It appears Hong Kong has started enforcing a law that doesn’t recognize dual citizenship, mostly for people who have been detained. Global Affairs Canada says if citizenship is renounced someone could lose access to consular services.
It appears Hong Kong has started enforcing a law that doesn’t recognize dual citizenship, mostly for people who have been detained. Global Affairs Canada says if citizenship is renounced someone could lose access to consular services.
When the Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars last month, it arrived with a B.C.-made tool in its figurative tool belt. The six-wheeled, plutonium-powered U.S. rover landed on the red planet on Feb. 18, with a mandate to drill down and collect tiny geological specimens that will be returned to NASA in about 2031. That drilling will be done using a drill bit tip designed and manufactured by a company based in Langford, B.C. "It has great wear and fraction resistance so it is perfect for a Mars application," said Ron Sivorat, business director for Kennametal Inc., during an interview on CBC's All Points West. The drill bit tip is made from K92-grade tungsten carbide blanks, which Sivorat said are one of the toughest grades used for drilling here on earth and he is confident it will be good enough for Mars. According to Sivorat, the company has had a relationship with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2014, when the space agency first began ordering and testing Kennametal Inc. drill bit tips. In 2018, the company learned NASA wanted to work with it to build a bit for Perseverance. Sivorat said staff built the drill bit to NASA's specifications and then sent it to the agency who finessed it somewhat for its Mars mission. When Perseverance landed safely on the fourth planet from the sun, it was an exciting moment for Kennametal Inc. employees, many of whom watched the landing online and are continuing to check on Perservance's daily progress updates. "We know that we are going to be part of, in one way or another, an historical event that will be remembered for many years to come," said Sivorat. Sivorat said he expects the drill bit built in B.C. to start penetrating the surface of Mars in the next couple of weeks. And B.C. is not the only Canadian province with a connection to Perseverance. Canadian Photonic Labs, based in Minnedosa, Man., manufactured a high-speed and highly-durable camera that played an instrumental role in landing the rover. The Manitoba company's relationship with NASA dates back roughly 15 years, he said — but much of the work that's happened in that time has been cloaked in secrecy.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Businesses all across Canada are having difficulties keeping shelves stocked as the demand continues to soar. According to the Statista market forecast, puzzle sales in Canada will hit over $85 million US by the end of the year. Here in Fox Creek, the demand is just as high, but with innovative thinking, the Fox Creek Library resolved that issue for residents. The library now has a collection of puzzles to borrow, the same as you would sign out a book. All you need is your free library membership card, and the puzzle can be taken home for the 21-day loan period. The collection consists of around 50 puzzles presently and varies in degrees of difficulty and size. For those up to the challenge, they even have box collections with multiple puzzles inside—no matter what level of puzzle, they have something for everyone. Whether you like animals, nostalgic pictures, beautiful outdoor scenery, mountainscapes or cottages in the country, take your pick. You can check out their Facebook page, choose a puzzle and call the library at 780-622-2343 to make a reservation for curbside pick up. Like many other toys and fashions, Puzzles seem to have made a full circle in their popularity from decades when they were all a rave. The puzzle was first invented in 1766 by cartographer and engraver John Spilsbury. A map of Europe was placed onto a hardwood sheet and dissected the boundaries, thus creating a puzzle. Once complete, the puzzle was used for teaching children all about geography. It wasn't until the early 1800s when manufacturers picked up on the idea and began doing their puzzles. The puzzles back then were developed out of large, bulky wood pieces, cut by hand, then painted. The manufacturing of cardboard puzzles appeared about 80 years later but didn't become popular until the Great Depression. Since that time, puzzles have steadily improved in designs, the product used and how they're manufactured. On a fun note, a gigantic commercial puzzle available was manufactured in 2020 and contained 54,000 pieces. For those who have patience and love to puzzle, clear out your home and prepare for this beast. Vicki Winger, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press
TORONTO — Air Canada is simplifying its regional operations amid COVID pressures by reaching a deal to make Chorus Aviation Ltd.'s Jazz Aviation subsidiary the exclusive operator of Air Canada Express flights. The change means Air Canada will transfer operation of its 25 Embraer E175 fleet to Jazz from Sky Regional where they have operated for a decade. Jazz will become sole partner for regional flying for aircraft with at least 70 seats until 2025. It will also remove 19 Dash 8-300s from its fleet this year. Air Canada says the consolidation of regional flying with Jazz is due to the pandemic and the need to reduce costs. "This necessary realignment of our regional services will help Air Canada achieve efficiencies and reduce operating costs and cash burn by consolidating its regional operations with one provider," stated Richard Steer, senior vice-president, operations and express carriers. "Moreover, by streamlining the regional fleet, this agreement will also position Air Canada to operate more competitively with a single provider as traffic returns following the pandemic." Air Canada said it expects to save $400 million over 15 years by combining its fleet under one operator, reducing overall regional flying compensation and related operational cost savings from changes to the capacity purchase agreement. In addition, the new agreement will lower future contractual capital expenditure and leasing costs, avoiding an estimated $193 million in future capital expenditures. For Halifax-based Chorus, the agreement provides greater cash flow certainty and eliminates potentially significant draws on working capital. "With the Jazz fleet operating at a fraction of the capacity it flew a year ago, now is the time to update the CPA to help preserve regional flying and Jazz’s place within it," said Chorus CEO Joe Randell. "Bringing the Embraer 175 aircraft into the Jazz Covered Aircraft fleet ... is a demonstration of our cost competitiveness and strong relationship with Air Canada," he said in a news release. The changes to the capacity purchase agreement with Jazz are subject to Jazz reaching an agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association, International. Walter Spracklin of RBC Dominion Services said the changes were "positive." "For Air Canada, we view the consolidation of its regional flying with Jazz as a sound strategic move," he wrote in a report. Spracklin added that Chorus can sell or lease the Dash 8s that it owns, 15 of which have had their useful life prolonged by about 15 years, or convert them for cargo operations. Air Canada's shares gained $1.21 or 4.8 per cent at $26.31 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Chorus shares were up 23 cents or 5.5 per cent at $4.43. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:AC, TSX:CHR) Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
A massive iceberg twice as big as the city of Toronto broke off Antarctica on Friday, according to a news release from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). The BAS operates a base on the Brunt Ice Shelf, where the 1,270 square kilometre iceberg — nearly one-third the size of Prince Edward Island — broke off. The Halley Research Centre, which is closed for the Antarctic winter, is unlikely to be impacted by the event, the organization said in the release. "Our teams at BAS have been prepared for the calving of an iceberg from Brunt Ice Shelf for years," BAS director Jane Francis said in the statement. Calving is the scientific term used to describe ice breaking off from a glacier. "Over coming weeks or months, the iceberg may move away; or it could run aground and remain close to Brunt Ice Shelf," Francis said. "Halley Station is located inland of all the active chasms, on the part of the ice shelf that remains connected to the continent." In November, a new chasm in the Brunt Ice Shelf — which the organization named the North Rift — headed toward another large chasm, the BAS said in its statement. It was the third major crack to become active in the last decade and eventually cut through the 150-metre thick ice shelf and released, the organization said. BAS said changes in the ice at the research centre is a "natural process" and said there is "no evidence that climate change has played a significant role."
COVID-19 is spreading faster than ever on Six Nations of the Grand River. Six Nations Health Services reported 114 active cases on Sunday, setting a record that promptly rose to 116 on Monday. Four COVID-19 patients are in hospital, and the disease has killed three band members since the pandemic began. After keeping COVID-19 under control throughout the spring and summer — helped by an early lockdown that limited outside access to the territory — cases began to climb in October and haven’t stopped. The recent spike has been especially worrisome, with 115 of the reserve’s 365 total positive cases identified in the past 10 days. Public health officials, elected councillors and members of the reserve’s emergency control group issued a joint statement on Monday again urging band members to stay at home. “There are to be absolutely no private gatherings with anyone outside of your immediate household. People should be staying home and only leaving their home for absolutely essential purposes,” the statement read. In recent days, public health identified “large gatherings” as a source of community spread, but did not provide further details. Mid-winter ceremonies in January were blamed for a spike in cases at that time, and public health also said a “steady stream” of cross-border travel was bringing the virus onto the reserve. Elected council is now asking band members to wear masks inside their own homes to protect high-risk family members, including seniors and those with underlying health conditions. “Each of us needs to be doing our part to protect these populations, ourselves, and others from COVID-19,” council said in the statement. Health officials said more contagious variants of COVID-19 that have been detected in surrounding communities have not yet been found on the reserve. “We have been fighting this virus for almost a year and the community is tired,” elected council said. “Our health-care workers are overwhelmed. We all need to come together to contain and defeat this virus so that we may gather once again.” J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Irving's Halifax Shipyard is expected to reopen Tuesday after a positive COVID-19 test last week shut down the entire worksite. Irving spokesperson Tom Ormsby said work will start again with Tuesday's day shift. He said Irving carried out comprehensive testing for COVID-19, and all tests so far have come back negative. "We wish to thank Nova Scotia Public Health, our employees and our union leadership for a tremendous effort regarding the co-ordination and safe execution of such a large undertaking in such a short time frame," he said in an email Monday. Ormsby said the shipyard will continue to stay vigilant against outbreaks. About 1,600 people work at the shipyard and many are in the middle of a multibillion-dollar shipbuilding project for the Canadian navy. MORE TOP STORIES
Une photo du premier ministre François Legault et de son épouse Isabelle Brais visant à vanter la saison des sucres au Québec a été trafiquée par une microbrasserie pour en faire sa promotion. L'image originale a été mise en ligne sur la page Facebook du premier ministre dimanche matin. On le voit tenir une boîte de livraison de produits d'érable sur laquelle on retrouve le logo de l'initiative «Ma cabane à la maison», lancée par l’Association des cabanes à sucre du Québec. Un peu plus de 24 heures plus tard, la même image s'est retrouvée sur la page de la microbrasserie Farnham Ale & Lager, mais avec les logos du fabricant de bière. L'entreprise a ainsi utilisé sans son autorisation l'image du premier ministre pour faire la promotion de ses produits avec un message faisant référence au couvre-feu en vigueur dans la province pour lutter contre la pandémie de la COVID-19. Au bureau du premier ministre, on confirme que personne au gouvernement – ni M. Legault, ni Mme Brais – n'a autorisé l'utilisation de l'image pour cette publicité. Une demande devait être formulée auprès de la microbrasserie afin qu'elle retire ce montage de ses réseaux sociaux. L'image s'y trouvait toujours en début de soirée, lundi. Au moment de publier, la direction de Farnham Ale & Lager n'avait pas répondu à nos demandes de commentaires. Ugo Giguère, Initiative de journalisme local, La Presse Canadienne
A new directive issued in response to "buttergate" could make it hard for dairy farmers to keep up with demand for the staple ingredient, according to experts, who suspect that the controversy may be rooted less in fact than media frenzy. Last week, Dairy Farmers of Canada asked its members to find alternatives to palm supplements in cattle feed while a working group looks into consumer concerns that butter has become harder as a result of such additives. The move came after media reports linked a purported change in consistency to the common practice of bolstering cows' diets with palm byproducts. Dairy Farmers of Canada maintains that palm supplements are safe and notes they are federally approved for use in livestock feed. The recommended suspension of these supplements won't cause shortages Canadian-made dairy products, the lobby group says, due to the supply management system that limits production to keep prices stable. But animal science experts warn that ruling out palm-based feed supplements based on questionable claims about their effects on butter's consistency could cost Canadian dairy farmers and potentially lead to an increase in imports. Professor Adam Lock, who studies dairy cattle nutrition at Michigan State University, said farmers have used palm oil and its derivative, palmitic acid, to help cattle meet their energy needs for decades, and there are no alternative feed supplements that are as efficient and economical. He harbours serious reservations about the scientific merits of "buttergate," which has spread to become an international media sensation. Lock believes the Dairy Farmers of Canada's denouncement of palm supplements is a misguided response that could cause significant challenges for the association's members. "It seems like rather a knee-jerk reaction," Lock said. "It's dangerous and wrong to try and blame any potential changes in milk fat and quality (on) ... a single group of feed ingredients when we know there are so many factors that affect milk fat composition." "Buttergate" proponents believe that dairy farmers are adding more palm supplements to cattle feed to keep up with pandemic-fuelled demand for the baking ingredient. In their view, an increased palmitic acid content of butter would increase the melting point and make it harder to spread at room temperature. But Lock said there's no solid data to support this hypothesis. Lock said the chemical composition of milk is too complex to pinpoint a single fatty acid as the reason for changes in a product's properties. Palmitic acid is one of the most common naturally occurring fatty acids in butter. Feed supplements only cause a slight increase in their abundance, Lock said, and this is offset by changes in other fatty acids. For farmers, he said, a minor increase in palmitic acid content can be crucial to meeting butterfat quotas, but the difference is nutritionally negligible in terms of human consumption. Palm oil is the world's most-consumed vegetable oil, and can be found in products ranging from soap to cookies. But some critics say the Canadian dairy sector shouldn't be supporting palm oil production practices that lay waste to the environment. Lock suggested these concerns may be overblown. Many feed supplements use palm byproducts, which cows can digest but aren't suitable for direct human consumption, and may be otherwise wasted, he said. Jake Vermeer of Vermeer's Dairy Ltd in Camrose, Alta., said he's consulting with his cattle nutritionist about alternatives to palm supplements and is confident he'll find a way to adapt without compromising production or quality. Vermeer said satisfying customers is his farm's first priority, but he's still waiting to hear from Dairy Farmers of Canada's working group about whether "buttergate" is backed up by science. "I think the cows are the ones that will have to suffer in this, as palm oil is definitely a great energy source for them," he said. David Christensen, a professor emeritus of animal and poultry science at University of Saskatchewan, said while he also has questions about the theory behind "buttergate," he's far more certain that the Dairy Farmers of Canada's directive is going to have negative repercussions for milk producers. Without palm oil or its derivatives, Christensen said dairy farmers are left with few options to meet their quotas. Farmers could alter their feeding programs but there's no supplement as effective as palmitic acid in boosting milk fat to meet the requirements for butter, he said. Alternatively, Christensen said producers could work more cows to maintain operations, but that may not make economic sense for some farmers. Ultimately, Christensen said imports will compensate for any shortfall in the Canadian butter supply, but farmers are bound to face greater costs to produce the same amount of milk fat. Eric Baumann, who operates a dairy farm near Athens, Ont., said he's sticking with palm supplements because the practice is compliant with federal safety regulations, and he believes it's best for his cattle and his bottom line. "Getting mad at dairy farmers about the use of palm oil is like getting mad at the garbage person for the amount of waste that is produced," Baumann said. "The garbage isn't there because of the disposal service, and palm oil byproducts aren't created because of dairy farmers." Lactanet chief operating officer Daniel Lefebvre, who advises Dairy Farmers of Canada about animal nutrition, said the elimination of palm supplements will likely create challenges for milk producers who may not have the capacity to meet their quotas. But ultimately, he said, losing markets because of consumer backlash poses a greater risk to the dairy industry than these disruptions to farmers' operations. "The reaction of the consumer, fuelled by some media hype that was not based on facts, caused too much of a threat to the dairy industry that they couldn't not do anything," said Lefebvre. "The unfortunate situation is that it's not facts and science that prevailed but public perception." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Some Ontario seniors braved frigid temperatures Monday to get a COVID-19 vaccine as several regions in the province moved ahead with their plans to vaccinate the general public. With the broad launch of a provincial booking portal still two weeks away, some local public health units used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. In York Region, where bookings opened Monday morning for shots that could be administered as early as the afternoon, dozens of seniors and their caregivers lined up outside a sports centre to get the vaccine. Some huddled together for warmth - a winter weather advisory was in effect for the region - as the line to enter the centre in Richmond Hill moved slowly. Hassan Abbas Kara was saving a place in line while his grandmother waited in a car. “I don't want her to wait in the cold, so it’s a little thing I can do right now to help her," he said. Atta Hussain, 82, said the process was "beautiful" and well organized, and expressed relief after receiving his shot. "We thank everybody who is participating," he said. York Region said its vaccination clinics were fully booked just two hours after they started taking appointments. A spokesman said approximately 20,000 appointments were made Monday across five locations in the region. Clinics were also offering shots to those 80 and older in Windsor-Essex County, and to those 85 and older at a hospital in Hamilton, where officials warned of long wait times amid high call volumes to its COVID-19 hotline. Hamilton's top doctor apologized for backlog on the phone line and asked people who don't live in the city to not call about appointments. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. "Some of them are already vaccinating the over-80-year-old people that are living within their regions," Elliott said Monday. "I think that's something that we should be celebrating not denigrating." Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said he's happy some public health units are offering shots already, but argued it could cause issues later when health units that have already started making appointments on their own systems have to switch over to the provincial one. The province also said Monday that it has asked the federal government for guidance on possibly extending the intervals between the first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses to four months. It pointed to British Columbia's decision to do so and said there's growing evidence suggesting intervals between the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses can be safely extended. Monday also saw two Ontario regions - Thunder Bay and Simcoe Muskoka - return to lockdowns as a result of rising COVID-19 cases. Restrictions on businesses and gatherings were loosened in seven other health units: Niagara Region, Chatham-Kent; Middlesex-London; Southwestern; Haldimand-Norfolk; Huron Perth; and Grey Bruce. Municipal officials in Simcoe Muskoka raised concerns about pressure on small businesses and the effects of yet another lockdown on the public during a public meeting with the health unit on Monday. The region's top doctor said he's heard concerns about the strict measures from people in areas with fewer cases. Dr. Charles Gardner said he'll be in touch with the province's chief medical officer about whether a full lockdown is required for the region. In Thunder Bay, which entered a lockdown after reporting more COVID-19 cases in February than all of 2020, a local hospital reported it was expanding its COVID-19 and intensive care units to meet the needs of the community. Meanwhile, a spokesman for federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the Public Health Agency of Canada was reviewing a funding application for an isolation site in Thunder Bay after the city said it could no longer afford to keep it running. Ontario reported 1,023 new cases of COVID-19 and six more deaths from the virus on Monday. - With files from Cole Burston This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
LIVERPOOL, England — Everton ended its worst home run since 1958 by beating Southampton 1-0 in the English Premier League on Monday and keeping its Champions League dream on track. Richarlison scored for the third consecutive match inside the first 10 minutes, and Everton held on to move within two points of fourth-placed West Ham with a match in hand. But the pain for Saints continued with one draw and eight defeats in their last nine league matches, leaving them seven points above the bottom three and wondering where their next win will come from. Saints would have thought they had a chance against Everton considering their host's poor home form — three successive defeats — but their only real opportunity fell to Moussa Djenepo in the final 10 minutes, and he blazed wide when well placed. It was an escape for Everton, which faded after having a second goal ruled out for offside midway through the first half. Richarlison's angled finis in the ninth minute was only his fifth in the league but, since the start of last season, Joao Pedro (30) and Paris St Germain’s Neymar (19) are the only Brazilians to score more goals in the top five European leagues than him. Playing in a two up front with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has 13 league goals, Richarlison took his chance brilliantly. Gylfi Sigurdsson, in the side for James Rodriguez who was left out as a precaution with a minor injury, capitalized on the space given to him by Mohammed Salisu going down in an aerial challenge with Calvert-Lewin and teammate James Ward-Prowse. The Iceland forward slid through a pass for Richarlison, who was making the same centre-to-right diagonal run which saw him score at Anfield last time out, to round Fraser Forster. It was the first time since since December 2019 he has scored in three successive league matches. Michael Keane had a header ruled out by VAR for offside as Southampton’s intention on holding a perilously high line at free kicks caused it more than a few problems but, strangely, rather than be emboldened, the hosts became more reticent and it could have cost them. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
OTTAWA — MPs will hear from federal ministers and officials as early as this week on the safety of returning travellers after two women were allegedly sexually assaulted during mandatory COVID-19 quarantine.The House of Commons public safety committee voted to hold a hearing with the federal public safety and health ministers as well as officials from the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada.The Opposition Conservatives proposed the hearing following reports that a quarantine screening officer as well as a returning traveller had been charged in separate sexual assault cases that allegedly occurred last month.Last week the Conservatives called for suspension of the obligation for travellers to quarantine in hotels until better safety measures are in place, as well as an end to the use of security guards, who they say haven't been properly evaluated, to check on people quarantining at home.Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said he doesn't necessarily believe the quarantine measures need to be suspended, but he wanted to see improvements to ensure the safety of travellers under quarantine. Liberal MP John McKay, the committee chairman, said Monday the hearing could take place this week but cautioned it would be a challenge to schedule witnesses in time.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The White House is making it abundantly clear it has no plans to share America's COVID-19 vaccines with Canada or Mexico. Press secretary Jen Psaki has been indicating for weeks that the Biden administration would not allow the export of doses manufactured in the U.S. any time soon. Today, with Mexico planning to explicitly ask for help, Psaki ruled the possibility out entirely. She says President Joe Biden is focused first on making sure the vaccine is available to every American. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was expected to ask Biden directly for doses when the two meet virtually later today. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly stopped short of making a similar request in his virtual meetings with Biden last week. "No," Psaki said today when asked whether the U.S. would be willing to share its supply of vaccine doses. "The president has made clear that he is focused on ensuring that vaccines are available to every American. That is our focus." Psaki hinted last week that the White House position could change later this year once more Americans are vaccinated and the doses are no longer in such short supply.Johnson and Johnson's single-dose COVID-19 vaccine began shipping out today after it received emergency authorization over the weekend from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That now makes three vaccines that are available in the U.S., along with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Health Canada has yet to approve the Johnson and Johnson shot, but gave the green light last week to a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
Police say that 16 people have been arrested in connection with a ring of vehicle finance frauds in the Greater Toronto Area. A salesperson at a car dealership is included in the arrests and the accused are facing a combined 431 charges. Investigators say the frauds were committed by using stolen identities to buy vehicles with falsified financial loan applications. The purchased vehicles were mostly newer or high-end models, such as Mercedes-Benz, Land Rovers, Audi, BMW, Toyota, Lexus and Ford. The investigation ran from October 2020 to Feb. 4, and involved several agencies in Canada and the United States. Investigators also worked closely with Toronto-area automobile dealerships to look for these transactions using new fraud-detection devices. Police in Durham and York regions collaborated to make the arrests. Police say that 48 vehicles were fraudulently purchased, 19 of which were exported out of Canada and four were recovered. Investigators say that the illegally obtained vehicles have a total value of $2.85 million. The Canadian Press
Tofino, BC - Robert Stanley was in Tofino when he heard about the house fire that claimed the life of an Ahousaht First Nation member last week. He had traveled from his home on Flores Island to attend a nine-day Captain’s Boat Camp. The loss weighed on him heavily and his first impulse was to drop-out of the course and return home. It didn’t feel right for Stanley to be so far away from his grieving community. Before he could follow through, members from his nation encouraged him to stay, saying, “there was nothing he could do.” Emotionally tapped out and disinterested, he struggled through the beginning of the in-class marine training. It wasn’t until he was out on a boat during a practical session that Stanley started to feel more at peace. “The water soothed my heart,” he said. Along with four other Nuu-chah-nulth students, Stanley was taking the boat camp to get his certifications to be a captain on a small commercial vessel. The $3,000 course was offered to 16 Nuu-chah-nulth participants from Ahousaht and the regions of Tofino and Ucluelet at no cost. It was limited to those geographical areas due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Funded by the Canadian Coast Guard and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the course was facilitated by Uu-a-thluk, Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council’s fisheries program. Selected on a first-come-first-serve basis, 11 participants signed-up and will walk away with certifications for Small Vessel Operator Proficiency (SVOP), Small Domestic Vessel Basic Safety (SDV-BS), Restricted Operator Marine Radio Licence (ROC-M) and Marine Basic First Aid. Stanley works as a commercial fisherman and has been driving trollers since he was 11 years old. No stranger to the water, he never uses a map for navigation. Instead, he relies on the traditional markers his grandfather taught him, like the top of Lone Cone Mountain. He enrolled in the course to renew his certificates so that he could run his brother’s boat. While he has no trouble maneuvering through local waters, Stanley said he “loved the practical training” that allowed him to practice his skills. Joe Titian also traveled from his community of Ahousaht to attend the course. Although he has been on boats since he was nine years old and started commercially fishing at the age of 12, he needed to renew his certificates to run a water taxi for his brother-in-law. As he pulled out of the Tofino marina, the 63-year-old quoted Dolly Parton and said, "Everybody wants happiness, nobody wants pain; but there can't be a rainbow without a little rain.” Relying on his fellow classmate, Brianna Lambert, for navigational directions, Titian continued driving out into rough seas up the Tofino Inlet. Datum Marine Services instructor, Marla Barker, guided them through a “person overboard drill” where Titian had to demonstrate a high-speed turn to rescue a fallen buoy, they covered anchoring and docking a boat, along with slow-speed maneuvering. After catching up with the other participants who were on different boats, the rain stopped as the skies parted. A vibrant rainbow emerged that arched across the inlet. It was like the ancestors were comforting the students in an embrace. As the day ended, the group gathered on a dock in Cannery bay. “You guys showed a lot of courage for hanging in there,” said Ed Houlihan, a Datum Marine instructor. While Stanley said he couldn’t wait to get back to his family and community, he was proud to have made it through the course. “It’s what my community wanted,” he said. Melissa Renwick, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Ha-Shilth-Sa
The old cliché says a picture is worth a thousand words; Piapot First Nation figures seven more won’t hurt. The Cree nation north of Regina is using photo-billboards with short, seven-word phrases to remind its members to stay COVID-safe through the pandemic. Each of the four, double-sided billboards feature images of band members doing safety protocols to stop the spread of the coronavirus: A young toddler wears a racoon face shield while munching on a snack; a middle-aged man wearing a mask readies his hands for a squirt of hand sanitizer; and, among others, a girl is washing her hands while wearing her pink Barbie mask. “I’m so glad we decided to use band members (as models), instead of just strangers on the signs. I think when people see themselves out there, their family sees them, and then they’ll share it more,” Piapot communications manager Kristin Francis said. Piapot’s leadership has been keen to educate the community’s members about the dangers and safety measures of COVID-19, she said. Each sign’s image has one of two phrases written beside it: “Be Safe Our Lives Depend On You,” and “Be Safe Your Community Depends On You.” The signs went up in mid-January, placed at high-traffic locations — the main roads into and out of the community, near the band office and at the First Nation’s main crossroads. “It would be the last image they would see when they’re leaving … if they see familiar faces, it would make you think about your own children, and your Kokum and Moshum (grandma and grandpa),” Francis said. Piapot leadership gave her creative control to design the billboards, she said. Part of the goal with real, physical signs is catching elders’ attention. “Chief (Mark Fox) was adamant about it: (They) don’t have social media ... so they’re not seeing all the communications out there.” Piapot’s total recorded COVID-19 infections is still below 100; 88 people in the community have caught the virus, based on numbers Francis provided. As of Monday, there were zero active cases in the community. One band member has died after testing positive for the virus. The band has 688 members living on reserve. Fifty-two band members have been vaccinated with both doses, while another eight have received their first doses, Francis said. Band administrators have kept Piapot’s school and office closed since November, when a viral outbreak was declared there. Data from Indigenous Services Canada shows COVID-19 infections in Saskatchewan First Nations have consistently been at or greater than 242 infections per week through the first two months of 2021. The lone exception is last week (Feb. 21-27), when ISC recorded 24 cases; infections have been declining slowly since a mid-January high of 663. Francis said administrators are now busy disbursing payments of $150 to all 2,550 band members, as part of financial relief efforts. It’s the second such payment Piapot leadership has given out. She said they’re eager to open the community’s youth centre, which is to host virtual Cree and craft-making lessons for Piapot’s kids. firstname.lastname@example.org Evan Radford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Regina Leader-Post, The Leader-Post
Donwood Park public school is temporarily shutting its doors because of a COVID-19 outbreak that include four cases of variants or concern. Erica Vella has details.
MADRID — It was a tactical change that didn't last more than 15 minutes, but it was just long enough to cost Real Madrid a chance to fight for the Spanish league lead in the derby against Atlético Madrid next weekend. Coach Zinedine Zidane's attempt to push Madrid forward by switching formations midway through the game against Real Sociedad backfired on Monday, leading to a 1-1 home draw that kept the defending champions from getting within range of the city rival going into the derby at Atlético's Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Sunday. Madrid conceded after Zidane changed a 4-3-3 formation to 3-5-2 at halftime, leaving Madrid more exposed defensively. It needed an 89th-minute equalizer by Vinícius Júnior to salvage the draw. “We changed to three defenders because I didn't like how we were pressing forward, but then we changed it back quickly,” Zidane said. “Maybe it hurt us. I was trying to change the dynamic of the game.” The draw halted Madrid’s four-game winning streak in the league and left the club five points from its city rival, which has a game in hand. Madrid has the same points total as second-placed Barcelona but trails on goal difference. A win would have moved Madrid within three points of Atlético entering the derby. “We had our chances but couldn't capitalize on them and in the end we lost two points at home,” Zidane said. “We can't forget that we were up against a great rival and it played very well.” Sociedad, which had won three in a row in the league, stayed in fifth place, six points from fourth-placed Sevilla in the final Champions League place. “We leave with a bad taste in our mouth,” Sociedad forward Cristian Portu said. “We deserved more. Usually an away draw against Real Madrid is a good thing, but not with the way that the game developed.” Madrid, still without injured players such as Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos, struggled against Sociedad’s well-organized team at Alfredo Di Stéfano Stadium. Portu opened the scoring for the visitors with a header into the top corner in the 55th minute, taking advantage of some soft defending by Madrid left back Ferland Mendy. “There was some disconnection after the change to three defenders,” Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said. “We were a bit lost and they had more space. In the end, Mendy couldn’t get to the cross in time and they scored a great goal.” Zidane said he made the tactical change because he wasn’t happy with how the team had been playing. “It was only for about 10 or 15 minutes and then I changed it back to a 4-3-3 formation and we played better,” he said. Vinícius Júnior, in his 100th match with Madrid, equalized with a shot from inside the area. Madrid forward Mariano Díaz came close by hitting the crossbar earlier in the game, and midfielder Casemiro also wasted a couple of good opportunities with second-half headers that flew wide. It was Madrid’s first draw at home in the league, adding to three losses. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press
The Senate voted Monday to confirm Miguel Cardona as education secretary, clearing his way to lead President Joe Biden’s effort to reopen the nation’s schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. Cardona, 45, a former public school teacher who went on to become Connecticut’s education chief, was approved on a 64-33 vote. He takes charge of the Education Department amid mounting tension between Americans who believe students can safely return to the classroom now, and others who say the risks are still too great. Although his position carries limited authority to force schools to reopen, Cardona will be asked to play a central role in achieving Biden’s goal to have a majority of elementary schools open five days a week within his first 100 days. He will be tasked with guiding schools through the reopening process, and sharing best practices on how to teach during a pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month released a road map for getting students back into classrooms safely. The agency said masks, social distancing and other strategies should be used, but vaccination of teachers was not a prerequisite for reopening. Cardona, who gained attention for his efforts to reopen schools in Connecticut, has vowed to make it his top priority to reopen schools. At his Senate confirmation hearing last month, he said there are “great examples throughout our country of schools that have been able to reopen safely.” The debate has become a political firestorm for Biden, who is caught between competing interests as he aims to get students into the classroom without provoking the powerful teachers unions that helped put him in the White House. He says his goal of returning students to the classroom is possible if Congress approves his relief plan, which includes $130 billion for the nation’s schools. Republicans have rebuked Biden for failing to reopen schools faster, while teachers unions opposed the administration’s decision to continue with federally required standardized tests during the pandemic. The tricky terrain is nothing new for Cardona, however, who faced similar tension navigating the pandemic in Connecticut, and who has won early praise even from Biden’s critics. Republicans in Congress have applauded Cardona’s efforts to reopen schools in Connecticut, and some see him as a potential ally in their support for charter schools. Teachers, meanwhile, see him as a partner who brings years of experience in education and knows the demands of the teaching. The nomination continues a meteoric rise for Cardona, who was appointed to lead Connecticut’s education department in 2019 after spending 20 years working in Meriden, Connecticut, public schools — the same district he attended as a child. He began his career as a fourth grade teacher before becoming the state's youngest principal at age 28. In 2012, he was named Connecticut’s principal of the year, and in 2015 he became an assistant superintendent of the district. When he was appointed state education commissioner, he became the first Latino to hold the post. Cardona grew up in a public housing project in Meriden, raised by parents who came to Connecticut from Puerto Rico as children. Through his career, he has focused on closing education gaps and supporting bilingual education. It’s a personal issue for Cardona, who says he spoke only Spanish when he entered kindergarten and struggled to learn English. Cardona was the first in his family to graduate from college, and his three degrees include a doctorate in education from the University of Connecticut. He and his wife, Marissa, have two children in high school. His deep roots in public schooling fit the criteria Biden was looking for in an education secretary. During his campaign, Biden vowed to pick a secretary with experience in public education. It was meant to draw a contrast with then-secretary Betsy DeVos, a Michigan billionaire who spent decades advocating for school choice policies. In an increasingly fractionalized world of education, Cardona has vowed to be a unifier. At his confirmation hearing, he promised to engage with “the vast, diverse community of people who have a stake in education.” He added that, “we gain strength from joining together.” As he works to help schools reopen, he will also be tasked with helping them address the damage the pandemic has done on student learning. He has echoed Biden’s call for further education funding, saying schools will need to expand summer academic programs and hire more counsellors to help students with mental health issues. He's also likely to face an early test as he weighs how much flexibility to grant states as they administer standardized tests. Last week, the Education Department ordered states to continue with annual testing but said assessments could be offered online or delayed until fall. The agency also held out the possibility that states could be granted “additional assessment flexibility” in certain cases. Some states are already pushing for that extra flexibility, including Michigan, which is asking to replace state tests with local “benchmark” assessments that were administered this year. It will be up to Cardona to decide how much leniency to provide. Republicans have also set the stage for a fight over transgender athletes. At last month’s hearing, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., raised objections with policies that allow transgender girls to participate in girls’ athletics. It’s the subject of a legal battle in Connecticut, where some cisgender athletes are challenging a state policy that lets transgender students participate as their identified gender. Pressed by Paul to take a stance on the issue, Cardona said he would support the right of “all students, including students who are transgender.” Collin Binkley, The Associated Press
La Fédération canadienne de l’entreprise indépendante (FCEI) exhorte Ottawa à communiquer les nouveaux critères de la Subvention salariale d’urgence du Canada (SSUC) et de la Subvention d’urgence du Canada pour le loyer (SUCL) avant le 14 mars, date de la prochaine période de demande. Selon cette corporation, les nouveaux critères d’admissibilité devraient être connus au moins 30 jours à l’avance pour permettre aux PME de planifier. « Les entrepreneurs font face à une tonne d’incertitudes en ce moment, notamment en raison des restrictions gouvernementales en cours, a affirmé Jasmin Guénette, vice-président des affaires nationales à la FCEI. « La subvention salariale et l’aide au loyer demeurent essentielles à la survie de beaucoup de PME. Voilà pourquoi les propriétaires ont besoin de connaître les règles rapidement afin de prendre les décisions appropriées pour leur entreprise », a-t-elle ajouté. Plus de la moitié des PME (53 %) dépendent toujours de la SSUC et 27 % bénéficient de la SUCL selon la FCEI qui a établi que seulement un quart des entreprises ont retrouvé leur rythme normal au Canada. Dans un communiqué, elle a plaidé pour le prolongement de ces deux programmes au-delà de juin étant donné qu’il est probable que certaines restrictions soient toujours en vigueur à ce moment-là et qu’une bonne partie des entreprises risquent de ne pas avoir encore retrouvé un niveau de ventes normal La fédération a également exhorté le gouvernement fédéral CEI à repousser la date limite pour les demandes du Compte d’urgence pour les entreprises canadiennes au-delà du 31 mars, mais aussi à augmenter le montant accordé par ce compte à 80 000 $ ainsi que la portion pardonnée à 50 %. De janvier à mars, le taux compensatoire maximum de la subvention salariale est de 35 % et le montant maximum de la subvention pour les employés en congé payé est de 595 $. Les entreprises, les organismes à but non lucratif ou les organismes de bienfaisance canadiens qui ont subi une baisse de revenus pendant la pandémie de COVID-19 peuvent aussi avoir droit à une subvention pour couvrir une partie de leur loyer commercial ou de leurs dépenses immobilières jusqu’au mois de juin 2021. Cette subvention doit fournir des paiements directement aux locataires et aux propriétaires de biens admissibles, sans passer par les locateurs. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français