Livestream coverage from Global News
Livestream coverage from Global News
An envoy hired to defuse tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous commercial lobster fishermen in Nova Scotia has released a bleak interim report highlighting poor communication and a lack of trust between both sides. The report by Université Sainte-Anne president Allister Surette found perhaps the only thing the fishermen can agree on is blaming the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the situation. "The lack of trust and respect has been presented to me by many of the individuals I interviewed," Surette said in his interim report filed with Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan and Carolyn Bennett, minister for Indigenous-Crown relations. "Firstly, I have heard from Indigenous and non-Indigenous parties of the lack of trust in government," Surette wrote. "Added to this level of the lack of trust and respect, some interviewed also expressed the lack of trust and respect within parties involved in the fishery and I also heard of the lack of trust and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, stakeholder groups and organizations." Appointed by Ottawa Surette was named special federal representative by the Trudeau government after an outbreak of violence and protests at the launch of an Indigenous moderate livelihood lobster fishery by the Sipekne'katik band in St. Marys Bay last fall. The band cited the Mi'kmaq's right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood, recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999 but never defined by Ottawa. The fishery was conducted outside of the regulated season for commercial lobster licence holders in Lobster Fishing Area 34, who objected saying the fishery was a blatant violation of fishery regulations. The reaction included alleged assaults, arson, blockades, volleys of wharfside profanity and online venom. It garnered international attention. The blowup capped years of tensions over an escalating Sipekne'katik food, social and ceremonial lobster fishery in St. Marys Bay that was, in some cases, used as a cloak for a commercial fishery. Lobster caught under food, social and ceremonial licences cannot be sold. In one case, a Crown prosecutor said the lobster caught under those licences from Sipekne'katik supplied an international "black market operation." Despite a number of federal initiatives to integrate the Mi'kmaq into the fishery since 1999 — including half a billion dollars for training and buying out and providing commercial licences — there has been a lack of progress defining moderate livelihood and implementing the fishery. Expectations of the First Nations were not met, leaving many of them to doubt the sincerity of DFO, Surette reported. Debate over enforcement Surette said the issue is complex and will not be easily solved. Non-Indigenous fishermen have argued there is not enough enforcement when it comes to Indigenous lobster fishing while the bands have complained of harassment. "However, the point to note on this matter, and more closely related to my mandate, seems to be the lack of clear direction from the government of Canada and the multiple facets and complexity of implementing the right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood," he said in the report. Surette's mandate is not to negotiate but rather to "restore confidence, improve relations" and make recommendations to the politicians. His interim report calls for more dialogue to build trust, suggesting areas of declared common interest like conservation and marketing. A lack of information from DFO was a recurrent complaint from the commercial fishermen, said Surette. "There should be some type of formal process for the non-Indigenous to be kept up to speed, especially the harvesters, since this could affect their livelihood. Some process, even though they're not involved in negotiation, that they could have input or at least understand what's going on," he told CBC Radio's Information Morning on Friday. Improving communication He made three suggestions for improving communication: a clearinghouse for accurate information, a formal process for talks between the commercial industry and the government of Canada, and forums to create a "safe space" to talk on important issues without extreme emotions. Surette interviewed 85 people — 81 per cent were non-Indigenous. "In some cases, they were heavily focused on the fishery. Others said that they preferred dealing with the ministers at this present time," he told CBC News. Surette said he will be reaching out to gather more perspectives. MORE TOP STORIES
Saskatchewan will start to stretch out the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses, as supplies run short. Second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine will be administered up to 42 days after the first dose. Official guidelines say the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is meant to be given as two doses, 21 days apart, while Moderna recommends spacing doses 28 days apart. The National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI), a body made up of scientists and vaccine experts, say provinces should follow the dosing schedule as closely as possible, but the panel is now offering some wiggle room. WATCH | Canada's COVID-19 vaccine advisory committee approves delaying 2nd dose NACI recommends spacing out the doses up to 42 days when necessary. The recommendation is also supported by the World Health Organization and Canada's chief medical health officer. "The flexibility provided by a reasonable extension of the dose interval to 42 days where operationally necessary, combined with increasing predictability of vaccine supply, support our public health objective to protect high-risk groups as quickly as possible," reads a statement released Thursday from Dr. Theresa Tam, as well as the provincial and territorial chief medical officers of health. The same day, Saskatchewan announced it would further space out its doses. "Saskatchewan will be implementing these recommendations of up to 42 days where operationally necessary in order to deliver more first doses to eligible people," the government of Saskatchewan said in a news release. WATCH | Dr. Howard Njoo addresses questions on taking first and second dose of vaccine 42 days apart: Saskatchewan's supply runs short As of Friday, 96 per cent of the province's vaccines have been administered, and new supplies coming in are not enough to replenish what has been used. Pfizer has said it will not ship a single vial of its highly effective vaccine to Canada next week as the pharmaceutical giant retools its production facility in Puurs, Belgium, to boost capacity. Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, says it's very reassuring to have the length between doses extended to 42 days. "When there's a sudden, further disruption that does present challenges," Shahab said during a news conference on Tuesday. "Most provinces are able to give the second dose of both Pfizer and Moderna within 42 days ... and that becomes very important with the disruption of shipment." Scott Livingstone, the CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, agreed. "It does mitigate some of the decreased doses coming in. We also know through contact with the federal government that once the Pfizer plant is back online, they'll be increasing our shipment," Livingstone said during Tuesday's news conference. Livingstone said the new shipments coming in will be allocated for an individual's first and second shot. WATCH | Canada facing delays in vaccine rollout More vaccines on the way Another shipment of vaccines will arrive in Saskatchewan on Feb. 1, says the government. The province is expecting 5,850 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine and 6,500 doses of Moderna's vaccine. The government says they will be distributed to the Far North West, Far North East, North East and Central West. A second shipment of 7,100 doses from Moderna will arrive on Feb. 22, and will be distributed to the Far North East, North East and Central East. "Our immunization team is trying to be as nimble as possible knowing that we could at any time through the pandemic receive more vaccines, but also then having to readjust our targets and still focusing on the most needy in this Phase 1, and we will continue to do that as vaccine supply keeps coming back up," Livingstone said.
Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod says the public health directive supporting in-class learning in northern Ontario schools is more political than scientific. The community’s high school opted to keep Nbissing students online until at least February 16 after the province extended its COVID-19 pandemic emergency order. The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is one of the few in Ontario to support in-class learning, a decision panned by many in light of it closing down toboggan hills, outdoor skating rinks and snowmobile trails. “We're just trying to deal with the Covid and we just shut our rinks down and we're just kind of monitoring what provinces and municipalities are doing and making sure that we're consistent or more stringent in areas like our school being closed,” McLeod said about Nbisiing Secondary School Thursday. “It's all online right now, despite the provinces still allowing it, at least in northern Ontario, the high schools are still open,” he said, noting that seems to be out of step with what some provincial experts are saying. “I was listening to Dr. Kevin Brown. He's the co-chair of the Covid Science Table for Ontario,” said Chief McLeod. “He was giving an update to the Chiefs of Ontario and he honestly can't understand why the schools in northern Ontario are still open. And you know, that, to me was troublesome, right? ‘You have one of the top epidemiologists saying that he doesn't understand. I was expecting ‘Here, this is the data, shows this or that,” because I like listening to the data, not just listening to people rant on Facebook. But, yeah, he was lost for an answer as to why it's still open. “And so obviously it's a more political call than a science one,” McLeod said. The school posted the update on its website, as did the community. “In response to Ontario’s second declaration of emergency and to align Nbisiing with Nipissing First Nation’s response to the provincewide stay-at-home order and shutdown restrictions, Nipissing First Nation (NFN) Council has approved changes to Nbisiing’s return to in-person learning date,” it reads. “In order to keep people home as much as possible to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 in our community, protect vulnerable populations, and keep our school community safe, Nbisiing will continue to teach all classes virtually and will return to in-person learning on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021 (Monday the 15th is Family Day).” Nipissing FN only closed its outdoor rink in Garden Village, which is enclosed with walls and roof, because they don’t want people from outside the community taking advantage of it while their rinks are ordered closed. “Our problem with the skating rinks, as soon as North Bay and Sturgeon closed, we have to close because they all come down hours and we don't want them there,” he said. Chief McLeod did what many others are doing in response by creating their own ice sheets, whether that’s in a yard or on the lake. They can control the numbers and make it safe by following the known protocols, he added. “Well, I made one in my backyard and I Facebooked all my family members saying, ‘You want to come skating with your family, book it … just message me so I know that there's no other family there and you can have it to yourself.’” Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
It was a normal shift for Value Village manager Jeffrey Stonehouse. He and a colleague were in the back room of a Vancouver store on Monday, sorting through donations. Then, while going through "a very old bag," he noticed there were some envelopes mixed in with the other household items. That's not too uncommon, says Stonehouse, who expected to find some personal papers stuffed inside. But when Stonehouse and his colleague opened up the envelopes, they found much more than personal papers. "This was certainly the largest sum of money I have ever come across," he said. Inside the envelopes was $85,000 in cash. Stonehouse says the cash appeared very old, as if someone had stashed it away and forgotten about it. "When you're dealing with this you know immediately that the person didn't intend to have it come your way," he said. "We take every step we can to make sure it gets reunited with the person it belongs to." Stonehouse then contacted police who, thanks to an old bank receipt in the bag, were able to identify the money's owner — an elderly woman who now lives in a retirement home. Her family had cleared out her storage locker and unknowingly donated the bag containing the envelopes full of cash. "It was nice to get that money back to her," Stonehouse said.
The bill proposes that the Minister “respect and promote certain rights for persons receiving care, support or services in congregate care settings and their designated caregivers.”
Two teachers at Rothesay Park School will be able to get their students outside and moving with the help of new grants. Julie Cyr, who teaches art, wellness and French, was awarded a $1,250 Innovation and Engagement Grant from the Anglophone South School District. With that, she bought outdoor classroom equipment, including clipboards, tarps and rope. "The planet is in great need of some change. And research is showing that students or kids who spend time outside in nature, form bonds with nature," Cyr said. She also received a First Nations Education Grant from ASD-S for $3,000 to purchase drums kits. Once the region returns to the yellow phase of COVID recovery, Cyr said she'll bring in an elder to teach the kids how to make the instruments and how to play them, as well as teach lessons about sharing circles and First Nations culture. Meanwhile, her colleague Jeanette Fisher, who teaches music and physical education, has received four grants for a project to overcome the obstacles of gym classes during the pandemic. With the school district encouraging teachers to stay away from team sports during the pandemic, Fisher found she couldn't use many of the regular equipment she would use for her gym classes. "I was thinking, 'What can I do? What kind of sports can I do that will engage the kids and keep them active during this time?'" she said. So Fisher decided to give the kids sticks and get them to try drumming with them. So far the kids love it. "It helps the body, the brain, and for the students, it helps strengthen the heart and the lungs, and increases muscular strength and endurance," Fisher said. "It builds brain connections, promotes social emotional learning, improves coordination. And with the student, it builds confidence and self-expression." Fisher received a $500 Education Improvement Grant for online training for cardio drumming, a $1,800 Innovation and Improvement Grant, and a $1,500 Teacher-Designed Professional Learning Grant. Those grants will go toward a training course, equipment and the continued development of integrating the drumming into courses. Fisher also received a $1,000 grant to purchase an iPad, which allows students to use GarageBand on the iPad to compose music. Fisher said drumming also gives an opportunity for kids who aren't getting regular exercise or participating in team sports like usual. Less exercise, she said, is affecting their social, emotional and mental well-being. Cyr said she's nice to be able to get outside during the pandemic, which has kept many people inside. She hopes to secure grant funding in the future to create an outdoor classroom as well. In the meantime, she plans to lay some groundwork for teachers through her new programming to get their kids outside, and she's open to letting other teachers use her equipment for their classes. "It's maybe a stress reliever to be outside. But [for teachers] it can also be just an extra thing to plan and prepare for," she said. "And I think it's what I'm hoping to do with this is to create an easier way for teachers to be able to go outside" The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
