As he voted in Delaware, Joe Biden denounced the violence and store break-ins that occurred in Philadelphia after protests in response to the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.. (Oct. 28)
As he voted in Delaware, Joe Biden denounced the violence and store break-ins that occurred in Philadelphia after protests in response to the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.. (Oct. 28)
OTTAWA — A new poll suggests most Canadians aren't currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first.Thirty-seven per cent of respondents to a survey conducted by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies say they are very concerned that Canada may not receive doses of a new COVID vaccine as early as the United States."That's not necessarily low, but I think most pundits would have expected this number to be much higher," said Léger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.Meanwhile, 48 per cent say they are not concerned about getting a vaccine first and 10 per cent say they don't care at all or are not planning to get vaccinated anyway.Getting a vaccine before other countries doesn't seem to be "a major (issue for the Liberal government), which is contrary to what we might have thought … when the prime minister actually said that we would not be the first ones to get doses," Bourque said.The amount of concern regarding getting a COVID-19 vaccine first varies along party lines, with 45 per cent of self-identified Conservative supporters saying they are very concerned that Canada may not receive doses of a new COVID vaccine at the same time as other countries. Only 38 per cent of Liberal supporters say they are concerned. "The Conservative voters have the highest rate of people who say they're very concerned about not getting (a vaccine) first," said Bourque. "It's probably just because they tend to have a negative view or perspective on the Trudeau government, period."Furthermore, with the likelihood of multiple vaccines arriving over a period of time, just 28 per cent of respondents said they will take the first vaccine they can get, while 45 per cent said they will wait for other vaccines to become available.Forty-one per cent of respondents say they want the vaccine to be mandatory for all Canadians and 55 per cent say it should be given on a voluntary basis.But the poll suggests that the vast majority of Canadians want people entering Canada to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with 83 per cent of respondents saying vaccines should be required. Also, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said employers should be able to demand that workers be vaccinated.The poll suggests that 65 per cent of Canadians intend to take a COVID-19 vaccine when it's approved by Health Canada and available for free while 17 per cent say they don't intend to. "That proportion used to be a bit higher, closer to 70 per cent in the spring. Since then it's gone down," said Bourque. "Over the past three months, when we've actually asked the question again, it is fairly stable in the mid-60s.""It really seems that two thirds of us are kind of committed to this idea of getting the vaccine when it's available."The poll of 1,516 adult Canadians in an online panel was conducted from Nov. 26 to Nov. 29 and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press
A patch of land in the heart of downtown was slated to become much-needed green space, but when Montreal tried to expropriate the land, the owner of three of the parcels fought the plan in court hard enough that the city gave up.The six-year legal battle cost taxpayers nearly $3 million as, after the city withdrew its expropriation attempt, it was required to cover the developer's legal fees and expenses.Now an 11-storey residential complex with commercial space on the ground floor is going up near the corner of Ste-Catherine and MacKay streets, leaving people in the area wondering when they are finally going to get the park space they've been promised for years.The 85-unit apartment complex is currently under construction next to St. Jax Anglican Church, where Graham Singh is the pastor."There's no green space between Atwater and University along Ste-Catherine," he said."It's been a major priority for our municipal government. It's been a major request for every single community group I'm part of — more green space downtown."He said community groups and activists in the neighbourhood learned Montreal withdrew its expropriation bid back in March, but no new, alternative park plans have been presented since then."It's kind of disappointing that we lost the opportunity for a green space," said Maryse Chapdelaine of the Peter-McGill Community Council, a neighbourhood advocacy organization."There's a sharp lack of green spaces in our neighbourhood."She said everybody was excited when the borough announced the plan to open a park at that corner so many years ago.Elected officials refuse to commentEvery time Chapdelaine's community group and others went to ask the borough council about the matter in the years that followed, she said, they were told that no information could be divulged due to legal reasons.And now, even though the case has been settled since March, the borough's district councillor, Cathy Wong, is refusing to comment.When CBC Montreal contacted her by email, a centre city spokesperson replied, saying no elected officials will speak on the matter.The story began under former Mayor Denis Coderre, but the party that followed in his footsteps, Ensemble Montréal, is also refusing to be interviewed on the matter or provide any details on the court case.The owner of the three of the four lots the city tried to expropriate is Immeubles Prime Inc. The developer has had several court cases against the city over the years, CBC Montreal has learned. The company did not respond to several requests for comment.Park plans kick off with land reservationHowever, city spokesperson Anik de Repentigny did provide a basic timeline of events in an emailed statement.The Ville-Marie borough council decreed in October 2014 that the four lots were reserved for park development at the northeast intersection of Mackay and Ste-Catherine and that reservation was renewed again two years later, she said.By 2016, negotiations weren't going well and the city decided to expropriate the land. Public documents show roughly $10.7 million was set aside to cover the cost.But the court challenges led to long delays, suspending the expropriation and thwarting the city's project, de Repentigny said.Concerned about the cost of a extended court battle, the city reached a settlement.That came out to $2.5 million in capital, plus $481,654 in legal and expert fees that went to Prime. The city council then approved this expenditure in March, paying the developer.The developer has since had a permit approved for its mixed-use development as it did not require a zoning derogation and the city has set its sights on building a public square in the area.That project will encourage citizen participation in the planning process, she said, without providing details."Despite everything, creating new green spaces in the city centre remains at the heart of the priorities of the Ville-Marie borough and the city," de Repentigny said.
