A high school teacher in Montréal-Nord is being called out after using the N-word multiple times during an online class captured on video.
A high school teacher in Montréal-Nord is being called out after using the N-word multiple times during an online class captured on video.
WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget is quickly emerging as a political battle that could disrupt his efforts to swiftly fill out his administration.Some Republicans are expressing doubt that Neera Tanden could be confirmed by the Senate after she spent years attacking GOP lawmakers on social media — and many panned the choice.Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton claimed Tanden’s rhetoric was “Filled with hate & guided by the woke left.”Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said Tanden's “combative and insulting comments" about Republican senators created “certainly a problematic path." He called her “maybe (Biden's) worst nominee so far" and “radioactive.”Potential Budget Committee Chair Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was less hostile, telling reporters, “Let's see what happens." Moderate Susan Collins, R-Maine, a target of Tanden's, said, “I do not know her or much about her, but I've heard she's a very prolific user of Twitter.”Such sentiment is notable considering the GOP's general reluctance to criticize President Donald Trump's broadsides on Twitter. But like all of Biden's nominees, Tanden has little margin for error as she faces confirmation in a closely divided Senate.That could be especially daunting for Tanden, the former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the centre-left Center for American Progress, given her history of political combat.Biden's transition team released a litany of praise for Tanden from figures including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.Other Democrats also rushed to defend Tanden's nomination. Former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett said Tanden “grew up on welfare and lived in public housing. She experienced first hand the importance of our social programs. Her extraordinary career has been devoted to improving opportunities for working families. She is an excellent choice to lead OMB.”“Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director,” added Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, a member of the party’s progressive wing. “The American people decisively voted for change - Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”On the Senate floor, Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it's impossible to take Republicans' criticism of Tanden seriously.“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump,” Schumer said.At OMB, Tanden would be responsible for preparing Biden’s budget submission and would command several hundred budget analysts, economists and policy advisers with deep knowledge of the inner workings of the government.If Democrats should win runoff elections for Georgia’s two GOP-held Senate seats, Tanden’s job would become hugely important because the party would gain a slim majority in the chamber. That would allow them to pass special budget legislation that could roll back Trump’s tax cuts, boost the Affordable Care Act and pursue other spending goals. OMB would have a central role in such legislation.Top Democrats, Biden included, supported anti-deficit packages earlier in their careers, but the party has since changed. Biden was a force behind the establishment of the Obama deficit commission, which was created to win votes of Democratic moderates to pass an increase in the government’s borrowing cap and was chaired by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles.Tanden shares a commonly held view among Democratic lawmakers that Republicans usually profess concerns about deficits only when Democrats are in power, pointing to tax cut packages passed in the opening year of Trump’s administration and former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut.___Taylor reported from Washington.Zeke Miller And Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
A small farm located south of Strathmore is providing sanctuary to hundreds of abused, neglected and unwanted animals. Misfit Farms started because its owner, Savannah Ross, “really wanted to get out of the city. “My plan when I first came here was to have a few small farm animals for ourselves, but I’m a bit of a sucker and I have a soft heart,” said Ross. The numbers grew from there. Currently, there are about 300 animals at the farm. “We have llamas, quail, chickens, ducks, geese, goats and potbellies (pigs),” she said. The farm is not a registered charity or official animal rescue, and does not adopt out animals or charge fees for rehoming. It also does not rescue cats or dogs, but partners with some rescues that will take larger animals. “We don’t take cows and horses here, so I send them off to my foster home,” said Ross. Many of the animals there would not win best-in-show, she added. “We have a lot of animals that are handicapped, some are blind, missing a wing, missing a leg. A lot of them are just unproductive – small farmers just can’t afford to keep animals that are not producing, so typically they end up getting killed.” But that doesn’t mean they are not valuable. “I just love being around them and can tell that they are thriving in this environment,” said Ross. “They let you give back in a way that you’re not really getting any kind of recognition – the animals don’t say thank you every morning when you’re out there feeding them.” The animals are fed through a “loop program” where once a week, groceries from Save On Foods are transported to the farm. “We get half a truckload, which takes us about 10 hours to go through it all,” she said. These donations allow the animals to eat things other than commercial feed. “They get to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, which they really love.” Ross said she appreciates the donations because they would be able to keep fewer animals without them. “It’s a very expensive project; there is no funding and we’re not part of any kind of rescue organization. It’s all dependent on the generosity of others, and we’ve had some lovely people donate a lot of items, like hay and bedding,” she said. Previously, the farm provided learning opportunities for families. “We really love to be able to put together a program to educate children on ways to care for animals and give them an opportunity to connect with them.” The farm has been challenged by COVID-19, noted Ross. “Obviously, it’s a lot of work, and because of the pandemic, we haven’t had any volunteers here for the last year.” Donations have also been down, she added. Misfit Farm is planning a membership campaign so they can continue to welcome animals. The campaign will allow people to visit the farm on family days and sponsor some animals. “We’re going to offer opportunities for people to just get a little bit more involved.”Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
WINNIPEG — Manitoba health officials are reporting more COVID-19 deaths among younger patients and ongoing high case numbers, more than two weeks after strict measures were enacted on public gatherings and businesses. A man in his 30s and a woman in her 40s were among the 11 deaths announced Monday. The death of the youngest person to date — a boy under 10 — was announced Saturday. "We continue to announce many deaths every day," said Dr. Brent Roussin, the province's chief public health officer. "I think we all know we can't continue along these lines. We have to bring these numbers down. We can't keep losing this many Manitobans." Roussin did not reveal details about the boy who died or his age. Roussin did say the child had underlying health conditions and the case was not acquired in a school. So far, 312 people have died from COVID-19 in Manitoba. About 80 per cent of deaths recorded up to Nov. 21 have involved people 65 and over, provincial data charts indicate. Roussin has previously said that while severe outcomes occur predominantly among older people, the novel coronavirus can affect people of any age. The province reported 342 new COVID-19 cases Monday. It said 44 people with COVID-19 were in intensive care and there were only five beds available. Health officials were looking at opening up a new 14-bed intensive care unit in a Winnipeg hospital. "Our health system is at risk of being overwhelmed if we can't reduce these daily case counts," said Lanette Siragusa, chief nursing officer with Manitoba Shared Health. In an effort to turn the tide, the government forced many non-essential retail outlets to close and banned public gatherings of more than five people on Nov. 12. That has prevented the daily number of new COVID-19 cases count from rising higher, Roussin said, citing projections of up to 1,000 cases a day by early December. But the number has remained steady rather than dropping. The percentage of people testing positive has also remained very high at 13 per cent. "We need to decrease the number of contacts we have, and that's just a given," Roussin said. "We have a fairly consistent secondary attack rate … about 14 per cent of contacts will develop COVID. And so if we decrease the amount of total contacts, we're going to decrease the amount of cases." The ban on gatherings has faced challenges from a couple of churches. One in a rural area outside of Steinbach was fined for hosting a service earlier in the month. RCMP were stationed at the church's parking lot entrance on Sunday to turn away people arriving by car. A church in Winnipeg hosted four drive-in services on the weekend and asked people to remain in their cars while a pastor spoke from a stage. Drive-in services were allowed during the first COVID-19 wave in the spring, but have been banned during the recent spike in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. "The more people you have coming together at the same time, the more likely you're going to have some sort of gathering, some sort of transmission go on there," Roussin said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020 Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