A Candle Lake research facility has been recognized by the United Nations for its role in protecting, promoting and restoring sustainability. The Hannin Creek Education and Applied Research Centre, an equal partnership between Saskatchewan Polytechnic (Sask. Poly) and the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, won a 2020 Global Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) award for its role in addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 15, Life on Land. The goal is to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems. The recognition comes from the United Nations University, which headquarters the Global RCE Service Centre. Hannin Creek was nominated by RCE Saskatchewan. Sask. Poly is a founding partner of RCE Saskatchewan since it was formally acknowledged by United Nations University in 2007. It’s the second consecutive year Hannin Creek won a Global RCE award. The centre is the only boreal forest field station in the province and one of just two in Canada. According to a press release, it is a “unique place to study and conduct research” in diverse programs. Currently, the centre is addressing issues such as climate change, overpopulation, deforestation, urbanization and economic austerity through its research and education programs. According to the award, conservation, education and research are critical to mitigate those challenges. The camp at Hannin Creek has been around for over 50 years. It has operated in collaboration with Sask. Poly and the SWF for the last eight. In the last few years, work has been done to upgrade some facilities and to establish a wet lab that allows for researchers to work year-round. The facility has 12 hectares of boreal forest, creek and forest, expanded from 1.2 hectares in 2013, and is surrounded by a game preserve. It’s a very broad and diverse facility in terms of people using it for hands-on learning relating to the overall focus of protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of land for Saskatchewan and beyond,” said Jamie Hilts, the Saskatchewan Polytechnic dean for the Schools of Mining, Energy and Manufacturing and Natural Resources and the Built Environment. “We do a lot of research in the areas of forestry, fishery, wildlife, programs related to natural resources, environmental law, environmental engineering, civil engineering and water (resources).” He added that other programs, such as human services, use its camp facilities for therapeutic recreation. The University of Saskatchewan uses the site for research done by the Global Institute for Water Security. The Ministry of Environment uses the site for wildfire management training, the federal environment ministry uses it for research and training and the Prince Albert Model Forest uses it for its Stewards of the Land land-based learning program. Within SWF, there are courses, youth camps and work and education training conducted at the site. According to the Regional Centre of Expertise network website, the centre allows visitors to connect with natural ecosystems, helping them return with a deeper understanding and value for natural systems and the sustainability issues that threaten them. Meanwhile, lab facilities offer data collection, sample analysis, research and hands-on learning. Several hundred students attend the centre annually. “It contributes to formal, non-formal and informal learning through the educational processes about sustainable development,” said SWF director of communications and marketing Chelsea Walters. “Our programs introduce youth to these concepts through our youth camps and conservation programs.” Hilts said Saskatchewan Polytechnic and SWF are working to continue growing the centre. The past three years have been focused on making the facility as user-friendly and adaptable as possible. Now they’re looking at establishing an Indigenous encampment and at opportunities to enhance applied research and learning in other areas. “We want to be able to work with memes of the First Nations communities around the facility to establish this learning experience and camp,” he said. “We feel we can do some significant work there in terms of education and training related to an understanding of the issues and concerns related to truth and reconciliation and also good stewardship from a First Nations and Indigenous perspective as well.” As for other research areas, Hilts said the hope is to look at alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass in a boreal forest setting. “That has applications into smaller northern or rural communities where you can establish what different energy systems can be created that will provide a good and dependable power source but at the same time be environmentally friendly. We’re going to be doing some work on that.” He also said that as it grows, the centre will continue to improve to meet the needs of the students, researchers and others who use the facility annually. The award, he said, is a big honour. “It means quite a bit,” he said. “It provides an example that we take the concept of sustainability seriously and want to improve upon that. It gives some evidence that we … walk the talk.” This is the second time the facility has won an award. “It’s a huge honour for us,” Walters said. “Everybody has been pretty excited around our office. We are really proud of our partnership with Sask. Poly.” Hilts agrees. The award, he said, provides an example of a strong, “symbiotic” relationship between the SWF and Sask. Poly. Beyond that, he said, it gives the facility recognition provincially, nationally and internationally, especially as it works to find solutions to sustainability and conservation. “We do have the facilities. We do have the people we do have the resources that lend themselves to an international l audience and we can do it right here in Saskatchewan. We don’t have to go elsewhere.” he said. “Those are the kinds of things which lend themselves to saying we have a made in Saskatchewan solution to made in Saskatchewan problems.” , Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
TORONTO — Canada's main stock index dipped to cap a losing week as COVID-19 virus and vaccine concerns weighed on the energy sector. The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 70.29 points to 17,845.91. In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 179.03 points at 30,996.98, the S&P 500 index was down 11.60 points at 3,841.47, while the Nasdaq composite was up 12.14 points at 13,543.06. The Canadian dollar traded for 78.64 cents US compared with 79.2 cents US on Thursday. The March crude contract was down 86 cents US at US$52.27 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was down 4.1 cents US at nearly US$2.46 per mmBTU. The February gold contract was down US$9.70 at $1,856.20 an ounce and the March copper contract was down about 2.1 cents at almost US$3.63 a pound. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) The Canadian Press