The central metaphor of Chrystia Freeland's speech to the House of Commons on Monday was seasonal."We know the winter ahead will be hard," the finance minister said. "But we also know that spring will follow winter."As a reference to the pandemic, this can be taken quite literally. The second wave of COVID-19 is still building, Canadians are suffering and significant hardship is still on the way as the weather turns cold. Eventually, things will get better. Brighter days are ahead.In terms of fiscal policy, Freeland's fall economic statement was an attempt both to account for the long winter of our pandemic discontent and to hold out some hope. With that eye to the spring, Monday's fiscal update sets up a pivotal budget next year — one that, whether it passes or fails, could be among the most consequential in this country's recent history.To counter the pandemic, Freeland now predicts that the federal government will have to spend $267.3 billion in the current fiscal year to support individuals, businesses and provinces. Another $45.9 billion in aid could be required in the next fiscal year. Before any stimulus to restart the economy is spent, Freeland said, the debt-to-GDP ratio would peak at 52.6 per cent.A deficit debate deferredEven with the vast sums involved, there have been relatively few concrete complaints to date about the scope of the government's pandemic spending. The debate going forward is more likely to be about how the government's accumulated debt should influence its future actions — though even Conservative leader Erin O'Toole has said he would take another ten years to balance the budget.Looking forward, Freeland said the federal government will be prepared to spend between $70 billion and $100 billion over the next three fiscal years to pull the country out of the pandemic-induced recession. But the vast majority of that stimulus — as well as any new permanent spending — will be detailed at a later date.WATCH: Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on pandemic spendingMonday's fall economic statement lays out some broad priorities, all of which were at least hinted at in September's throne speech: creating new opportunities for women, expanding access to early learning and child care, fighting systemic racism, making it easier to find affordable housing, increasing immigration, continuing the pursuit of reconciliation and building a cleaner, greener economy. And this fiscal update does offer a number of "down payments" on new plans to deal with those concerns.In all, the fall economic statement projects about $15 billion in new spending over the next five years under the heading of "building back better," alongside a smattering of tax changes expected eventually to provide about $2 billion in new annual revenue.'Guardrails' over 'anchors'To the consternation of fans of "fiscal anchors" — a concept that has exploded in popularity over the last nine months — Freeland's update stops short of explaining how federal spending will theoretically be tied down in the long-term.Instead, there are comparisons to debt and stimulus spending by other G7 countries and a promise of "fiscal guardrails" to judge how much stimulus spending is needed and for how long. There is also a preemptive argument against moving too quickly to return the budget to balance."The experience of many countries following the 2008-09 global financial crisis … suggests that economies that withdrew fiscal support too quickly experienced slower growth afterwards," the update reads at page 99 — a sentence that could be read as a reference to the post-recession policies of the previous Conservative government.COVID-19's second wave in Canada, and the prospect of a difficult winter ahead, necessarily complicate any plans to launch that stimulus or begin building for the long-term.Details coming in the springBut there are big things that remain to be explained, such as how much new funding the Liberals might be willing to provide to the provinces for health care — an issue that could involve specific commitments for pharmacare and long-term care. On child care, Freeland vowed that next year's budget will "lay out the plan to provide affordable, accessible, inclusive and high-quality child care from coast to coast to coast."Liberals can argue that they have identified the things that the federal government should be focused on now — that such an agenda reflects both the lessons of the pandemic and the needs of the future. But it has yet to explain how those pieces might fit together on the federal balance sheet.In his response to the fiscal update, Conservative leader Erin O'Toole mostly sidestepped the specifics. He repeated his party's claim that Canada can expect to get access to a COVID-19 vaccine later than many other nations — a prediction that soon will be either borne out or dismissed. Of the larger debate, he mostly spoke of values.WATCH: Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole on government borrowingHe enthused about "hard work" and "perseverance" and mentioned that his first job in high school had been as a dishwasher and short-order cook. He accused the prime minister of being "paternalistic" toward the provinces. He borrowed Stephen Harper's preferred framing to argue that there is now a fundamental conflict of visions between the "somewheres" and the "anywheres."Those might be powerful emotional arguments for some audiences, particularly when deployed against a famous and cosmopolitan prime minister whose support is based in major cities. But while it's not at all clear how the Trudeau government will make "building back better" work in practice, it's even less clear what O'Toole's alternative agenda would look like — what he would offer the "somewheres" and whether he'll have counter-proposals to what the Liberals eventually offer.By spring, we could have clearer pictures of both the state of the pandemic and the Liberal government's post-pandemic agenda. A new Liberal climate plan, for instance, could come before the end of this year.As a result, a lot will be riding on next spring's budget — from a stimulus agenda defined by Liberal priorities to another promise of a national child care system. This being a minority government, the fate of this promised plan for a post-pandemic spring will depend on whether it can win the necessary votes in Parliament — or, failing that, a general election.
Nova Scotia's plan to keep COVID-19 infections from spreading throughout nursing homes has been activated.The province has designated six hospitals or nursing homes as so-called regional care units, places where individuals at other long-term care homes who test positive for COVID-19 can be treated and receive specialized care.But one of the units — Ocean View Continuing Care Centre in Eastern Passage — isn't ready to accept residents. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases in the province are in the Halifax region.In a memo to nursing home administrators Monday, Bethany McCormack, senior director of COVID planning and implementation at the Nova Scotia Health authority, wrote the department will support caring in place for residents who have contracted COVID-19.McCormack's memo does not provide a reason for the delay.Health authority cites staffing for delayIn an emailed response from the Nova Scotia Health authority, spokesperson Carla Adams said the problem is staffing."Ocean View is working hard to recruit and onboard staff for the RCU and hope to have it up and running soon," she said.Laura Karahka, the nursing home's communications manager, offered a similar message."We have a recruitment plan, with the support of the Department of Health & Wellness and Nova Scotia Health, which is well underway," she wrote.But in a message posted on Ocean View's website on Nov. 17, president and CEO Dion Mouland made a direct pitch for extra staff during a video announcing the deal reached between the province and Ocean View to open the unit."Our goal is to … get the unit up and running really quickly and have people available when we need them," he said."More on the recruitment efforts