With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
The City of Fredericton is going ahead with projects that were originally cut to balance this year's budget. Some of those items include $1.4 million toward the Officers' Square redevelopment, $500,000 toward a retrofit for City Hall, new park infrastructure and a transit study. The municipality recently had a $3.1 million shortfall — $2 million of that was related to the pandemic and $1.1 million toward rising operating costs. Investing in 'preventative maintenance' Through Canada's safe restart agreement, which helps cover massive losses for municipalities, the city received $3.18 million. "Our capital project inside our budget moves forward as it's designed to, maximizing our ability and the city's ability to invest in preventative maintenance and support of the infrastructure of the city in a fiscally responsible way," said Coun. Greg Ericson. Council approved the recommendation to reinstate the budget items at Monday night's council-in-committee meeting. Funding the city projects still need final approval from council. 'Park the money and hold it' Some councillors questioned if funding all seven projects was the best use of the money. "I'm just feeling in these times of uncertainty that we should just park the money and hold it," said Coun. Eric Price. Alicia Keating, assistant director of corporate services and acting city treasurer, said that option had already been discussed. "Where there is additional funding anticipated throughout the year, the discussions were, 'let's get what we can done." Some of those city projects will also be delayed. "Typically some of the projects would be ongoing or we would already have tenders that we could purchase equipment, per say," she said. "Or some of them wouldn't have started until a little bit later in the year anyway." In the future, Keating said the city anticipates more federal funding of about $1.5 million through The COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream.
WARSAW, Poland — A court in Poland on Tuesday acquitted three activists who had been accused of desecration and offending religious feelings for adding the LGBT rainbow to images of a revered Roman Catholic icon. The three women created posters in 2019 that used the rainbows in place of halos in an image of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. Their aim was to protest what they considered the hostility of Poland’s influential Catholic Church toward LGBT people. The court in the city of Plock did not find any signs of a crime and also found that the activists were not motivated by a desire to offend anyone’s religious feelings or to insult the image of the Virgin Mary, according to reports in the Polish media. The case of the three women was being watched in Poland as a test of freedom of speech under a deeply conservative government that has been seeking to push back against secularization and liberal views often seen as a foreign imposition. Abortion has been another flashpoint in the country after a top court ruling last year that resulted in a near total ban on abortion. One of the defendants, Elzbieta Podlesna, said when the trial opened in January that the 2019 action in Plock was spurred by an installation at the city’s St. Dominic’s Church that associated LGBT people with crime and sins. The image that they created involved altering Poland’s most-revered icon, the Mother of God of Czestochowa, popularly known as the Black Madonna of Czestochowa. The original has been housed at the Jasna Gora monastery in the city of Czestochowa — Poland's holiest site — since the 14th century. Podlesna told the Onet news portal that the existence of a provision in the penal code "leaves a door open to use it against people who think a bit differently. “I still wonder how the rainbow — a symbol of diversity and tolerance — offends these feelings. I cannot understand it, especially since I am a believer,” Podlesna told Onet. If Podlesna and the other two activists — Anna Prus and Joanna Gzyra-Iskandar — had been found guilty, they could have faced up to two years of prison. An LGBT rights group, Love Does Not Exclude, welcomed the ruling as a “breakthrough." “This is a triumph for the LGBT+ resistance movement in the most homophobic country of the European Union," it said. Podlesna was arrested in an early morning police raid on her apartment in 2019, held for several hours and questioned over the posters of the icon that were placed around Plock. A court later said the detention was unnecessary and ordered damages equaling some $2,000 awarded to her. Because of all the attention the altered icon has received, it is now also a very recognized image in Poland and is sometimes seen at street protests. The Associated Press
It is a March break unlike any other and, with the entire province in the orange phase of recovery, activities for kids who are home all week are still happening, albeit with a few more rules. Jenna Morton, mom to twin 8-year-old sons and a 9-year-old daughter, runs Pickle Planet Moncton, a parenting resource website. She says this week, everything will require an extra layer of thought for parents. "Parents have had to get really creative over the past year in figuring out how to get out and do things without going far and without going into crowds," she said. Her top pieces of advice are to make an effort to go out early, when it isn't as busy, and to always call ahead. Wendy Hudson, CEO of Broadleaf Ranch in Hopewell Hill, said all of their overnight accommodations, which includes cabins and glamping sites are booked solid for the week. "We're busier than normal for spring break because people aren't going to Florida and they have to stay at home." Wendy Hudson of Broadleaf Ranch said all of their accommodations are booked solid for March break. Tourism operators are looking forward to a boost in business during a "busier than normal" spring break since families are staying closer to home. With contactless check-in, she said guests can drive straight to their cabins without coming into contact with anyone. "They literally can drive to their cabin in the woods and it's unlocked and the keys on the table and the fireplace is on. Enjoy yourself, enjoy the view, enjoy the hiking trails, enjoy the nature — we're lucky to be able to offer that." Families sticking close to home Morton and her family will be sticking close to home this March break. She says with young children she is lucky that unexpected treats, such as a "double-movie night," are just as exciting as a more ambitious activity that requires packing everyone into the car. "Watching two movies in a row is not something they're used to doing," she said. "So when they said, 'Can we watch a second movie tonight?' And I said, 'Yes,' that was a huge event…so really finding those fun little moments — saying yes to little things that maybe you don't usually do." She said that's also less stressful for her. Jenna Morton advises that sites for outdoor activities, such as sledding or skating, are less busy in the mornings so families may want to make the effort to get out early to avoid the crowds. Morton warns that if you are hoping to venture out, make sure you call ahead rather than depending on websites, avoid the most popular spots everyone is posting about on social media, and be realistic. "If it's not something that's booking ahead of time, you're not guaranteed you're going to get in so how well do your kids deal with disappointment? How well do you deal with disappointment?" Always have a back-up plan April Morton, vice president of child and youth programs at the Greater Moncton YMCA, advises parents to be ready to pivot. The newly opened north end Y has an outdoor skating rink and sliding hill along with an indoor splash pad and walking track. The two locations are also offering themed day-camps, open gym times and youth drop-ins. All of the activities are first-come, first-serve with no pre-booking, so if one activity is at its limit, it is a good idea for parents and children to be prepared. "Maybe families want to bring their snow gear, and if the splash pad is too busy maybe they want to take in some activities outside at our skating rink or outside on the sliding hill or outside on the playground structure as well." Zane Korytko, the CEO of the YMCA of Greater Moncton, shows off the indoor splash pad at the new Y in the city's north end. The splash pad is open during March break but there is a limit on how many people can be inside because of COVID-19 rules. Silver-linings of pandemic March break Jenna Morton said there are some up-sides to COVID-19 regulations. With regular cleaning and smaller crowds, many experiences are more fun for kids, and parents, who find busy spots overwhelming. "Taking my three kids to a place like Hop, Skip, Jump used to be a lot of work. Now it's like, oh, well, they're only open certain times and for a certain number of people. And so it's a much different experience," she said. "It can be really a fun time to take in some of those things." Horseback riding and family sleigh rides are the ideal pandemic activity because it is easy to maintain physical distancing, said Wendy Hudson of Broadleaf Ranch. Adventure activities have been in high demand for the past year. Hudson said Broadleaf Ranch, which has struggled this past year, is looking forward to a boost in business during the March break, and is still taking reservations for horseback riding and sleigh rides. She said the worst part has been the uncertainty, although she has her fingers crossed that New Brunswick will make it through March break without an outbreak. "Things can change so fast, so that unknown is very worrisome and it's stressful especially with the new variants," she said. "When COVID is under control and people can get out and move around and go on their mini staycations — then yes, business is good. People are wanting to do it, people are wanting what we offer. But it's just a matter of whether they can do it or not." Jenna Morton encourages families to get creative during the March break. She has heard from many parents who are having theme days at home. Jenna Morton says theme days are an easy way to have fun at home during March break. Her family wore a different colour of the rainbow each day of the week last year. I know one family is doing a really cool challenge among themselves," she said. "Each person picked a day of the week and had a different theme and that person had to come up with a recipe that went with somewhere they'd like to travel." It may take a bit more planning and work for parents, but Jenna says, "that's kind of what the pandemic has been about for us right?"
