All three detailed the city’s ongoing efforts to support racialized communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

Toronto, Ontario Health, hospitals, and community health providers have been working to improve access to testing in those neighbourhoods. Toronto reports nearly 271 testing clinics have been booked in more than 20 different city-owned facilities, with 89 more dates to come in January at 12 different sites.

Trudeau’s conversation with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on Thursday came the same day the company informed Canada delays to its shipments of COVID-19 vaccines are going to be even worse than previously thought.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander now overseeing the vaccine logistics for the Public Health Agency of Canada, said last week a factory expansion at Pfizer’s Belgium plant was going to slow production, cutting Canada’s deliveries over four weeks in half.

In exchange, Pfizer expects to be able to ship hundreds of millions more doses worldwide over the rest of 2021.

Tuesday, Fortin said Canada would receive 80 per cent of the previously expected doses this week, nothing at all next week, and about half the promised deliveries in the first two weeks of February.

Thursday, he said the doses delivered in the first week of February will only be 79,000, one one-fifth of what was once expected. Fortin doesn’t know yet what will come the week after, but overall, Canada’s doses over three weeks are going to be just one-third of what had been planned.

Fortin said some provinces may be hit even harder than others because of limits on the way the Pfizer doses can be split up for shipping. The vaccine is delicate and must be kept ultra frozen until shortly before injecting it. The company packs and ships specialized coolers, with GPS thermal trackers, directly to provincial vaccine sites.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said earlier this week he doesn’t blame the federal government for the dose delays but wanted Trudeau to do more to push back about it.

“If I was in (Trudeau’s) shoes … I’d be on that phone call every single day. I’d be up that guy’s yin-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn’t know what hit him,” he said of Pfizer’s executives.

Trudeau informed Ford and other premiers of the call with Bourla during a regular teleconference to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic. Until Thursday, all calls between the federal cabinet and Pfizer had been handled by Procurement Minister Anita Anand.

Ford also spoke to Pfizer Canada CEO Cole Pinnow Wednesday.

Trudeau didn’t suggest the call with Bourla made any difference to the delays, and noted Canada is not the only country affected.

Europe, which on the weekend thought its delayed doses would only be for one week after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke to Bourla, now seems poised to be affected longer. Italy is so angry it is threatening to sue the U.S.-based drugmaker for the delays.

Mexico said this week it is only getting half its expected shipment this week and nothing at all for the next three weeks. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also reported delays getting doses. Pfizer Canada spokeswoman Christina Antoniou said more countries were affected but wouldn’t say which ones.

Fortin said Pfizer has promised to deliver four million doses to Canada by the end of March and that is not going to change with the delay. With the current known delivery schedule, the company will have to ship more than 3.1 million doses over 7 1/2 weeks to meet that commitment.

Deliveries from Moderna, the other company that has a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada, are not affected. Canada has received about 176,000 doses from Moderna to date, with deliveries arriving every three weeks.

Moderna has promised two million doses by the end of March.

Both vaccines require first doses and then boosters several weeks later for full effectiveness. Together Pfizer and Moderna intend to ship 20 million doses to Canada in the spring, and 46 million between July and September. With no other vaccines approved, that means Canada will get enough doses to vaccinate the entire population with two doses by the end of September.

Trudeau will be first foreign leader to speak with Biden

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jan 22nd, 2021

The first phone call of the 46th American President Joe Biden comes Friday and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be on the other end of the line.

The White House press secretary says the two leaders will discuss the important relationship between Canada and the United States, as well as Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline.

One of the orders Biden signed on his first day was one to rescind former president Donald Trump’s approval of the $8-billion U.S. cross-border pipeline expansion.

The project stalled throughout Barack Obama’s two terms before being outright cancelled in 2015, then twice resurrected by Trump.

Trudeau has been careful to point out that Biden’s campaign had already promised to block the expansion.

Trudeau says he is disappointed, but acknowledges the president’s decision to fulfill his election campaign promise on Keystone XL.

Trudeau welcomed Biden’s other moves, including rejoining the Paris accord, a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and reversing the travel ban on Muslim-majority countries.

Some provinces yet to say when jail inmates to be vaccinated against COVID-19

STEPHANIE TAYLOR, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jan 21st, 2021

A director at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association believes provinces should set targets for vaccinating inmates in provincial jails — something half of jurisdictions have yet to do.

The Correctional Service of Canada has started vaccinations for federal prisoners who are older or considered “medically vulnerable.” But, as of last week, provinces had yet to start giving shots to inmates awaiting trial or serving shorter sentences in provincial jails.

“Prisoners are disproportionately impacted by health conditions that would make them very susceptible to serious illness and death as a result of COVID,” said Abby Deshman with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Because of a limited vaccine supply, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends people in correctional centres get vaccinated behind those in long-term care homes, seniors 70 and older, critical health-care workers and adults in Indigenous communities.

British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia said that, as of last week, prisoners and staff are scheduled for vaccination in the second round of vaccinations, with estimated start dates between next month and June.

Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec didn’t provide a timeline for when inmates will receive their shots. Newfoundland and Labrador said its inmates will be part of the second phase of its vaccine distribution, but didn’t specify dates.

Saskatchewan said the ranking of vulnerable groups is still to be determined.

The Northwest Territories and Yukon planned to start giving shots this week. Nunavut didn’t respond to inquiries.

Deshman was part of a research project that tracked COVID-19 cases in jails and prisons. It found that since Dec. 1, there have been at least 1,962 infections among staff and inmates — more than all of the cases reported from last March until November.

“We should have targets for immunizing key vulnerable populations, regardless of who they are,” she said.

“If those targets need to be adjusted, if they cannot be met, that needs to be publicly communicated and explained.”

She noted some politicians, including federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, have pushed back against early vaccinations for federal inmates.

Justin Piche, a criminology professor at the University of Ottawa, said there are far fewer older prisoners in provincial jails than in federal prisons, where one out of five inmates is 50 and older.

He said rhetoric from leaders that pits one group against another isn’t helpful.

“Prisons are among the congregate settings that are seeing significant transmission,” he said.

“You have prisoners who are getting COVID-19 at higher rates. You have prison staff that are going in and out of there on a day-to-day basis, going back to their families, going back to their communities.”

The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers believes it’s wrong that Ottawa didn’t vaccinate correctional staff along with prisoners, and instead left it up to provinces to decide where staff fall in the vaccine line.

“It’s completely foolish,” said national president Jeff Wilkins.

“We have (Saskatchewan Penitentiary), for example, which has seen quite an extensive outbreak. Our members are getting burnt out.”

As of last week, Manitoba listed provincial and federal correctional health-care workers as eligible to be vaccinated.

Wilkins wants to see correctional officers inoculated along with long-term care staff.

“In some areas, we’ve seen the rates of the institution be much higher than the community.”

Catherine Latimer, executive director of the John Howard Society of Canada, questions why doses were sent to institutions in Atlantic Canada, which have no active COVID-19 cases, while inmates in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are at higher risk.

Latimer is also concerned about what she says is solitary confinement-like measures being used to contain the novel coronavirus.

“It’s a very, very harsh correctional environment right now,” she said.

“We’re probably going through the worst period in terms of general corrections, at least on the federal side, in the last 50 years.”

WestJet to reintroduce Boeing 737 Max in flight from Calgary to Vancouver

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jan 21st, 2021

WestJet Airlines will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada on Thursday since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes.

Transport Canada lifted its grounding order for the Max on Wednesday after approving design changes to the plane and requiring pilots to undergo additional training.

WestJet executives will hold a press conference after the morning flight between Calgary and Vancouver.

The event is part of a campaign to reintroduce the Max to service while assuring the public that the plane’s safety issues have been addressed.

In wake of decision to kill Keystone XL, Biden’s first foreign-leader call? Trudeau

JAMES MCCARTEN, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jan 21st, 2021

WASHINGTON — If Joe Biden’s decision to kill off Keystone XL is supposed to sound the death knell for Canada-U.S. relations, you wouldn’t know it from the newly minted president’s call sheet.

The 46th president’s first phone call with a foreign leader comes today and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be on the other end of the line.

“I expect they will certainly discuss the important relationship with Canada, as well as his decision on the Keystone pipeline we announced earlier today,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday.

“His early calls will be with partners and allies; he feels it’s important to rebuild those relationships and to address the challenges and threats we’re facing in the world.”

Deep in the stack of leather-bound executive orders Biden signed on his first day in the White House was one to rescind former president Donald Trump’s approval of the US$8-billion cross-border pipeline expansion.

The project, first proposed in 2008, has been bouncing around the White House in various forms of limbo — stalled throughout Barack Obama’s two terms before being outright cancelled in 2015, then twice resurrected by Trump.

Trudeau, who has been careful to point out that Biden’s campaign had already promised to block the expansion, did so again Wednesday in a statement that was more celebratory than scolding.

“While we welcome the president’s commitment to fight climate change, we are disappointed but acknowledge the president’s decision to fulfil his election campaign promise on Keystone XL,” the statement said.

Trudeau welcomed Biden’s other moves, including rejoining the Paris accord, a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and reversing the travel ban on Muslim-majority countries.

In truth, no one in the Liberal government has suggested the decision is likely to do much to impede talks on other major Canada-U.S. priorities, like winning exemptions to Biden’s promised Buy American provisions.

“From autos to our stockpiles, we’re going to buy American,” Biden said during the campaign, “No government contracts will be given to companies that don’t make their products here in America.”

It took Canada nearly a year to negotiate waivers to similar rules in 2010 when Barack Obama’s administration was preparing to spend more than $800 billion to bounce back from the Great Recession.

Biden’s plan, aimed at ensuring Americans are the primary beneficiaries of the government’s efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, will also involve a “Buy American” office operating directly out of the White House.

It will also include executive orders to more strictly enforce, expand and tighten the provisions, a strategy to make U.S. products more competitive and expanded the list of “critical materials” that must be American-made.

The new administration will also inherit a Trump-fuelled feud between U.S. and Canadian dairy producers with all the hallmarks of the intractable and ongoing softwood lumber dispute.

And Biden has nominated cabinet members whose track records suggest they won’t back down from fights.

John Kerry, Biden’s hand-picked envoy on climate change, was secretary of state in 2015 when he successfully urged Obama to reject Keystone XL.

Tom Vilsack, Biden’s proposed new agriculture secretary, cheered U.S. trade ambassador Robert Lighthizer’s decision earlier this month to formally accuse Canada of denying U.S. dairy producers rightful access to markets north of the border.

And Katherine Tai, a trade-talks veteran nominated as Lighthizer’s successor, is widely seen as a hard-nosed negotiator whose main role will be to enforce existing trade agreements and Buy American rules.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021.

James McCarten, The Canadian Press

Is Canada’s democracy safer than America’s?

NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Jan 20th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, Joe Biden will be sworn into office today, hopefully without incident. But in the United States, proponents of democracy are analyzing how close their own came to collapsing. When one party, or even just one powerful politician, decides to disregard norms that have always held fair elections together, it creates stress on a system not designed with bad actors in mind.

So how safe, by comparison, is our democracy in Canada? What checks and balances exist here that don’t exist in the US? How could determined parties or politicians attempt to undermine democracy? And how much depends not on laws but on a collective belief in the democratic process?

GUEST: Stewart Prest, political scientist

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

All eyes on the United States as Canadians tune in to Joe Biden’s inauguration

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 20th, 2021

Canadians will be watching with bated breath as a new U.S. president takes office today.

President-elect Joe Biden and vice-president-elect Kamala Harris are to be sworn in at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The pandemic has placed limits on the size of the crowd that would typically gather in the U.S. capital for the ceremony.

So has the lingering threat of violence after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol building this month to stop the transition of power, egged on by the president himself.

Thousands of National Guard troops have been deployed ahead of the event, further stoking anxiety among Americans and concerned observers.

Wanda Beatty plans to watch the ceremony from her Peterborough, Ont., home, switching between news outlets while chatting online with family.

Three of Beatty’s sisters live in the U.S. and she says the instability has taken a toll on them.

“I’m not worried for their safety, I’m just worried, really, for their mental health,” Beatty said in an interview this week.

“It’s such a bizarre, unprecedented time.”

Despite concerning recent events, Beatty says she’s hopeful that the transition will go smoothly.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that, hopefully, things won’t be as bad as it seems like there’s a potential for.”

Others across Canada are planning to watch the ceremony with roommates and in workplaces as they observe pandemic guidelines.

Katie Thompson of Thompson Chiropractic in Barrie, Ont., says the clinic plans to stream the proceedings live after several patients asked to schedule appointments around the event.

“It feels like we have been building up to this day for, well, quite frankly, four years.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Expelling Derek Sloan from Conservative caucus not entirely up to Erin O’Toole

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 20th, 2021

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole wants Derek Sloan booted out of his party’s caucus but it’s not entirely up to him. Here’s what needs to happen:

Conservative MPs will have to vote on the matter, thanks to their decision to adopt a provision of the Reform Act, legislation introduced by one of their own, Michael Chong, and passed in 2015.

Under the act, each party’s caucus must vote at its first meeting after an election on whether to adopt the various provisions enshrined in the legislation, which is aimed at rebalancing power between MPs and their party leaders.

Following the 2019 election, only Conservative and Bloc Québécois MPs voted to give themselves the power to decide when to expel a caucus member.

Consequently, in order to remove Sloan, 20 per cent of Conservative MPs — 24 of the party’s current 121 MPs — had to sign a notice seeking a review of Sloan’s membership in the caucus.

The matter must then be put to a vote by secret ballot, which is set to take place Wednesday morning. A majority of MPs must support expulsion for Sloan to be ejected.

O’Toole said Monday he wanted Sloan’s fate decided as quickly as possible after learning that his former rival accepted a donation during the leadership race from a well-known white nationalist.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

JOAN BRYDEN, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jan 19th, 2021

Almost two-thirds of Canadians would support a nightly curfew if necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19 — even though they’re not convinced it would be effective, a new poll suggests.

Sixty-five per cent of respondents to a poll by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies said they would support temporary curfews in their provinces if recommended by public health officials.

In Quebec, where the government imposed a month-long curfew 10 days ago, 74 per cent said they support the move.

Nevertheless, only 57 per cent of Quebecers and just 39 per cent of respondents in the rest of the country said they think curfews are an effective way to reduce the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The poll of 1,516 Canadians was conducted Jan. 15 to 18.

Léger executive vice-president Christian Bourque said the results suggest Canadians “want to do their part and will stand by their governments” in efforts to reduce the spread of the virus. But it also suggests provinces “need to sell this thing (curfews) if they want to make it work.”

The poll also suggests that Canadians’ mental health has suffered as the pandemic drags on.

Twenty-one per cent rated their mental health as bad or very bad, up eight points since last April, when the first wave of COVID-19 rolled over Canada.

Thirty-two per cent rated their mental health as excellent or very good, a 10-point drop since April. Another 45 per cent described their mental health as good, down three points since April.

Bourque said mental health experts do not consider “good” to be a particularly positive rating, akin to someone saying they feel OK.

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19, virtually unchanged since April.

Seventy-one per cent of respondents said they intend to get vaccinated against the coronavirus when a vaccine becomes available to them.

Two vaccines have been approved for use in Canada so far and provinces have begun immunizing front line health care workers, long-term care home workers and residents and some others considered among the most vulnerable.

Forty-seven per cent of respondents said they’ll take the first vaccine available to them, while 27 per cent said they’ll wait for other vaccines to become available. Another 11 per cent said they won’t take any vaccine and 15 per cent didn’t know what they’ll do.

The online poll cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Tory MP Derek Sloan says he’ll fight efforts to expel him from party ranks

STEPHANIE LEVITZ, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jan 19th, 2021

OTTAWA — Ontario Conservative MP Derek Sloan says he’ll fight efforts by his party’s leader to boot him from caucus.

Sloan says a decision by leader Erin O’Toole that he should be tossed out over a donation to his leadership campaign by a known white supremacist is ridiculous.

O’Toole announced he’s launching the effort to remove Sloan late Monday, after news broke that Sloan’s campaign had received a donation from Paul Fromm last year.

O’Toole framed the decision as being a question of having no tolerance for racism within his party.

But Sloan is raising questions about that approach, saying Fromm is a party member and that fact would have previously been known both to O’Toole and to the party itself.

Sloan generated controversy during the leadership campaign for his aggressively social conservative views, and his presence in caucus has been polarizing ever since.

He had survived a bid to oust him during the leadership race itself, when comments he made about the country’s chief public health officer saw him accused of racism, a charge he denied.

At that time, O’Toole refused to support an effort to expel him.

