Experts urge hard-hit provinces to use rapid tests to detect COVID-19, including on those who have no symptoms.
Experts urge hard-hit provinces to use rapid tests to detect COVID-19, including on those who have no symptoms.
A look at some second-leg matches in the Europa League's last 32 taking place on Thursday: AC MILAN-RED STAR BELGRADE (2-2) A meeting of two former European champions is level after the first leg amid controversy over apparent racist abuse aimed at Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. UEFA appointed an investigator Tuesday to look into the incident after footage published online appeared to show Ibrahimovic being insulted as he sat in the stands. There were no fans allowed in the stadium for the first game, but Red Star had officials and guests in the stands. Milan goes into the game without a win in its last three after losing 3-0 to fierce rival Inter Milan in Serie A on Sunday. NAPOLI-GRANADA (0-2) Spanish club Granada is on the verge of a major upset in its first European competition. Yangel Herrera and Kenedy scored Granada's goals at home against a Napoli team whose season seems to be slipping away. One win from six games in all competitions this month has seen Napoli fall from challenging for the Champions League places in Serie A to clinging on in seventh. ARSENAL-BENFICA (1-1) The Europa League is Arsenal’s last opportunity for a trophy — and might represent the team's only route to qualifying for European competitions next season. Mikel Arteta’s team has dropped to 11th in the Premier League and is nine points off Chelsea in fifth place, which is set to be the sole Europa League qualifying position in the league. Thomas Partey has returned to training with Arsenal after a hamstring injury but it remains to be seen if the midfielder is fit enough to feature in the second leg against Benfica. The game will take place in Athens due to coronavirus travel restrictions. LEICESTER-SLAVIA PRAGUE (0-0) Leicester midfielder James Maddison will miss the match because of a hip injury. Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers does not believe the issue requires surgery but said Maddison is in consultation with specialists. The in-form attacking midfielder, who came off hurt in the Premier League match at Aston Villa on Sunday, missed matches at the end of last season with a hip injury and had an operation in July. “We’re just having to get a specialist’s opinion on it to formulate a plan for his recovery,” Rodgers said. Leicester is in third place in the Premier League and has been one of the surprises of the season. MANCHESTER UNITED-REAL SOCIEDAD (4-0) Edinson Cavani, Donny Van de Beek, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba remain sidelined through injury for United, which is all but assured of progress after a big first-leg win in neutral territory in Turin. A shoulder issue prevents midfielder Hannibal Mejbri from making his first-team debut after a week that has seen fellow 18-year-old Amad Diallo — signed from Atalanta in January — and 17-year-old Shola Shoretire make their first starts in the senior side. “Hannibal was injured in the reserves, he’ll be out for a month,” said United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has added 19-year-old Northern Ireland international Ethan Galbraith to United’s Europa League squad. “He was just coming into our squad. Unfortunately for him he’s out.” AJAX-LILLE (2-1) Even without two of its best players, Ajax is on the verge of eliminating the French league leader. Lille was heading for a win in the first leg before Ajax turned the game around with a penalty by Dusan Tadic in the 87th minute and a goal from Brian Brobbey in the 89th. Ajax is without striker Sebastien Haller after he was left off the squad list due to an administrative error. Goalkeeper André Onana was handed a 12-month doping ban this month after testing positive for a banned substance, something he blamed on a mix-up with his wife's medicine. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's auditor general is warning of a crisis in the nursing home sector if the government doesn't address the shortage of spaces. Kim Adair-MacPherson says the number of seniors in the province is expected to double by 2036 and there are currently almost 800 seniors waiting for a nursing home placement. She says it's unclear how the province plans to address the demand. Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch says 600 new nursing home beds will be opened over the next five years. He says the procedure the government uses to request proposals for new nursing homes has been streamlined, which he says should speed things up. Cecile Cassista, executive director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents Rights, says the government should concentrate on helping seniors remain in their own homes instead of putting them into nursing residences. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Small businesses will continue to benefit from provincial relief after the current small and medium enterprise (SME) relaunch grant program concludes at the end of March. The SME grants will be followed by the Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit. Up to $10,000 will be available under the benefit to small- and medium-sized businesses impacted by the pandemic and restrictions, according to the Alberta government last week. Under the SME grants up to $20,000 is available to businesses and non-profits with fewer than 500 employees and that have experienced revenue loss amid restrictions. The additional $10,000 under the new benefit can be used to offset COVID costs, including buying personal protective equipment, paying bills or hiring staff, according to the government. According to the provincial government, the benefit can also be used to pay rent, replace inventory or expand online operations. The new benefit will be available to business owners who can demonstrate they’ve lost at least 60 per cent of their revenue as a result of the pandemic. The benefit will cover 15 per cent of their lost monthly revenue, up to $10,000, according to the Alberta government. Funds distributed through the benefit won’t need to be repaid, with further parameters for the program to be unveiled in April. The benefit program has a $120 million budget. According to the Alberta government, as of last week more than $359 million has been distributed to more than 50,000 businesses through the SME program. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
De courtes périodes d’activité de 20 secondes répétées tout au long de la journée permettent d’améliorer ses capacités cardiovasculaires, d’être plus productif et d’avoir plus d’énergie.