Newfoundland and Labrador's four health authorities have signed a deal with a U.S.-based health-care company that promises financial incentives — totalling tens of millions of dollars — if it cuts costs at hospitals and long-term care homes across the province. The contract puts the Change Healthcare Canada — its Canadian headquarters are in British Columbia — in charge of building software that involves health-care scheduling and collaborating with the health authorities on "improved operational efficiency and anticipated cost savings." Those savings could come from reducing staffing costs, overtime, sick time, payroll errors and time-keeping labour, the contract states. The contract comes with a lucrative possibility: the more savings Change Healthcare helps find, the more money it makes, up to $35 million over the course of the deal. The provincial government, however, said the goal of the project is not to cut spending but to avoid staff burnout. The contract came into effect in June with no public announcement before or after the deal was done — a signing that gave $3 million up front to Change Healthcare to begin months of preparation prior to the five-year operational side of the deal kicking in. The contract's signatures include those of a Change Healthcare executive vice-president, the chief executive officers of Eastern, Central, Western and Labrador-Grenfell Health, and the CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information, an entity that oversees the province's health-care information system and electronic records. The deal also states the health authorities will cover sales tax and fees for any work Change Healthcare does beyond the contract's original scope. The authorities will also have to pay up to $5 million in penalties if they don't achieve 95 per cent adoption of the program within the organizations. Eastern Health, where the program will roll out first, did not respond to CBC's request for an interview or comment by deadline. Fears of job cuts: union The deal came as a surprise to at least one union, representing 3,000 health-care workers in the province, which learned about it months later. Sherry Hillier, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, attended a virtual meeting in the fall to discuss details of the deal with stakeholders. "I was kinda like, 'Holy God, what is this all about?'" said Hillier. The contract doesn't get into the fine details of where savings will be achieved, and how much, but in a slide presentation from October, Change Healthcare stated its software will anticipate peak demand in the system, and will "align staffing to demand" as well as "optimize staff effectiveness." Sherry Hillier, president of the provincial branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, says members of her union who are employed in health care are overworked and racking up overtime because there aren't enough people to do the work before them.(Heather Gillis/CBC) Hillier said she doesn't see how that can happen, as her members are stretched thin as it is. To her, the contract means job cuts, and she questions whether an algorithm can match up to the reality of people's day-to-day duties. "My biggest fear is for our members out there. Our members are overworked right now, they're understaffed, and this system is only going to make the health-care system that much worse," Hillier said. When the meeting ended, Hillier said, she "didn't leave with a good feeling about this company," and contacted CUPE counterparts across the country. In Manitoba, CUPE's experience with Change Healthcare was one of widespread job cuts, she said, leaving those still employed struggling to manage their workloads. "It's actually made for a devastating workforce in a couple of the hospitals in Winnipeg that CUPE represents there. It's been bad times in Winnipeg just with this company, because of the cuts," she said. A spokesperson for a government health agency in Manitoba, however, disagreed, saying the company's software has "improved patient flow" and reduced reliance on overtime staffing. "We strongly dispute the assertion that there were any 'job cuts' related to the implementation of this software," the spokesperson said in an email, "and have continued to actively recruit for CUPE support staff during this time." According to its website, Change Healthcare is "focused on accelerating the transformation of the healthcare system through insight and innovation," and says it is one of the largest health-care networks in the United States. Hillier questions the motives of Change Healthcare to make changes — "This corporation is actually in it for the money," she said — and asks why the health authorities could potentially give millions of dollars to an American company when the province is in dire financial straits. After the story was published, and after Hillier originally spoke to CBC News, CUPE issued a media release late Tuesday afternoon stating it wanted the four health authorities to "cancel their deal" with Change Healthcare. The union draws a connection from the contract to Ronan Seagrave, chief operating officer of Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre, who was on hand when the company's plan for N.L. was presented to stakeholders last fall. Seagrave, according to the union's release, was a KPMG consultant working on a report for the Manitoba health care system. "His health system transformation team made 'title changes' to hundreds of full-time jobs, converting the hours of work to part-time. At least 500 nurses received 'job deletion notices' that fall, along with more than 700 hospital support staff," reads CUPE NL's media release. Unions were at the table from the 'get go': Haggie Health Minister John Haggie said he is surprised to hear CUPE take issue with the contract. "The unions were there from the get-go.… I don't understand where they are coming from," he told CBC News on Tuesday. "You have a company that is incentivized to produce the best results because they share in our success. And I think over the term of the contract they get somewhere around 10 or 15 per cent of the value of the savings. The health authorities, the health-care system, the province keep the rest, if there are savings." After Haggie's interview, CUPE said it was not informed that the contract had already been signed when members were invited to a presentation about it last fall. Health Minister John Haggie, seen here in a Skype interview with CBC, said the contract with Change Healthcare Canada also aims to reduce worker burnout, too. (CBC/Skype) Haggie said the project originated in 2016 and came out of discussions at the time with the Registered Nurses' Union. He said former president Debbie Forward was "enthusiastic" about the approach. Haggie said the approach and contract may be new to the province, but Vancouver Coastal Health has used the approach and "their reports were very favourable." "It's not new, it's simply just not paper-based, it's electronic. Where it stemmed from was from our desire to help avoid burnout among staff. So they're not being mandated back or they're not doing extra shifts and overtime, since you can match the needs for staff and the right mix and right numbers, with the number of patients, and the level of illness you see on the floor." "All scheduling on health care and front lines is done on paper and this was a way of getting that all sorted out, so that it was electronic,and you could match the staffing in a two-week period to the expected demand on the unit." CBC News asked the Registered Nurses' Union if, in fact, Forward did support the contract. A spokesperson said the union "did not see or have any input on a contract. What we have been doing is pushing for government to move to acuity-based staffing." A statement from the union went on to say: "The current staffing model for nursing is not meeting the needs of patients and results in chronic understaffing, excessive overtime and burnout among registered nurses." It also said the union supports "staffing based on the real time needs of patients, not the number of beds or allocated budget," and added its executive will be "monitoring the rollout of the new system and remain hopeful that it will improve workloads, better align staffing to meet patient needs, and improve scheduling and patient flow." Haggie, meanwhile, challenged those who see this as a roundabout way of making cuts. "They are mistaken," he said. "The motivation behind this was to match better the needs of patients and meet them, also with the needs of our workforce. We have heard how hard people have worked during the pandemic, this tool will