will be coming out over the course of the coming days. You'll see lots of postings, job postings and opportunities to join our team."Although he said Ocean View would be opening a 25-bed unit to serve eight other long-term care homes, Health Department documents obtained by CBC News say Ocean View would be accepting residents from 15 other homes. Those homes include: * Dykeland Lodge. * Haliburton. * Harbourview Lodge. * Ivy Meadows. * Melville Gardens. * Melville Lodge. * Musquodoboit Valley Home. * Oakwood Terrace. * Sagewood Continuing Care. * Saint Vincent's. * The Admiral. * The Birches. * The Magnolia. * White Hills. * Windsor Elms Village.What else the memo saysThe health authority memo also details procedures for the admission, transfer and discharge of residents who test positive for COVID-19.Most residents transferred to the units are expected to be there for about 10 days, but up to 20 days for "severe to critical cases."According to the document, care includes "swabbing, increased frequency monitoring vitals, O2 therapy as indicated and fluid/medication administration."It also talks about an "enhanced model" of care that includes "augmented hours for RN/LPN/CCAs, and social work and housekeeping support." Additional costs will be paid for by the Department of Health and Wellness.Facilities sending residents to a regional care unit are being told they "must hold the bed of the resident ... to ensure timely discharge back home can occur."Nursing homes assigned to a unit are also being told they must transfer all patients who test positive for COVID-19 with one exception — "residents who are expected to die within 48 hours." Those people can continue to be cared for in their home facilities.Caring for residents with COVID-19 in-houseAlthough it doesn't specify it, some of the province's biggest long-term care facilities have also been given permission to care for their residents who have COVID-19 in-house.For example, Shannex has set up units at four of its facilities to look after residents of its Nova Scotia nursing homes who have COVID-19.Northwood, which was hardest hit during the first wave of the pandemic, is also designated to look after its own residents who test positive.Nine facilities, housing a total of 1,263 residents, have been authorized to opt out of the regional care unit model. Care-in-place locations include: * Grand View Manor, Berwick (142 beds). * Shoreham Village, Chester (89 beds). * Glen Haven Manor, New Glasgow (202 beds). * Pere Fiset, Chéticamp (70 beds). * Highland Manor, Neils Harbour (19 beds). * Inverary Manor, Inverness (71 beds). * St. Anne Community and Nursing Care Centre, Arichat (29 beds). * Northwood, Bedford (156 beds). * Northwood, Halifax (485 beds).MORE TOP STORIES
MONTREAL — Canadians planning to buy a live Christmas tree this season should start shopping now and expect to pay more, the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association says.Farmers anticipate 2020 will be a record sales year. Association head Larry Downey says it's simple supply and demand: a shortage of trees coupled with a greater appetite from people hoping to liven up their living spaces amid widespread stay-at-home orders. “Personally, we don’t see COVID affecting us,” says Downey, whose family farm in Hatley, Que. sells up to 30,000 Christmas trees each year.Most wholesale farmers Downey has spoken this year with have already reached sales records, he added, with much of the demand coming from vendors in the United States. Retailers typically place their orders for trees as early as June, Downey says.The Christmas tree market is still feeling the effects of the Great Recession, which put many U.S. growers out of business and led others to reduce planting. Since saplings take eight to 10 years to reach the size of a typical Christmas tree, the effects of the lower supply have only recently emerged. In turn, the shortage has pushed prices upward. Downey says Christmas trees are retailing for about $5 more this year, continuing a trend that has been ongoing for several years. The average price of a tree rose 123 per cent to US$78 in 2018 from US$35 in 2013, according to the U.S. National Christmas Tree Association.Prices are on the rise in Canada as well. Stephane Bernier, who runs Plantation Bernier in Lac-Brome, Que., and Bronwyn Harper, who co-owns the Hillcrest Tree Farm near Ottawa, both say they have raised prices for Christmas trees this year.On top of the shortage, tree sellers say they are expecting strong demand from consumers looking for an outdoor, physically distanced activity and who want to add some holiday cheer to their homes, where people are spending more time amid a second wave of Covid-19 cases. The pandemic has already led to some greater-than-expected spending in the home improvement market, a trend that could bode well for Christmas tree sales. Some tree varieties such as Fraser firs, prized for their pleasant fragrance and excellent needle retention, are even more sought after. Harper says she is selling Fraser firs for around $85 — or $20 more than last year — after her supplier raised prices. (Fraser firs can’t grow on her property because of the terrain, Harper says.)The anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some retailers to purchase more trees wholesale.Phil Quinn, the co-owner of Quinn Farm near Montreal, says he had to buy additional trees from wholesalers to sell at his farm since he didn’t grow enough on his own property to meet the demand he expects this year. And Harper says she's received many calls from people looking for wholesale trees, although she only sells to retail customers.“Everyone wants a tree and they want it now,” says Quinn, who expects to be sold out of trees by the second week of December. But while demand for trees is expected to be strong, the pandemic has created its own set of challenges for tree vendors. Most sellers will not be able to offering the same set of attractions this year, with physical distancing requirements forcing farms to scrap additional draws such as wagon rides and fire pits.Harper says her biggest challenge this year will be developing clear distancing guidelines for people picking up trees. The farm’s owners won’t allow people to bring their dogs, for example, nor will they offer horse-drawn sleigh or wagon rides. Rather than serving hot apple cider, Hillcrest Tree Farm will be giving people treats to take away when they leave.“What might have been a one-hour visit will be a shorter visit this year,” Harper says.Similarly, Serge Lapointe, the owner of Plantation JLS in Sainte-Angele-de-Monnoir, Que., says his farm won’t have anywhere for Christmas tree buyers to congregate this year, unlike in previous years when it offered visitors rides and the chance to take a photo with Santa Claus.One aspect of the Christmas tree market to watch this year will be how lockdown orders affect how people buy trees, including whether they go in person to pick them up or order them online, says Paul Quinn (no relation to Phil Quinn), an analyst at RBC Dominion Securities who studies Christmas tree sales from year to year. Retail tree vendors could face some competition from large online players: On their websites, Home Depot and Walmart both list natural Fraser Fir trees for sale, available for delivery before Christmas. A search on Amazon’s website revealed no results for natural Christmas trees, although the company offers a variety of artificial trees for sale.But Phil Quinn says people are looking to take advantage of the chance to pick out their own tree in person, noting his farm is seeing greater interest in its choose-and-cut option, even with Quebec at its highest COVID-19 alert level.“People are just asking for some kind of normalcy,” Quinn says.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.Jon Victor, The Canadian Press
Here's the latest for Tuesday December 1st: Arizona & Wisconsin certify Biden win; Science adviser Scott Atlas leaving White House; Cuomo says coronavirus surge coming to New York state; Congress in Washington with coronavirus relief far from reach.