Sloan said in an interview with The Canadian Press that O’Toole ran a leadership campaign on fighting cancel culture and “promoting a big tent version of the Conservative Party.”

“And I hope that he has not jettisoned that in favour of perceived short-term political gain,” Sloan said.

To kick out one of their own, 20 per cent of Conservative MPs — 24 of the party’s current 121 MPs — must sign in writing a notice seeking a review of Sloan’s membership in the caucus.

The matter must then be put to a vote by secret ballot and a majority of MPs must support expulsion.

O’Toole said in a statement late Monday he wants the vote to take place as swiftly as possible.

The party’s caucus is set to meet Thursday and Friday to plot strategy for the upcoming parliamentary sitting but the vote is likely to take place before then.

Several MPs mused privately late Monday there are concerns O’Toole’s move sets a high bar for what’s considered an offence so severe as to be kicked out of caucus.

Others appeared to welcome the move, sharing O’Toole’s statement on social media.

Late Monday, Sloan said he’d yet to speak to any of his fellow caucus members to assess how they’ll vote.

But he told his supporters he intended to put his all behind a fight to remain.

“I’m not going down into the night quietly, he said.

“So they’ve picked a fight with the wrong person.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jan 19th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 11:00 p.m. ET on Monday Jan. 18, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 42,543 new vaccinations administered for a total of 613,285 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 1,618.197 per 100,000.

There were 31,065 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 848,565 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 72.27 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 1,531 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 5,291 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 10.104 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 11,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 47.35 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,502 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 5,102 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 32.163 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 8,250 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 61.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 3,769 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,600 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 7.788 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 23,000 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 33.04 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 2,704 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 10,436 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 13.379 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 17,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 58.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 6,845 new vaccinations administered for a total of 153,539 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 17.944 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 196,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.27 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 9,691 new vaccinations administered for a total of 209,788 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 14.282 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 277,050 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 75.72 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 4,212 new vaccinations administered for a total of 17,751 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 12.891 per 1,000. There were 12,665 new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 46,290 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 38.35 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 2,459 new vaccinations administered for a total of 22,618 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 19.182 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 29,300 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.19 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 3,879 new vaccinations administered for a total of 89,814 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 20.403 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 101,275 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.68 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 11,432 new vaccinations administered for a total of 87,346 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 17.021 per 1,000. There were 18,400 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 117,875 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 74.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 163 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,347 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 32.278 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 17 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 18.71 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 512 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 11.348 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 7.111 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 1,158 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,141 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 55.286 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 6,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 15 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 35.68 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Kenney, Moe condemn Biden’s plan to scrap Keystone XL on Day 1 of presidency

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jan 18th, 2021

The premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan are condemning Joe Biden’s plan to scrap the Keystone XL pipeline expansion on his first day as U.S. president.

Biden’s plan is outlined in transition documents seen by The Canadian Press.

Jason Kenney and Scott Moe say halting construction on the controversial project will be disastrous for both the Canadian and U.S. economies.

Kenney says his government — which announced a $1.5 billion investment into the expansion last year — is prepared to “use all legal avenues available to protect its interest in the project.”

Moe, meanwhile, is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to meet with Biden and says his government will be in touch with its contacts in Washington.

Trudeau has so far been silent on the issue, but his ambassador to the U.S., Kirsten Hillman, is defending the pipeline, saying it fits into Canada’s climate plan and promises good jobs.

TC Energy Corp. doubled down on that last night, confirming an ambitious plan to spend $1.7 billion US on a solar, wind and battery-powered operating system for the pipeline to ensure it is zero-emission by 2030, and to rely exclusively on union labour.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Jan. 18, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jan 18th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Jan. 18, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 27,451 new vaccinations administered for a total of 570,742 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 1,505.944 per 100,000.

There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 761,500 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 74.95 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 3,506 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 5,291 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 10.104 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 11,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 47.35 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,502 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 5,102 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 32.163 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 8,250 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 61.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 3,769 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,600 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 7.788 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 23,000 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 33.04 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 2,713 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,732 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 17,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 43.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 8,838 new vaccinations administered for a total of 146,694 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 17.144 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 162,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 90.45 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 11,007 new vaccinations administered for a total of 200,097 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 13.622 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 277,050 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.22 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,539 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.832 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 33,625 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 40.26 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 3,232 new vaccinations administered for a total of 20,159 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 17.096 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 24,400 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 82.62 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 4,374 new vaccinations administered for a total of 85,935 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 19.522 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 84,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 102.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 75,914 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 14.794 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 99,475 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.31 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,184 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 28.372 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 17 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 16.44 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 512 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 11.348 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 7.111 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 983 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 25.383 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 6,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 15 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 16.38 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

3 experts on how well Canada has fought COVID-19 and how we could do better

MAAN ALHMIDI THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jan 18th, 2021

As new cases of COVID-19 surge across Canada, the federal government and the provinces have been imposing stricter measures to try to limit the illness’s spread.

The Canadian Press interviewed three leading Canadian experts in disease control and epidemiology, asking their thoughts on Canada’s handling of the pandemic, the new restrictions on activities — and what else can be done. Here’s what they had to say.

John Brownstein, Montreal-born Harvard University epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital

Having a national testing strategy in Canada that uses rapid tests people could do at home would limit the spread of the virus, Brownstein says.

“That would enable us to get insight on infection and actually have people isolate,” he says.

No such tests have been approved in Canada yet.

“We’ve been saying this all along, so it’s not just a purely Canadian issue, but having a strategy that implements that kind of information would go a long way to drive infections down in communities while we wait for the vaccine.”

Brownstein says curfews have unintended consequences because they force people to get together over a shorter period of time during the day.

“We haven’t seen a lot of evidence that curfews have driven down infection.”

He says a mix of testing and quarantine is the best way to make sure international travellers don’t cause outbreaks when they return from the pandemic hot spots.

Testing alone is not enough, he says, because tests can come back negative during the novel coronavirus’s incubation period; people should be careful about relying on test results that could give a false sense of security.

Brownstein says pandemic fatigue is real and the governments’ support for people suffering in the crisis should continue.

He says promoting low-risk activities, including walking and exercising outdoors, is also important.

“Whatever we can do to allow for people to spend more time outside, probably the better.”

David Juncker, professor of medicine and chair of the department of biomedical engineering at McGill University

Canada needs a national strategy for how to use rapid tests for the virus that causes COVID-19, says Juncker.

Juncker is an adviser for Rapid Test and Trace, an organization advocating for a mass rapid-testing system across Canada.

“Initially the Canadian government (spoke) against (rapid tests) and then they pivoted sometime in October or September,” he says. The federal government then bought thousands of rapid tests and sent them to the provinces, where they’ve mostly sat unused.

“Every province is trying to come up with their own way of trying them — running their own individual pilots. There’s a lack of exchange of information and lack of guidelines in terms of how to best deploy them,” he says.

Juncker says the testing regime based on swabs collected in central testing sites was working in the summer but it collapsed in the fall.

He says medical professionals prefer those tests because they are more accurate and can detect low levels of the virus, which is important for diagnoses, but rapid tests can be useful for public health through sheer volume, if they’re used properly.

A federal advisory panel’s report released Friday, laying out the best uses for different kinds of tests, is a step in the right direction, he says.

“I’m happy to see we’re slowly shifting from the point of view of ‘Should we use rapid tests?’ to a point of view (of) ‘How can we best use them?’”

More recent research suggests that rapid tests are more accurate than was previously thought, he says.

“We still don’t have enough capacity to test everyone so we’d have to use them in a strategic way.”

Juncker says the lockdowns in Ontario and Quebec should have happened earlier in the fall, when cases started to rise.

He says the late lockdowns in Canada won’t be as effective as those in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, where early lockdowns effectively stopped the disease from spreading.

“Countries that were most aggressive early on, are the ones that have, I think, the best outcome.”

He says countries where health decisions are fragmented across the country, including Canada, have added challenges.

“If you live in Ottawa-Gatineau, you have one province (that) allows one thing, the other province allows another thing, so this creates confusion among the citizens,” he said.

Donald Sheppard, chair of the department of microbiology and immunology in the faculty of medicine at McGill University and member of Canada’s COVID-19 therapeutics task force

Canada’s federal-provincial sharing of power over health care is highly inefficient and has led to major problems, says Sheppard.

“There’s a lot breakdown in communication, a lot of territorialism. It’s greatly impacted the efficiency of the response,” he says.

The problems in long-term care homes are examples.

“Quebec is screaming they want money but they’re refusing to sign on to the minimum standards of long term care,” he says. “I think it’s heinous.”

He says highly centralized authority and decision-making has had a stifling effect on innovation.

“It puts up roadblocks, and has led to the Canadian health-care system having lost any attempt to be innovative and nimble,” he says.

Sheppard says he doesn’t think there will be mass vaccinations for Canadians this summer and the September timetable that the federal government is talking about for vaccinating everybody is optimistic.

“Remember that we don’t have vaccines that are approved in under-11-year-olds,” he says. “There will still be opportunities for the virus to circulate in children, particularly children are in school settings.”

He suggested that the current immunization campaign’s goal is not herd immunity, eliminating transmission of the virus and rendering is extinct.

“The goal here is to create an iron wall of immunity around the ‘susceptibles’ in our population, such that this becomes a virus of the same public health importance as influenza.

International students frustrated by federal work limits during pandemic

HOLLY MCKENZIE-SUTTER, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jan 15th, 2021

TORONTO — Pooria Behrouzy was honoured to be offered a full-time job as a COVID-19 vaccine support worker at Trillium Health Partners last month.

The international student in health informatics at George Brown College was already on staff at the Mississauga, Ont., hospital network after working on an IT project, and he was eager to contribute to the rollout of the vaccine that’s brought hope during the pandemic’s increasingly grim second wave.

But a roadblock stopped Behrouzy from accepting the full-time shifts offered: as an international student, he can only work a maximum of 20 hours per week while classes are in session or he risks losing his study permit and legal status in Canada.

Behrouzy, who is now working part time at the hospital, said it’s disappointing that he can’t contribute fully.

“I can work and I can help against this COVID … why (am I) not able to do that?” said the 42-year-old, who is from Iran. “It’s very sad that I’m not fully available.”

His colleague Passang Yugyel Tenzin had a similar experience.

Tenzin, a 26-year-old graduate of health informatics currently studying in another IT program, was working on the same project at the hospital as Behrouzy before he received an offer to work on the vaccine support team as well.

The non-medical role involves providing scheduling support to ensure all available doses are administered and other administrative tasks that keep the process running smoothly.

Tenzin, who is from Bhutan, signed on for the job in a part-time capacity but noted that the 20-hour limit would make scheduling 12-hour shifts a challenge.

Working full time would be beneficial for his own education and for the health-care system that’s struggling to keep up with skyrocketing COVID-19 infections, vaccinations and other important services, he said.

“We can learn more and on top of that, we can contribute more to this situation currently, because they actually need a lot of people,” Tenzin said in a phone interview.

“We can contribute a lot if we were given the opportunity to work full time.”

Ottawa temporarily lifted the restriction on international students’ work hours last April, saying the change was aimed at easing the staffing crunch in health care and other essential workplaces.

The measure expired on Aug. 31, 2020, and has not been reinstated.

The press secretary for the office of the federal immigration minister said the government is grateful for the role newcomers have played in Canada’s pandemic response.

“As more students returned to regular studies in the fall of 2020, the work hour restriction was reinstated at the request of provinces, territories and educational institutions, due to concerns about students working full time while also completing a full course load,” Alexander Cohen said in a statement.

Behrouzy said he doesn’t understand why the limit on work hours was reinstated while the pandemic is still ongoing and hospitals need more support than ever.

“I’m available to work and all the schools, the universities and colleges are remote now, so why not extend this exception again?” he said. “It’s really disappointing.”

Trillium Health Partners said in a statement that it’s continually assessing staffing needs at its COVID-19 vaccine clinics, and international students currently work on its vaccine team in administrative functions.

“THP supports and accommodates international students within the federal government requirements,” it said.

Sarom Rho, who leads the Migrant Students United campaign with the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, said the pandemic is an opportunity to ditch the restriction on work hours that advocates have long fought to remove.

Rho said she’s spoken with students in other health-care fields like nursing who are also eager to work more but are hindered by the limit on their hours.

“This kind of unfairness is totally based on status,” Rho said.

“The fact that they are migrants is what is causing the limitation and the restrictions of how they can work, where they can work and when they can work, and how that work will be valued.”

Migrant Students United also wants Ottawa to make work hours done in essential jobs count towards permanent residency applications. Rho said it’s time to consider how work done by people on study permits is valued in Canada.

“Respecting the labour is fundamental,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021.

Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jan 15th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 40,283 new vaccinations administered for a total of 459,492 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 1,212.403 per 100,000.

There were 5,850 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 594,975 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 77.23 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 3,506 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 5,291 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 10.104 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 11,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 47.35 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 2,982 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 5,102 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 32.163 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 6,075 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 83.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 1,111 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 3,831 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 3.926 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 13,450 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 28.48 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 2,713 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,732 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 11,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.19 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 8,339 new vaccinations administered for a total of 115,704 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 13.522 per 1,000. There were 5,850 new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 162,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 71.35 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 14,237 new vaccinations administered for a total of 159,021 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 10.826 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 196,125 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 81.08 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 12,409 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.012 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 25,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 48.05 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 1,585 new vaccinations administered for a total of 11,985 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 10.164 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 17,575 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 68.19 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 8,809 new vaccinations administered for a total of 66,953 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 15.21 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 59,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 112 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 6,316 new vaccinations administered for a total of 69,746 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 13.592 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 71,200 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 97.96 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 685 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 16.415 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 17 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 9.514 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 512 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 11.348 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 7.111 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 121 new vaccinations administered for a total of 521 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 13.453 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 6,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 15 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 8.683 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

COLETTE DERWORIZ, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jan 15th, 2021

A towering stainless steel monolith set up along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta comes with a message.

The three-metre-tall structure, which reflects its surroundings, is one of many that have been found around the world in recent months. Monoliths have been discovered on a California trail, a Utah desert and at sites across Canada.

Many have popped up without explanation, but the woman who built the one in southern Alberta says she wanted to draw attention to the threats the area is facing as the province moves to open a vast stretch of the mountains to open-pit coal mining.

“This land holds the bones and dreams of our ancestors. This soil remembers the thunder of buffalo hooves and … still fosters wild grasses. These mountain-fed waters are the lifeblood of southern Alberta,” Elizabeth Williams wrote in an Instagram post on her wildstonestories page earlier this month.

“They deserve our attention. They warrant our protection. They are under threat,” she wrote.

“The shiny beacon is not the focal point, but the land, which it reflects.”

Williams, who couldn’t work as a massage therapist during COVID-19 restrictions, said she’s been watching some of the provincial government’s recent decisions.

“I felt compelled to take action,” she said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Williams is most concerned about the potential for mining along the eastern slopes and the reallocation of water rights in the area.

“It’s staggering to me so few Albertans are aware that this is happening,” she said.

She wanted to do something to inspire others to pay attention and take action.

Similar concerns were raised this week by Alberta country singer Corb Lund, who criticized the plan for an area that contains the headwaters for freshwater on which millions depend. Coal mining can release selenium, a highly toxic element already poisoning watersheds downstream of coal mines in British Columbia. Paul Brandt, another country music star from Alberta, added his voice to protest the coal mines Thursday.

Williams, who hopes her monolith adds to the growing conversation in Alberta, said she built it after talking to an artist, ordering the stainless steel and borrowing a welding shop. She installed it with the help of volunteers after getting permission from private landowners to put it on their property.

“I thought, ‘If I make this to last, if I make this extra beautiful and I get it on private land, it can stay and it can become a beacon for the curious.’”

The monolith, which was installed in early January, has come with challenges.

Williams broke her hand as she and some volunteers were installing it on a windy day where the Oldman River meets Highway 22, known as the Cowboy Trail. And her creation was vandalized by a man who pulled his big truck over at a pullout along the highway and tried to take the monolith apart.

“I have it all on camera,” said Williams, who noted people are keeping a close eye on the area.

Others have expressed intrigue and interest after spotting it on the landscape.

“It looked a little bit startling to see it where it hadn’t been before,” said Kevin van Tighem, a conservationist and author who owns property in southern Alberta. “It’s really beautiful. It’s a real work of art.

“It’s really striking how it reflects so much of the landscape and by doing that moves us into thinking about reflecting on the landscape.”

He said he hopes it draws attention to the natural beauty of the eastern slopes, which he believes are under serious threat as companies start exploring for coal.

“Things are happening out of sight and out of mind,” said van Tighem. “This thing stands up like a giant reflective beacon that says we can’t leave these things out of sight and out of mind.