help make their life easier." PCs, NDP slam the contract Opposition House leader David Brazil says the financial incentives in the deal are a non-starter for him. "I have a real problem with that. I would think the people in Newfoundland and Labrador would have a problem with that. And I would think the health-care professionals would first be asking, 'Why not engage with us?'" he told CBC News on Tuesday. "Taking a company that looks at a software package to decide how we better access health care, and the particular needs, to me is not the best solution." While the contract was part of a competitive public tender process, NDP Leader Alison Coffin asked why there has been no information about it, until now. "If this was good news for our hospitals, clinics, and long-term care homes, you can bet the Liberals wouldn't have kept this a secret," said Coffin in a statement. Dire need for savings It's no secret Newfoundland and Labrador has a money problem. With a net debt of $16 billion, the province is close to insolvency, and the prospect of cuts to many sectors looms as a distinct possibility. Health-care spending, comprising more than 37 per cent of the last provincial budget, is a target. The economic task force was scheduled to deliver an interim report on Sunday with potential recommendations for change, before announcing on Saturday it would miss that deadline by up to six weeks. Under those harsh realities — complicated further by the pandemic and the provincial election — Hillier said hiring Change Healthcare still isn't the right move. While overtime and sick leave may be a spending issue, she said a larger problem is not having enough staff in the first place, particularly in long-term care, causing people to rack up overtime to get the job done. She said the province needs to instead train and hire more workers to drive overtime costs down. "To increase the workload on our members is just crazy. It can't be done," she said. The contract states the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's will be the pilot site for the new system before it expands to the rest of the province.(CBC) She also said any cuts will have a clear impact on patients, causing service reductions and longer wait times. The deal hasn't been brought to union members' attention yet, she said, in part because it took six weeks after CUPE-NL found out about it to even get a copy of the contract to peruse. With the contract signed months ago, the project is now well into the first of three phases. The goal is to begin implementing the plan by September, starting at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's. The program will then roll out through the rest of the health authorities' acute-care facilities, including hospitals and long-term care homes throughout the province, with the contract set to conclude in September 2026, with an option to renew the contract after that point. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
British Columbia will delay giving people their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months in order to vaccinate more people sooner. While some say the decision is ‘risky,’ Dr. Bonnie Henry says data shows people have strong protection for several months after the initial dose.
The province's COVID-related death toll has risen to 28. Public Health announced Tuesday that a person aged 80 to 89 has died as a result of underlying complications, including COVID-19. The person was a resident of the Manoir Belle Vue home in Edmundston. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell both extended condolences to the family, with Russell noting the death is "a sad reminder that this virus is not done with our province." There are currently 36 active cases, with four zones reporting no active cases.(CBC News) Four new cases, presumptive variant case identified Public Health also announced four new cases on Tuesday, all of them in the Miramichi region, Zone 7, and a presumptive variant case. The presumptive case, a recent confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Miramichi region, will be sent to Winnipeg's National Microbiology Laboratory for confirmation, the department said. The new cases announced Tuesday break down in this way: an individual 20 to 29 two people 50 to 59 an individual 60 to 69 The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 1,435. Since Monday, three people have recovered for a total of 1,370 recoveries. There have been 28 deaths, and the number of active cases is 36, with four of seven zones reporting no active cases. Three patients are in hospital, and all are in intensive care. A total of 229,787 tests have been conducted, including 550 since Monday's report. Prince Edward Island's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Heather Morrison, said Tuesday that every adult would receive one dose of the vaccine by the end of June.(Kirk Pennell/CBC News file photo) P.E.I.'s ramped-up rollout: Every adult gets one dose by July Prince Edward Island's chief public health officer announced a new vaccination schedule Tuesday, based on a plan to delay providing second doses of vaccines in order to get first doses out to more people sooner. P.E.I. is expecting delivery of 100,000 doses between April 1 and the end of June, Dr. Heather Morrison said. Based on those deliveries, and the anticipated change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, Morrison said every Islander over 16 will be offered a single dose by the end of June. The previous schedule had vaccinations for the general public only beginning in July. The province also announced four new cases on Tuesday, and said two past cases have been confirmed as the B117 variant, in two women who had travelled off island. P.E.I. is currently in a three-day lockdown, announced Monday, after 12 cases were reported and the number of active cases rose to 18 over the weekend, the most since the spring. The Anglophone North School District announced a case of COVID-19 at Miramichi Valley High School on Monday.(Miramichi Valley High School archive) Case confirmed at Miramichi high school The Anglophone North School District announced a positive case of COVID-19 at Miramichi Valley High School. In a tweet Monday night, the school district said it's working with Public Health officials to identify any students and school personnel who might have been in contact with the case. "It is natural to want to know if your child may have been exposed to the virus," said Mark Donovan, superintendent of Anglophone North School District in a message to parents. "Public Health officials will inform those who are at risk of the next steps, but to protect the privacy of students and school personnel, other details including names, will not be released." What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: A fever above 38 C. A new cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
All of Newfoundland and most of southern Labrador is under some kind of weather warning Tuesday, as transit, government offices and municipal services are closed or delayed opening due to the stormy conditions. "It's on your doorstep right now," said Environment Canada meteorologist Wanda Batten on Tuesday morning. The storm began overnight Tuesday in the island's southwest, with heavy bands of snow moving into the Gander and St. John's areas through the morning. The storm has prompted many delays and cancellations. The province closed some sections of the Trans-Canada Highway on the west coast, and asked drivers to avoid travelling if possible. Witless Bay Line was closed due to poor weather conditions, with RCMP asking motorists to avoid the highway between Witless Bay and Butter Pot Park due to whiteout conditions. In St. John's, Metrobus announced it would be suspending transit services as of 10 a.m. due to the weather. They City of St. John's also pushed garbage collection scheduled for Tuesday to Wednesday, with other municipalities in the metro region following suit. Provincial government offices in parts of the province closed for the morning, as did courts in St. John's. The College of the North Atlantic closed some of its campuses for the morning, while the Newfoundland and Labrador English School district said some virtual classes may be disrupted. The weather cancelled flights at airports in the province, with Marine Atlantic also cancelling its crossings for the day. Newfoundland Power reported outages in the Bay St. George South and St. George's areas due to severe weather conditions. "It's going to be quite blustery there for a few hours," Batten said. "I expect this to come in, and it's going to deteriorate really quickly, and then it's going to improve quickly as well," she said, forecasting the worst is to come in the morning and early afternoon, before the snow lets up and the winds drop later Tuesday. On the west coast, between five and 15 centimetres of snow is on the way, but up to 25 centimetres could fall in some higher-elevation areas, along with wind gusts between 80 and 120 km/h into Tuesday afternoon. For St. John's, the northern Avalon, and the Bonavista Peninsula, strong winds gusting up to 100 km/h are expected to combine with about 15 centimetres of snowfall starting Tuesday morning. Environment Canada said "visibility will be suddenly reduced to near zero at times in heavy snow and blowing snow." It's a similar story on the southern Avalon, Connaigre and Burin peninsulas, where 10 to 15 centimetres of snow is expected — though it may change to a brief period of rain later this morning, before turning back to flurries this afternoon. In southern Labrador, the area from Norman Bay through to Red Bay and L'Anse-au-Clair could get up to 45 centimetres of snow, and conditions on the Trans-Labrador Highway are expected to be rough. 