The federal Green Party is set to chart a new course as it picks a new leader next week to replace Elizabeth May. Our political panel discusses who that might be and what challenges they will face.
For the first time, the province of Nova Scotia is proposing to poison a lake to kill off an invasive species.It's a last resort to stop the spread of smallmouth bass from a headwater lake that flows into the St Marys River system, which is home to trout and a surviving Atlantic salmon population."We want to eradicate them from this lake to ensure the integrity of the St Marys River watershed is left intact," says Jason LeBlanc, manager of resource management at Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture.Since the illegally introduced bass were first detected in July 2019, biologists have removed hundreds from Piper Lake in Pictou County, a five-hectare lake located halfway between Stellarton and Sheet Harbour.Netted, fished, stunned and starved of oxygenThe fish were netted, angled, stunned with current from an electrofishing boat, even starved of oxygen when a pump lowered water levels last fall ahead of the winter freeze."We were close, yet still they managed to survive the winter and in fact, this spring successfully spawned again. We knew that we were going to have to do something a little bit more drastic," says LeBlanc.Drastic now means pumping around 35 litres of the pesticide rotenone into the shallow lake — its deepest point is three metres.In addition to illegally introduced smallmouth bass it also contains native yellow perch, brown bullhead catfish, shiners and minnows.The pesticide — LeBlanc refers to it as a toxicant — is taken up through the gills and targets fish."So for the most part, other organisms are unaffected. The concentrations of rotenone we will be using in this lake are very, very small. It's a product that's approved through Health Canada, used in several other jurisdictions specifically for this purpose. And rotenone actually breaks down very, very quickly. It starts to break down within hours and within a few days would be undetectable," he says.Lake sealed offThe department will temporarily block the outflow so rotenone will be confined to Piper Lake.A beaver dam that had blocked the outflow was quickly replaced last year with a berm and screened culvert.Environmental DNA tests that can detect traces of DNA left behind by a species were taken downstream. No presence of smallmouth bass were found, offering hope they have not spread from Piper Lake.It's believed the bass were illegally dumped in the lake in 2018."We feel lucky that we were able to detect the population early enough that we do have a really legitimate good chance of success," says LeBlanc.Application before provincial and federal regulatorsNova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture has applied to the provincial Department of Environment and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans for permission to use the pesticide.The application is in the middle of a 30-day public comment period.If approved rotenone will be pumped into the lake in mid-October.Several groups have written letters of support, including the Ecology Action Centre in Halifax. The environmental group normally opposes pesticides but says in this case its use is "appropriate and necessary" to protect native trout and salmon."We recognize the clear and immediate threat to the entire St. Mary's River system if this invasive species spills out of Piper Lake," said EAC senior wilderness coordinator Ray Plourde, in a letter to Keith Colwell, the minister of fisheries and aquaculture. Scott Beaver, of the St Mary's River Association, praises the province for its quick response once bass were detected.Millions of dollars have been spent on habitat restoration and conservation efforts to maintain Atlantic salmon in the St Marys River."What's at stake literally will change the entire ecosystem. It may take many years, but literally the entire ecosystem, we could lose the entire population. Other systems have lost the entire population. All the work that we've done over the years with the salmon population," says Beaver.Kris Hunter of the Atlantic Salmon Federation is also on board."It seems like an oxymoron to say that to help fish, you're going to kill fish," says Hunter."It's not something you entertain lightly or easily. There's a lot of healthy debate and science that goes into making that decision. We view this as sort of a preventative conservation effort that you're not just doing what's good for now, but you're doing what's going to be good for the long-term health and future of the system."The federation is supporting the use of rotenone in New Brunswick on a 15–kilometre section of the Miramichi River and to Miramichi Lake. The project is on hold after the province's environment minister decided it must first undergo an environmental impact assessment.LeBlanc says after the application is used, he expects native fish species will naturally repopulate the lake over time. Annual monitoring will be conducted to assess recolonization of native species and restocking will occur if required.MORE TOP STORIES
Less than three weeks into the 2020 school year, new COVID-19 guidelines have already become a sore spot between teachers, the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District and the provincial government. At the heart of the issue is whether teachers should be required to use sick leave when they cannot go to work as a result of following COVID-19 guidelines that the provincial government and the school district have implemented. The Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association contends that if a teacher misses work because they are following provincial government's guidelines, that teacher should be provided with paid leave instead of using their own personal allotment of sick days."The association doesn't accept that government has the authority from either the context of our provincial or Lab-West [collective] agreements, or for that matter the Schools Act, to direct teachers to use their sick leave because they're exhibiting symptoms which may or may not interfere with how they're able to perform their duties," said NLTA president Dean Ingram.The NLTA has filed a group grievance with the NLESD and the Department of Education to try to get paid leave for teachers in these situations.'Our sick days are dear to us'CBC spoke with one teacher who is part of the NLTA's group grievance, and is not identifying her. The teacher said she had to miss a day's work during the second week of school because she failed the government's COVID-19 self-screening checklist. "I had some gastrointestinal issues throughout the night, along with that I had a headache.So I thought I better check the COVID screening from the district just to see if these are on the list, and they were," she said. Under normal circumstances, this teacher — indeed, like many others working in various jobs and industries — said she likely would have taken some over the counter medication for her symptoms and tried going to work.But this year, the provincial government has implemented the use of a self-screening questionnaire that teachers, school staff, and students must use when