It's been a bit of a roller-coaster weekend for Toronto father Yaser Nadaf, after Ontario's new asymptomatic testing for schools in COVID-19 hot spots turned up 19 new positive cases at his children's school.While his daughter and her Grade 3 class were cleared to return to school on Monday, his son's Grade 2 class must self-isolate for 14 days, even though the youngster himself was among those who tested negative.The weekend's testing blitz at Thorncliffe Park Public School — the first Toronto District School Board (TDSB) location selected for the voluntary testing pilot announced last week — saw 14 classes affected and sent home for two weeks. However, the rest of the school will remain open, according to direction from Toronto Public Health.Nadaf is rolling with it, saying he believes teachers and staff have been trying their best to maintain health and safety precautions and protocols."What can we do? This is going on everywhere in the world," he said. "They try their best, but at the same time they cannot prevent it completely."Testing asymptomatic students and staff is currently being offered at designated schools in Toronto, Peel and York regions and Ottawa — four Ontario regions with a high number of active COVID-19 cases.The goal is to improve tracking of the coronavirus and prevent transmission within schools, as well as to inform future public health decisions. While parents and health experts seem to be applauding the pilot, some are also highlighting shortcomings in how it's being rolled out.Over the weekend, testing also began in Ottawa at Manordale Public School, part of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. Amber Mammoletti, an occasional teacher working at two schools this fall, dropped by on Sunday to be tested with her son, Fynn."I think there's people walking around not realizing they have it — no symptoms — so it's just better to keep everyone safe: Get tested if you can and see what happens," she said.WATCH | How testing helped Cornell University become a model of COVID-19 prevention:School boards are working with local public health authorities to determine which schools to target over the next four weeks, but the expectation is that new positives will undoubtedly emerge, TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said."The 19 cases we've learned about over the weekend [at Thorncliffe Park PS] as a result of the testing is a concern, but it's not unexpected," he said Monday."While this information is concerning, it really is the information that our public health officials need to know, because it gives them a better snapshot of how many of those asymptomatic people are positive cases of COVID."Despite the batch of positive cases arising from this first weekend, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce reiterated his assertion that "99.9 per cent of Ontario students are COVID-free" during a press briefing on Monday afternoon.Acknowledging that "we still have work to do" in tracking COVID-19 cases in communities, he characterized the new testing initiative as an extension of the existing safety measures his ministry had announced."The fact that hundreds of children, students and staff have gotten tested [at Thorncliffe Park PS] in conjunction with the local public health unit I think underscores that the plan in place is ... working hard to mitigate any further spread: identifying COVID cases, isolating them or moving them from the school, so we don't have spreaders within the school." 'Canaries in the coal mine'A targeted campaign of testing in schools — which in most neighbourhoods are considered trusted, known places — is a welcome tool that adds to the barometer of what's happening in the communities they're located in, said Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious diseases physician and assistant professor at McMaster University in Hamilton."Parents who may not be encouraged to go get tested in their local communities will readily take their kids to the school, which is a place they know," he said."Things like this are going to be canaries in the coal mine. You kind of get a better sense of what's happening in the community by doing these local testing strategies."He added the caveat, however, that the type of test being used will likely cause more chaos for families and schools.For the pilot, Ontario is using PCR testing, which detects the genetic material of a virus. Although considered the gold standard, it's also so sensitive it would "pick up kids who are infectious, as well as kids who were infectious two, four, six weeks ago," Chagla said.He suggested that they could have chosen rapid antigen tests, which flag active infections by identifying proteins on the surface of infectious virus particles.The rapid antigen tests may offer a more precise picture "of who is really a threat to the community versus who had COVID six weeks ago, where they're not really a threat," Chagla said.WATCH | Nova Scotia offers rapid COVID-19 tests in Halifax for asymptomatic cases:Though Toronto parent Jessica Lyons welcomes the introduction of asymptomatic testing, she said it comes months late and should be offered more widely."This is desperately needed," said the mother of two school-aged children and an organizer with the Ontario Parent Action Network."Much more testing in schools — to make it accessible, to make it easy for parents and families and students to do — is really essential. So we support this pilot, obviously, but we think that it should have come ... weeks and weeks ago, and it needs to be expanded."Back in Thorncliffe Park, among the Toronto communities hardest hit by COVID-19 this year, parents in the neighbourhood expressed concern about the new positive cases found through the testing initiative. But they're also adamant about one thing: their schools staying open.Remote learning last spring was "really hard for kids. We've seen the mental stress on our child and other kids," said Osamah Aldhaby, father of a second grader who he said really missed being at school."When we were kids, you know, we used to run away from school," Aldhad noted."Now they're actually really wanting to go to school, which is really important for them."
The pandemic might be pummelling the economy across Canada, but a new report says that it's actually helping to bolster part of Saskatchewan's real estate market.The average price of cabins and lake houses in the province have increased after COVID-19 complicated vacation plans elsewhere, the 2020 Royal LePage Winter Recreation Property Report says.As a result, there's been an increase in demand for vacation properties sought by locals who are hoping to get away while staying close to home.The Canadian real estate company, which annually tracks and reports price variations of winter vacation homes across Canada, measured a 31.64 per cent price increase for single-family properties near Saskatchewan's Emma Lake and Christopher Lake.The prices jumped from an average price of $296,250 in 2019 to $390,000 in 2020 so far.Meanwhile, waterfront property at the two lakes also saw a 6.34 per cent bump — average prices were up from $489,000 in 2019 to $520,000 in 2020."Saskatchewan's recreational market is driven by its affordability," Lou Doderai, a broker with Royal LePage Icon Realty, was quoted as saying in the press release that accompanied the report."Highway developments have reduced the drive from Saskatoon to one-and-a-half hours, which makes working remotely more possible for those who still have to go into the office a few days a week."Albertans buying lakeside, Royal LePage saysSaskatchewan's western neighbours might also be contributing to increased demand, the report said.According to Royal LePage, Albertans who are now working from home are snagging lakefront property in Saskatchewan — and working from there instead."With the increasing ability to work remotely, Saskatchewan's lakeside communities are becoming more popular with Albertans who don't mind the drive," Doderai said.For the time being, the trend might continue.Royal LePage projects that the price of a recreational home in the prairies will increase by an additional four per cent next year.
Climate change is often relegated to simply being an environmental issue, instead of a problem that impacts every aspect of our lives, from economies to energy systems, to what food we eat — even national security. This week, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was tapped by President-elect Joe Biden to serve in his administration in a newly-minted position: climate envoy, which will be a part of the administration’s national security team. “America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is,” Kerry said in a Twitter statement Monday. There are countless moral reasons to care about the effects of climate change and the especially devastating consequences coming first for vulnerable populations and developing nations. But if that isn’t enough of a motivator to prioritize action on climate change, there is also the argument that climate change will destabilize the world as we know it and become a national security threat to the people of North America. This isn’t a doomsday scenario from the fringes; it is the information being put forward by the U.S. and Canadian Armed Forces — and has been for two decades. In 2018, Col. Denis Boucher, then the director of capability integration for the Canadian Armed Forces, spoke at a symposium hosted by the Centre for National Security Studies. In his presentation, Boucher outlined how climate change will completely alter the security landscape going forward; everything from a more accessible Arctic as sea ice continues to melt, to projections that 40 per cent of the world will be facing water shortages by 2045. “Some oil-producing nations may become economically impoverished and could become instability hotspots,” the presentation reads. The Canadian Armed Forces declined this week to provide anyone to be interviewed on this topic. Boucher’s presentation emphasized the term most used by security officials when discussing climate change: threat multiplier. The phrase is used to demonstrate that many of the factors used to determine security threats are themselves affected by climate change — food security, poverty, not to mention extreme weather events. The idea being that magnifying these factors can have destabilizing effects. The Syrian civil war, which began in 2011, was principally sparked by political and economic factors, but it is also one of the most cited recent instances where environmental factors exacerbated an already precarious situation. A drought that had begun in 2006 left the people of the country more vulnerable and more desperate as political tensions rose. In an article published by the NATO Association of Canada, the drought is identified as an often-overlooked factor in the conflict. “The drought exacerbated the already-present water crisis and food insecurity happening in the country, leaving Syria even more vulnerable. Due to the lack of proper governance and infrastructure, Syria’s government was not prepared — or perhaps not willing — to deal with the climate-related crisis and people were forced to flee,” the article states. The Syrian civil war was consequently one of the biggest factors leading to Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015 that sparked intense political standoffs across the continent and a reckoning for European leaders in how to deal with the influx of people. The World Bank has projected that within the South Asian, Latin American and sub-Saharan African regions alone, there will be 143 million people displaced by the impacts of climate change by 2050. “In terms of the ‘threat multiplier’ language, what’s implicit in that is that the thing being threatened is the United States or Canada. And what drops out of that kind of a frame — especially when the threat is something like migration — is you don’t have as much room then to humanize and empathize and understand the insecurities that those migrants are experiencing. What’s driving them to be moving in the first place,” said Will Greaves, assistant professor of international relations at the University of Victoria. Greaves researches the intersection of security studies and climate change and he isn’t terribly optimistic about a stable future as the world warms further. “So if this was just a smaller taste, and we responded by building walls and barricading people outside of our countries, and criminalizing them, and so on. I don’t see a lot of reason why we would expect a national security response to worsening climate change, and worse climate impacts, to not resemble, in general terms, what we’ve already seen,” Greaves said. North America, of course, has a different set of circumstance from Europe, with more isolation from the problems of other countries. However, Canada (and the U.S. to a lesser extent) do face another climate-sparked security concern: the threat of open waters in the Arctic. Northern parts of Canada have long been protected by an ice wall, so to speak. Sea ice is melting at unprecedented rates and completely ice-free summers could be a possibility as soon as 2035. Conventionally, if ever talked about, the possible threat on Canada’s northern border is that another country, often Russia, could encroach on sovereign waters and land. But a much more probable issue is one of being unable to address worst-case scenario situations that arise simply by nature of there being more shipping traffic in the Northwest Passage, Greaves said. “I would suggest that because of the very limited abilities that the Canadian state has to respond to a major marine disaster, or a nautical accident or something like that, that even good ships doing normal business things should be viewed as very problematic as we would not be able to effectively respond,” he said. This summer, the Royal Canadian Navy received the first of six expected ships that will be used explicitly to patrol the Canadian Arctic. The HMCS Harry DeWolf is the first step towards expanding surveillance and defence activities across the country’s northern coastline. At a conference in Ottawa in March, Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance focused more on the conventional security threats that exist as the Arctic opens. “What I am increasingly concerned about is the Arctic as an avenue of approach. The Canadian Armed Forces are mandated to deter and defeat threats to North America that would travel through the Arctic waters and airspace in the years to come,” Vance said. “This requires strengthening interagency and multinational partnerships, increasing surveillance and military capabilities, and improving our ability to base, project, and sustain forces in the North. It requires new approaches to sovereignty assurance that accounts for the very real pan-domain nature of conflict.” However, Canada’s troops are often tied up, having experienced a 1,000 per cent increase in the number of deployments to help in the case of natural disasters in just four years, according to CAF’s data. “Our force structure right now, I would say, is probably too small to be able to deal with all of the tasks,” Vance told CBC in 2019. Greaves said it is fine if Canada wants to use its military for purposes like disaster response, but that is a decision to be made, and it will mean that other priorities are left by the wayside as Canada’s military is not big enough to do all things. “I find that to be a really interesting tension,” Greaves said. “It raises these really fundamental questions about what is the purpose of the Canadian Armed Forces? What are the tasks that they’ll be assigned? And will they be able to do all of those tasks?” One thing is for certain, climate change will help shape national security discussions around the world for decades to come.Sarah Lawrynuik, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
South Korea's parliament on Tuesday passed a bill to allow globally recognised K-pop artists such as BTS to postpone their mandatory military service to age 30. All able-bodied South Korean men aged between 18 and 28 must serve in the military for about two years as part of the country's efforts to guard against North Korea.
The federal government is extending financial protection to workers whose employer goes bankrupt in a foreign country as a direct result of problems experienced two years ago by call centre workers in Sydney, N.S.In 2018, about 600 employees of ServiCom were thrown out of work three weeks before Christmas after the call centre's American owner, JNET Communications, filed for bankruptcy in a U.S. court.That meant the workers had no way to recover the pay they were owed and would otherwise receive under the federal Wage Earner Protection Program.The employees faced a bleak holiday season, owed about $1 million in pay and bonuses with little hope of recovery.By the new year, another U.S. call centre company — MCI Canada — bought ServiCom's assets and restarted the Sydney operation.Employees said they hunkered down and made it through Christmas with the help of friends and family.Three months later, the Nova Scotia Department of Labour tried something it had never done before.The province filed a court action on behalf of the employees. It sought a declaration of bankruptcy in Canada to allow the workers to access the wage protection program.That was granted and, in June 2019, the workers started getting back pay.According to a regulatory impact analysis published in the Canada Gazette, Ottawa is changing the regulations as a direct result of the ServiCom decision to protect Canadian workers by including them under the program, even if their employer is based in another country.The wage protection program allows workers to access up to $2,000 in back pay and gives employees "super-priority" status, which means wages and vacation pay rank ahead of secured creditors in a bankruptcy case.Going to court to help workers access the program was "complicated and time consuming," the analysis said, and changing the regulations is expected to result in only a small number of additional claims and little extra cost.The new regulations are expected to take effect this spring.MORE TOP STORIES