'Nasty conditions' for drivers Early Tuesday morning the RCMP had responded to a few calls of stranded drivers on west coast roads, and Const. Matthew Christie said he expected conditions to get dicey in eastern Newfoundland later in the morning — especially on the Trans-Canada Highway between Butter Pot Park and Witless Bay Line. "Those areas, we've seen in the past, when the snow kicks up and the wind combines with it, it makes for nasty conditions," he said. "So I would expect those areas to deteriorate quite quickly as people make their way toward the city." Road conditions are expected to get rough around eastern portions of the island mid-Tuesday morning. If they have to be out, Christie said drivers should take it slow. "Mostly what we see is just people failing to adjust their driving to the road conditions," he said. "Those posted speed limits — whatever the posted speed limit is for the area that you're travelling in — that's meant for ideal conditions. So if you have the snow, and you have the wind that's with it, and you have the slippery surface on the roadway, that speed limit is not something that you should be travelling." Cold weather coming Once the system moves out, said Batten, there should be consistent flurries and strong winds over the next few days. "We're in for pretty blustery weather in behind this," she said. "It actually could get quite nasty along the west coast and Northern Peninsula Wednesday into Thursday." Batten said it will also get colder, with temperatures dropping to minus double digits in western and central areas of Newfoundland. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Britain's big four banks amassed more than 200 billion pounds ($277.52 billion) of new deposits last year as customers reined in spending through pandemic lockdowns, far outstripping extra lending to struggling businesses and households. Full-year earnings reported by HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest last month revealed the extent to which lenders' finances have been upended by the crisis. The banks now face a glut in savings, a Reuters analysis of the banks' results show, as domestic customers of the four lenders deposited 221 billion pounds of extra cash.
The death of 16-year-old Lexi Daken last week set off a searing wave of grief across the province. But it has also triggered a reckoning, with mental health experts taking a hard look at a worsening mental health crisis and legal experts saying her death was at least partly brought on by years of government underfunding. Lexi, a Grade 10 student who had previously attempted suicide, was taken to the emergency room at Fredericton's Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital on Thursday, Feb. 18, by a school guidance counsellor who was concerned about her mental health. She waited for eight hours without receiving any mental health intervention. After she was told by a nurse that calling a psychiatrist would take another two hours, Lexi said later, she left the hospital with a referral for followup. Her mother said no one ever contacted the family. Less than a week later, Lexi died by suicide. In an interview with Information Morning Fredericton on Monday, the executive director at the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick was overcome with emotion while discussing Lexi's death. Christa Baldwin, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick, said Lexi's death was shattering. "I don’t think I’ve ever cried as much as I have in the past week." 'This has to be the piece that moves us forward' Christa Baldwin noted that last week had started off with the promise of change, with a new mental health action plan, unveiled by Health Minister Dorothy Shephard, "that would allow us to move forward." "But then later in the week, hearing the news about Lexi — it broke our hearts, to be honest. … I don't think I've ever cried as much as I have in the past week." But Lexi's death has also been a turning point, Baldwin said. She noted that Lexi's father, Chris Daken, said in an interview last week that "Lexi's death cannot be in vain." "This has to be a piece that moves us forward .... we can't have this happening to our youth in our province, we can't have this happening to anyone in our province." Baldwin said that resonated with her. "It feels like we have entered a new chapter in this province, building a service that is client-focused, client-centred," she said. "It has ignited a fire within me and within the CMHA to advocate and use our voice to make change happen. We need something to happen for Lexi's family … and for so many other individuals who have died by suicide in this province." The new mental health action plan has put some plans and pilot projects in place, Baldwin said. Those are positive steps, but more needs to be done, she said, noting barriers to service need to be removed and attitudes toward mental health issues need to change. "I think what bothered me most is after eight hours to ask about whether to call a professional to come in to asses Lexi further — if you went in with a broken leg, you would not be asked if someone should be called in to cast your leg," Baldwin said. "We need mental health parity. Mental health is a human right equal to physical health." In an op-ed, lawyer Jody Carr, above, and UNB law professor Kerri Froc say Lexi's death is a violation of her rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A violation of Lexi's charter rights, lawyers say It's a point some legal experts are also making. In an op-ed, lawyer Jody Carr and University of New Brunswick law professor Kerri Froc said Lexi's rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated. "Under Section 7 of the charter, 'Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice,' " Carr and Froc wrote in the op-ed. "Because successive provincial governments have wilfully under-resourced this sector of health care, leading to delays in access to mental health services anchored in the Mental Health Act, violations of New Brunswickers' rights to personal security, and ultimately to life, results. "While it is true that the direct cause of these deaths and injury is self-harm, the Supreme Court of Canada has said that government is responsible for actions that enhance the risk of these violations." Carr and Froc argued that "New Brunswick has a duty to ensure that they can talk to a psychiatrist or psychologist at their and their family's time of greatest need." In an email Monday, Horizon noted it does provide around-the-clock psychiatric services. "Horizon provides emergency psychiatric services 24 hours per day, seven days a week at our regional hospitals," Dr. Edouard Hendriks, vice-president of medical, academic and research affairs at Horizon. "Medical psychiatry staff are available for consultation as required, in collaboration with the on-site care team." Nevertheless, some questions remain unanswered. Horizon did not immediately answer questions about whether it is tracking how often an on-call psychiatrist is called to come in to see a patient, or how often they decline or are unable to do so. It also did not answer questions about why Lexi was told she would face a two-hour wait for a psychiatrist, citing "confidentiality reasons." Pandemic taking deepening toll on mental health Meanwhile, the pandemic's toll on the mental health of almost every demographic in the province continues to deepen, Baldwin said. In the 2019-20 fiscal year, the Canadian Mental Health Association worked with more than 86,000 New Brunswickers, she said. "In the first three-quarters of this fiscal year, we were already at over 117,000 New Brunswickers. … Organizations are feeling that, hospitals are feeling that, Horizon and Vitalité are feeling that. We need to recognize what's happening here in terms of demand for service." Carefully developing programs and reaching out to certain demographics to make sure people are not falling through the cracks are more crucial now than ever, she said. But so is talking "openly" with people when you see they are struggling, even if it feels uncomfortable. "Asking someone if they're suicidal, having suicidal thoughts ... actually saying those words can help," Baldwin said. "We need to have these conversations, we can't sweep it under the rug. Not talking about mental health openly has done us no favours." If you need help: CHIMO hotline: 1-800-667-5005 / http://www.chimohelpline.ca Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566.