The Village of Morrin will pay for repair of a frozen water line, a decision made by the Official Administrator (OA) at the regular meeting of council Jan. 20. The meeting was held via teleconference to meet pandemic rules. Harold Johnsrude, OA, mentioned at the beginning of the meeting he was going through past council meeting minutes along with Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Annette Plachner to address unresolved agenda items and dealt with several Public Works issues as a result. Johnsrude noted that past minutes stated that in March, 2020 the village received a $504 bill for repairing a frozen water line, and added that the village has a sewer repair policy which he asked Plachner to summarize. She stated if a landowner has a water line problem they shall contact the village before hiring a contractor, and if a contractor is hired, that may release the village from financial responsibility. However, if the water line problem is on the landowner’s property, the landowner is purely responsible. Plachner clarified that in this instance she could find no record of the landowner notifying the village of the problem. However, the CAO also stated that because of lateral line problems in that neighbourhood, her recommendation was for the village to pay for the repairs. Johnsrude moved and passed a motion for the village to pay the $504 bill. 2nd Ave N. sewer lateral lines Johnsrude asked Public Works Manager Dave Benci to report on the 2nd Ave North sewer lateral lines problem. Benci responded he found problems with a camera report but also noted four residences in that area were having flow problems that require excavation. Benci stated this was deferred in 2020 and doing it in winter would be a challenge. When asked by Johnsrude if other properties in that neighbourhood were also having flow problems, Benci responded most of the homes on that line have problems as the line has “sagged.” Benci pointed out repairing the lateral lines would require digging up pavement and sidewalks. Johnsrude responded that tearing up additional pavement and sidewalks without knowing exactly what’s wrong with other homes wouldn’t be a great idea. Benci agreed. Johnsrude then moved and passed a motion for Public Works to provide a 2021 budget amount for the four residences identified by Benci to be repaired in 2021 for the February meeting. A motion was also passed for Benci to continue working on a Public Works Policy and look at making the items covered broader. Water & Sewer Excavation policy Johnsrude clarified this policy which was also an outstanding agenda item from past meetings. He pointed out the Municipal Government Act, which gives municipal councils their authority, states that councillors have a duty to develop policies and that sometimes councillors confuse general participation in developing policies with implementing polices, which is the staff’s role. Johnsrude moved and passed a motion that the village staff would investigate what other municipalities are doing with regards to water and sewer excavation policies and report back at a future meeting. Hydrant repair Benci gave a report on hydrant testing, and stated this was done on Apr. 28, 2020 with the help of local firefighters. Some issues were identified, but then Three Hills came in to help and found that only one hydrant was actually in need of repair. Benci noted an expert on hydrant repair has agreed to put on a training workshop for Morrin and other municipalities, using Morrin's hydrant as the sample. Benci noted this will reduce the hydrant repair costs which he noted can be quite expensive. Johnsrude moved and passed a motion for Public Works to proceed with the training session and also prepare a report on hydrant repair for the 2021 budget. Machinery Park approach removal The OA asked why the Machinery Park approach removal was included in past meeting minutes despite no resolution ever having been made. Benci responded he didn’t know exactly why but stated it may have been related to the demolition of the Noble house. Benci stated when a contractor demolished the Noble house, his equipment then broke down and the contractor never returned. Benci stated the approach is barricaded off and in his opinion he saw no reason to remove it. Johnsrude moved and passed a motion that removal of this approach would be at the discretion of the Public Works department. Water plant Johnsrude noted an older agenda item about the water plant had no council resolution connected. Benci stated the village reports to Alberta Environment regularly about the water plant in accordance with provincial regulations. Benci noted a provincial inspector checks out the plant on an annual basis, if his memory served. Johnsrude moved and passed a motion that no further action on the water plant was necessary. Johnsrude motioned for an expenditure up to $1,000 for a laptop computer for Public Works. Johnsrude requested the CAO discuss with MPEngineering what they see as priority for the major projects of replacing sewer/water lines on 2nd Ave. S. or Railway Ave. S. and bring it back to the February meeting. Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
For years, Jordan Murphy longed to complete her weight-loss transformation with another round of cosmetic surgery. It was a matter of finding the right time. The Toronto social media influencer knew from her prior procedures that going under the knife could require weeks of bedrest. She was also conscious of the fact that medically altered beauty doesn't come cheap. But when the COVID-19 crisis cleared her calendar, Murphy found herself with a sudden abundance of time and money she would typically spend on travel and recreation. The 27-year-old filled the hours by scrolling through social media, sizing up how her body compared to others, particularly the before-and-after photos plastic surgeons posted to their feeds. "I think it just put the idea into my head: This is the perfect time to do this," said Murphy, adding that she's been barraged by questions from her online followers since documenting her "360 lift," an operation that removes excess skin and fat from the abdomen, waistline and back, last summer. "(The only downside is) that I haven't been able to dress up cute and go out anywhere to rock the new bod." Murphy is one of many Canadians who plan to emerge from lockdown looking leaner, lifted or augmented in all the right places as several clinics report an uptick in demand for cosmetic procedures during the pandemic. Some cosmetic physicians say more patients are seeking out their services as the crisis has afforded people more time to scrutinize their perceived flaws, and the flexibility to get work done without raising eyebrows among friends and coworkers. But critics worry that people could be rushing into serious medical procedures as the psychological toll of the pandemic has fuelled body image issues, in part because of the distorting powers of video-chat platforms and social media. Others in the medical community, including a Quebec doctors' association, say private clinics shouldn't be performing cosmetic surgeries as COVID-19 caseloads have strained the health-care system, forcing many patients to wait for medically necessary operations. There's little data available on the number of cosmetic procedures that are performed in Canada. But according to a Google Trends analysis published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, U.S. searches for some of the most popular ones dropped off in the early months of the pandemic, before rebounding to hit two-year peaks over spring and summer of last year. This is consistent with what Dr. Mathew Mosher, president of the Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, is hearing from members who, in some cases, have been struggling to keep up with the increased interest in their services. "The sustained nature of the added interest has surprised many of us," said Mosher, who operates out of the YES Medspa and Cosmetic Surgery Centre in Langley, B.C. When private clinics started to reopen last spring, Mosher said surgeons were bracing for a backlog of postponed procedures, but didn't expect they'd be fielding an influx of calls from first-time patients and regulars. It's hard to gauge whether this spike in inquiries is translating into more surgical bookings, Mosher said, noting that COVID-19 precautions have curtailed many clinics' operational capacity. It also seems that demand has ebbed to some degree as many jurisdictions ramped up lockdown measures. Still, he said, it's clear that the pandemic has opened up new possibilities for patients to revamp their natural assets. While job losses have forced many Canadians into financial precarity, Mosher said those fortunate enough to have maintained a steady paycheque may have more money to spend on esthetic concerns. Moreover, he said, patients are able keep up with their professional duties while recouping at home. "Doing something that is in some ways empowering and positive has come up on the to-do list for a few more patients." While most of his patients are seizing the chance to move ahead with procedures they've been thinking about for a while, Mosher said he's also sensed a concerning "urgency" among clients who seem to be fixated on a newly detected imperfection or acting on an impulse to make a change during a stressful time. "I've seen more patients coming to the office where they frankly have been given poor advice," he said. Toronto dermatologist Dr. Julia Carroll said she credits the surge in demand for cosmetic services such as Botox, lip fillers and laser peels in part to what some have dubbed the "Zoom boom." As our conversations have shifted to video conference calls, many people are spending more time staring at their own faces, and some don't like what they see. "Most people get up in the morning, brush their teeth or put on their makeup, and they don't look at themselves for the rest of the day," said Carroll. "But now, you're seeing yourself in animation all day long.... So you see things that bother you." Carroll cautions that these virtual visages probably aren't accurate, because most webcams use short focal lengths that can warp how certain features appear onscreen. But while she doesn't think anyone "needs to look a certain way," Carroll says cosmetic procedures can boost a person's confidence. "For some people, there's a real disconnect between how they feel on the inside and what they present to the world," Carroll said. "I think a lot of patients are just trying to reconnect those two parts of themselves." Catherine Sabiston, a University of Toronto professor and Canada research chair in physical activity and mental health, says the lack of in-person social interaction under lockdown means people are spending more time online comparing themselves with filtered images of others, which can negatively impact body image. The internet is also filled with counterproductive messages about the COVID-19 crisis being a time for self-improvement, feeding into the guilt many feel about changes to their exercise and eating habits, she said. As these forces conspire to make people feel bad about themselves, Sabiston said it's no surprise that people are turning to the scalpel as a quick-fix solution. The fact that cosmetic surgeries are moving forward when many patients can't access cancer treatments speaks to the social disconnect that seems to prioritize people's appearance over their health, said Sabiston. She urged authorities to adopt a more balanced approach that would allow people to access the services they need to ensure their bodies are healthy and help them feel better in them. "Our bodies are miracles in so many ways, and yet, we hone in on the appearance aspects when there's so much more to what our bodies can do," she said. "We should be putting our emphasis on how to help people so that more plastic surgery isn't necessarily the bottom line." In a statement Wednesday, the Quebec College of Physicians called for all non-essential cosmetic procedures to be postponed in light of the measures the province is taking to limit COVID-19 spread. Health Minister Christian Dube told reporters last week that the province is considering how to address the medical staffing crisis, but suggested it would be easier to bring in intensive care personnel from other regions than to enlist nurses from private care and cosmetic surgery clinics. A spokeswoman for Quebec's health ministry added that staff from private cosmetic surgery clinics can still volunteer in the public health sector without shutting down operations. In Ontario, some clinics that offer cosmetic procedures have opted to scale back services or shut down altogether. While health practices remain open under the province's latest directive, a spokesman for Ontario's health ministry said "it's up to each professional's clinical judgment to determine what services should be offered," in accordance with the rules set out by their regulatory colleges. On its website, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario says regional restrictions on personal care services, such as facials and hair removal, apply to medical practices, but clinics can continue to offer procedures that can only be performed by health-care professionals. Mosher appreciates the frustrations front-line medical workers feel as the recent surge in infections pushes health-care systems to their limits, but argues that closing private clinics will do little to assuage capacity concerns. Cosmetic surgeons report relatively low rates of complications, so there's little risk that their patients will need urgent care in overburdened hospitals, he said. Mosher said the cosmetic surgery industry isn't large enough to provide the reinforcements that hospitals require, and while some cosmetic surgery providers work in both the private and public sector, many don't have the expertise to help much with urgent care. "Health-care workers that are involved in delivering (cosmetic surgery) services would be more than happy to step up and assist if we were called upon," he said. "But like everybody else, we rely on the guidance from the health authorities." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021 Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Canada Post is telling customers to expect delivery delays due to a COVID-19 outbreak at a key mail facility in Mississauga, Ont., that has sickened dozens of workers. A spokesman says testing at the Dixie Road site has found 39 positive COVID-19 cases over the last three days. Canada Post says 182 workers at the site have tested positive since the start of the new year. Spokesman Phil Legault says the Mississauga facility is central to the crown corporation's entire national delivery and processing network. Legault says the plant continues to operate and process heavy incoming parcel volumes, but there will be delays. More than 4,500 people work at the Mississauga site. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
When drug companies like Pfizer and Moderna learned to successfully incorporate messenger RNA technology into a COVID-19 vaccine, experts say they likely opened the door to a significant shift in the future of immunization.The milestone in vaccine development was met with enthusiasm from most, but the seemingly swift pace and novel approach is causing hesitancy in others. Experts say the new technique shouldn't dissuade people from getting the vaccine. While the mRNA method is new to inoculations, the actual technology has been around for decades. The difference now, they say, is scientists have ironed out the kinks to make a useful product."It sounds fancy, mRNA, but there's nothing outlandish about it," said Dr. Earl Brown, a virology and microbiology specialist with the University of Ottawa. "This is the way our cells operate — we live by mRNA."Vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna were the first inoculations approved for humans to use mRNA, which provides our cells with instructions to make proteins. In the case of COVID vaccines, the injected material shows cells how to make a harmless piece of the coronavirus spike protein, which then teaches our immune system to recognize the virus and fight off a future infection.Scientists made the vaccine by programming genetic material from the spike protein into mRNA, a process that theoretically could work for other viruses."As long as you know how to create those instructions — that genetic code you need to convince your body to create that target — you can design an mRNA vaccine against any antigen," said Nicole Basta, an associate professor of epidemiology at McGill."But the question is whether it will be effective, and whether it will be safe."The development of future mRNA vaccines might be quick, Basta says, but they would need to go through the usual evaluation process and clinical trials to ensure safety and efficacy. So vaccines for other viruses won't be popping up overnight.Still, Basta adds, there's potential for using mRNA to either improve upon existing vaccines or to develop new ones against other pathogens.Dr. Scott Halperin, a professor at Dalhousie University and the director of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology, sees mRNA vaccines as "evolutionary rather than revolutionary."Part of the reason COVID vaccines came together so quickly was the technology had been developing for years, Halperin said. The global pandemic offered scientists a pressing opportunity — and unprecedented funding and collaboration — to try again for a viable injection.Previous research had been done on creating mRNA vaccines against Zika and other viruses, Halperin added, and there were earlier efforts focused on cancer treatments. Coronavirus-specific research was further sped up by spike protein analysis from SARS and MERS.While the mRNA technology itself is impressive, Halperin says improvements need to be made to create a more temperature-stable product before these types of vaccines and treatments "truly take over.""The logistics of delivering mRNA vaccines right now, we wouldn't want to have to do that for every vaccine we produce," he said, referencing the ultra-cold storage temperature that's currently needed. "But I do think it's an important milestone."Scientists are expected to continue advancing the technology, just as they did recently in solving two confounding problems with mRNA — its fragility and instability.Brown says fragility was resolved by packaging the mRNA in a fat coating, giving it something to help bind onto cells so it wouldn't disintegrate upon injection. The instability was conquered by modifying the uracil component of RNA, one of the four units of its genetic code."The technology application is new, but the science is mature," Brown said. "We've just reached the point at which we can apply it." Traditional vaccines typically contain a killed or weakened virus, Brown said. Those methods are still being used in COVID vaccine development, including by AstraZeneca-Oxford, whose product has not yet been approved in Canada.A benefit to using mRNA is the speed at which a vaccine can be developed or updated once scientists know what to target, Brown says. While experts believe current vaccines will work against recent variants of the COVID virus — including one originating in the U.K. that's more transmissible — Brown says mRNA's adaptability could theoretically come in handy if new strains emerged that necessitated an update. "In six weeks they could produce something," he said. "It would still have to go through Phase 3 trials, but it does give you more flexibility and a big leg up."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
Speaking to reporters outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is thinking about getting Canadians the COVID-19 vaccine "when I wake up in the morning, when I go to bed, and every hour in between."
CALGARY — WestJet says a Boeing 737 Max that was scheduled to fly from Calgary to Toronto on Friday returned to the gate before taking off due to a warning in the cockpit. A WestJet spokeswoman, Lauren Stewart, said that after the plane's engines were started, its monitoring system indicated a "potential fault that needed to be verified and reset." The process takes time and requires an engine run, which the airline does not perform with passengers on board, Stewart said. In the interests' of passengers' time, WestJet cancelled the flight and booked passengers on the next available flight to Toronto, Stewart said. The aircraft has since been cleared by maintenance and will return to service as scheduled on Jan. 24, Stewart said. The Max was cleared to fly in Canadian airspace on Wednesday after it was grounded for nearly two years following deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — A raging pandemic, tumultuous presidential election and deadly Capitol insurrection have combined to make the annual tradition of Dry January more moist than air-tight for some. Not Sarah Arvizo. She considers it her easiest yet. As much as the 32-year-old Manhattanite would love to partake in a little “vinopeutics,” she said the abstinence period she's participated in for several years has been made smoother this time around by her at-home pandemic life and the closing of bars and restaurants. “Longing for those days, for sure,” said the social drinker who lives alone. “But unless I want to freeze outside, that's largely off the table this year.” Eight-year-old Dry January, which comes at the height of resolution season after the holidays, has brought on the desired benefits for many among the millions participating around the world. They're losing quarantine weight, experiencing more clarity and sleeping easier. Others with lockdown time on their hands and round-the-clock access to TV news and the home liquor cabinet are struggling to meet the challenge. Some who have already cheated hoisted a glass on Inauguration Day, Dry January's surreal New Year's Eve. Sue Cornick, 52, in Los Angeles, wanted to experience Dry January after her consumption of alcohol rose from three or four days a week to five or six. But she knew pulling the plug wouldn't work before a celebratory Inauguration Day, so it's Dry February for her. “Full disclosure, my Dry February will be more like almost dry. I'll definitely have a cheat day here and there. Just no daily habit,” she said. Others are holding steadfast but said the horrid year that was and the chaotic events of January have made it far more difficult. The odds aren't in their favour. Studies over the years have shown that a small percentage of New Year's resolutions overall are actually achieved. Peta Grafham, a 61-year-old retired IT specialist in Tryon, North Carolina, signed on to Dry January after watching her alcohol intake creep up during the pandemic and months of political and racial turmoil. “I'm a social creature and isolating has been difficult. I found that I would open a bottle of wine and watch TV, usually CNN, and could knock back a bottle in less than two hours. Then I would move on to the Grand Marnier," said Grafham, who lives with her husband. “I announced to my friends and family that I was doing a Dry January, so my pride is what's keeping me sober.” She hasn't had a drop since Dec. 31. Her spouse didn't join, but she said he's an efficient nurser of bourbon or vodka and has supported her effort. “I seemed incapable of limiting myself to just one glass,” Grafham said. According to a recent survey from the American Psychological Association, 78% of adults report the COVID-19 pandemic has been a significant source of stress, and 65% said the amount of uncertainty in the world is causing strain. At 27, Emily Roethle in Encinitas, California, nearly broke on Jan. 6, when a riotous mob descended on the Capitol. “This is my second Dry January,” she said. “It's difficult this year. I've looked to my glass of wine to separate work from home as I work remote, but in ways it's easier as there's no happy hour or dinner invitations.” While addiction treatment experts note that a month of forced sobriety may not have a lasting impact and may lead to binge drinking in February, others believe the show of sobriety can't hurt. Dry January began after a woman training for her first half-marathon, Emily Robinson in the U.K., decided to quit drinking for the month. She later went to work for an alcohol awareness organization that launched a national campaign. The event slowly went global. Well before that, in 1942, Finland began a program called Raitis Tammikuu, meaning sober January, to assist the war effort against the Soviet Union, said Hilary Sheinbaum, who wrote a new book about Dry January, “The Dry Challenge." She said she wrote from personal experience. “On Dec. 31, 2016, moments before the ball dropped, I made a Dry January bet with a friend,” Sheinbaum said. “In the end, I ended up going the full 31 days. My friend did not. He ended up buying me a very fancy meal, but I had the opportunity to see how alcohol was affecting my day-to-day life. With Dry January, I had clearer skin. I was sleeping better. I had so much more financial savings at the end of the month. This is my fifth Dry January.” When she took on her first dry challenge, she was working regularly at booze-infused events as a red carpet reporter, and a food and beverage writer. She was also single and going on a lot of dates. Now in a two-year relationship, she and her live-in boyfriend do Dry January together. “Having someone doing it with you is definitely encouraging,” Sheinbaum said. “For many Americans, we start off the year with a number of resolutions, whether that's saving money, losing weight, just being healthier in general. Dry January checks the boxes for those goals and many more.” She and others note that the ritual isn't meant as a substitute for addiction treatment and recovery. Dr. Joseph DeSanto, an MD and addiction specialist for the recovery program BioCorRx, agreed but said Dry January may give those in trouble "something to rally around, especially if they're not in a 12-step group, and provide a sense of community.” He added: “Any kind of harm reduction is advantageous. If someone is a heavy drinker, they could benefit greatly from switching to moderate to light drinking, even if they can’t stop altogether. I’ve never met an alcoholic that felt worse from drinking less or not drinking.” MJ Gottlieb is co-founder and CEO of the 100,000-strong Loosid, a sober social network with both physical and virtual events and services around the country. He's in recovery himself and launched the company in part to show the world that sobriety doesn't mean the “end of fun.” Since the pandemic, he said Loosid has seen a spike in people posting on its app, messaging its hotlines and accessing its support groups as the pandemic brought on isolation and more drinking at home. That's where Dry January plays a role. “A lot of people who did not have problems previous to the pandemic and were drinking a glass of wine a night are now drinking a couple of bottles a night," Gottlieb said. "They're wondering what's going on. They're wondering, how did I get here?” Leanne Italie, The Associated Press
CALGARY — The leader of a group promoting Indigenous participation in oil and gas development as a solution to poverty on reserves says the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline by U.S. President Joe Biden is a major setback.Dale Swampy, president of the National Coalition of Chiefs, says the decision means fewer jobs in the short term for Indigenous people in constructing the pipeline and supplying goods and services for it.He adds it also implies more long-term unemployment for those who work in exploring and developing conventional and oilsands projects in Western Canada because it impedes investment in production growth.The end of the pipeline means Natural Law Energy, which represents five First Nations in Alberta and Saskatchewan, will no longer be able to make an equity investment of up to $1 billion in Keystone XL, as well as a plan by builder TC Energy Corp. to make similar deals with American Indigenous groups.But Swampy, a member of the Samson Cree Nation in central Alberta, points out that the impact on Indigenous people goes beyond that, noting that four of his five sons work in oil and gas but one of them has been unable to find a job in the current downturn.In a report published in December, energy industry labour data firm PetroLMI said about 13,800 self-identified Indigenous people were directly employed in Canada’s oil and gas industry in 2019. That's just over seven per cent of total industry employment, compared to three per cent in other industries."It's quite a blow to the First Nations that are involved right now in working with TC Energy to access employment training and contracting opportunities," said Swampy. "Within Alberta, First Nations are pretty closely entrenched with all of the activities occurring with the oil and gas industry. Any change, especially a big change like this, really affects our bands' ability to keep our people employed."Swampy is a former CEO of the Samson band. The coalition he heads was created in 2017 by Indigenous equity partners in the cancelled Northern Gateway pipeline and has a membership of about 80 bands.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021.Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP) The Canadian Press
RICHMOND, B.C. — RCMP say a man who allegedly cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet and walked away in Richmond, B.C., has been located. A statement from police says Woon Chan was found Friday. Police issued a warning about 18 hours earlier saying they were contacted by corrections officials who reported Chan was wearing a monitoring bracelet but it had gone offline. RCMP responded to an area of north Richmond near Minoru Park and found the bracelet but no sign of the 57-year-old man. At the time, they described Chan as a risk to the public but did not say why. The police statement doesn't say where he was found or what led to his discovery. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Pushing a button to cross at a crosswalk in Halifax could soon be less common, if recommendations from the city's transportation standing committee move forward. The majority of pedestrian intersections would automatically display the walk light. Cars would have to stop regardless of whether there's a person waiting to cross. "It's very good news for pedestrians," said Ahsan Habib, a transportation professor at Dalhousie University, adding it might be frustrating for drivers. A municipal staff report indicates there's no significant risk to the changes. But Habib cautions whenever new benefits are provided, there is always a potential for new issues. Because intersections are where the majority of vehicle-pedestrian collisions happen, Habib said pedestrians should remain cautious. "But automatic activation gives them the priority that we've been advocating for a long time, so I can see the benefit probably outweighs the risk," he said. The crosswalks with automatic display would only require a button to be pushed between midnight and 6 a.m. They'll stay lit for the other 18 hours of the day. Habib said he's concerned the new rules around timing could be confusing to some people, but city staff plan to install stickers at each intersection to indicate when the button needs to be pushed. The move is well-timed with the COVID-19 pandemic and an emphasis on touch-free technology, Habib said, but it's been on the city's radar long before the virus came into play. Accessibility changes Right now, accessible pedestrian signals — audible signals like beeping — are activated only after someone holds down the crosswalk button for three seconds. After engaging with people from the blind and visually impaired community, staff heard that the need to hold the button for three seconds was often a barrier to people who use a cane, guide dog, or have mobility issues. Now, the audible signal could be heard with a single press of the button. "This is probably the best decision [the city] ever made for tackling accessibility issues ... This will take us a long way to make our road space safer for mobility-restricted people," Habib said. Increased congestion, noise pollution expected Costs for the changes are expected to be "relatively minimal" and manageable within the current budget. But, according to the committee's report, there could be an increase in noise pollution in some residential areas at night because of the changes to the accessible pedestrian signals. Between midnight and 6 a.m., pressing the crosswalk button will always activate the audible signal. There's also potential for delays for all road users, and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions due to increased vehicle congestion. Some locations 'inappropriate' for automation A staff report was completed over the course of the last few months with input from the public. There are 274 pedestrian traffic signals in Halifax, according to the Jan. 21 agenda of the transportation standing committee that reviewed the staff report. More than 100 of those intersections already display the walk signal automatically, a large portion of them in the downtown core. After reviewing the remaining crosswalks in the municipality, the report found 93 more that should be adjusted to automatically display the walk signal. The recommendations still need to be put before the city's traffic authority. MORE TOP STORIES
TORONTO — The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board says it is committing to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 with a slew of climate-friendly promises. Canada's largest single-profession pension plan says in the coming weeks it will establish concrete targets for portfolio emissions and ensure companies it invests in report emissions annually. The pension plan manager says it will direct proceeds from a green bond offering towards climate-friendly investment opportunities and advocate for clear climate policies with the help of global organizations it will partner with. The promises come weeks after an environmental coalition launched a campaign encouraging the board to divest from companies that develop or transport fossil fuel products. The coalition included Shift Action for Pension Wealth and Planet Health, Fridays for Future Toronto and a group of working and retired Ontario teachers who wanted the plan to stop investing their retirement savings in oil, gas, coal and pipeline companies. Chief Investment Officer Ziad Hindo says that direct private assets in oil and gas make up about three per cent of the plan's portfolio and that it will continue to shift away from fossil fuels. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — Two COVID-19 variants have been identified in Nova Scotia, the province's chief medical officer of health said Friday, adding that in both cases, the variant wasn't able to reproduce in the community. Tests conducted at Canada's national laboratory in December identified the U.K. variant in one COVID-19 sample from Nova Scotia and the South African variant in another case from the province, Dr. Robert Strang told reporters. "We know that neither case resulted in spread into the community," Strang said. He said, however, that household members of one person infected with a COVID-19 variant had tested positive, adding that those results identified viral loads that were too small to be analyzed at the national lab. Strang said those cases were likely connected to the South African variant. He said health officials weren't surprised to learn the variants had landed in the province, adding that their detection shows Nova Scotia's surveillance system works. "It reinforces why we need to maintain federal and provincial border measures and it certainly is another reason why we need to continue our cautious approach to COVID-19." Strang said the province was still awaiting results from the national lab on another 20 to 30 test samples. Health officials on Friday reported four new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of active reported cases in the province to 22. Strang said one case involves a student at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., who tested positive shortly after completing a 14-day quarantine. Strang also announced that most of the restrictions imposed across the province would be extended until at least Feb. 7, including 10-person gathering limits and the requirement that restaurants end service by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m. "We are still in the middle of a severe second wave that is all around us including our closest neighbour in New Brunswick," he said. As of Thursday, 10,575 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered, while 2,705 Nova Scotians had received their second dose. The Nova Scotia Nurses' Union launched a campaign Friday aimed at convincing as many people as possible to get vaccinated. The union uploaded a series of video testimonials to its website that offer insight and firsthand accounts from nurses who discuss their vaccinations. "We did it because we believe that our patients look up to nurses and physicians, they look up to us for direction," union president Janet Hazelton said in an interview. "We think it's important that we get the message out that the nurses' union supports the vaccine." Hazelton said while the majority of people are keen to get a shot there are still some who are "vaccine hesitant," adding that the union wants the public to know its members are confident the vaccine is safe and effective. She said annual flu vaccination rates among health Nova Scotians are usually relatively low — except this year, she said, which has seen a large uptake. People, however, need to be far more willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine than they are with the flu shot, she added. "We don't and can't have that same (lower) percentage for the COVID-19 vaccine," Hazelton said. "We need to have higher than 50-60 per cent." Front-line nurses were among the first to be vaccinated in Nova Scotia and Hazelton said so far none of her members have refused to get a shot. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press