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Canada to receive 3.7 million more COVID-19 doses this week

MAAN ALHMIDI, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 5th, 2021

OTTAWA — The federal government is expecting to receive 3.7 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week, bringing the total of COVID-19 vaccine deliveries above 53.7 million doses.

The new deliveries will include about 900,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 2.8 million doses of Moderna vaccine.

Those shipments will push Canada’s total vaccine deliveries above 53.7 million doses, enough to administer two shots to more than 75 per cent of eligible residents.

With 18 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines expected to arrive in Canada in July, the country will have enough doses to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined the ranks of the fully vaccinated on Friday. He received  a shot of the Moderna vaccine at an Ottawa clinic. His wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, got her second dose on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters after getting his shot, Trudeau said he feels “safer and quite optimistic about the summer.”

He said close to 80 per cent of eligible Canadians have already received their first shot of COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 35 per cent have received two doses.

Trudeau said more than 50 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been delivered to Canada and the government expects to receive a total of 68 million by the end of the month.

“We are well on the way to a good summer and an even better fall,” he said.

“That said, we are not out of the woods yet.”

Trudeau said that Yukon is facing its biggest spike in COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic despite 86 per cent of eligible people having already received their first dose  and over 76 per cent with their second.

Yukon’s chief public health officer Dr. Brendan Hanley last week said the territory has the highest active case rate in the country and has asked the federal government for help in controlling the outbreak.

On Friday, there was a total of 146 active cases. Three people have died since the outbreak began. Two others died earlier in the pandemic.

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

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

Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press

A look at COVID-19 reopening plans across the country

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jun 30th, 2021

As COVID-19 vaccination rates increase and case numbers drop across the country, the provinces and territories have begun releasing the reopening plans for businesses, events and recreational facilities.

Most of the plans are based on each jurisdiction reaching vaccination targets at certain dates, while also keeping the number of cases and hospitalizations down.

Here’s a look at what reopening plans look like across the country:

Newfoundland and Labrador:

The province’s reopening plan begins with a transition period during which some health restrictions, like limits on gatherings, will loosen.

Requirements for testing and self-isolation lift entirely for fully vaccinated Canadian travellers on Canada Day, while those requirements ease over the next few months for travellers with just one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

If case counts, hospitalization and vaccination targets are met, the province expects to reopen dance floors as early as Aug. 15, and lift capacity restrictions on businesses, restaurants and lounges while maintaining physical distancing between tables.

As early as Sept. 15, mask requirements for indoor public spaces would be reviewed.

Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia has moved into Phase 2 of its five-step reopening plan, which allows such things as indoor dining at restaurants and bars, a 50 per cent customer capacity for retail stores and increased gathering limits.

The province has allowed all public and private schools to reopen. A limit of 10 people gathering informally indoors is in place, and up to 25 people are allowed to gather informally outdoors without social distancing.

Festivals and special events may take place at 25 per cent of the venue’s capacity with a maximum of 50 people indoors and up to 75 people outdoors with social distancing.

Indoor and outdoor restaurant dining is allowed with two metres between tables and a maximum of 10 people at each table. Restaurants can only serve dine-in customers until 11 p.m. and must close by 12 a.m., however take-out, delivery and drive-thru service can still be offered after 12 a.m.

Hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and body art establishments are open but by appointment only.

New Brunswick:

New Brunswick has moved into Phase 2 of its reopening plan, having reached its goal of having 20 per cent of people 65 or older vaccinated with two doses of a COVID vaccine.

Premier Blaine Higgs says the change opens travel without the need to isolate to all of Nova Scotia after opening to P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Travellers from elsewhere in Canada who’ve had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be allowed into the province without the need to isolate, while those who haven’t had a shot will have to isolate and produce a negative test before being released from quarantine.

Other changes allow restaurants, gyms and salons to operate at full capacity as long as customer contact lists are kept.

In the third phase, the province will lift all COVID-19 restrictions.

Prince Edward Island: 

The province has allowed personal gatherings to increase so that up to 20 people can get together indoors and outdoors. Restaurants are allowed to have tables of up to 20. Special occasion events like backyard weddings and anniversary parties of up to 50 people hosted by individuals are permitted with a reviewed operational plan.

The province projects that on July 18, its non-medical mask requirement will ease, and organized gatherings hosted by a business or other organization will be permitted with groups of up to 200 people outdoors or 100 people indoors.

On Sept. 12, the province expects physical distancing measures to be eased, as well as allowing personal and organized gatherings to go ahead without limits.

Quebec: 

All of Quebec is now at the lowest alert level under the province’s COVID-19 response plan as public health restrictions continue to ease.

Nine of Quebec’s 17 regions, including the province’s largest cities and the areas surrounding them, move from yellow to green on the pandemic alert level system as of today. The province’s other regions were already at the green level.

Several green zone restrictions were relaxed further today, with up to 20 people now allowed to share a table on restaurant and bar patios.

Outdoor gatherings on private property can also now include up to 20 people. Capacity for weddings and funerals is also rising to 250 people, but wedding receptions will be capped at 25 attendees indoors and 50 outside.

Earlier this month, the province permitted gyms and restaurant dining rooms to reopen. Supervised outdoor sports and recreation are also allowed in groups of up to 25 people.

Quebec ended its nightly curfew on May 28. It also lifted travel bans between regions and increased the number of people allowed to attend sporting events and festivals to 3,500.

Ontario:

The province will allow outdoor concerts, open-air movie screens and performing arts shows starting Wednesday as it moves to the next stage in its reopening plan.

Audience capacity will be capped at 25 per cent of the outdoor space or seating area, with organizers required to have the maximum capacity restrictions visibly posted within the outdoor space. All tickets must be sold as reserved seats.

Other measures also allow musicians to perform at indoor concert venues for a limited number of reasons.

Live streaming shows are permitted after being outlawed by the province in April. However, the performances cannot host any spectators.

Indoor venues can hold band rehearsals with certain distancing and safety measures in place.

The film and TV industry will see its restrictions lowered as well. In particular, a cap of 50 performers on a set is being eliminated, though studio audiences are still not allowed.

The second stage of reopening was originally slated to begin July 2, but the province moved the plan forward two days, saying COVID-19 vaccination targets have been met.

Indoor cinemas and public concerts still won’t be permitted with capacity restrictions until the third stage.

Manitoba:

Manitobans can return to restaurants, go to church and meet with larger groups as the province brings in the first step of its reopening plan ahead of schedule.

More than 71 per cent of eligible residents have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and about 27 per cent have had a second shot. That means some restrictions have been loosened earlier than planned.

Restaurants and bars are limited to 25 per cent capacity indoors and 50 per cent on patios. Hair salons, gyms and indoor sports can resume operating, but with capacity restrictions. Hair and nail salons, as well as barber shops, are available by appointment only.

Outdoor gatherings on private property are capped at 10 people and groups in public areas are limited to 25.

The number of worshippers at faith services are also capped.

Businesses, such as casinos and movie theatres, will remain closed. They are expected to open at later stages of the plan this summer.

Saskatchewan:

Saskatchewan has announced it will remove all public health orders as of Sunday, July 11 — and that includes the removal of the province-wide mandatory masking order, as well as capacity limits on events and gathering sizes.

Premier Scott Moe says the province is going ahead with full implementation of Step 3 of its Reopening Roadmap because 70 per cent of residents over the age of 18 and 69 per cent of those over 12 have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Currently, large retailers must reduce the capacity of their stores to 25 per cent, while other retailers must cut their capacity to 50 per cent.

Restaurants and bars must maintain two metres of physical distance between tables or erect a structural barrier between tables if distancing isn’t possible. Tables are limited to six people at a time. Dance floors and buffets remain closed.

Places of worship are allowed up to 30 per cent of their seating capacity or 150 people, whichever is less. And individuals must be separated by two metres, unless they are part of the same extended household.

A maximum of 30 people are allowed to attend gatherings at banquet and conference facilities, which includes wedding and funeral receptions. No food or beverages are allowed.

And a maximum of 30 people are allowed in a movie theatre, but staff and customers must be able to maintain two metres of physical distance. The same rule applies to live theatre.

Alberta: 

Outdoor social gatherings of up to 20 people are allowed with proper distancing.

Indoor recreation, entertainment and other settings can open at one-third of fire code occupancy. Places of worship can also open to one-third capacity and restaurants are allowed up to six people per table, indoors or outdoors.

Youth activities have resumed with restrictions and outdoor public gatherings, such as concerts and festivals, are allowed with up to 150 people. A work-from-home order has been lifted, but it is still recommended.

