DJ David Guetta talks about his his new single "Let's Love," which he co-wrote, produced and performed with Sia during lockdown. (Nov. 6)
DJ David Guetta talks about his his new single "Let's Love," which he co-wrote, produced and performed with Sia during lockdown. (Nov. 6)
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.
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.
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has a message for parents this winter: make sure your kids dress warmly as schools will be opening their windows several times a day to fight COVID-19."We recognize it is very much a balance between introducing more ventilation at various times during the day and maintaining a comfortable indoor air temperature in classroom," the TDSB wrote in a notice to parents last Thursday."Please keep this in mind as your child gets ready for school each day by considering an extra layer of clothing to ensure comfort throughout the day."The TDSB says it's following the advice of public health officials who say the novel coronavirus circulates more readily in poorly ventilated buildings. The board estimates that approximately half of its schools do not have any form of mechanical ventilation, which means classrooms generally have to rely on open windows for air circulation."We may open it for three to five minutes every couple of hours," TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird told CBC News Monday."We are turning up the heat in our schools, but it's still likely going to be a little bit cooler than normal in some of the classrooms, depending on when those windows are opened up."Opening windows 'a blunt tool,' doctor saysThe measure comes as COVID-19 cases hit a record high Monday in Toronto.The TDSB itself, which educates close to a quarter of a million kids in 583 schools, says 365 of its students and 68 of its staff members have tested positive so far this year as of Nov. 30. A total of 417 of those cases are listed on the board's website as resolved. But Dr. Alon Vaisman, an infectious disease physician at the University Health Network in Toronto, says there are too many variables at play to determine how effective opening classroom windows will be in reducing the spread of the virus."The thing about the opening of windows is it's kind of it's hard to judge that recommendation," he said. "It's kind of a blunt tool."To gauge the effectiveness of opening classroom windows, Vaisman says one would need to take several measurements in each classroom, the ventilation in each room, and the number of people inside."Nobody would have the time or the resources to do the investigations for every single room across the city, for every school, across the city," he said.But the policy is comforting to some parents sending their children to school for in-person learning."The [COVID-19 case] numbers are going up and it's stressful to think about it every day, making the right decision" on sending kids to school, said Laura Strachan, who is the mother of a Grade 5 student. Other parents are calling for a permanent solution to ventilation issues in TDSB schools."If this is an interim emergency measure, then so be it," said Jessica Lyons, a mother of three who is also an organizer with the Ontario Parent Action Network — a group that lobbies for equitable public education across the province."It doesn't eliminate the problem," Lyons added. "Extend the school break, if needed, to make the changes and improvements to ventilation and safety measures that need to happen. We're in an emergency here. It's a terrible situation."Jennifer Brown, the president of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto, says she isn't impressed with the proposed winter measures for classrooms."It's disappointing that we are risking children possibly getting pneumonia, sickness to prevent another sickness." Brown says the provincial government should make sure all schools have proper ventilation systems."I really think that it is unfortunate that this is where we have to go as a public education system to tell parents, you know, 'Dress extra warm because we're going to have to keep the windows open because there's not enough fresh air coming in here.'"
Recent developments: * The Moodie Drive testing centre closed on Tuesday because of a power outage. * Quebec's holiday guidelines may change again.What's the latest?The Moodie Drive COVID-19 testing and care centre closed Tuesday because of a power outage. The Queensway Carleton Hospital said anyone with appointments at the Moodie Drive location will be accepted at any of Ottawa's other testing sites as a walk-in patient. Ottawa Hydro said power in the Moodie and Fallowfield area should be restored by about 4 p.m.Ottawa has 34 of Ontario's 1,707 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases. One more person has died of COVID-19 there and in western Quebec.Quebec Premier François Legault said there may need to be changes to that province's holiday guidelines because of the high rate of spread of the coronavirus and number of hospitalizations.Any changes would be made by Dec. 11, he said, or two weeks before Christmas.More antibody tests are now available, but health experts and the private labs that conduct the tests are reminding patients not to alter their behaviour if they receive a positive test.How many cases are there?As of Tuesday, 8,521 people had tested positive for COVID-19 in Ottawa. There are 351 known active cases, 7,794 cases now considered resolved and 376 people who have died of COVID-19.Public health officials have reported more than 13,900 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 12,500 resolved cases.Ninety people have died of COVID-19 elsewhere in eastern Ontario, along with 81 in western Quebec. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch.What can I do?Both Ontario and Quebec are telling people to limit close contact only to those they live with, or one other home if people live alone, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.Ontario says this will apply through December's holidays, with people who live away from home such as post-secondary students asked to reduce close contacts for 10 to 14 days before going back.Quebec has shared what it will take to have at most two small holiday gatherings this month. Rules won't be loosened until mid-January at the earliest.Travel from one region to another is discouraged throughout the Outaouais.Ontario says people shouldn't travel to a lower-level region from a higher one and some lower-level health units want residents to stay put to curb the spread.Ottawa is currently in the orange zone of Ontario's five-colour pandemic scale, which allows organized gatherings and restaurants, gyms and theatres to bring people inside.Public skating returns to 11 Ottawa arenas today with reservations ahead of time and limits of 25 skaters on the ice.Three other eastern Ontario health units are under yellow zone restrictions: * The Eastern Ontario Health Unit. * Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) Public Health. * Hastings Prince Edward Public Health.That means restaurant hours, table limits and rules around capacity fall somewhere between those in place in Ottawa and the rest of eastern Ontario, which is currently green, the lowest level.In Gatineau and the surrounding area, which is one of Quebec's red zones, health officials are asking residents not to leave home unless it's essential.There is no indoor dining at restaurants and gyms, cinemas and performing arts venues are all closed.The rest of western Quebec is orange, which allows private gatherings of up to six people and organized ones up to 25 — more in seated venues.What about schools?There have been about 200 schools in the wider Ottawa-Gatineau region with a confirmed case of COVID-19:Few have had outbreaks, which are declared by a health unit in Ontario when there's a reasonable chance someone who has tested positive caught COVID-19 during a school activity.Distancing and isolatingThe novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something. These droplets can hang in the air.People can be contagious without symptoms.This means people should take precautions such as staying home when sick, keeping hands and frequently touched surfaces clean, socializing outdoors as much as possible and maintaining distance from anyone they don't live with — even with a mask on.WATCH | A recap of the new federal financial plan:Ontario has abandoned its concept of social circles.Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec and should be worn outdoors when people can't distance from others. Three-layer non-medical masks with a filter are recommended.Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their local public health unit. The duration depends on the circumstances in both Ontario and Quebec.WATCH | COVID-19 and financial planning:Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible. Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.What are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic and resources are available to help.Where to get testedIn eastern Ontario:Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment.Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you've been told to by your health unit or the province.People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select pharmacies.Ottawa has nine permanent test sites, with mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.Kingston's test site is at the Beechgrove Complex. The area's other site is in Napanee.People can arrange a test in Bancroft and Picton by calling the centre or Belleville and Trenton online.The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has sites in Alexandria, Cornwall, Hawkesbury, Limoges, Rockland and Winchester.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark health unit has permanent sites in Almonte, Brockville, Kemptville and Smiths Falls and a mobile test site visiting smaller communities.Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor or 1-844-727-6404 for a test or with questions, COVID-19-related or not. Test clinic locations are posted weekly.In western Quebec:Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms.Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.First Nations, Inuit and Métis:Akwesasne had its most known COVID-19 cases of the pandemic in November. Its council is asking residents to avoid unnecessary travel and its curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. is back.Akwesasne schools and its Tsi Snaihne Child Care Centre are temporarily closed to in-person learning. It has a COVID-19 test site available by appointment only.Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte reported its first confirmed case last month.People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603.Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.For more information
Kurt Russell says he kept both his father's influence and his grandchildren's bragging rights in mind when he reprised his role as Santa Claus in upcoming holiday movie "The Christmas Chronicles 2." (Dec. 1)
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
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
Most food banks in Ontario experienced a “rapid surge in demand” during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report published by Feed Ontario. One of the Sudbury Food Bank’s agencies reported a 150 per cent increase in the number of people accessing emergency food support each day, while Manitoulin Family Resources served 1,500 clients during their busiest month – a significant increase from their regular 300 to 330 clients. “COVID-19 has compounded the already extreme challenges that are being faced by low-income Ontarians, and it has really impacted all communities,” said Carolyn Stewart, executive director of Feed Ontario. “Particularly in terms of food bank use, we are concerned about what’s to come in the winter months.” The 2020 Hunger Report released on Monday looked at data from 130 direct member food banks and 1,100 affiliate services that was gathered between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020. It also included a special feature about the impact of COVID-19 on emergency food assistance services from the onset of the pandemic on March 17 to September 2020. About 1 in 8 Ontarians – or 13 per cent of Ontario households – were considered food insecure in 2018, and 537,575 individuals accessed food bank services in the province between 2019 and 2020. More than 3.2 million visits were made to food banks in Ontario during the same period, and 33 per cent of food bank visits were from children. In the last two years, the province has seen a 7.8 per cent increase in the number of people accessing support, and an 11.8 per cent increase in the number of visits being made. “Unfortunately, food bank use continues to rise and last year was no exception. We believe this continual increase in food bank use is driven by three things: an inadequate social safety net, precarious employment, and unaffordable housing,” said Stewart. “For example, over 85 per cent of those that we serve are either rental or social housing tenants who spend over 70 per cent of their monthly income on rent. The good place to be, they say, is around 30 per cent. That’s significantly more, and it leaves little room for anything else.” More than 65 per cent of individuals who visited food banks in the last year were on social assistance, many of them receiving far less than the “national standard” of $2,000 set by the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). There has also been a 44 per cent increase in the number of employed people accessing food bank services over the last four years. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these pre-existing issues. From March to June, food banks saw an overall 26.5 increase in the number of first-time users. Out of 200 food bank users surveyed in September, roughly 50 per cent are worried about defaulting on a mortgage or facing eviction in the next two to six months. An additional 90 per cent are incurring a significant amount of debt just to cover their expenses. Manitoulin Family Resources, an agency that provides programming related to violence against women prevention, children’s services, and emergency food assistance to Manitoulin Island, shared its story with Feed Ontario for the purpose of the report. “While the initial days of the pandemic were very quiet for food bank requests, it caused concern that we were not even receiving requests from some of our regular visitors,” said the organization. “(Eventually), referrals began to increase, sometimes high, sometimes low, but then came a day where a worker called with 700 names of those in need. It was a turning point.” The organization decided to send prepared pallets of food for pickup instead of their regular individual baskets. The pallets were then delivered and distributed to households in the area. “For three consecutive months, our food bank provided food to over 1,000 individuals, with the highest month being over 1,500. As restrictions have eased in the province, we have seen a drop from those high numbers,” said Manitoulin Family Resources in the report. “Some have speculated that individuals have had financial stability due in large part to CERB, but as CERB evolves and COVID numbers have again started to rise at a faster rate than the earlier wave, we are attempting to prepare for what will come.” The report confirmed that according to the data, government income supports like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and the moratorium on evictions and the student loan interest freeze did help relieve some of the pressure on food bank use. Community initiatives like pop-up food banks and meal programs also worked alongside government intervention to address the emergency need for food. “Food banks would like to work ourselves out of business. No food bank thinks that we are the solution to food insecurity or poverty. Rather, we are serving an emergency need in the community,” said Stewart. “The only way to address that need is good public policy. In our report, we do recommend a few key things to help move that needle forward.” These things include reinstating the CERB benefit for those who have been impacted by COVID-19 as well as rent relief for low-income tenants that are facing large rent arrears or eviction, and the overhauling of Ontario’s social assistance programs so that recipients have the means to move out of poverty. “Ontarians need access to quality employment, support services that do not perpetuate or deepen poverty, and access to safe, adequate, and affordable housing,” concluded the report. “By investing in these key solutions, the Government of Ontario will not only reduce poverty and food insecurity, but also build a more equitable and healthier province for the people and families that call it home.” The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
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.
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
Darrin Smith says Moncton checked all of the boxes as he sought to expand his Ontario-based tool making company. "Why be in the most expensive place in Canada when you can be in a place that's much more affordable for yourself and your staff?" Smith, president of JessEm Tool Company, said in an interview. The company that makes woodworking tools and accessories in Orillia is relocating to a new factory in one of Moncton's four industrial parks. It plans to almost double its workforce to 60 once its new, larger factory is open in the spring.The company bought a parcel of land on Desbrisay Avenue in Moncton Industrial Park West, run by the Moncton Industrial Development Ltd., or MID.It's one of the companies behind rapid growth in Moncton's industrial parks.Pierre Dupuis, general manager of Moncton Industrial Development, said last year was record-setting for the company. This year, Dupuis said, it is set to almost double that with almost 100 sold, worth about $5 million. "It's quite phenomenal when you look at the economy as a whole that we were able to pull that off in a year that's had some challenges," Dupuis said. The non-profit company, started in 1959 as a partnership between the municipality and chamber of commerce, developed and runs four industrial or business parks around the city.With land in some of the three older industrial parks 80 to 90 per cent sold, and a fourth that opened this year about 30 per cent sold, MID expects to begin work on a fifth park over the next few years. "We've got to find new areas to develop industrial parks, mostly for warehousing, logistics distribution type of uses," Dupuis said. In 2018, MID purchased wooded land between Shediac Road and Route 15. The 132-acre parcel is northwest of the Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport. Recent logging on the parcel has driven speculation of development in the area, though Dupuis said it was partly because they needed to remove old oil tanks from the property. He said market demand, which has been "surreal" lately, will drive when the area develops. He expects it could be within one to five years. After that, MID plans to expand south from Moncton Industrial Park West off Berry Mills Road over the CN rail line into a large, wooded area north of the CN rail yard the city expropriated about a decade ago. That area would need costly infrastructure, including a bridge to cross a rail line, to access. Dupuis said calls to MID from businesses about industrial park space slowed early in the pandemic, but activity quickly picked up. He said warehouses that at one point held one week's worth of stockpile for businesses now see the need to hold up to three weeks to protect against supply disruptions. Smith said he had been eyeing relocating JessEm Tool Company's factory to Moncton for several years. He said he wasn't finding suitable land to expand near the company's existing location about 100 kilometres north of Toronto, and what was available was expensive.The company's business had been growing, but COVID-19 made it double overnight, he said. The pandemic has led to shortages of lumber and other construction supplies as more people have undertaken home renovations. "We just can't keep up," Smith said. That triggered the decision to move up the relocation to Moncton. "I think our construction costs were probably 30 per cent less [in Moncton] compared to here, which is pretty significant since there's only so much money to go around and you can't spend it all on a building," he said. Smith said the relocation will see several family members also make the move to help run the family business. Originally from Newfoundland, he had wanted to move back East. He said about a dozen of his current 35 employees are also willing to move."I think real estate was a big draw to the Moncton area," Smith said. "Real estate is really affordable, which is great for my staff. "Instead of renting a basement here somewhere in Ontario, they might actually be able to buy a house and get a good start in life."
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.
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."
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."
The number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Nova Scotia and that means more and more possible exposures are being released by the province each day.These notifications are important tools used by the province because they are only released to the public if all possible contacts can't be traced."As much as possible, we follow up directly with individuals," Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief medical officer of health, said at a news briefing last week."If we can't, that's when we use a public notification."As of Monday, there have been more than 150 exposure sites in Nova Scotia, most in the Halifax region. A full list of exposures can be found here.However, an exposure notification will not be used if all possible contacts can be identified."We can alert specific people who may have been exposed because we have the means to contact them directly; for example, this could include attendees of an event or staff at a business," Brendan Elliott, a spokesperson with Nova Scotia Public Health, said in an emailed statement Monday. "They may be provided information about a potential exposure and then given direction on what to do next."Contact tracing ahead of notificationThat is why contact tracing is so important, Elliott said.When a new case is identified, Public Health will contact the individual to determine with whom they've been in contact, starting 48 hours before symptoms appeared, or 48 hours before their test if they have no symptoms.Public health will also ask where that person has been, like grocery stores or restaurants.This list of people and businesses will then be notified and sorted into three categories: low risk, moderate risk and high risk. High risk is considered a close contact — an individual who had been within two metres of the infected person for 15 minutes or longer."The people conducting contact tracing are working to connect the dots," Elliott said."When a person visits an establishment (or takes a flight, etc.) where there were a number of people, it can be difficult to connect every dot (find everyone who was present at that point in time). That might be a situation where a public advisory is issued."This has been the case in many Halifax restaurants and bars this past month, which led Premier Stephen McNeil to impose more restrictions in the region.Any identified close contacts will be advised to get tested and will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.But if all contacts can be identified, an exposure notification does not need to be released.Exposure notices coming from businessesThis has led to confusion in recent weeks as some businesses have released their own possible exposure notices."If a business is sending out their own notification and it's not accompanied by a public exposure advisory from us, then it means the business or organization has decided to do it on their own," Elliott said.One example is the Sackville Arena. A notice was sent out by the Sackville Minor Hockey Association about a possible exposure on Nov. 21, but Public Health didn't release a notification."I know it can be difficult when people hear about potential exposures, but don't see an official notification from Public Health," he said. "This environment is already stressful enough for Nova Scotians, but rest assured if Public Health feels a public notification is warranted, one will be issued."MORE TOP STORIES
Halifax regional council has endorsed an updated business plan for the new convention centre, which includes a deficit of $11.1 million.The municipality and the province have an agreement to split any losses evenly.The municipality can take money from its convention centre reserve fund, which includes just over $2 million in property taxes from the facility for 2020-21. Officials with Events East, which operates the Halifax Convention Centre along with the Scotiabank Centre and Ticket Atlantic, presented council with its revised business case Tuesday.The presentation of the plan had been delayed since the end of March due to the pandemic.Focus on safetyThe plan is "focused on the safe resumption of event activity and supporting the community and economy through recovery from the pandemic and its impacts," according to a Halifax staff report.The report put forward five focus areas: * Returning to safe operations. * Business retention. * Industry and community alignment. * Safe return to work. * Responsible management.Events East president Carrie Cussons said the revised business plan for the convention centre takes the impact of the pandemic into consideration."While the events may be smaller, there will be events that will be hosted both on the national and international level," she said. "They will be looking for destinations that are perceived to be safe, and I believe Halifax has a unique position."300 staff laid offAll events planned between March and September of this year were cancelled or postponed. The Ticket Atlantic box office remains closed.The business plan assumes "the current gathering limits and border restrictions will remain in place until the end of the fiscal year."Cussons said of the 400 staff members employed at the convention centre and the Scotiabank Centre, 300 have been laid off. Those who remain are looking after the buildings and rebooking events for future dates. MORE TOP STORIES
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.
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
Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are in a tight race to launch their COVID-19 vaccines in Europe after both applied for emergency EU approval on Tuesday, though there was uncertainty over whether a rollout could begin this year. The applications to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) came a day after Moderna sought emergency use for its shot in the United States and more than a week after Pfizer and BioNTech did the same. U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its German development partner BioNTech said their vaccine could be launched in the European Union as early as this month.
With COVID-19 case numbers climbing in Atlantic Canada, it wouldn't seem the best time for a restaurant to expand its business — but two Island eateries are doing just that.Terry Nabuurs ran Terry's Berries Food Truck outside of Lone Oak Brewing in Borden-Carleton this past summer. Now, he has moved inside with a new restaurant called The Abby, named in honour of the passenger ferry MV Abegweit.The restaurant opened officially Friday and will run year-round. Although the pandemic is on Nabuurs's mind, he feels this is the right time to expand."I think it's important to stay steady on the rudder and you know, try and keep going ahead. We're just going to be very cognizant of how the pandemic plays out here," Nabuurs said."We've been pretty lucky with some strong leadership, who have had to make some difficult decisions."One of the things Nabuurs learned is how to keep contact limited and lineups smaller. The food truck stationed outside the brewery used a buzzer system. Customers were given a buzzer and when their food was ready, it went off, notifying them to pick up their order.Nabuurs said he is implementing the same protocol at The Abby."If things change, we'll just adapt with those changes and continue on," he said.Nabuurs said he believes local support will be enough to keep the restaurant going — something made more important by the heightened travel restrictions between the Atlantic provinces."When we came up here we were really hoping to get some local support and we have kind of been overwhelmed with how people have supported us," he said."I think people are more aware now of supporting local businesses then we have ever seen."Nabuurs said he is grateful for local support and it is what is keeping businesses alive during COVID-19.Contactless is keyNabuurs isn't alone in expanding his food offerings during the pandemic. Nimrods' is aiming to open a permanent location at the former Kentucky Fried Chicken location in Stratford in the middle of December.The restaurant, normally found on the floating dock at Peakes Quay during the summer, opened a temporary second location there during Burger Love this fall."I think it is a bit of a scary time to be living in, especially in the restaurant industry," said Bruce Rooney, general manager of Nimrods'.He said a key factor was that the Stratford building already had a drive-thru to provide a contactless option, so that people don't have to get out of their vehicles to pick up food. The drive-thru will give Nimrods' an advantage in this, its first year of winter operation, "having that convenient option where people can just pull on through and get on their way."Nimrods' will also have a dine-in option, for use as long as public health restrictions allow during this stage of the pandemic. More from CBC P.E.I.