1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

Latest Posts

Can Toronto police itself out of a homelessness crisis?

THE BIG STORY | posted Wednesday, Jul 28th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, over the past few weeks, Toronto police have stormed into at least three park encampments where homeless people have been living. They’ve been met with protesters and journalists, and police have sometimes responded with violence.

In the end, not many people have ended up in homes, and the city’s reputation is in tatters. How long can Toronto sustain this strategy? What could the city do differently, if it’s willing to admit to its past failures? And what should other places in Canada, facing similar crises, learn from this?

GUEST: Leilani Farha, global director of Make The Shift

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

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Voluntary recall issued for Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Ranch Seasoning

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jul 27th, 2021

A voluntary recall has been issued for Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Ranch Seasoning over a possible Salmonella contamination.

McCormick & Company, Inc. says the recall covers 153g bottles with a best before date of September 6, 2022.

The bottles were shipped to British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

No illnesses have been reported, and McCormick says the potential risk was brought to their attention by the FDA during routine testing.

Salmonella poisoning can result in a wide range of symptoms, from short-term fever, headache and nausea to more serious issues including severe arthritis and, in rare cases, even death.

Pearson airport won’t sort arriving passengers based on COVID-19 vaccination status

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jul 27th, 2021

Canada’s largest airport is no longer splitting arriving international passengers into different customs lines based on their vaccination status.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport announced last week it may be sorting travellers arriving from the U.S. or other international locations into vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated queues.

But a spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority says the practice has been discontinued as of Monday.

Beverly MacDonald says in a statement that the airport has determined separating vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated travellers into different customs lines “results in minimal operational efficiencies.”

She says entry requirements related to vaccination status will now be enforced once a passenger reaches a customs officer.

Fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents are now able to forgo a 14-day quarantine when arriving in Canada from abroad.

Mary Simon set to be installed as 30th governor general, and first Indigenous

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 26th, 2021

OTTAWA — Mary Simon will be installed later this morning as the country’s new governor general and become the first Indigenous person to hold the role.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named Simon, an Inuk leader and former Canadian diplomat, as his choice to be the Queen’s representative in Canada earlier this month, replacing Julie Payette who resigned in January.

Trudeau will be among the few people allowed to witness the ceremony in person as public health guidelines have set limits on attendance and mask requirements for anyone there in person.

Simon will be greeted at the Senate building by a First Nations drumming circle and be accompanied by a traditional Inuit drummer on her way into the Senate chamber.

Inside the chamber, a traditional Inuit oil lamp will remain lit during the ceremony.

Simon’s first speech as governor general is to touch on the themes of reconciliation and youth.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Will we still use masks when all the mandates expire?

THE BIG STORY | posted Monday, Jul 26th, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, masking has become second nature to most of us during the pandemic. But with the end cautiously in sight, how many of us will still cover up once we’re no longer forced to?

In eastern nations like Japan, masking in crowded public spaces in simply part of the culture — especially during flu season. Why hasn’t that taken hold here, and how can masks continue to help us stay safe without remaining a battleground in the culture wars?

GUEST: Dr. Mitsutoshi Horii, professor of Shumei University in Japan

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

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

How the Blue Jays finally came home

THE BIG STORY | posted Friday, Jul 23rd, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, their last game in Toronto was in September of 2019. Since then, the Blue Jays have been on one of sports longest odysseys—playing home games as the road team, then in Buffalo, then Florida and back to Buffalo again, waiting for permission to enter Canada.

That finally changes next week as the team comes home on July 30. The exemption that allows them to do so is the result of months of back and forth between the team and the government. And it could provide an emotional boost for a country that needs one, and a team that could use a real home crowd behind it for a pennant race.

GUEST: Shi Davidi, Sportsnet

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

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Mostly spectator-free opening ceremony kicks off pandemic-delayed Tokyo 2020

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND SPORTSNET STAFF | posted Friday, Jul 23rd, 2021

The pandemic-delayed Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 officially got underway Friday with a largely spectator-free opening ceremony.

Organizers expected about 5,700 athletes to take part in the parade of athletes. Some skipped it because of early competitions on Saturday or to avoid risk of exposure to the coronavirus. And this parade differs from most others in the past because the nations are being spaced out — a nod to social distancing.

Hundreds of volunteers were on the stadium floor as well to greet the athletes as they walked through. Many athletes  waved; others captured their entrance on their phone cameras.

Moments before the parade, a wooden set of Olympic rings was displayed at the center of the stadium in a nod to the 1964 Tokyo Games. There, athletes from around the world were asked to bring seeds that could be planted and become trees.

Wood from 160 pines and spruces, seeds that came from Canada, Ireland and Northern Europe, were used to build the set of Olympic rings displayed Friday.

The stands at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium will be empty save for a handful of officials, guests and members of the media.

Even the number of athletes participating is likely to be smaller than most years, due to strict COVID-19 protocols at the Olympic Village.

The Canadian Olympic Committee said Thursday that only a small contingent of 30 to 40 athletes — roughly a tenth of the total delegation — will take part.

Athletes aren’t allowed into the village until five days before they compete, so fewer Canadian athletes will physically be in the village.

Many of them will be too close to the start of their competition to file in behind flagbearers Miranda Ayim of the women’s basketball team and men’s rugby sevens co-captain Nathan Hirayama.

The Canadian squad is made up of 370 athletes — the nation’s largest since 1984.

“Due to the Olympic Village arrival rules outlined in the Tokyo 2020 Playbooks, athletes are only arriving in the Village five days before they compete. This means that there are less athletes in the Village and that most of them are on the verge of competing. The focus of Team Canada remains on safety, performance, and adhering to the letter and spirit of the Tokyo 2020 Playbooks,” said Eric Myles, COC chief sport officer.

The opening ceremony was rocked by an 11th-hour scandal on Thursday, when the director was fired over a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998.

Earlier this week, a composer whose music is expected to be used at the ceremony was forced to resign because of past bullying of his classmates.

19 new Games-related COVID-19 cases

Just hours out from Friday’s opening ceremony, the Tokyo Olympics announced 19 new COVID-19 cases, including three athletes, bringing the total related to the 2020 Games since July 1 to 106.

The news also comes after Japan saw its highest case count Thursday — 1,979 — since 2,044 were recorded on Jan. 15.

The country’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and the International Olympic Committee have been determined to hold the Olympics despite the pandemic. Suga placed Tokyo under a state of emergency on July 12, but cases have continued to rise.

Fans have been barred from all Olympic venues in the Tokyo area, with limited capacity at some outlying sites.

As of Thursday, Japan had reported about 853,000 cases and 15,100 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 with about 23 per cent of its citizens fully vaccinated.


With files from the Associated Press

A look at COVID-19 reopening plans across the country

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jul 22nd, 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 lifted entirely for fully vaccinated Canadian travellers on Canada Day, while those requirements will 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 will be reviewed.

Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia has further reduced COVID-19 public health orders after entering the fourth phase of its reopening.

Under the new rules, retail stores can operate at full capacity, churches and other venues can operate at half capacity or with a maximum of 150 people, and up to 50 people can attend outdoor family gatherings.

Capacity limits for dance classes, music lessons and indoor play spaces have also been lifted.

Organized sports practices, games, league play, competitions and recreation programs can involve up to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors without physical distancing.

Day camps can operate with 30 campers per group plus staff and volunteers, following the day camp guidelines. In addition, professional and amateur arts and culture rehearsals and performances can involve up to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors without physical distancing.

Meanwhile, fully vaccinated residents of long-term care homes can now have visitors in their rooms and visit their family’s homes, including for overnight stays.

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 can enter the province without the need to isolate, while those who haven’t had a shot must still 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: 

Prince Edward Island has dropped its requirement that non-medical masks be worn in public indoor spaces.

Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says masks are still encouraged to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and businesses are free to adopt stricter rules.

Officials say those who serve the public, such as in restaurants, retail stores and hair salons, should continue to wear a mask.

All health-care facilities will continue to require masks until 80 per cent of eligible P.E.I. residents are fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, 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.

Organized gatherings hosted by a business or other organization are 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: 

Quebec’s government has removed capacity restrictions in retail stores across the province and reduced the two-metre physical distancing health order to one metre.

Quebecers from separate households are now required to keep a one-metre distance from one another indoors and outdoors instead of two metres.

The previous two-metre distance now applies only at places characterized by physical activity or singing.

Outdoor events are limited to a maximum of 5,000 people, while Indoor events are capped at 3,500 spectators.

Fans and those attending theatres or other performance venues must keep at least one empty seat between each other, and wearing a mask in public spaces remains mandatory.

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

Last 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, and also lifted travel bans between regions.

Ontario:

Ontario has moved to the third step of its reopening plan, allowing for more indoor activities including restaurant dining and gym use, while larger crowds are permitted for outdoor activities.

Masking and physical distancing rules, however, remain in place.

Social gatherings are limited to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Religious services and other ceremonies are allowed indoors with larger groups of people who are physically distanced.

Nightclubs and similar establishments are open to 25 per cent capacity. Crowd limits have expanded for retail stores and salons, which can offer services that require masks to be removed.

Spectators are permitted at sporting events, concert venues, cinemas and theatres, with larger limits on crowds for outdoor events.

Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, bingo halls and amusement parks are also open with larger crowd limits on outdoor attractions.

Manitoba:

Manitoba is loosening restrictions and allowing extra freedoms for people who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as it moves into the second phase of its reopening plan.

Indoor gatherings are now allowed for up to five people, on top of those who live in a household, and 25 people in indoor public spaces. Outdoor gatherings are expanded to 25 people on private property and 150 in public spaces.

Restaurants and bars are allowed up to 50 per cent capacity and opening hours are extended until midnight. Retail stores can run at 50 per cent capacity or 500 people, whichever is lower. Fitness centres can open at 50 per cent capacity, but masks are still required.

Outdoor weddings and funerals can have up to 150 people and indoor events now have a limit of 25. Faith-based gatherings can expand to half capacity or 150 people indoors.

Businesses, such as casinos, museums and movie theatres, can open at 50 per cent capacity but only fully vaccinated Manitobans can take part. An upcoming Blue Bombers CFL game will also be open fully to fans who are double-vaccinated.

Saskatchewan:

Saskatchewan has removed all public health orders — including the province-wide mandatory masking order, as well as capacity limits on events and gathering sizes.

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

Despite the lifting of the health orders, Regina and Saskatoon say they will still keep up extra cleaning in municipal facilities.

Alberta: 

All remaining COVID-19 restrictions were lifted on July 1.

There are no longer limits on weddings, funerals or bans on indoor social gatherings. In addition, there are 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 has ended, but masks may still be required in taxis, on public transit and on ride shares.

Some remaining COVID-19 health restrictions in continuing-care centres have also been eased.

The province says it is no longer limiting the number of visitors, since vaccination rates are rising and there have been few cases in care homes.

Visitors, however, still need to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms or known exposure, and masks are still required in common areas.

The province recommends people wear a mask at all times when visiting a care home if they have not been fully vaccinated, including children under 12.

Limits on dining and recreation activities have been eliminated, and residents are not required to be screened if they are re-entering the building or go into quarantine if they have gone off site.

British Columbia:

The province took the next step in its reopening plan on Canada Day when most COVID-19 restrictions were removed and outdoor gatherings of up to 5,000 people got the go ahead.

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

Casinos and nightclubs are open for the first time in 16 months, but some barriers remain in place and socializing between tables is not 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.

Meanwhile, visitors to long-term care homes will soon be allowed to see loved ones without COVID-19 restrictions. Unscheduled visits resumed July 19, but staff will be required to report whether they have been immunized.

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 were eased on July 2. Travel restrictions in and out of Iqaluit have been lifted. A household can now 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’s still a good idea to wear a mask indoors when there is a crowd, poor ventilation, or shouting or singing.

Yukon:

Yukon has expanded the rules for gatherings, allowing up to 200 people to get together, as long as masks are worn indoors and other health protocols are followed.

Fully vaccinated people can have personal gatherings of up to 20 people indoors and 50 outdoors, but the unvaccinated are encouraged to stick with their “safe six” because they are at significantly higher risk.

Bars and restaurants are allowed to operate at full capacity with restrictions.

The government says starting Aug. 4, people returning to the territory will not be required to self-isolate and masks in indoor public places will not be required.

Bars and restaurants will also be allowed to return to full capacity without the need for physical distancing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Can the Conservative Party reinvent itself in time to avoid disaster?

THE BIG STORY | posted Thursday, Jul 22nd, 2021

In today’s Big Story podcast, recent polls from across the spectrum show the Conservative Party of Canada struggling to mount a meaningful challenge to the Liberals in the next election—which seems to be fast approaching. More concerning than the low polling numbers is another statistic: The percentage of Canadians who would be willing to consider voting conservative. That’s at 41 percent, down seven points since 2019.

The Conservative party’s current pool of voters is shrinking. Who are they losing, and why? What might bring them back into the fold? Are their other groups who might be drawn to a more centrist party and is the CPC willing to take the short-term pain of alienating a hard-right base to chase votes in the centre?

GUEST: Max Fawcett

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

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

Page 7 of 101« First...56789...203040...Last »