Students in grades 7-12 have now moved to online classes until at least Jan. 11, and diploma exams will now be optional for the rest of the school year. Nailah Fuko, a Grade 10 student at Edmonton's W.P. Wagner School, said she found out she'd be back to learned online while scrolling through Instagram. "I came upon this post that was talking about the government saying that we were moving online," Fuko said in an interview on Edmonton AM. "And I was like, 'Oh, this is new.'" Rebecca Boroditsky, a Grade 10 student at Ross Sheppard, said she's not worried about the academic implications of going virtual. Hear the students talk about their next month online: "For the socializing portion, I'm kind of sad," she said. "I've made friends and I won't really get to talk to them anymore until January." Boroditsky said she had been enjoying the quarter system schools brought in instead of the usual two semesters. In quarters, the classes are longer and Boroditsky said she had been liking her ceramics class she's taking. "We have more time to really get into it and do lots of project things, whereas with the shorter classes ... there's less time because you have to designate time to clean up and get set up, and that eats into a good portion of the class if it's shorter," she said. Fuko said she prefers a semester setup. "I think they sped up a lot of the material and it wasn't as easy to learn," she said. One practical difference is that online learning will make it easier to physically distance. Boroditsky said that was much easier in classrooms than in hallways or at lunch. Fuko said her friends are being careful and do care about safety and what's going on with COVID-19. "I definitely think students particularly are very worried and trying to do their best with what the rules are and how to follow the rules," Fuko said.
Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation Chief Bart Tsannie welcomed 20 Canadian Rangers to his remote northeast community on the weekend. Tsannie said the First Nation asked for the rangers’ assistance to help its COVID-19 response efforts as case numbers climbed in the far north. “The cases are right on our doorstep” as they emerge in other remote communities like Fond du Lac, Tsannie said. As of Sunday, the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority reported 284 active cases of COVID-19 in its communities. In a prepared statement, a Department of National Defence spokeswoman said the rangers deployed on Saturday. Their role is to help make and distribute supports like food, firewood and care packages. They will also help spread information on health measures and precautions, the spokeswoman said. The request for help covers 30 days, after which the deployment will be assessed depending on the community’s needs. “(The rangers) will support the community of Hatchet Lake until the emergency has abated and the province along with other federal and private sector resources are able to effectively support the community without (Canadian Armed Forces) intervention,” she said. The rangers previously deployed in April to assist communities like Wollaston Lake, Île à la Crosse, Fond du Lac and Lac La Ronge with their response efforts, she said. That work included wellness checks, transportation, and assisting local officials. Other efforts included hunting, gathering, and fishing for local residents and helping elders with harvesting, cutting and delivering firewood. They also delivered medication and groceries and refilled and hauled water for residents. Similarly, they helped set up local clinics, transport humanitarian goods and work as information runners for command centres, she said. She added the four ranger patrols in northern Saskatchewan tasked with operation LASER, which aims to assist with COVID-19 responses, stood down on July 17. As of Monday morning, Tsannie said there were no COVID-19 cases in his community. He said the First Nation nevertheless responded to increasing regional case counts with tightened restrictions on Nov. 27. He said some residents have avoided taking those precautions, and some have continued to travel out of the community, “which is really, really tough. So the rangers will be extra help.” He said the First Nation has a positive relationship with the rangers. “If there’s ever COVID in Hatchet, we’re going to utilize them a lot.”Nick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix
CALGARY — An environmental law group has lost its bid to pause Alberta's inquiry into where critics of its oil and gas industry get their funding. Ecojustice sought an injunction in the summer to suspend the inquiry until there is a ruling on whether it is legal. Court of Queen's Bench Justice Karen Horner dismissed the application with costs on Friday. “The court’s decision, while disappointing, won’t stop Ecojustice from continuing to challenge the Kenney government’s inquiry into ‘anti-Alberta’ activities and expose it for the sham that it is," executive director Devon Page said in a statement Monday. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and his United Conservative government contend foreign interests have long been bankrolling campaigns against fossil fuel development. In 2019, forensic accountant Steve Allan was tapped to lead the $2.5-million inquiry. Allan's report was initially due in July, but after two extensions and a $1-million budget increase, it is now expected by Jan. 31. Energy Minister Sonya Savage must publish the final report within 90 days of receiving it. “The Government of Alberta is pleased to see the courts strike down a nuisance injunction application by Ecojustice designed to slow down the Public Inquiry into Foreign Funded Campaigns," Alberta Energy spokesman Kavi Bal said in a statement. Ecojustice filed a lawsuit last November alleging the inquiry is politically motivated, biased and outside provincial jurisdiction. "Its purpose really was to shut up opponents to Alberta oil and gas and it was something that was driven directly by the premier," Page said in an interview Monday. Ecojustice wanted Allan's work paused because if his findings were to be released before a court ruled on the lawsuit, environmental groups could suffer reputational harm in the meantime. Horner said in her decision that Ecojustice had to prove there is a serious issue to be tried, it would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction isn't granted and it would suffer greater harm than its opponent if the injunction is refused. The judge ruled Ecojustice satisfied the first test but failed the other two. "Mr. Page suggests that a risk of harm exists in the 'possibility' of being called to respond to the inquiry that may have no legal foundation. However, I am not convinced that a mere 'possibility' amounts to evidence of irreparable harm that is both clear and not speculative," Horner wrote. "The allegations of improper purpose, bias, and lack of jurisdiction are issues to be examined and resolved in the upcoming judicial review."The lawsuit was scheduled to be heard in April, but the COVID-19 pandemic put in on hold. Page said December or early-February hearing dates are now being discussed. Page, who has criticized the inquiry for its lack of transparency, said he's recently heard from groups who have received letters from Allan requesting clarification on publicly available tax information. "It just makes us more confused about what's going on."One Nov. 6 letter to a group, whose name had been removed because Page did not have their permission to publicize it, requested written or oral responses by Dec. 4. "Basically it looks like (Allan is) on a fishing expedition to get the information that he's had 18 months to accumulate," said Page."So what's he been doing?"This report by The Canadian Press was first published November 30, 2020.Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland today announced the first steps in a multi-year plan to build a Canada-wide child care system to reduce costs for families and encourage more women with kids to join the workforce.To pay for this proposed program — and to collect more revenue to cover a ballooning budget deficit — Freeland also unveiled the government's plan to levy sales taxes on digital companies.Freeland said the government will create a new federal secretariat on early learning and child care that will work with the provinces and territories to design a new national system modelled on the one already in place in Quebec, where parents have access to child care services for less than $10 a day."Just as Saskatchewan once showed Canada the way on health care and British Columbia showed Canada the way on pricing pollution, Quebec can show us the way on child care," the fall economic statement reads.The finance minister said the next federal budget — expected sometime in spring 2021 — will present a more concrete plan on how Ottawa will provide "affordable, accessible, inclusive and high-quality child care from coast to coast to coast." The federal government is committing $20 million now to begin the work of crafting its new "child care vision."The government says the need for such a national system is obvious now, given how the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the precariousness of work for many women.Government data show that more women than men have been forced to stay home from their jobs to care for their kids during this pandemic-induced recession, because of mounting child care costs and a lack of available spaces."COVID-19 has caused a she-cession, rolling back many of the hard-won gains women have worked for over past decades," the economic statement reads, using a term coined to describe the dramatic decline in the number working women this year."Canada cannot be competitive until all Canadian women have access to affordable child care."The fall economic statement tabled by Freeland includes $70-100 billion in unspecified fiscal stimulus spending over the next three years, earmarked for jump-starting an economy hammered by lockdowns. The money to pay for a national child care plan could be drawn from those funds.While the details have yet to be worked out, the federal government will send more than $400 million to the provinces and territories starting in the next fiscal year to begin recruiting more early child care educators ahead of a possible surge in new spaces.NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the Liberal plan to launch a secretariat pushes a national child care plan further down the line, when support is needed now to help care providers struggling with staff shortages and spiking COVID-19-related costs."The Liberal government is nowhere near what is required to not only keep the existing spaces. They're nowhere near even expanding to get to universal child care. That's where we're at right now," Singh said."What that means is families are making the impossible choice, saying, 'We can't find a place for our kids to go. I don't know if I can go back to work.' And that's a shame," Singh said.Speaking on CBC's Power & Politics, Freeland said she can't just "wave some sort of a magic wand" and create a national child care program overnight — especially when there are federal and provincial jurisdictional responsibilities to consider."I can tell you, I'm really ready to put my shoulder to the wheel on this one," she said. "I personally believe so strongly and so passionately that the time has come."Feds to levy sales taxes on all digital products, servicesFreeland also announced a plan to start levying digital sales taxes on consumers nationwide for the first time — a new system that could raise as much as $1 billion over the next five years.Under the current rules, foreign-based digital businesses without a physical presence in Canada can sell goods and services without charging the GST or HST.U.S.-based Netflix, for example, doesn't levy the GST or HST on its digital streaming services nationwide — but Apple, which does have Canadian operations, charges all its iTunes customers the relevant taxes.(Quebec and Saskatchewan already require Canadian and foreign digital service suppliers to register for and collect provincial sales tax on services like Netflix and Spotify.)The government says the current regime is unfair to Canadian companies and "deprives the government of tax revenues that could be used to better the lives of everyone."Freeland said sales taxes will apply to all goods and services consumed in Canada — regardless of how they are supplied. It's consumers who will pay the tax, not the companies themselves.While the federal government has long said it would coordinate any new regime with other Western nations, Freeland said Canada is now prepared to go it alone on taxing digital companies.Former finance minister Bill Morneau had said the government would pursue digital sales taxes only once other G20 nations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) crafted standards that could be applied in all jurisdictions. That international work is still ongoing.Some observers — including Michael Geist, an internet law professor at the University of Ottawa — have warned it will be difficult to create this new tax as there will be significant administrative and enforcement challenges.The government will consult with digital companies on how best to structure this new tax, but the government said Monday it plans to start collecting the funds in July 2021. The government says it expects to fetch $1.2 billion more in revenue over the next five years from the measure.The decision to tax services offered by companies like Netflix is an about-face for this Liberal government. In the 2015 federal election campaign, then Conservative leader Stephen Harper promised a government led by him would never tax Netflix and the Liberals responded with a no-Netflix-tax promise of their own.However, in the 2019 campaign, the Liberals, the NDP and the Greens all presented proposals in their platforms to tax multinational corporations that conduct their business online.Singh said his party isn't satisfied with a plan to simply apply the GST to online business. He said he wants Canada to go much further and start taxing the revenue of large digital giants that do business in Canada. "That's a concrete measure to actually make them pay," he said. "Applying a GST is really meaningless."Singh said companies like Amazon and others he described as "pandemic profiteers" — businesses that have seen sales soar during this health crisis — don't shoulder enough of the tax burden.The leader said Canada should look to replicate France's plan to apply a 3 per cent tax on large tech companies' local revenues — a revenue tool that was postponed in January in the face of U.S. threats of retaliatory tariffs.New tax on short-term rental accommodationsAnother new tax will be applied to short-term rental accommodations booked in Canada on sites like Airbnb and VRBO.Airbnb does not collect sales taxes from its customers. It's up to individual hosts to add the GST or HST to the rate they charge for a space — but the tax is applied unevenly and it's not required for hosts who make less than $30,000 a year in rental income.With Freeland's new proposal, the GST and the HST will be collected on all stays and remitted by either the property owner or the companies that coordinate these digital bookings. It is estimated that this tax will increase federal revenues by $360 million over the next five years.The government is also proposing millions more dollars in funding for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to continue its crackdown on tax avoidance.The tax collector will receive $606 million over the next five years to fund new initiatives "targeting international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance."The money will be used to hire offshore-focused auditors to target the Canadians who hide income and other assets overseas. The money also will give the agency more capacity to audit "higher-risk tax filings" by high-net worth people, says the economic statement.The government estimates that these measures will recover $1.4 billion in revenue over five years.The cash injection follows a similar investment in 2016 that, the government said, is showing some positive early results — an estimated $3 billion in additional federal tax revenues have been assessed since the government started sending the CRA some $350 million more a year in funding. It is not yet known how much of that money owed has been collected.
Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos, spoke to Global News’ Mercedes Stephenson Monday about the Canadian government’s fiscal plan for the next several months, saying the fiscal update didn’t include much information on what the government is planning to protect jobs.
Local businesses are frustrated and exhausted as they weather the storm in Toronto’s second lockdown since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March. The province announced Nov. 20 that Toronto and Peel were going into its Lockdown/Grey level of its pandemic response framework as of Nov. 23. The regions had seen continuous spikes of cases of COVID-19 since the end of summer, and hospitalizations and ICU admittance had drastically increased. But as the lockdown aims to reduce the spread of the virus, business owners in East Toronto are asking why big box stores are still permitted to remain open. “It’s just another hammer on the head,” Skaut Design owner Inese Korbs said. Her store on Kingston Road sells home decor, furniture, and other design products. Korbs doesn’t have the staff to move her inventory online for customers as a lot of her products are vintage pieces. “It’s another full-time job,” she said. Instead Korbs relies on “virtual visits” where people can phone in via video conference and she’ll walk them through the store. She said before the lockdown, while there were fewer visitors than normal years, individuals were buying more per visit. That came to a grinding halt last week. “The most difficult part is knowing that big box stores are allowed to operate,” Korbs said. “It’s kind of like they have different rules.” Walmart and Costco are some of the bigger chains permitted to open, while Amazon still remains ever popular for online shopping. It’s difficult to compete with bigger chains as it is, let alone if you can’t even stay open, Korbs said. Lita Yiu owns and operates the clothing store Set Me Free on Queen Street East. She expressed the same frustration that Korbs did about big box stores staying open. “If you really want to control the spread, shut down big box stores,” Yiu said. “I’m happy to have one or two customers allowed in the store at a time, we don’t have the same clout as big businesses, we can’t absorb the shock.” Yiu said she and her staff are uploading their inventory on e-commerce platforms online, but between all the clothing, accessories, and gifts, it’s a lot of work. “It’s tedious, it’s time consuming, and you don’t make much money. It’s not the same as walk-in.” However, Yiu and Korbs have been overjoyed by the local community’s support of their businesses. Before the lockdown, both business owners were receiving many local customers who were eager to support their neighbourhood businesses. “People came in, they expressed condolences, supported our store,” Korbs said of the weekend before the lockdown began. “The people in this neighbourhood are very supportive, and they’re going out of their way to help us.” It’s been the case throughout the pandemic, Yiu said. From the beginning to now, local customers have supported her. “They’re amazing,” she said. “They always try to shop local, especially after the first lockdown.” Like many small businesses across Canada, Yiu and Korbs have taken advantage of the federal government COVID-19 supports for businesses. It’s helped them with expenses such as rent and wages, but nothing will recover the loss of revenue in December and the anticipated holiday shopping seasons that so many retail businesses rely on. “The vast majority of small businesses adhere to the restrictions equally if not better than large chains,” Beach Village BIA executive director Anna Sebert said. “Most of the businesses on Queen Street can make a go of it with one or two people in the store at a time.” “Just because there are some bad apples, doesn’t mean all businesses should suffer,” she added. Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford agrees the “rules around some of the closures haven’t always made sense” regarding big box stores, but warns that the virus remains a threat. “There’s no doubt about it, the lockdown is taking a toll on all of us but we have to push through. It’s the only way out of this,” he said. “We’re all seeing the news of the businesses staying open in protest and people rallying against the closures. That’s concerning as it puts us all at risk, especially gathering in the way we’ve seen.” Bradford has received calls from local businesses asking if it is possible to ease up bylaw enforcement to allow some businesses to remain open. “I can understand the way they’re feeling,” he said. “We’re all tired, we’re hurting, but we have to follow the guidelines.” Cases have been among the lowest in the city for the Beach area, an achievement Bradford applauded as the community “is looking out for each other.” He said he’s making efforts to get relief for businesses from the federal and provincial governments. “What we need to focus on is getting the full weight of financial support possible for local businesses,” he said. “We also need clearer, fairer and more evenly applied rules if and when closures continue. City council doesn’t get to make these decisions – but we can elevate the voice of the impact they’re having on our communities and main streets.” Business owners say they understand the severity of the pandemic, and agree with most public health measures, but worry about local businesses in the community – especially restaurants, bars, and cafes. “I feel horrible for the restaurants,” Korbs said. “If they all survive that would be a miracle, their hands and feet are tied.”Ali Raza, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Beach Metro News
ALCOOL. Le portrait de la consommation d’alcool des Québécois n’a pas beaucoup changé après huit mois de pandémie. Au total, au cours du mois de novembre, 8 Québécois sur 10 n’ont pas augmenté (67 %) ou ont diminué (13 %) leur consommation d’alcool, alors que 2 sur 10 l’ont un peu (17 %) ou beaucoup (3 %) augmentée révèle un sondage commandé par Éduc’alcool. Également, les épisodes de consommation excessive ont peu bougé en novembre comparativement à mai dernier, les deux tiers des Québécois n’ayant pas une seule fois dépassé les limites recommandées et 13 % les ayant dépassées une fois au cours du dernier mois. Une bonne nouvelle s’ajoute toutefois au portrait : alors qu’en avril et en mai dernier, près de 3 Québécois sur dix qui avaient augmenté leur consommation l’avaient fait pour réduire leur anxiété et leur stress, ils ne sont plus que 17 % dans ce cas ; c’est une nette diminution. L’enquête révèle également que bien que plus de deux Québécois sur trois n’aient jamais dépassé les limites de consommation recommandées en novembre, 22 % d’entre eux ont franchi ce niveau au moins deux fois au cours du mois. Ils étaient 23 % dans ce cas en mai dernier. «C’est cet indicateur qui est le plus déterminant, car l’augmentation et la diminution de la consommation en soi, ne donnent pas le portrait complet de la situation. En effet, si une personne qui buvait deux verres par semaine doublait sa consommation, cela ne poserait pas vraiment de problème puisqu’elle respecterait toujours les limites recommandées. Toutefois, quelqu’un qui dépassait déjà les limites demeure un consommateur excessif, même s’il n’a pas augmenté sa consommation. Or la situation s’est stabilisée à ce chapitre, contrairement à ce que nous craignions», précise le directeur général d’Éduc’alcool, Hubert Sacy. «On entend beaucoup dire que l’augmentation de la consommation d’alcool des Québécois est inquiétante. Toutefois lorsque l’on prend le temps d’analyser les niveaux de cette consommation, on réalise que, malgré la pandémie, elle demeure généralement raisonnable. Cette évolution de tendance apparaît très clairement à travers nos sondages réalisés régulièrement pour Éduc’alcool», ajoute de son côté Dominic Bourdages, vice-président de CROP, la firme qui a conduit le sondage du 19 au 24 novembre auprès de 1000 personnes. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
A special group of northern Canadian Armed Forces reservists are helping a northern Saskatchewan community guard against the threat of COVID-19.Members of the Wollaston Lake Canadian Ranger Patrol spent the weekend getting ready to support the nearby Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation to prepare for any coronavirus cases.While Hatchet Lake has not had any cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, officials looked at rising counts in neighbouring communities, and didn't want to take any chances."We're lucky we have nothing," said Hatchet Lake Chief Bart Tsannie."But we don't know what's coming tomorrow or the next week or the next month because the virus is right on our doorstep."According to the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority, on Sunday there were 89 cases in the Far North East region, where Hatchet Lake is located.The Ranger group will be doing whatever it can to help out the community, especially elderly people."Right now, we're just piling wood for the people who can't get wood for themselves," said Peter Gazandlare, a band councillor and veteran member of the Rangers."We're doing whatever we can to help out the community at this time."The Wollaston Lake Rangers were mobilized in the community for three months at the start of the pandemic, but were called down in the summer.Another group of Rangers in Ile-a-la-Crosse were also activated this spring, helping out the community with emergency planning and distributing supplies.Chief Tsannie said a group of health workers, elders and others have been meeting in the community weekly, to try to make sure the virus doesn't get a foothold in the community.The Canadian Rangers perform a wide variety of roles in the community, including search and rescue and emergency preparedness across northern Canada.The Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation is located 700 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.