“We have to reflect on who we are and where we’re going. We’re on the cusp here. This is leading us to permanent change and permanent loss.

“We cannot not be paying attention.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

Feds look at using border data to find travellers applying for sickness benefit

JORDAN PRESS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jan 14th, 2021

OTTAWA — A federal official says the government is considering using data on incoming travellers to prevent vacationers from claiming a benefit for people who must quarantine or isolate due to COVID-19.

The Canadian Press isn’t identifying the source because the person was not authorized to speak publicly on behind-the-scenes discussions.

The government promised earlier this week to introduce legislation to prevent anyone who returns to Canada after a vacation or another non-essential trip from receiving the $500-a-week benefit during the mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

The source says officials are drafting the legislation and expect it to include information-sharing mechanisms among agencies and departments to identify anyone looking to flout the rules.

The earliest legislation could be introduced is later this month when the House of Commons is scheduled to return from a break.

In the meantime, the government says it will hold off processing applications from anyone who returned from overseas until the new rules are in place, retroactive to Jan. 3.

It wouldn’t take much to for the government to start matching up names of incoming travellers with those who have applied for the sickness benefit after having updated a similar program in the last year.

That program now sees roughly 20 million names of anyone arriving by land or air shared with Employment and Social Development Canada to help its investigators identify improper payments of unemployment and seniors benefits.

Federal border officials have since 1992 shared information on arriving travellers with their counterparts overseeing benefits like employment insurance to flag claimants who didn’t tell the government about absences from Canada and whi might have received benefits they weren’t eligible to receive.

At first, the information was shared from the declaration cards people filled out on arrival, but it has since gone digital with self-serve kiosks at airports tracking names. It also now includes people arriving by land.

Those details are in two briefing notes from late 2019 and obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

Employment and Social Development Canada said it began looking for EI recipients in the data just before the calendar turned to 2020. The data started being scoured for old-age security recipients over the summer.

A November 2019 briefing note to the department’s deputy minister said officials expected to “significantly increase the recovery of payments made to ineligible El claimants” because the new measures “(do) not rely on travellers to self-disclose absences from Canada.”

The department was unable to share any results from the program, but also noted it began during an unprecedented drop in cross-border travel as a result of the pandemic.

On Wednesday, Statistics Canada reported only 146,000 Canadians driving home from the United States in December, a 92.4 per cent year-over-year decline from the 1.9 million in December 2019.

But enough have returned home that the government was forced to address concerns some were using the two-week sickness benefit to finance the quarantine period, even though that wasn’t its purpose.

The sickness benefit is supposed to go to anyone who has to stay home for at least half their usual work week because they are sick or have to quarantine because of COVID-19. Anyone with underlying medical conditions can also qualify for the aid.

More than $271.4 million has been paid out in benefits since the program launched in late September, with the number of applications in each two-week pay period falling steadily since mid-October.

The government is allowing anyone exempt from the quarantine rules, such as health-care workers who need to cross the border for their jobs, to be eligible for the sickness benefit upon their return to Canada.

While the government is holding up processing of some claims, it is urging anyone who received the benefit after travelling to contact the Canada Revenue Agency to avoid repayment orders.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021.

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jan 14th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 30,716 new vaccinations administered for a total of 419,209 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 1,106.113 per 100,000.

There were 43,875 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 589,125 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 71.16 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 3,506 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 5,291 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 10.104 per 1,000. There were 2,925 new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 11,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 47.35 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 2,106 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 4,226 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 26.641 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 6,075 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.56 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 1,111 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 3,831 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 3.926 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 13,450 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 28.48 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 3,627 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,732 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 11,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.19 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 7,855 new vaccinations administered for a total of 107,365 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 12.548 per 1,000. There were 40,950 new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 156,325 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 68.68 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 11,231 new vaccinations administered for a total of 144,784 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.857 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 196,125 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 73.82 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 2,056 new vaccinations administered for a total of 12,409 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.012 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 25,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 48.05 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 520 new vaccinations administered for a total of 10,400 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 8.82 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 17,575 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.17 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 5,826 new vaccinations administered for a total of 58,144 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 13.208 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 59,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 97.23 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 1,136 new vaccinations administered for a total of 63,430 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 12.361 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 71,200 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.09 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 190 new vaccinations administered for a total of 685 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 16.415 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 17 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 9.514 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 512 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 11.348 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 7.111 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 371 new vaccinations administered for a total of 400 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 10.329 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 6,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 15 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 6.667 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 13, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Emergency doctors call for greater transparency on vaccine rollout

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jan 14th, 2021

OTTAWA — The professional group for emergency doctors in Canada wants more transparency about COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

The Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians is calling for a clear description of who is being prioritized for the first doses and why.

It also wants priority to go to those directly caring for patients who are critically ill or suspected of having COVID-19.

The association says many members in areas with limited human resources have not been vaccinated, but urban providers who have less patient contact appear to have received doses.

A Wednesday statement says communication about the process so far doesn’t support claims that the vaccine rollout will follow an ethical framework.

Many doctors don’t know when they will be vaccinated and the association says that needs to change.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Dogs bring owners joy and a reason to be out at night during Quebec’s curfew

MORGAN LOWRIE, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 13th, 2021

MONTREAL — When the Quebec government announced it was imposing an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew to limit the spread of COVID-19, Ita Skoblinski posted a tongue-in-cheek message to her local community Facebook group, offering to let people borrow her dog for late-night walks.

The Montreal woman saw the message as an excuse to post a cute picture of her husky, Waylon, and poke a little fun at the curfew, which includes an exception for people walking dogs within a kilometre of their homes. But to Skoblinki’s surprise, she received serious responses.

“People sent me kind of long messages about themselves, saying they would love to take the dog out,” she said in a phone interview.

While she found the messages “very sweet,” Skoblinski was quick to clarify that she’d been joking.

“Even if we wanted to, it doesn’t make any sense . . . . How would they go home after they drop him?” she said.

Some rescue organizations report COVID-19 led to a surge in demand for pets, as people moved to working from home and found they had more time and energy for a new companion. Animatch, a Montreal-based dog adoption service, wrote on its website that it received 7,500 applications last year compared to 3,500 in 2019, leading to its first-ever dog shortage.

But the curfew that took effect Saturday night in Quebec and its exception for dog walkers has added a new twist. Several ads for dog rentals — presumably jokes or hoaxes — have sprung up on sites such as Kijiji and have been widely shared on social media, as have posts like Skoblinski’s.

And in Sherbrooke, Que., a woman who was walking her husband on a leash was fined for violating curfew rules — despite protesting they deserved to fall under the dog-walking exemption, according to media outlet La Tribune.

Elise Desaulniers, the executive director of the SPCA, says the idea of people adopting dogs just to go walking makes for “lots of funny memes on the web,” but she hasn’t heard of it happening in real life.

But while it’s hard to measure if there was an increased demand for pets last year because of changes to how the process happens, she says it certainly seemed like “a lot of people” were looking to adopt in 2020 due to decreased travel and more time at home.

Skoblinski completely understands why people would want to spend time with animals during the pandemic. She says Waylon, who has his own TikTok account and has been featured on singer Waylon Jennings’ Instagram, has been a great addition to the family.

However, she doesn’t believe getting to walk him after 8 p.m. is such a treat. She said it feels “creepy” to walk after curfew when the streets are deserted, so she usually gets her dog’s exercise done earlier.

On Tuesday afternoon at a dog park in Montreal’s Pointe-St-Charles neighbourhood, several dog owners said they were relieved the rules contain an exception for their pets.

Walking his dog at night with nobody around is “special,” said Simon Vadeboncoeur, as he watched his dog Norton wrestle with another dog in the snow. “You walk and you see no one, and no sound, it’s very calm,” he said. But he said he wouldn’t walk more often just to get outside after curfew.

Pavlina Aubin, there with her one-year old dog Blaki, said she didn’t feel as safe without other people around.

“It’s a little stressful,” she said. “There aren’t a lot of people outside, and even though I love my neighbourhood, there are some areas that are less reassuring.”

Aubin said that while she didn’t adopt her dog because of COVID-19, the joy he’s brought her has helped her to get through the difficult last year — a sentiment echoed by several other owners.

But she worries some people who want to adopt dogs during the pandemic don’t understand how much work is involved.

Desaulniers, the head of the SPCA, says some people who bought puppies online may not have done their full research, and she fears the animals may later end up in shelters. She suggests that people looking for a new pet should be patient, go through reputable rescue organizations and be open to adopting older animals.

“Adopting during COVID is not a bad thing, but you have to realize the animal will be with you for a long time,” she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 13, 2021

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 13th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 28,333 new vaccinations administered for a total of 388,493 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 1,025.067 per 100,000.

There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 545,250 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 71.25 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 1,975 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 3,760 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 7.181 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 8,250 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 45.58 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 2,106 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 4,226 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 26.641 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 6,075 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.56 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 1,111 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 3,831 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 3.926 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 13,450 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 28.48 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 4,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,732 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 11,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.19 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 7,058 new vaccinations administered for a total of 99,510 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 11.63 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 115,375 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.25 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 11,448 new vaccinations administered for a total of 133,553 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.092 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 196,125 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 68.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 10,353 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 7.518 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 25,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 40.09 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 932 new vaccinations administered for a total of 9,880 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 8.379 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 17,575 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 56.22 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 5,527 new vaccinations administered for a total of 52,318 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 11.885 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 59,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 87.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 2,392 new vaccinations administered for a total of 62,294 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 12.139 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 71,200 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 87.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 495 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 11.862 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 17 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 6.875 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting 350 new vaccinations administered for a total of 512 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 11.348 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 7.111 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 29 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 0.749 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 6,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 15 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 0.4833 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Pandemic worsening mental health for women more than men, poll suggests

JORDAN PRESS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 13th, 2021

Aisha Addo was having a talk just the other day with a close friend about how they were faring as the pandemic stretched into 2021.

She said her friend spoke candidly about feeling like she was falling into a state of depression and being unable to pull herself out of it.

“We’re all experiencing the same things — some people more intensely than others,” said Addo, who founded the non-profit Power To Girls Foundation.

New polling from Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies suggests some Canadians feel their mental health has declined as the pandemic has rolled on, with the impacts potentially striking women, single parents, the unemployed, relatively recent immigrants and racialized people more than others.

The survey shows female respondents were more likely than men to report their mental health as bad or very bad across a range of age groups, but especially between the ages of 18 and 34 years old.

Rates of worsening mental health were also high for single parents in the survey, with 40 per cent describing their mental health as bad or very bad.

Tanya Hayles, founder of the global group Black Moms Connection, said many parents are feeling stretched by having to work from home while overseeing virtual learning. She said a further burden for Black parents are issues of systemic racism.

“This pandemic has adversely affected women more than men and it’s women who are leaving the workforce altogether to make sure that their children have what they need,” she said.

“If you’re a single parent, there are no breaks.”

Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies, said mental health might worsen with new lockdowns and restrictions as people lose the outlet of visiting friends and family. Some respondents in the survey said they did that over the holidays.

“It’s a very significant challenge for governments that are introducing lockdowns and curfews to not see the mental health side of this crisis get exacerbated,” Jedwab said.

The online survey was conducted Jan. 2-3 with 1,523 respondents. It can’t be assigned a margin of error because web panels are not considered random samples of the population.

The results mirror findings from earlier on in the pandemic when women reported feeling more worried than men about COVID-19 as they began taking on added care duties for children and aging parents, and lost their jobs at a faster rate than men, said Andrea Gunraj, vice-president of public engagement at the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

Another factor at play is the increased risk for gender-based violence that predominantly targets women, she said.

“This picture of increased violence, and increased stresses in caregiving and housework, that intersects with the economic stresses that women uniquely have been facing,” Gunraj said.

“It tells a certain picture about women’s mental health right now … and the pandemic being a gender-pandemic at large.

The polling analysis also looked at results for immigrants and some racialized communities, which came through reviewing six surveys by Leger involving over 9,000 respondents between Oct. 29, 2020, and Jan. 3, 2021. It too cannot be assigned a margin of error as a web-based survey.

The data suggests that 25 per cent of people who have lived in Canada for less than five years reported their mental health was bad or very bad, while 19 per cent of respondents who were born in Canada reported the same.

Nearly 27 per cent of respondents who identified as South Asian reported their mental health being at that level, while 20 per cent of those who identified as Black and about 18 per cent of those who identified as Chinese reported the same.

Even before the pandemic, there was a lack of mental health resources for minority communities, Addo said. Many relied on their community for mental health support, which has disappeared with public health requests to avoid visiting friends and family, she said.

Accessing other resources is also difficult for vulnerable populations, particularly those with children learning remotely and maybe only one computer at home, Addo said.

Addo suggested governments create a mental health fund or program to ensure people who need it have someone to speak with.

“The moment that people are left to their own devices and are left to their own thoughts, it’s easy to fall into depression, it’s easy to become more anxious, and it’s easy to feel more lonely,” she said.

Any mental health services created should be diverse, Hayles said, noting that Black Canadians are often more comfortable expressing their issues to Black therapists.

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jan 12th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Monday Jan. 11, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 39,116 new vaccinations administered for a total of 359,054 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 947.39 per 100,000.

There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 545,250 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 65.85 per cent of their available vaccine supply.

Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis.

Newfoundland is reporting 1,975 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 3,760 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 7.181 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 8,250 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.6 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 45.58 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 1,650 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 3,600 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 22.694 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 6,075 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 3.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.26 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting zero new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 2,720 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 2.787 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 13,450 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 20.22 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 4,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,732 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 11,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.19 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 8,065 new vaccinations administered for a total of 92,452 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 10.805 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 115,375 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 8,859 new vaccinations administered for a total of 122,105 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 8.313 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 196,125 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 62.26 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 855 new vaccinations administered for a total of 10,353 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 7.518 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 25,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 40.09 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 1,019 new vaccinations administered for a total of 8,948 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 7.588 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 17,575 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 50.91 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 1,797 new vaccinations administered for a total of 46,791 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 10.629 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 59,800 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.25 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 13,643 new vaccinations administered for a total of 59,902 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 11.673 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 71,200 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 190 new vaccinations administered for a total of 500 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 11.982 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 17 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 6.944 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 162 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 3.591 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 2.25 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 29 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 0.749 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 6,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 15 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 0.4833 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

*Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet before hosting ministerial retreat

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jan 12th, 2021

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will conduct a small shuffle of his ministers today before holing up later in the day for a cabinet retreat to plot strategy for the resumption of Parliament.

The shuffle is due to the departure of Navdeep Bains, who is not intending to run again in the next election, which could come as early as this spring.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne is expected to replace Bains while Transport Minister Marc Garneau moves into Champagne’s old job.

Toronto-area backbencher Omar Alghabra is expected to take over the Tranpsort portfolio.

Trudeau has been clear that he wants departments crucial to the country’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic to be overseen by ministers who will be around to help sell the government’s agenda during the next election campaign.

The cabinet retreat — four one-day sessions to take place over the next two weeks — is to focus on what more the government needs to do to manage the pandemic, which continues to rage across the country, including ways to accelerate the rollout of vaccines.

It is also supposed to focus on the eventual economic recovery and the Liberal government’s plans to invest billions in the fight against climate change, job creation, affordable housing, skills training and a national child-care program.

The retreat is taking place as the government prepares for the resumption of Parliament on Jan. 25, in what is bound to be a more aggressively partisan environment.

The pandemic forced a measure of cross-party co-operation last year, which allowed Trudeau’s minority Liberal government to operate without any serious threat to its survival.

But the spirit of collaboration was badly strained by the end of last year and is likely to evaporate altogether this year, particularly once the the government introduces a budget expected to send the already-historic federal deficit into the stratosphere.

The government will need the support of at least one of the main opposition parties to survive a confidence vote on the budget.

Trudeau began holding periodic cabinet retreats six years ago, billing them as a way to encourage bonding among ministers while getting outside the Ottawa bubble.

COVID-19 put an end to the regional outreach aspect of cabinet retreats last September. Trudeau and his ministers confined themselves to a few days holed up in a government building in the nation’s capital to ponder how to get the country through what was then just the start of the second wave.

And now the pandemic is putting an end to the bonding aspect of retreats as well.

Trudeau will be hosting a retreat that will be entirely virtual, with ministers participating via videoconference from separate locations around the country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Is the internet breaking your parents’ brains?

THE BIG STORY | posted Tuesday, Jan 12th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, our parents warned us that the Internet could harm us—from stalkers to kidnappers, pedophiles, the dangers of too much screen time and countless other things—but did they heed their own lessons? Boomers lead the pack as the generation most likely to share disinformation, and over the past few months we’ve seen some of the results play out in real time.