deciding whether they should go to school on any given day. The questionnaire includes a checklist of potential COVID-19 symptoms, such a fever, cough, runny nose, as well as gastrointestinal issues and headache.If someone exhibits two or more of the symptoms listed, or if they answer "Yes" to one of the other questions such as whether they've been outside of the Atlantic Bubble in the past 14 days, the questionnaire states they are to not enter the school.Instead, they are directed to stay home and use the Department of Health's online COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool.The teacher notified her assistant principal that she had not passed the screening checklist, and would be following the stated protocols. Later, the assistant principal sent her a follow up email, notifying her that she would have to use one of her sick days because she did not go to work."The district had advised that this would be a code 1, which is sick leave, so I was to use my sick leave for this incident even though in pre-COVID times I would probably have taken a Tylenol and [gone] to work," she saidShe says the policy of making teachers use sick leave instead of providing them with paid leave for work missed due to failing the COVID-19 questionnaire in concerning because it's time that teachers normally wouldn't be taking off."Just because you didn't pass two of the screening questions doesn't mean you're not able to work," she said. "Our sick days are very dear to us, I guess, and we use them when absolutely necessary."Extenuating circumstancesMeanwhile, Ingram says the teacher's collective agreement already contains language that would allow for the provision of paid leave under extenuating circumstances.And the NLTA considers work missed due to the government's COVID-19 screening questionnaire should be considered one of those situations."We believe that the collective agreements in concert with the School's Act provide that mechanism and certainly support our case with regards to the grievance," Ingram said.CBC requested interviews with representatives from the NLESD and the provincial Department of Education.The NLESD declined the opportunity to speak, however provided the following statement: "The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District respects the provisions of the NLTA Collective Agreement, and the dispute resolution process. The District contends it would be inappropriate to comment publicly on any ongoing matter proceeding through that process."The Department of Education, meanwhile, indicated it would provide some form of response, but has yet to do so. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
In a normal year, Point Roberts is a bustling place during the summer season, packed with B.C. tourists ready to spend their money on local businesses, B.C. bargain hunters filling up on gas and picking up packages at the local parcel shops while dual citizens spend the summer at their homes on the idyllic peninsula.But this year has been different; COVID-19 made certain of that.'When you walk down [the main street] today, you see nobody and I'm not kidding, nobody," says Brian Calder, director of the Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce. "It's a ghost town."Calder is a third-generation resident of Point Roberts. His great-grandfather settled in the U.S. enclave that shares a single border with Tsawwassen, B.C.Growing up, his years were split between B.C. and Point Roberts with summers on the peninsula. But 15 years ago, he moved there permanently for his semi-retirement.But now, he says Point Roberts is on the brink of collapse, having lost more than 80 per cent of its business, all from Canadians, according to the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University.The community has experienced an economic downfall since the pandemic hit, despite not having a single confirmed case of COVID-19.Back in March, the borders between Canada and the U.S. were closed to non-essential travel, blocking Point Roberts from its main source of income."We're totally dependent on Canada," said Calder, who twice served as a Vancouver city councillor.Month by month, he says, the community continues to crumble. Businesses have shuttered, most kids have left either to the U.S. mainland or to B.C. to continue their education, and people are fleeing because jobs aren't just scarce, they're non-existent."For people who don't have independent wealth, it's devastating. What do they do? There are no jobs. None. Not one job. Not even handyman stuff," said Calder.On-season, Point Roberts hosts up to 6,000 people, which drops to about 1,250 in the off-season. And since the closure of the border, he estimates there are now between 800 and 900 people left.Right now, there are five gas stations to serve fewer than a thousand people, one grocery store that, at its peak, would serve 5,000 customers a day, an empty marina, many closed businesses including the golf course, one bank that announced it will close in December and one restaurant.Every morning, Calder heads over to the Saltwater Cafe for breakfast — Point Roberts' last restaurant standing — but that's something that could soon change, too."We're trying to stay open for the local community, but it's been a difficult go," says Tamra Hansen, the owner of the restaurant and a resident of Point Roberts for the past 20 years.She says business is down 80 per cent and she's no longer making any money. Week-by-week, she says she reassesses whether to open.No road to economic recoveryEven if the borders were to reopen tomorrow, Calder believes the damage has been irreparable and he can't envision a road to recovery.After all, Point Roberts is a summer town built on tradition, he says. Year-after-year, families return to Point Roberts as they have done for generations."That's gone and I don't think half of it's coming back because we've broken the tradition," said Calder. "If there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it's like a coal train coming at you. It ain't pretty at all."Point Roberts has always been isolated from the State of Washington, but now, that isolation has increased. Point Roberts is the orphan of Whatcom County, as Calder puts it. And he's frustrated at the lack of support his community has received from both the county and the state.The Washington State Governor's office said in a statement it has provided Whatcom County with more than $16 million in funding since the beginning of the pandemic, but it's unclear how much of that funding went to businesses in Point Roberts, as officials at Whatcom County were unavailable for an interview."Governor [Jay] Inslee is committed to finding a solution to the unique challenges that Point Roberts residents face due to border restrictions," wrote his office.Previously, Gov. Inslee wrote to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking for border exemptions for the people of Point Roberts and his office says he is having frequent meetings with the government of B.C.But even if changes were to come, Calder doubts it would make a difference as businesses continue to close and the community loses more of its members every week."When the COVID is over ... when that ends... It doesn't end for Point Roberts," said Calder.
U.S. President Donald Trump says he will grant approval to a $22-billion freight rail project connecting Alaska and Alberta.The president tweeted Friday that based on the recommendations of Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young, he will be issuing a presidential permit approving the A2A Rail project. The project would build a new rail line from Fort McMurray, Alta., through the Northwest Territories and Yukon to the Delta Junction in Alaska, where it will connect with existing rail and continue on to ports near Anchorage. The 2,570-kilometre railway could move cargo like oil, potash and ore, container goods, or even passengers. Christine Myatt, a spokesperson for Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, said in an emailed statement that the premier welcomed the approval."The Government of Alberta is glad to see the approval of the A2A rail project in the United States," she said."We support the development of trade corridors that can unlock new markets for Alberta's products."Kent Fellows, an economist at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy, said while oil is likely the main driver for the project, it's not the only advantage to bringing a rail line up north."Rail has some advantages and some drawbacks compared to pipelines," he said."You can diversify a little bit … you don't just have to haul crude oil. You can hold a lot of other commodities, too, as long as there's a market for it. So market access is big, not just for crude oil."Fellows said as well as carrying Alberta or Yukon goods to international markets, the line could be used for imports, too."That's the whole point of trade. It's a two-way street."The next steps will include going through environmental impact assessments, and obtaining the correct regulatory approvals in both the U.S. and Canada. In July, the company commissioned an engineering firm to begin surveying land along the Alberta segment of the proposed route. It said it planned to begin field activities like land clearing, fencing and access road preparation in the province in the next three to six months. "The new rail line will create new economic development opportunities for a wide range of businesses, communities and Indigenous communities in Canada and Alaska," A2A founder Sean McCoshen said in a release at the time.CBC News has reached out to the company for comment on the promised approval. A2A Rail has said that if built, the project will create more than 18,000 jobs for Canadian workers and bring in $60 billion to the country's GDP through 2040.
Montreal and Quebec City will be upgraded to the highest COVID-19 alert level "in the coming days" according to provincial Health Minister Christian Dubé.He confirmed the two cities would move from orange to red alert while speaking on Radio-Canada's popular Sunday night talk show, Tout le monde en parle."Montreal and Quebec City are the hardest hit areas at the moment. They're very close to the red zone," he said. "We're going to announce in the coming days because I think we've arrived at that point. We're there and we have to act because people are expecting us to be transparent."Dubé said that difficult decisions lie ahead but didn't give details on exactly what the red zone restrictions would look like.The number of COVID-19 infections in the province continues to surge, with Quebec reporting 896 new cases on Sunday. The island of Montreal has the most new cases at 375. The Quebec City area clocks in at 120 and the Montérégie has 83 new cases.Dubé and public health officials have been calling on people to stop socializing for the next month in order to slow the spread of the virus.
Hannah Murnaghan has loved the outdoors for as long as she can remember, so when the opportunity to look for freshwater mussels in the river presented itself, she jumped right in — literally."We see mussels in all the rivers that we work in," said Murnaghan, the co-ordinator at the Morell River Management Co-operative, which manages six rivers: Morell River, Midgell River, Bristol Creek, Marie River, Schooner Creek, and St Peters River. These, however, were no ordinary mussels she was searching for. Murnaghan and her team were on the hunt to find an alewife floater.Originally, only two types of freshwater mussels had been documented on the Island — the eastern pearlshell and the eastern floater. But Rosemary Curley, president of Nature P.E.I., said the alewife floater recently made the list."Some of them are hard to tell apart."Curley said the species was originally discovered in the rocky Midgell River back in 2018. At the time, she was accompanying others down by the water hoping to learn more about the eastern pearlshell's habitat."It wasn't really my project," she said. "I was invited to help some people who were visiting from the mainland."The small group was made up of her, Juergen Geist from the Technical University of Munich, Annie Paquet from the Quebec Department of Forest Wildlife and Parks, and Mary Sollows from the New Brunswick Museum."As soon as we got there, Mary picked up a shell and she and Annie said at the same time 'alewife floater,'" Curley laughed."The alewife floater had never been reported on P.E.I. before. It was newly found," said Curley.Travels by fishHow exactly this specific mussel made its way into P.E.I. waters remains unclear. Curley, though, said she believes it was transported by a fish. "Their life cycle includes a stage where they have a larval form called a glochidia," she said. "They attach to the gills of their host fish."As they mature, they'll drop off wherever the fish happens to be and they develop further into a mature clam in the river."According to Nature P.E.I., while additional shells were discovered, only one live specimen was collected and sent to the New Brunswick Museum."So this summer, I decided to see if I could find some other sites for the floater," said Curley.Quest to find moreShe began her new search by messaging watershed groups across the Island.> We thought we might have a chance at finding it. -Hannah Murnaghan, Morell River Management Co-operative"They were helpful because being the experts they are in their watersheds, they knew where some of these mussels were living," she said."We sent her a message and we told her we'd be interested in helping her try and look for the mussel," said Murnaghan, with the watershed at Morell River Management Co-op."We did know there was gaspereau in Bristol Creek, which is the species the alewife floater uses to get up Bristol Creek so we thought we might have a chance at finding it," said Murnaghan."But we didn't have any luck."So for now, even though leads on how a single alewife floater ended up on P.E.I. have run dry, Murnaghan said she's not giving up. "Going forward we'll probably pick [the mussels] up and see what species they are," she said."Although we didn't have any luck finding it in our field day with Rosemary, we will be keeping an eye out."More from CBC P.E.I.
Dangerous driving, lack of physical distancing and disregard for public gathering limits led the Ontario Provincial Police to start turning motorists away from Wasaga Beach on Saturday night. The Town of Wasaga Beach saw a large influx of car enthusiasts over the Sept. 26 weekend for what police called an unsanctioned car rally. Police say most participants were not from the local area. Late on Sept. 26, OPP officers set up at the entrances to town and began turning away motorists that were not Wasaga Beach residents. “There was an overall disregard of any kind of rules at all, so they made the decision in the interest of public safety to shut down the town, for lack of a better word,” said OPP Sgt. Jason Folz. “It's just a matter of time before somebody gets injured or killed based on these kind of driving behaviours.” Folz said there was a lack of physical distancing and complete disregard for the limits on outdoor social gatherings (25 people), which were implemented to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Folz said the car "take-over" continued on Sunday Sept. 27, and that police maintained an active presence throughout the duration. “I get the sense that certainly some of the local residents were frustrated with the number of people and the lack of respect for rules and dangerous driving behaviour,” he said. OPP were assisted by a helicopter, which Folz said was used to track people fleeing from police, monitor gatherings, and collect evidence. Police from York Region and Peel Region also assisted. Folz said information on the number of tickets and charges handed out over the weekend is not available yet. “It's very concerning for all police agencies involved,” Folz said. “We're trying to eliminate that culture where people think they can drive anywhere they want just because they bring lots of numbers of people to block roads and do whatever they please.”Shane MacDonald, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
White Rock's iconic, white boulder was partly covered this weekend in black paint and the social justice slogan, "Black Lives Matter." White Rock RCMP say an investigation is underway. Anthony Manning, a White Rock city councillor, told CBC News he spotted the paint Sunday morning while taking part in the annual Canadian Walk for Veterans."I support anyone's right to express their opinion, but defacing or destroying property is not the way to get one's message across," Manning said. "It undermines their position and emboldens the opposition."He said the incident was particularly unfortunate because the rock is considered sacred to the local Semiahmoo First Nation. The Nation could not be reached for comment."All in all, not a great way to put the very worthy BLM cause in the best light," added Manning.He expects the city to quickly paint over the message as it did a few months ago when people spray-painted an anti-police acronym onto the landmark.The city was not available for comment.
In a rare televised national address this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned that Canada is at a 'crossroads' as COVID-19 cases spike in some provinces and that the pandemic will get worse in the fall.
MADISON, Wis. — A federal appeals court on Sunday temporarily halted a six-day extension for counting absentee ballots in Wisconsin's presidential election, a momentary victory for Republicans and President Donald Trump in the key presidential battleground state.As it stands, ballots will now be due by 8 p.m. on Election Day. A lower court judge had sided with Democrats and their allies to extend the deadline until Nov. 9. Democrats sought more time as a way to help deal with an expected historic high number of absentee ballots.The Democratic National Committee, the state Democratic Party and allied groups including the League of Women Voters sued to extend the deadline for counting absentee ballots after the April presidential primary saw long lines, fewer polling places, a shortage of workers and thousands of ballots mailed days after the election.U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled Sept. 21 that ballots that arrive up to six days after Election Day will count as long as they're postmarked by Election Day. Sunday’s action puts Conley’s order on hold until the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals or U.S. Supreme Court issues any further action.No further details were immediately posted by the appeals court.State election officials anticipate as many as 2 million people will cast absentee ballots to avoid catching the coronavirus at the polls. That would be three times more absentee ballots than any other previous election and could overwhelm both election officials and the postal service, Conley wrote. If the decision had stood it could have delayed knowing the winner of Wisconsin for days.The Republican National Committee, the state GOP and Wisconsin's Republican legislators argued that current absentee voting rules be left in place, saying people have plenty of time to obtain and return their ballots.Conley in April had ruled that absentee ballots in the state's presidential election could be submitted up to six days after election day. The 7th Circuit let that decision stand but the U.S. Supreme Court said only ballots postmarked on or before election day would count.Conley on Sept. 21 also extended the state’s deadline for registering by mail or electronically by seven days, from Oct. 14 to Oct. 21 and declared that poll workers can work in any county, not just where they live. Clerks have reported fears of the virus caused shortages of poll workers in both Wisconsin’s spring presidential primary and state primary in August. Loosening the residency requirements could make it easier to fill slots.Trump won Wisconsin by less than 1 percentage point — fewer than 23,000 votes — in 2016 and the state figures to be a key battleground again in 2020. Polls show Democrat Joe Biden with a slight lead but both sides expect a tight race.Todd Richmond, The Associated Press
A hazmat team was called to Stanley Park's Second Beach on Sunday morning after park rangers found mercury in a public washroom.Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services said park rangers were opening up the washroom when they found a substance that looked like mercury on the ground. The hazardous materials team responded around 8:45 a.m and confirmed the substance was mercury, an element that even in small amounts may cause toxic effects and serious health problems for humans if contact occurs. "The mercury was kind of spread around, it was in fine droplets," said assistant chief of operations Trevor Connelly, who noted the toxic substance was spread around the floor and in the toilets. "It was a tedious process for the hazmat team to clean it up, but after an hour or so they did get it all cleaned up and the washroom was opened."Connelly says the amount of mercury was consistent with what you might find in an older type of thermometer.He said occasionally the fire department will attend a mercury spill in industrial settings, but it's rare to see a mercury exposure in a public place. "I really don't pretend to understand the intent of anyone doing that," said Connelly. He said the City of Vancouver's park rangers are following up on the incident.
A total of 50 patients and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.Alberta Health Services confirmed on Sunday that five additional patients, for a total of 25 patient cases, and seven additional health-care workers, for a total of 25 staff cases, have tested positive.Four patients have died.As of Sept. 25, 136 health-care workers were self-isolating. AHS said that number will be updated twice weekly.The first case was detected at one of the cardiac units in the hospital on Sept. 18, and the first case in the hospital's general unit was found the next day. Cases were also identified in a second cardiac unit.Now, two additional units are part of the outbreaks. Cases at the transitional medical unit are linked to the current outbreak, but cases at a short stay unit are not believed to be connected.AHS said all patients and health-care workers who may have been affected have been identified and testing is underway."Multiple teams are working daily to determine where the infection may have started, how it was transmitted and who needs to be contacted and tested to limit exposure. This is standard procedure in our contact tracing that we implement with any outbreak," AHS said in an emailed statement. The COVID-19 outbreaks at Foothills hospital in Calgary are raising concerns about how hospitals around the province will be able to cope as cases mount.Alberta Health Services has said it is using overtime and reassignment of staff to cover shifts at Foothills.In Alberta, there were 1,497 active COVID-19 cases as of Friday, 518 of which were in Calgary.
An elementary school in Scarborough will temporarily close for a week after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared by Toronto Public Health. The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) said on Twitter that there has been an outbreak at Mason Road Junior Public School, near Eglinton Avenue East and Markham Road. According to the TDSB, there are four confirmed cases at the school. Of the cases, one is a student and three are staff. The elementary school will be closed from Monday, Sept. 28 to Friday, Oct. 2.The TDSB said this information has already been shared with the school community. This is the second outbreak at a Toronto school since classes started. An outbreak was declared at Glen Park Public School in North York on Friday, after two students tested positive for COVID-19.Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, said that two grade 5/6 classes will go into isolation for 14 days. A teacher is isolating as well. For a complete list of COVID-19 cases at TDSB schools, the board has created a COVID-19 Advisories webpage.
The New Brunswick Women's Council says government needs to make sure people of low economic status continue to get paid when they're off work because of COVID-19."Not losing their job is important. But it's not just about, is their job being secured? It's about, are they still getting paid?" said executive director Beth Lyons.Lyons was referring to people who don't receive paid sick leave and don't have any savings because they're economically insecure. "If you're living paycheque to paycheque, having to take a full two weeks off is catastrophic," she said.'COVID-19 is not a great equalizer'In its COVID-19 response plan, the province promised it will continue to ensure there are no job losses for COVID-19-related caregiving.The plan, which also promises the continuation of the essential workers child-care program, was quietly released the same day Premier Blaine Higgs called the provincial election last month.It focuses on topics like the province's recovery plan, testing methods, returning to school and protecting New Brunswick's vulnerable populations.The 51-page document says the province is focused on ensuring that a gender-based analysis is applied in all COVID-19 response and recovery efforts."COVID is not a great equalizer," Lyons said. "It's not something that we are all impacted by in the same way when there were pre-existing inequalities. The pandemic has only exacerbated them and made them more clear."More women affected by COVID indirectlyThe New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training at the University of New Brunswick is launching a project aimed at identifying groups who are likely at risk from COVID-19, either directly or indirectly because of disruptions to income, school, employment, health service access and family composition. Those results are expected to be available in late October and Lyons is hoping they will illuminate the challenges faced by some more than others during this pandemic. Some of the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 are particularly around labour force participation in New Brunswick, said Lyons.Women are often clustered into jobs related to the five Cs: cleaning, catering, cashiering, clerical work and caring. Many of these jobs are being disproportionately impacted during the pandemic and were already paying "little to start with," she said.The situation is particularly challenging for single-parent families, Lyons said, which are predominantly led by women who don't have anyone to share caregiving responsibilities. The province's COVID-19 response plan also noted that women over the age of 55 who were off work at the height of the pandemic in the spring are less likely to return to work than their male counterparts.Lyons believes that's because many of those women are staying home to take care of grandchildren, particularly over the past six months when children have been home from school."In lots of ways COVID is a crisis of caregiving," she said. She also uses the example of a child or grandchild having to stay home because they're showing a symptom of COVID-19.Government needs to listen Moving forward, Lyons hopes government will listen to the recommendations of community-based organizations and independent entities like the Women's Council, including issues related to income insecurity, access to child care and increasing the wages of child-care workers. Issues she said, that are not new to New Brunswick."Society itself will grind to a halt if we don't have access to daycares."
A group of Strathmore, Alta., residents learned a bit more about their Siksika neighbours this past week when they took part in a unique Indigenous history lesson known as a blanket exercise.Throughout the exercise, participants stand on blankets that symbolize the land inhabited by Indigenous people that eventually became Canada."This is so amazing that in our time, 2020, we can actually teach non-Indigenous people about our history and why we have the circumstances that we do today as a result of our history with Canada and it wasn't always a good picture," said Charlotte Yellow Horn McLeod, the Indigenous cultural coordinator for a group called the Aspen Commons Family Resource Network, which hosted the event.Yellow Horn McLeod said it was a good opportunity for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to come together and work toward healing."I think in school people learn about the benevolent part of Canada without learning part of the story, so the blanket exercise kind of touches on our part of the story," she said.Yellow Horn McLeod walked participants through a timeline of historical events leading up to present day, illustrated through the symbolic artifacts on the blankets — moccasins, shawls and beadwork.The lesson sheds light on European colonialism and the mistreatment of Indigenous people in Canada.Strathmore resident Marcie Burtniak was shaken after the experience."I feel pretty emotional," she said. "When I played the part of the child that was forced from the community to go to residential school, that was one thing. But then they said, 'Turn your back because you're not really recognized by your community anymore' — Wow. That was so hurtful, and so heartbreaking."The retired teacher said she hopes the country can learn from the mistakes of the past."To have a government in the day, do that to the first people of our country was … so wrong," she said.Another attendee, Strathmore resident Roseanne de Beaudrap, said she had come to seek a better understanding of her country's history."I grew up in Saskatchewan in an area that was a large population of Indigenous people … I have a good base but there's a lot that I don't know, so I'm here for more understanding," she said. "Here in Canada we are such a diverse culture, I think it just helps us to live more cohesively if we understand each other and where we're coming from."Afterward the blanket exercise, de Beaudrap was emotional."I'm overwhelmed, and yet hopeful in a way, that this is maybe something that can ripple out, and there can be healing and more education to other people, that hopefully there will be more understanding," de Beaudrap said. "There's so much that I learned, my eyes have been opened. I'm grateful for this experience and I hope others experience it too."Mildred Broad Scalplock, from Siksika, said she hopes the communities continue to work together toward reconciliation through such simple but powerful exercises."I have a warm feeling in my heart knowing that people listened to my story and I felt accepted, and just hearing the impacts of everybody was really emotional," she said. "Also, building, bridging the gaps between Siksika and Strathmore, I feel empowered and I think that's something that should have been done a long time ago."
With cases of COVID-19 increasing in Quebec at a rate not seen since the spring, health experts are urging the government to take more drastic measures in order to spare the beleaguered health-care system from further stress. On Sunday, Quebec reported 896 new cases, a figure close to the worst days in April and May. Hospitalizations and deaths, though, are currently much lower than they were during the first wave.Nevertheless, hospitalizations have risen 46 per cent over the past week. There are currently 216 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 41 in intensive care.According to experts, the lower hospitalization numbers can be explained by the larger percentages of young people who are testing positive for the disease. At that age, they are less likely to develop complications.But hospital doctors in Montreal say they are in fact admitting younger patients, which potentially poses a new set of challenges for the health system.Dr. François Marquis, head of intensive care at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in Montreal, said the younger patients he's seen have taken longer to recover. "We could wind up, in this second wave, with a problem where a small number of young people fill our beds in intensive care because they don't die, but they don't get better. They're stuck between the two," Marquis said in an interview with Radio-Canada. "That's a reality the population has not understood and that young people, unfortunately, have not understood."Dr. Matthew Oughton, a physician of infectious diseases at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital, said he expects hospitalizations to increase more rapidly in about a month, as young people transmit the virus to older generations. "We're going to be back into the sort of crunch that we know many hospitals in Quebec were in back in the later part of March and April," Oughton said.Concern again about long-term careAnother area of concern as cases rise is the fate of long-term care homes. In the first wave of the pandemic, hundreds of publicly run facilities (known as CHSLDs) had outbreaks, which killed nearly 4,000 people.The government promised sweeping changes to protocol and staffing levels to prevent a similar disaster from taking place again. But in recent days, outbreaks at a number of CHSLDs and seniors homes have worried observers.Visits had to be suspended at the CHSLD Idola Saint-Jean in Laval Saturday, after 11 patients and seven employees tested positive for the virus.Meanwhile, 10 people tested positive at Residence l'Initial in the Outouais region and patients at the CHSLD Herron —where 38 people died in the spring — are once again in insolation after a staff member tested positive there."This is extremely concerning. This shouldn't be happening anymore," said Dr. Cécile Tremblay, an infectious disease specialist at the Université de Montréal hospital. "The government was firm on this and said it wouldn't happen anymore, but it is happening again." Tremblay said that while the government did hire more patient care attendants, long-term care homes are still dealing with a shortage of nurses and staff-to-patient ratios are less than ideal. Need tougher measures, experts sayIn an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Quebec government has been urging people to avoid all social gatherings, especially in private homes, for the next month."The high increase in cases is mainly associated to community transmission of the virus," Health Minister Christian Dubé wrote on Twitter, Sunday.Tremblay said the virus is spreading out of control, and suggested the government consider taking tougher measures to prevent the death toll from increasing. Making masks mandatory for students inside the classroom was among the measures she proposed."It is extremely important that people understand we are heading straight for a second wave that will be at least as bad as the first one, if not worse," she said.Oughton also said the government needs to do more. Simply asking people to reduce their contacts, he said, hasn't been enough. "It's a request, but it doesn't have any force to it. And as a result, I have a feeling that some people don't see this as being anything more than a suggestion or a recommendation," he said."Right now the message isn't getting through with sufficient clarity. The government needs to take firm and clear action to explain to people why this is such an issue."
Four individuals at Yorkton Regional High School have tested positive for COVID-19 and as a result, Good Spirit School Division has moved the high school to full mandatory remote learning.Quintin Robertson, the director of education for the school division, said in a statement the source of the infection is believed to be from community spread but school transmission has not been confirmed.The statement did not say if the positive cases were students or teachers at the high school.Classes for the high school will be hosted online until Oct. 16 with students returning to the school on Oct. 19, based on advice from the local medical health officer."The [Yorkton Regional High School] staff have been preparing for remote learning since the spring and are confident that the move to an alternate instructional model will not impact learning," Robertson said.Robertson said anybody who is identified as a close contact to those who tested positive will be contacted directly by public health.The statement said the facility team at the Good Spirit School Division will fully disinfect the high school before staff and students return.
Charlottetown police have fined two more people for hosting parties with more guests in attendance than permitted under COVID-19 measures.Canada's Food Island gift cards go on sale Monday. They can be purchased at a 20 per cent discount and redeemed at full value at more than 150 businesses across P.E.I. Charlottetown hopes a scarecrow festival next month will provide a boost to the downtown area.Tourism numbers released by the province last week show the Atlantic bubble, which opened July 3, did not bring large numbers of travellers to the Island, and a Statistics Canada report released this week showed that impact on restaurants.Compared to last July, P.E.I. showed the largest percentage drop in revenues among the provinces, down 34.6 per cent. The decrease nationally was 24.5 per cent.The Dundee Arms Inn in Charlottetown will be closing this winter — Oct 15 to April 30 — for the first time in 48 years. Starting Oct. 1, people travelling on Northumberland Ferries will once again have to leave their vehicles and go to the passenger areas during crossings.Islanders will have earlier access to flu shots this fall as the province, hoping to avoid a dual outbreak of COVID-19 and influenza, ordered vaccine early this year.There have been 58 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the Island, with 57 considered recovered. There have been no hospitalizations or deaths, and there is no evidence of community spread.Also in the newsFurther resourcesMore COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.
Recent developments: * A seventh staff member at the city-run Centre d'acceuil Champlain long-term care home has tested positive, while the outbreak at the Peter D. Clark home has been lifted.What's the latest?Cumberland ward residents can begin casting their ballots today in what's been the first election campaign the city's seen since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.Some of the byelection's candidates say the pandemic has made it more important to meet voters one-on-one — since there have been no big community events or town halls — while others aren't even knocking on doors to keep people safe.Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported one new death from COVID-19 on Sunday and 58 new cases — the majority involving people over 30.Complaints have emerged about a new online booking portal for COVID-19 tests launched last week by CHEO, eastern Ontario's children's hospital.Some parents say the demand makes scheduling a test on the portal akin to trying to win the lottery.How many cases are there?Ottawa reported 58 new COVID-19 cases and one new death on Sunday. As of the most recent OPH update, 4,063 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. That includes 575 known active cases, 3,207 resolved cases and 281 deaths.Overall, public health officials have reported nearly 6,200 cases of COVID-19 across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with nearly 5,000 of those cases considered resolved.COVID-19 has killed 104 people in the region outside Ottawa: 52 people have died in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 34 in the Outaouais and 18 in other parts of eastern Ontario.What's open and closed?Some public health rules are being rolled back because of the second wave of the pandemic.Ottawa and Kingston, Ont., public health officials are ordering anyone with symptoms or who has been identified as a close contact of someone who's tested positive to immediately self-isolate or face a fine of up to $5,000 per day in court.Kingston has also tightened its distancing rules in city parks and increased fines.Ottawa has resumed ticketing drivers who park longer than allowed in unmarked areas.It's also closing the McNabb Arena respite centre for people without housing on Oct. 2 and expanding services at nearby support centres.Private, unmonitored gatherings across Ontario are now limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.Quebec has introduced tighter restrictions in the province's "orange zones," which now includes the Outaouais.Distancing and isolatingThe novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something.People can be contagious without symptoms.This means precautions such as working from home, keeping your hands and frequently-touched surfaces clean socializing outdoors as much as possible and keeping distance from anyone you don't live with or have in your social circle, including when you have a mask on.Ottawa's medical officer of health is pleading with residents to reduce the number of people they're in close contact with as new cases of COVID-19 continue to surge.Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in all of eastern Ontario and Quebec, including transit services and taxis in some areas.Masks are also recommended outdoors when you can't stay the proper distance from others.WATCH | Students experience pandemic learning gaps:Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.Most people with a confirmed COVID-19 case in Quebec can end their self-isolation after 10 days if they have not had a fever for at least 48 hours and has had no other symptom for at least 24 hours.Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.Getting tested any sooner than five days after potential exposure may not be useful since the virus may not yet be detectable, says OPH.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Where to get testedWait times and lines have been long at many of the area's test sites, causing some to reach capacity before closing time or even before opening.It's also taking up to five days for laboratories to process tests, Etches said last Wednesday.Ontario health officials have said they're trying to add more test capacity.In eastern Ontario:The Ontario government recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you've been told to by your health unit or the province because of your work.Most of Ottawa's testing happens at one of four permanent sites, with additional mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.A test clinic is expected to open at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex in Orléans, likely by mid-October.People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select Ottawa pharmacies.In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, there are drive-thru centres in Casselman and Limoges and a walk-up site in Hawkesbury that doesn't require people to call ahead.Its medical officer of health says the Casselman centre will be moved to reduce its impact on traffic.Others in Alexandria, Rockland, Cornwall and Winchester require an appointment.In Kingston, the city's test site is now operating at the Beechgrove Complex near King Street West and Portsmouth Avenue. It's open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call ahead.People can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville, Picton or Trenton by calling the centre. Only Belleville and Trenton run seven days a week and also offer online booking.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit has walk-in sites in Kemptville and Brockville. There are testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.The health unit will also run pop-up drive-thru test sites in Gananoque on Monday and in Prescott on Tuesday.Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor. Those without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.People can also visit the health unit's website to find out where testing clinics will be taking place each week.In western Quebec:Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.They can call 1-877-644-4545 if they have other questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms. People without symptoms can also get a test.First Nations, Inuit and Métis:Akwesasne has had 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases, most linked to a gathering on an island in July.It has a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only.Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.Inuit in Ottawa can also call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.People in Pikwakanagan can book an appointment for a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse.For more information
The federal Green Party is set to chart a new course as it picks a new leader next week to replace Elizabeth May. Our political panel discusses who that might be and what challenges they will face.