SAN FRANCISCO — A new report from Uber Technologies Inc. says its Canadian drivers and couriers don't think they receive dependable earnings. The survey of 23,428 people earning money through the company's platform says only 31 per cent rated Uber as "good" for dependable earnings. About one quarter described it as "poor" and 43 per cent says they were just "OK." The survey was conducted by Uber and Qualtrics last October and was released after UberEats couriers complained that a change in the company's pay system resulted in their average earnings sliding from as much as $10 a trip before tips to as low as $3.99 during the pandemic. Drivers called for more transparency around how their fares are calculated, release of details on minimum earnings before accepting trips and lower commissions on long trips. Almost 20 per cent of Uber users griped about the quality of customer service, robotic responses and the long response time to get an issue resolved, while 17 per cent had concerns about the app's performance and its navigation and GPS system. Despite the issues raised, Uber says 80 per cent of those surveyed were very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the company and 65 per cent think it has either done enough or gone above and beyond for workers during the pandemic. “What drivers want and care about matters, and we will use this feedback to help improve the experience on Uber for now and in the future," an Uber spokesperson said in an email. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Now entering its second year, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot in Sudbury is finding success, even amongst the challenges of COVID-19. And it’s a good thing, said Meredith Armstrong, manager of Tourism and Culture in Economic Development at the City of Greater Sudbury, because while Sudbury is one of the only Northern Ontario communities showing growth when it comes to population, a recent Northern Policy Institute (NPI) report shows that a focus on bringing people to the area is essential to maintaining economic standards in Sudbury. Basically, “we’re not going to have enough babies,” said Armstrong. The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot was created in 2020 as a three-year program to support and encourage newcomers to Canada to settle in rural areas and Northern Ontario, rather than in big cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, and is based on the applicant securing a job offer before they apply and at the moment, in mining or tourism. The program itself has an economic development focus, said Armstrong. “This is an economic immigration program,” she said. “It’s about having a job offer, within the two priority sectors, with an employer that understands the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. They understand the need to embrace employee settlement. They are not sponsors of the candidate, but they do play a role in helping them get their feet under them.” The newcomer candidates need to understand the community of Sudbury and demonstrate their intention to reside long-term in the city, to become a part of the fabric of Northern Ontario. They must also complete extensive paperwork, as well as numerous interviews, in-depth evaluations of the job offer and review by the selection committee. If the applicant is successful, they will be recommended to Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residency. The two priority sectors determined at the beginning of the pilot are mining supply and service, as well as tourism. While one industry has suffered and will need to be rebuilt, mining has continued to have skilled positions available. Armstrong said Sudbury’s labour shortages in certain areas are longstanding. “I think it’s fair to say that we’ve always had labour market challenges, “she said. “We have a lot of jobs; we don’t have enough talent to go around.” Armstrong does acknowledge that some may question bringing in newcomers for employment when there are layoffs due to the pandemic. “I think that’s a legitimate question,” she said. But she noted the issue of the ratio of dependants and working age people will fall terribly out of balance without newcomers, and that remains an issue, post-pandemic. “We can’t do it without newcomers,” she said. “Immigrants really hit above their weight when it comes to giving back to communities, starting businesses and creating subsequent jobs.” Armstrong said while they did not reach their intended goal in the first year, they are quite pleased with their results. “2020 did hit the program pretty hard with some challenges and we didn't get all the way where we wanted to with our allotment for the first year,” she said. “But we were successful in recommending 11 wonderful candidates through the program. They're now on their way to pursuing permanent residency and settling in the community and they have families with them. So, you're looking at just under 25 new residents that come out of that endorsement.” And this year could be even better for the program. “We're certainly poised to hit a much higher number for 2021,” said Armstrong. “We've got some more resources in place to assist and we're really hitting the ground running with this year's allocation.” Armstrong said many of the applicants recommended for permanent residence are South Asian, owing to the number of international students who come to Sudbury to study and wish to stay here longer. Armstrong noted these applicants are usually successful not just because they have a job offer in a priority sector, but because they already know and enjoy life here in Sudbury. “And that really is the crux of the