Monday's fiscal update gave us a pretty good look at how much red ink has been spilled on the federal government's finances — and just how long it might take to clean it up.A series of pronouncements from Canada's biggest lenders this week should give us a similar glimpse of how things are doing in the real economy.The so-called Big Six banks are slated to reveal their fourth-quarter earnings starting Tuesday morning. Bank of Montreal kicked things off with a 33 per cent profit hike, and Scotiabank came next with a slight dip to $1.9 billion.Those two will be followed by the Royal Bank of Canada and National Bank of Canada on Wednesday. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and the Toronto-Dominion Bank close things out on Thursday.All of those sets of numbers will be closely scrutinized by investors and policy-makers for signs of how the consumers and businesses that borrow and save with the banks are doing. If banks report that businesses are taking out new loans to invest and grow while paying back their existing debts, that's a good sign for the economy.And if Canadian consumers are tapping banks to borrow money for such things as buying homes and other investments, that, too, is a good sign of confidence that the economy may be recovering from COVID-19.Mortgage deferralsOne of the biggest dark clouds hanging over banks is the billions of dollars worth of mortgages that borrowers asked to defer interest payments on earlier in the pandemic.It's been estimated that roughly three-quarters of a million borrowers applied to defer their mortgage at some point this year, which is roughly one in six people with a home loan — buying every one of them a few months' relief from interest payments even as it added to the cost and length of the loan in the long run.Most of those deferred loans were for between three and six months, which means they either recently expired or are about to — prompting fears that a wave of mortgage delinquencies could be coming. But based on what the banks have suggested recently, that worst-case scenario doesn't seem to be coming to pass.Scotiabank recently revealed that among the borrowers on its books with a mortgage deferral that has already expired, 99 per cent of them are up to date on their payments. The bank had about $39 billion worth of deferred loans on its books as of the end of August, so that payback rate is an encouraging sign, as most of that debt is slated to come due again in the period Scotiabank will be reporting on this week."Our customers continue to make their payments on time after their deferrals have expired," CEO Brian Porter said in a statement. "We expect the vast majority of the remaining balances to expire this quarter."Most of the other big banks said similar things at a recent banking conference.When asked about the status of deferrals, BMO's chief financial officer, Thomas Flynn, said: "The vast, vast, vast majority of customers [are] returning to a status where they are making payments to us ... and the existing deferrals will run off largely over the balance of the year."I would say we're not expecting a radically different outcome," he said of the loan deferrals that have yet to expire.Rod Bolger, Flynn's counterpart at RBC, said similar things at the same event, noting that most of the people who asked the bank for a loan deferral had lots of equity in their homes, had very high credit scores and were dual-income households — all things that would suggest they are safe bets to pay it off.And so far, it seems as though they are: "We're not looking at seeing a big spike in foreclosures," Bolger said. "We expect that these mortgages, as they come off the deferral program, to remain the homes of our clients" in most cases.This week will be our first chance to see if those early trends are playing out in the numbers.Savings are up, tooSo, that's the likely good news. And there could be some more of it on the books of the big banks, depending on your definition of "good."It may seem counterintuitive in a pandemic, but the amount that Canadian households are saving has skyrocketed during COVID-19. Statistics Canada reported over the summer that the savings rate shot up to 28 per cent in the second quarter, the highest level in decades.While many people lost their jobs and income during the pandemic, the unprecedented level of government support programs, such as the Canada emergency response benefit, helped millions of them keep their heads above water.The spike in savings suggests that many people took that government cash and stashed it away for a rainy day, which is not as good as you might think for the big banks.Cash in the bank may feel good for the person saving it, but the banks don't make any money from that — it actually costs them a minuscule amount in terms of interest payments every month.Economists Benjamin Tal and Katherine Judge with CIBC recently estimated that Canadian consumers and businesses are currently sitting on a record high of $170 billion in cash.While the savings rate was 28 per cent in the spring, CIBC estimates it likely fell to about 13 per cent since then, which is still high by historical standards. "We suspect that the vast majority of excess cash is parked in the chequing accounts of mid- and high-income households," they said in a recent report.Rainy-day money feels great to those who have it, but cash in the bank does little for everyone else — including the banks. Unless that cash gets put to work by being spent at businesses, it's going to be hard for the economy to fully recover — and based on where it is, it's unlikely to move any time soon."With the happy days of summer over, it is reasonable to assume that mid- and high-income households will, in fact, reduce consumption of nonessentials again," Tal and Judge said in their report.So it will be important to look at how much cash the banks say they have in accounts right now and remember that every dollar they have there is one less in the actual economy.
The City of Windsor has ordered a local man to take his driveway tent down — a temporary structure he uses to help get his daughter, who has a disability, in and out the house in the winter.Steven Levesque says he put up the tent because it's a safer and easier way of transporting his 14-year-old daughter, who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, without worrying about the ice and snow."We put the enclosure to keep the van out of the elements," he said. "It's a handicap vehicle that we can load the ramp out halfway and get my daughter into the van when we transport her."This is the first year Levesque and his fiance have used a driveway tent. Levesque says it's because as his daughter has grown older and bigger, it's also become more of a struggle to get her from the school bus to the house and vice-versa. He also finds staying with his daughter in the tent for a bit before bringing her in the house makes the process easier.He intends to keep the tent up only temporarily in the winter, and take it down when spring comes.He put up the tent on Thursday last week, but on Friday, he received notice that the structure is in violation of a city zoning bylaw. A bylaw officer will issue a citation if he doesn't have the tent down by Friday."I don't know what to do," Levesque said. "Come December 5 we'll see what happens, whether I take it down or face the consequences."Levesque spoke to the bylaw officer who gave him the notice, but beyond receiving a little sympathy, didn't get very far.He's contacted every member of city council to see if he can get an exception. He's also posted in the Windsor Car Spotters Facebook group, asking for advice.Levesque says he doesn't know who complained about the tent."Most people recognize our situation and are okay with it," he said. "But there's always that bad apple that they have to mind everyone's business but their own.""It might be an eyesore, but it's a needed eyesore for us."'It's certainly not a good situation'John Revell, the city's chief building official, says there isn't much he or the bylaw office can do to make an exception for Levesque's needs.He says they received a complaint through 311, and that there is an open and active investigation."In situations like that, those temporary covers people like to use to prevent snow from getting on their vehicles, those aren't allowed in front yards — they're prohibited in the front of a house," he said.He says that no orders have been issued yet. If Levesque does get an order, he'll have 30 days to comply, and if he still doesn't comply, he'll get a warning letter.After that, Revell says, the city would file with the courts and it would become a court matter."The inspector's following up with the homeowner, and we'll let the inspector deal with that," he said. "It's certainly not a good situation, and I certainly feel for the homeowner, but there is a prohibition under the zoning bylaw, so that's why there's an open investigation here."Levesque's only option, according to Revell, is to go through the planning department to see if he can get approval for rezoning or temporary use zoning — but that matter would have to go before council and get approved.In any case, Levesque is planning on keeping the tent up."I think that's what we're intending to do at this point," he said. "I think my daughter's health and safety is more important than any repercussions we'll suffer."
As the case count continues to rise in New Brunswick, Dr. Jennifer Russell says one thing has proven to be unfailingly true: masks and physical distancing work, and ignoring that truth is risky.In an interview Monday on Shift, the province's chief medical officer of health said recent cases of transmission related to sports have prompted people to question whether allowing practices and games is a good idea.Her answer, she said, is that sports aren't the problem. Letting your guard — and your mask — down is.If people are following the guidelines, participating in sports and practices should be relatively safe, Russell said. It's when people engage in "the social side of things," removing their masks and being within two metres of one another, that the risk rises."You have to remember that of every single one of these cases, we're above 500 now, every single case of COVID in every close contact was somebody who was within six feet of somebody without wearing a mask for more than 15 minutes," Russell said."That advice from the very beginning of the pandemic has held true and will continue to hold true until everybody is vaccinated."> We like to really thoroughly investigate before we label anything as community transmission. \- Dr. Jennifer RussellRussell was also asked about the origins of the 120 active cases in the province, and said that most of them have been figured out, "with the exception of probably a couple in the Moncton region."She acknowledged she does worry about community transmission, given that there are cases of community transmission in Halifax, but cautioned against labelling anything "too early.""Obviously, anybody who's come or gone from the Halifax area in the last 14 days should be monitoring for symptoms," she said. "If you have come back after the new directions were provided around the border, you do need to self-isolate for 14 days … with the exception of people who are essential workers."During the outbreak in the Campbellton region earlier in the pandemic, she said, there were cases that for a long time did not appear to be linked, "but by the end of the investigation, after four weeks," all of the links were established."So we like to really thoroughly investigate before we label anything as community transmission," Russell said.Testing backlogs easing, but still some concernsRussell said the backlogs that have caused testing delays are easing, but there are still some concerns.There have been some cases of priority testing not being completed within the advised 24-hour window, and Russell said she has heard of some people who have been waiting up to seven days.She urged anyone in this situation "please don't be shy to call again or fill out another assessment form, because we do want people to get tested."In the meantime, she said, "we are working away every day" to erase the backlog, bringing in extra staff, more testing sites and working extra extra hours."Time is of the essence, because the sooner we test and do the contact tracing and make sure people are self-isolating, the sooner that we know that people are not at risk of transmitting COVID to other people in their close contacts."Mental health toll, exhaustion wearing on everyoneRussell also made a point of issuing "a big thank you to all the people who have been working so hard and sacrificing" throughout the pandemic, from health-care workers to business owners to students.The mental health toll, and the sheer exhaustion of having to adapt to new measures and guidelines, has been felt by everyone, she said."It is impacting everybody in this province, whether it's your social life, whether it's your business, whether it's your mental health, even the school system — students who are going to school in a different type of environment wearing masks — there are a lot of things that people have had to adjust to and that can be really tiring," she said.In the months ahead, as we move toward the rollout of vaccines, Russell said it will be important for people to reserve their energy and to recharge, "to keep on keeping on and and really work together" to get to the finish line."We have done very well up until now. And that success has has been contributed to by so many people, so many citizens."
Chez Doris, normally a day centre for homeless and vulnerable women, is expanding its services to offer beds and overnight warming stations to women starting Dec. 1.In all, 18 beds and 16 rest chairs will be available until March 31, 2021. Places must be reserved in advance, either by phone or in person, at 3 p.m.In order to keep their place, women will have to be on site by 8 p.m. or their spot will be given to someone on a waiting list. Women wishing to use the warming station must arrive before 10 p.m.Marina Boulos-Winton, executive director of Chez Doris, explained that the centre is not set up as a shelter and isn't equipped to accept walk-ins all night long.She said the increased demand for services is connected to the pandemic red zone restrictions."The extent of homelessness has been really hidden because you have a lot of couch surfers who can't couch surf anymore, because people are isolating and they don't want somebody who has been all over the city, or in contact with other people, bringing possibly the virus to their home," she said.Boulos-Winton said that in the early days of the pandemic, when many services for the homeless closed abruptly, homeless women had nowhere to turn."What women were doing to stay safe [was] riding the subways all day long," she told CBC's Let's Go.In July, Chez Doris started staying open later and offering three meals a day to women in the downtown area.She said with the winter approaching, many women have fewer options to get warm since many public places are closed."In the summer maybe you could get away with sitting at McDonalds all day long, or another 24-hour coffee shop," she said. "In the colder months, there's really nowhere to hide, especially during a red zone."In addition to the demand caused by the pandemic, staff at Chez Doris noted a clear increase in drug overdoses and violence toward homeless women, especially Indigenous women.Boulos-Winton said they also heard from partners at Indigenous organization Makivik that there was "a rash of Indigenous women dying who sleep outside." She said if they can secure the funding, the overnight measures may be extended beyond March 31. Following a private donation of $1 million, Chez Doris was able to buy a residential building not far from its existing location on Chomedey Street.However, it's taken two years to raise the money to turn it into a shelter. Now, Boulos-Winton said construction will begin on the second site by January.To reserve a bed at Chez Doris, women can call 514-937-2341 ext 252 or come in person at 3 p.m. Women must be on site by 8 p.m. or they will lose their spot and it will be given to someone on a waiting list.
Bright Lights Windsor is back on — but like many events during the pandemic, it's going to look different this year.The "reimagined" event is now going to take place citywide. Signature displays, which Windsorites would normally view at Jackson Park, are now placed in different pockets of the city.The announcement comes about a month after the City of Windsor decided to pull the plug on this year's festival because of COVID-19.The city also announced on Monday that it gave $20,000 to each of the nine business improvement associations (BIAs) which "will be used to purchase holiday lights and displays to further light up our neighbourhoods and support local small business," — a boost that some local business owners, including Filip Rocca, the owner of Mezzo Ristorante & Lounge and president of the Erie Street BIA, say they need."It was a great move by the city to offer the buyers a little bit of funding to spruce up their areas. We've been wanting to do that on every street for a couple of years now. So this gave us the opportunity to pull the trigger this year and help with obviously paying for it. So we're really happy about it," Rocca said."Not only cosmetically it does look nicer, especially at night, but obviously, you know, a little safer for the area as well."He said he looks forward to seeing the trees along Erie Street lit up in the coming days and hopes it drives up more customers to local businesses.Mohammed Al Khaleel, the owner of Brothers Barber Shop on Ottawa Street, hopes this to be case for his business as well."It makes me feel good when people walk around the business and when people around the street," he said.Kathy Molenaar, the owner of Victoria's Flowers and Gifts on Erie Street, said her business won't be benefiting from the light displays as the bulk of her business operates the in morning and early afternoons, but she hopes the light displays across the city "brings a lot of cheer and a lot of businesses to prosper in good ways."Locations of light displays include: * Charles Clark Square * Chimczuk Museum * City Hall * Jackson Park * Mackenzie Hall * Ouellette Overpass * Transit Centre * WFCU Centre * Willistead Manor * Windsor International Aquatic and Training CentreTake a look at some of the holiday lights draped across the city:
Russia is trying to import foreign-made drugs to fight the COVID-19 pandemic due to a shortage of products at home, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said on Tuesday, as authorities reported a record 569 new daily deaths from the coronavirus. Russia has several vaccines against the virus in the works and produces some drugs domestically, including Coronavir and Avifavir, both of which are based on favipiravir, which was developed in Japan and is widely used there as the basis for treatment. During a meeting with senior government officials on Tuesday, Murashko said there was a problem with the supply of favipiravir in some regions.