All remaining restrictions will lift on July 1.

There will no longer be limits on weddings, funerals or bans on indoor social gatherings. There will also be no more limits on gyms, sports or fitness activities, no more capacity limits at restaurants, in retail stores or in places of worship.

Anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will still be required to self-isolate and protective measures at continuing care centres may remain.

The overall requirement for masks in public indoor spaces will end, but masks will likely still be required in taxis, on public transit and on ride shares.

British Columbia:

The province will take the next step in its reopening plan on Canada Day when most COVID-19 restrictions are removed and outdoor gatherings of up to 5,000 people are allowed.

As of Thursday, restaurants and pubs will no longer have limits on the number of diners, but people will still not be allowed to mingle with those at other tables. Masks will no longer be mandatory and recreational travel outside the province can resume.

Casinos and nightclubs will open for the first time in 16 months, but some barriers will be in place and socializing between tables will not be allowed.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says some businesses may want people to continue wearing masks for now, and everyone should comply with those requirements or face the potential of fines.

All COVID-19 restrictions are expected to be removed on Labour Day.

Nunavut:

Public health orders affecting what is allowed to open vary by community.

Restrictions in Iqaluit will be eased starting Friday. Travel restrictions in and out of Iqaluit will be lifted. A household can have up to 10 people in their home and up to 50 people can gather outdoors.

Theatres and restaurants can also open at 25 per cent capacity or 25 people, whichever is less.

Meanwhile in Kinngait and Rankin Inlet, outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people and those indoors are restricted to a household plus 15 people. Restaurants and bars are allowed to open for regular business at 50 per cent capacity, and there must be a two metre distance between tables, with no more than six people seated or around each table.

Northwest Territories:

Up to 25 people are allowed in a business that is following an approved COVID-19 plan. Households can have up to 10 people with a maximum of five guests from another household.

Non-essential travel outside the territory is not recommended, and leisure travel into the territory is not permitted.

The territory is no longer requiring masks to be worn in public places in Yellowknife and three other communities.

Chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola says it is still a good idea to wear a mask indoors when there is a crowd, poor ventilation, or shouting or singing.

Yukon:

Bars and restaurants are allowed to operate at full capacity with restrictions, while social bubbles have increased to 20 people. Social gatherings indoors of up to 20 people are allowed with physical distancing, while outdoors up to 100 people can gather. Organized gatherings, such as festivals or weddings, of up to 200 people are allowed with physical distancing.

Camp and recreational programs are allowed to have 20 participants indoors with physical distancing and mask wearing; and 100 participants outdoors with physical distancing. Gyms and recreation centres can operate with up to 200 people with physical distancing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2021.

The Canadian Press

A Day to Listen: Canadian radio stations join to amplify Indigenous voices

NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Jun 30th, 2021

In recognition of National Indigenous History Month, Rogers Sports & Media will be joining together with radio stations across Canada in an unprecedented collaboration to amplify, elevate, listen to, and learn from Indigenous voices with A Day to Listen on Wednesday, June 30.

In partnership with the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF), A Day to Listen is dedicated to sharing stories from Indigenous leaders, residential school survivors, elders, musicians, and teachers throughout the day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time.

With more than 500 radio stations participating, spanning different markets, regions, and formats, A Day to Listen aims to leverage the power of radio to enact real change and begin to set a course for a better future.

The collaboration follows public announcements in B.C. and Saskatchewan, where the remains of more than 900 unmarked graves were discovered at the sites of former Indian Residential Schools.

“Many Canadians were shocked to learn of the remains of 215 children buried in Kamloops and now growing numbers at other residential school sites, something Indigenous communities have known – and shared – for years,” said Sarah Midanik, President & CEO, Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund.

“We hope that A Day to Listen, and the ongoing work that we do at DWF, begins a new chapter in our reconciliation journey so that no Canadian is ever shocked again by the horrors inflicted upon Indigenous Peoples.”

Canadians are invited to visit DWF throughout the day to learn more about their programming, including the Legacy Schools program, which provides educators with free resources to teach about the true history of residential schools. Donations will be accepted via text or by visiting local station websites.

The mission of DWF is to create a pathway towards reconciliation, and to improve the lives of Indigenous people by building awareness, education, and connections between all Canadians.