program, this is about retention in the community.” There are also many Francophone applicants, owing to Sudbury’s designation as one of 14 Welcoming Francophone Communities, described as an initiative “made by Francophones, for Francophones” to foster lasting ties between newcomers and members of the host community. “We work to collaborate with our Francophone settlement agency partners to ensure that we do have services to support people living and working in the process,” said Armstrong. “So, I think that's an area of focus.” But as the pilot is economically driven, the job offer is central. “More than anything, it comes down to the job offers,” said Armstrong. “It starts with an employer looking for the right person for an available job, and then that person really demonstrating that commitment to living in the community.” And while the RNIP does not act as a “matchmaker,” it does support employers as much as possible, said Armstrong. “We have seen that approach from some of the other communities participating in the pilot, but I think more and more, we're trying to equip employers with different ways to amplify when they're posting a position. Things like: where can they post it? Where can they find potential candidates? And I think as we go on, we will also have opportunities to connect employers with each other so that there's a bit of shared learning.” Armstrong said the pilot is successful so far, not just due to the work of the team and support from IRCC, but also from elected officials. She mentions Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre and Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré, as well as the Greater Sudbury Local Immigration Partnership, who also offers information on allyship and anti-racism to make the city more welcoming to newcomers. “Now more than ever, it's a really excellent time to have those conversations,” said Armstrong. “In the meantime, we need to keep really supporting our entrepreneurs, because they're the ones creating the jobs. Making sure they know about the program and about the various tools available to support them as employers and as businesses.” You can find out more about the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot by visiting the IIRC website, or at InvestSudbury.ca. Jenny Lamothe is a Local Journalism Reporter at Sudbury.com, covering issues in the Black, immigrant and Francophone communities. She is also a freelance writer and voice actor. Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Toronto Mayor John Tory has announced all public events will be cancelled until July, including Canada Day, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
More than a dozen new cases of COVID-19 variants have been detected within Toronto’s homeless population, including individuals linked to shelters, respites and encampments, as one downtown shelter battles a variant outbreak that as of Monday had swollen to 29 cases. The outbreak at the Salvation Army’s Maxwell Meighen Centre, at Sherbourne and Queen Streets, was first reported in early February, and shortly afterwards, became the first shelter site in Toronto to report a variant case — though the exact strain was yet unknown. Since the city confirmed the outbreak was at 29 cases, 13 others have screened positive for a variant in the homeless population. Two were linked to the Good Shepherd, two to the Birkdale family shelter, two to a drop-in at 129 Peter St., three to Fred Victor’s Adelaide Resource Centre for Women, and four cases were among people who aren’t connected to a specific site. Dr. Andrew Bond is medical director of Toronto’s Inner City Health Associates, which is helping to manage the Meighen outbreak, as it did during an earlier outbreak at the same facility in the pandemic’s first wave. “It was totally preventable and avoidable to have been seeing this,” said Bond. Advocates and physicians who work with homeless patients have asked the province to make vaccinating that population a higher priority. A recent study shows that Ontario’s homeless are more than 10 times more likely than others to require intensive care for COVID-19, and roughly five times more likely to die within three weeks. One death has been linked to an outbreak at 129 Peter St., but a city spokesperson said they were believed to have died of an overdose, with the virus detected post-mortem. If the variant spreads further through the system, Bond said he believes the city could see more fatalities. “I think it’s unfortunately the predictable consequence of this,” he said. With variants reported to spread faster, Bond is also concerned about shelter outbreaks growing in size, and surpassing the capacity of the city’s isolation facilities. When dozens were moved from Maxwell Meighen to isolation, he said nearly all were within one 24-hour period. Though the exact variant detected at Maxwell Meighen is still being determined, Bond suspects it’s the B.1.1.7 strain, which research suggests is still compatable with vaccinations. There were 70 cases of B.1.1.7 reported across Toronto as of Monday compared with just one case of a Brazilian variant. Neither Bond nor Larry Giffin, the head of a CUPE local representing Maxwell Meighen staff, alleged missteps by the Salvation Army leading to the outbreak. Giffin noted that stressed-out staff had reported more concern with occupants who pushed back about masking rules. At Maxwell Meighen, some men stay in shared rooms. When COVID-19 hit, occupancy was lopped from 363 to 256. The site is now closed to new arrivals, with 121 people left. The plan is to screen residents daily, and test staff and residents every three to five days, the city said. (The Salvation Army declined interview requests, saying its focus was the “task at hand.”) A memorandum to homelessness service providers about variants on Tuesday said shelter staff should ideally “choose to work” at only one shelter location — and that measures to reduce the movement of staff and clients between sites was “strongly encouraged wherever possible.” Staff will now be required to wear face shields or goggles with medical masks, while occupants would be mandated to wear either medical or three-layer cloth masks. The memo also highlighted the push from Bond’s organization and others to make vaccinations for the homeless a priority, and noted that would happen once “supply becomes available.” To Bond, the presence of variants in the system means a clock is now ticking. “We have a very narrow window of opportunity to get ahead of this.” Victoria Gibson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden plans to distribute millions of face masks to Americans in communities hard-hit by the coronavirus beginning next month as part of his efforts to ensure “equity” in the government’s response to the pandemic. Biden, who like Donald Trump’s administration considered sending masks to all Americans, is instead adopting a more conservative approach, aiming to reach underserved communities and those bearing the brunt of the outbreak. Trump’s administration shelved the plans entirely. Biden’s plan will distribute masks not through the mail, but instead through Federally Qualified Community Health Centers and the nation’s food bank and food pantry systems, the White House announced Wednesday. The Departments of Defence, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture will be involved in the distribution of more than 25 million American-made cloth masks in both adult and kid sizes. The White House estimates they will reach 12 million to 15 million people. “Not all Americans are wearing masks regularly, not all have access, and not all masks are equal,” said White House COVID-19 co-ordinator Jeff Zients. The White House is not distributing safer N95 masks, of which the U.S. now has abundant supply after shortages early in the pandemic. The cloth masks adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and "certainly they meet those requirements set by our federal standard,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. Biden hinted at the move Tuesday during a virtual roundtable discussion Tuesday with four essential workers who are Black, saying he expected his administration to send millions of masks to people around the country “very shortly.” Biden has asked all Americans to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his term, pointing to models showing it could help save 50,000 lives. He also required mask-wearing in federal buildings and on public transportation in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. In late January, a Quinnipiac poll showed that 75% of Americans said they wear a mask all the time when they go out in public and are around others, and an additional 12% said they wear a mask most of the time. Biden has made a virtue of his public displays of mask-wearing, drawing direct contrast with Trump, who only rarely was seen covering his face while president. Biden has also required the use of masks around the White House, unlike Trump, whose White House was the scene of at least three outbreaks of the virus. Psaki suggested earlier this month that logistical concerns underpinned the decision to scale back the plans to send masks to all Americans. “I think there are some underlying questions about how you target them — the masks — where they go to first; obviously, it couldn’t happen immediately,” she said. — Associated Press writer Hannah Fingurhut contributed to this report. Zeke Miller And Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
CALGARY — The CEO of Crescent Point Energy Corp. says the company is poised to benefit from rising oil prices after two years of transformation through selling assets, cutting debt and reducing costs. The Calgary-based company's move last week to buy producing light oil shale assets in Alberta for $900 million from Royal Dutch Shell reflects that confidence, Craig Bryksa said. "We have built an asset portfolio that is well-positioned to benefit from a rising price environment given our light oil weighting and high netbacks," he said on a Wednesday conference call with analysts to discuss the company's fourth-quarter results. "We expect to generate $375 (million) to $600 million of excess cash flow this year at US$50 to US$60 WTI (West Texas Intermediate) prices." The company plans to devote most of that cash flow to paying down debt, he said, adding that it will evaluate increasing returns to shareholders over time. Shell is to receive $700 million in cash and 50 million Crescent Point shares under the deal and will wind up owning an 8.6 per cent stake in Crescent Point if it closes as expected in April. The companies say the assets are producing around 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from more than 270 wells. About 57 per cent of production is condensate, highly valued as a diluent blended with oilsands bitumen to allow it to flow in a pipeline. Analysts said the company beat their fourth-quarter estimates on production and average selling prices although both measures fell compared with the same period in 2019. "CPG closed the chapter on a highly successful year in its business transformation toward becoming a more sustainable producer generating significant free cash flow, which should be complemented by the upcoming (Shell) acquisition," Desjardins analyst Chris MacCulloch wrote in a report. Crescent Point reported producing 111,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, about 90 per cent crude oil and petroleum liquids, in the fourth quarter, down from 145,000 boe/d in the fourth quarter of 2019. It attributed the drop to capital spending cuts enacted early in 2020 as oil prices fell. It's average realized fourth-quarter oil price was $49.40 per barrel, down from $65.27 in the year-earlier period. It reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $51 million or 10 cents per share, compared with a loss of $932 million or $1.73 per share in the same period of 2019. On Wednesday, it confirmed 2021 production guidance released with the Shell announcement last week of about 134,000 boe/d, as well as a 2021 capital budget of about $600 million (both assuming the deal is closed). That's up from Crescent Point's average output of 121,600 boe/d during 2020 and down from actual 2020 capital spending of $655 million. The company reported net debt of about $2.1 billion at year-end, paid down by over $615 million during the year. It said it also removed about $60 million in budgeted operating expenses in 2020. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:CPG) Dan Healing, The Canadian Press
As Oshawa and Durham Region have moved into the Red Zone of the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework, Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter says while that’s good news, residents still need to remain vigilant. “That means wearing a mask, washing our hands, staying apart, and try and stay within our family units to be able to make sure that we’re part of the flattening of the curve,” he says. With Oshawa now in the red zone, the city is preparing to reopen some facilities, beginning March 1, including City Hall, Civic Recreation Complex, South Oshawa Community Centre, the Donevan Complex, and Delpark Homes Centre. However, Carter says there will be some changes at these facilities. “Here at City Hall and at all of our facilities, we’re asking people to book ahead,” says Carter, noting attending city facilities is by appointment only. “Our facilities are asking you to take the opportunity to book ahead to make sure you get your spot to utilize our facilities,” he adds. Residents interested in booking an appointment at one of the city facilities can do so through Service Oshawa at 905-436-3311. Bookings will be open beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Oshawa residents now also have the option of advance booking privileges, including bookings for fitness centres, indoor tracks, tennis and pickleball courts, and leisure swimming and skating. Residents who have an active Fitness Membership will have 10 days advance booking privileges, while community members who are not Oshawa residents but have an active Fitness Membership will have seven days. Oshawa residents who do not have an active Fitness Membership will have three days advance booking privileges, and other community members without an active membership will have one day advance booking privileges. Residents looking to take advantage of the 10- or three-day booking privileges are asked to call Service Oshawa, while all other booking requests can be done online at www.register.oshawa.ca. Ice rental is available at Delpark Homes Centre by contacting the Facility Booking Office. Ice is also available at the Tribute Communities Centre for on-ice instruction to specific sport affiliations and organizations. Futhermore, the Delpark and Northview branches of Oshawa Public Libraries will reopen on March 1 as well for in-library browsing, computer use and takeout service. The Jess Hann branch will reopen to the public on March 1, while the McLaughlin branch will continue to provide take-out service only. The OSCC55+ Delpark Homes Branch will reopen by appointment only in conjunction with the Depark Homes Centre. Carter says now is the time for the community to continue to be vigilant, noting residents have done a “tremendous job” thus far. “I’m asking us to stay local, shop local, support local, but we’re in this together,” he adds. “We will get through this together.” Carter noted it’s been almost one year that COVID-19 has been around. “We’ve got a little more journey to go through, but I’m optimistic and hopeful that 2021 will be a tremendous year.” Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
Trudy Hodges, Family and Community Support Services director, and Amie Greene, FCSS program services co-ordinator, presented an update on 2020 operations to council in delegation. In 2020, Beaverlodge FCSS served 33 clients through its home support program, including 30 seniors. Home support made 232 visits, according to Hodges’ presentation. The food bank served 61 families and another 187 individuals throughout 2020, with an additional 61 Christmas hampers prepared. FCSS also helped residents complete 110 income tax returns. FCSS had 615 requests for service in 2020, from 498 town residents, 102 County of Grande Prairie residents and 15 others. City residents may be examples of “others” who used programs like babysitting courses, Greene said. Use of FCSS services was generally down in 2020; FCSS would typically complete 150 to 170 income tax returns, Greene said. Programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit may account for less demand for FCSS services, Hodges said. FCSS received $60,800 of its budget from the Alberta government and $30,400 from the county, with the remaining $269,000 provided by the town, Hodges said. Municipal election: Council also approved two motions to prepare for the Oct. 18 municipal election. Coun. Judy Kokotilo-Bekkerus’ motion to set two advance voting dates, Oct. 9 and Oct. 13 at the community centre, was carried. Coun. Cyndi Corbett’s motion to establish a voting station at Amisk Court from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 18, in addition to the main voting location at the community centre 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., was carried. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
Long-term plans for industrial development between Sexsmith and the County of Grande Prairie may change slightly due to public feedback. Sexsmith council voted to make some changes to the draft Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) during its meeting last week. The changes would shift planned development to the northeast of current town boundaries south to the area closer to Viterra, said mayor Kate Potter. “We were really appreciative of the residents who said, ‘These are some concerns we see,’ and I think those were addressed,” Potter said. Potter noted the IDP is a long-term plan for a period of perhaps 50 to 100 years, and no development is imminent. Eighteen people attended two sessions in November to review the draft IDP and several questioned why certain lands were designated for industrial growth, said Rachel Wueschner, Sexsmith’s chief administrative officer. The area east and northeast of town boundaries was designated for industrial development under the draft IDP. Attendees suggested development be shifted closer to the Emerson Trail due to existing infrastructure there, including a high-grade road. Potter said while the eastern area may not currently have a through road, land access may be established over a long-term period. Attendees further suggested the current plans may negatively impact the landscape and agricultural lifestyle east of town. Potter said the land isn’t being re-designated at this time. Council did support moving some planned development, from two quarter-sections on the northeast of town borders to the Viterra area, partly because the northern area contains wetlands, Potter said. In accordance with feedback, council also voted to recognize a link between range roads 61 and 63 as a priority road. Range Road 63 runs west of Sexsmith and is entirely in the county, and improvements could make it easier for large trucks to transfer from Range Road 61 (a truck route) to 63, she said. The designation of a priority road means the county and town will communicate with each other regarding future plans for road improvements, she said. Following council’s changes, Potter said the matter will go back to negotiations between the town and county. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he will not trigger an election as long as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Singh says he will stand by his pledge to prop up the Liberal minority government on confidence votes regardless of whether the Liberals back an NDP bill to implement universal pharmacare, due for a vote later today. The government is expected within the next couple months to table a budget, which would trigger an election if it fails to garner support from at least one major opposition party. New Democrats have been hyping their pharmacare legislation in advance of a vote that will either kill Bill C-213 or send it to committee for further scrutiny. The NDP and Liberals both promised some kind of pharmacare program during the 2019 federal election campaign, but differ on the details. Singh says his party's universal medication plan, laid out in a private member's bill sponsored by MP Peter Julian, resembles the framework recommended by a government-commissioned report released in June 2019. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Squamish Nation has swapped pink shirts for pink masks to mark Canada’s Anti-Bullying Awareness Day. To raise awareness of the CKNW Kids’ Fund annual Pink Shirt Day (Feb. 24) the nation’s Ta7lnew̓ás Education, Employment, and Training team decided to do things a little differently this year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, handing out 200 pink masks to students to wear to take a stance against bullying. Staff within the nation’s other offices also got involved – with a total of 600 pink masks handed out throughout the nation's North Vancouver and Squamish communities. The pink masks share a Squamish Nation word – Ayátnewasyap, which means "be kind to one another." Syetáxtn, Chris Lewis, a spokesperson for the nation, said the pink mask initiative was all about spreading the message of Ayátnewasyap throughout the community. “We thought it was really innovative from our team and our staff and a really creative way to get the message out there, especially in unprecedented times where we need to be kinder to one another, now more than ever,” he said. “Everybody has to wear a mask and it's just an alternate way to continue to pass the message around about anti-bullying and make it visible.” Lewis said another message the nation taught the community’s young people and children was to “treat people the way you want to be treated.” “In our language, we call it wena’xws, which means you’re treating somebody with respect, you're believing what they say, and you’re honouring them,” he said. “It’s the complete opposite of bullying and being aggressive. “That's who we are as Sḵwx̱wú7mesh people and we really try to kind of embody that in terms of teaching our young children and reminding our people that we need to be kinder to one another and we need to support one another, especially during a pandemic.” He said he hoped the pink masks would be a visible reminder to not only the nation