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Quebecers to hold events ahead of Easter holiday to honour female victims of violence

VIRGINIE ANN, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Mar 31st, 2021

MONTREAL — Several events are taking place across Quebec ahead of the Easter holiday to honour the memories of the women who have recently died in the province from domestic assault.

The association of Quebec bishops, Assemblee des eveques catholiques du Quebec, is inviting churches across the province to ring their bells today to remember the seven women allegedly killed by their partners since the start of the year.

Women’s shelters are inviting citizens to gather across Quebec for protest marches on Friday in support of victims of domestic violence and to pressure the government to invest more money into services for domestic abuse victims.

And on Saturday, the family of 29-year-old Rebekah Harry, who died on March 23 from injuries resulting from an alleged attack by her boyfriend, is organizing a march in Montreal to honour her memory.

On Tuesday, the sister of a Quebec woman found dead in a remote village in the province’s northern Nunavik region last week says Kataluk Paningayak-Naluiyuk, 43, was the latest victim of domestic violence in the province.

Provincial police say they are waiting for autopsy results before they release more information.

Sabrina Di Matteo, with the association of Quebec bishops, says the timing is right to take a symbolic gesture and ring church bells.

“There’s currently a lot of pressure, social and politically,” Di Matteo said in an interview Tuesday. “Seven femicides in seven weeks, it deeply shook us.”

Harry’s brother, Teddy Frenette, read the names of seven women killed this year by their partners, during a news conference on Monday.

“No man should ever put their hands on women,” Frenette said. “We hear the stories but we choose to close our eyes and we think it can never happen to me, can never happen to my mother, can never happen to my sister, or my friend.”

Brandon McIntyre, 32, was charged Monday with second-degree murder in connection with Harry’s death.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 31, 2021.

Virginie Ann, The Canadian Press

A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on March 30, 2021

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Mar 30th, 2021

The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Tuesday March 30, 2021.

In Canada, the provinces are reporting 187,207 new vaccinations administered for a total of 5,300,964 doses given. Nationwide, 672,214 people or 1.8 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 13,986.979 per 100,000.

There were 16,400 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 6,223,930 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 85.17 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 9,178 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 55,231 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 105.477 per 1,000. In the province, 1.82 per cent (9,527) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 84,280 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 65.53 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

P.E.I. is reporting 3,479 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,258 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 127.707 per 1,000. In the province, 3.87 per cent (6,139) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 27,205 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 17 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 74.46 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nova Scotia is reporting 31,158 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 89,194 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 91.397 per 1,000. In the province, 2.49 per cent (24,344) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 154,630 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 57.68 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

New Brunswick is reporting 26,987 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 90,182 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 115.612 per 1,000. In the province, 1.57 per cent (12,223) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 123,115 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 73.25 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Quebec is reporting 38,971 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,261,855 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 147.471 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 1,380,295 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 91.42 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Ontario is reporting 50,453 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,031,735 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 138.316 per 1,000. In the province, 2.12 per cent (311,248) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 2,353,665 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.32 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Manitoba is reporting 5,026 new vaccinations administered for a total of 173,548 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 126.033 per 1,000. In the province, 3.99 per cent (54,943) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 248,180 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 18 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.93 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Saskatchewan is reporting 6,104 new vaccinations administered for a total of 179,800 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 152.482 per 1,000. In the province, 3.16 per cent (37,225) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 188,025 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 95.63 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Alberta is reporting 13,309 new vaccinations administered for a total of 608,032 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 138.125 per 1,000. In the province, 2.22 per cent (97,561) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 697,415 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 87.18 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

British Columbia is reporting 61,236 new vaccinations administered for a total of 699,092 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 136.233 per 1,000. In the province, 1.70 per cent (87,289) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were 16,400 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 826,620 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.57 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Yukon is reporting 556 new vaccinations administered for a total of 34,381 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 823.872 per 1,000. In the territory, 26.18 per cent (10,924) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 51,400 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 120 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 66.89 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

The Northwest Territories are reporting 2,258 new vaccinations administered for a total of 37,655 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 834.571 per 1,000. In the territory, 30.88 per cent (13,933) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 51,600 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 110 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 72.97 per cent of its available vaccine supply.