How can those of us who grew up online help the people we love who didn’t learn the nuances of the way algorithms try to seduce them? Help them tell the difference between reliable and sketchy news reports? Help them understand exactly how and why social media wants them to be so angry? Can we help our parents stay safe online the way they once tried to do for us?

GUEST: Bonnie Kristian, The Week

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Will Canada’s transit systems change forever?

THE BIG STORY | posted Monday, Jan 11th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, ridership is down by more than half, while costs to keep vehicles clean and employees and passengers safe are higher than ever before. Covid-19 has put an incredible strain on transit agencies across Canada.

But at the same time, has the pandemic begun to change how we operate public transit—perhaps not with a break-even mentality but as a moral obligation to get Canadians where they need to go? Might more funding become available to run different routes at different times and ease crowding? Or will politicians back off as soon as the pandemic begins to ease?

GUEST: Ben Spurr, Transportation Reporter, Toronto Star

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

CRTC to launch hearing on CBC’s application to renew broadcasting licences

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jan 11th, 2021

OTTAWA — Canada’s telecommunications regulator will launch a multi-day review today of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s broadcasting licences.

The CRTC says electronic hearings will begin at 10 a.m. before its five-member panel.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission will first hear from the public broadcaster which is seeking to renew licences for its various English- and French-language audio and audio-visual programming services.

Seventy interveners are scheduled to begin presentations on Friday and continue over eight days until Jan. 26.

The Canadian Media Producers Association will make the first presentation.

Others include the Canadian Olympic Committee, Quebecor Media Inc., Friends of Canadian Broadcasting and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

CBC’s response to the intervener presentations is scheduled for Jan. 27.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:QBR.B)

The Canadian Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Monday, Jan. 11, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jan 11th, 2021

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Jan. 11, 2021.

There are 660,289 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 660,289 confirmed cases (84,567 active, 558,772 resolved, 16,950 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 7,817 new cases Sunday from 74,131 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 11 per cent. The rate of active cases is 224.98 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 56,775 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 8,111.

There were 117 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 1,085 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 155. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.41 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 45.09 per 100,000 people.

There have been 14,584,109 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 393 confirmed cases (eight active, 381 resolved, four deaths).

There was one new case Sunday from 152 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.66 per cent. The rate of active cases is 1.53 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been three new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 74,689 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 102 confirmed cases (eight active, 94 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday from 152 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 5.1 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of six new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 83,106 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,528 confirmed cases (28 active, 1,435 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday from 900 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 27 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been 187,035 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 779 confirmed cases (185 active, 585 resolved, nine deaths).

There were 14 new cases Sunday from 1,001 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.4 per cent. The rate of active cases is 23.81 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 161 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 23.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.16 per 100,000 people.

There have been 121,496 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 228,821 confirmed cases (24,472 active, 195,663 resolved, 8,686 deaths).

There were 2,588 new cases Sunday from 10,312 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 25 per cent. The rate of active cases is 288.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18,517 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,645.

There were 39 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 339 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 48. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.57 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 102.37 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,596,108 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 215,782 confirmed cases (30,079 active, 180,720 resolved, 4,983 deaths).

There were 3,945 new cases Sunday from 60,270 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 6.5 per cent. The rate of active cases is 206.49 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24,820 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3,546.

There were 61 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 333 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 48. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.33 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 34.21 per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,223,608 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 26,317 confirmed cases (4,729 active, 20,850 resolved, 738 deaths).

There were 151 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 345.32 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,191 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 170.

There were five new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 55 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is eight. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.57 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 53.89 per 100,000 people.

There have been 424,107 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 18,110 confirmed cases (3,493 active, 14,426 resolved, 191 deaths).

There were 307 new cases Sunday from 1,344 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 23 per cent. The rate of active cases is 297.41 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,029 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 290.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 33 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.4 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 16.26 per 100,000 people.

There have been 313,181 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 111,452 confirmed cases (14,116 active, 96,052 resolved, 1,284 deaths).

There were 811 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 322.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,045 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,006.

There were 12 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 238 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 34. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.78 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 29.37 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,547,298 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 56,632 confirmed cases (7,439 active, 48,205 resolved, 988 deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 146.69 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,970 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 424.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 87 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.25 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 19.48 per 100,000 people.

There have been 993,289 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 70 confirmed cases (10 active, 59 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 24.48 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of six new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people.

There have been 6,079 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 24 confirmed cases (zero active, 24 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 8,083 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 266 confirmed cases (zero active, 265 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.58 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,954 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Calls for Ribbon Skirt Day after Saskatchewan Indigenous student wearing one shamed

STEPHANIE TAYLOR, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jan 8th, 2021

REGINA — Chris Kulak says his 10-year-old daughter, Isabella, thinks it might be time for a new downstairs closet to hold all the ribbon skirts arriving from around the world.

The brightly patterned handmade skirts adorned with bands of ribbon are worn by Indigenous women during ceremonies and as an expression of cultural pride — something the Grade 5 student has touched off in others after a bad experience at her school.

Isabella, a member of the Cote First Nation in Saskatchewan, wore her ribbon skirt to school last month when it held a formal day before Christmas break.

“We encouraged her to wear it. Probably changed her shirt three or four times. You could tell she was nervous about does it match? Does it look good?” Kulak said in a phone interview about his daughter.

“We thought she looked wonderful.”

Isabella attends school in Kamsack, a town about 270 kilometres east of Regina. The day she wore her traditional skirt, she left the house smiling, said Kulak.

But when she came home, she had taken it off and she acted withdrawn.

The family learned a staff member had told Isabella her outfit didn’t match and the skirt wasn’t considered formal. The staffer compared what Isabella had on to another student wearing a store-bought dress, he said.

The Good Spirit School Division has apologized for what Isabella’s father said he believes was a racially motivated comment.

“This was a tremendous error,” said Quintin Robertson, the division’s education director, who added that the individual who made the comment accepts responsibility.

“We needed to acknowledge the systemic racism that still does exist and the cultural ignorance that still does exist in our school division and in our province.”

Robertson said the division is discussing the matter with the Cote First Nation, which is part of a group suggesting that a Ribbon Skirt Day be held nationally every Jan. 4.

That was Isabella’s first day back to school and members of her family wearing ribbon skirts walked to her there, said Kulak. He and others spoke, and his daughter was drummed into the building, with supporters there from other First Nations, plus division staff.

“It began the movement and that date should be honoured,” he said.

“That’s when everybody finally woke up and realized that they had to stand up and make some noise.”

Robertson said the division will hold a Ribbon Skirt Day honouring Indigenous culture, including ribbon shirts, which are worn by men, on whatever day is decided with the First Nation.

Hundreds of photos of women proudly wearing their ribbon skirts with messages of encouragement for Isabella have appeared on social media and a Facebook page set up to show support for her.

“Stand tall little one … your aunties have your back!” Manitoba NDP member of the legislature Nahanni Fontaine tweeted along with a photo of her and other women in their ribbon skirts.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents Saskatchewan’s 74 First Nations, has also called for schools to participate in a Ribbon Skirt Day.

“I stand with young Isabella and the Kulak family in encouraging support for a national Ribbon Skirt Day, and all efforts to increase and improve respect and understanding of First Nations cultures,” Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde, who spoke with the girl Thursday, said in a statement.

“A day marking her important story, and focusing on the importance of continuing to learn and share from one another, is something every Canadian should get behind.”

Kulak said his family never asked for any attention, but believes part of the reason his daughter’s story started a movement was that for too long Indigenous peoples have had to hide their cultural pride.

“When this happened to my little girl, the ladies of the Prairies and all across the nation — and the men as well — decided that was enough.

“The court of public opinion spoke pretty loudly and it’s pretty obvious what they thought.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 8, 2021.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Canadian economy lost 63,000 jobs in December, first decline since April

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jan 8th, 2021

Statistics Canada says the economy lost 63,000 jobs in December in the first monthly decline since April amid tightened public health restrictions to slow a resurgence in the pandemic.

The unemployment rate edged up to 8.6 per cent compared with 8.5 per cent in November.

The result ended a streak of monthly job gains that began in May as restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the pandemic began to ease.

Full-time employment in December rose by 36,500, but there was a loss of 99,000 part-time jobs.

Statistics Canada also noted that total hours worked fell for the first time since April as they declined 0.3 per cent in December.

Financial data firm Refinitiv says economists on average had expected the report to show a loss of 27,500 jobs for December. The unemployment rate was expected to be 8.6 per cent.

‘It’s like walking in darkness’: One year since Flight 752

THE BIG STORY | posted Friday, Jan 8th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, at the time it seemed like it might be the worst disaster of 2020. When Flight 752 was shot down in Iran, 176 passengers and crew, including 55 Canadians, were killed. In the months to come, the cries for answers would be drowned out by the rise of COVID-19, leaving the victims’ loved ones still searching for answers and justice.

What can be done to get them the concrete information that might give them closure? What does justice look like? What’s it like when the world forgets a tragedy that you live with every day?

GUEST: Hamed Esmaeilion had family on Flight 752

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify.

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Discovery of two-million-year-old tools shows human adaptability: scientist

BOB WEBER, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jan 7th, 2021

To the uninitiated, they look like chipped rocks.

To Julio Mercader of the University of Calgary, they look like two-million-year-old messages from the dawn of human technology.

“It is really the beginnings of technological dependence,” said Mercader, lead author of a paper published Thursday in the journal Nature.

“The tools are from an early phase of that period that is marking a new relationship between humans and the environment.”

The paper presents the combined work of 29 scientists from three continents. They analyzed a few dozen stone tools found at Oldupai Gorge, an African site considered by many to be where humans first appeared. Dating back two million years, the hand axes, quartz flakes and rock cores are among the oldest tools ever found.

They are so old they predate Homo sapiens. They may have been the work of Homo habilis (“handy man”), whose remains have been found nearby.

Any artifacts of that antiquity are precious. Mercader said what makes these especially valuable is that researchers from a wide variety of disciplines have been able to place them in an environmental context that shows just how adaptable humans have been since the start.

The tools span a time period of about 235,000 years. “It maybe sounds like a lot,” said Mercader, “but in human evolution it is not a lot.”

Over that time, the site’s environment changed rapidly and often. It was a woodland, a lakeshore, a grassland, a meadow.

Those unimaginably ancient humans were at home in them all.

“No matter the change in the environment, the moment there is a disruption, a drastic change in the local ecology, humans move in right away,” Mercader said.

“There was a huge volcanic eruption that really blanketed the landscape with a solid mass of molten rock. The moment that cools down and there are new plants and animals coming in, humans are doing the same.

“What it shows is the huge versatility and flexibility of behaviour that allows early humans to exploit whatever environment that happens to be in their proximity. This has deep roots.”

The tools themselves are made from rocks that were found immediately adjacent or nearby. The makers seem to have carried around preferred stone cores they could use to knap a fresh flake when needed.

The tools didn’t change much over time, said Mercader.

“The technology is kept flexible enough and general enough so that no matter what, you can still exploit the environment. It’s like a Swiss Army knife.”

The discoveries are the result of years of work in the area.

Researchers — trained to know the difference between a tool and a naturally chipped rock — first walk the landscape, looking for exposed bits of fossil bone. Lots of bone fossils suggest other artifacts may be nearby and a test dig ensues.

“If we like what we see, we open more space.

Mercader said the research is a textbook example of how scientists from different disciplines can collaborate to shed light on the far distant past.

“Working together with geoscientists and chemists and paleoecologists and paleogeographers, there is a lot we can infer from stone tools and the context in which they are found.”

And there’s nothing quite like holding in your hand a stone that some ancient toolmaker also held, Mercader said.

“That is the excitement that makes you want to become an archeologist.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 7, 2021.

— Follow @row1960 on Twitter

Bob Weber, The Canadian Press

Quebec to impose 8 p.m. provincewide curfew until Feb. 8

THE CANADIAN PRESS, NEWS STAFF | posted Thursday, Jan 7th, 2021

Quebecers need to be jolted into recognizing the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier Francois Legault said Wednesday, before announcing a provincewide 8 p.m. curfew for the next four weeks.

Legault said despite the fact schools, retail stores and many other businesses have been closed since December, COVID-19 infections and related hospitalizations continue to rise. Too many seniors are ending up in hospital after becoming infected in private homes, he added.

“We are obliged to provide a type of shock treatment so that people reduce their visits,” he told reporters. Quebec will become the first province in the country to impose such a drastic measure to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Beginning Saturday and until at least Feb. 8, Quebecers will be under a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., Legault said, adding that anyone caught breaking the rules is liable to a fine between $1,000 and $6,000. The government is considering creating a document for people who have to be out after the curfew, which they can show police.

“When we say we are giving an electroshock it’s really for four weeks, a period that should make a difference,” Legault said.

“The police are important allies in the fight against the virus,” he added. “I need the police and Quebec needs the police to be able to succeed with this shock treatment during the next four weeks.”

The premier said all non-essential businesses that he ordered closed in December will remain closed until at least Feb. 8, when the curfew is scheduled to be lifted.

Legault, however, said primary schools will reopen as scheduled, on Jan. 11, and high school students will return to in-person learning the week after, on Jan. 18. “Our children have to be able to continue to learn,” he said.

Speaking before Legault’s news conference, Dr. Donald Sheppard, chair of the microbiology and immunology department at McGill University, said the government needed to explain the logic behind a curfew because the majority of outbreaks documented by public health have been in workplaces and schools.

Public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda said the curfew is part of a series of measures aimed at reducing the possibility of gatherings and of contact between people. “There’s no science that can tell you what measure will have what percentage effect,” he told reporters.

Arruda said he believes many small gatherings around Christmas led to the large number of COVID-19 cases being reported in Quebec.

Earlier on Wednesday, Quebec reported 2,641 new COVID-19 infections and 47 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. The Health Department said hospitalizations jumped by 76, to 1,393 – the largest number since late May – and 202 people were in intensive care, a rise of eight.

Despite calls from some health experts to shut down the manufacturing and construction sectors, Legault said the government won’t close factories or order work sites to stop operating. Factories, he said, have been asked to postpone “non-essential” manufacturing. The type of production that will be designated “essential” will be decided, he explained, following discussions between manufacturers and government officials.

The majority of people in hospital with COVID-19 are over 65 years old and are unlikely working in the manufacturing sector, Legault said, in an attempt to explain his decision. Arruda said many factories are producing essential products such as food and can’t be closed.

Quebec’s health-care system is under heavy strain, Health Minister Christian Dube said, adding that some kidney transplants have been cancelled. That sort of strain is worrying for experts like Sheppard who said surgeries and cancer screenings are being put off and intensive care units are filling up,

“The biggest worry is, eventually, if we don’t do anything, we’ll get to the point where it’s going to be the decision where we have two patients, one ventilator and someone has to decide,” Sheppard said in an interview Wednesday.

He said the impact of cancelled procedures is already being felt: breast cancer patients are presenting with larger tumours than they were before the pandemic, a sign that they’re being diagnosed late.

Quebec’s INESSS institute, a government-mandated health-care think tank, warned on Dec. 31 that hospitals in the Montreal area are likely to run out of dedicated COVID-19 beds within three weeks.

Much of Quebec, including the province’s largest cities, has been under partial lockdown since October, when bars, restaurant dining rooms, gyms and entertainment venues were closed. In December, Legault closed all “non-essential” retail stores and extended the winter break for elementary and high school students.

Quebec has reported an average of 2,597 new cases a day over the past week, Health Minister Christian Dube said on Twitter Wednesday.

That figure represents 300 cases a day per million people – more than any province in Canada. The next highest is Alberta with 233.8 cases per million, followed by Ontario with 221.9, according to a report released Wednesday by National Bank Financial Markets based on data from Johns Hopkins University.

Officials said 6,221 doses of vaccine were administered Tuesday, for a total of 38,984. Quebec has reported 217,999 COVID-19 infections and 8,488 deaths linked to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.

Teachers are doing their best, but they’re at the breaking point

THE BIG STORY | posted Thursday, Jan 7th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, the past year has been hard on all of us—but especially for those to whom we entrust our children. From a rush to online learning with schools closed, to a hasty back-to-school plan that was followed by rising COVID-19 numbers in schools, to the uncertainty of not knowing when or how they’ll be able to teach their students this winter…many educators are close to giving up.

How can we keep our education system functioning while also protecting our kids, our families and the people we need to teach them? What have we learned about our education system that could help us adapt in the future? And what happens to it if enough teachers decide they simply can’t take it anymore, and leave the public system for private schools?