but to the wider community to be kind and humble to one another and to treat people with respect. “Bullying doesn't have a space in our world,” said Lewis. This Pink Shirt Day, the CKNW Kids’ Fund is calling on British Columbians to “lift each other up” and support programs that encourage healthy self-esteem and teach empathy, compassion, and kindness. They encourage everyone to practise kindness and wear pink today (Feb. 24) to symbolize that you do not tolerate bullying. Since 2008, net proceeds of over $2.55 million have been distributed to support youth anti-bullying programs in B.C. and throughout Western Canada. Last year alone, CKNW Kids’ Fund was able to support programs that impacted more than 59,000 youth and children. Get involved: purchase official Pink Shirt Day merchandise and support anti-bullying initiatives in B.C. at CKNW Kids’ Fund Pink Shirt Day. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
Lors de la séance du conseil de la MRC de Minganie du 16 février, les élus ont adressé une demande au gouvernement du Québec pour que l’île d’Anticosti soit incluse dans le territoire du Plan Nord. Malgré le fait que l’île soit au-dessus du 49e parallèle, elle ne fait pas partie du plan de développement du nord québécois. Pour la MRC de Minganie, l’île recèle un potentiel important au niveau forestier et faunique et son exclusion du Plan Nord est un frein au développement de ce lieu. Le préfet de la MRC de Minganie, Luc Noël, explique qu’il n’y a aucune reconnaissance spécifique accordé à Anticosti par le gouvernement. Cela fait que l’île ne peut bénéficier de certains programmes qui pourraient l’aider à subvenir à certains besoins reliés à sa situation d’insularité. « Si le gouvernement veut faire du développement durable avec le Plan Nord, je pense que le projet de faire inscrire l’île d’Anticosti comme site du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO pourrait correspondre à cet objectif », affirme Luc Noël. Cette demande de la MRC de Minganie fait suite à la vision de la municipalité d’Anticosti qui souhaite relancer le développement de l’île en misant sur le tourisme durable et bonifier ses infrastructures d’accueil. De son côté, la Société du Plan Nord indique que le territoire de celui-ci est déterminé par « différents facteurs, dont les limites géographiques des régions administratives existantes, le type de végétation, l’isolement des collectivités, les principales industries et activités économiques présentes, et le critère de la nordicité ». C'est donc en se basant sur ces critères que le gouvernement a décidé de ne pas retenir l'île d'Anticosti dans le territoire du Plan Nord. De plus, la Société du Plan Nord affirme qu'elle « n'a pas l'intention de proposer au gouvernement d’entamer un processus de révision des limites du territoire d’application » du Plan Nord pour l'instant. Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
Several international travellers arriving at Toronto's Pearson International Airport have refused to comply with a new rule requiring a three-day hotel quarantine, local police said Wednesday. Peel Region police said that while most cases were resolved after conversations with officers, some people refused to follow the rules that took effect this week and were fined $880 under Ontario regulations. Police said they will not detain anyone for breaking the hotel quarantine rule unless there are aggravating circumstances involved, such as a criminal offence. They added that the Public Health Agency of Canada would be responsible for any further potential fines for travellers under the Quarantine Act. The Quarantine Act states that anyone arriving in Canada must stay in an isolation hotel for three nights. They may only leave after a negative COVID-19 test, but are expected to self-isolate for a total of 14 days. Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel Region's medical officer of health, said Wednesday that the quarantine measures are in place to protect the public. "It's unfortunate (...) that this might be occurring," said Loh. "Please remember that it's a disease that spreads from person to person and it takes all of us to do our part." Patrick Brown, the mayor of Brampton, Ont., just north of the airport, said that people who choose to ignore the regulations are being selfish. "By not being mindful that you can bring dangerous variants into the country, you're being selfish to your neighbours, to your city," said Brown. "I hope that people do abide by the new stricter guidelines." Staying in a government-approved isolation hotel costs up to $2,000 for the three-night stay. The hotel stays, which must be paid for by the travellers, are among a series of measures that came into effect on Monday to limit the spread of COVID-19 and more contagious variants of the virus. Most incoming air travellers will need to get tested for the virus upon arrival and again toward the end of their mandatory 14-day quarantine. Travellers arriving at land borders will be given self-swab kits, and testing will be provided on-site at five high-volume border crossings. The new rules are in addition to previous orders that require a negative test result within 72 hours of arrival. Travellers will need to complete a second test on Day 10 of their self-isolation period. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the tighter border controls are meant to keep everyone safe. -- with files from Denise Paglinawan. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
Les technologies quantiques sont déjà une réalité. Les gravimètres quantiques permettent de faire des mesures avec une précision inégalée – malgré les embruns et la houle.
This summer may be an I-do redo for many couples forced to scrap their wedding plans last year amid COVID-19 restrictions. But for others, it may be a repeat of the wedding bell blues, as the lingering pandemic makes the likelihood of big bashes with hundreds of guests unlikely for many months. “The demand is high, but everyone is really hesitant,” said Erin Lister, wedding sales manager at the Elm Hurst Inn in Ingersoll. “Who knows what the restrictions will be? . . . Those are kind of big setbacks for people.” In a normal summer, Elm Hurst would host about six weddings a weekend. Bookings for this spring are sparse, Lister said, as couples eye the fall or next year for their vows. “It just keeps pushing everything forward,” she said, adding some couples are on their second or third postponement. While outdoor ceremonies are popular at Elm Hurst, Lister said there’s a growing trend to shift photos, cocktails and receptions to tents as well amid the pandemic. At the Hessenland Inn in Zurich, wedding co-ordinator Kelsi Trotter said couples are “split down the middle” between delaying their weddings or moving forward with smaller celebrations, with restrictions. “We do have a handful of those couples who are now moving to 2022, just not wanting to deal with any restrictions and still set on that traditional wedding,” she said. But others don’t want to delay. “Some are saying, 'We want to start a family, we want to buy a house, and want to get married before that,' ” Trotter said. “The ones sticking with this year, they’re saying, ‘Our priority is to celebrate our love with those closest to us.’ ” Trotter said for weddings scheduled this summer she’s planning options for every potential restriction level the region could be in, from green to orange. She’s also noticing more interest from couples outside the region eyeing Southwestern Ontario as a local “destination wedding” option. St. Marys native Christina Donati was planning a June wedding with 215 guests in her hometown, but when COVID-19 cases began rising late last year, she chose to postpone the vows until 2022. “I was thinking what’s that dream wedding that I’ve always thought of as a kid, which is the big church wedding with all your friends and family there,” she said. “We decided that pushing it back one more year would give us that safety net to know it would be OK.” Donati said she sees a silver lining in the situation, with the delay giving her and her fiancé Nick another year to save up for the wedding. As for the dress, Donati ordered her gown last summer and it’s already available to be picked up. “My only fear is because I have to wait another year, I need to keep my weight the same,” she said, laughing. “But I’ll make sure of it.” Wedding planner Wendy Bennewies, owner of Devine Design Weddings in Mitchell, said she doesn’t see the industry returning to its pre-pandemic state soon. “It’s going to be another 2020 in 2021 until the fall,” she said. Most couples set on weddings of more than 100 are opting to postpone, while those who were already eyeing smaller ceremonies are reducing their guest lists to meet gathering limits, Bennewies said. And for some, that need to reduce the guest list is a blessing in disguise — not having to justify a more intimate celebration or leaving out some of the second cousins and great aunts. Bennewies said micro-weddings were already on the rise before COVID-19 hit but have been spurred on by the virus crisis and are likely here to stay. Those going forward amid COVID-19 safety restrictions are also adapting to distancing, masks and closed-up dance floors. Bennewies said couples are incorporating charades, trivia, skits and even murder mysteries into their wedding receptions as alternative activities. The industry will likely boom next year, she said, as the backlog of weddings only gets bigger and bigger — hopefully enough to make up for the lost revenue for planners, venues and bridal shops from cancelled and downsized events. “We always said when we started this business, there’s two almost-for-sure things in life: marriage and death,” Bennewies said. “I don’t think (weddings) will ever go away. People will do things differently like they are now.” firstname.lastname@example.org Max Martin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says allocating COVID-19 vaccine doses for Indigenous people in urban areas through the provinces is faster and more effective than delivery directed from Ottawa. He says he will be working with provinces and territories to ensure they prioritize Indigenous people in their immunization efforts, even as the National Association of Friendship Centres and other advocates call for more direct federal involvement.