Nunavut is reporting 332 new vaccinations administered for a total of 20,001 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 516.475 per 1,000. In the territory, 17.71 per cent (6,858) of the population has been fully vaccinated. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 37,500 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 97 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 53.34 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 30, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Canada’s invisible victims of femicide

THE BIG STORY | posted Tuesday, Mar 30th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, Picture the last story you read or heard about a woman killed by a man. Where did she live? How old was she? Why did you picture it that way?

With much of 2020 spent under stay-at-home orders, it’s not a surprise that Canada saw a jump in femicide. But what is surprising is what we do and don’t do about it. And which stories get told. This is the pandemic you haven’t been hearing about.

GUEST: Julie Lalonde, speaker and educator, women’s rights advocate, author of Resilience Is Futile

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

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Canadians far more wary of AstraZeneca than other COVID-19 vaccines: Poll

JOAN BRYDEN, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Mar 30th, 2021

Canadians are much more wary about being injected with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine than they are about receiving other vaccines approved for use in Canada, a new poll suggests.

Just 53 per cent of respondents to the poll, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, said they would trust the AstraZeneca vaccine being given to themselves or family members to immunize them against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

That was far less than the 82 per cent who said they’d trust being injected with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or the 77 per cent who said the same about the Moderna vaccine.

AstraZeneca also fared worse compared to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has been approved but is not yet available in Canada. Sixty-nine per cent expressed trust in the J and J option.

The online poll of 1,523 adult Canadians was conducted March 26-28, just before the latest controversy erupted involving the trouble-plagued AstraZeneca vaccine. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.


RELATED: NACI recommends halting AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for those under 55


On Monday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended that AstraZeneca not be used on people under the age of 55. That was in response to reports that some three dozen patients in Europe, primarily younger women, developed blood clots after receiving the vaccine.

That marked the third time NACI has changed its guidance about the use of AstraZeneca.

In late February, the advisory committee said it shouldn’t be used on people over the age of 65, citing an insufficient number of seniors involved in clinical trials. Two weeks later, NACI retracted that advice, based on real-world evidence of AstraZeneca’s effectiveness in seniors.

The poll suggests wariness about AstraZeneca hasn’t so far made Canadians more hesitant about getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

Seventy-eight per cent of respondents said they intend to get vaccinated, continuing a slow but steady upward trend since last October, when 63 per cent planned to get immunized.

Moreover, 58 per cent said they’d take the first vaccine available, up 30 percentage points since November. Another 24 per cent said they’d wait for other vaccines to become available.

Canadians answer what they think post-COVID-19 life will look like in new survey

STEPHANIE TAYLOR, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Mar 29th, 2021

REGINA — New research suggests that while Canadians feel COVID-19 will have negative consequences on mental health and the economy, they feel it will be good for online shopping and public mask-wearing once the pandemic is over.

The findings are from a phone survey by the Canadian Hub for Applied and Social Research at the University of Saskatchewan.

It asked about 1,000 people during the first two weeks of March what kind of long-term impacts they thought the health crisis would have on different areas of life.

“Given that vaccinations are now starting to roll out … people are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said research director Jason Disano.

“It seems like a great opportunity to really get a sense of how people are feeling in terms of what life may or may not look like post-COVID.”

Specifically, people were asked to imagine a world where COVID-19 was under control, and to pick whether they thought the virus would have a positive or negative effect or no impact at all on a certain category.

Researchers said the survey had a 3.1 per cent margin of error, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20 nationally.

Some of the results weren’t surprising, said Disano, like those about mental health and well-being.

About 72 per cent of respondents predicted COVID-19 would have a negative effect, compared to 18 per cent who felt it would be positive.

More than 60 per cent also felt pessimistic about how the pandemic will affect the economy and international travel, while 52 per cent said it would be bad for personal finances.

“No one really knows what the economy is going to look like post-pandemic,” said Disano.

He said some of the data he found most interesting were about children’s education. Despite 63 per cent of people feeling like the virus will have positive changes on the delivery of online education, 54 per cent thought it would be bad for children’s learning.

“I do think there’s a bit of concern around — are the students who are either K-12 or post-secondary, are they going to be behind where they could be or should be, at this point in their educational careers?” said Disano.