GUEST: Inori Roy

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

People’s Party leader and former MP Maxime Bernier travelled to Florida last fall

STEPHANIE LEVITZ, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 6th, 2021

OTTAWA — The one-time Conservative cabinet minister and MP who broke ranks to form his own political party is among the Canadians who’ve headed south in recent months.

Maxime Bernier, who leads the libertarian People’s Party of Canada, went to Florida in November with his wife for a vacation.

A spokesman says the pair did quarantine for the full 14 days required when they returned.

Bernier has been vocal in his disagreement with COVID-19 lockdown measures, including restrictions on travel.

In recent days, he’s used social media to berate the politicians who’ve been caught flouting public health warnings and heading abroad, accusing them of being hypocrites.

Bernier says the issue shouldn’t be that they travelled but that they agreed with the restrictions in the first place, and then broke them.

Several federal members of Parliament, at least one senator, and provincial politicians have been outed for taking trips outside Canada in the last few months despite the fact public health and government leaders have been urging everyone to stay home.

The senator, Conservative Don Plett, was a longtime caucus colleague of Bernier’s, but that didn’t stop the former MP from the Quebec riding of Beauce for castigating him on social media this week.

“Another moron,” Bernier wrote.

“Let me make this very clear: The problem is NOT that they travelled abroad. It’s that they publicly agree with the silly authoritarian rules imposed on Canadians AND THEN FLOUT THEM.”

Bernier was a Conservative MP from 2006 until he quit the party in 2018, following his razor-thin loss in the party’s leadership race the previous year.

He then formed his own party, arguing the conservative movement in Canada was moving too far to the centre.

While the People’s Party ran candidates across the country in the 2019 federal election, none — including Bernier — was elected.

He tried again in a federal byelection earlier this year in a Toronto riding, but lost to the Liberals.

Bernier’s approach to the pandemic has mirrored that of other populist, right-wing politicians around the world.

He’s been strongly against lockdowns, arguing they are a violation of people’s rights and do more harm than good, and he also attended at least one anti-mask rally, though photos from the event show him with a mask, just tucked under his chin.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 5, 2021.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard to apply for bail in Winnipeg

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 6th, 2021

WINNIPEG — Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard is expected to seek bail today following his arrest in Winnipeg last month over charges he faces in the United States of using his influence to lure women and girls for sex.

Nygard, who is 79, was arrested in December under the Extradition Act and faces nine counts in the southern District of New York, including racketeering and sex trafficking.

Documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office allege Nygard frequently targeted women and underage girls from disadvantaged economic backgrounds with promises of modelling and other financial opportunities.

They allege the criminal conduct occurred over 25 years and involved dozens of women in the United States, the Bahamas and Canada, among other locations.

Nygard’s lawyer, Jay Prober, has said his client denies all the allegations.

Prober had said he would pursue bail because of concerns over Nygard’s health behind bars.

The U.S. indictment alleges Nygard forcibly sexually assaulted many women and girls, some who were between 14 and 17 years old. It alleges others were forcibly assaulted by Nygard’s associates or drugged to ensure their compliance with his sexual demands.

Nygard stepped down as chairman of his company after the FBI and police raided his offices in New York City in February.

The fashion mogul is also the subject of a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. with similar allegations involving 57 women, including 18 Canadians. It alleges Nygard used violence, intimidation, bribery and company employees to lure victims and avoid accountability for decades.

The lawsuit was put on pause in August. While reasons for the stay in the suit were sealed, the court docket said it resulted from a government motion that named three federal prosecutors — an indication the criminal investigation was proceeding.

Two of Nygard’s sons filed a separate lawsuit against him months later claiming they were statutorily raped at his direction when they were teens. The sons allege Nygard arranged for a woman to have sex with them.

Nygard has said through his lawyer that he denies all the allegations in the lawsuits. He has blamed the accusations on a feud with his billionaire neighbour in the Bahamas.

Nygard came to Canada as a child from Finland with his parents in 1942. He founded his fashion company in Winnipeg in 1967 and it grew to become a brand name sold in stores around the world.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2021.

The Canadian Press

New Brunswick RCMP issue alert warning residents about armed man wanted for shooting

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 6th, 2021

MONCTON, N.B. — Police in New Brunswick are warning residents about a man carrying firearms who is wanted for a shooting Tuesday near a high school in Riverview.

The RCMP have distributed an Alert Ready message to the greater Moncton area, saying 24-year-old Janson Bryan Baker intends to use the firearms.

Baker is described as 5-foot-9, 145 pounds, with short brown hair, brown eyes and tattoos on his neck, right cheek and forehead.

The Mounties say he is believed to be driving a black 2020 Hyundai Elantra with black tinted windows.

Police say Baker should not be approached.

Shortly after the shooting near Riverview High School was reported Tuesday at 5:15 p.m., a man was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2021.

The Canadian Press

How the Georgia Senate runoffs could impact Canada

CARYN CEOLIN | posted Tuesday, Jan 5th, 2021

Political observers are casting Georgia’s Senate runoff elections as pivotal to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to make decisions that will affect the entire United States, and in some cases, the entire world.

“It’s about literally life or death for communities all across this country,” said Democratic strategist Antjuan Seawright. “Because if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris do not have a collective Congress to help them pass necessary legislation that will move this country forward, what are we going to be able to do?”

On Tuesday, Georgians will cast their ballots for the state’s two outstanding Senate seats. The outcome will decide which party will have the upper hand in the upper chamber.

Seawright tells 680 NEWS the stakes include whether laws get passed, potentially boosting Biden’s policy priorities, both domestic and foreign.

“That’s why you see so much attention around Georgia and making certain people understand how high the stakes are,” he said.

Democrats have a president in the White House and run the House of Representatives. Republicans currently control the Senate. A Democratic sweep in the runoffs would lead to a 50-50 split, in which case, tie-breaking votes would go to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

Sarah Goldfeder, a former U.S. diplomat under two American ambassadors, is in favour of a gridlocked Congress.

“I do think having a tight government, having very tight margins in the House and very tight margins in the Senate are better for government and better for America overall,” she said.

Whoever wins will hold only a slim Senate margin, says Goldfeder, now an Ottawa-based consultant. That will make it harder to implement significant legislative changes.

“In many ways you can think of it like a minority government here in Canada. They have to negotiate,” she said. “If the Republicans want something or the Democrats want something, they’re going to have to win over their more moderate members.”

Regardless of what happens Tuesday, Seawright says these races will shape the coming years in U.S. politics.

“This election in Georgia is about who will be able to govern effectively and get things done for the collective United States of America,” he said.

Nearly half of Canadians visited friends, family over holidays, new poll suggests

STEPHANIE LEVITZ, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jan 5th, 2021

A new survey suggests nearly half of Canadians visited with family or friends over the winter holiday period.

The Leger/Association for Canadian Studies poll found 48 per cent of those surveyed visited with people outside their households, compared to 52 per cent who said they did not.

Public health officials had pleaded with Canadians to sharply limit their contacts during the holidays to avoid massive spikes in COVID-19 cases.

But it appears something gave for Canadians, said Leger vice-president Christian Bourque.

“Usually we Canadians are sort of much more, I would say, disciplined when it comes to going by what governments are recommending in terms of our behaviour, but over the holidays, apparently, it was sort of tougher on Canadians,” he said.

Of those who did visit with friends or family outside their homes, 34 per cent did once, 12 per cent did two or three times, and two per cent did it often.

COVID-19 case numbers are rising, and the poll suggests 62 per cent surveyed have little to no confidence in Canada’s ability to limit the spread of COVID-19 over the next few weeks.

That pessimism is notable, considering that before the holidays, polls suggested Canadians were feeling optimistic about 2021, Bourque said.

But stories in the waning days of 2020 about delays in vaccine rollouts, climbing case counts and news that many politicians left the country over the holidays despite limits on travel, seem to be turning Canadians’ moods, he said.

“I think it’s gotten people to be more skeptical about how much we can do in the short term,” he said.

Throughout the pandemic, Leger has asked Canadians about their mental health, and Bourque said the latest round of responses reflect a downturn: in the most recent survey, only 33 per cent rated their mental health as good, the lowest figure yet, he said.

“January is set up to be a bit gloomy,” he said.

Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies carried out the survey of 1,506 Canadians between Dec. 30, 2020 and Jan. 3, 2021.

The poll was conducted online, and cannot be assigned a margin of error as online surveys aren’t considered truly random.

As pollsters were asking the questions, news reports surfaced of politicians, including Ontario’s finance minister, several federal MPs and provincial politicians in Alberta, among others, taking trips outside the country in recent months.

That’s in spite of repeated warnings from local and national governments, as well as public health officials, that travel should be limited only to essential trips.

In the survey, 87 per cent of those asked said they would support a total ban on international travel until there are several consecutive days of reduced numbers of COVID-19 cases

Bourque said that number is consistent with similar questions asked throughout the pandemic, but also reflects a growing desire by Canadians for governments to take concrete action to try to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The federal government has said only a small fraction of the active cases in Canada can be directly linked to recent travel, though it did ban incoming flights from the United Kingdom after a new variant of COVID-19 that is believed to be more contagious surfaced there late last year.

Families of downed Ukrainian flight 752 victims struggle with loss a year later

BY LIAM CASEY AND HINA ALAM, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jan 5th, 2021

A broken cellphone and a muddied wallet were the only possessions Alireza Ghandchi received from Iran after his wife and two children were killed in a Ukrainian plane crash last year.

“No luggage, no dolls, no anything,” he said.

His son, Daniel, was eight-years-old and his daughter, Dorsa, was just three days shy of turning 16. The family from Richmond Hill, Ont., was returning home after spending the holidays in Iran when their plane — Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 — was shot down by the Iranian army.

Ghandchi says his last conversation was with his daughter about 90 minutes before the flight while his wife, Faezeh, was checking in.

Everything was fine, Dorsa told him.

Now, pictures of his family fill his walls and memories of them fill his heart. When it gets overwhelming, Ghandchi goes into his storage, smells his wife’s perfume, hugs his children’s clothes and cries.

Ghandchi says there are times when nothing at all can help him with the grief of losing his entire family.

All 176 passengers on board the Ukraine passenger jet died in the crash on Jan. 8, 2020. There were 138 people on board with ties to Canada.

A year later, families cling to memories of their lost loved ones along with a few mementoes they received from the Iranian authorities.

Not all of the passengers’ personal possessions were destroyed in the crash. There were reports of looting at the site of the crash and some of the victims’ families have accused Iranian authorities of withholding valuable items such as jewelry, cellphones and cash.

Ralph Goodale, who is Ottawa’s special adviser on the Ukrainian plane crash, blasted Iran in a recent report for its treatment of the victims’ families, including the “withholding of personal effects.”

For Amirali Alavi, who lost his mother, Neda Sadighi, in the tragedy, the past year has been “one devastating blow after another.”

He received her pristine boarding pass, a few crumpled rings, a destroyed laptop, a few credit cards and identification — but no wallet, no luggage, no carry-on. Most of her jewelry was missing as was the cash she carried.

“Some of these things don’t have monetary value, but they have a lot of sentimental value to the families,” Alavi said. “It feels like psychological warfare.”

Alavi is not alone.

Several other families say they’ve received little to nothing of their loved ones’ possessions back from Iran, which further compounds their grief.

Most of the relatives have banded together to form the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims. With contacts throughout Iran, they’re doing their own investigation, Alavi said.

They’ve unearthed video of the crash site that shows officials going through passengers’ bags and sorting them into bins, he said.

“They’re separating the contents, taking them out without any effort of preserving them and tossing the bags in one box, belongings in the other box,” Alavi said.

“Nobody knows what happened to them.”

He said one family got back a laptop without its hard drive, while another received a leather bracelet without its gold pieces.

Tensions were running high on the day the Ukrainian plane was downed.

Hours before the crash, Iran launched an attack on U.S. military forces at two airbases in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Qasem Soleimani, a feared general and head of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

Alavi, a law and business student at the University of Toronto, watched an online flight tracker as PS752 took off at 6:12 a.m. Tehran time, more than an hour late from its scheduled departure time. He felt a sense of relief when the site showed the plane making its way into Azerbaijan airspace.

He was excited to have his mother back. In 2010, Sadighi, an ophthalmologist, gave up her practice in Iran and moved to Canada with her husband, Farzad Alavi, a doctor, hoping for a better life for their son.

The tracking site Alavi watched that night was wrong. Six minutes after takeoff, the plane was hit by ground-to-air missiles and crashed into a children’s playground.

Iran said the takedown was human error, which many families do not believe.

Mahmoud Zibaie also tracked the flight online. He even took a video of the tracking technology to later show it to his computer-savvy 15-year-old daughter, Maya, who was on the plane with his wife, Shahrzad Hashemi.

A few minutes after takeoff, he left to brew some tea. By the time he returned to his computer, the plane had vanished from the screen. He soon saw reports of the crash on social media.

His pain and anguish remain fresh and he is overwhelmed at times by feelings of guilt. Zibaie was supposed to be on that plane with his family, but he came home a few days earlier because he worried about taking too much time off from his new job.

“It’s very, very, very tough still, the wound is fresh. And I believe that it will take a very long time to heal,” he said.

Like several other families, Zibaie has channelled much of his grief towards building a school in an impoverished part of Iran.

Zibaie still looks at Maya’s first email she sent when she was four years old — a painting she made on the computer — for comfort. His wife was a decorative painter and his daughter had inherited her talents.

He applied to immigrate to Canada in 2006 when Maya was two years old. They landed in Toronto in 2016. Four years later, he buried his wife and daughter in Tehran.

Zibaie found he could no longer live in the same home in Toronto so he moved to Ottawa.

“Every place I went was a memory,” he said. “It was too hard.”

He, too, wishes for more of his family’s belongings back.

He has gotten back his daughter’s burned passport and some of his wife’s banking cards.

“That’s all I’ve gotten back,” he said. “It hurts.”

Arman Abtahi was relieved when his brother’s remains arrived in a sealed coffin so the last memory of him would be of the final time the family had seen him — smiling and waving goodbye.

He had hoped the Iranian authorities would send back his brother’s ring so their mother could have something of her 37-year-old son.

“We didn’t get back anything,” he said. “Not his luggage, not his watch, not his ring, we just got his body.”

Abtahi’s brother was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of British Columbia. He had gone to Iran to celebrate his first wedding anniversary because his wife’s visa to Canada was rejected.

The last thing Abtahi told his brother was that he would pick him up at the airport.

“Instead, I went to the airport to go back to Iran to bury him,” he said.

Bail hearing scheduled today for teens accused in death of Calgary police officer

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jan 4th, 2021

CALGARY — Two teens charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Calgary police officer are due in court today for a bail hearing.

The accused — 19-year-old Amir Abdulrahman and a 17-year-old boy — were arrested on Friday afternoon after turning themselves in.

They had been wanted in the death of 37-year-old Sgt. Andrew Harnett, who was killed while conducting a traffic stop on New Year’s Eve.

Calgary police have said Harnett pulled over an SUV, which then struck and killed him.

They’ve alleged the younger of the two accused was behind the wheel, while they say Abdulrahman was a passenger.

The pair had their first court appearance on Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Helicopter crash victims identified as parents, two children in family of seven

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jan 4th, 2021

DEBOLT, Alta. — Four people who died in a helicopter crash on New Year’s Day are being identified by loved ones as members of a strong and loving farm family from a small community in northern Alberta.

The families of 45-year-old Wade Balisky and 37-year-old Aubrey Balisky say in a joint statement that they are grappling with the loss of the couple and two of their children, eight-year-old Jewel and two-year-old Fleur.

The family says Wade and Aubrey are survived by their three other children, 16-year-old Chevey, 14-year-old Remington and 12-year-old Indya.

The family lived together in the small farming community of DeBolt, Alta., about 45 kilometres east of Grande Prairie.

RCMP have said emergency responders received an emergency signal from a Robinson R44 helicopter and arrived to find the aircraft crashed in a field in nearby Birch Hills county with no survivors.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

“We have been devastated by our sudden loss of Wade, Aubrey, Jewel and Fleur,” the Balisky and Warkentin families said in a joint statement.

“Chevey, Remington and Indya will need your prayers, love and support as they grapple with the loss of their father, mother and sisters. They know that they were loved and are loved.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Monday, Jan. 4, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jan 4th, 2021

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Jan. 4, 2021.

There are 601,663 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 601,663 confirmed cases (80,822 active, 504,976 resolved, 15,865 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 6,578 new cases Sunday from 50,584 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 13 per cent. The rate of active cases is 215.01 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 48,389 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,913.

There were 41 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 757 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 108. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.29 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.21 per 100,000 people.