Radio stations participating in A Day to Listen include those from:

  • Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta
  • Acadia Broadcasting Limited
  • Arctic Radio
  • Bayshore Broadcasting
  • Bell Media
  • Blackburn Radio Inc.
  • ByrnesMedia Inc.
  • Centre Wellington Community Radio Inc.
  • Central Ontario Broadcasting
  • CINB-FM Communications Inc.
  • Coast Broadcasting Ltd.
  • Corus Entertainment Inc.
  • Durham Radio Inc.
  • First Peoples Radio Inc.
  • Five Amigos Broadcasting Inc.
  • Golden West Broadcasting
  • Harvard Broadcasting
  • Huber Radio Ltd.
  • Kahnawake Broadcasting Services
  • My Broadcasting Corporation
  • Northern Native Broadcasting
  • Pattison Media
  • Quinte Broadcasting
  • Radio Fanshawe Inc.
  • Rawlco Radio
  • The Rock 98.5
  • Rogers Sports & Media
  • Saugeen Community Radio Inc.
  • Starboard Communications
  • Stingray
  • Thunder Bay Information Radio
  • Vista Radio Ltd.
  • Wellport Broadcasting Inc.

What does the future of money look like?

THE BIG STORY | posted Tuesday, Jun 29th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, right now, the Bank of Canada is working on a “digital loonie” that will replace cash at some point in the future. Governments around the world are either following suit or way ahead of us. While banks have been giving their customers access to digital wallets for years, cryptocurrencies are attempting to corner the market on the next generation of money.

The only thing that’s clear to everyone is that actual cold, hard cash is not long for this world—with all the benefits and inequalities that will include. So in the race to become the next go-to source of currency … who’s winning?

GUEST: Michael Doyle, freelance journalist and reporter

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

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

COVID-19 deaths in Canada may be two times higher than reported: study

AMY SMART, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jun 29th, 2021

A new study suggests Canada has vastly underestimated how many people have died from COVID-19 and says the number could be two times higher than reported.

Dr. Tara Moriarty, working group lead for the study commissioned by the Royal Society of Canada, said in an interview while most accounts have put the majority of deaths in long-term care, the new data analysis suggests the toll of COVID-19 was also heavily felt outside the homes in the community.

Many of those deaths likely occurred in lower income, racialized communities and affected essential workers, new immigrants and people living in multigenerational homes, as well as clinically frail seniors living at home, the study says.

“If we’d had some sense early on of who was dying where, if we had had a sense of just how many deaths were actually occurring … maybe people would have started looking sooner or listening sooner to people in communities who were saying, ‘It’s really really bad here, people are dying,’” Moriarty said.

“It might have provided support for those claims that might have caused some kind of action that would have saved lives.”

Moriarty said seeing Canada out of step with similar high-income countries on the proportion of long-term care deaths was a red flag that inspired the analysis by the society.

The new peer-reviewed analysis casts doubt on the widely accepted assumption that 80 per cent of Canada’s deaths due to COVID-19 occurred among older adult residents of long-term care homes.

Instead, it says at least two-thirds of deaths caused by COVID-19 in communities outside of long-term care may have been missed. That would put the proportion of deaths in long-term care at around 45 per cent, much closer to the average of 40 per cent reported by peer countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The conclusion is based on a review of reports of excess deaths across Canada, the pattern of COVID-19 fatalities during the pandemic and cremation data showing a significant spike in deaths at homes versus hospitals in 2020. It also relies on antibody surveillance testing that collectively unmasked the likely broad scope of undetected COVID-19 infections.

The researchers adjusted the data to account for things like increased deaths due to the drug toxicity crisis and the expected drop in deaths linked to the pandemic because of things like reduced traffic accident rates.

The extent of “likely missed” fatalities varies by province and there are major data gaps in what was available, Moriarty said.

The knowledge gap is particularly acute in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba where cause-of-death data is only complete into February 2020, the report says. It was less of a problem in Quebec, where the virus accounted for all excess deaths, and Ontario.

Between Feb. 1 and Nov. 28, 2020, the study found COVID-19 deaths of about 6,000 people aged 45 and older appeared to have gone undetected, unreported or unattributed to the virus.

“This suggests that if Canada has continued to miss these fatalities at the same rate since last November, the pandemic mortality burden may be two times higher than reported,” the report says.

Eemaan Kaur Thind, a public health practitioner who looked at both detected and undetected COVID-19 deaths in racialized communities, said the results weren’t a shock given previous reports linking the communities and deaths or hospitalization rates.

The study suggests it’s likely many cases in those communities were never identified, and the resulting deaths were never counted.

“We know that a high-proportion of essential workers happen to be visible minorities,” she said.

“None of that surprised me, although it never really becomes any less hard to see the official numbers when you see something like this.”

Thind said she hopes the findings push policy-makers to listen to those most affected, many of whom raised alarms about things like the role language barriers played in access to COVID-19 testing and care.

“Data is very important but I think it’s more important to also listen to people and believe them.”

About 25 per cent of likely deaths occurred in people between 45 and 64, the study said.

The researchers make several recommendations, including mandating weekly preliminary reporting of deaths due to all causes to Statistics Canada, performing COVID-19 testing on all people who die in any setting, and immediately adopting methods used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for estimating excess mortality during the pandemic.

The group also calls for the creation of a national COVID-19 mortality task force with the provinces and territories, and independent advisers to investigate why so many Canadian COVID-19 cases and deaths have been missed or unreported, including examining demographic and employment data for those who died.

Nearly 30 per cent of respondents broke COVID-19 restrictions: Canada-wide survey

JULIA PETERSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jun 28th, 2021

SASKATOON — Almost 30 per cent of respondents in a newly released Canada-wide survey admitted to breaking COVID-19 rules — and felt justified doing so.

The survey by the Canadian Hub for Applied and Social Research at the University of Saskatchewan was done between June 1 and June 14. It asked 1,000 people about how closely they stuck to public health orders and where they were getting their information about the pandemic.

Some 29 per cent said they broke at least one COVID-19 restriction. The most common transgressions were around gathering limits and wearing masks.

But the survey also found that respondents were generally diligent about following isolation requirements and gave honest responses to COVID-19 screening questions.

Of the people who broke rules, 62 per cent said they felt it was justified. Their reasons included wanting to see friends and family (27 per cent) and a belief that they were violating restrictions in a safe way (17 per cent). Some said they ignored rules they didn’t think made any sense (21 per cent) and seven per cent said they didn’t believe the pandemic exists or is a problem.

The survey says some people did not think regulations “made sense for them” because they were fully vaccinated and they felt what they were doing was safe given their status.

The survey has a 3.1 per cent margin of error, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.

Saskatchewan Minister of Health Paul Merriman said he believes social media has played a major role in confusing people about public health measures meant to stem the spread of COVID-19.

“The issue that I saw during most of the restrictions that have been implemented since the fall was that there were lots of interpretations going around on social media and the rumour mill,” he said.

“We tried to communicate this in a very clear way, (but) unfortunately some of it got twisted on social media. That wasn’t clear and created some confusion, which people didn’t need.”

The survey found that 35 per cent of people were getting their COVID-19 news from social media — particularly Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — and 71 per cent were getting news by word of mouth.

The greatest number of people — 88 per cent — were getting their news from online or TV news outlets, and 70 per cent also informed themselves through government websites.

Merriman said the data reflects what he has seen in Saskatchewan, where people were motivated to seek out good information from multiple sources.

“I understand there was some confusion, and I had to personally clarify some of the restrictions to people so they understood,” he said.

“But the good news is that they were asking questions, because they wanted to make sure they were sticking to the restrictions and the guidelines out there, versus unintentionally bending the rules.”

The survey also found that the pandemic has spurred some controversy and strife in close relationships. Twenty-two per cent of respondents reported a “falling out” with someone close to them over different views and opinions about the pandemic.

Not everyone was equally likely to break restrictions. Younger people were more likely to ignore gathering limits across the board, while residents of Quebec and on the Prairies were more likely to break indoor gathering limits than elsewhere in the country.

Despite the survey’s results, Merriman said it’s clear that people have generally been following restrictions throughout the pandemic.

“Every time we increased the public health guidelines, our numbers either plateaued in the next few weeks or started to calm down,” he said. “So there was good comprehension of that.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2021.

Julia Peterson, The Canadian Press

When a developer becomes a landlord to thousands of Canadians, what happens?

THE BIG STORY | posted Monday, Jun 28th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, last week, Core Development Group announced its intention to spend a billion dollars buying family homes in hot markets across Canada and converting them to rental units. On the surface, this would seem to bring badly needed family rentals into markets that are in desperate need of them—but there’s a lot more going on here than just that.

What does a billion dollars in corporate money do to an already overheated housing market? Will these rental units be affordable for families that have been priced out of home ownership? How does a condo developer plan to become a landlord at a cross-Canada scale? And why do so many housing advocates warn this will set a dangerous precedent?

GUEST: Rachelle Younglai, Real Estate Reporter, The Globe and Mail

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

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Advocates say in-person support crucial for residential school survivors

BRITTANY HOBSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jun 25th, 2021

Editor’s note: This article contains some disturbing details about experiences at residential schools in Canada and may be upsetting to some readers. For those in need of emotional support, the 24-hour Residential Schools Crisis Line is available at 1-866-925-4419.


Indigenous advocates in Canada are calling for more cultural and mental-health supports for residential school survivors as communities discover unmarked graves at former sites.

Front-line organizations working with Indigenous people say the need for in-person help has intensified in the past month since the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, B.C., announced ground-penetrating radar had found what are believed to be the remains of 215 children buried on the grounds of a one-time residential school in Kamloops.

Cowessness First Nation in Saskatchewan announced Thursday that the same technology had indicated 751 unmarked graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School.

Jason Mercredi, executive director of Prairie Harm Reduction in Saskatoon, said the disclosures are triggering “troublesome memories” for survivors. He said there has been an increase in visits to the safe consumption site from individuals looking for mental-health support.

“We can’t really keep up, and it’s tough because some of these folks have been successfully coping for a number of years,” said Mercredi, who is Denesuline and Métis.

Pandemic restrictions have limited the number of places offering face-to-face support, so workers have had to refer people to an outside support line, he said.

A national crisis line is available through the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and some groups are offering regional helplines.

Mercredi said the federal government should be funding First Nations, Inuit and Métis-led organizations and communities to ensure appropriate support is provided.

“Each community needs to have the ability to design its own response model and support model,” he said. “All these cultures are very different … (and) they need to have the funding to be able to respond where they need to.”

The federal government recently promised $27 million to help locate graves across the country. Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta have also committed funding.

Tracy Wilson, who manages the Indian Residential School program at Boyle Street Community Services in Edmonton, echoes Mercredi’s call for more help.

Wilson, who is Nakota, Cree and Saulteaux, has taken calls from non-Indigenous agencies in the city as well as from the police force asking for guidance on how to support survivors who are retraumatized.

Some who returned home from residential schools are living with survivor’s guilt, she said.

“This is not a shock to most of us. It’s just a deeper grief,” she said.

“A lot of survivors think they could have stopped what happened. You know, that’s not the case, but they live with that every day.”

Wilson also believes there is a need for more culturally appropriate forms of support such as beading or sewing circles.

“We need more people to understand how our hands can help us more so than traditional western talk-through therapy.”

The National Association of Friendship Centres, which represents more than 100 such gathering places across the country, would like to see intergenerational support as well.

“Our youth are in this sea of information about crimes, violence, murders against their ancestors. They need help walking through that and figuring out what does that mean,” said Kelly Benning, a Métis woman and the association’s vice-president.

The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a hotline to help residential school survivors and their relatives suffering from trauma invoked by the recall of past abuse. The number is 1-866-925-4419.

___

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

A look at COVID-19 reopening plans across the country

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jun 25th, 2021

As COVID-19 vaccination rates increase and case numbers drop across the country, the provinces and territories have begun releasing the reopening plans for businesses, events and recreational facilities.

Most of the plans are based on each jurisdiction reaching vaccination targets at certain dates, while also keeping the number of cases and hospitalizations down.

Here’s a look at what reopening plans look like across the country:

Newfoundland and Labrador:

The province’s reopening plan begins with a transition period during which some health restrictions, like limits on gatherings, will loosen.

Requirements for testing and self-isolation lift entirely for fully vaccinated Canadian travellers on Canada Day, while those requirements ease over the next few months for travellers with just one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

If case counts, hospitalization and vaccination targets are met, the province expects to reopen dance floors as early as Aug. 15, and lift capacity restrictions on businesses, restaurants and lounges while maintaining physical distancing between tables.

As early as Sept. 15, mask requirements for indoor public spaces would be reviewed.

Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia has moved into Phase 2 of its five-step reopening plan, which allows such things as indoor dining at restaurants and bars, a 50 per cent customer capacity for retail stores and increased gathering limits.

The province has allowed all public and private schools to reopen. A limit of 10 people gathering informally indoors is in place, and up to 25 people are allowed to gather informally outdoors without social distancing.

Festivals and special events may take place at 25 per cent of the venue’s capacity with a maximum of 50 people indoors and up to 75 people outdoors with social distancing.

Indoor and outdoor restaurant dining is allowed with two metres between tables and a maximum of 10 people at each table. Restaurants can only serve dine-in customers until 11 p.m. and must close by 12 a.m., however take-out, delivery and drive-thru service can still be offered after 12 a.m.

Hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and body art establishments are open but by appointment only.

New Brunswick:

New Brunswick has moved into Phase 2 of its reopening plan, having reached its goal of having 20 per cent of people 65 or older vaccinated with two doses of a COVID vaccine.

Premier Blaine Higgs says the change opens travel without the need to isolate to all of Nova Scotia after opening to P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Travellers from elsewhere in Canada who’ve had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be allowed into the province without the need to isolate, while those who haven’t had a shot will have to isolate and produce a negative test before being released from quarantine.

Other changes allow restaurants, gyms and salons to operate at full capacity as long as customer contact lists are kept.

In the third phase, the province will lift all COVID-19 restrictions.

Prince Edward Island: 

The province has allowed personal gatherings to increase so that up to 20 people can get together indoors and outdoors. Restaurants are allowed to have tables of up to 20. Special occasion events like backyard weddings and anniversary parties of up to 50 people hosted by individuals are permitted with a reviewed operational plan.

The province projects that on July 18, its non-medical mask requirement will ease, and organized gatherings hosted by a business or other organization will be permitted with groups of up to 200 people outdoors or 100 people indoors.

On Sept. 12, the province expects physical distancing measures to be eased, as well as allowing personal and organized gatherings to go ahead without limits.

Quebec: 

Three more regions in Quebec have moved into the green, or least restrictive, level of the province’s COVID-19 response plan.

Bas-Saint-Laurent, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec joined much of the rest of the province in attaining the level that allows them to relax restrictions including limits on gatherings in homes, which can host up to 10 people from three different addresses.

Montreal and several other regions have moved from the orange alert level to yellow, permitting indoor gatherings with members of another household, the resumption of outdoor team sports and expanded capacity for weddings, funerals and religious services. Bars in yellow zones can also welcome patrons inside at 50 per cent capacity.

Earlier this month, the province permitted gyms and restaurant dining rooms to reopen as it moved all regions out of the red alert level. Bar patios have reopened and supervised outdoor sports and recreation are allowed in groups of up to 25 people.

Quebec ended its nightly curfew on May 28 and allowed restaurant patios to open as well as limited outdoor gatherings on private property. It also lifted travel bans between regions and increased the number of people allowed to attend sporting events and festivals to 3,500.

Ontario:

The province will allow outdoor concerts, open-air movie screens and performing arts shows starting next Wednesday as it moves to the next stage in its reopening plan.

Audience capacity will be capped at 25 per cent of the outdoor space or seating area, with organizers required to have the maximum capacity restrictions visibly posted within the outdoor space. All tickets must be sold as reserved seats.

Other measures also allow musicians to perform at indoor concert venues for a limited number of reasons.

Live streaming shows are permitted after being outlawed by the province in April. However, the performances cannot host any spectators.

Indoor venues can hold band rehearsals with certain distancing and safety measures in place.

The film and TV industry will see its restrictions lowered as well. In particular, a cap of 50 performers on a set is being eliminated, though studio audiences are still not allowed.

The second stage of reopening was originally slated to begin July 2, but the province moved the plan forward two days, saying COVID-19 vaccination targets have been met.

Indoor cinemas and public concerts still won’t be permitted with capacity restrictions until the third stage.

Manitoba:

Manitobans will be able to return to restaurants, go to church and meet with larger groups as the province brings in the first step of its reopening plan ahead of schedule.

More than 71 per cent of eligible residents have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and about 27 per cent have had a second shot. That means some restrictions will be loosened Saturday — a week earlier than planned.

Restaurants and bars will be limited to 25 per cent capacity indoors and 50 per cent on patios. Hair salons, gyms and indoor sports can resume operating, but with capacity restrictions. Hair and nail salons, as well as barber shops, will be available by appointment only.

Outdoor gatherings on private property will be capped at 10 people and groups in public areas will be limited to 25.

The number of worshippers at faith services will also be capped.

Businesses, such as casinos and movie theatres, will remain closed. They are expected to open at later stages of the plan this summer.

Saskatchewan:

Saskatchewan has announced it will remove all public health orders as of Sunday, July 11 — and that includes the removal of the province-wide mandatory masking order, as well as capacity limits on events and gathering sizes.

Premier Scott Moe says the province is going ahead with full implementation of Step 3 of its Reopening Roadmap because 70 per cent of residents over the age of 18 and 69 per cent of those over 12 have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Currently, large retailers must reduce the capacity of their stores to 25 per cent, while other retailers must cut their capacity to 50 per cent.

Restaurants and bars must maintain two metres of physical distance between tables or erect a structural barrier between tables if distancing isn’t possible. Tables are limited to six people at a time. Dance floors and buffets remain closed.

Places of worship are allowed up to 30 per cent of their seating capacity or 150 people, whichever is less. And individuals must be separated by two metres, unless they are part of the same extended household.

A maximum of 30 people are allowed to attend gatherings at banquet and conference facilities, which includes wedding and funeral receptions. No food or beverages are allowed.

And a maximum of 30 people are allowed in a movie theatre, but staff and customers must be able to maintain two metres of physical distance. The same rule applies to live theatre.

Alberta: 

Outdoor social gatherings of up to 20 people are allowed with proper distancing.

Indoor recreation, entertainment and other settings can open at one-third of fire code occupancy. Places of worship can also open to one-third capacity and restaurants are allowed up to six people per table, indoors or outdoors.

Youth activities have resumed with restrictions and outdoor public gatherings, such as concerts and festivals, are allowed with up to 150 people. A work-from-home order has been lifted, but it is still recommended.

All remaining restrictions will lift on July 1.

There will no longer be limits on weddings, funerals or bans on indoor social gatherings. There will also be no more limits on gyms, sports or fitness activities, no more capacity limits at restaurants, in retail stores or in places of worship.

Anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will still be required to self-isolate and protective measures at continuing care centres may remain.

The overall requirement for masks in public indoor spaces will end, but masks will likely still be required in taxis, on public transit and on ride shares.

British Columbia:

Seated gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed at banquet halls, movie theatres and theatre performances. High-intensity fitness classes are allowed and bars can serve liquor until midnight.

Indoor faith gatherings are allowed with a maximum of 50 people or up to 10 per cent of a building’s capacity.

Recreational travel within B.C. is allowed, but the province is asking those planning to visit from other provinces to delay those plans until more people have had their vaccines.

The province is testing every positive COVID-19 case for variants of concern and testing, tracking and tracing for each case remains a priority.

Rules for masks and physical distancing remain in place.

Nunavut:

Public health orders affecting what is allowed to open vary by community.

In Iqaluit, travel to the community is restricted to residents, medical officials and critical workers, as well as those who have authorization for a compassionate exemption. Outdoor gatherings are restricted to 25 people, while indoor gatherings are restricted to a household plus five people.

Meanwhile in Kinngait and Rankin Inlet, outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people and those indoors are restricted to a household plus 15 people. Restaurants and bars are allowed to open for regular business at 50 per cent capacity, and there must be a two metre distance between tables, with no more than six people seated or around each table.

Northwest Territories:

Up to 25 people are allowed in a business that is following an approved COVID-19 plan. Households can have up to 10 people with a maximum of five guests from another household.

Non-essential travel outside the territory is not recommended, and leisure travel into the territory is not permitted.

Yukon:

Bars and restaurants are allowed to operate at full capacity with restrictions, while social bubbles have increased to 20 people. Social gatherings indoors of up to 20 people are allowed with physical distancing, while outdoors up to 100 people can gather. Organized gatherings, such as festivals or weddings, of up to 200 people are allowed with physical distancing.

Camp and recreational programs are allowed to have 20 participants indoors with physical distancing and mask wearing; and 100 participants outdoors with physical distancing. Gyms and recreation centres can operate with up to 200 people with physical distancing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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