Chatham-Kent is trending in the right direction. While some regions like Windsor-Essex are moving up in the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework, Chatham-Kent is staying at the Yellow-Protect Level. In fact, because Chatham-Kent is trending in the right direction, the municipality could soon be back in the green-prevent level of Ontario’s colour-coded framework, says Dr. David Colby, Medical Officer of Health for Chatham-Kent. “I can’t say what the province is going to do in terms of that, but the Chief Medical Officer of Health consults with me before a decision is made,” said Colby. “I would have every hope that we can get back into green before too long.” While Colby is optimistic about Chatham-Kent getting back to the green-prevent level, he is worried about neighbours not trending in the right direction. “The vapour trails of contacts always lead outside of Chatham-Kent. We do have to be cautious all the way along,” said Colby. Lambton Public Health, the last local region in green-prevent, is moving to yellow-protect. Haldimand-Norfolk is moving from yellow to orange-restrict. Windsor-Essex is moving from orange to red-control. As of Nov. 27, there are currently 354 active cases in the Windsor-Essex region, 51 of which were announced Friday. Chatham-Kent reported two new cases for the third consecutive day Nov. 26, raising its cumulative total to 486 cases. Eighteen are active as of Nov. 28. “When we moved into yellow, some of our indicators had a distinct orangeish tinge to them, but yellow was the decision by the Ministry, which I had no problem with,” said Colby. He added this is good as no businesses have to close under a yellow designation. “Our numbers are trending downwards. They’re not at the trigger limit for moving into orange. In fact, they’re at the moment not at the trigger limit in terms of new cases for moving into yellow had we been able to stay green.” Colby also said the “R-value” is relatively low. If the R-value, or reproduction number, is more significant than one, then the number of cases can increase exponentially. If it’s lower than one, then the situation is improving. “Our positivity rate is low. Our local R-value in our Health Unit is below one for the first time in a long time, which means that there are very few new acquisitions within Chatham-Kent,” said Colby.Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
The family of a man who lived at a Hamilton long-term care home are speaking out about their battle with the facility to allow them to be considered essential visitors before his death. Sisters Sandie Berenger and Janet Volkes say Heritage Green Nursing Home in Stoney Creek threw “unnecessary” hurdles in their way as they tried to visit their father even though they’d been designated his caregivers. “They just kept putting out roadblocks trying to control who came in,” said Volkes. Berenger was the power of attorney for their father, Norman Hoar, and wrote to Heritage Green that she and Volkes were his essential caregivers. She emailed the director of care and submitted a printout of the note to the home’s front desk. Both sisters, who sit on the home’s family council, got COVID-19 tests per provincial guidelines, and after receiving results, Volkes called Heritage Green to book a visit. She says she was passed on to someone else to book a 30-minute lobby visit instead of one in her father’s room. Volkes went ahead with the visit Nov. 1, intending to followup for essential visitor status afterward. It ended up being her last visit. Heritage Green administrator Scott Kozachenko did not respond to multiple email and telephone requests for an interview. The Spectator previously reported about Berenger, Volkes and their father when Hamilton’s first COVID-19 outbreak was announced at the home in March. At the time, family members of residents and the union representing workers were concerned about a lack of communication about its spread. Their fight for access began in October, after the Ontario government updated its visitor policy for long-term care homes in September. Previously, during the first wave, an “essential visitor” was defined as someone “performing essential support services or a person visiting a very ill or palliative resident.” The province clarified that that included family caregivers. Under the policy, residents in long-term care or their substitute decision-makers can designate up to two caregivers who can visit residents any time without time limits, subject to direction from the local public health unit. As of Nov. 23, when Hamilton entered the red zone, the province requires essential caregivers to be tested weekly for COVID-19 and show proof of a negative test result before visiting. Jacqueline Durlov, a city communications officer, said long-term care facilities can introduce more restrictions than what the province requires to ensure safety. “It’s really the facility’s responsibility to provide the safest environment for their residents,” she said. Heritage Green did not respond to questions about their essential visitor policies. Volkes says when she followed up with Heritage Green’s administration after her lobby visit, she was told the home would hold a conference call to discuss policies with her first. “I just see it as a big stalling tactic,” said Volkes. “I had gotten to the point that if this had gone on any further, I was going to hire a lawyer.” But a few days later, her father’s condition suddenly became worse. On Nov. 5, he was moved to Juravinski Hospital, where he became palliative. He died the next day. “It’s been incredibly heartbreaking and stressful,” said Volkes, noting she and her sister visited Hoar in hospital. “They made my life hell unnecessarily.” As for Berenger, when she called to book an appointment, she says she was asked how she would be caring for her father. She listed off different tasks, including that she was going to tidy out his room for the first time since February. She got in. “You had to say the right words,” said Berenger. On her last visit before her father was sent to hospital, Berenger brought her father lunch. After about an hour and a half, she was told to leave because staff were changing shifts. Berenger said while staff took good care of her father, she feels like she had to prove she was providing essential care to get into the home. She thinks the facility was nervous about COVID-19 entering the home, but doesn’t think it’s fair for families or the residents. “The long-term care should trust families,” said Berenger. “We’re there to help them. We’re not their enemies.” In an earlier interview, Dr. Amit Arya said family caregivers provide essential services that reduce the workload of long-term care staff. “In many circumstances when homes were short-staffed, family caregivers were the glue that tried to hold things together,” said the assistant professor in palliative care at McMaster University. He noted family members often provide hands-on care and, importantly, help relieve isolation. He added when family members were shut out of long-term care homes in the first wave, residents were left “doubly vulnerable.” “There weren’t enough staff to look after them and their family wasn’t there either,” Arya said. “People literally suffered and died alone.” Last month in Toronto, a 90-year-old woman in a retirement home accelerated her application for medically assisted death after her health began a steady decline during the pandemic. Social isolation and loneliness were already a “serious health risk” for seniors before the pandemic, leading to cognitive decline and a higher risk of infection, falls and mortality, Arya noted. Family members also had to face separation from their loved ones and, in some cases, grieve without closure. He said visitor policies need to balance all of those risks. “We cannot make people’s lives only about infection control,” Arya said. “They need to allow family caregivers in.”Maria Iqbal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
