A panel of U.S. politics experts break down the first day of former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and what the goal is, considering the Senate is unlikely to convict him.
A panel of U.S. politics experts break down the first day of former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial and what the goal is, considering the Senate is unlikely to convict him.
That change in the air isn't just the coming of spring: there's a shift happening in the political dynamic surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations. After weeks of the federal Liberal government taking heat for the slow arrival of vaccines in Canada, it's provincial premiers who must now answer to jittery, impatient voters hoping to be immunized as soon as possible. New Brunswick's Liberal opposition is now pushing Premier Blaine Higgs and his Progressive Conservative government for more details about the provincial vaccination plan — details they say other provinces have been providing to their citizens. "We're not trying to play politics with this, but there's certainly not a lot of information being given out to New Brunswickers, and New Brunswickers are asking questions to their MLAs," says Liberal Leader Roger Melanson. Opposition Liberal leader Roger Melanson (CBC News) In January, Higgs said many more New Brunswickers could be vaccinated each week, if only there were enough vaccine. Now those supplies are ramping up fast. New Brunswick received 11,760 doses last week and a similar number is expected this week. Melanson says those doses should be administered as quickly as they arrive. "We're seeing deliveries, much bigger deliveries than what we had been getting since January, so now the onus has shifted onto the provincial governments," says political scientist Stéphanie Chouinard of the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont. Deputy minister of Health Gérald Richard told the legislature's public accounts committee Feb. 24 that New Brunswick would be ready for what he called "a flood" of vaccines, including those from AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. "We are very confident that we have a good plan in New Brunswick," Richard said. "It was approved by the COVID cabinet and ratified by cabinet a few months ago." Department of Health deputy minister Gérald Richard, left(Jacques Poitras/CBC) But the only detail the province provided during Monday's vaccine update was that 2,400 more long-term care residents would be done this week, accounting for about a quarter of the doses expected to arrive. And officials have given varying estimates of how many people can be vaccinated per week. In January, when deliveries to the province were still a trickle, Premier Blaine Higgs said 45,000 could be done, if only the province had enough vaccine. On Thursday he told reporters the province could do 40,000, then added it might be possible to double that to 80,000. Last Saturday, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard told CBC's The House that New Brunswick could vaccinate "up to 4,000 people a day," which works out to a maximum of 28,000 per week — below Higgs's estimate. Meanwhile, other provinces are moving faster, or at least providing more detail, on their rollouts. This week, Nova Scotia announced its plan for 13,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the third to be approved in Canada. A health worker holds up a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19. (Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse/The Associated Press) The doses arrive next week and Nova Scotia doctors and pharmacists will administer the doses to people aged 50-64 in 26 locations around the province starting March 15. New Brunswick has provided no such detail on what it will do with the approximately 10,000 doses it will receive. Higgs says that will be discussed by the all-party COVID cabinet committee next Tuesday and spokesperson Shawn Berry said the province will probably use it for some of the groups identified for early vaccination. Berry said 3,200 people were scheduled to be vaccinated this week but some clinics were delayed because of winter weather. He said doses listed as "available" by the province — more than 13,000 as of Thursday — are earmarked for clinics. "To prevent the risk of disruption of clinics, we don't plan to use them the same week they are scheduled to arrive in case there is a delay," he said. As an example, he said the province received more than 11,000 doses last week and a similar amount will be used at First Nations clinics that started this week. Berry also said Higgs's figure of 80,000 vaccinations per week being possible is correct. Higgs said last Friday one reason for the lack of detail is the uncertainty of supply that plagued the provinces for the first two months of the year. "When we schedule appointments, we will have a vaccine to put with it," he said during last week's CBC political panel on Information Morning Fredericton. "I would like to see a map out over the next two or three or four months of a fixed quantity so that we can plan well." Not when, but how Melanson said he's satisfied with the "who" and "when" so far but wants to know about the "how" — how people will contact, or hear from, the province to arrange their shots. At the Feb. 24 public accounts committee meeting, Liberal MLA Jean-Claude d'Amours also pointed to a Brunswick News report that the province was "urgently" calling for help in long-term care homes from anyone qualified to administer vaccines — another sign of lack of preparedness, he said. Whether New Brunswick's plan is really behind other provinces remains to be seen. The fluctuations in vaccine deliveries to Canada caused short-term alarm and a lot of political finger-pointing but in the end did not endanger the overall vaccine delivery target for the first three months of 2021. Still, Chouinard points out that even those temporary delays probably led to more illness and deaths. D'Amours noted at the public accounts committee that the percentage of COVID-19 doses the province was administering was slipping. Liberal health critic Jean-Claude d'Amours(CBC) The week before the hearing, 21 per cent of all doses received in New Brunswick hadn't been used. It rose to 25 per cent last week and 28 per cent this week. "Supply is not the issue right now," Melanson says. "The issue is capacity to roll it out." The province has been holding back a lot of vaccine for second doses. But with the recent announcement that second doses will be delayed to maximize first doses, those hold-back numbers should now diminish. On Thursday the Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island governments said the delay to second doses will allow everyone in those provinces who wants to be vaccinated to get their first dose by June. Higgs told reporters that's his target as well. He said more details on how delayed second doses and new vaccine approvals will change the province's rollout plan should be coming next week. Berry said 7,503 of 11,000 long-term care residents have received at least one dose of vaccine and first-dose clinics for all long-term care facilities will be finished over the next two weeks.
Banks and public policymakers need to do more to help Black-owned businesses overcome systemic obstacles to better grow the economy for all, a new report finds. That's the overarching takeaway of a new report published by the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce this week in one of the most exhaustive attempts thus far to get a handle on Canada's Black business community and its challenges. More than 1.2 million people of African Caribbean and Black descent call Canada home — a sizeable demographic cohort by any metric, and one that is being held back from reaching its full potential, according to the report. "Let's just level the playing field and give people a fair chance to succeed and to thrive," CBCC president Christelle Francois said in an interview. "It's good for the business, it's good for the people loaning the money, it's good for our whole economy." One of the biggest challenges facing the Black business community, Francois says, is a lack of data about the realities on the ground for Black business owners. That's why the report attempts to set a baseline to see where the Black business community is at today, so future research can help track and improve progress. Watch: Black Lives Matter activists in Canada say the time to act is now. Here's why: To get a sense of what Black business owners are facing, the Chamber set up a series of virtual town halls in every province and territory in both of Canada's official languages. Sessions took about an hour or two to complete, and participants responded to a series of 15 open-ended and 17 multiple-choice questions about their businesses and their challenges. All in all, 53 businesses across the country took part from a wide cross-section of industries. While that may initially seem like a small group, the results were illuminating because respondents had some troubling trends in common, regardless of what industry or part of Canada they were in. Ensuring equitable access to funding Broadly, the report presents a number of recommendations for how to foster Canada's Black business community. One of the major ones is to ensure equitable access to funding. The report found that almost three-quarters of Black business owners surveyed said they "bootstrapped" their businesses when they started — meaning they raised money from their community or funded it themselves — instead of trying to borrow money from a bank. Christelle Francois, an entrepreneur and president of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, said it's time to 'level the playing field and give people a fair chance to succeed and to thrive.' (CCBC) That's largely because many Black business owners have ingrained belief banks will deny their requests. "One of the reasons behind this lack of comfortability with speaking to financial institutions about funding is many respondents felt that they will be denied," the report found. "This sentiment was especially shared among immigrant entrepreneurs." Providing mentorship opportunities Another of the report's key findings is a recurring lack of mentorship opportunities for Black business owners that are readily available for other entrepreneurs. That problem speaks to the notion that not all the roadblocks are necessarily financial in nature. When one respondent was asked about non-financial needs, they said the biggest one was "believing we can do it." "A lot of my experience raising capital is not about the idea or projections," said one person quoted in the report. "Instead it's about, 'Have I seen someone do it who looks like me?'" Another replied that they "felt it was more of a 'whom you know' vs. a 'what you know' type of system." Wes Hall, the founder of investment advisory firm Kingsdale Advisors and founder of the BlackNorth Initiative, a group of 200 Canadian companies that have signed a public pledge to fight systemic racism, signed a letter in support of the CBCC report, saying "the road Black entrepreneurs have walked has always been a long, difficult one." "During these unparalleled times, it is more than evident that in order to be effective as leaders, we must take action to understand the needs of and grim realities faced by Black business owners in Canada," Hall said in the report Filling the financial literacy gap One of the major gaps the report highlighted is the financial literacy gap to make entrepreneurs aware of existing funding and support programs. The Business Development Bank of Canada, a Crown corporation, is designed to help fill that gap. Calling itself "the bank for Canadian entrepreneurs," BDC's mandate is to help businesses that may not be eligible for retail bank financing to obtain support and financing to get off the ground. Nahom Eyob, the owner of Red Seal Truck and Equipment Repair in Edmonton, has expanded his business to 11 employees and is planning to open a second location.(Nahom Eyob) Nahom Eyob, the owner and operator of Red Seal Truck and Equipment Repair in Edmonton, says he had never heard of the agency before his brother, an accountant, heard about his business plan and encouraged him to contact BDC. A truck mechanic with 10 years' experience, he launched his business in October of 2019. It was tough at first. Eyob estimates his two-man operation only took in about $2,000 in total revenue in its first few months. Then came the pandemic, which brought about a slew of new challenges. But through word of mouth and by growing his customer base one job at a time, he was able to stay open and grow. Today, he has 11 people on staff. He's planning to expand to a second location and estimates he's booked about $1.5 million in revenue during the pandemic. But Eyob says none of that would have happened had he not had the support of BDC at the beginning, when he needed it most — and not just with start-up capital. "They help us with a lot of information and mentorship," he said in an interview. His advice to others thinking of starting up a business is to run it how he runs his — "Fix it right the first time, that's how we operate" — but also to make sure you are aware of all the help that is available. Funding specficially for Black-owned businesses More help is on the way soon, thanks to a $221-million fund Ottawa set up last summer specifically for Black-owned businesses. That money includes a commitment of $128 million from chartered banks for new loans of up to $250,000 to Black-owned busisnesses. It's on top of whatever help they can acquire from BDC or anywhere else. Eyob has managed to thrive under during the pandemic because his business was deemed essential, but many others are not so lucky. The CCBC report found that 73 per cent of respondents reported revenue of less than $100,000 a year before the COVID-19 pandemic. If that is the case, they may not qualify for CEBA, as they must pay at least $20,000 in employment income or eligible non-deferrable expenses of at least $40,000, the report notes. Other programs such as the CEWS wage subsidy and the CERS rent subsidy have similar strings attached. Because of the way those relief programs are set up, they "implicitly exempt" Black-owned businesses, which is why the report suggests adjusting those programs to make them "specific to the needs of Black Canadian entrepreneurs." "You're facing the challenge of COVID and … you are also facing potential systemic racism at the bank that would maybe be able to help you," Francois said. "It's been kind of a … double challenge for Black entrepreneurs for sure." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. (CBC)
BEIJING — China’s No. 2 leader set a healthy economic growth target Friday and vowed to make this nation self-reliant in technology amid tension with Washington and Europe over trade and human rights. Another official announced plans to tighten control over Hong Kong by reducing the public's role in government. The ruling Communist Party aims for growth “over 6%” as the world's second-largest economy rebounds from the coronavirus, Premier Li Keqiang said in a speech to China’s ceremonial legislature. Some 3,000 delegates gathered for its annual two-week meeting, the year’s highest-profile political event, under intense security and anti-virus controls. The party is shifting back to its longer-term goal of becoming a global competitor in telecoms, electric cars and other profitable technology. That is inflaming trade tension with Washington and Europe, which complain Beijing's tactics violate its market-opening commitments and hurt foreign competitors. Li promised progress in reining in climate-changing carbon emissions, a step toward keeping President Xi Jinping's pledge last year to become carbon-neutral by 2060. But he avoided aggressive targets that might weigh on economic growth. The NPC meeting focuses on domestic issues but is overshadowed by geopolitics as Xi’s government pursues more assertive trade and strategic policies and faces criticism over its treatment of Hong Kong and ethnic minorities. The ruling party has doubled down on crushing dissent as Xi tries to cement his image as a history making leader reclaiming China’s rightful place as a global power. An NPC deputy chairman, Wang Chen, said a Hong Kong election committee controlled by businesspeople and other pro-Beijing figures will be given a bigger role in choosing the territory’s leader. Wang said the Election Committee will be allowed to reject candidates for the 35-member Legislative Council. That came after a spokesman for the legislature on Thursday said Beijing wants “patriots ruling Hong Kong,” fueling fears opposition voices will be shut out of the political process. Li, the premier, said Beijing wants to “safeguard national security” in Hong Kong. At last year’s legislative session the party imposed a national security law on Hong Kong following pro-democracy protests. Dozens of activists have been arrested under the law. Also Friday, the government announced a 6.8% rise in military spending to 1.4 trillion yuan ($217 billion) amid territorial disputes with India and other neighbours and ambitions to match the United States and Russia in missile, stealth fighter and other weapons technology. That is less than the double-digit increases of earlier years but a marked rise in real terms when inflation is close to zero. Foreign analysts say total military spending is up to 40% more than the reported figure, the world's second-highest after the United States. China became the only major economy to grow last year, eking out a multi-decade low 2.3% expansion after shutting down industries to fight the virus. Growth accelerated to 6.5% over a year earlier in the final quarter of 2020 while the United States, Europe and Japan struggled with renewed virus outbreaks. The 6% target is higher than expectations for the United States and other major economies but less than the 7%-8% forecasters expected Li to announce. That suggests Beijing is “shifting focus from quantity to quality of economic growth,” said Chaoping Zhu of J.P. Morgan Asset Management in a report. Beijing might allocate resources to environmental protection and other initiatives "to boost China’s long-term growth potential," Zhu said. Li vowed to “work faster" to develop tech capabilities seen by communist leaders as a path to prosperity, strategic autonomy and global influence. Those plans are threatened by conflicts with Washington over technology and security that prompted then-President Donald Trump to slap sanctions on companies including telecom equipment giant Huawei, China's first global tech brand. The ruling party’s latest five-year development blueprint says efforts to make China a self-reliant “technology power” are this year’s top economic priority. The party sees "technological self-reliance as a strategic support for national development,” Li said. Li promised to pursue “green development” following Xi's pledge last year to ensure China’s carbon emissions peak by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. That will require sharp increases in clean energy in an economy that gets 60% of its power from coal and is the world's biggest source of climate-changing industrial pollution. He promised to reduce carbon emissions per unit of economic output by 18% over the next five years. That is in line with the previous five-year period's goal, but environmentalists say Beijing needs to do more. “It defers some of the most important questions to the future,” said Li Shuo of Greenpeace. Li repeated official promises to promote “peaceful growth of relations" with Taiwan but announced no initiatives toward the self-ruled island that split with the mainland in 1949 after a civil war. Beijing claims Taiwan as its territory and has threatened to invade if it tries to make its de facto independence official. Li said the mainland will “resolutely deter” any activity “seeking ‘Taiwan independence.’” This year's legislative meeting is being held mostly by video links to keep Chinese leaders, delegates and reports separate as an anti-virus measure. Last year's meeting was postponed from March to May due to the outbreak. The official Xinhua News Agency said the decision to stick to this year's political calendar shows life is "returning to normal.” The ruling party earlier announced it achieved its goal of doubling economic output from 2010 levels by last year, which required annual growth of 7%. Xi has talked about doubling output again by 2035, which would imply annual growth of about 5%, still among the highest for any major economy. As Xi has sought to cement his image as a history-making leader who is reclaiming his country’s rightful place as a global power, China has doubled down on repression of dissent in ways that could stifle innovation. The ruling party’s desire for the prosperity produced by free-market competition also clashes with its insistence on playing a dominant role in the economy and strategic goals of reducing dependence on other countries. Beijing will promote “domestic circulation,” Li said, a reference to official pressure on industries to use more Chinese-supplied components and technology and rely less on foreign inputs, even if that increases costs. That emphasis on self-reliance and the conflict with Washington has fueled fears the world might split into separate U.S., Chinese and other industrial spheres with incompatible technologies, less competition and higher costs. The goal of “decoupling them from foreign technology” is “more likely to harm productivity than help it,” Mark Williams of Capital Economics said in a report this week. ___ AP Writer Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed. Joe McDonald, The Associated Press
The campaign to get the COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of Ottawa's Indigenous community has been so successful, it's ramping up with a move to a larger facility and expanding eligibility to adults 50 years and older. The St-Laurent Complex at 525 Côté St. is equipped to give the jab to 300 people a day, compared to the original vaccination site at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health on Montreal Road, which was vaccinating a daily maximum of 90 patients. The new vaccine clinic saw its first patients on Monday and will continue to be staffed by Indigenous health workers. "We outgrew the space," said Dr. Sarah Funnell, a First Nations public health specialist with Ottawa Public Health, which partnered with the Wabano Centre for the vaccine drive. Funnell said increased demand for the vaccine made the move to larger quarters necessary. She said that's encouraging because compared to the general public, Indigenous peoples "are most at risk of bad outcomes such as hospitalization and death and serious health consequences" if they contract COVID-19. "That's why it's important to vaccinate Indigenous people as a priority," said Funnell. An individual getting a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team in Ottawa. The campaign to vaccinate Indigenous people in Ottawa is going well, says Ottawa Public Health.(Jean Delisle/CBC) The federal government and health authorities have designated the Indigenous population as a priority in the vaccine rollouts. The age of eligibility for Indigenous adults was expanded to those 50 and older this week. Funnell said First Nations, Métis and Inuit have a history of inadequate access to health care and are more likely to live in impoverished circumstances, putting them at an increased risk. "COVID loves to spread in crowded areas," said Funnell, "Indigenous people represent at least 25 per cent of those who live in shelters ... and [they] are more likely to live in crowded homes or experience homelessness." Indigenous elders who already received the first dose of the vaccine at the Wabano Centre, will be able to get their second there. All new doses will be administered at the St-Laurent Complex. The new Wabano vaccination centre at the St-Laurent Complex can vaccinate up to 300 people a day.(Cynthia Chung) Demand for the vaccine is also high at the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team in Vanier, a medical centre that caters to the region's large Inuit population. Executive director Connie Siedule said she often needs to justify why the Indigenous community was prioritized by the federal government as a priority group. "We do get a lot of questions about why [we are] included in the Phase One priority roll out," said Siedule, who hopes a greater knowledge of the health challenges Indigenous people face will lead to understanding. Connie Siedule, executive director of Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team, says she gets lots of questions about why her community is part of the priority vaccine rollout.(Jean Delisle/CBC) "Because of the lower life expectancy for Inuit, that is anywhere from 10 to 17 years less than the general Canadian population ... the rates of lower respiratory tract infections that are among the highest anywhere," said Siedule. OPH's Funnell added that making Indigenous communities a high priority benefits everyone. "If we're able to immunize those that are most at risk of getting sick ... we'll have a better chance of decreasing the overall transmission and will be a bit closer to getting back to what our new normal will be."
The month of September was a brief window of reprieve for Toronto tour operator Sash Munjal in what was otherwise a devastating year. "We got tours going from Aug. 29 until Oct. 6, when the premier made his announcement that we were going back into restrictions," Munjal, who owns ShortTrips.ca, told CBC Toronto. "The entire tourism sector pretty much got a bit of a bloodbath" due to COVID-19, he said. As for his own business, "we're just hanging on by our fingernails." A new analysis by industry association Destination Toronto looks at the impact on the city's tourism industry, following a year of on-and-off pandemic lockdowns. It found the city lost out on more than $8 billion in economic activity through visitor spending — a number that balloons to more than $14 billion when you look at the Greater Toronto Area. "The tourism and hospitality industry was really hit first and probably hardest, and looks like it will be the last to recover," said Destination Toronto vice-president Andrew Weir. Though there's a long road ahead, Weir says his team is working hard on plans to entice visitors back when it's safe for them to return — and hoping to lure back businesses for meetings and events. Destination Toronto tracked 463 conferences and events that were cancelled or postponed since the pandemic began, amounting to $833 million in losses. Conventions and meetings are "foundational to the [tourism] business in Toronto, and often get booked a couple of years in advance." Drawing in visitors could start with you One of the first steps in Destination Toronto's recovery strategy: getting residents and their social media feeds to help spread the word that the city is a welcoming place for tourists again. "The more we get out and engage with the city ... have meals on patios, go to some outdoor events when they start up again… That's going to be the catalyst," said Weir. "When people see the photos we share, then people outside the city start to see Toronto coming back." The Destination Toronto analysis found attractions and entertainment lost $707 million due to the pandemic. (Sam Nar/CBC) Weir envisages a multi-stage comeback, in which Ontarians, then Canadians, then international travellers can gradually begin visiting again. Jim Byers, editor-in-chief at canadiantravelnews.ca and author of a book about Ontario destinations, says promoting safety should be another key part of the city's pitch to visitors. "I think most cities that can will be trying to talk about their open spaces," he said. "Toronto is blessed with a lot of pretty wonderful nature." What can we learn from SARS? Destination Toronto can also look back to 2003, when a group of tourism organizations, attractions and different levels of government worked together to boost the city's tarnished image during the SARS outbreak. Called Toront03, they raised money and then spent it on promoting the city in the northern United States. The goal was to show the city was "open, alive, and well,'" said Kevin Shea, who served as president of the group. Shea says they also worked on attractions, bringing the Conan O'Brien show to the city, creating theatre and hotel packages, and promoting a free Rolling Stones concert. Both Shea and Weir from Destination Toronto say they believe pent-up demand for in-person experiences will lead to big spending in Toronto when it is finally green-lit. "There's many Canadians that now have more money in the bank because there's nowhere to spend it … I think it's going to be the roaring 20s all over again," said Shea. Full recovery could take 5 years Despite that optimism, industry predictions suggest it could be years before Canada returns to its pre-pandemic tourism spending levels. According to Destination Canada, if the borders stay closed until Oct. 2021 — it will take until 2026 for the country to return to 2019 levels of activity. Industry associations continue to call on government support to get businesses through the difficult times ahead. The Tourism Industry Association of Canada put out a five-point 2021 recovery plan, calling on the federal government to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and create a recovery stimulus fund, among other things. "The big concern is making sure businesses are still there," said Weir.
If you weren't born in 1941 or before you probably shouldn't be trying to book a spot for a COVID vaccine right now, but here's a guide for those who qualify or are helping a loved one. First, a disclaimer: This is perhaps the most complex period of the vaccine rollout, with health officials scrambling to get limited quantities of vaccine into the arms of those deemed at highest risk of getting seriously ill. This article is the best picture CBC Toronto can provide of vaccine distribution in the Greater Toronto Area as of Friday, with the caveat that the current landscape will almost certainly look different by this time next week (it's unclear, for example, how the newly-approved AstraZeneca vaccine will fit into the rollout). Here are the key takeaways everyone should know: You should only be vaccinated in the city you live in. Remember, the overarching goal is still to limit the potential spread of COVID-19, which means staying close to home as much as possible. One more note: this guide is intended for the general public, and doesn't capture those who will be vaccinated by specialized teams — for example, mobile teams distributing vaccines in homeless shelters or other congregate settings. Now that that's clear, here's where you should go to book a vaccination spot if you qualify. Toronto Toronto Public Health will eventually run mass vaccination sites across the city but isn't at this time due to a lack of vaccine, according to its website. You can try to pre-register at some Toronto hospitals, including North York General, Michael Garron and Sunnybrook, but expect a broader rollout of vaccination clinics in the coming weeks. Peel Peel Public Health is directing residents to vaccination clinics in Brampton and Mississauga. You can book at Brampton's William Osler Health System, or Mississauga's Trillium Health Partners. York York Region is running five appointment-only vaccination clinics and its website features a handy tool to help you find the closest one to you. Note: You must book online. Durham Durham's vaccine plan will launch on March 8 with two clinics set to operate at recreation centres in Clarington and Pickering. In addition to those aged 80-plus and health-care workers, the region will offer vaccines to all Indigenous adults and adults who rely on home care. Halton Halton is running appointment-only vaccination clinics in Oakville, Burlington, Georgetown and Milton. You can book online here. The public health unit is also offering free transportation to its clinics, though that travel must be booked 48 hours in advance.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Friday, March 5, 2021. There are 878,391 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 878,391 confirmed cases (29,903 active, 826,337 resolved, 22,151 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,832 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 78.68 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 20,063 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,866. There were 47 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 286 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 41. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 58.28 per 100,000 people. There have been 24,763,481 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,002 confirmed cases (125 active, 871 resolved, six deaths). There were five new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 23.94 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 30 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There were zero new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there has been one new reported death. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.03 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 200,101 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 138 confirmed cases (23 active, 115 resolved, zero deaths). There was one new case Thursday. The rate of active cases is 14.41 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 18 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 109,360 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,649 confirmed cases (29 active, 1,555 resolved, 65 deaths). There were three new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 2.96 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 25 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is four. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 350,135 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,443 confirmed cases (37 active, 1,378 resolved, 28 deaths). There were five new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 4.73 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There were zero new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 239,229 tests completed. _ Quebec: 290,377 confirmed cases (7,379 active, 272,553 resolved, 10,445 deaths). There were 707 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 86.06 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,047 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 721. There were 20 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 84 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.81 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,320,910 tests completed. _ Ontario: 304,757 confirmed cases (10,309 active, 287,424 resolved, 7,024 deaths). There were 994 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 69.97 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,446 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,064. There were 10 new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 108 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 15. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.67 per 100,000 people. There have been 11,017,094 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 32,051 confirmed cases (1,143 active, 30,005 resolved, 903 deaths). There were 51 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 82.87 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 394 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 56. There were two new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 15 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.47 per 100,000 people. There have been 536,934 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 29,220 confirmed cases (1,422 active, 27,407 resolved, 391 deaths). There were 161 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 120.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,029 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 147. There were two new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.13 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 33.17 per 100,000 people. There have been 581,914 tests completed. _ Alberta: 134,785 confirmed cases (4,613 active, 128,261 resolved, 1,911 deaths). There were 331 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 104.32 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,353 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 336. There were nine new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 37 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is five. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 43.22 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,425,265 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 82,473 confirmed cases (4,808 active, 76,289 resolved, 1,376 deaths). There were 564 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 93.4 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,691 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 527. There were four new reported deaths Thursday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.73 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,950,778 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one death). There were zero new cases Thursday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,187 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (one active, 41 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 2.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,743 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 369 confirmed cases (14 active, 354 resolved, one death). There were 10 new cases Thursday. The rate of active cases is 35.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 14 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,755 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Ontario's Liberals say they have paid off their $10-million debt from the 2018 provincial election in which they suffered the worst defeat in the party's history. Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca says the party was able to eliminate the debt by tightening internal spending and growing its membership and donor base. Del Duca says that by eliminating membership fees the party has been able to grow its ranks to more than 75,000 members, which in turn has increased contributions. The Liberals went into the last election holding a majority, but lost their official party status when they won only seven seats. The devastating loss prompted the resignation of Kathleen Wynne as party leader. Del Duca, who was elected leader last March, says eliminating the debt will allow the party to continue to prepare for the next election, which is scheduled for June 2022. "It just gives us a tremendous amount of freedom and flexibility to focus on the task at hand, which is to be the most compelling competitor or alternative to (Premier) Doug Ford," he said. Work on the party's platform is underway, Del Duca said, and virtual candidate nomination meetings continue. He said the party expects to have 30 candidates in place by the weekend. Del Duca acknowledged that the work to rebuild the party and pay down the debt has not been easy, and the pandemic has added to the challenges. "It was a pretty big number ... when you take into account how badly we were beaten and how small the team was coming out of 2018," he said. "It was a daunting challenge but I ran for the leadership of the party with my eyes wide open." The Liberal party had governed Ontario for 16 years before losing to the Progressive Conservatives in 2018. The party currently has eight elected caucus members - former Progressive Conservative legislator Amanda Simard crossed the floor and joined Liberals after the Tories cut funding for French language services. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March. 5, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Friday, March 5, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 76,438 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,168,138 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 5,720.79 per 100,000. There were 2,340 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,614,020 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 82.94 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 4,472 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 24,757 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 47.279 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 35,620 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.8 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 69.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,105 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 13,281 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 83.724 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 14,715 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 90.25 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 6,842 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 37,590 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.518 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 61,980 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 60.65 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 7,424 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,741 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.255 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 46,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 17,794 new vaccinations administered for a total of 490,504 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 57.324 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 638,445 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.83 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 30,409 new vaccinations administered for a total of 784,828 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.429 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 903,285 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 86.89 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 2,408 new vaccinations administered for a total of 82,579 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 59.97 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 116,650 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 8.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 70.79 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 2,493 new vaccinations administered for a total of 84,090 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 71.314 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 74,605 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 112.7 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 10,948 new vaccinations administered for a total of 266,231 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 60.479 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 274,965 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 96.82 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 9,042 new vaccinations administered for a total of 298,851 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 58.238 per 1,000. There were 2,340 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 385,080 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.61 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 18,158 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 435.12 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 96.07 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 19,775 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 438.285 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 103.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 360 new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,753 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 355.136 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 23,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 62 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 57.54 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
Thursday's Games NHL N.Y. Islanders 5 Buffalo 2 Winnipeg 4 Montreal 3 (OT) Philadelphia 4 Pittsburgh 3 N.Y. Rangers 6 New Jersey 1 Carolina 5 Detroit 2 Tampa Bay 3 Chicago 2 (OT) Florida 5 Nashville 4 Columbus 3 Dallas 2 Calgary 7 Ottawa 3 Vancouver 3 Toronto 1 --- AHL Providence 4 Bridgeport 1 --- NBA Boston 132 Toronto 125 Washington 119 L.A. Clippers 117 New York 114 Detroit 104 Denver 113 Indiana 103 Milwaukee 112 Memphis 111 Miami 103 New Orleans 93 Oklahoma City 107 San Antonio 102 Phoenix 120 Golden State 98 Portland 123 Sacramento 119 --- MLB Spring Training Baltimore 6 Boston 3 Detroit 8 Toronto 2 Tampa Bay 5 Minnesota 2 Pittsburgh 6 Atlanta 1 Philadelphia 15 N.Y. Yankees 0 N.Y. Mets 8 Washington 4 Texas 5 San Diego 3 San Francisco 3 Chicago White Sox 1 Colorado 9 Seattle 9 Cleveland 5 Milwaukee 1 Arizona 9 L.A. Angels 2 Houston 14 St. Louis 0 Kansas City 5 Cincinnati 3 Chicago Cubs 7 L.A. Dodgers 0 --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has faced political pressure and angry constituents over her state’s mask order during the COVID-19 pandemic. But the 76-year-old governor of the deeply red state has resisted calls to drop the requirement as Republican governors across the South either shunned mask mandates altogether or lifted them in late winter. “Maybe they don’t have access to the same information I have. We want to be abundantly clear and abundantly safe before we drop the mask mandate,” Ivey said when asked about fellow Republicans — including the Alabama Senate and the lieutenant governor — who urged her to end the order. Ivey issued Alabama’s mask order in July and announced on Thursday that she would extend it five more weeks until April 9. “We need to get past Easter and hopefully allow more Alabamians to get their first shot before we take a step some other states have taken to remove the mask order altogether and lift other restrictions. Folks, we are not there yet, but goodness knows we’re getting closer,” Ivey said at a Thursday news conference. GOP governors from Texas to South Carolina have resisted, or ended, statewide mask orders. Florida, South Carolina and Georgia never had a statewide order. Ivey’s announcement came days after Mississippi and Texas dropped their mandates, decisions President Joe Biden called “Neanderthal thinking.” Mississippi's governor took issue with the criticism. “Mississippians don’t need handlers. As numbers drop, they can assess their choices and listen to experts. I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them,” Gov. Tate Reeves responded on Twitter. On social media, Ivey’s decision drew a mix of rage and gratitude. “Meemaw you gotta go.... I ain’t wearing it and whoever runs against you in 2022 has got my vote,” one person tweeted at Ivey using the phrase for a Southern grandmother. Another thanked her and wrote, “you are the only Southern governor doing the right thing.” A few questioned if a five-week extension was long enough. In extending the order, Ivey threaded a political needle — following medical advice while letting people know a firm end date is in sight. The governor said wearing a mask will be a personal responsibility after the order expires. “Let me be abundantly clear: After April 9, I will not keep the mask order in effect,” she said. Early in the pandemic, the governor closed dine-in restaurants, beaches and nonessential businesses — all orders that have been lifted. Alabama’s State Health Officer Scott Harris said he presented the governor with information and options, but she made the final decision. “I really appreciate her being willing to do that. I understand it’s a very difficult decision for her. I think the science on masks is very clear that they prevent disease,” Harris said. Dr. Michael Saag, an infectious disease specialist who contracted COVID-19 early in the pandemic and now treats patients with the illness, said Ivey deserves credit for standing up to calls to lift the order from fellow Republicans. “I think it was a bold step forward considering the pressure she was under,” he said. But rather than setting a firm deadline for the requirement to expire, Saag said, it would be better to see where both caseloads and vaccinations totals are next month and then make a decision. Comparing Alabama’s hospitalization trend with those from states that are lifting mask orders could be illuminating, he said. “My only plea at this point is to keep an open mind, to watch the data,” Saag said. “Keep an eye on where Alabama is as compared to where Mississippi and Texas are.” Ivey, known for her folksy demeanour, in December made a tongue-in-cheek quip about the heaping doses of criticism she has received from some over masks. “Y’all, I’m not trying to be Governor Mee-Maw as some on social media have called me. I’m just trying to urge you to use the common sense the good Lord gave each of us to be smart and considerate of others,” she said. Kim Chandler, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Thousands of people tuned in earlier this week as the judge overseeing a high-profile trial into one of the deadliest attacks in Toronto delivered her guilty verdict from the basement of her home, with a fireplace and tightly shut blinds as a backdrop. For some, the highly anticipated ruling in the murder trial of Alek Minassian provided a first glimpse of the criminal court process under the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen many proceedings move online and prompted some in the justice system to work from home. Over months of hearings culminating in Wednesday's verdict, the case -- which captured public attention across Canada and beyond -- shone a spotlight on the challenges and particularities of remote proceedings, from dress codes and home decor to the presence of pets. One witness, a forensic psychiatrist, testified from a room where several guitars hung from the walls. Court staff as well as the judge, Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy, warned that their cats may make an appearance during hearings. Meanwhile, lawyers dressed in business clothes rather than their usual robes throughout the trial -- as did Molloy, though she donned her gown for the verdict. "It may not look like a real courtroom, it may not feel like a real courtroom sometimes, it may seem to be more relaxed, but I can assure that rules of evidence, the rules of law, are not relaxed," the judge said on the trial's opening day in November. Ontario's courts issued guidance to those in the justice system when the health crisis began last year, as did several legal organizations. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice, for example, suspended the requirement to wear a gown, but noted participants, including judges, would be "expected to dress in appropriate business attire." It also advised that participants find an appropriate space to log on. "We understand that you may not have complete privacy and silence in your current environment, which may be a shared living space, but please do your best to participate from a private, quiet space," the court wrote. A task force convened early in the pandemic also laid out best practices for remote proceedings, which included a recommendation that participants consider using an "appropriately dignified artificial digital background" if necessary. Kathryn Manning, a civil litigator and co-chair of the E-Hearings Task Force, said the group had many discussions on how to maintain a serious tone in the more relaxed setting of the home. Seeing lawyers and judges in their homes, dressed in less formal clothing, humanizes them and the court process, "and of course all the people in the justice system are people," she said. "But on the other hand, it's still a formal court proceeding and I think you need to respect that and make sure you can replicate it as much as possible." The task force is working on updating its best practices now that the justice community has more experience with remote hearings, and there will be some additions related to those kinds of issues, Manning said. Trevor Farrow, a professor at York University's Osgoode Hall law school, said the loosening of the rules regarding attire and location for remote hearings has made the court more accessible in some ways, beyond making it easier for people to participate and observe. The practice of wearing gowns was meant to put everyone on a level-playing field as well as instill a certain sense of formality, but it can also intimidate and alienate people at times, he said. "So the idea of relaxing the rules around dress codes, in some ways, makes court more accessible to more people in ways that are less intimidating and alienating," he said. What's more, judges, who maintain a significant amount of discretion in how their cases operate, have also had to acknowledge the realities of people's lives, be it the presence of young children or the sudden ringing of a doorbell, Farrow said. "Some judges are still saying they don't want to hear any dogs barking, others are saying, 'Don't worry, feel free.' And so, you know, judges still run their own courtroom and there's a wide range of practices ... within the Zoom community," he said. At the same time, being able to see into someone's home as they're addressing the court can be distracting and could potentially draw away from their words, he said. "I do know that lots of lawyers and judges are using the sort of fake backgrounds, or blank backgrounds... because ideally justice is about the merits of a case not, you know, how interesting the background is," Farrow said. "Not only from an accessibility perspective, not only from a people taking it seriously perspective, but also as a matter of persuasion, you want the judge to listening to you, not thinking about the guitar behind your head." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada's municipalities are asking the federal government to include $7 billion in its upcoming budget for cities and housing providers to buy disused properties and quickly turn them into affordable housing. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) estimates the money could create up to 24,000 permanent affordable housing units in urban and rural communities. The request is for seven times the amount the Liberals put into a rapid-housing program launched last year, when the government dedicated $1 billion over a six-month stretch. The Liberals estimated the money could create up to 3,000 units by this spring by helping cities buy and quickly convert rental buildings, motels and hotels into affordable units. FCM president Garth Frizzell says the Liberals should build on what has been a success thus far. "It's a proven tool. It's working," said Frizzell, a city councillor in Prince George, B.C. "We want to find tools like this that have the evidence behind them that they are demonstrably successful, find the ones that are working like this and scale them up. This is an opportune time to do it." He may get his wish. Sources say the Liberals have been consulting on a rebooted rapid-housing program for weeks, and sending signals that the budget will include dollars for it. The two sources with knowledge of the meetings and the government's thinking spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen's most recent marching orders from the prime minister included expanding the rapid-housing initiative unveiled in September. The Liberals spent months leading up to the announcement figuring out all the details of the property acquisition program, seeing it as a way to keep people from falling into homelessness heading into the winter, with temporary shelter measures for the COVID-19 pandemic set to expire. Some cities have been renting hotel rooms to accommodate people while shelter capacity is reduced to allow for physical spacing, but they were badly stretched financially. The Liberals split the money into two streams: One with dedicated funding for over a dozen big cities, the other with money put for grabs for projects that will have to be completed within 12 months of federal officials giving the green light for funding. The project-based stream has been flooded with applications, so much so that the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., which oversees the program, has had to reject far more applications than it has approved because demand has outstripped supply. "There is definite demand for this," Frizzell said. FCM is hoping to get most of the money over the next two to three years, the period the Liberals have eyed as a timeline for stimulus spending to spur an economic recovery from the pandemic. Cities hope whatever is left can be spread over the remaining years of the national housing strategy, which has seven years left in the decade-long plan. Hussen, the minister in charge of affordable housing, has spent time trying to get a read on what needs to change in the program. Cities would like to keep direct allocations to major centres, while stakeholders have suggested a program solely based on project applications. He has also heard concerns about the timelines to file applications, and easing rules to allow, for instance, applicants to have purchase agreements for land rather than having to fully secure property first. The Liberals are also being pushed to provide subsidies for housing providers to cover costs for operations and services once people are housed. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has once again put out a national call for grant applications for funds to assist internet projects across the country. Preference will be given to projects that not only benefit students but also those geared to assist Indigenous communities and those in rural and northern locations. CIRA has been providing more than $1 million in funding to various projects each year since 2014. For the past few years, including this year, it has offered $1.25 million in grants. Registered charities, non-profit organizations and researchers and academics affiliated with a post-secondary school in Canada are encouraged to submit funding applications for projects before the April 14 deadline. Traditionally, CIRA officials receive more than 100 applications for funding annually. “We usually fund 15- 20- per cent of the applications that come in,” said Maureen James, who manages CIRA’s Community Investment Program. “It’s very competitive.” During the past seven years CIRA has provided a total of $7.95 million in funding for 171 projects across the country. The funding program is looking to specifically fund projects in four areas this year. The Infrastructure category includes research or projects that boost internet speed, access and affordability. Digital Literacy ventures include research, training programs and tools to develop digital skills. The Cybersecurity category includes research and projects that advocate for users’ online safety. And Community Leadership Initiatives includes research or events that assist Canadians in domestic internet policy issues. “It used to be a lot more broad,” James said of projects CIRA previously provided grants for. “This is the second year now with these particular focuses.” CIRA’s funding will include one grant up to a maximum of $250,000. Others can apply for up to $100,000 in funding. “We used to do smaller projects and then as people became more interested it turned into more substantial projects,” James said. “I think the most we’ve funded in a year is 28 or 29 projects.” James anticipates CIRA officials could potentially see the highest number of funding applications this year. And she attributes this to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I think we expect a lot more people to apply this year,” she said. “COVID has certainly increased the demand for internet access like overnight.” The need in Indigenous communities across the country is especially great. In its Communication Monitoring report issued last year the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) discovered that just over one-third (34 per cent) of First Nations households in the country had access to basic internet only. More information on CIRA’s grants is available here https://www.cira.ca/improving-canadas-internet/grants CIRA will also be hosting informational webinars on its funding grants in both English and French next week. The English webinar is set for March. 9 at 1 p.m. EST. And the French webinar is scheduled for March 10 at 2 p.m. EST CIRA’s call for applications was sent out Tuesday of this week. By yesterday more than 100 people had registered for next week’s English webinar. “It tells us there’s a lot of interest, which is good,” James said. “CIRA’s name has been getting out a little bit more.” James said those looking to submit funding applications are not required to attend the informational webinars. “It’s an opportunity for us to highlight key aspects that sometimes people might miss with their application,” she said. CIRA welcomes applications from groups that have received funding from them in the past. “We have had repeat recipients,” James said, adding a funded project must be complete before another grant can be secured. “The project has to be finished and signed off in order to do another one.” Several Indigenous projects have been among those in recent years that have received funding. For example, the Mamawapowin Technology Society received a grant in 2019. This non-profit was keen to upgrade and expand wireless infrastructure to all 600 homes on Samson Cree First Nation, located in Maskwacis, Alta. Funding recipients in 2020 included I-STEAM and Siksika Health Services. I-STEAM is a research and design project delivering STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) programming to Indigenous youth at Antler River Elementary School in Chippewas of the Thames First Nation in southwestern Ontario. As for Siksika Health Services, it received funding for its southern Alberta project to upgrade the internet infrastructure in five community buildings. These upgrades provide high-speed internet for not only staff in the facilities but also for youth, Elders and community members who utilize the buildings. Windspeaker.com By Sam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
The Pope's three-day visit will include a meeting with Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.View on euronews
Britain's financial regulators on Friday called a formal halt to nearly all Libor rates from the end of this year, as expected, piling pressure on markets to speed the switch in interest rates used in $260 trillion of contracts around the world. Libor, or London Interbank Offered Rate, is being replaced with rates compiled by central banks after lenders were fined billions of dollars for trying to rig what was once dubbed the world's most important number, used for pricing a wide range of debt from home and company loans to credit cards. "Today’s announcements mark the final chapter in the process that began in 2017, to remove reliance on unsustainable Libor rates and build a more robust foundation for the financial system," Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said in a statement.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Newfoundland and Labrador announced Wednesday it was extending the interval between the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to four months. Public health officials said the change will help them vaccinate 40,000 more people with a single dose by the end of March. Liberal Leader and incumbent Premier Andrew Furey said the decision is a game changer for the province's vaccination prospects. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. Nova Scotia will get 13,000 doses of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine the week of March 8. Health officials said March 3 the upcoming shipment must be used by April 2 and therefore all 13,000 doses will be administered to residents across the province aged 50 to 64 years starting March 15. The vaccine will be given out at 26 locations in Nova Scotia on a first come, first served basis. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario Ontario has given its first vaccines to people in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, some health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will include a service desk and online portal. It said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. Several regions in Ontario have moved ahead with their plans to vaccinate the general public using their own booking systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. The province has also said it will extend the interval between doses of COVID-19 vaccines to up to four months. Toronto began vaccinating police force members who respond to emergency calls on Monday and has also started offering vaccines to people experiencing homelessness. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones has said the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will go to residents between the ages of 60 and 64, but has not elaborated yet on how it will be distributed except to say it won't be through mass immunization sites. The province has said it will follow the advice of a national panel that has recommended against using the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot on people aged 65 and older. The health minister said the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot could be used in correctional facilities, but further details haven't been released. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. Like British Columbia, Manitoba has already indicated it would opt for a four-month interval between doses. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. Premier Scott Moe said Thursday that people will get their second shot up to four months after the first, which falls in line with a recent recommendation from Canada's national immunization committee. --- Alberta Alberta’s health minister says 437,000 people can soon begin booking appointments for the next round of COVID-19 vaccinations and the province hopes to hit a major milestone before July. Tyler Shandro said the province expects to offer all Albertans aged 18 and over a first dose of vaccine by the end of June. So far, Alberta has delivered 266,000 doses of vaccine. About 176,000 Albertans have been vaccinated, including 90,000 fully immunized with the recommended two doses. Shandro said residents aged 65 to 74, and First Nations, Inuit and Metis aged 50-plus, can begin booking March 15. The province had originally not expected to begin this stage of vaccination until April. The AstraZeneca vaccine will for now be offered to adults aged 50 to 64 who don’t have a severe chronic illness. Alberta has also said it will follow other provinces by extending the time between the first dose and the second to four months. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
BEIJING — A senior Chinese official says the largely pro-Beijing committee that currently elects the Hong Kong's leader will also elect some members of the city's legislature, as part of Beijing's planned revamp of Hong Kong's electoral system. "The election committee will be entrusted with the new function of electing a relatively large share of Legco members and directly participating in the nomination of all candidates for the Legco,” Wang Chen, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, said Friday during the annual session in Beijing. Wang added that the size, composition and formation method of the current election committee will also be adjusted, and that the chief executive will continue to be elected by the election committee. The Associated Press
The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations is demanding the federal government restart talks on the Mi'kmaq fishery in Nova Scotia after the Department of Fisheries (DFO) announced it will not issue fishing licences to First Nations in Atlantic Canada outside of the commercial season. In a letter sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday, National Chief Perry Bellegarde expressed outrage over DFO's recent decision, which sides with a key demand from the commercial fishing industry. "I urge you and the entire federal cabinet to reconsider this mandate and to return to good-faith negotiations," Bellegarde wrote in a letter obtained by CBC News. "It is only through continued peaceful negotiations that your government will reach agreements with First Nations on a nation-to-nation basis." On Wednesday, federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan released a plan outlining conditions for Indigenous lobster fishermen to participate in moderate livelihood fisheries during commercial seasons. Indigenous fishermen in Nova Scotia argue that a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision affirms the Mi'kmaq treaty right to fish for a so-called "moderate livelihood'' when and where they want — even outside the federally regulated commercial fishing season. A dispute over treaty rights-based fishing sparked violence last fall when the Sipekne'katik First Nation launched its own self-regulated 'moderate livelihood' lobster fishery in St. Mary's Bay, N.S., outside of the commercial season. The move sparked backlash from some fishermen, who called it unfair and bad for conservation. Several other First Nations in the East Coast followed Sipekne'katik by launching their own moderate fisheries citing the 1999 Supreme Court decision. These men are on opposite sides of the dispute over the Mi’kmaw lobster fishery. On the left, a commercial fisherman with an Acadian flag, on the right a supporter of Sipekne’katik’s new rights-based fishery, holding the Mi’kmaw flag(Taryn Grant/CBC) That ruling affirmed the right of the Mi'kmaq to earn a "moderate livelihood" from fishing, but did not define the term. The high court later said the federal government could regulate that fishery, but must justify any restrictions. Jordan cited that ruling to explain her authority. "The Supreme Court clearly stated 'treaty rights are subject to regulation provided such regulation is shown by the Crown to be justified on conservation or other grounds of public importance,'" Jordan wrote in a statement. Ottawa imposed policy, says chief Bellegarde said Jordan has "badly mismanaged'' the file and should formally withdraw her statement. "The heavy handedness by Minister Jordan was uncalled for," Bellegarde wrote. He accused the government of failing to meaningfully consult with the Mi'kmaq by imposing a policy on First Nations. And he described the DFO's statement that it would follow with increased federal enforcement on the water "overtly hostile actions." Bellegarde wrote the move was contrary to the government's public commitments to uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which affirms the rights of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination and to their language, culture and traditional lands. The Liberal government has introduced legislation that will begin the process of bringing Canadian law into alignment with the declaration. Sen. Brian Francis of Prince Edward Island issued a statement on Thursday saying Jordan's decision would do little to heal and repair the relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples. "It will also not reduce the potential for hostility or even violence against the Mi'kmaq but rather increase the surveillance and policing of our fishers and communities," Francis wrote. "I am left deeply troubled and concerned that the Mi'kmaq and/or other First Nations will be forced to once again resort to the courts to ensure our rights are honoured. That, to me, is not how we achieve real reconciliation." WATCH | Ottawa says 'moderate livelihood' fishery must use commercial season: Francis also expressed disappointment that Jordan dismissed an attempt by him and two other Mi'kmaw parliamentarians — Sen. Dan Christmas and Liberal MP Jaime Battiste — to work together on a solution. Last fall, the parliamentarians recommended Jordan create an Atlantic First Nations Fishing Authority to advance and protect treaty rights, which Jordan indicated she was open to exploring. DFO offering pathway to sell lobster The federal government is still working with First Nations to develop moderate livelihood fishing plans. DFO is offering Indigenous fishermen in Nova Scotia a pathway to sell lobster harvested in a moderate livelihood fishery. Right now, that catch does not have DFO's stamp of approval. Without authorization, they can't legally sell their catch to licenced buyers, such as lobster pounds and processors. Communities that accept DFO's proposal will receive a moderate livelihood licence that will allow them to sell catch this season. Under provincial rules, only fish products harvested under federal commercial licences can be purchased by shore processors. The Sipekne'katik First Nation launched its own Mi'kmaw-regulated, rights-based lobster fishery last fall in St. Mary's Bay, about 250 kilometres west of Halifax, during the off season.(Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press) The federal government "will balance additional First Nations access through already available licences and a willing buyer-willing seller approach, protecting ... Stocks and preserving the industry for generations to come," Jordan's statement said. Ottawa has already spent half a billion dollars integrating Indigenous bands into the commercial fishery through licence buy-backs and training, but it never defined moderate livelihood. Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack urged Mi'kmaw bands in Atlantic Canada to reject Ottawa's position and said his community's fishery will continue to operate outside DFO seasons. "They're trying to divide and conquer and throw a carrot to a band or two and have them sign and just hurt everybody's case," Sack said. "I hope that no other communities do sign."
Stanley Sepchuk was just a baby when the so-called Spanish flu killed tens of thousands of Canadians, but he got through it just fine. In his teens, he sold the brand-new bicycle his father got for him so he could buy his first trumpet. He did it, his daughter says, because he was fascinated by music and wanted to give it a try. That budding passion quickly turned into a way of life, starting with local gigs when he was about 17. He then went on to play alongside some of the greats, including Frank Sinatra. The 103-year-old resident of Hudson, Que., has seen much in his long life, but lately he's been seeing nothing but the inside of his home so as to avoid catching COVID-19. On Wednesday, he finally ventured outdoors with his daughter, Melody, to get inoculated against the coronavirus at a makeshift vaccine site at Decarie Square in Côte Saint-Luc, Que., on the Island of Montreal. A joker with a broad smile, Sepchuk said he was looking forward to the vaccine "more or less. Mostly more." A recent fall has him in a wheelchair for now, but his spirits were high, even with safety goggles and a mask on his face as he was administered the potentially life-saving vaccine. Even before he got the shot, Sepchuk was ready to cap off the long day with some wine. WATCH: One of Quebec's oldest veterans get vaccinated Stanley Sepchuk got a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Decarie Square site in Montreal on Wednesday, cracking jokes from start to finish.(Chloë Ranaldi/CBC) Music and 'looking for girls' Sepchuk is no stranger to enjoying a drink after a long day. He used to play clubs across Montreal at a time when the city's nightlife was hopping with live music, dancing and plenty of booze. In his 20s, during World War II, he served as a trumpeter for the Royal Canadian Air Force Band. He went on to become a popular jazz musician, playing his trumpet, trombone, singing and, he said, "looking for girls." Sepchuk, who went by the stage name of Stan Martin, was the music director of the McGill University's production of Red and White Revue in 1949. He also played at the first Montreal Jazz Festival in 1980. Sepchuk, centre, named his daughter Melody in recognition of his passion for music. He performed in the very first Montreal Jazz Festival in 1980.(Submitted by Melody Sepchuk) As well as Sinatra, Sepchuk accompanied plenty of big-name musicians such as Chubby Checker, Oscar Peterson, Dean Martin and Louis Armstrong. While Peterson was local, many others came from afar to play Montreal. They chose Sepchuk and his band, Stan Martin and his Orchestra, to take the stage with them, as he was considered the best in town. Sinatra became a regular, and Sepchuk got to know him well. "We had a little tiff now and again, but he was OK," Sepchuck remembered. "Nice fellow." Veteran of WW II Sepchuk, a father of four, is now considered Quebec's oldest veteran of WW II, his daughter says. He lived most of his life in Montreal but moved west to Hudson in his 80s as he slowly began retiring from the music scene. At the Hudson Legion Branch #115, he is known as Stan the Man. Sepchuk says he is 104, noting this is his 104th year. For his 100th birthday in November 2017, the local newspaper, The Journal, asked him if he still played the trumpet and he is quoted as saying: "Hey, I'm just glad to be breathing!" He cracked a similar joke with CBC Montreal when asked the same question on Wednesday. "Oh my God," he said. "I'm lucky to be alive." After getting the shot, he gave a thumbs up and waved to health-care staff on his way out. He said getting the vaccine was "OK" and he feels "like I felt yesterday." He said it was time to go home, get some sleep and do some drinking.