On the brighter side, he pointed out that 61 per cent of people thought COVID-19 would be good for the willingness of people to wear masks in public after the pandemic.

“I would assume people, when they were responding to this question, were thinking about things like the influenza virus,” said Disano.

“Perhaps masking may become not necessarily widespread, but perhaps more common.”

The survey also said 76 per cent of people felt the pandemic would be positive for online shopping, and 72 per cent reported the same for alternate workplace arrangements.

Opinions on other topics were more mixed. About 37 per cent of people thought there will be both good and bad changes to domestic travel because of the virus, while 23 per cent said they didn’t know.

Overall, Disano said, the research indicates people feel differently about how the pandemic will impact their lives, and there’s a lot of uncertainty about what communities will look like once they are no longer threatened by the virus.

“I think there’s going to be a degree of onus on policy-makers, on politicians, on public-health officials to provide more information to Canadians in terms of what they see post-pandemic Canada looking like.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2021

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Canada’s border communities find togetherness in facing pandemic challenges

KELLY GERALDINE MALONE, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Mar 29th, 2021

The mayor of a small Alberta border town says semi-trailers rolling through the community serve as a constant reminder of the pandemic’s effect on the lives of community members.

“It’s almost like somebody just erased a year,” says Jim Willett, the mayor of Coutts.

The world’s longest undefended border was first shut down on March 21, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic tightened its grip. It was the first such closure since Confederation in 1867.

The land crossing at Coutts and Sweet Grass, Mont., is one of the busiest between Canada and the United States. The lives of many people in the area straddle the two countries.

“They kind of grew up as the same place and somebody drew a line down the middle,” says Willett.

The border serves as an important economic driver for nearby communities, so COVID-19 has hurt. Willett says the duty-free store had to lay off most of its staff. The town’s bar was closed and has recently been sold.

Sports leagues that played on both sides, including a widely popular darts league in Montana, have shrunk significantly.

But Willett says requirements to isolate upon return to Canada have helped some businesses.

“The guy in the motel is happy because he has all his rooms booked.”

The border closure has also separated families. When a nursing home in Shelby, Mont., was hit by COVID-19, many of those who died had strong connections to Coutts. Nobody could go and pay respects.

A place along the border with a chain-link fence has become a meeting spot. People bring coffee and chairs, sit along either side and catch up as border guards watch. Willett says he heard about a wedding happening through the fence.

Closing the border has also made people in Coutts a lot closer, Willett says, because they’ve been forced to spend time more time in their home community.

“People kind of look around and realize what they have,” the mayor says. “It’s good in that way. We are finding positives.”

In similar communities across the country, the relationship with their U.S. neighbours drastically changed when the border closed to most travellers last March.

Every person near the border crossing in southern Manitoba has been affected in some way, says Emerson-Franklin Reeve David Carlson. Some people have lost jobs and others, especially seniors, have felt the isolation brought on by restrictions.

But Carlson says being a small town is also an advantage in dealing with the pandemic.

When rinks closed, people pushed snow off ponds and laced up their skates. There was a community effort to make sure to look after each other. And, when people spend too much time at home, there are lots of places to explore outdoors without worrying about running into anyone.

“This has been tough on everybody. It’s been tough on businesses. It’s been tough on people’s mental well-being,” Carlson says. “But they are a really resilient bunch.”

In Amherstburg, Ont., many people are still crossing the border because they are considered essential workers in Detroit.

The community, a short drive from the Windsor-Detroit border crossing, has had high rates of infections, some of which are linked to that commute.

Aldo DiCarlo, the town’s mayor, says it means people are wary about the border opening any time soon.

“There have to be some checks and balances about who is crossing and what safeguards have been put in place, so that we aren’t bringing COVID in from a whole other country.”

For months after the border closed the community was like a ghost town, DiCarlo says, but the citizens of Amherstburg decided to make the best of a challenging situation.

Some streets downtown were closed to traffic last summer to allow businesses and restaurants to safely bring in customers, the mayor says. That’s being planned for this year as well.

“It gave people an opportunity to get out and experience at least some semblance of normalcy, albeit distancing,” DiCarlo says.