Global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has accused Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and several top officials of committing crimes against humanity in a criminal complaint filed in Germany. The 500-page complaint, filed on Monday with the German Public Prosecutor General in the Karlsruhe federal court, includes allegations of arbitrary detention of more than 30 journalists and the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Prince Mohammed has denied any involvement in Khashoggi's killing.
U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared inclined to uphold two Republican-backed voting restrictions in Arizona in a case that could further hobble the Voting Rights Act, a landmark 1965 federal law that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. During nearly two hours of oral arguments by teleconference the court's conservative justices, who hold a 6-3 majority, asked questions indicating they could issue a ruling that would make it harder to prove violations of the Voting Right Act. The important voting rights case was heard at a time when Republicans in numerous states are pursuing new restrictions after former President Donald Trump made false claims of widespread fraud in the Nov. 3 election he lost to Democratic President Joe Biden.
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of March 2 ... What we are watching in Canada ... VANCOUVER — Experts say a national vaccine panel's recommendation against administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to seniors could be good news for essential workers and younger populations, but it has to be promoted that way. Caroline Colijn, a COVID-19 modeller and mathematician at Simon Fraser University, and Horacio Bach, an adjunct professor in the division of infectious diseases in the faculty of medicine at the University of British Columbia, say it's up to provincial officials to advertise it as a valuable resource. Oxford-AstraZeneca has reported the vaccine is 62 per cent effective against preventing infection while Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have reported those vaccines have 95 per cent efficacy. Colijn and Bach say people seem to be fixated on the different numbers, but what really needs to be underscored is that Oxford-AstraZeneca has prevented serious illness leading to hospitalization and there haven't been any deaths. Canada has ordered 24 million doses of the vaccine, with most of it coming from the United States between April and September. British Columbia's provincial health officer, Doctor Bonnie Henry, says the vaccine may be offered to essential workers and they'll have limited choice in waiting for the other two vaccines, but should take whatever they're offered first. --- Also this ... OTTAWA — A new poll suggests a majority of Canadians believe Ottawa will follow through on its plan to provide enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for everyone who wants a shot by the fall. An online survey by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies says 56 per cent of respondents are confident the federal government can buy enough vaccine to ensure inoculation for those who seek it by September. Canadians on both coasts and in Quebec were optimistic about their provinces' rollout plans as well as that of the feds. People in Ontario and the Prairie provinces were more skeptical, with just one in three Albertans expressing faith in their government's delivery scheme. Léger executive vice-president Christian Bourque says the ramp-up in vaccine shipments from Pfizer and Moderna last week likely brightened Canadians' views of federal distribution efforts. The Public Health Agency of Canada is expecting delivery of about 445,000 doses this week, following last week’s record high of 640,000 doses in a seven-day period. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... WASHINGTON — The White House is making it abundantly clear it has no plans to share America's COVID-19 vaccines with Canada or Mexico. Press secretary Jen Psaki has been indicating for weeks that the Biden administration would not allow the export of doses manufactured in the U.S. any time soon. She says President Joe Biden is focused first on making sure the vaccine is available to every American. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was expected to ask Biden directly for doses when the two meet virtually Monday evening. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly stopped short of making a similar request in his virtual meetings with Biden last week. "No," Psaki said Monday when asked whether the U.S. would be willing to share its supply of vaccine doses. "The president has made clear that he is focused on ensuring that vaccines are available to every American. That is our focus." Psaki hinted last week that the White House position could change later this year once more Americans are vaccinated and the doses are no longer in such short supply. Johnson and Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine began shipping out Monday after it received emergency authorization over the weekend from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That now makes three vaccines that are available in the U.S., along with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Health Canada has yet to approve the Johnson and Johnson shot, but gave the green light last week to a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... YANGON, Myanmar — Demonstrators in Myanmar took to the streets again today to protest last month’s seizure of power by the military, as foreign ministers from Southeast Asian countries prepared to meet to discuss the political crisis. Police in Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city, used tear gas against the protesters. The planned special meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations comes in the wake of worsening violence in Myanmar. The country’s new military rulers over the weekend escalated their use of deadly force and mass arrests to try to quash protests against the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. The UN said it believed at least 18 people in several cities were killed on Sunday when security forces opened fire to disperse demonstrating crowds. Funerals were being held today for several of the victims. The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar after five decades of military rule, coming the day a newly elected Parliament was supposed to take office. Ousted leader Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party would have been installed for a second five-year term in office, but instead she was detained along with President Win Myint and other senior officials. --- On this day in 1964 ... The House of Commons approved a bill changing the name of Trans-Canada Air Lines to Air Canada. The law, proposed by then Liberal MP Jean Chretien, took effect the following Jan. 1. --- In entertainment ... The show must go on at the Stratford Festival, but this summer it will be happening outdoors. Organizers say they have made tentative plans for "about a dozen" live productions held in-person at the renowned southwestern Ontario festival between late June and the end of September. The plays and cabarets will take place beneath two canopies, one at the Festival Theatre and the other at the new Tom Patterson Theatre. The idea was inspired by the original tent where the Stratford Festival first performed in the early 1950s. Under the outdoors model, the festival's organizers expect to seat up to 100 people in "socially distanced pods," double the usual number of audience members who could be seated at