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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

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