“But at least you saw people moving around again.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 29, 2021.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

Canada expecting to receive 3.3M vaccine doses this week

LEE BERTHIAUME, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Mar 29th, 2021

Canada is scheduled to receive a flood of new COVID-19 vaccine doses this week, with around 3.3 million shots due for delivery from different pharmaceutical companies over the coming days.

The expected influx would mark the single-largest week of deliveries into Canada since the start of the pandemic, thanks to planned shipments from three different sources.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says Pfizer and BioNTech are scheduled to ship nearly 1.2 million doses this week, as the two companies continue pumping out shots at a rapid pace.

The federal government is also expecting around 1.5 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine from the United States on Tuesday, which will arrive by truck and represent the first to come from south of the border.

Canada’s vaccines to date have all come from Europe, with the exception of 500,000 AstraZeneca doses from India earlier this month.

The government also says Moderna will make good on its promised delivery of 600,000 shots this coming Thursday, which is about a week later than expected.

Moderna was supposed to have shipped around 846,000 shots to Canada last week, but only a fraction was actually delivered due to what the company and government have described as a backlog in its quality-assurance testing.

The anticipated flood of new vaccine doses comes as the federal government reported Canada having received more than six million doses as of last week, which was several days earlier than anticipated.

Of those, more than five million had been administered as of Sunday afternoon, according to covid19tracker.ca. More than 11 per cent of the population has now received at least one dose.


RELATED: Health Canada says no corners were cut in approving COVID-19 vaccines


The vaccination campaign is continuing amid mounting concerns about a deadly third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as variants of the virus continue to spread through different parts of the country.

The federal government is also watching as the European Union and India look at restrictions on exporting vaccines produced within their borders.

“We are closely monitoring the global environment, including export restrictions in a number of jurisdictions,” Public Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on Friday.

“Our officials across numerous departments as well as our suppliers are working ahead of time to ensure that Canada’s vaccines continue to arrive in our country.”

‘A big win for farmers’: Ottawa secures support for AgriStability with modified plans

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

OTTAWA — The federal government has a new agreement with the provinces that gives upgrades to a program that protects farmers against large declines in income.

Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau hosted a meeting with provincial and territorial agriculture ministers Thursday to discuss planned changes to the AgriStability program that would increase payouts for production losses, increased costs and effects from market conditions.

Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba were the only holdouts going into the meeting.

“We’ve received the support from all our prov. & territorial colleagues on the removal of the Reference Margin Limit from AgriStability, retroactive to 2020!” Bibeau tweeted.

“It’s a big win for farmers across Canada = about $95M/year. Thank you to all farmers & producer groups who got behind our offer.”

Ottawa had proposed last November to eliminate the reference margin limit, which serves to reduce a farmer’s payout and to boost the compensation rate to 80 per cent.

All the provinces agreed to removing the margin limit, but an agreement wasn’t reached on moving to an 80 per cent compensation rate.

“The federal government chose to withhold $75 million in compensation funding for farmers, costing Alberta $12 million per year in federal transfers,” said Alberta Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen.

“We are disappointed that the federal government chose to withhold these publicly communicated funds.”

Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Dave Marit said reliable risk management programming is essential to continued growth in the agriculture sector.

“Producers have made it clear that removing the reference margin limit will help the AgriStability program function as intended and make the program more effective and equitable,” Marit said.

Response from the agriculture sector was largely one of relief. But the Canadian Federation of Agriculture is calling on Bibeau to offer its increased compensation rate to supportive provinces.

“For years agriculture groups all across Canada have been telling their governments that these programs would not be sufficient in a real crisis. AgriStability, as a program responding solely to severe income losses, is there to help producers in crisis,” said CFA’s president, Mary Robinson.

“And now, at a time where Canadian agriculture faces immense disruptions and uncertainty, we see critical investments in risk management treated like a political game, with politicians haggling for over 100 days while farmers have real concerns about their livelihoods over the coming year.”

Alberta producer groups, including the Alberta Barley Commission, Alberta Beef Producers, Alberta Canola, Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association and Alberta Pork, also wish the percentage of compensation was higher.

“This portion of the federal offer includes an additional $75 million per year of support for Canadian producers,” the groups said in a release.

“We continue to encourage the provincial and territorial Ministers to consider accepting this part of the proposal, bringing additional support to Canadian farmers and ranchers.”

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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