Mikey and Ellie the Great Danes enjoy their naptime, but also really enjoy playtime. Watch and laugh as Ellie encourages Mikey to give up his lanai loveseat nap to go out and play together.
Mikey and Ellie the Great Danes enjoy their naptime, but also really enjoy playtime. Watch and laugh as Ellie encourages Mikey to give up his lanai loveseat nap to go out and play together.
(NASA/JPL-Caltech - image credit) When the Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars last month, it arrived with a B.C.-made tool in its figurative tool belt. The six-wheeled, plutonium-powered U.S. rover landed on the red planet on Feb. 18, with a mandate to drill down and collect tiny geological specimens that will be returned to NASA in about 2031. That drilling will be done using a drill bit tip designed and manufactured by a company based in Langford, B.C. "It has great wear and fraction resistance so it is perfect for a Mars application," said Ron Sivorat, business director for Kennametal Inc., during an interview on CBC's All Points West. The drill bit tip is made from K92-grade tungsten carbide blanks, which Sivorat said are one of the toughest grades used for drilling here on earth and he is confident it will be good enough for Mars. According to Sivorat, the company has had a relationship with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2014, when the space agency first began ordering and testing Kennametal Inc. drill bit tips. In 2018, the company learned NASA wanted to work with it to build a bit for Perseverance. Sivorat said staff built the drill bit to NASA's specifications and then sent it to the agency who finessed it somewhat for its Mars mission. When Perseverance landed safely on the fourth planet from the sun, it was an exciting moment for Kennametal Inc. employees, many of whom watched the landing online and are continuing to check on Perservance's daily progress updates. "We know that we are going to be part of, in one way or another, an historical event that will be remembered for many years to come," said Sivorat. Sivorat said he expects the drill bit built in B.C. to start penetrating the surface of Mars in the next couple of weeks. And B.C. is not the only Canadian province with a connection to Perseverance. Canadian Photonic Labs, based in Minnedosa, Man., manufactured a high-speed and highly-durable camera that played an instrumental role in landing the rover. The Manitoba company's relationship with NASA dates back roughly 15 years, he said — but much of the work that's happened in that time has been cloaked in secrecy.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Tuesday: ENGLAND Manchester City looks to make it 21 straight wins in all competitions by beating Wolverhampton to move 15 points clear in the Premier League. Wolves has caused City issues recently, beating Pep Guardiola's side home and away last season, but does not have star striker Raul Jimenez this time round as he recovers from a fractured skull. “The history against them shows us how tough it is and we know it perfectly," Guardiola said. “We know exactly the type of game we have to play — to be so intense but, at the same time, calm." City is in the middle of a hectic period featuring games every three or four days so will rotate again, with Raheem Sterling, Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva among those likely to be recalled. Manchester United is City's nearest challenger, 12 points back, and plays Crystal Palace on Wednesday. GERMANY Borussia Mönchengladbach has lost all three games since the club announced that coach Marco Rose will be joining Borussia Dortmund next season. The teams meet in the German Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday, when Rose will hope to end the negative spiral against his future employers. Gladbach’s troubles started before Rose’s departure was made known. It hasn’t won its last five Bundesliga games. While Gladbach has been on a slump, Dortmund’s fortunes are looking up after three wins in a row including a 4-0 rout of Schalke in the derby and a 3-2 win at Sevilla in the Champions League. Coach Edin Terzic seems to be enjoying his role now the pressure has been taken off with Rose’s arrival at the end of the season. Both teams know the German Cup is a realistic chance of a trophy with reigning champion Bayern Munich already knocked out of the competition. ITALY Injury-hit Juventus needs a win against lowly Spezia to boost its faltering title defence. The nine-time defending champion drew at Hellas Verona 1-1 last weekend to leave it 10 points behind Serie A leader Inter Milan, albeit having played a match less. Juventus will still be without Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Juan Cuadrado, Arthur and Paulo Dybala, who are all injured. Forward Álvaro Morata could recover enough for a place on the bench. Also, Lazio could move level with fourth-place Atalanta if it wins at home to relegation-threatened Torino. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — A lawyer for the Huawei executive facing extradition to the United States says there's evidence showing the case against her is "manifestly unreliable" and he wants that evidence admitted to the record. Meng Wanzhou's lawyer Frank Addario says emails between staff at the telecom giant and international bank HSBC show the bank was well aware that Huawei controlled another company called Skycom, therefore Meng wasn't responsible for any violation of U.S. sanctions again Iran by the bank. He told the B.C. Supreme Court hearing that staff at HSBC knew that Skycom was sold to Canicula, that Canicula was Skycom's parent company and that Huawei controlled the Canicula account. Addario is asking the judge to admit affidavits including emails and bank account information into evidence to support the defence team's case at Meng's committal hearing, to be heard in May. Meng was arrested at Vancouver's airport in 2018 on a request by U.S. officials who allege she misrepresented the relationship between Huawei and Skycom, causing HSBC to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran. Both she and Huawei deny the allegations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Andrew Harnik/AP Photo - image credit) The White House spokesperson today ruled out sending vaccines to continental partners like Canada and Mexico, saying U.S. President Joe Biden is committed to getting every American vaccinated before sharing doses with other countries. During a White House press briefing today, Jen Psaki was asked if Biden was considering sharing part of the U.S. COVID-19 vaccine supply with allies. "No," she replied. "The president has made clear that he is focused on ensuring that vaccines are accessible to every American. That is our focus," she added. Psaki was more definitive than U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was last week. In an interview with CBC's Rosemary Barton Live, Blinken said the U.S. was looking at "how we can help get vaccines around the world." "None of us are going to be fully safe until everyone in every part of the world is vaccinated," Blinken said when asked if the administration would scrap Trump-era restrictions on U.S. vaccine exports. WATCH: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the Canada-U.S. border Canada is a vaccine laggard in the Western world right now; dozens of other countries have vaccinated more people per capita. The U.S. is expected to have enough supply to vaccinate 4.5 times more people, per capita, than Canada in the first three months of 2021. Biden has so far maintained the past administration's policy of earmarking virtually all U.S.-made vaccines for the American market. Pfizer's Kalamazoo, Mich. plant and Moderna operations in New England are dedicated to producing U.S. shipments alone. Last December, then-U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order demanding drugmakers first supply the U.S. government before assisting other nations. Trump's Operation Warp Speed — the U.S. mission to develop a vaccine, manufacture it in large quantities and push it out into communities — provided funding to Moderna to develop its product. That policy has forced Canada to turn to European plants for supply, despite the geographic proximity of those American operations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week, however, that Canada is expecting part of its supply of the AstraZeneca product to be shipped from U.S. plants in the second and third quarters of this year. U.S. President Joe Biden listens as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his statement following a virtual meeting in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. While Health Canada approved the shot last week, that company hasn't yet applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization (EUA) for the U.S. market. "We are receiving positive indications that we will be on track to receive our 20 million doses from the facility in the United States," Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said. Anand has said she asked the U.S. administration to allow some Pfizer shots to flow north but her requests were rebuffed. Psaki said that once the 300 million-plus Americans who are eligible for a shot have been vaccinated, the U.S. could talk about sharing supply. "But our focus, [Biden's] focus, the administration's focus is on ensuring that every American is vaccinated, and once we accomplish that objective we're happy to discuss further steps beyond that," she said. "The next step is economic recovery and that is ensuring that our neighbours, Mexico and Canada, have similarly managed the pandemic so that we can open borders and build back better."
(Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit) Saskatchewan reported 154 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. Also, the province can now do its own testing for virus variants. Of the 28,801 total known cases to date in the province, 1,551 are considered active. The seven-day average of daily new cases in Saskatchewan is 143 — 11.6 new cases per 100,000 population. The new cases Friday are in the following provincial zones: Far northwest (12). Far north central (three). Far northeast (five). Northwest (14). North central (10). Northeast (two). Saskatoon (33). Central west (one). Central east (14). Regina (53). Southeast (two). There are currently 151 people in hospital in the province due to COVID-19, of whom 21 are in intensive care. The province also reported 146 new recoveries. There have been 26,865 known recoveries in total. To date, 578,066 COVID-19 tests have been processed in Saskatchewan, 1,741 of which were processed on Sunday. Variant testing The Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory (RRPL) has completed the validation process to support whole genome sequencing, according to the province. This means that Saskatchewan now has the capacity to test whether a positive COVID-19 case is a variant of concern. Up until now, the province has sent its samples to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg for sequencing. Starting immediately, the RRPL has the capacity to test up to 192 samples per week, according the province. Saskatchewan will continue to send up to 120 COVID-19 case samples per week to Manitoba in order to ensure a larger sample size. The province said the RRPL will continue to focus whole genome sequencing testing on COVID-positive results linked to international travel, declared outbreaks and cases of unexpected severe illness, as well as a random sampling of confirmed cases. 386 vaccinations There were 386 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered Sunday in Saskatchewan, according to the province. To date, a total of 79,289 shots have been administered. The 386 doses were administered in the northwest (124) and north central (262) zones. There were an additional 677 doses administered in the far northeast (22), northwest (212), central east (120) and southeast (323) zones from Feb. 25 to 27. CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
B.C. is moving into the second phase of its immunization plan, vaccinating seniors in the community aged 80 and up over the course of this month. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also said the second dose of the three approved vaccines—Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca—will be delayed to four months or 16 weeks, to provide more protection to more people sooner. Henry said the initial dose provides “a very high level of real-world protection.” In Phase 2, more than 400,000 people in B.C. will receive their first vaccine dose from March to early April, including: • seniors and high-risk people residing in independent living and seniors' supportive housing (including staff); • home-care support clients and staff; • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) peoples born in or before 1956 (65 years and older); and • seniors born in or before 1941 (80 years and older). Today, first-dose immunizations begin for those living and working in independent living centres and seniors' supportive housing, as well as home-care support clients and staff. Health authorities will directly contact those in this priority group to book appointments—there is no need to call. Beginning Monday (March 8), seniors aged 80+ and Indigenous peoples aged 65+ who are not living in independent living or seniors' supportive housing can make one call to book their appointment through their local health authority call centre according to a staggered schedule. This is to avoid long waits and system overload. Immunization clinic locations will be confirmed at time of booking, with vaccinations starting as early as March 15: • March 8: Seniors born in or before 1931 (90 years+) and Indigenous people born in or before 1956 (65 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment; • March 15: Seniors born in or before 1936 (85 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment; and • March 22: Seniors born in or before 1941 (80 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment. Health authority contact information, complete call-in schedules, hours of operations and step-by-step instructions on how to call to book an appointment for yourself, for a family member, for a friend or neighbour will be available on March 8, here: www.gov.bc.ca/bcseniorsfirst "We can now see the light at the end of what has been a difficult and challenging time for us all. To get us through, we need to continue to work together and support each other," said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. "We are working hard each and every day to make sure that everyone who wants a vaccine gets one, and my new provincial health officer order significantly expands the range of health professions and occupations who can support our immunization clinics, including dentists, midwives, pharmacy technicians, paramedics, firefighters and retired nurses." For health professionals who want to sign up to support B.C.'s immunization efforts as immunizers, visit: https://forms.hlth.gov.bc.ca/registry-covid-19 Immunizing other priority groups identified in Phase 2, many of whom have already received their first dose, is also underway, including: • Indigenous communities, Indigenous Elders, hospital staff, community general practitioners and medical specialists not immunized in Phase 1; • vulnerable populations living and working in select congregate