There have been 14,041,448 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 390 confirmed cases (12 active, 374 resolved, four deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday from 260 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.3 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 73,148 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 96 confirmed cases (six active, 90 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday from 217 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 3.82 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 80,395 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,499 confirmed cases (27 active, 1,407 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday from 617 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.78 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 34 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been 181,051 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 618 confirmed cases (42 active, 567 resolved, nine deaths).

There were seven new cases Sunday from 215 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.3 per cent. The rate of active cases is 5.41 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 26 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.16 per 100,000 people.

There have been 116,049 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 210,304 confirmed cases (22,501 active, 179,456 resolved, 8,347 deaths).

There were 2,869 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 265.19 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 17,649 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,521.

There were 11 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 324 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 46. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.55 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 98.37 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,507,746 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 190,962 confirmed cases (23,611 active, 162,701 resolved, 4,650 deaths).

There were 2,964 new cases Sunday from 48,175 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 6.2 per cent. The rate of active cases is 162.09 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 19,546 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,792.

There were 25 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 273 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 39. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.27 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 31.92 per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,838,837 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 25,126 confirmed cases (4,461 active, 19,982 resolved, 683 deaths).

There were 100 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 325.75 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 981 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 140.

There were five new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 38 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.4 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 49.87 per 100,000 people.

There have been 409,113 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 16,083 confirmed cases (2,841 active, 13,084 resolved, 158 deaths).

There were 238 new cases Sunday from 1,017 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 23 per cent. The rate of active cases is 241.9 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,269 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 181.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 17 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 13.45 per 100,000 people.

There have been 305,692 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 104,228 confirmed cases (18,355 active, 84,827 resolved, 1,046 deaths).

There were an estimated 400 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 419.9 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 6,876 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 982.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 64 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 23.93 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,547,298 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 51,990 confirmed cases (8,962 active, 42,127 resolved, 901 deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 176.72 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,998 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 285.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 40 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is six. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 17.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 962,565 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 64 confirmed cases (four active, 59 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 9.79 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of four new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,927 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 24 confirmed cases (zero active, 24 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,906 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 266 confirmed cases (zero active, 265 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday from 83 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.58 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,645 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Jan. 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Police find body of child following Northwest Territories house fire

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Dec 31st, 2020

FORT PROVIDENCE, N.W.T. — RCMP say they have located the body of a child following a house fire in Fort Providence, Northwest Territories.

Police say they were called around 1:20 p.m. Monday to a house that was fully engulfed in flames in the community of about 700 people southwest of Yellowknife.

When they arrived, they were told one child was unaccounted for.

Officers say they tried to enter the home at the time, but the fire was too severe.

A GoFundMe page set up by a relative says a daughter died in the fire and the family has five other children.

Several other people in the home were treated for minor injuries.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Julie Green said the territory’s health authority was sending extra counsellors to help support the community.

As of Wednesday afternoon, around $13,000 had been raised for the family through the GoFundMe page.

The coroner’s office of the Northwest Territories is investigating.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press

B.C. mom who gave birth in a coma due to COVID-19 discharged from hospital

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Dec 31st, 2020

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — A mother who had an emergency C-section in British Columbia while in a coma due to complications from COVID-19 returned home to her family in time for Christmas.

Gillian McIntosh was in her third trimester when she went to hospital in Abbotsford with COVID-19 symptoms in November.

The 37-year-old was placed in an induced coma and was on a ventilator for a month due to complications from the virus

Her family says in a statement that the mother of two was discharged from hospital on Christmas Eve.

McIntosh thanked those who supported her family during her health scare.

She says in the statement that it was a surreal experience to wake up from a coma and find out she had given birth, particularly when her last memory is of going to hospital.

Her family says that doctors do not yet know how long it will take for McIntosh’s lungs to return to a healthy state.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Conservative MP Phil McColeman says he won’t seek re-election

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Dec 31st, 2020

OTTAWA — A long-time Conservative MP says he won’t seek re-election when the next federal vote comes around.

Phil McColeman made the announcement in a social media post.

He says it has been a privilege to represent Ontario’s Brantford-Brant for the last 12 years, and thanks the riding’s voters for placing their trust and confidence in him.

McColeman also thanks his family, volunteers, supporters and staff.

He says while he’ll greatly miss representing the riding in Parliament, he looks “forward to welcoming my Conservative successor.”

McColeman first won the riding in 2008, taking a seat held by Liberals and New Democrats6 since the late 1960s.

His announcement is the latest from a Conservative incumbent who has decided to step down when Canadians next go to the polls.

In late November, Peter Kent said he wouldn’t run again in his Toronto-area riding.

Conservatives DIane Finley and Bruce Stanton have also announced they won’t stand for re-election.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Raptors lose first season opener in eight years in loss to Pelicans

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Dec 24th, 2020

Brandon Ingram scored 24 points and JJ Redick added 23 as the New Orleans Pelicans beat Toronto 113-99 in the Raptors’ season opener Wednesday at Amalie Arena.

Pascal Siakam had 20 points in one of the bright spots of the loss, the Raptors’ first defeat in a season opener in eight seasons. Kyle Lowry added 18 points and 10 assists, Aron Baynes had 11 points and nine rebounds, and Norman Powell and Chris Boucher chipped in with 12 points apiece.

The Raptors led for most of the first half but went ice cold in the third quarter. They went 0-for-10 from three-point range and were outscored 38-22 in the frame, and trailed 88-79 to start the fourth.

The Pelicans kept their foot on the gas in the fourth, and when Redick knocked down a three-pointer with 5:15 to play, New Orleans led by 14 points.

The Raptors went a horrible 2-for-17 from distance in the second half.

Siakam had been enjoying a career year before the NBA shut down for COVID-19 last March, and was never quite himself when the league resumed in the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World. Fans weren’t kind to the 26-year-old when the Raptors were eliminated by Boston in the second round of the playoffs.

Siakam said he’d lost his love of the game. It looked like it was back on Wednesday.

Siakam not only scored on an array of shots, but pitched some excellent passes out of crowds.

The night marked the beginning of the most bizarre season in Raptors history, a small crowd of about 3,000 fans dotting Amalie Arena. The venue will be Toronto’s temporary home for at least the first half of the season due to Canada’s travel restrictions around COVID-19.

In a sign of these strange times, the Raptor mascot waved the team flag before the game clad in a black protective face mask.

The Raptors tipped off a few hours after the league announced Houston’s game against Oklahoma City was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests plus James Harden’s violation of the league’s coronavirus protocols left the Rockets without the league-mandated eight available players.

It was a discouraging blow on Day 2 of a season that feels like the league is playing with its collective fingers crossed while the pandemic continues to rage in the U.S.

The Raptors had their own scare earlier in the day. Powell was listed as questionable after some inconclusive tests with someone in his “circle of people,” coach Nick Nurse said.

Nurse said despite the rocky start, he’s “fairly comfortable” about playing.

“I understand that there are some people – players and staff, et cetera – testing positive. I’d be much more concerned if there was a number of players going to the hospital, a number of staff going to the hospital, and I just don’t see that as the case with all these colleges and universities and all the athletes that test.”

Amalie Arena is one of just a few facilities around the league that is permitting a limited number of fans this season.

The Raptors trailed in the early minutes, but Siakam’s three capped a mini 7-0 run that put Toronto up by four. The Raptors led 26-23 to start the second quarter.

Siakam knocked down back-to-back three-pointers – both off passes from sharp-shooter Matt Thomas – to put the Raptors up by 11 with 1:46 left in the first half. Toronto took a 57-50 advantage into the halftime break.

The Raptors now depart on their first road trip of the regular season, playing against former teammate DeMar DeRozan and the Spurs in San Antonio on Boxing Day. They play at Philadelphia on Dec. 28.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Dec 24th, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Thursday Dec. 24, 2020.

There are 528,354 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 528,354 confirmed cases (75,305 active, 438,452 resolved, 14,597 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 6,845 new cases Wednesday from 89,189 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 7.7 per cent. The rate of active cases is 200.34 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 46,724 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,675.

There were 172 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 798 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 114. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.3 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 38.83 per 100,000 people.

There have been 13,343,345 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 384 confirmed cases (26 active, 354 resolved, four deaths).

There was one new case Wednesday from 232 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.43 per cent. The rate of active cases is 4.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 20 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 71,012 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 91 confirmed cases (seven active, 84 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday from 823 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 4.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 77,149 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,458 confirmed cases (35 active, 1,358 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were four new cases Wednesday from 992 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.40 per cent. The rate of active cases is 3.6 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 28 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been 171,951 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 585 confirmed cases (47 active, 530 resolved, eight deaths).

There were five new cases Wednesday from 516 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.97 per cent. The rate of active cases is 6.05 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 18 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.03 per 100,000 people.

There have been 113,276 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 183,523 confirmed cases (19,381 active, 156,275 resolved, 7,867 deaths).

There were 2,247 new cases Wednesday from 10,758 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 21 per cent. The rate of active cases is 228.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 14,350 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,050.

There were 73 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 254 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 36. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.43 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 92.72 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,436,763 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 162,663 confirmed cases (19,424 active, 139,010 resolved, 4,229 deaths).

There were 2,408 new cases Wednesday from 54,808 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.4 per cent. The rate of active cases is 133.35 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16,128 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,304.

There were 41 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 194 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 28. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 29.03 per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,281,798 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 23,381 confirmed cases (4,427 active, 18,349 resolved, 605 deaths).

There were 201 new cases Wednesday from 2,139 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 9.4 per cent. The rate of active cases is 323.26 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,555 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 222.

There were 15 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 82 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.86 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 44.18 per 100,000 people.

There have been 399,378 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 14,101 confirmed cases (3,850 active, 10,121 resolved, 130 deaths).

There were 159 new cases Wednesday from 985 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 16 per cent. The rate of active cases is 327.81 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,507 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 215.

There were five new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 32 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.39 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 11.07 per 100,000 people.

There have been 295,964 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 93,781 confirmed cases (17,821 active, 75,070 resolved, 890 deaths).

There were 1,301 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 407.68 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,184 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,312.

There were 19 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 130 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 19. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 20.36 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,547,298 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 48,027 confirmed cases (10,279 active, 36,952 resolved, 796 deaths).

There were 517 new cases Wednesday from 17,821 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 2.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 202.69 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,924 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 561.

There were 19 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 104 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 15. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.29 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 15.7 per 100,000 people.

There have been 929,744 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 59 confirmed cases (zero active, 58 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday from six completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,878 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 24 confirmed cases (one active, 23 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday from 38 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.23 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,725 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 264 confirmed cases (seven active, 255 resolved, two deaths).

There were two new cases Wednesday from 71 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 2.8 per cent. The rate of active cases is 18.05 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of six new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.74 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 5.16 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,333 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Dec. 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press

‘Very hopeful:’ Planning underway for modified Calgary Stampede in 2021

BILL GRAVELAND, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Dec 24th, 2020

CALGARY — A world-famous annual rodeo that survived the Great Depression, two world wars and a devastating flood seven years ago was felled by a microscopic virus this year and will have a different look if it’s allowed to go forward in 2021.

Calgary Stampede president Dana Peers says planning is underway, with fingers crossed, to stage the celebration of cowboy life, which brings in a million visitors each year and gives the local economy a $282-million boost.

“Who would have thought it would be a pandemic that would really take us to a whole new level of challenge?” Peers said in an interview.

The Stampede first started on an annual basis in 1923. It had been held every year since, including in 2013 when Calgary and other communities in southern Alberta were devastated by flooding. The grounds were under water, but frantic efforts enabled the 10-day rodeo, fair and midway to go ahead.

“Unlike the floods, where the waters receded and they allowed us to get in there and get the physical work done and move forward, here we are 10 months later and the pandemic hasn’t receded,” Peers said.

“For that reason, we haven’t been able to turn around like we did in 2013.”

Another challenge, Peers said, is there’s been little revenue, since most of the 1,200 events held at Stampede Park each year were also cancelled. A COVID-19 testing site was set up instead and the rodeo grandstand has been used as a courthouse to allow for physical distancing.

Peers said he remains “very hopeful” the Stampede will be held in some form next year. Stampede officials are working with Alberta Health Services and Calgary’s Emergency Management Agency to find a way to hold it safely. He said the arrival of vaccines is also a positive.

“We need to think about new ways to be able to have people (in the) park safely, to be able to social distance, to have those kind of events where people can feel safe,” Peers said.

“I see 2021 as a bridge year. We’re hopefully going to … still have a Stampede. And by the time we get to 2022, hopefully we’re back to a situation where it would be more normal.”

University of Calgary professor Aritha van Herk, who wrote “Stampede and the Westness of the West,” said event officials showed leadership by cancelling in 2020, but people are anxious for it to return.

“You’re not a Calgarian unless you’ve participated completely, drunk too much, danced your feet off. Every part of it is part of the city’s character.”

Van Herk said she expects the event will go ahead next year on a limited basis.

“I bet they will try to do it in such a way that they really limit attendance and they’ll use this opportunity to rethink everything. We’ve been going for a 100 years. What can we make better?”

The City of Calgary had already been hit with a financial crisis linked to a drop in oil prices, which led to layoffs and extensive amounts of empty space before the pandemic began.

The president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development said the city has a perception problem, which hasn’t been helped by focusing on the Stampede and energy sector while ignoring the booming tech and financial sectors.

“People think of us as only an oil and gas town … and yet there’s so much more going on and has been for the last several years,” said Mary Moran.

“It doesn’t mean you abandon your heritage. We have to honour that.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 24, 2020.

— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Liberals post call-out for candidates for next federal election

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Dec 23rd, 2020

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are looking for candidates seeking to run for them in the next election, focusing on people who have been working to help their communities through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau makes the pitch in a video posted to the party website.

With his jacket off and tie loosened for the camera, Trudeau says holidays at the end of the year are a natural time to think about what comes next, and people who have been rolling up their sleeves to assist with the pandemic might want to think about jumping into politics.

Trudeau also says the party wants a candidate roster that represents all voices in shaping Canada’s post-pandemic future.

The Liberals say that in constituencies held by MPs from other parties, the local riding association will have to show that it’s looked hard for potential candidates from communities or backgrounds that are under-represented in Parliament.

Trudeau, who heads a minority government, does not say when he expects that election to come, other than it will be “at some point in the years ahead.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 22, 2020.

The Canadian Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Dec 23rd, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday Dec. 23, 2020.

There are 521,509 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 521,509 confirmed cases (75,523 active, 431,561 resolved, 14,425 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 6,195 new cases Tuesday from 65,175 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 9.5 per cent. The rate of active cases is 200.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 46,295 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,614.

There were 93 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 766 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 109. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.29 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 38.38 per 100,000 people.

There have been 13,254,156 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 383 confirmed cases (32 active, 347 resolved, four deaths).

There was one new case Tuesday from 359 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.28 per cent. The rate of active cases is 6.14 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 24 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 70,780 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 91 confirmed cases (seven active, 84 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 4.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 76,326 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,454 confirmed cases (40 active, 1,349 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were seven new cases Tuesday from 1,097 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.64 per cent. The rate of active cases is 4.12 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 28 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been 170,959 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 580 confirmed cases (47 active, 525 resolved, eight deaths).

There were two new cases Tuesday from 271 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.74 per cent. The rate of active cases is 6.05 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 21 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.03 per 100,000 people.

There have been 112,760 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 181,276 confirmed cases (18,809 active, 154,673 resolved, 7,794 deaths).

There were 2,183 new cases Tuesday from 9,879 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 22 per cent. The rate of active cases is 221.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 14,000 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,000.

There were 28 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 223 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 32. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.38 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 91.86 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,426,005 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 160,255 confirmed cases (19,300 active, 136,767 resolved, 4,188 deaths).

There were 2,202 new cases Tuesday from 43,784 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 5.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 132.5 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 15,859 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,266.

There were 21 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 196 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 28. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 28.75 per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,226,990 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 23,180 confirmed cases (4,382 active, 18,208 resolved, 590 deaths).

There were 155 new cases Tuesday from 1,477 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 10 per cent. The rate of active cases is 319.98 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,645 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 235.

There were 18 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 82 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.86 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 43.08 per 100,000 people.

There have been 397,239 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 13,942 confirmed cases (3,945 active, 9,872 resolved, 125 deaths).

There were 181 new cases Tuesday from 1,070 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 17 per cent. The rate of active cases is 335.9 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,510 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 216.

There were three new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 27 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.33 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 10.64 per 100,000 people.

There have been 294,979 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 92,480 confirmed cases (18,311 active, 73,298 resolved, 871 deaths).

There were 1,021 new cases Tuesday. The rate of active cases is 418.89 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,153 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,308.

There were 11 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 127 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 18. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 19.93 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,547,298 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 47,510 confirmed cases (10,639 active, 36,094 resolved, 777 deaths).

There were 443 new cases Tuesday from 7,160 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 6.2 per cent. The rate of active cases is 209.79 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,047 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 578.

There were 12 new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 109 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 16. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.31 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 15.32 per 100,000 people.

There have been 911,923 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 59 confirmed cases (zero active, 58 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday from 17 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,872 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 24 confirmed cases (three active, 21 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday from 26 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 6.69 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,687 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 262 confirmed cases (eight active, 252 resolved, two deaths).

There were zero new cases Tuesday from 35 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 20.63 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of four new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There were zero new reported deaths Tuesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.74 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 5.16 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,262 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Dec. 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Couples do Christmas online, in person if ‘lucky’ during Canada-U.S. border closure

CAMILLE BAINS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Dec 23rd, 2020

VANCOUVER — Like many couples, Kaelynn Ball and Dave Hogsten will be enjoying a leisurely breakfast on Christmas Day before opening presents. In their case, they’ll be watching each other prepare their own meals on a screen as they spend hours together while she is at home in Canada and he is in the United States.

Ball, of Surrey, B.C., met Hogsten online on Dec. 26, 2018, before she travelled to his home in Baltimore, Md., six months later and then again last Christmas, when she presented his family with maple syrup from Canada.

Hogsten proposed during a visit to Ball’s home in February, around the time concerns about a new and deadly coronavirus were spreading around the globe, and forced the closure of the Canada-U.S. border to non-essential travel in mid-March.

Ball, 24, and Hogsten, 37, were among cross-border couples and families that met last summer in Surrey at Peace Arch Park, a no-quarantine-required international loophole where Canadians — under the watchful eye of RCMP officers — could meet with their loved ones in Washington state.

Now, Ball has created an online community of couples, including many from around the U.S. that she met at the park, so they can share their experiences of navigating a long-distance relationship during a pandemic.

“People have been able to share their stories and connect with each other and say, ‘What’s been hard about this year? What’s been good about this year?’”

Her suggestions for date nights via Zoom or Skype are a big hit.

“We do board game nights, video game nights. We’re doing a Mexican night. We’re making margaritas and we’re getting takeout,” she said. “We’re always mixing it up, and I’ve had a lot of people actually message me and say, ‘Wow, that’s a great idea.’”

Ball and Hogsten have even done a pretend pub-crawl to keep things interesting while spending so much time onscreen and not knowing when they’ll see each other in person.

She also supports an online group called Faces of Advocacy, which lobbied the federal government to ease border restrictions in October so family members and couples in a long-term relationship could see each other, as long as they quarantine for 14 days.

Ball and Hogsten are eager to make wedding plans but have a few hurdles to cross, including getting vaccinated and waiting for the border to reopen, she said, adding she’s learned a few things about patience while trying to spark romance during COVID-19.

“Sometimes things take time. You can’t have everything immediately when you want it.”

Shannon McMullin, 33, of St. Catharines, Ont., has learned about the importance of timing during her long-distance relationship with Erin Spicer of Buffalo, N.Y., after they met online a year and a half ago.

Spicer, 34, drove to St. Catharines hours before the Canada-U.S. border closed to non-essential travel on March 18.

“We were so lucky that she got here,” McMullin said.

After Spicer returned home at the end of June, the couple tried unsuccessfully to meet on the Rainbow Bridge connecting Niagara Falls, Ont., and Niagara Falls, N.Y.

That’s when they decided to drive seven hours each way to a border crossing between Quebec and Vermont every two weeks to meet at a dead-end road.

The setting wasn’t so romantic, but it’s where they got engaged in September.

“The border guards knew us and they were nice to us. So they actually let us put the ring on each other’s finger and give each other a hug and kiss across the border,” McMullin said.

Spicer applied for an exemption to the travel ban and returned to Canada in November.

“We actually get to spend Christmas together even though it’ll look different than other years. It’s going to be one to remember, that’s for sure,” McMullin said.

They’re planning to get married soon, likely with just McMullin’s two-and-a-half-year-old twins Harper and Hannah there, she said.

“But then we’ll probably still do a big celebration in a couple of years when the world’s back to normal.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 23, 2020.

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

Ontario premier demands increased COVID-19 testing at airports as new variant emerges

STEPHANIE LEVITZ, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Dec 22nd, 2020

OTTAWA — Ontario Premier Doug Ford blasted the federal government today for not moving faster on COVID-19 testing for incoming international travellers as a new variant is prompting more border closures.

Late yesterday, the federal government announced it was banning all incoming passenger flights from the U.K. for 72 hours due to a new manifestation of the novel coronavirus that is dominating cases in that country.

Early science suggests the new variant is more transmissible than other strains, but so far it has not been documented in Canada.

Still, the federal government said it was closing the border to arriving flights to give public health officials time to gather further evidence and conduct additional research.

Opposition critics welcomed the ban but questioned the 72-hour limit, saying they weren’t confident that evidence could be gathered in that time frame.

Global Affairs also published a notice today telling Canadians not to travel to the United Kingdom because of the new variant.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21 2020.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

Estate of Nova Scotia mass killer Gabriel Wortman valued at $2.1 million

MICHAEL TUTTON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Dec 22nd, 2020

HALIFAX — The estate belonging to Nova Scotia mass murderer Gabriel Wortman is valued at $2.1 million — about one-third of which is in cash seized by police, according to newly released court documents.

Wortman was shot dead by a police officer at a gas station in Enfield, N.S., on April 19, after the gunman had killed 22 people during a 13-hour rampage across the province.

The Dec. 14 appraisal prepared for the probate court says six properties listed under the killer’s name in Halifax and Portapique, N.S., — the small community where the killing began — are worth approximately $1.2 million.

Three corporations — including the 51-year-old’s denturist clinic — are valued at $128,711, while the appraiser estimated the killer had roughly $3,760 worth of household goods. The total amount of “cash on hand” is listed as $705,000, which the RCMP seized from the killer’s residence in Portapique.

The estate is facing several lawsuits, both from Wortman’s common law spouse, Lisa Banfield, and from the families of his victims. The victims’ families are trying to get a class action certified that seeks compensation for the deaths and for the damage Wortman caused.

Sandra McCulloch, a lawyer for the families, said what’s left of Wortman’s estate belongs to his many victims.

“Whether it’s a couple of dollars or a lot of dollars, our view is that the families are the people to whom those funds should go,” she said in an interview Monday. “The lawsuit would have carried on regardless of the size of the estate.”

Court documents have said the cash was stockpiled in the final weeks before Wortman drove through the province in a replica police vehicle, killing people he knew and didn’t know, and burning properties.

In applications for search warrants, police have stated that Wortman liquidated $475,000 of investments and requested the money in $100 bills, which he had picked up from a Brinks outlet in Halifax on March 30.

Witnesses quoted in the search warrant applications have said a “paranoid” Wortman was growing increasingly anxious about COVID-19 before he had liquidated the investments.

The newly released court document says a bank account in Wortman’s name had about $40,919 in it. It also lists a CPP death benefit worth $2,500 and a few small balances on credit cards.

The application for the class action against Wortman’s estate names three categories of plaintiffs. The first involves direct relatives of those killed, such as parents, children and spouses. The second involves all people who suffered personal injuries from the gunman, excluding Banfield. And the third category involves all people who suffered damage to property.

Banfield filed a notice of claim on the estate in probate court on Nov. 10. In the document, the lawyer for Wortman’s common law spouse said while Banfield isn’t a shareholder, “she and the deceased operated the (denturist) business as a joint venture,” adding that her work was critical to its success.

She also claimed the deceased and the estate would be “unjustly enriched if the applicant (Banfield) were not entitled “to a share of the assets in the name of the deceased (Wortman) at the time of his death.”

In addition, Banfield — who has renounced her right to be an executor of the estate, and has asked it be administered by the public trustee — launched her own legal action in August for damages against the estate.

At the time, she said she was the victim of assault and battery the night Wortman began his rampage and said she had suffered “intentional infliction of mental suffering.”

The RCMP has said Banfield was handcuffed but managed to escape and fled to nearby woods on the night of April 18. She emerged the next morning and told police at 6:30 a.m. that Wortman was driving a police replica vehicle.

On Dec. 4, the RCMP announced that three people, including Banfield, had been charged with supplying ammunition to the gunman. Police have said the alleged offences occurred between March 17 and April 18, but that those charged “had no prior knowledge of the gunman’s actions.”

The Halifax-based probate court provides for the protection of heirs, recipients of legacies and of estate creditors. It also provides a forum for adjudication and appoints executors, administrators, appraisers, and guardians in relation to all estate matters.

Adrienne Bowers, the solicitor for the public trustee, said in the court document that the initial value of the estate was pegged at about $1.2 million. She said that if new assets are discovered, she would alert the probate court within 30 days.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2020.

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Monday, Dec. 22, 2020

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Dec 22nd, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday Dec. 22, 2020.

There are 515,314 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 515,314 confirmed cases (77,361 active, 423,621 resolved, 14,332 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 6,381 new cases Monday from 73,365 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 8.7 per cent. The rate of active cases is 205.81 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 46,452 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,636.

There were 68 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 779 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 111. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.3 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 38.13 per 100,000 people.

There have been 13,188,981 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 382 confirmed cases (31 active, 347 resolved, four deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday from 187 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 5.94 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 23 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 70,421 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 91 confirmed cases (seven active, 84 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday from 905 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 4.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 76,326 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,447 confirmed cases (38 active, 1,344 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were two new cases Monday from 960 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.21 per cent. The rate of active cases is 3.91 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 27 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been 169,862 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 578 confirmed cases (49 active, 521 resolved, eight deaths).

There were four new cases Monday from 272 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.5 per cent. The rate of active cases is 6.31 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.03 per 100,000 people.

There have been 112,489 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 179,093 confirmed cases (18,458 active, 152,869 resolved, 7,766 deaths).

There were 2,108 new cases Monday from 10,456 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 20 per cent. The rate of active cases is 217.54 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 13,558 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,937.

There were 30 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 233 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 33. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.39 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 91.53 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,416,126 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 158,053 confirmed cases (19,019 active, 134,867 resolved, 4,167 deaths).

There were 2,123 new cases Monday from 52,723 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 130.57 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 15,932 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,276.

There were 17 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 195 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 28. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 28.61 per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,183,206 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 23,025 confirmed cases (5,736 active, 16,717 resolved, 572 deaths).

There were 166 new cases Monday from 6,503 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 2.6 per cent. The rate of active cases is 418.85 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,761 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 252.

There were three new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 73 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 10. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.76 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 41.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 395,762 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 13,761 confirmed cases (3,990 active, 9,649 resolved, 122 deaths).

There were 206 new cases Monday from 1,232 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 17 per cent. The rate of active cases is 339.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,523 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 218.

There were four new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 31 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.38 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 10.39 per 100,000 people.

There have been 293,909 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 91,459 confirmed cases (19,165 active, 71,434 resolved, 860 deaths).

There were 1,240 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 438.43 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,473 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,353.

There were nine new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 127 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 18. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.42 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 19.67 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,547,298 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 47,067 confirmed cases (10,847 active, 35,455 resolved, 765 deaths).

There were 529 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 213.89 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,124 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 589.

There were five new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 118 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 17. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.33 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 15.08 per 100,000 people.

There have been 904,763 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 59 confirmed cases (one active, 57 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday from 33 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.45 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,855 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 24 confirmed cases (three active, 21 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Monday from 26 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 6.69 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,661 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 262 confirmed cases (17 active, 243 resolved, two deaths).

There were three new cases Monday from 68 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.4 per cent. The rate of active cases is 43.84 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of six new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There were zero new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.74 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 5.16 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,227 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Dec. 22, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, dubbed ‘Christmas Star,’ visible tonight

ROB DRINKWATER, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Dec 21st, 2020

A rare celestial event is making an already unique holiday season even more unusual, as what’s been dubbed the “Christmas Star” is set to appear over Canada on Monday evening, brighter than it’s been in nearly eight centuries.

It’s not really a star at all — it’s a convergence of Jupiter and Saturn — but because of their close proximity they will appear to the naked eye to be one, single bright star.

For the last few weeks, the two planets have appeared nearer and nearer in the night sky, and will be at their closest on Dec. 21, appearing above the southwest horizon shortly after sunset.

“It’s a sense of anticipation, which of course, is what Christmas is all about, that waiting. And here we’re waiting for those planets to almost merge in the sky,” said astronomer and physicist Brian Martin, a professor emeritus at King’s University, a Christian institution in Edmonton.

“It captures the sense of what it’s like to be waiting for the birth of Christ and to celebrate that on the 25th of December.”

Every year around this time, Stephen Jeans, who teaches earth and space science at Ambrose University, another Christian institution in Calgary, delivers a “Star of Bethlehem” lecture for the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation, a fellowship of Christian scientists.

The lecture, which isn’t being held this year due to COVID-19, focuses on the star that the Magi, or the Three Wise Men, followed to Bethlehem, and what astronomical event it possibly could have been.

There’s some who speculate it was a comet, but Jeans said those are typically bad omens, so he suggests it may have been a conjunction of planets similar to what’s on display now.

“The nice thing about this is it can be seen across the country at the same time,” Jeans explained.

“You’re going to have the opportunity to see the same event that all your friends and relatives will see: a really large double planet that looks like the Christmas star.”

The last time there was such a convergence of Jupiter and Saturn was in the 17th Century, but it wasn’t visible at night. You have to go back to March 4, 1226, that the conjunction was seen by people.

Martin notes that in 2 BCE, there was a conjunction between Jupiter and Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo, which the Magi may have been following.

Jupiter was the Roman god of sky and thunder while Leo, the lion, is king of the beasts.

“If you saw the king of the gods circling around the king star, Regulus, in the constellation Leo, that would get your attention of you were an astrologer,” Martin said.

“It’s kind of interesting that we have this wonderful conjunction right now in one of the darkest Christmases we’ve experienced, and just before the birth of Christ there was this amazing conjunction of three kings, in a sense bowing before one another.”

Stargazers typically gather in groups at observatories or with backyard telescopes for such events, but that won’t be happening this year due to COVID-19.

There’s also the chance the conjunction won’t be visible because of the weather. Clouds, heavy snow, or rain are in the forecast for many Canadian cities. The planets will still be visible on Tuesday night, but by then they will be moving apart.

Jeans said to look south between where the moon is visible and the sun just set. He said if you bring your cellphone, you can call friends and family and look at it at the same time.

“It only lasts about an hour and then the ‘Christmas Star’ will follow the sun and set itself in the west.”

A look at officer shootings by police force in Canada in 2020

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Dec 21st, 2020

There were 55 police shootings that resulted in death or injury in Canada between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30 of this year. Of those, 34 were fatal.

The Canadian Press tracked each shooting using information from police, independent investigative units and independent reporting. Here is a break down of the shootings by police force:

 RCMP: 15 (12 fatal)

— Peel Regional Police, Ont: 6 (3 fatal)

 Winnipeg Police Service: 5 (4 fatal)

 Sûerté de Québec: 5 (5 fatal)

 Ontario Provincial Police: 5 (4 fatal)

— Service de police de la Ville de Montréal: 4 (1 fatal)

— Edmonton Police Service: 3 (1 fatal)

 Toronto Police Service: 3 (2 fatal)

 Hamilton Police Service: 1 (fatal)

— Edmundston Police Force, N. B: 1 (fatal)

 Nishnawbe Aski Police Service, Ont: 1

— Timmins Police Service, Ont: 1

— York Regional Police, Ont: 1

— Delta Police Department, B. C: 1

— Abbotsford Police Department, B. C: 1

 Halifax Regional Police: 1

— New Glasgow Police Service, N. S: 1

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2020.

The Canadian Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Monday, Dec. 21, 2020

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Dec 21st, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Monday Dec. 21, 2020.

There are 507,795 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 507,795 confirmed cases (76,859 active, 416,708 resolved, 14,228 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 6,203 new cases Sunday from 81,813 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 7.6 per cent. The rate of active cases is 204.47 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 45,664 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,523.

There were 74 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 755 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 108. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.29 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 37.85 per 100,000 people.

There have been 13,115,616 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 382 confirmed cases (34 active, 344 resolved, four deaths).

There were two new cases Sunday from 364 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.55 per cent. The rate of active cases is 6.52 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 24 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 70,234 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 91 confirmed cases (seven active, 84 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 75,421 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,445 confirmed cases (41 active, 1,339 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were two new cases Sunday from 982 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.20 per cent. The rate of active cases is 4.22 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 30 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been 168,902 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 574 confirmed cases (46 active, 520 resolved, eight deaths).

There were -4 new cases Sunday from 307 completed tests, for a positivity rate of -1.3 per cent. The rate of active cases is 5.92 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 17 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.03 per 100,000 people.

There have been 112,217 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 176,985 confirmed cases (18,205 active, 151,044 resolved, 7,736 deaths).

There were 2,146 new cases Sunday from 11,533 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 19 per cent. The rate of active cases is 214.56 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 13,070 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,867.

There were 21 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 228 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 33. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.38 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 91.17 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,405,670 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 155,930 confirmed cases (18,567 active, 133,213 resolved, 4,150 deaths).

There were 2,316 new cases Sunday from 67,142 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.4 per cent. The rate of active cases is 127.46 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 15,749 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,250.

There were 25 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 201 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 29. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.2 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 28.49 per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,130,483 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 22,859 confirmed cases (5,749 active, 16,541 resolved, 569 deaths).

There were 229 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 419.8 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,836 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 262.

There were 13 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 79 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 11. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.82 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 41.55 per 100,000 people.

There have been 389,259 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 13,555 confirmed cases (3,880 active, 9,557 resolved, 118 deaths).

There were 226 new cases Sunday from 1,485 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 15 per cent. The rate of active cases is 330.36 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,584 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 226.

There were three new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 29 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.35 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 10.05 per 100,000 people.

There have been 292,677 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 90,219 confirmed cases (19,201 active, 70,167 resolved, 851 deaths).

There were 1,286 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 439.25 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,120 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,446.

There were 10 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 132 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 19. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.43 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 19.47 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,547,298 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 45,400 confirmed cases (11,087 active, 33,589 resolved, 724 deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 218.62 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,216 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 459.

There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 84 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.24 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 14.28 per 100,000 people.

There have been 904,763 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 59 confirmed cases (one active, 57 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 2.45 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,822 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 24 confirmed cases (nine active, 15 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 20.08 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of three new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,635 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 259 confirmed cases (32 active, 225 resolved, two deaths).

There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 82.52 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.74 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 5.16 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,159 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Dec. 21, 2020.

The Canadian Press

RCMP officers recognized N.S. gunman after pulling up at gas pump next to him

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Dec 18th, 2020

HALIFAX — A new report from an independent police watchdog reveals that the April 19 fatal shooting of the Nova Scotia mass killer occurred after two RCMP officers happened to pull up at a gas pump next to the gunman’s vehicle.

Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team says when the officers arrived at the Enfield, N.S., gas station, it was not known Gabriel Wortman had switched vehicles and was driving a grey Mazda3 stolen from a victim.

The watchdog agency’s report says two officers stopped at a pump next to the Mazda, and when the officer who was driving got out to refuel, he saw a man with a noticeable injury and blood on his forehead.

The report says the driver recognized the gunman, who had killed 22 people in a rampage beginning the previous night, drew his service weapon and alerted his partner that Wortman was in the vehicle next to theirs.

The agency says the second officer moved across the front of the vehicle and Wortman raised the pistol he had stolen from RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson, whom he had killed about 30 minutes earlier. Both officers opened fire and Wortman died at the scene.

Nova Scotia’s police watchdog concludes the officers were justified in their actions and no charges are warranted.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 17, 2020.

The Canadian Press

“Christmas is a little different this year”: An interview with Santa

THE BIG STORY | posted Friday, Dec 18th, 2020

In today’s Big Story podcast, over the past ten months we’ve been accustomed to seeing our daily routines change in ways large and small. Covid-19 has popularized phrases from “in these unprecedented times” to X “will look a little different this year”. And for many Canadian families there is no annual tradition as profound as the holidays. And for those families’ children there’s nothing quite like Santa Claus.

So how is the Jolly Old Elf coping with Covid, keeping his workplace safe and making sure that even if Christmas is different, it’s still special? Well, we asked him.

(Yes, this episode is child-friendly! Happy holidays from the Big Story team.)

GUEST: … Santa!

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

12 big Canadian companies to start voluntary rapid COVID-19 testing of employees

RICHARD SOUTHERN | posted Friday, Dec 18th, 2020

Some of Canada’s largest companies are joining together for a pilot project to screen their employees for COVID-19 before they enter the office.

Called the ‘Rapid Screening Consortium,’ it sees 12 different companies including Air Canada, Loblaws, Magna, Scotiabank and Suncor administer a rapid COVID-19 screening test twice a week to employees who volunteer to be tested. Those who sign up will be screened before entering their workplace and will receive the results within 15 minutes.

The project was spearheaded by Creative Destruction Lab at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and Professor Janice Stein.

Stein tells 680 NEWS that the project is aimed at making essential workplaces safer.

“This is an attempt to make those people who are actually at a work site feel safer and be safer because their colleagues that are with them are being screened on a voluntary basis twice a week,” she said.

The rapid screening tests are from Health Canada and use a light nasal swab administered by a health professional. Employees will wait to get the result before entering their workplaces. The screening is not meant to replace mask wearing or social distancing, but is intended as an extra layer of protection.

The program relies on volunteer signups, but the Consortium says it is hopeful that it can increase the level of participation to a point where it becomes meaningful.

The trial will get underway on Dec. 28 and will last until April, at which point the Rapid Screening Consortium will present a handbook and will set up a mentoring system for other, smaller companies that wish to do the screenings, creating what it says will be a “plug and play model.”

The complete list of companies taking part in the pilot project are:

Air Canada
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
Genpact
Loblaw Companies Limited
Magna
MDA Space
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
Nutrien
Rogers
Scotiabank
Shoppers Drug Mart
Suncor

As vulnerable youth face CERB clawbacks, Trudeau says Liberals looking over options

JORDAN PRESS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Dec 17th, 2020

Marie Christian recalls the confusion that reigned as the young people she works with tried to navigate government aid at the onset of the pandemic.

The program director for Voices: Manitoba’s Youth in Care Network, works with those aged 12 to 30 who are or have been in foster care. Many who aged out of care lost their part-time jobs during the first wave of COVID-19.

They were encouraged to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit when the $500-a-week income support was rolled out amid historic job losses this spring. And many did.

“Receiving CERB finally allowed them to take a breath,” Christian said.

“Not only did it help them to provide food and keep a roof over their head for themselves, and maybe for their young family, it just helped them to catch up a little bit, maybe pay off a little bit more of that hydro bill to make sure that their lights can stay on.”

They are now among the 441,000 people who have received letters from the Canada Revenue Agency questioning their eligibility for the CERB, and warning they may owe back some of the payments.

Groups that support them are warning repayment efforts could lead many to become homeless, and asking the government to grant amnesty for any of these youth who received the CERB.

“You would receive amnesty from repayment as a measure of recognizing your particular vulnerability,” said Rachel Gouin, executive director of the Child Welfare League of Canada.

“It should not be that hard.”

Faced with the issue, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government didn’t give aid to vulnerable people to pay the bills through the pandemic “to then claw it back afterwards.”

“We need to have a system that goes after people who are deliberately trying to defraud the system,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “But people who received money that they needed, or made good-faith mistakes about the application, should not worry about it.”


RELATED: Self-employed Canadians may have to pay back CERB


The letters have created a groundswell of anxiety as the Canada Revenue Agency questions whether some of the nearly nine million CERB recipients met eligibility rules for the payments.

The government has always said it would check afterward on eligibility and recoup wrongful payments.

While self-employed people have received much attention over a dispute about eligibility, letters have also gone to some of the estimated 6,000 to 7,000 young people who aged out of care each year — meaning they turn 18 or 19, depending on provincial rules, and are left to a patchwork of supports.

Christian said her group helped young people connect with officials and experts to understand the eligibility requirements before deciding whether to apply.

“We were all searching, we were all scrambling trying to figure out how to survive during the pandemic,” she said. “The different rules and the different recommendations that were put out caused a little bit of confusion.”

Gouin said repayments may not be an option for many of these youth because they don’t have much to start with. Nor do they have families to turn to, she said.

The CRA said any recipients found ineligible will have to eventually pay money back, but noted that collection efforts won’t happen until “it is responsible to do so.”

Child-welfare groups have quietly raised concerns to federal cabinet ministers, but left meetings without any hint something would be done.

“The fact that the government is asking … them to repay something that they desperately needed to survive in the pandemic to me is atrocious. It’s inhumane, to be honest,” said Melanie Doucet, a McGill University researcher probing the effects on youth aging out of care during the pandemic.

Trudeau said in the Wednesday interview that the government will have more to say in the coming months about what the medium-term path for this group of aid recipients could look like, without going into further detail.

“We will be evaluating and looking at how we can help the vulnerable and make sure that we get through this, all of us, as best as we possibly can,” Trudeau said.

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Dec 17th, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Thursday Dec. 17, 2020.

There are 481,630 confirmed cases in Canada.

_ Canada: 481,630 confirmed cases (75,885 active, 391,946 resolved, 13,799 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 6,416 new cases Wednesday from 64,919 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 9.9 per cent. The rate of active cases is 201.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 46,300 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,614.

There were 140 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 816 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 117. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.31 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 36.71 per 100,000 people.

There have been 12,756,869 tests completed.

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 364 confirmed cases (23 active, 337 resolved, four deaths).

There were five new cases Wednesday from 582 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.86 per cent. The rate of active cases is 4.41 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 11 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 68,326 tests completed.

_ Prince Edward Island: 89 confirmed cases (16 active, 73 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday from 939 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 10.19 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of five new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 74,161 tests completed.

_ Nova Scotia: 1,430 confirmed cases (55 active, 1,310 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were four new cases Wednesday from 1,583 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.25 per cent. The rate of active cases is 5.66 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 41 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is six.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been 164,699 tests completed.

_ New Brunswick: 567 confirmed cases (52 active, 507 resolved, eight deaths).

There were eight new cases Wednesday from 567 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 1.4 per cent. The rate of active cases is 6.69 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 25 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.02 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.03 per 100,000 people.

There have been 110,544 tests completed.

_ Quebec: 169,173 confirmed cases (17,392 active, 144,168 resolved, 7,613 deaths).

There were 1,897 new cases Wednesday from 9,999 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 19 per cent. The rate of active cases is 204.97 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12,705 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,815.

There were 42 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 264 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 38. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.44 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 89.72 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,359,553 tests completed.

_ Ontario: 146,535 confirmed cases (17,084 active, 125,416 resolved, 4,035 deaths).

There were 2,139 new cases Wednesday from 47,580 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.5 per cent. The rate of active cases is 117.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 13,735 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,962.

There were 43 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 199 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 28. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.2 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 27.7 per 100,000 people.

There have been 6,876,041 tests completed.

_ Manitoba: 21,826 confirmed cases (5,797 active, 15,506 resolved, 523 deaths).

There were 291 new cases Wednesday from 2,478 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 12 per cent. The rate of active cases is 423.3 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,171 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 310.

There were 15 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 85 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.89 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 38.19 per 100,000 people.

There have been 384,964 tests completed.

_ Saskatchewan: 12,594 confirmed cases (4,213 active, 8,283 resolved, 98 deaths).

There were 162 new cases Wednesday from 1,109 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 15 per cent. The rate of active cases is 358.72 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,695 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 242.

There were zero new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 27 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.33 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 8.34 per 100,000 people.

There have been 286,679 tests completed.

_ Alberta: 84,597 confirmed cases (20,169 active, 63,668 resolved, 760 deaths).

There were 1,270 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 461.39 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 11,109 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,587.

There were 16 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 107 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 15. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.35 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 17.39 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,547,298 tests completed.

_ British Columbia: 44,103 confirmed cases (11,035 active, 32,376 resolved, 692 deaths).

There were 640 new cases Wednesday. The rate of active cases is 217.6 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 4,766 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 681.

There were 24 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 133 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 19. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.37 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 13.65 per 100,000 people.

There have been 866,132 tests completed.

_ Yukon: 59 confirmed cases (one active, 57 resolved, one deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday from 17 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 2.45 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of one new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,790 tests completed.

_ Northwest Territories: 22 confirmed cases (seven active, 15 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday from 44 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 15.62 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of seven new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 7,552 tests completed.

_ Nunavut: 258 confirmed cases (41 active, 217 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday from 21 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. The rate of active cases is 105.72 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 29 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,054 tests completed.

This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Dec. 17, 2020.

The Canadian Press

A pandemic makes local news more critical, but also more endangered

THE BIG STORY | posted Thursday, Dec 17th, 2020

In today’s Big Story podcast, 10 months into this pandemic, after so many of us rediscovered how vital local news can be, there are even fewer local newsrooms in Canada than when it began.

How did we end up here? What are we losing when small-town papers die? How is it possible this virus has made local news both more necessary, and more impossible to sustain as a business, than ever before?

GUEST: April Lindgren, principal investigator for the Local News Research Project

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

‘Build it and they will come’: Canada’s public transit looks to rebound from COVID-19

JACOB SEREBRIN, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Dec 16th, 2020

MONTREAL — The COVID-19 pandemic has led to massive declines in public transit ridership across Canada, yet many cities decided to maintain service levels this year, while others even chose to expand.

Not long after the global health crisis reached Canada, rates of public transit use across the country dropped by about 85 per cent, according to prof. Matti Siemiatycki of University of Toronto’s geography and planning department.

The transportation policy expert said there were fears transit agencies in Canada would have to make drastic service cuts. “Public transit networks have been among the most impacted sectors in the economy from the pandemic,” he said in a recent interview.

Instead, provincial and federal funding rescued the country’s transit systems from the verge of collapse, he said. In the United States, however, public transit systems are facing the “dreaded transit death spiral,” Siemiatycki said, where cuts lead to further declines in ridership, which lead to further cuts and declines.

Washington, D.C., and Boston have announced major service cuts. In New York City, the local transit authority said in mid-November it may be forced to cut bus and subway service by 40 per cent and lay off more than 9,000 workers.

In contrast, Toronto and Montreal are expanding their transit systems. Luc Tremblay, CEO of the Montreal Transit Corp. said in a recent interview Montreal chose to maintain service levels in 2020 at 2019 levels — despite the fact ridership is about 65 per cent of what it was before COVID-19 hit.

Montreal, Tremblay said, made that choice so service is available when riders decide to return. “It’s the key,” he explained. “Build it and they will come.”

On Dec. 15, as Quebec imposed more COVID-19-related restrictions to stop a surge in infections across the province, the government announced a major expansion to the city’s light rail system. Twenty-three new stations will be added to the commuter rail network, with construction set to begin in 2023.

In the country’s largest city, the Toronto Transit Commission said service during the week of Dec. 4 was at 95 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. The transit agency said it will maintain the same level of service in 2021. The Ontario government is also moving forward with a $28-billion plan to expand transit in the Toronto area.

In British Columbia, transit agencies will receive more than $1 billion in federal and provincial funding to maintain service levels. Federal money also helped Winnipeg’s public transit agency fill a gap in its budget after ridership — and fare revenue — declined.

Marco D’Angelo, president and CEO of the Canadian Urban Transit Association, a trade association that represents the country’s public transit agencies, said service across the country is currently about 87 per cent of pre-COVID levels.

“Systems are not planning to reduce service, but that will likely change unless governments extend financial support,” he said in an email.

Siemiatycki said that while ridership is down, the health crisis has shown the importance of public transit. “Even through the pandemic, transit played a critical role in our economies,” he said. “Transit was a lifeline service for people to reach their front-line place of employment.”

Daniel Bergeron with Montreal’s public transit authority said he expects the pandemic-induced decline in ridership to have an almost $1-billon impact on the agency’s budget between 2020 and 2022. He said government subsidies will help cover most of the shortfall, but added that expenses will need to be cut and improvements put off in order to continue to offer service at 2019 levels.

When the pandemic is over, people will move around differently, he said, adding that he expects service to increase outside traditional peak periods. People working from home will be more likely to take trips during the day instead of at rush hour, he said.

“In the short term, there’s uncertainty,” he said. “But in 10, 20 years, it will be a new normal but still normal. We may have a bit more working from home, but it’s not open to everybody.”

People will still have to go to work in shops, restaurants and manufacturing facilities, and he thinks people will still want to go out to restaurants and go shopping downtown.

“Good quality of life is not living near a highway,” Bergeron said. “Nice neighbourhoods usually come with good public transport services.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 16, 2020.

———

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press

Is Canada’s new climate plan finally getting serious?

THE BIG STORY | posted Wednesday, Dec 16th, 2020

In today’s Big Story podcast, it’s as ambitious as any Canadian government has been so far—but is it enough? A new climate plan rolled out by Justin Trudeau last week takes aim at some real metrics for change. So how would it directly impact your life, and your wallet?

What else is the government doing to move us into the future? How much depends on cooperation from the provinces? And is this another target we make plans for but never hit, or is this a real, bold step towards climate action?

GUEST: Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.