Dana Connolly is one of hundreds of Indigenous artists who are selling their beadwork, crafts, clothing and gifts this year online as part of virtual holiday markets."It's a way that we can actively support each other and care for each other in a time when we all know we're struggling and we can't actually be together," said Connolly.Connolly is from Peguis/Swan Lake First Nation in Manitoba and started selling Indigenous wellness products through her brand, Medicine Garden Society.As the associate director of Winnipeg non-profit organization Ka Ni Kanichihk, Connolly said she didn't intend to start a small business. She started making bath bombs, body butter, lip balm and candles infused with traditional Indigenous medicines a few years ago.After learning about the properties of traditional medicines, she started making gifts for her family and friends with whom she attended ceremonies. Last year, a friend asked her to sell some of her creations at the annual Indigenous holiday market in Winnipeg."I had six baskets left over and I made a post and then people bought them within minutes, so there was tons of interest," she said.She recently posted a list of her products on the Shop Indigenous Women's Holiday Market Facebook group, a virtual market with over 24,000 members.The Shop Indigenous Women's Holiday Market was started by Michele Young-Crook on Nov. 3. Young-Crook is Algonquin-Ojibway from Pickering, Ont., and is the president and CEO of the National Aboriginal Trust Officers Association.She started the group after realizing that Indigenous women wouldn't have their usual markets to sell their products during the holiday season."For a lot of these women, this is their only revenue — making products and going to trade shows. So I was trying to create a virtual vendor-type thing and just came up with the idea to create this marketplace so that women would be able to have their little stores," said Young-Crook. "A big part of this that inspired me to do it was also economic reconciliation. A lot of people need to start putting their money where their mouth is. Instead of saying, 'I wish I could do more,' well, making a purchase from one of these women makes a huge impact compared to just constantly feeding Walmart and Amazon money."Reaching wider market Gerri Sharpe, who is Inuk from Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, spends her spare time making custom earrings, mitts, and other crafts. This holiday season she has supported Indigenous artists by purchasing art pieces from Inuvik, N.W.T., from Facebook groups like Inuit Auction Bids.She said online groups help craftspeople and artists in the North who used to be limited to selling their items locally find wider markets and get a better price for their work."The [groups] have definitely helped elders because they're able to reach customers that they would not normally be able to reach," she said."With the kamiks, for instance, the average price that they'll get is about $1,200, where before Facebook they were only getting $400, maybe $500."Another person using the Shop Indigenous Women's Holiday Market to connect with holiday shoppers is Andrea Sparvier.Sparvier is from Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan and has posted a collection of sewn items including ribbon skirts, star blankets and car seat covers.She started her own social media page Summer Solstice Designs after getting requests to sew items for her friends and family."The majority of the money I make from that goes right back into materials," said Sparvier."I don't make a living off it like some people do, but it's definitely helped it out a little bit."
When Carleton University researcher Cheryl Harasymchuk first heard about social-distancing protocols early on in the pandemic, she immediately thought of all the single people living alone, and the toll the public health measures might take on them.At the heart of relationship science is the concept that humans are social animals, the psychology professor said, with an innate need to belong. "The social-distancing restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic potentially threatened this need," Harasymchuk told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning. "Particularly for single people living alone."During the spring and summer months, her small research team studied how these bachelors and bachelorettes coped with the constraints, in hopes of identifying the psychological factors that make people resilient to social isolation. OverindulgingNot all single people are dealing with the stress of isolation the same way, Harasymchuk said. Some use negative coping strategies such as excessive drinking, eating or video gaming, while others use more positive strategies. Approximately two-thirds of participants said they overindulged at some point over the six-week study period, and also indicated these behaviours negatively affected other parts of their lives. Moreover, once they started, those who overindulged had a hard time stopping. But they also reported feeling greater satisfaction the more they sought contact and support from friends online. The satisfaction was greater still when those virtual encounters involved engaging with friends in a playful or fun way, such as holding a dress-up night over Zoom or an online bake-off.Most singles 'quite resilient'"It wasn't just about the emotional support that was important in times of needs," Harasymchuk said. "It was also about meeting the other needs related to fun and positivity."The extroverts of the sample group were more likely to reach out to friends, while others were more likely to turn to those negative coping strategies.Although not everyone is doing OK during the pandemic, Harasymchuk said the average single person surveyed has proven quite resilient over the past year."The main message that I'd like to put [out there] is that people can manage for this period of time," she said.
Is shopping in stores safe during the pandemic?There are ways to reduce risk, but health experts advise avoiding it when possible.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says holiday shopping in crowded stores is a “higher risk” activity and that people should limit any in-person shopping, including at supermarkets.Instead, the agency recommends shopping online, visiting outdoor markets or using curbside pickup, where workers bring orders to your car.If you need to enter a store, go during off hours when there will likely be fewer people. Wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet away from others.Try to spend as little time inside the store as possible, says Dr. Isaac Weisfuse, a public health expert at Cornell University.“You just want to go in and out,” he says. “Get your shopping done and move on.”Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when you leave, and then wash your hands with soap and water when you get home.Retailers have been doing all kinds of things to make shoppers feel safe, but they don't eliminate the risk. Some check shoppers' temperatures at the entrance, for example, but an infected person may not have a fever and can still spread the virus.The plastic barriers between customers and cashiers also might not block all droplets from an infected person, Weisfuse says. If the air in a store feels stuffy, he says that’s a sign of poor ventilation, and you should leave.___The AP is answering your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit them at: FactCheck@AP.org.Read previous Viral Questions:What does emergency use of a COVID-19 vaccine mean?Is it safe to stay in hotels during the pandemic?Is it safe yet to fly during the pandemic?The Associated Press