A new study at Toronto's Pearson International Airport will examine quarantine periods for travellers to determine whether 14 days in isolation is necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19. Starting Thursday, passengers disembarking from international flights at Canada's largest airport will be invited to participate in the voluntary research conducted by McMaster HealthLabs (MHL), a non-profit organization made up of scientists and doctors from Hamilton's McMaster University, the Research Institute of St. Joseph's Hamilton and other Canadian schools. "Quarantine was put in place when [COVID-19] was a mysterious disease and 14 days seemed to be a safe way of protecting people," said Dr. Marek Smieja, a medical microbiologist and professor at McMaster who co-authored the study. MHL has also partnered with Air Canada and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to create the study. Several months into the pandemic, this is now the time to reassess the quarantine period and see if it still makes sense, said Smieja."Today, we know an awful lot more about this disease, we have excellent lab tests to help guide us, and we think it's a good time to ask the question: do we need a long quarantine?" he said.The researchers will ask volunteers to provide a swab sample when leaving the airport, along with two self-collected samples at the seven-day and 14-day mark during the government-mandated quarantine, Smieja explained. Researchers want to learn how often these travellers test positive for the novel coronavirus at seven days and 14 days — and whether that data could be used to influence quarantine policies in the future, Smieja said.Participants will find out their tests results within 48 hours after their sample is tested at the Research Institute of St. Joe's Hamilton. Those who test negative will have to remain in quarantine, and those who test positive will have to visit an assessment clinic for another swab and public health professionals will follow up, said Smieja.WATCH: Could airport COVID-19 tests replace quarantine measures for travellers?Scientists will have some data within a month, and most of the information they need within six to eight weeks."This is meant to inform the discussion of whether the quarantine, and the methods we have for keeping people safe...if the data supports that or not," Smieja said. The data could also help determine if an airport-based COVID-19 surveillance program is possible at [Pearson}, said John Gilmour, MHL's CEO in a news release. The study comes as multiple flights arriving at the airport continue to report positive cases of COVID-19 on board. Air Canada pushing for eased restrictionsAir Canada, which is backing the study, urged the federal government to ease travel restrictions last month and get rid the quarantine period for travellers from regions like the European Union, as those nations have removed the required quarantine period for Canadians.However, there have been new flare-ups of the novel coronavirus in Europe and some countries there have re-imposed restrictions since July. WATCH: Ottawa has spent $37M on quarantine hotels in CanadaThe study is "extremely important" as it could provide an avenue to reconsider restrictions responsibly, based on science, said Dr. Jim Chung, the chief medical officer at Air Canada, in a news release.At Pearson Airport Thursday, travellers volunteering for the study told CBC News they're hoping it could lead to shorter quarantine periods. David Keegan, who went to visit his sick mother in Ireland, had to quarantine there for 14 days. He's now about to start another 14-day quarantine here."A month of quarantine for two weeks away," he lamented."I'm a Canadian living in Ireland and I'd like to be able to get home easier," said Stephanie Larkin, who had just completed her test at the airport.A shorter quarantine wouldn't mean she'd opt to travel around the world, she said, but it would make essential travel less painful. "If they reduce quarantine, it would definitely help."
The World Health Organization does not expect widespread vaccinations against COVID-19 until the middle of next year, a spokeswoman said on Friday, stressing the importance of rigorous checks on their effectiveness and safety. None of the candidate vaccines in advanced clinical trials so far has demonstrated a "clear signal" of efficacy at the level of at least 50% sought by the WHO, spokeswoman Margaret Harris said. Russia granted regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine in August after less than two months of human testing, prompting some Western experts to question its safety and efficacy.
The owner of a last-stop convenience store just south of the N.W.T. says the only thing keeping his business open is his love for the place. Indian Cabins Trading Post, just 18 kilometres south of the N.W.T.-Alberta border, used to welcome busloads of summer tourists from the United States, Alberta and elsewhere for stopovers on their way to the north. That's all but evaporated during the COVID-19 pandemic. > My heart is in it more than just rings through the till. If it was strictly about money, we would be closed already. \- Todd Engblom, owner of Indian Cabins Trading Post Owner Todd Engblom said traffic to his store has been cut in half over the last six months, because the Canada-U.S. border closure and the N.W.T travel restrictions are tightening traffic flow into northern Alberta. "My heart is in it more than just rings through the till," Engblom said. "If it was strictly about money, we would be closed already." Travellers say N.W.T. restrictions are 'heavy-handed'Regulars who pass through are able to stock up on mechanic gear, warm food and an extra sweater at the store. For many it's the last stop before entering the Northwest Territories. Day after day, Engblom watches as people get turned away from the N.W.T. and sent back to Alberta.This frustrates some travellers, who tell Engblom they didn't realize movement into the territory is restricted during the pandemic. "Some of them feel it's a little heavy-handed, given that other provinces don't have border restrictions," Engblom said. Man looks for work near border crossing David Hovey, a long time Yellowknifer, traveled to the border from New Brunswick. He wants to move back to N.W.T. and find work in the city's transportation sector. "I decided it was time to go back north," Hovey told CBC.Hovey tried to cross into the N.W.T. three weeks ago, but was denied entry because he did not have a job or a residence lined up. > Going across Canada was no problem. I didn't realize how difficult it would be to get into the territory. \- David Hovey, long-time Yellowknifer Unable to enter the N.W.T., Hovey is mowing grass and working on renovations for store in exchange for a place to set up his trailer. "Going across Canada was no problem. I didn't realize how difficult it would be to get into the territory," he said. Hovey said he will be staying on the site until he gets a job offer. Other travellers have taken a few hours or days on the convenience store's land to figure out what to do next. Most turn back toward High Level, Alta., roughly 190 kilometres away. 'We're not going anywhere'Engblom said he wants the N.W.T. to give business owners like him a roadmap for the easing of border restrictions, so that he can plan accordingly. "What's the endgame … do we have to go to zero before we open back up?" Engblom said.Still, Engblom sees the pandemic as an opportunity to change and expand his business to fit the new normal. The store will introduce a fuel system later this year. They are also hoping to supply travellers with hot soups and chilies in a new restricted seating area during the winter. For now, Engblom says he's going to continue to make the best of what he has. "Instead of looking at it as a panic situation, we've been looking at it as a time to roll up our sleeves and do other things. "We've been here for 10 years. We're not going anywhere."
FREDERICTON — Public health officials in New Brunswick are warning travellers on two recent flights they may have been exposed to COVID-19.Officials said today an international traveller with COVID-19 may have been infectious on Aug. 22, while on Air Canada Flight 0992 from Mexico City to Toronto and on Air Canada Flight 8918 from Toronto to Moncton.Anyone on those flights should self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days from when they got off the plane.If symptoms develop, they are directed to self-isolate and call 811.Meanwhile, Public Health is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 today.The province has reported a total of 192 cases of COVID-19, 186 of which are considered recovered. There have been two deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus in New Brunswick.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2020.The Canadian Press
China is planning a more than 1 trillion yuan ($146 billion) push to accelerate infrastructure investment in Tibet, including new and previously announced projects, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The renewed push to step-up development of the remote and impoverished southwestern region signals Beijing's intent to bolster frontier security amid heightened border tensions with India in recent months, two of the sources said. Last week, during a senior Communist Party meeting on Tibet's future governance, President Xi Jinping lauded achievements and praised frontline officials but said more efforts were needed to enrich, rejuvenate and strengthen unity in the region.
Durham Regional Police say five people were found dead and another with serious injuries in a home east of Toronto after an early morning shooting. George Tudos says four of the deceased are believed to be men and one of them is believed to be a woman, but adds police are waiting on the coroner to confirm ages. Tudos says officers also found another woman in the house with a gunshot wound, who was sent to a local hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
An international environmental watchdog says there's convincing evidence that oilsands tailings ponds are leaking."There is strong scientifically valid evidence of ... seepage into near-field groundwater around tailings ponds," says a report from the Commission on Environmental Co-operation, a body set up under the North American Free Trade Agreement.Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said he found the conclusion "troubling.""The findings in the report cannot be ignored," he said. "I absolutely take these findings to heart."The commission also found that Alberta and Canada aren't working together when it comes to keeping a handle on the industry, despite numerous agreements to do so."The (commission) could not locate any information supporting any relationship between Alberta and Canada with respect to releases from tailings ponds," says the report, released Thursday. In 2017, the commission was asked by two environmental groups and a member of the K'ahsho Got'ine Dene First Nation in the Northwest Territories to look into whether Canada had done enough to investigate seepage from the ponds and if Fisheries Act water protections were being ignored.The act forbids releasing any "deleterious" substance into water that may contain fish.Bitumen residue has always been found in northern Alberta's Athabasca River, its tributaries and area groundwater.Both Environment Canada and industry have long contended it's impossible to tell whether that residue is from industry or natural. Alberta's acting Chief Scientist Garry Scrimgeour suggested that may still be the case."I'm not sure if we're at a point where we'd be able to discriminate the two types of materials," he said."It's fresh off the press and we need to take the time to review it and then we need to take the time to digest it. It's going to take an appropriate amount of time."The commission, relying on years of peer-reviewed research as well as international experts, concluded that's no longer true.It says oilsands wastewater is seeping into both the groundwater under the tailings ponds as well as into two tributaries of the Athabasca River.Although it says there's inconclusive evidence of oilsands residue in the river itself, there are "indications" it has reached river sediments. The report also draws on industry data which acknowledges seepage from the ponds."Data presented in the Syncrude monitoring report shows consistent evidence of seepage," it says.Syncrude estimated that 785,000 cubic metres of tailings pond water — enough for 314 Olympic-size swimming pools — had seeped from one of its ponds in 2017.The commission said it couldn't find any evidence that the federal and provincial governments were working together to stop that."The (Commission) could not locate any information supporting any relationship between Alberta and Canada with respect to releases from tailings ponds," it says. Wilkinson said Alberta and Ottawa work well together on oilsands monitoring, but there's room for improvement."The tailings ponds issue needs to be addressed and that will require more enhanced co-operation and an enhanced level of urgency on the part of both governments."Scrimgeour said the two levels of government are working well together, pointing out the oilsands monitoring program is co-chaired by the provincial and federal governments."That's a longstanding collaboration that runs very deeply."Daniel Smith, Environment Canada's regional director for the area, said government scientists are now using technology that enables them to track oilsands contamination to its source and are analyzing samples taken in 2019."We realized we needed to improve the science," he said. "If Environment Canada officers find violations (of the Fisheries Act), we will take enforcement action."Dale Marshall of Environmental Defence, one of the groups that brought the original complaint, said the report vindicated its concerns.He said the lack of co-operation between Edmonton and Ottawa has meant enforcement has "fallen through the cracks."He wants to see action right away."I don't know what else we need," he said, pointing out the industry's own data suggests the law is being broken."The federal government has all the evidence it needs," he said. "Just do something about it."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2020.Bob Weber, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — British Columbia is at a critical point when it comes to a potential surge of COVID-19 infections, B.C.'s provincial health officer warned on Thursday.Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province still has the ability to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases currently being seen, but people need to follow public health protocols."We're at that limit, we're at that precipice if you will, where we need to take the actions to ensure that we can move forward into the fall and keep our curve low," she said at a news conference.Henry's comments came during a presentation of COVID-19 modelling data, which shows residents are keeping their contacts at 60 to 70 per cent of normal in the lead up to a potential surge in cases.She urged people to avoid activities that are considered high-risk, such as spending time with groups of people they may not know, particularly ahead of the Labour Day long weekend."Our well-being as a community, as a province, is about getting back to work, getting back into classrooms, keeping businesses going and staying healthy," she said. "It's not an either/or situation. What we do need to do is pause those activities that we know are a for high-risk to all of us."There's no magic number in terms of personal interactions you may have, and people may need to make sacrifices in their lives to keep interactions low, Henry added.B.C. announced 89 new cases of COVID-19 as well as one additional death, bringing the province's total number of COVID-19 cases to 6,041 and 210 deaths.The modelling data presented Thursday shows that people in two age groups — between 20 and 29, and 30 and 39 — continue to make up the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the province.Henry's warning comes after Premier John Horgan said earlier in the day that the B.C. government will continue to use a "carrot and stick" approach to encouraging people to follow COVID-19 safety measures."I believe that the goodwill of British Columbians will win out," adding that people who disregard public health orders face "significant" fines."And we'll continue with that method of carrot and stick until we get the types of outcomes all British Columbians want to see."Horgan said officials have been working "overtime" to remind the public that a global health pandemic is ongoing.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2020.Nick Wells, The Canadian Press
Amidst a backdrop of raging debate about policing across North America, families of five people injured or killed by Peel Regional Police met with mayors from the region in Malton Wednesday evening to demand an end to police violence.The families of Jamal Francique, D'Andre Campbell, Ejaz Choudry, Chantelle Krupka and Michael Headley spoke with Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown at Malton Community Centre for more than two hours.The Malton People's Movement, a group that supports the families of those killed or injured by police, livestreamed the meeting, which was not open to the media. MPP Deepak Anand, who represents Mississauga-Malton, also attended.Derek Francique, whose son Jamal was fatally shot by police in January, told reporters these families want answers."We are calling out the mayors of Brampton and the mayor of Mississauga to stand up and give us answers to why these aggressions have been happening and why they haven't taken a different approach," Francique said.Francique sobbed as he spoke of the loss of his son. He said Jamal, 28, was unarmed and alone in his car in Mississauga when police shot him.Krupka, who was wounded when she was shot by police on Mother's Day back in May, said the group is calling on its elected representatives for solutions."We are here to demand justice. We are here to demand answers. And we are here to demand that the mayors take a stand on what is really a crisis that's happening in our communities," she said.Scrutiny around police practices and oversight has surged in recent months. Back in June, hundreds of people rallied outside of Peel Police headquarters after Ejaz Choudry was shot and killed after his family called a non-emergency line when the 62-year-old was having a mental health crisis.At Wednesday's meeting, family members demanded that area mayors lobby the provincial government to make changes at Ontario's Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which investigates incidents involving police where civilians are injured or killed, or where there is an allegation of sexual assault.Knia Singh, a lawyer with Ma'at Legal Services, spoke to reporters outside of the meeting and called on politicians to take action.Singh represents the family of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, who died falling from her high-rise balcony in Toronto while police were in her apartment. The 29-year-old's death sparked widespread community reaction and online attention when family members took to social media in the immediate aftermath of the incident, claiming she was pushed by police. The SIU subsequently cleared police of any wrongdoing."When are those elected representatives going to step up in the face of tragedy? When are they going to step up and acknowledge this is a problem that's systemic and has continued for far too long?" Singh asked.Mayors said they went to the meeting to listenBoth Crombie and Brown expressed concern about the incidents before the meeting and later agreed to meet with the group again to talk about how they can work together for change."My heart goes out to the community and we really want to help them heal," Crombie said."This is part of a broader consultation. Obviously, the community is in a lot of pain. There have been a number of incidents," she added."For me, this is a listening exercise. This is their opportunity to speak with us."Crombie said the group asked both her and Brown not to invite Peel Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah to the meeting."We're here to listen today to see how we can be helpful," Brown said. "We're here to learn and better understand some of the concerns of the community. I am certainly concerned about the tragedies we've had recently. It's shaken our community."Obviously, we have to do a better job of making sure everyone is safe."Brown also said reform is needed. "I come from this with the standpoint that we do a poor job in Canada and Ontario in responding to mental health challenges," he said.For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
Following her recent installation as Canada’s first female finance minister, Chrystia Freeland was quick to acknowledge that a promotion such as hers was a rarity for a woman in the era of COVID-19.“The economic challenge created by the coronavirus is hitting women particularly hard,” said Freeland in a media scrum following her appointment. “It’s hitting mothers particularly hard. We are seeing women’s participation in the workforce falling very sharply.”Freeland’s comments echo mounting evidence of the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women around the world. Women pushed outA recent report from the Royal Bank of Canada found that women’s participation in the Canadian labour force fell by 4.7 per cent between February and May. There are multiple factors that have contributed to what has been dubbed the “shecession,” but childcare obligations are one of the most frequently cited. During the same period, employment among women with toddlers or school-aged children fell by seven per cent, whereas men with children in the same age groups only saw a decline of four per cent.The evidence indicates that in households with children, the ramifications of shelter-at-home measures — which shuttered schools and child-care centres across the country while at the same time prohibiting families from soliciting support with child care from anyone outside the home — have fallen disproportionately to women. Widening the gapIn the middle of an economic crisis where all child-care supports are suddenly withdrawn, parents cannot be faulted for reaching the difficult but ostensibly rational conclusion that the higher income earner should remain in the workforce. But the pervasive gender gap in earnings, which sees women make less on average than men, means that a man’s career is generally favoured in this calculus. In addition, it’s not clear that the difference in earnings between men and women always determines how child-care obligations are allocated. Research has shown that, even in cases where women are the primary breadwinners in a household, they assume more of the household duties.But employment statistics are just the tip of the iceberg. Not every household with children in Canada had a parent leave the workforce in order to tend to their children during the pandemic. Many Canadian families with young children at home have had to to balance full-time jobs and full-time child care. Parents have had to take on additional homeschooling responsibilities. All Canadian families, regardless of employment, have had to do more with less. But how has that workload been distributed?In a recent study published in Politics & Gender, my co-authors and I sought to better understand how increased child care obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic were shared between women and men in Canada. Drawing on findings from the COVID19Monitor.org initiative, an ongoing public opinion research study by Vox Pop Labs on social impacts of the pandemic, we found striking disparities in Canadian households when it came to the self-reported number of hours spent on child care by women and men even before the pandemic. These disparities are significantly exacerbated by government responses to COVID-19.Vox Pop Labs surveyed 4,070 Canadians over a two-week period in late April and early June regarding the number of hours they spent on various tasks in an average week before the pandemic compared to during the pandemic.Both men and women in Canadian households with children under 15 reported spending an average of 39 per cent more time on child care during the pandemic. So, at least in terms of the proportional increase in hours spent taking care of the kids, men and women seem to have rolled up their sleeves in equal measure (although men are known to overestimate their respective contributions to child care). But this measure belies a massively uneven distribution of child care obligations between men and women in Canada prior to the pandemic, which set the conditions for even greater disparity once the pandemic hit. Tracking child careEven before COVID-19 triggered shelter-at-home measures, women with children at home reported spending more than twice as many hours on child care than men. Men reported an average of 33 hours per week spent on child care prior to the pandemic compared to 46 hours during the pandemic. Women reported spending 68 hours on child care on average in a given week before COVID-19 struck, and 95 hours thereafter.To put things into perspective, these findings suggest that the average Canadian mother spent 13.5 hours per day on child care in late April and early June — roughly equivalent to the average waking hours of young children. While the sample includes stay-at-home-parents, who already spend the majority of their waking hours on child care, it also includes women who report being employed full-time. Working full-time hours coupled with full-time child care would theoretically allow for just 2.5 hours of sleep per night. Obviously, this is untenable. Something has to give. Alarming impactsThese findings are some of the most alarming yet when it comes to measuring the impact that the pandemic-related measures have had on mothers in Canada. They show that Canadian women with children at home have taken a hit to their mental health when compared with their male counterparts, which comes as little surprise given the circumstances.Once the pandemic begins to subside, the focus on economic recovery must take stock of the gendered implications of emergency measures, particularly for women in households with young children. This is essential if we are going to make up for the uneven burden shouldered by Canada’s mothers during this crisis.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Data show how American mothers balance work and family * Separating mothers with COVID-19 from their newborns does more harm than goodClifton van der Linden is the founder and chief executive officer of Vox Pop Labs, the public opinion research organization responsible for the COVID-19 Monitor.
When first-year student Sabrina Fauteux arrived in Antigonish from Ottawa last week, she was allowed one person to help her move into her dorm room at St. Francis Xavier University.Then, she and over 350 other students were left to set up their rooms by themselves — starting the first day of two weeks in isolation on the university campus."Everybody wants to follow the rules," said Fauteux in a phone call from her dorm room. "We all know if they don't, there could potentially be an outbreak."A lot of schools haven't been allowed to go back. We know we're lucky and we want it to be relatively normal, so we want to do the best we can so we can have a better time later."While students coming from outside of the Atlantic bubble to attend post-secondary institutions say those in residence are under pretty strict watch, those living off campus are dealing with more of an honour system when it comes to their 14-day isolation period."I actually know people who have, despite the fact that we have this mandatory quarantine, they will go for a walk for example, because they can't deal with the fact that they are inside for so long," said 20-year-old Michelle Scully, a third-year student from Toronto who is living off campus in Halifax and returning to Dalhousie University."There's truly no way of actually tracking it. The majority of the system relies on an honour system, that people are going to be honest and do it."But as the rapidly changing pandemic continues to throw new challenges at Nova Scotia's universities, many say they're pleasantly surprised about how the quarantine is going so far."It is a huge undertaking," said Elizabeth Yeo, vice-president of students at St. FX."But we've found that over the course of the last week, things have really been improving."Requirements for studentsStudents who arrived from outside of the Atlantic region on or after Aug. 20 must complete three COVID-19 tests during their isolation period.RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said international students are automatically checked by police to make sure they are isolating during the 14 days.For students from elsewhere in Canada, they would only be checked if someone made a request.Students are also required to complete a daily digital check-in, which asks if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, if they are isolating and refusing visitors and avoiding public places. The check-in email also asks that they have been honest and truthful in their response, and that it is an offence to provide false or misleading information.If the student does not complete the process, or something in their response requires a followup, their institution is notified and must check on the student.Living in residenceMany schools provided residence space for students needing a place to isolate and NSCC, which does not have any residences, made hotel rooms available.Fauteux, who is in isolation at St. FX until Sept. 10, is only allowed to leave her room if she needs to use the washroom. She spends most of her days reading, working out, watching Netflix and looking forward to a single hour of time outside."We all leave in our nice line, six feet apart in our masks and we all get to go sit in a massive circle in our field," she said. "We have a little social interaction, it's just very socially distant."Fauteux said she's made friends in her residence because of this outdoor time, and they often check in with one another throughout the day.She said her residence advisors set up Zoom meetings for everyone to have dinner together, adding that she's "never eaten so much in her life" as the school provides three free meals a day for students.On Wednesday night, Fauteux said her advisors planned a theme dinner and everyone got dressed up to eat together online."It is kind of fun, I like it," she said with a laugh.Yeo said staff thought it was important to have virtual events for students, especially those who have just left home for the first time."We felt that providing that sense of community and support would be essential for their well being and ability to feel part of the St. FX community," Yeo said.Dalhousie University was unable to provide an interview, but spokesperson Janet Bryson said in an email that students were given the option to self-isolate in residence, and the university is pleased with how that process has been going.At Acadia University, there are 40 international students isolating in residence. By Saturday, the number of students in quarantine on campus will be up to 220.Both Acadia and St. FX have mobile testing units on campus that are able to administer COVID-19 tests to students in their residences.But both schools also say they are unclear what would happen if a student in residence tested positive for COVID-19, because at that point the situation would be taken over by Public Health.It's unknown whether other students living in the residence would be notified of a positive case in their building.The Department of Health and Wellness declined an interview request.Chad Johnstone, director of residence and student life at Acadia University, said the residence team is providing meal deliveries, which allows them both to check on the students' mental health and make sure that they are following their quarantine."It's not something that we take lightly....There is a zero-tolerance policy for students who fail to adhere to those protocols," he said.Living off campusWhile those in residence can be kept under close watch, it's a different way of isolating for students living off campus.Lori Foran, director of student awards and experience with NSCC, said students are "hyper vigilant in wanting to follow all the processes" when it comes to isolating.Students from NSCC were required to work with the school to create a quarantine plan, and staff follow up with those students throughout the 14 days."We really stress that the reason we're being asked to do this is to protect the safety of themselves and our community," Foran said.For Mary Caplice, a third-year St. FX student from Toronto, the code of conduct and potential academic repercussions are why she's taking the quarantine seriously.Students living off campus at St. FX were provided with a support person — one of 250 volunteers from alumni and community members — who can do grocery runs, pick up any necessary items and check in as needed. There is a similar program in place at Acadia."The community is very cognizant right now, so we certainly hear from community members when there may be concerns of students who are not self-isolating off campus," said Johnstone.But Caplice said there haven't been any physical checks from St. FX apart from their support person."We live among residents of the town, it's not just students all living together. So I think you feel more watched, so you feel more that you need to do the proper isolation," she said."But what I've heard from people in Halifax, it's not the same. People aren't honouring the commitment to isolate."'You get cabin fever really quickly'In Halifax, Scully said there hasn't been much contact from Dalhousie or Public Health to ensure the isolation is being followed, apart from her daily check-in email."I think the system is quite arbitrary," she said, adding that it's been a different experience for her and her five roommates, who have all been quarantining in their home.She said some rules, like each of them having to use a separate bathroom, just aren't feasible in student apartments.But Scully said she has no plans to break quarantine even though she could probably get away with it."I've always considered myself a bit of a goody two-shoes. If I'm told to follow the rules, I'll follow them. It doesn't mean it's not hard. I've had a lot of urges to go outside because you get cabin fever really quickly," she said, adding that she understands people are scared and Nova Scotians want to keep the COVID numbers low."They want to avoid an outbreak, so for me it seemed obvious that if you're asked to quarantine for two weeks, it ultimately doesn't take away a lot of your life."MORE TOP STORIES
French President Emmanuel Macron criticized Friday what he called “Islamic separatism” in his country and those who seek French citizenship without accepting France’s “right to commit blasphemy.” Macron defended satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that helped inspire two French-born Islamic extremists to mount a deadly January 2015 attack on the paper's newsroom. The weekly republished the images this week as the trial began of 14 people over the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and on a kosher supermarket.
CALGARY — A homeless shelter in downtown Calgary is working to contain an outbreak of COVID-19 after five people staying there tested positive for the virus.The Calgary Drop-In Centre said that as of Wednesday, more than 140 clients and 100 staff have been tested on-site since the shelter reported its first case a week ago."We are all continuing to work diligently to keep our shelter staff and client population protected best we can, and we thank the community for their kindness during this time," the shelter, one of the largest in North America, said in a statement.People are waiting for test results in a hotel that's being used as an assisted isolation site, as well as at the Drop-In Centre's satellite shelter.An Alberta Health Services guidance document issued to shelters in July states beds, mats or cots should be spaced two metres apart head-to-toe, if space allows.However, acknowledging space limitations, a minimum of one metre is allowed in non-outbreak situations."At this time, I haven't been told that the sleeping arrangements were a contributing factor to the outbreak," Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer, said Thursday."The information that I've received at this point indicates that there is some evidence transmission occurred between individuals when they were outside of the building."Before the pandemic, the Drop-In Centre housed an average of 725 people per night. Now, its capacity is 300.The shelter is open only to people who have been inside since Aug. 8.Chaz Smith, who runs the Be the Change YYC homeless outreach team, said he met 10 people who were turned away last week."It increases, if you have any mental-health symptoms, that sense of abandonment," he said."(It) increases the anxiety, the depression associated with not being able to have a safe place to go or access to food, water, washrooms, showers and essentials of life."He said it was inevitable that there would be an outbreak at a shelter, given how the virus spreads, and that the two-metre distancing rule should apply like in most other indoor spaces.Edmonton's city council voted Wednesday to ask the provincial and federal governments for money to buy financially distressed hotel and apartment buildings and convert them to short- and medium-term transitional homeless accommodations.Smith has sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and others asking to make vacant hotel rooms available as temporary homeless shelters."We plead with you to make a long-term plan that will address the impending colder weather. We hope you will act sooner than later," Smith wrote.The Alberta government announced $48 million in new funding last month to support shelters and community organizations that serve those without homes."The purpose of this funding is to support isolation and care facilities, overflow shelter sites, altered service delivery to prevent the spread of infection and 24/7 shelter access," Diane Carter, a spokeswoman for the ministry of Community and Social Services, said in a statement Thursday.She said the Mustard Seed and Hope Mission in Edmonton are both currently providing around-the-clock services, such as laundry, meals and showers. But Carter did not provide details on how much of the funding those shelters received and how much has gone toward other organizations so far.The province wound down temporary shelters at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre and Edmonton Expo Centre this summer, and Community and Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney said last month alternative overflow options were being explored. Smith said although those on the street are again able to panhandle with the reopening of businesses downtown, the priority is finding somewhere warm to sleep."I just don't want my clients to have to start saying 'I have to break into places again to stay warm.' It's survival instinct. If we don't provide, that's what they're going to do."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2020.Lauren Krugel and Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
The federal government has consented to the certification of two class action lawsuits over funding for First Nation child welfare services and the state of health services for children on-reserve and in the Yukon.The certification of the class actions sets the stage for what could be an umbrella settlement that could cover the two cases and a separate First Nations child welfare compensation order issued by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, which is facing a judicial review before the Federal Court.The two class action lawsuits received certification on Thursday. One was filed by the Assembly of First Nations on behalf of former First Nation foster children, while the other was filed by three law firms on behalf of a former foster child from a Quebec and Nova Scotia First Nation member who suffers from cerebral palsy.The lawsuits are proceeding together in Federal Court. "Consenting to certification marks a step forward in negotiating a settlement to compensate those harmed by under-funding of child and family services on reserve," says a media statement issued by Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and Justice Minister David Lametti.Ottawa is entering into mediation to settle the lawsuits, which are seeking billions of dollars in compensation for First Nation children affected by the on-reserve child welfare system and for those who were denied services Ottawa was expected to provide under what's known as Jordan's Principle.Jordan's Principle states that First Nation children on reserves must not be kept waiting for vital social services because governments can't agree on who should pay for them.In a media statement, Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde welcomed Ottawa's certification."Canada's decision to work with the AFN and its allies in addressing this tragedy is an important step," he said. "It is crucial that Canada act in good faith in these upcoming negotiations, provide fair compensation to all those who suffered harm, and implement real change. Only then can we bring closure to this sad chapter in our history."Ottawa trying to settle 3 casesThe AFN lawsuit, filed on Jan. 28, is seeking $10 billion in damages.The AFN lawsuit claims that by shortchanging services for Indigenous children, the federal government created an incentive to remove them from their homes and place them in foster care as the "first — not the last — resort."The second lawsuit, which is seeking $6 billion in damages, was filed in March 2019 on behalf of former foster child Xavier Moushoom of La Nation Anishnabe du Lac Simon, Que., and Jeremy Meawasige of Pictou Landing First Nation in Nova Scotia. Meawasige was born with cerebral palsy, spinal curvature and autism.In November, Lametti and Miller issued a joint statement saying the federal government intended to settle the Moushoom and Meawasige lawsuit.At the time, the ministers indicated the negotiations would also seek resolution to matters now before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal involving similar facts and issues."We will be sitting down with parties and seeing where there is a meeting of minds and move forward on a compensation package, a compensation model that is fair and equitable," Miller said last December.Last fall, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordered the federal government to pay $40,000 — the maximum allowed under the Canadian Human Rights Act — to each child taken from their homes and communities through the on-reserve child welfare system from Jan. 1, 2006, to a date to be determined by the tribunal.Some estimates place the number of children that could be affected at about 50,000, with the largest number in the Prairie provinces and British Columbia. The ruling, like the AFN class action, also covers First Nation children in Yukon.The Trudeau government asked the Federal Court for a judicial review of the tribunal order, saying that because it came down in the middle of an election, there was not enough time to "have conversations with communities, with leaders, to make sure we're getting that compensation right."That matter is still before the Federal Court.
A divided federal appeals court on Thursday upheld a lower court’s decision blocking the enforcement in Maryland of Trump administration rules that prohibit taxpayer-funded family planning clinics in the Title X program from making abortion referrals. The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an existing permanent injunction. It wrote that the administration's rules “failed to recognize and address the ethical concerns of literally every major medical organization in the country" and “arbitrarily estimated the cost” of implementing part of the rules.
NEW YORK — Before she went into acting, Hilary Swank was one of those kids who looked up at the sky and dreamed of blasting off to outer space. She got to pretend living out that dream in her new Netflix series, “Away,” debuting Friday, where she plays an astronaut commander leading a voyage to Mars.“I just love an adventure and I'm a Leo,” said Swank in a recent interview.Executive produced by Jason Katims, “Away" follows Swank's character Emma Green and her international crew on this dangerous mission as she leaves behind her husband (played by Josh Charles) and teenage daughter (Talitha Bateman) for three years. It begins airing Friday.The series shifts back-and-forth between what's going on in space and back home with her family. Charles juggles health issues while essentially being a single parent. Emma has some personnel issues onboard (prickly personalities, a colleague who may think of her as more than a friend, and a rookie astronaut on her team), but what's not a factor is that she's a woman in charge.“I think it’s pretty darn awesome that’s not the drama of this show. It's not about ‘Oh, it’s a female commander,'" said Swank.Swank won an Oscar for her 1999 portrayal of a transgender man in “Boys Don’t Cry” and again for playing a boxer in the 2004 movie, “Million Dollar Baby." When it came time to play an astronaut, the actor welcomed the challenge.To mimic floating in zero gravity in space, the cast — Vivian Wu, Ray Panthaki, Mark Ivanir and Ato Essandoh — actually hung from wires.“It took a lot of effort to make it look effortless," Swank explained. “You're hanging by your hips, so when you squeeze your glutes, you go forward. And when you squeeze your abs, you go backwards. But naturally, if you’re only being held by that part of your body, you really want to omit these weird sounds but you can’t because obviously zero gravity is no effort. So it took a lot of getting used to for all of us.”The wire work did more than just give the actors a good workout. They were forced to spend more time together than usual — because they were literally hanging out on set.“You're on a wire and you can’t easily get off and go into a corner and get on your phone. We were really present with one another,” said Swank.The self-professed adventure junkie says she did encounter something that surprised her when she first tried on her spacesuit: “full-on” claustrophobia."They put the gloves on and it actually goes click, and then you can’t get it off until you push a button and then do a lever and you can’t take your gloves off by yourself. And then the helmet went on. And then it went click, and I really freaked out,” said Swank.“I tried to keep myself under control. I didn’t want people to worry. But then they clearly were like, ‘Are you OK?’ And I looked in the mirror because I was in my fitting and I was bright red and I was sweating and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m just hot.’ So that was something that I had to work through in 10 episodes. But I eventually worked through it.”___Follow Alicia Rancilio at http://www.twitter.com/aliciarAlicia Rancilio, The Associated Press
Two people who were given $1,200 tickets when they took part in protests at the Alberta legislature during the COVID-19 pandemic in May will not have to pay the fines. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms says the Crown has withdrawn the tickets that were issued under the Public Health Act. The centre says the men were protesting government restrictions put in place to protect against COVID-19 when they were escorted off the grounds and ticketed.
LOS ANGELES — Britney Spears is welcoming public scrutiny of the court conservatorship that has controlled her life and money for 12 years as she seeks to push her father out of power, according to a Thursday court filing.Spears filed an objection unprecedented in the 12 years of the conservatorship to a motion from her father, James Spears, to seal a recent filing in the case, forcefully arguing that the public ought to know what is happening to her and tacitly voicing her support for the FreeBritney movement among fans that her father has shown scorn for.“Britney's conservatorship has attracted an unprecedented level of scrutiny from mainstream media and social media alike," the filing says. "Far from being a conspiracy theory or a ‘joke’ as James reportedly told the media, in large part this scrutiny is a reasonable and even predictable result of James’ aggressive use of the sealing procedure over the years to minimize the amount of meaningful information made available to the public.”“The world is watching,” the filing later says.James Spears and the conservatorship's attorneys who work for him have constantly sought to have courtrooms closed and filings sealed in the case. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny has routinely approved the moves.But Britney Spears objects to the sealing of her father's motion to have attorney Andrew Wallet returned to his role of co-conservator along with James Spears.“Britney believes it is consistent not only with her personal best interests but also with good public policy generally that the decision to appoint a new conservator of her estate be made in as open and transparent a manner as possible," her filing says. "The sealing motion is supposedly being brought by her father to ‘protect’ Britney’s interests, but she is adamantly opposed to it.”The arguments to seal have said that Britney Spears' private medical information, details about her children and trade secrets must be protected. But she argues in her opposition that none of those things are revealed in this or many other filings in the case.A conservatorship, known in many states as guardianship, is usually reserved for people with a severely diminished capacity to make decisions for themselves. In cases like Britney Spears', who was put under control when she was having psychological problems and her life was in a downward spiral in 2008, they rarely last this long.Recent filings showed that Britney Spears' assets, which the conservatorship controls, totalled about $50 million at the start of 2020.Her father and Wallet acted for years as her co-conservators, until Wallet stepped aside last year, briefly leaving James Spears in sole control. Citing health concerns, James Spears temporarily stepped down as conservator of his daughter's personal affairs, but he stayed conservator of her finances. Jodi Montgomery became conservator of Britney's person.After years of silence on the conservatorship, which Spears has agreed was necessary at first, she has suddenly begun to publicly express her wishes, though she has stopped short of declaring she wants it to end entirely.She said in court papers last month that she wanted Montgomery to stay on permanently, and strongly objected to his father retaking her role.And in a new filing Wednesday, she said she wants a financial company, Bessemer Trust, to be the conservator overseeing her money, a move that would push James Spears out entirely.An email seeking comment from James Spears’ attorneys was not immediately returned.She has also sought a financial role for her sister Jamie Lynn Spears as a trustee in a recent filing.The dueling motions set up a showdown between James and Britney Spears that will be the subject of an October hearing and could stretch into a longer court fight.Thursday's motion also includes what might be called a shout-out to the fans in the FreeBritney movement, who have collectively called online for her release from court control and have consistently protested outside her court hearings.“At this point in her life when she is trying to regain some measure of personal autonomy," the filing says, “Britney welcomes and appreciates the informed support of her many fans.”___Follow AP Entertainment Reporter Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton.Andrew Dalton, The Associated Press