TRANSPORTS. Québec lance un projet pilote visant à améliorer la sécurité des cyclistes en implantant des bandes rugueuses sur les accotements des pistes cyclables. Une portion du boulevard Pierre-Laporte sert d’ailleurs de banc d’essai pour cette expérience menée par le ministère des Transports. L’annonce en a été faite par le ministre des Transports et député de Granby, François Bonnardel. Les premières bandes ont été installées à Granby, la semaine dernière. Le premier aménagement, d’une longueur d’environ 4,5 km, a été fait sur le boulevard Pierre-Laporte, entre les rues Mountain et Robitaille, à Granby, dans les deux directions. D’autres bandes rugueuses seront aussi déployées en 2021, sur la route 170 dans la région du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean et sur la route 132 dans Chaudière-Appalaches. Les bandes rugueuses sur les accotements permettent d’alerter les conducteurs somnolents ou distraits du fait qu’ils ont quitté leur voie. Le gouvernement compte mettre à l’essai différents types de bandes rugueuses aux abords des pistes cyclables. Québec tiendra compte de la sécurité et de la convivialité de ces aménagements pour les cyclistes, mais aussi des nuisances sonores dont pourraient souffrir les populations riveraines. Certaines bandes sont creusées à même le bitume par un procédé de fraisage. D’autres sont aussi marquées à l’époxy pour une meilleure visibilité l’hiver et par mauvais temps. On en aperçoit de plus en plus placées au centre de deux voies en sens contraire. Leur largeur maximale atteint normalement les 400 mm. «Je suis très heureux de lancer ce projet pilote, car il marque une nouvelle avancée en faveur du transport actif et de la sécurité des cyclistes, autant en zone urbaine qu’en milieu rural. Les bandes rugueuses ont fait leurs preuves au cours des dernières années en matière de sécurité routière. Elles sont donc tout indiquées pour sécuriser les voies cyclables et les adeptes du vélo», indique le ministre Bonnardel. Avis partagés L’idée ne plaît pas du tout à Suzanne Lareau, présidente de Vélo Québec. «Ce n’est pas la panacée. Si c’est adapté à la voiture, ce n’est pas très adapté au vélo. On a régulièrement à sortir et à rentrer dans l’accotement » pour éviter des débris, le mauvais état de la chaussée, ou pour dépasser d’autres cyclistes», explique Mme Lareau. «Je ne pense pas que c’est la meilleure façon de favoriser la sécurité des cyclistes. Il faut plutôt travailler sur la largeur des accotements. Il y a trop d’inconvénients qui viennent s’ajouter pour les cyclistes.» Suzanne Lareau reconnaît qu’il y aura des ouvertures à chaque 12 m des bandes rugueuses installées par Québec. Elles seront aussi absentes de sections de descente. «On a des réserves. Ça va accélérer la dégradation de l’accotement et rendre son nettoyage plus difficile. En voulant solutionner un problème, on en crée un autre», ajoute la présidente de Vélo Québec. Sylvain Wilcott, propriétaire de Vélo Monde de Granby, ne s’en inquiète pas, bien au contraire. «Si t’entends quelqu’un qui frappe la bande, ça peut te donner une chance de te sauver la vie. À la base, je pense que ça peut être une très bonne idée.» Et pour le cycliste qui doit les traverser, «ce n’est pas pire que de traverser un chemin de fer. Je ne pense pas que ça va te faire tomber», soutient M. Wilcott qui avoue ne pas en avoir encore fait l’essai. Stéphane Labrecque, propriétaire de Vélobrek, estime qu’une bande rugueuse empiète dans l’espace réservé à la voie cyclable. «C’est une bonne idée pour les automobilistes. De devoir la traverser est un moindre mal, dit-il. Le gouvernement compte mettre à l’essai différents types de bandes rugueuses aux abords des pistes cyclables. Québec tiendra compte de la sécurité et de la convivialité de ces aménagements pour les cyclistes, mais aussi des nuisances sonores dont pourraient souffrir les populations riveraines. Il n’exclut pas d’en installer d’autres si le projet pilote se révèle concluant. NoneBoris Chassagne, Initiative de journalisme local, La Voix du Sud
Chatham-Kent Police have charged the organizer of a weekend rally against COVID-19 restrictions that drew a crowd of more than 100 people. A 32-year-old Wallaceburg woman accused of organizing a “Freedom Group” rally in Chatham over the weekend was issued a Provincial Offences Act Summons for failing to comply with a continued section 7.0.2 order as per Ontario Regulation 364/20, of the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, section 10.1(1). If she is convicted, the fine for the offence is at least $10,000 and up to $100,000. It could also include a sentence of up to one year in jail. According to police, the number of protesters exceeded the limit for an outdoor gathering, set at 25 people. Police said a person convicted of this offence is liable to a fine of not less than $10,000 and not more than $100,000 and could be imprisoned for up to one year. A few days before the Chatham protest, Chatham-Kent Police Chief Gary Conn warned police would be taking a “zero-tolerance” approach to COVID-19 rule-breakers. According to Conn, Chatham-Kent citizens have had ample time to learn the health and safety measures they’re expected to follow; therefore, violations would no longer be tolerated. “During these difficult and challenging times, those jeopardizing public safety and contradicting the law will be held accountable to the courts,” said Conn. “The law is clear and requires responsible action.” “My understanding is that they did not respect the guidelines that were followed, and there are consequences for that,” said Don Shropshire, Chief Administrative Officer for Chatham-Kent. “It’s not like we’re out to try and get people. We’re trying to educate in advance and trying to get people to take reasonable precautions, so we don’t have activities that are going to encourage the spread of COVID.” Mayor Darrin Canniff said he isn’t just concerned with anti-mask protests. He said he is also concerned with any situation, such as upcoming Christmas gatherings, that could “escalate the spread of COVID.” Despite rules clearly laid out and charges having been laid, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health still can’t predict what people will do. “But there seems to be a polarized view that some people are adopting that (they’re) denying the very existence of this pandemic,” said Dr. David Colby. “I don’t really understand that way of thinking.” Charges have been laid against organizers of similar rallies that have been taking place across the province recently, including one that drew about 200 people to Victoria Park in London on the weekend. The accused is set to appear in court on Jan. 6, 2021, to answer to the charge.Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