settings; and • staff in community home support and nursing services for seniors. In mid-April, Phase 3 will begin mass vaccination of people aged 79 to 60 years, and people aged 16+ who are extremely clinically vulnerable, at community immunization clinics throughout B.C. Mobile clinics will be available in some rural communities and for people who are homebound due to mobility issues. In Phase 3, British Columbians will register and book their appointments to receive their first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine through an online registration tool. People born between 1942 and 1946 (ages 79-75), and Indigenous peoples born between the years of 1956 and 1960 (ages 64-60), will be able to register for an appointment online or by phone by March 31. As of last week, 252,373 people in B.C. have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 73,808 who have received their second dose. “Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, we are far from out of this,” said Premier John Horgan. “We have a long way to go.” Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
(David Bajer/CBC - image credit) Another year of business tax relief is on the way in Calgary after city council unanimously supported a plan to spend $43 million to cap increases and support those impacted by the pandemic. The plan would spend $13 million to keep non-residential property taxes to a limit of 10 per cent higher than last year in order to help soften the ongoing issue of businesses outside the core picking up the financial slack for Calgary's hollowed out downtown. The remaining $30 million would be used for a yet-to-be-defined relief program for local businesses. The details of that targeted support are expected to be unveiled at council on March 22. Debate in council focused on the need to ensure small businesses that are directly impacted by the pandemic receive the funds they need and money does not flow to larger corporations with a more robust balance sheet. Band-Aids and focused relief Coun. Jeff Davison, who brought the motion to council, said using the phased tax program, which offsets spiking tax rates, benefits too many businesses that have profited. "One of the things we need to do is figure out a better way that we can support local," he said. Coun. Druh Farrell, who recently announced she would not seek re-election, said she was supporting the plan but stressed it was yet another Band-Aid solution to a persistent civic issue. "We need to focus on the problem, not the symptom of the problem, which is the tax shift," she said. "We need to focus on downtown recovery. So again, I urge all members of council to get involved in the downtown strategy. It's all-encompassing, and it will require at least a decade, perhaps more, of concerted effort by by the City of Calgary." The city has long relied on a downtown stuffed with head offices and the resulting staff to help cover a big portion of the money flowing into city accounts, a model that collapsed alongside the price of oil. Property taxes function in such a way that tax money that has disappeared from the downtown towers must be covered by businesses outside the core, leading to the potential for massive increases. The vacancy rate downtown is hovering around 30 per cent and values have plummeted. The province responds Council over the past few years has alleviated that pressure by consistently approving one-time allocations of reserve money in order to limit increases despite concerns it is simply pushing the issue down the road. Since 2017, the city has spent over $200 million on tax relief for businesses. Last fall, city council opted to give non-residential properties a small tax cut overall. However, some business properties where land values went up will still face double-digit tax hikes in 2021. On Monday, the minister of jobs, economy and innovation, Doug Schweitzer, penned an op-ed in the Calgary Herald saying the province will form a working group to look at helping Calgary's downtown. He promised town halls on the issue through the coming months. That was met with skepticism from Calgary's mayor later in the day. "Well, minister, with all due respect, welcome to the party. We're happy to have you and we need your help. We don't need town halls for the next four to five months, we've been working on this for years," Naheed Nenshi said. "Business owners have spoken — business owners who are here, business owners who want to be here. We will be presenting a downtown strategy to council in the next few weeks based on all of that input, and we're really happy to have the province on board, but don't reinvent the wheel." Meanwhile, Calgary Chamber of Commerce CEO Murray Sigler said in an emailed statement that the organization welcomes the relief for businesses but hopes to see other changes made to alleviate property tax increases for businesses in the coming years. "The city's current financial position demands thoughtful and creative solutions to reduce costs and generate revenue without placing the tax burden on businesses and the citizens they employ and serve. Today's measures point us in the right direction. But many businesses in Calgary will still see property tax increases next year due to structural problems within the tax system, and the shift of the tax burden from the highrises in our downtown to businesses outside of the core," read Sigler's statement in part. "We must ensure fairness and sustainability in our property tax system. We urge city council to shift the non-residential to residential tax ratio, reduce the cost and increase the effectiveness of local government, make better use of non-revenue generating city-owned land, and contribute to reimagining the municipal-provincial relationship."
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia's COVID-19 vaccination-booking web page is experiencing technical issues the first day it opened to people aged 80 and over.The Health Department said today on Twitter its web page has been temporarily disabled as a precaution after booking service CANImmunize reported a slowdown because of high traffic volume.The department says CANImmunize is investigating and in the meantime, people who want to book an appointment can do so by telephone — although it says call volumes are also high.About 48,000 people in Nova Scotia are at least 80 years old and are eligible to get shots at a series of community clinics scheduled to open this month across the province.Health officials are reporting one new case of COVID-19 today and a total of 35 active known infections.They say that as of Sunday, the province had administered 32,856 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 12,845 people having received a booster shot.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — COVID-19 has all but stalled a promised shift in how Canadians appeal rulings on their requests for federal income supports. The department overseeing the work, Employment and Social Development Canada, says the change won't happen as originally scheduled next month because of pandemic-related risks. In 2019, the Liberals promised to partially restore the system that existed before the previous Conservative government created the Social Security Tribunal in 2013. The Liberals planned to bring back board hearings for the first layer of appeals inside the Social Security Tribunal, and retain a single arbitrator for the second, final, layer. Three sources with knowledge of the government's plans tell The Canadian Press the required legislative changes were to be in last year's budget, which was shelved due to the pandemic. The legislative change are expected to be in this year's budget bill, say the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to detail private conservations, or because they were not authorized to speak publicly about matters not yet public. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
Alma is a museum curator in Berlin. Tom, a robot who speaks German with a slight English accent. This is the premise of Maria Schrader's romantic comedy 'I'm Your Man', which opened this year's online Berlin Film Festival on Monday.
WINNIPEG — Manitoba has released a report showing COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Indigenous, Black and other people of colour in the province. “This is systemic and it is seen in every jurisdiction,” Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer, said Monday. Roussin said the province’s race and ethnicity data show a similar pattern to information in other jurisdictions in Canada and around the world. He said it’s not about people in communities making bad choices. COVID-19 infections are largely linked to pre-existing inequities, including in housing and employment. “We know people in (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) communities are more likely to live in lower income neighbourhoods, live in overcrowded and multi-generational households,” Roussin said. “They are also more likely to have low-wage occupations.” The report compiled Manitoba infections data from May 1 to Dec. 31, 2020. Fifty-one per cent of people who tested positive for COVID-19 self-identified as Black, Indigenous or of colour, but 35 per cent of people in Manitoba belong to that group. The report said North American Indigenous people made up 17 per cent of infections, despite representing about 13 per cent of the overall population. Black and African people, accounting for four per cent of the population, made up eight per cent of positive tests. Filipino people also had significant infection rates — 12 per cent of cases, while representing seven per cent of the population. South Asian people, three per cent of the population, made up eight per cent of positive cases. The report noted that white people experienced less COVID-19 than would be expected based on population size. On Monday, Manitoba reported one more death and 35 new cases of the novel coronavirus. The province brought in significant restrictions last fall that shut down restaurants and limited group sizes after a surge of infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The number of new cases has significantly dropped in recent weeks. The five-day test positivity rate was at 3.9 per cent provincially and three per cent for Winnipeg. The provincial government has indicated that details on what public-health restrictions are to be further loosened are to be provided Tuesday. Roussin said it’s important to take a cautious approach. “We are going to gradually reopen and stay open.” Vaccines also became available for the general population in Manitoba last week based on age. Roussin said the rollout has expanded to include people born in 1930 and earlier and First Nations people born in 1950 and earlier. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021 Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has eased slightly more restrictions tied to COVID-19. Libraries can now open at 15 per cent capacity and gyms can now host indoors low-impact group activities, like Pilates and tai chi. Kenney had been expected to ease rules in other areas, such as retail capacity and hotels, but he says the COVID numbers have hit a plateau and they need more time to assess just to be safe.
Mass vaccinations will be the key to controlling a potential third wave in Chatham-Kent, says the region’s top doctor. Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby said the highly transmissible variants are keeping public health officials on their toes. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other health officials have warned a third wave could be the worst yet, but Dr. David Colby remains optimistic. “I really think that widespread vaccination will have a significant impact to blunt the effect of the third wave,” said Colby. “The worrying factor are these variants, and that’s really what is fueling the speculation about a third wave.” Colby said there are three variants of concern. “The common variant, the B.1.1.7 variant, remains susceptible to the immune response triggered by the vaccines that we have,” said Colby. “We need to push ahead with our vaccination program and get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can.” The interval between the first and second doses is 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days for the Moderna vaccine. However, Colby said it could be up to 45 days as there isn’t an exact answer for how long a person can go between receiving the first and second dose. “There isn’t an exact answer, we have an agreed-upon regimen for these COVID vaccines, which is up to 45 days, but the Ontario government does not want to go out that far with the elderly population,” said Colby. He added that most of the protection happens with the first dose, while the second dose is to consolidate protection and ensure that it lasts for a longer time. “All I can say is that there’s a great deal of protection that’s afforded for quite a while with even one dose of any of the vaccines,” said Colby. On Feb. 23, the John D. Bradley Convention Centre opened its vaccination clinic. There were 700 appointments for health-care workers and essential caregivers on the first two days. Colby said the clinic is running smoothly. “It’s such an important step for Chatham-Kent,” said Colby. “The Bradley Centre clinic is really doing very, very well, and they hit the ground running.” While he could not go into detail regarding more vaccine shipments, Colby said we’re heading in the right direction. “All indicators that we have right now point to the fact that vaccine supplies will be stable or increasing over the next while,” said Colby. Meanwhile, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance CEO Lori Marshall is warning the public about recent robocalls claiming to be for booking vaccinations. These calls can be dangerous as they are really aimed at collecting people’s personal information. She said these calls are not official and should be ignored. Marshall said a live person will make all vaccination booking calls. “People will be contacted by a live person, and no one should be giving out their personal information like social insurance numbers and those kinds of things on the phone,” said Marshall. CK Public Health said Chatham-Kent Police are aware of the issue, and there is no need to report these calls to them at this time. Colby said people who can’t travel to Chatham would have an opportunity to get vaccinated at pop-up clinics across the municipality when they are set up. Paramedics will be vaccinating individuals who are housebound when they’re identified through their doctors. The homeless population falls under Phase 2. Additionally, Colby said there are mechanisms in place to get to those who are missed. Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
CALGARY — The Calgary Real Estate Board said Monday that the market has faced low inventory levels compared to sales for the past several months, while prices continued to climb. The board's February numbers show that prices jumped by about 8 per cent to reach an average of $485,870, up from $446,690 the year prior. CREB's chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie attributed the spike to pandemic conditions. “Despite continued COVID-19 restrictions, housing activity continues to improve. Much of the strong sales activity is expected to be driven by exceptionally low mortgage rates,” she said. “Confidence is also likely improving as vaccine rollouts are underway. Additionally, some of the worst fears concerning the energy sector are easing with recent gains in energy prices.” Sales totalled 1,836 last month, a more than 54 per cent increase over February 2020 and a volume not seen since February 2014. New listings, however, didn't keep up the pace. They amounted to 2,848, a 13 per cent increase from 2,517 the year before. The gap between sales and new listings is doing little to help the market's inventory woes, CREB said. It estimated the area now has fewer than three months' worth of homes on the market. Conditions are particularly tight in the detached sector, especially for homes priced below $600,000, said CREB. That portion of the market alone has less than two months of housing supply, but is also experiencing the most significant price gains. Detached home sales in February amounted to 1,123, up from 678 the year prior, while prices edged up to $572,670 from $526,084 previously. New listings for the category were up about 17 per cent, but inventory was down by almost 30 per cent. At the other end of the housing spectrum, apartments and condos have a relatively high level of inventory compared to sales. CREB said 272 apartments sold in February, up from 209 the February before. Inventory in the category reached 1,433, a slight dip from 1,470 the year prior. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
REGINA — Saskatchewan's finance minister says it's going to be tough to eliminate the province's deficit by 2024 and the government is likely to pick a new goal. Donna Harpauer says the province's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is going slower than hoped. During last fall's provincial election, Premier Scott Moe campaigned on a promise to eliminate Saskatchewan's $2-billion deficit by 2024. He also promised it wouldn't happen through increasing taxes or slashing services. Harpauer says the Saskatchewan Party government believes in having a plan for eliminating the deficit, but it won't make irresponsible cuts to meet its goal. She says with a slower economic recovery, it's going to be "very, very difficult" to get back to balance by 2024. Harpauer says more will be said about the deficit when the 2021-22 budget is presented April 6. "We still haven't taken in our final projections, so I guess there's a faint hope," she told The Canadian Press on Monday. "The way the projections are coming in, in all good likelihood, we'll have to change that goalpost." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021 The Canadian Press
The Rideau Waterway Land Trust (RWLT) has launched a fundraising campaign to purchase a large property on Opinicon Lake near Chaffey’s Lock. The 30-hectare (74-acre) piece of land in the heart of the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only World Heritage Site, is also within the Frontenac Arch UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The location provides critical habitat for many species-at-risk, the RWLT said in a release on Monday, Mar. 1, 2021. The Frontenac Arch also provides a “land bridge” that connects the boreal forest of the Canadian Shield to the forests of the Adirondack and Appalachian Mountains. The organization says this link helps to maintain genetic diversity in plant and animal life as our climate continues to undergo change. According to the release, the land abuts provincially significant wetlands, is near the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS), and has been used for scientific research and education. The current owners now wish to sell the land and its acquisition is an ideal project to help the Trust celebrate its 25th year of successful operation. Since it’s incorporation in 1996, the RWLT has been able to preserve 20 significant properties through ownership and conservation easement while expanding its area of interest to include all the communities within the Rideau Corridor from Kingston to Ottawa. If RWLT is successful in this fundraising campaign, they say the property will be added to the Land Trust’s collection. A map of the properties protected by the RWLT can been seen here, and includes the popular Rock Dunder hiking trail near Morton, Ontario. The property up for purchase was once owned by Don and Mary Warren. Don was one of the founders of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust, an educator and activist who led the community’s resistance to the plan to electrify the Rideau Canal’s locks in the 1960s, according to the release. The organization says Mary was an enthusiastic supporter and was instrumental in convincing Don to purchase this property in 1965. The opportunity to establish the Warren Nature Reserve is a fitting tribute to their foresight, RWLT said in the release. RWLT is seeking to raise $120,000 towards the $435,000 project cost by April 2021; all donations will be used to leverage matching government funding. The RWLT expects the government funding to cover 40 per cent of the land acquisition cost, providing they are able to raise the other 60 per cent. RWLT has a very short timeframe to raise these funds, and say any and all donations from local communities would be greatly appreciated. Anyone interested can learn more about this project at www.rwlt.org/warren. Donations can be made at www.rwlt.org/donate, noting “Warren Property” in the donation comments. All donations will receive a charitable receipt. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
(Eric Dicaire/CBC - image credit) At first glance, Timothée Régnier and Eric Normandeau are an unlikely duo. Régnier is a young engineer from France who moved to Montreal and hopped between different startups. Normandeau is a health and fitness specialist who taught physical education for 14 years at a Montreal school board. An idea brought the two together: they both wanted to solve workplace fatigue. "Like a lot of people, I was suffering from drowsiness," said Régnier. "You take a lunch break, you head back to work, then you fall asleep in a meeting or in your car." Régnier wanted a solution that didn't involve coffee or other energy-boosting substances. He wanted something that was natural, would fit in an office space, and could help relieve workplace stress and anxiety. To him, the ideal solution would involve a space where workers could quickly nap before going on with their day. Thankfully, Normandeau already had an idea in the works. "In the general population, there's a big lack of sleep," said Normandeau. "This has consequences like stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression and burnout. For me, that's not normal." This gave him an idea. He imagined a private pod that people could reserve and use to rest during the work day. So, when Régnier and Normandeau met, they were a natural fit. They founded RecharjMe together. RecharjMe's business model involves renting relaxation pods to other organizations. For a fee, companies can have a pod installed in their workspace. Then, through an app on their phones, employees can book up to 30 minutes to relax, free of charge. Inside the pod, they will find a heated massage chair, soothing music, and therapeutic lights that can help them relax in the middle of a busy workday. Before the pandemic, their main clients were offices in the Montreal area. But things changed when COVID-19 hit in March of last year. Stories of overworked nurses and stressed front-line workers filled the airwaves. "When we saw the distress in the hospitals, we thought 'ok, we have to try to help them,'" said Régnier. They got to work. They reached out to hospitals and offered their services. They now have pods installed at the CHUM, Verdun hospital, the Montreal Heart Institute, and Notre-Dame hospital. To make sure the pods are safe, the RecharjMe booking app reminds users to disinfect the pod before and after use. Underneath the chair, there is also an air purifier to lower the risk of infectious airborne particles in the pod. Normandeau and Régnier say the response from health workers has been positive. So far, they say 700 medical staff have made 4000 reservations through the RecharjMe app. "For us, that's so important," said Normandeau. "That's why we're doing this."
Chatham-Kent is trending in the right direction. Chatham-Kent will move from ‘Red-Control’ to ‘Orange-Restrict’ under Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework. The move into Orange indicates Chatham-Kent saw a weekly incidence rate of 25 to 39.9 new cases per 100,000 residents. Based on the latest data, Chatham-Kent will move from ‘Red-Control’ to ‘Orange-Restrict’ in the Framework effective Monday, March 1, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. Windsor-Essex is expected to remain in ‘Red-Control’ for at least another week. The move brings some changes as Chatham-Kent changes restriction levels. Among the biggest changes is regarding gathering sizes in organized venues. Under ‘Orange-Restrict’, up to 50 people can now gather indoors and 100 outdoors as long as physical distancing can be maintained in places such as restaurants. Additionally, religious services can now move to 30 percent capacity indoors or 100 people outdoors. The limit on private gatherings remains at 10 for indoors and 25 outdoors with distancing and masking protocols in place. However, health officials continue to recommend not gathering indoors. While many restrictions that were in place under ‘Red-Control’ will continue, locations such as restaurants and bars may now remain open until 10 p.m. Additionally, dancing, singing, karaoke and musical performances are allowed with restrictions. Movie theatres and performance venues can also reopen with a limit of 50 people indoors and a number of restrictions in place, including masking, screening and collection of contact information. Despite the numbers trending in the right direction, Mayor Darrin Canniff said now is not the time to be complacent. “The more people that get vaccinated, the better off we’ll be,” said Canniff. “The light is at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine. We just need to be patient for another few months and, hopefully, most of this will be behind us after that.” On February 26, a third COVID-19 vaccine, “AstraZeneca,” was approved by Health Canada. A fourth vaccine, being developed by Johnson & Johnson, is still awaiting approval. “I’m really hoping that Health Canada approves it soon,” said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, “A single-dose product that only needs refrigeration; wow, we can really work with that and get it distributed in a widespread way. The vaccines that need freezing are very effective, but they’re cumbersome to transport and to deal with.” Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
GENEVA — A senior World Health Organization official said Monday it was “premature” and “unrealistic” to think the pandemic might be stopped by the end of the year, but that the recent arrival of effective vaccines could at least help dramatically reduce hospitalizations and death. The world’s singular focus right now should be to keep transmission of COVID-19 as low as possible, said Dr. Michael Ryan, director of WHO's emergencies program. “If we’re smart, we can finish with the hospitalizations and the deaths and the tragedy associated with this pandemic” by the end of the year, he said at media briefing. Ryan said WHO was reassured by emerging data that many of the licensed vaccines appear to be helping curb the virus' explosive spread. “If the vaccines begin to impact not only on death and not only on hospitalization, but have a significant impact on transmission dynamics and transmission risk, then I believe we will accelerate toward controlling this pandemic.” But Ryan warned against complacency, saying that nothing was guaranteed in an evolving epidemic. “Right now the virus is very much in control," he said. WHO's director-general, meanwhile, said it was “regrettable” that younger and healthier adults in some rich countries are being vaccinated against the coronavirus before at-risk health workers in developing countries. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said immunizations provided by the U.N.-backed effort COVAX began this week in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, but lamented that this was happening only three months after countries such as Britain, the U.S. and Canada began vaccinating their own populations. “Countries are not in a race with each other,” he said. “This is a common race against the virus. We are not asking countries to put their own people at risk. We are asking all countries to be part of a global effort to suppress the virus everywhere.” But WHO stopped short of criticizing countries who are moving to vaccinate younger and healthier populations instead of donating their doses to countries that haven't yet been able to protect their most vulnerable people. “We can't tell individual countries what to do,” said Dr. Bruce Aylward, a senior WHO adviser. Tedros also noted that for the first time in seven weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases increased last week, after six consecutive weeks of declining numbers. He described the increase as “disappointing,” but said it wasn't surprising. Tedros said WHO was working to better understand why cases increased, but that part of that spike appeared to be due to the “relaxing of public health measures.” ___ AP Medical Writer Maria Cheng reported from London. ___ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Maria Cheng And Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press