the indoor theatre. The full slate of plays and cabarets will be announced in the spring. The plan will keep the Stratford Festival in operation throughout this summer after COVID-19 forced the entire 2020 season to be cancelled, leading the organization to dip into its endowment and secure a line of credit to stay afloat. Stratford Festival's executive director Anita Gaffney says this summer's schedule is designed so that it can be modified to either shrink or grow in size, depending on provincial and community health guidelines. She added that it's "only through significant and thorough advance planning that we can put in place the safety measures that will be essential for any eventuality." Performances will be streamed online for those who cannot attend in-person shows. --- ICYMI ... CALGARY — It's been bananas at the Leftovers Foundation as the Calgary not-for-profit tries to find a use for thousands of bunches of the long, yellow fruit, which were donated all at once last week. Interim CEO Audra Stevenson said a call came in last Friday from produce distributor Fresh Direct and it had more than seven pallets of bananas with nowhere to go. That amounted to 346 cases, each with about 10 bunches in them. "Our bread and butter is rescuing food that doesn't have a home and getting it into the hands of people who need it," Stevenson said Monday. She said the priority is to get as many of the fresh bananas as possible to organizations that serve people in need, such as homeless shelters. As of Monday morning, there were about 150 cases left and a lineup of service agencies waiting to pick some up. But by Tuesday, Stevenson said, it's likely there will be a pallet left of bananas that are past their prime, like ones that start to turn brown on your kitchen counter. "You wouldn't give one to your kid, but you would make it into banana bread." The Leftovers Foundation also has a program that brings large quantities of rescued produce to local food artisans that can upcycle it into tasty treats. The groups' website says that in the past, Made by Marcus has made ice cream from bananas it procured through the program. This time, Stevenson said Hoopla Donuts and restaurant Donna Mac are on standby to grab whatever is left once the service agencies get their fill. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published xxx. x, 20xx The Canadian Press
Wall Street ended lower on Tuesday, pulled down by Apple and Tesla, while materials stocks climbed as investors waited for the U.S. Congress to approve another stimulus package. Volume on U.S. exchanges was 12.3 billion shares, compared with the 14.9 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.
Nova Scotia's film and TV industry is expecting the 2021 production season to be the busiest in years. While the pandemic has disrupted Hollywood's production pipeline, locales like Nova Scotia that have managed to control the infection rate and continue to produce film and television are appealing. Interest from American streaming companies and broadcasters increased by an estimated 100 per cent in 2020, according to Screen Nova Scotia. "I'd say probably between August and December of 2020, I was on the phone all day long with studios that were wondering what was happening in Nova Scotia," said executive director Laura Mackenzie. She wouldn't disclose which companies inquired about shooting in the province, but said she's heard from all the large U.S. streaming services. Predictable shooting schedule The Stephen King adaptation Chapelwaite, starring Adrian Brody and Emily Hampshire, shot last summer in Halifax, Dartmouth and Cole Harbour, while the new CBC series, Feudal, filmed on the South Shore. Local independent producer Marc Tetreault said it's the predictability of shooting in Nova Scotia during the pandemic that's put the province on the radar of American studios. "If you think about shooting in L.A. or Toronto or New York right now, you don't have any predictability or certainty," he said. "Film is like a really slow-moving train, and once it gets going, it's really hard to stop. And when it does stop, it costs a lot of money to get it going again." Local independent producer Marc Tetreault says quarantine costs are 'a drop in the bucket on a larger show.' He said even halting production for a day, let alone weeks, can be very costly. Tetreault said bigger shows can manage the costs associated with the pandemic, including the two-week quarantine in Nova Scotia, because those costs are quantifiable. "If you're in Nova Scotia, you should be reasonably confident that you should be able to complete your production without a major shutdown or hiccup, and I think that's really attractive to a lot of out-of-town producers," he said. The costs related to the province's quarantine rules are "a drop in the bucket on a larger show," Tetreault added. "What I think it comes down to is convincing the people who are quarantining that they're going to quarantine for two weeks — less so, you know, paying the 200 bucks a night for a hotel," he said. Is N.S. prepared to support productions? The challenge will be providing the infrastructure and support to visiting productions. In 2015, the Stephen McNeil government axed the provincial film tax credit, a 50 to 65 per cent fully refundable corporate income tax credit offered to productions hiring Nova Scotia film personnel. It was eventually replaced with the Production Incentive Fund, which offers a refund to foreign service production of 25 per cent and 26 per cent for local content. It also offers a refund of up to 32 per cent in an all-spend model on any money spent in the province for labour, accommodations and locations. Laura MacKenzie is the executive director of Screen Nova Scotia. That helped make Nova Scotia competitive with other provinces, but the film business still isn't as robust as it was in the tax credit era. "We've had amazing momentum in building our industry here over the past five years," said Mackenzie. "But we did lose quite a few crew members in 2015 when the tax credit was changed. "And so that, alongside with the loss of some production studio spaces, it's put us at a disadvantage because we can't possibly supply the demand." That's why she's putting a call out to any Nova Scotian working elsewhere. "Time to come home. We need you here," she said. Mackenzie also said finding studio space so that out-of-town productions can shoot interior scenes is as much of a challenge this year as finding skilled crew. She's looking for anyone who has comparable warehouse space. Diggstown creator struggling to cast show While it's a challenge to build up enough skilled crew for shows that may be coming to the province, it could also provide opportunity for film workers who are traditionally under-represented on film and TV sets and in front of the camera. Diggstown, a CBC legal drama shot in Dartmouth and Halifax, has also benefited from the American production slowdown — the first two seasons were recently bought by the Fox Network in the U.S. With the third season set to go to camera in April, producer and creator Floyd Kane said he's struggling to cast his show. Floyd Kane is the writer, executive producer and showrunner of Diggstown. Diggstown tells stories from Nova Scotia's Black communities, and Kane said it feels like he's seen and chosen almost every local actor of colour in the province. Now, he has to fly in racialized cast from Toronto or elsewhere, which, for a low-budget TV series, is very expensive. "I came up in the industry in Nova Scotia where I would be the only Black person or person of colour in the room," Kane told CBC Radio's Mainstreet recently. "I want to have more Black people, more people of colour working in our industry. I want to encourage that. The acting piece of this is a huge challenge. Frankly, we've done a very poor job of developing the talent pool [for people of colour] and retaining that pool by there being opportunities to work." Richard Hadley is the Maritime branch representative for ACTRA, the actor's union. He said his organization is very aware of that need. "We are looking at ways to go into those communities and let people know what the opportunities are," said Hadley. "And that is a specific area of our membership that we really want to encourage to grow, absolutely." Richard Hadley is the Maritime branch representative for ACTRA. Mackenzie from Screen Nova Scotia said it's also one of her organization's top priorities to increase diversity behind the camera. The organization has formed a diversity outreach committee to work on a strategy to come up with long-term fixes. While the industry has proven that the health and safety protocols are a draw for service production — shows that come from elsewhere to shoot here — they do still pose a challenge for lower-budgeted local shows, as Kane is finding with Diggstown. 'You will be hired on something' Tetreault said he fully supports the health protocols that are in place to keep Nova Scotians safe, "but they definitely are a hindrance to the local, usually lower budget, independent films." He said paying for supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer, and for the extra set space to allow for physical distancing, can also stretch a local production's limited budget. That said, Tetreault is still planning to make a feature film this year — and he's looking for a crew. "Now's the time," said Tetreault. "Call the unions, get the referral. Figure out what it is you're interested in and you will be hired on something." MORE TOP STORIES
SMITHS FALLS, Ont. — Canopy Growth Corp. will deepen its U.S. presence by launching four sparkling cannabidiol waters there before possible federal legalization. The Smiths Falls, Ont.-based cannabis company says four drinks from its Quatreau brand will be available to U.S. customers today. They will contain 20 milligrams of CBD, come in ginger and lime, cucumber and mint, blueberry and açaí, and passion fruit and guava flavours and be Canopy’s first CBD drinks to cross the border. The 355-millilitre beverages have been available in Canada since last fall, but will join Martha Stewart, BioSteel and This Works CBD products Canopy has already made available in the U.S. as part of an expansion strategy. The Quatreau sparkling waters will be sold through e-commerce — a model that can be built on if the U.S. cannabis market flourishes. Industry observers believe U.S. opportunities for Canadian pot companies will multiply this year because U.S. President Joe Biden and his Democratic party have favoured legislation that will relax cannabis laws. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX: WEED) The Canadian Press
A Black History Month research project by the Probation Association of Ontario (POAO) says Windsor-born Lew Taylor was likely one of the first Black probation officers in the province. President of the POAO, Chris Podolinsky says that people who knew Taylor, described him as "legendary." "He used a lot of colourful language but he sounds like the kind of guy who said what needed to be said," Podolinsky said. "I think that was part of his allure." Chris Podolinsky is the President of the Probation Officers Association of Ontario. Podolinsky, who also lives in Windsor, says he felt a sense of pride knowing Taylor was from Windsor and finding other parallels. "I found it interesting to figure out he went over to Wayne State, it's close by a lot of friends that I grew up with [who] went to Wayne State so it's another connection there." But the association has a bit of a challenge on its hands in terms of learning more about Taylor. Podolinsky and the team are in the process of finding more information, such as photos of Taylor. So far it has been sparse due to limited archival data and the association has had to rely largely on interviewing former members. "Everything seems to be accessible on Google, but it was a real challenge trying to pin down the rough decade or trying to look to Wayne State yearbooks, some of the high schools locally and I just couldn't find any record of him in the area," Podolinsky said. Looking to the past Ray Williams is a retired probation and parole officer and area manager and co-chair of the Systemic Change Program Working Committee. It was through Williams, that POAO discovered that Tayor was born in Windsor and was a descendant of the original Black settlers who came to Canada via the Underground Railroad. The two men met in 1975 and Williams told the POAO that Taylor was someone who was very interested in history. Ray Williams is a retired Probation and Parole Officer and Area Manager and co-chair of the Systemic Change Program Working Committee. According to Williams, Taylor studied at Wayne State University in Detroit, earning a degree in social work, before relocating to Toronto. Williams says he remembers Taylor as, "a man who had a heart of gold, which attracted people of all walks of life to this unique individual." He added that, "[Taylor] was just at ease with senior officials as he was with the most challenging of his probation clients." Taylor worked between the late 1960s and early 1970s and retired in the late 1980's. He died soon after, leaving behind a partner, a son and a daughter. Diversity among probation officers throughout the decades The POAO was created in 1952 and is a voluntary non-profit organization with the goal of representing probation officers and fostering greater dialogue on issues in criminal justice. While researching Taylor, the POAO found that diversity among probation officers really began to shift in the 1970's following loosening of immigration policies. During that decade, diversity among probation officers increased and also started reflecting the population at large. But in the 1950's, the faces of the association were predominantly white men. Podlinsky notes Taylor was way ahead of his time, being a person of colour in the field. In doing peripheral research about Taylor, Podlinsky cites Canadian author Cecil Foster's book 'They Call Me George: The Untold Story of The Black Train Porters'. "That book really helped me because [Foster] really goes into the history of immigration in the country," he said. Reflection among probation officers today Asked about the level of representation among probation and parole officers, the Ministry of the Solicitor General said in an emailed statement that the Ontario Public Service (OPS) does not collect race-based data on employees. Staff are able self-identify to "help with the OPS goals of diversifying the labour force." When asked about how important it was to have probation officers of diverse backgrounds, Podolinsky said: "We're learning a lot now about anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism and I think there is a sense that people from a certain community need to see people like them in the field." "You can't get a full understanding necessarily of all the cultural nuances, so I think it's important to have representation, everywhere — because I don't think any one probation officer can understand every avenue — I think the diverse officers will help that." READ: You can find out more about the association's project here For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
LIVERPOOL, England — Ian St. John, a Liverpool great who scored the winning goal to give the club its first FA Cup title and was a key player in the rebuild under Bill Shankly in the 1960s, has died. He was 82. St. John died Monday following a long illness, his family said in a statement released by Liverpool on Tuesday. St. John, a Scotland international who later fronted the popular British TV show “Saint and Greavsie” alongside another former player, Jimmy Greaves, played 425 games for Liverpool from 1961-71 and scored 118 goals. No goal was more important than the one he scored in extra time to clinch a 2-1 win for Liverpool over Leeds in the 1965 FA Cup final. St. John joined for a club-record fee from Scottish team Motherwell while Liverpool was in the second division and, alongside Ron Yeats, was part of the spine of a team which earned promotion under Shankly then won the English league title in 1964 and '66. Liverpool called St. John a “legend” and described his FA Cup final winner against Leeds as “one of the most iconic goals in Liverpool's history." “One of the players along with Bill Shankly who made this club what it is today,” former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher wrote on Twitter. St. John, who went on to manage Motherwell and English club Coventry, scored nine goals in 21 appearances for Scotland's national team. “A fantastic guy,” said Steven Gerrard, a former Liverpool midfielder who currently manages Scottish club Rangers. “Really insightful in terms of his career and experience at Liverpool and trying to pass on a lot of knowledge and expertise.” ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
India is ready to offer incentives to ensure Tesla Inc's cost of production would be less than in China if the carmaker commits to making its electric vehicles in the south Asian country, transport minister Nitin Gadkari told Reuters. Gadkari's pitch comes weeks after billionaire Elon Musk's Tesla registered a company in India in a step towards entering the country, possibly as soon as mid-2021.
Critics of the gambling industry say they're concerned about a recent move toward online gambling, especially in light of the Halifax casino's uncertain future. Elizabeth Stephen, a counselling therapist who works with people with gambling addictions, said news that the Nova Scotia government has cleared the way for online casino-style gambling is "pretty significant." "What's behind that?" said Stephen. "Is it because the physical casino is in such decline and perhaps is even going to close down? Is it to replace that revenue? The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation, the Crown corporation that oversees the gaming business, released documents to CBC News showing the Halifax casino has struggled with declining and unsustainable revenues for approximately 15 years — even before the arrival of COVID-19. The documents raise the possibility of moving the casino away from its waterfront location, but the corporation said those decisions are on hold during the pandemic. Stephen is an addictions counsellor in Halifax with a private practice. "My sense is that the government is looking for alternative revenue streams, hence the talk about the online casino," said Bruce Dienes, chair of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia (GRINS), a non-profit that aims to reduce gambling harms. "The problem with that, of course, is if you want to go to a brick-and-mortar casino, you have to actually go to a brick-and-mortar casino. You have to really intentionally do that, you have to be there for a certain piece of time. "Online, if you've got a phone or if you've got any internet connection, 24/7 you're at risk of being impacted negatively by that casino." 'Two very different offerings' Bob MacKinnon, the gaming corporation's CEO, said there are similarities in the gambling that takes place in a physical casino and online. "I think it is possible that some of the casino business that we would have had at the Halifax casino has gone online. There's no way for us to know an exact number," he said. "But I'll also add that generally over the longer term, we would think of them as two very different offerings: that some people like to go online, and many people like to go for a broader entertainment experience where there's music, there's food, there's shows going on, in addition to the gaming offerings." Stephen said the people she treats in her practice often start gambling in a physical casino, but later move to other venues, such as bars with video lottery terminals. The majority of gambling addicts Stephen counsels became addicted to machines like VLTs. "I think [casinos] are the foundation in some places for the start of gambling, and the kind of glamour of gambling and the excitement of gambling," she said. Stephen said most people who come to her with gambling addictions have become addicted to VLTs, although a few have been addicted to table games such as poker or blackjack. "They get to the point where they're spending way too much time there and more money than they can afford to lose. And so often their first step is to exclude themselves from the casino. Often, though, they don't do that until they maybe have reached bankruptcy," she said. Falling revenues The Halifax casino hit peak revenue of about $75 million in 2006-07, which fell to about $54 million in 2014-15 — a drop of about 30 per cent that MacKinnon said was not sustainable. Visitation during the pandemic is down 90 per cent, and MacKinnon said it's believed the Halifax casino will make about $9 million this year. The Sydney casino failed to meet its revenue and visitation targets for the 2 years leading up to the pandemic, which closed its doors altogether for about eight months. The casino in Sydney, N.S., failed to meet its revenue and visitation targets for the two years leading up to the pandemic. In 2018-19, the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation hoped the Cape Breton casino would have revenue of $22.1 million from at least 410,000 visitors. Instead, it brought in $19.5 million from 372,000 visitors. In 2019-20, its targets were $19.2 million in revenue and 410,000 visitors, but it ended up with $18.8 million from 344,806 visitors. Dienes said it shows a need for the province to move on from the gambling business, which was legalized in Nova Scotia in 1995. Dienes is the chair of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia (GRINS), a non-profit organization with the goal of reducing harms related to gambling. "Here is a business model that's failing, that isn't meeting the needs of the customers. And rather than acknowledging that and moving on to a different kind of business — a different way to entertain, a different way to raise funds — they're trying to increase the risk and increase the access for something that people clearly don't want," he said. Dienes said gambling is "psychologically manipulative" and he disagrees with the government's stance that online gambling can be done safely. "This is something that's been created by government policy," he said. High-stakes bets Will Shead, an associate professor of psychology who primarily researches gambling, said he's doubtful that limitations can be placed on online gambling that would keep people safe. "We don't really know what effect this is going to have on people. You can make arguments and say this is how it's going to work, but it could potentially be disastrous for people to have access to such high betting limits online," said Shead, who teaches at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. Shead is also a board member of Gambling Risk Informed Nova Scotia, whose members are particularly concerned about high-stakes wagers online that could lead a gambler to lose thousands of dollars per hour. Shead is an associate professor of psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. His research specialty is gambling. The Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation has said the online casino would include age and residency verification, privacy controls, self-exclusion options, deposit limits, time displays, analytics on player activity and information about responsible gambling. But Shead said he's concerned about young people finding ways to get around age checks, and about research that shows people are more likely to use drugs and alcohol while gambling online. In a physical casino, people are not supposed to be allowed to gamble while impaired, he said. According to its code of conduct, Casino Nova Scotia will refuse entry to someone who is impaired by alcohol or drugs. "I'm not sure if that happens all the time," said Shead, "but it's certainly not going to happen in the confines of your own home." MORE TOP STORIES