Pastor Dereje Haileyesus is watching the situation unfold in his native Ethiopia with concern. Tens of thousands of refugees have fled conflict in the country to search for safety in neighbouring countries. Haileyesus would like to help these, and all, people fleeing conflict but is unable to do so. Despite his church, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church in Ottawa, being a Sponsorship Agreement Holder, he is unable to help. “Personally, I’m very very sad about the situation,” Haileyesus told NCM. “Canada values all lives, even dogs and pets. But human beings [around the world] are dying.” Haileyesus, who himself fled to Sudan in the 90s, started sponsoring refugees in 1998. He became a Sponsorship Agreement Holder in 2015. He tried to help refugees, regardless of ethnic background or regional loyalties through his organization as well as in partnership with other organizations as best he could, but he found the process too difficult due to financial constraints and the slow pace of approvals. “The process time is very long. You submit the application, after three or four years the [refugees] are coming [to Canada],” the pastor told NCM. “As a church, we can’t afford help… For example for one person, the government asks around $12,000 for one year commitment for the shelter and other things. When we sponsor 10 people, that means $120,000.” He implored the federal government to find ways to ease the financial burden by sharing half the cost between the government and the sponsorship holder. He also wants the government to increase quotas so that his church can help more people with a lightened monetary cost. NCM reached out to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for comment. None was provided by deadline. Tensions between the Ethiopian central government in Addis Ababa and the regional government in Tigray have boiled over into open conflict. One that could suck in other countries in the region like Eritrea, who fought a bloody conflict with Ethiopia between 1998 and 2000. The country is divided into 10 semi-autonomous regions roughly divided along ethnic lines. Tigray, the northernmost region which borders Eritrea, is home to the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). This party ran the national politics through a coalition for close to three decades despite the Tigrayan people only being 6 percent of the population. The current Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, froze out the TPLF when he came to power in 2018. He also brokered a peace with Eritrea, earning him a Nobel Peace Prize. Last March, Ahmed postponed the country’s national elections citing COVID-19. The TPLF in their home region went ahead with their election anyway. Ahmed refused to recognize the legitimacy of that election and the TPLF responded by not recognizing Ahmed’s premiership. The government troops were sent into Tigray, who clashed with TPLF militias. “We call upon the people of Mekelle (regional capital of Tigray) to play a key role in bringing this treasonous group to justice by standing in solidarity with the national defence force in this law enforcement action,” read a Nov. 22 statement by PM Ahmed. “We’re inflicting heavy defeats on all fronts against the forces that came to attack us,” said TPLF Chairman Debretsion Gebremichael on Nov. 18. “I call upon all the Tigrayan people to go out en masse to drive out the invaders.” With civil war on the lips of world media and Ethiopians, a refugee crisis has broken out. It was reported on Nov. 21 that over 30,000 refugees from the Tigray region have crossed into neighbouring Sudan. As of the end of 2019, there were 95,000 Ethiopians who have had to flee their country for various reasons. Since 2013, the earliest available data, 2,201 Ethiopians have claimed refugees status with Canada. That number peaked in 2019 with 456 claimants. Between January and June of this year, 241 people have made the claim. Currently, all Haileyesus and his flock can do is pray. Inspired by the biblical Prophet Daniel, his church has been holding 21 days of prayer from Nov. 1 to Nov. 21 for the past seven years. Those prayers have included refugees of all nations, general peace around the world, the Canadian people and government etc. “A person can be given refugee protection in Canada if they meet the United Nations (UN) definition of a Convention refugee, or if they are a person in need of protection,” Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) of Canada told NCM. Refugees are defined by the United Nations as some with “a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.” More up to date definitions can include sexual orientation, gender identity and women fleeing domestic violence. “A claim for refugee protection can be made by speaking to an officer from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at any port of entry upon arrival in Canada, or to an officer from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or CBSA at an inland office,” the IRB also said.Mansoor Tanweer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Canadian Media
Strathmore has moved to make its fire department more diverse and inclusive by hiring a deputy fire chief to a new recruitment position. Laurie VandeSchoot, the town’s new assistant chief of diversity, inclusion and recruiting, was introduced during the regular Strathmore town council meeting on Nov. 18. VandeSchoot is a municipal government, change management and strategic planning specialist with a 28-year career with the City of Calgary who also consults internationally and locally and instructs at Bow Valley College in Calgary. “Laurie is known for building inclusive and high-performance cultures that strengthens communities,” said Judy Unsworth, Strathmore Fire Department deputy chief, during the meeting. VandeSchoot has experience in diversity services, equity solutions, mental health, public participation, strategic planning and sustainable development, said Unsworth. Furthermore, VandeSchoot leads the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) diversity leadership program, chairs the International Fire Chiefs human relations committee, and is the national co-chair of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (CAFC) national subcommittee on diversity inclusion, among other leadership roles. “Under the direction of chief (Trent) West, I am super excited about what we can do here in Strathmore,” said VandeSchoot. “I’m passionate, as you can tell, about diversity and inclusion – it’s kind of my lifeblood. When we talk about diversity, inclusion and recruitment, diversity and inclusion is our purpose, recruitment is where we start from.” Diversity is about more than numbers, she added. “It’s not just about how many people you have that are different, it’s about that sense of belonging, it’s about that sense of inclusion and how we can create a culture of openness, belonging and wellness.” The hiring of VandeSchoot highlights the importance of welcoming all people to Strathmore’s community and environment, said Strathmore town Councillor Denise Peterson. “It shows that we’re not just saying these things, that we’re actually taking action to embrace inclusion and to break down those barriers that we’ve seen.” Peterson added the position will help develop partnerships with Siksika Nation.Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
For over five years, the owner of Runway Bridal, Brooke Miller, had been dreaming of a new space for the ever-growing bridal business. Last Thursday, Mayor Mitch Panciuk, Belleville Chamber of Commerce CEO Jill Raycroft, Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis, Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith representative David Joyce and Executive Director of the Belleville Downtown District BIA Marijo Cuerrier congratulated Miller on her new expanded boutique located at 282 Front Street. Working closely with a contractor and the property owners at 282 Front Street, Miller transformed her vision of the perfect bridal boutique into reality. “The new store is more aligned with our brand,” said Miller. “It’s warm yet modern and elegant. It also gives me a chance to grow the business further.” The new space for Runway Bridal features over 2,000 square feet of shopping space that will allow for exciting opportunities and events in the future. The new boutique also has large private changing rooms and plenty of Instagram worthy backdrops. “Moving your business is scary at any time, but I’m happy I did it, there will never truly be a perfect time” said Miller. “With COVID restrictions we could only have one appointment at our old location. With this beautiful new space, we can double our capacity, and when the pandemic settles, even more clients at one time.” Runway Bridal provides individual and unforgettable service in the locally owned boutique, showcasing some of the most sought-after exclusive wedding dresses in the area. From veils and jewelry to bridesmaids’ dresses, tuxedos, prom dresses, Runway Bridal offers the complete formal wear experience. Runway Bridal is a full-service bridal boutique that offers clients a fun and exciting experience. The boutique has drawn attention from brides seeking the perfect dress across the country. Runway Bridal has begun planning for wedding and prom seasons for 2021 and encourage residents interested in visiting the boutique to schedule an appointment online at www.runwaybridal.ca or call 613-966-0122.Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer
GENEVA — As several European countries have suspended access to the ski slopes to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization’s emergencies chief said the risk of catching COVID-19 while skiing is likely minimal.“I suspect many people won’t be infected barrelling down the slopes on their skis,” said Dr. Michael Ryan said at a WHO news briefing on Monday. The U.N. health agency has previously said the coronavirus transmits much less easily outside because it is dispersed in the fresh air. Restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 have kept ski lifts closed in Italy, France, Germany, Austria and elsewhere.Ryan said the danger of coronavirus spread from skiing is from many of the other activities linked to the sport.“The real issues are going to come at airports, tour buses taking people to and from ski resorts, ski lifts ... and places where people come together,” Ryan said. "We would advise that all countries look at the their ski season and other reasons for mass gathering,” he said, warning that indoor socializing after skiing might be particularly risky.Earlier this year, ski resorts in France, Italy and Austria were the sites of several superspreading events that helped seed COVID-19 outbreaks across the continent.Ryan said that rather than targeting any specific sport like skiing or hiking, governments should consider how best to reduce contact between people to prevent the spread of COVID-19.“The issue is any activity that involves large numbers of people moving into a concentrated space and then using public and other transport to get there and back needs to be managed carefully,” Ryan said.WHO noted that last week marked the first time global cases of COVID-19 have dropped since September, citing the effectiveness of recent lockdown measures across Europe. WHO's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called it “welcome news,” but said the decrease should be "interpreted with extreme caution.”Tedros said that the upcoming holiday season should prompt people to think twice about how they might celebrate during the pandemic.“Being with family and friends is not worth putting them all (and) yourself at risk,” he said. "We all need to consider whose life we might be gambling with in the decisions we make.”___Follow AP’s coverage at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakThe Associated Press
There were two more deaths from COVID-19 reported by the province on Monday. Both deaths were in the 80 and over age group and were located in the South Central and South East zones. The number of deaths in the province is now 47. The province also reported another 325 cases on Monday. The current seven-day average is 263, or 21. 7 cases per 100,000 population. The North Central, which includes Prince Albert, reported 27 new cases. In other zones there were 125 in Saskatoon, 62 in Regina, 23 in the North West, 22 in the South West, 14 in the Far North East, 13 in the South East, 10 in the Central East, nine in the North East and Far North East, eight in the South Central and a single case in the South West. There are two cases with pending residence information. Four cases with pending residence information were assigned with single cases being assigned to the North Central, Far North East, North West and Regina zones. The Saskatoon zone leads the Active Case breakdown with 1,318 cases; the North Central zone is third with 399 active cases. North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 173 active cases. North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 194 active cases and North Central 3 has 32 active cases. In second place is Regina with 693 active cases. Of the 8,564 reported COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan, 3,879 are considered active. The recovered number now sits at 4,638 after 49 more recoveries were reported. The number of people in hospital is 111 in total in the province. One hundred people are currently receiving inpatient care; eight in the North Central, 33 in Saskatoon, 26 in Regina, 18 in the South East, eight in the North West, three in the North East and one each in the South Central, South West and Far North West. Twenty-three people, three in the North Central, 14 in Saskatoon and six in Regina, are in intensive care. The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic is 8,564. Of those, 2,603 cases are from the Saskatoon area, 1,742 cases are from the north area (623 north west, 813 north central and 306 north east), 1,529 cases are from the Regina area, 1,122 cases are from the south area (429 south west, 407 south central and 286 south east), 913 cases are from the far north area (600 far north west, 80 far north central and 233 far north east) and 913 cases are from the far north area (600 far north west, 80 far north central, 233 far north east). There are now 28 cases that have pending residence location. There are currently 256 cases that are health care workers; however, the source of the infections is not related to their work environments in all instances. Of the 8,564 cases in the province: 471 cases are related to travel, 3,616 are community contacts, which includes mass gatherings, 1,825 have no known exposures and 2,652 are under investigation by local public health. The age breakdown shows 1,774 cases involve people 19 years of age and under, 3,050 cases are in the 20-39-age range, 2,291 are in the 40-59-age range, 1,127 are in the 60-79-age range and 317are in the 80-plus-age range. Five cases have a pending age confirmation. The gender breakdown shows 50 per cent of the cases being females and 50 per cent being males. Yesterday,4,251 COVID-19 tests were processed in Saskatchewan. As of today there have been 345,487 COVID-19 tests performed in Saskatchewan. Keep your number of contacts low The province also reminded residents to keep contacts low. Based on the confirmed cases at present, public health estimates that there are more than 6,600 reported contacts requiring follow-up in the province right now. “A ‘close contact’ is anyone that you have spent 15 minutes or more with, within the two metres of physical distancing. You should be able to count your close contacts on one hand. At this time, your close contacts should be the members of your immediate household who you dine with, hug, see without requiring a mask,” the release stated. Although not close contacts, consider all your weekly contacts whether in the classroom or at your workplace. While you must abide by the public health guidelines in these spaces to reduce the risk of transmission, could you list your contacts for the past 14 days? Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald