With Kevin MacKay.
With Kevin MacKay.
Canada added a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to its pandemic-fighting arsenal on Friday, approving Johnson & Johnson's product a week after it was authorized in the United States. That gives Canada four distinct vaccines — along with Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca — and it adds flexibility to the country's plan to immunize the majority of its residents by September. Health Canada includes a fifth vaccine, Covishield, which is a separate brand name for doses of the AstraZeneca product made at the Serum Institute of India. The U.S.-based Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use on Feb. 27. Canada has already secured 10 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine through previous negotiations with the company, with the option to buy another 28 million. The 10 million pre-purchased doses will be delivered before September, but they're not expected to start flowing into Canada until at least April. Here's what we know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine: HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT? Johnson & Johnson announced promising results from its Phase 3 clinical trials at the end of January, suggesting its vaccine reduced severe COVID-19 disease by 85 per cent, and prevented 100 per cent of COVID-related hospitalization or death. The vaccine had a 72 per cent efficacy in preventing COVID infections after 28 days in the company's U.S. trials. The efficacy dropped to 66 per cent when averaging in results from other global trials, including a South African study that factored in more transmissible variants of the COVID virus. An FDA report last month said the vaccine was 64 per cent effective in preventing infection in South Africa about a month after the vaccines were administered. Pfizer and Moderna showed 95 per cent efficacy in their respective trials, but those were both tested against previous dominant strains of the virus and didn't account for the variants that have popped up since. Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca also had zero hospitalizations and deaths in their trials. The FDA report said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was similarly effective across age, race and people with comorbidities. The agency added that effectiveness appeared to be lower (42.3 per cent after one month) in people over 60 with comorbidities such as diabetes or heart disease. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS VACCINE? The potential ease of distribution offered by a one-and-done shot, and its ability to be stored in a regular fridge are among its biggest strengths. Vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca all require two doses. Johnson & Johnson's vaccine can be stored in a regular fridge for up to three months, the company says. Pfizer's vaccine initially required ultra-cold storage temperatures between -60 C and -80 C, though Health Canada said this week it could be stored in a regular freezer for up to 14 days. Moderna's vaccine can also be stored at regular freezer temperatures while AstraZeneca can be stored in a fridge. WHAT KIND OF VACCINE TECHNOLOGY IS USED? Unlike the mRNA technology used in Pfizer and Moderna's products, Johnson & Johnson is a non-replicating viral vector vaccine similar to AstraZeneca's. That means it uses a different harmless virus, which can't copy itself, as a vector to give our cells the instructions they need to make the coronavirus's spike protein. The immune system recognizes the protein and makes antibodies, which then allow us to fend off attack from the same virus if exposed in the future. WERE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS NOTED? No specific safety concerns were identified in participants of the trials, regardless of age, race and comorbidities. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, said in a press conference Friday that almost 20 per cent of participants in the Johnson & Johnson trials were 65 years of age and older, and "no differences in safety or efficacy were seen compared to the younger groups." The FDA said the most common reported side effects were headache and fatigue, followed by muscle aches, nausea and fever. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
NASA's Mars rover Perseverance has taken its first, short drive on the surface of the red planet, two weeks after the robot science lab's picture-perfect touchdown on the floor of a massive crater, mission managers said on Friday. The six-wheeled, car-sized astrobiology probe put a total of 6.5 meters (21.3 feet) on its odometer on Thursday during a half-hour test spin within Jezero Crater, site of an ancient, long-vanished lake bed and river delta on Mars. Taking directions from mission managers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) near Los Angeles, the rover rolled 4 meters (13.1 feet) forward, turned about 150 degrees to its left and then drove backward another 2.5 meters (8.2 feet).
TORONTO — As expected, Toronto FC will join the Raptors and Blue Jays in Florida for the start of the Major League Soccer season. Toronto will stay in the Orlando area, training at the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate some 35 kilometres southwest of Orlando Airport. The team said it can play home matches in both Orlando and Tampa. Orlando City SC plays at Exploria Stadium while the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the USL Championship play at the 7,500-seat Al Lang Stadium in nearby St. Petersburg, where CF Montreal has held its training camp in the past, The team said its stay in Florida will be contingent upon health and safety regulations as borders reopen in Canada. The Raptors are playing out of Amalie Arena in Tampa while the Blue Jays, who played in Buffalo, N.Y., last season, are holding their first two homestands in nearby Dunedin. TFC finished out the 2020 season in East Hartford, Conn., due to pandemic-related border restrictions. The team played just four games at BMO Field last season. The team is no stranger to ChampionsGate, having held part of its pre-season camp there in past years. A short walk across the hotel golf course leads to training fields. TFC is currently training under the bubble at the club's north Toronto training centre and at BMO Field, whose pitch has underground heating. The team was granted permission to open camp early, on Feb. 17, to prepare for the Canadian Championship final against Hamilton's Forge FC. The winner of that match advances to a two-legged Scotiabank Champions League round-of-16 tie against Mexico's Club Leon. The return leg is April 14. The MLS regular season is slated to kick off April 17. The date and venue of the Canadian Championship final have yet to be announced, although March 20 has been floated. Time is short given the March 22-30 FIFA international window features both World Cup and Olympic qualifying. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
The 2021 Pink Shirt Day campaign, organized by the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters, closed the month of February on a positive and encouraging note. Pink Shirt day was celebrated on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, but the organizers say its message of inclusion and diversity is a part of the Boys and Girls Club programs every day of the year. "We are happy to say we have sold over 2,600 shirts this year, surpassing even previous years' sales," said Amanda Guarino, Supervisor, Community Engagement, Boys and Girls Club of Kingston & Area. "This is incredible amid the pandemic and really shows how Kingston is a giving, caring, and supportive community. All pink shirt sales fund our year-round anti-bullying and positive mentoring programs, adding healthy relationship components to our after-school, summer camps, and specific education programs." Guarino said they had over 700 community members interacting with them, and had spread their anti-bullying message to more than 4,000 people in Kingston. “We are especially thankful to our title sponsor, Terra Nova Truss, and the support received from annual partners like Kawartha Credit Union and McDonald’s,” Guarino added. “This allowed us to provide over 270 pink shirts to the children and youth we serve, making our members feel a special sense of belonging to their peers and to the campaign.” Proceeds of pink shirt sales are going straight into anti-bullying and positive mentoring programs for children and youth in Kingston. “On Pink Shirt Day, we ran a workshop with our youth members that had them reflect on their bullying experiences, and even got them to talk about instances when they themselves were unkind to others and what they learned,” said Devin Reynolds, Senior Manager at the West End Hub of the Boys and Girls Club. “We focused our programs with younger children on cyber-bullying, social media, and how to stay safe online,” Reynolds continued. “It really brings our campaign to life to hear kids saying ‘kindness means sticking up for people’ and ‘kindness means not being mean to someone else for liking different things’.” The funds raised will keep programs like these operating and reaching more than 400 children and youth in Kingston after-school everyday, throughout the year. “All of us had an important part in making the campaign have this transformative character,” Guarino said. “Thank you, Kingston, for standing with us against bullying and showing that our community leads with kindness.” “With your support, children are learning and growing into confident, supportive and inclusive leaders,” she said. To watch a brief video on the 2021 Pink Shirt Day campaign and to support year-round anti-bullying programs, please visit www.bgckingston.ca Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
A local performing arts theatre is looking to raise money to keep the lights on, doors open, and music live. The Mary Webb Centre for the Arts, located in the Village of Highgate, is a century-old round church with near-perfect acoustics. On any given night, music performers would play in front of sold-out crowds. The shows would engage and inspire performing and visual arts in partnership with the local community within a historic and architecturally significant heritage venue. Originally built as a Methodist Church in 1898, the Mary Webb Centre has always conquered adversity. From having the building burning down in 1917, to being rebuilt in 1918, to current-day challenges of furnaces no longer working, replacing a roof, stage and windows were redone, the centre has always found a way to keep the lights on. In April, the Mary Webb Centre for the Arts Board closed the doors and effectively stopped all programs taking place there. This includes scheduled performances by the WSO 14 Piece String Orchestra, Danny Michel, Paul Anthony and his CASH tribute, “Talent at the Webb,” and the Hotel California tribute to the Eagles and the Jim Cuddy Band (of Blue Rodeo fame). The last event at the MWC was one year ago, on March 7, when Rant Maggie Rant performed to a full house, back when most were still wondering if COVID-19 was something to be concerned about. However, with no visitors since then, there has been no revenue from shows, community events or the art gallery. With the shutdown of the live entertainment industry and without the revenue from concerts and art sales, the Mary Webb Centre’s budget has quickly become a challenging one to balance. “Numerous applications have been submitted to various government grants, but oddly and frustratingly, there seem to be no programs that a not-for-profit without paid staff can access,” said the centre’s Music Director and Chair of the Board of Directors, Peter Garapick. Nearly a year into a global pandemic, the Mary Webb Centre for the Arts is launching a collaborative campaign, Weave a Webb of Support, where everyone can help out a little to make a big difference. Weave a Webb of Support aims to familiarise donors with the centre’s ongoing expenses, even when the doors are closed. “The Mary Webb Centre for the Arts is very grateful for the community’s incredible support throughout the past year,” said Garapick. “The Mary Webb Centre is fully appreciative of these kind and gracious offerings. Thank you.” The Weave a Webb of Support campaign summarizes the 18 monthly and annual expenses and displays the cost per month for each. Supporters may choose an expense and the number of months for which they would like to pay. In total, there are 18 expenses and 12 months in a year, meaning 216 opportunities for donors to help pay the annual $30,000 a year worth of bills. Donors can make a contribution via cheque, eTransfer or in-person with cash. Those interested in donating are encouraged to visit www.marywebbcentre.ca for more information. Donations over $20 merit a tax receipt. In the meantime, during the past several months, many volunteers have spent several mornings working on the grounds of the centre. Together, they have trimmed all the dead and low lying branches on the trees in the back, cleaned up all of the brush around the trees and put it all through a chipper, spreading all the resulting material around the plants and rocks in the rock gardens at the front and sides of the centre. “Once restrictions are lifted, these volunteers will be ready to keep the centre as virus-free as possible so we can hopefully get back to what they do best, run concerts, morning and afternoon programs and other special events,” said Garapick. Garapick added at its recent meeting, the Marketing Committee has put forth many exciting ideas for the future. “We will let you know all the details as soon as we can. And of course, our wonderful art gallery is anxiously waiting to have in-person visitors, but everyone can virtually visit it now through our on-line marketplace on the Webb Site,” said Garapick. Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
NEW YORK — A new national study adds strong evidence that mask mandates can slow the spread of the coronavirus, and that allowing dining at restaurants can increase cases and deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the study Friday. “All of this is very consistent,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a White House briefing on Friday. “You have decreases in cases and deaths when you wear masks, and you have increases in cases and deaths when you have in-person restaurant dining.” The study was released just as some states are rescinding mask mandates and restaurant limits. Earlier this week, Texas became the biggest state to lift its mask rule, joining a movement by many governors to loosen COVID-19 restrictions despite pleas from health officials. “It’s a solid piece of work that makes the case quite strongly that in-person dining is one of the more important things that needs to be handled if you’re going to control the pandemic,” said William Hanage, a Harvard University expert on disease dynamics who was not involved in the study. The new research builds on smaller CDC studies, including one that found that people in 10 states who became infected in July were more likely to have dined at a restaurant and another that found mask mandates in 10 states were associated with reductions in hospitalizations. The CDC researchers looked at U.S. counties placed under state-issued mask mandates and at counties that allowed restaurant dining — both indoors and at tables outside. The study looked at data from March through December of last year. The scientists found that mask mandates were associated with reduced coronavirus transmission, and that improvements in new cases and deaths increased as time went on. The reductions in growth rates varied from half a percentage point to nearly 2 percentage points. That may sound small, but the large number of people involved means the impact grows with time, experts said. “Each day that growth rate is going down, the cumulative effect — in terms of cases and deaths — adds up to be quite substantial,” said Gery Guy Jr., a CDC scientist who was the study's lead author. Reopening restaurant dining was not followed by a significant increase in cases and deaths in the first 40 days after restrictions were lifted. But after that, there were increases of about 1 percentage point in the growth rate of cases and — later — 2 to 3 percentage points in the growth rate of deaths. The delay could be because restaurants didn't re-open immediately and because many customers may have been hesitant to dine in right after restrictions were lifted, Guy said. Also, there's always a lag between when people are infected and when they become ill, and longer to when they end up in the hospital and die. In the case of dining out, a delay in deaths can also be caused by the fact that the diners themselves may not die, but they could get infected and then spread it to others who get sick and die, Hanage said. “What happens in a restaurant doesn't stay in a restaurant,” he said. CDC officials stopped short of saying that on-premises dining needs to stop. But they said if restaurants do open, they should follow as many prevention measures as possible, like promoting outdoor dining, having adequate indoor ventilation, masking employees and calling on customers to wear masks whenever they aren't eating or drinking. The study had limitations. For example, the researchers tried to make calculations that accounted for other policies, such as bans on mass gatherings or bar closures, that might influence case and death rates. But the authors acknowledged that they couldn't account for all possible influences — such as school re-openings. “It's always very, very hard to thoroughly nail down the causal relationships,” Hanage said. “But when you take this gathered with all the other stuff we know about the virus, it supports the message” of the value of mask wearing and the peril of restaurant dining, he added. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — Dentists, teachers and bus drivers are among the essential workers who hope to receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in British Columbia, as a provincial committee determines who should be prioritized for the shot. BC Teachers' Federation president Teri Mooring says her members should be included in the plan expected to be released by the B.C. Immunization Committee by March 18. Mooring says teachers have put in the second-highest number of COVID-19-related claims to WorkSafeBC, behind only health-care workers, and have faced difficult conditions in schools with some of the most lax mask policies in Canada. The BC Dental Association says dentists and their teams cannot treat patients remotely, they work in very close proximity to the mouth and often use aerosol-generating procedures. Balbir Mann, president of Unifor Local 111, which represents Metro Vancouver bus drivers, says his members should receive the vaccine because passengers come very close when they enter and exit the bus. BC Trucking Association president Dave Earle, meanwhile, says he represents both long-haul truckers and local drivers who return home every night, so he wants to hear from the province about where the COVID-19 hot spots are in the transportation system. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Friends and fans remembered Chris Schultz as a gentle giant, who became a respected TV and radio analyst after a successful playing career with the Dallas Cowboys and Toronto Argonauts. Schultz, a native of Burlington, Ont., died Thursday after suffering a heart attack. He was 61. At six foot eight and 277 pounds during his playing career, Schultz was hard to miss on and off the field. The former offensive tackle was a big man with a grip to match. "He was a genuine personality. He was himself," said TSN broadcaster Rod Smith, a longtime friend and colleague. "There was no pretence to him. "He could be gentle with people. He always asked about my family. But at the same time, he was strong, he was imposing. And oh that handshake. It was the most crushing handshake — and I've got big hands — that I've ever experienced in my life. "I think of him right now and I just think of shaking his hand. You always had to be ready." In an era when a Canadian in the NFL was something special, Schultz turned heads when he was drafted by America's Team in 1983. Taken in the seventh round (189th overall) after a college career at the University of Arizona, Schultz played 21 games for the Cowboys from 1983 to 1985 under Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry before returning home to play for the Argonauts in 1986. Toronto had selected Schultz in the first round (seventh overall) of the 1982 CFL draft. Schultz played for Toronto from 1986 to 1994 and was named a CFL all-star twice (1987 and '88) and East all-star three times (1987, '88 and '91). He was named to the Argonauts all-time team in 2007. "Chris Schultz was made to play football, or football was made for Chris Schultz," Argonauts GM Michael (Pinball) Clemons said in a statement." Either way it was a symbiotic relationship … His passion reverberated on radio, television, coaching kids or walking the dog. He was always willing to talk football. "I'm disappointed because he had more to give, and my fervent hope is he knew how much he was loved," he added. Clemons, Schultz and quarterback Matt Dunigan, who joined Schultz as a TSN analyst, combined to win the 1991 Grey Cup for the Argos, capping a season to remember under the ownership of Wayne Gretzky, John Candy and Bruce McNall. Schultz also played in the 1987 Grey Cup, which saw the Argos lose on a last-second Edmonton field goal. After his playing career, Schultz moved into radio before spending 20 years as an analyst for TSN. He spent the last two seasons as colour commentator on the Argos' radio broadcasts. Smith recalls interviewing him back for a broadcast position in 1998. "I remember doing this audition with him and immediately being impressed by not only his knowledge and his passion but just his presence. He was a big man with a big presence," he said in an interview. "And I could tell instantly how good he was going to be on television." Schultz got the job and became a fixture on TSN's CFL panel. Bell Media senior vice-president Stewart Johnston called Schultz "a gentle giant who brought passion, dedication, and energy to his coverage of the game. “Chris was a unique voice in Canadian football broadcasting, and an iconic figure to fans across the country." "A big bear of a man but so funny, warm and welcoming," added TSN hockey analyst Bob McKenzie, who shared the same seat as Schultz when football turned to hockey in the network's studio. Schultz took his broadcast duties seriously. Part of a panel that could occasionally take a comedic detour, he would look to stick to football and ensure everyone had their say. "He was a real student of the game," said author/CFL historian Paul Woods. Schultz would be one of the last Argos to leave the locker-room, staying to work out or watch film. It would serve him well in his role as analyst. Woods is author of "Bouncing Back: From National Joke to Grey Cup Champs," which tells the story of the Argos in the early '80s. He interviewed Schultz for his next book, expected out this year, which focuses on the years around the '91 Grey Cup victory. Woods, a former Canadian Press reporter and manager, says while the 1991 Argos were a relaxed bunch who liked to have fun during their pre-game walkthroughs, Schultz was all business. He told Woods he had to operate on the field as a robot, in a zone. "He was an intense guy," said Woods, noting Schultz was once ejected from a pre-season game after getting into a fight with several Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Away from the job, Schultz was a private man. Mike Hogan, who shared the Argo radio booth with Schultz, called his friend a "complex" person who "liked to separate work life from real life." On the job, he shone brightly. "We called Chris Schultz the Big Man for so many reasons beyond the obvious," CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie, who played with Schultz with the Argos, said in a statement. "He had a big personality. He could make you think as easily as he could make you laugh. "He had a big presence on CFL on TSN, breaking down each game with incredible passion, insight and joy … But most of all, my teammate and friend had a big heart. It was oversized even for his frame." Schultz started his football career in the Burlington Minor Football Association and played for the Aldershot Lions during high school. While he also played basketball, he looked south of the border for football opportunities, travelling by bus to Michigan State and Syracuse to gauge interest. He earned a scholarship at the University of Arizona, where he started life as a defensive lineman before switching to the offensive line as a senior. His played for the Wildcats from 1978 to 1982, appearing in the 1979 Fiesta Bowl. Football took a toll on Schultz's body. The big man walked with a shuffle, paying the price for past knee injuries. Away from football, he made the Purolator Tackle Hunger program a cause close to his heart. "When he spoke publicly about working at and with food banks, and what it meant to him and to families in need, Chris’s sincerity and empathy moved everyone," said Ambrosie. "Those moments not only made the program stronger. They made everyone who experienced them want to be better, to be more like Chris." Schultz was inducted into the Burlington Sports Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 2016. "The CFL is filled with countless men and women who make it spectacular, and we lost one of them (Thursday)," said Blue Bombers coach Mike O'Shea. --- Follow NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
“During the pandemic, it’s really hard on young people. I think one of the hardest things to deal with in life is uncertainty and there’s just so much uncertainty right now,” said Kelvin Redvers, recent recipient of a Governor General’s award. Redvers and his sister T'áncháy Sarah Judith Redvers were recipients of the Meritorious Service Decoration in February, recognized as co-founders of We Matter, a national non-profit organization that provides support, hope and life promotion for Indigenous youth experiencing hardships. Kelvin Redvers appeared on the weekly virtual town hall held by the First Nations Health Managers Association on March 4 to talk about the measures to protect against the spread of the coronavirus and the impacts they are having on the mental health of Indigenous young people. “Mental health concerns are always something we need to worry about, especially in these times of the pandemic where a lot of youth aren’t able to go to school possibly or aren’t able to visit friends and there’s just a whole lot of stress,” he said. “Dealing with that uncertainty is really hard and I think the perspective I would recommend from the We Matters side is to try to do as many things that can bring you together and even though maybe you can’t have big groups of people, just within a family or within households. Have it become regular, where you do board game night or do activities on the land,” he said. Redvers and his sister launched We Matters in 2016, an online campaign aimed at bringing awareness to struggles faced by Indigenous youth. It’s a resource, Redvers said, he would have appreciated when he was growing up and facing difficulties. The Redvers are Deniniu K’ue First Nation from the Northwest Territories. The website consists of more than 300 two-to-four-minute personal video accounts from people – Indigenous role models like Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew, comedian Ryan McMahon, and actor Andrea Menard – talking about their difficult times and persevering. The website also has toolkits and booklets, specifically geared to Indigenous youth, teachers and support workers. For Indigenous youth, the toolkit provides ways for youth to support themselves and help others if they choose to. “Sometimes it feels like working and talking about mental health is something only for the professionals, and I think we need to get away from that.…Every single person has the ability to talk about mental health and to support folks who maybe need a little bit of support,” said Redvers. “It can be challenging to do that because we’re afraid of saying the wrong thing, we’re afraid of making it worse. But a lot of times by keeping silent that’s actually the worse thing is then youth perhaps feel it’s not okay to talk about when they feel sad.” Marion Crowe, CEO for FNHMA, host and moderator for the hour-long virtual event, said youth sometimes were reluctant to adhere to social distancing because they were sad that events had been cancelled or because they couldn’t see their friends. “It’s so hard to let go of those things and we can’t undermine that,” Redvers said So the trick is, he said, to fill that gap by replacing something lost with something new. And to hang on until it’s their time for vaccinations. Redvers said he understands that some youth are hesitant about getting vaccinated, both because of how they have been treated by the healthcare system and because of history, when Indigenous people were used as test subjects. “What we try to do in conversations is really take in peoples’ fears and not just to dismiss it; to say, ‘No you’re wrong. It’s totally safe,’ but to listen to folks and, ‘Why is it you’re afraid of this?’ and try to have a conversation around it,” he said. Redvers added that “generally most youth are going to be excited to have (the vaccination)” and that he was excited for when it would be his turn. He pointed out that his parents in the NWT had been vaccinated as had one of his sisters, who is a support work in the Yukon. “It just gives me a peace of mind,” he said. Check out We Matter at We Matter (wemattercampaign.org) Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Squamish Nation says the rollout of vaccines for its communities on the North Shore and in the Squamish Valley next week is a welcome “relief” for many of its residents. Vancouver Coastal Health and First Nations Health Authority confirmed this week that Squamish Nation will be receiving a first round of doses of COVID-19 vaccines for its community the week of March 8. “I think people are relieved and excited,” said Khelsilem, Dustin Rivers, spokesperson for Squamish Nation. “I know for our elders and a lot of our members who are vulnerable, they have had to really do their best to protect themselves, and to avoid COVID-19, and they are looking forward to having that extra layer of protection.” Khelsilem said the nation was hoping around 600 members would be vaccinated in the first round of doses, but it would depend on the supply they are given. The first community members who will get the vaccine are elders 65+ and those with serious underlying health conditions, including people living with a compromised immune system. Khelsilem said once elders have their appointments booked, Yúustway Health and Wellness will continue booking vaccination appointments based on age, starting with those ages 55-64, then ages 45-54 etc., until all of the vaccine has been used. “We're encouraging people to get the vaccine, but we welcome any members that might have concerns or questions,” he said. “They can talk to their doctor, if they feel that's an option, but they can also talk to our health nurse and our staff to address any concerns that they might have about the vaccine.” He wanted to remind community members that this is only the first of several vaccine shipments to the nation and they are planning on holding clinics in the coming months to vaccinate all nation members who want to receive the vaccine. “We anticipate that most of the community or many community members are going to access it when they have the opportunity too,” Khelsilem said. Yúustway Health and Wellness will be scheduling clients by appointment only for the COVID-19 vaccine at clinics in the Squamish Valley at the Totem Hall, 1380 Stawamus Rd., and on the North Shore at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre, 100 Capilano Rd., West Vancouver. Appointments will begin at Totem Hall on Tuesday (March 9) and the Chief Joe Mathias Centre on Wednesday (March 10). Members unable to attend an on-reserve clinic, Indigenous people ages 65+, can book an appointment close to their residence starting March 8. The nation has listed further details on how to contact clinics and make appointments in a notice on its website. Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News
VANCOUVER — Two people have been transported to hospital in serious but stable condition after a helicopter crash on Bowen Island, B.C. B.C. Emergency Health Services says in a statement that they received a call at about 10 a.m. Friday morning for reports of a downed helicopter on the island off the coast of West Vancouver. Ground paramedics as well as an air ambulance responded to the call. Emergency Health Services says two patients have been airlifted to hospital. Capt. Chelsea Dubeau with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre says a helicopter was initially sent to help in the rescue, before the call was cancelled. She says the incident has been turned over to the RCMP for investigation and co-ordination. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
A driver of a transport truck has died after a single-vehicle crash Friday afternoon on Highway 417. Members of the Ottawa detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to the crash shortly after 1:20 p.m. and found the truck rolled over, said an OPP news release. OPP said the truck left the roadway near the westbound off-ramp leading to Carp Road. The driver, who was alone in the vehicle at the time of the crash, was pronounced dead, police said. In an email to CBC just before 5 p.m., an Ottawa Fire Services spokesperson said firefighters were still on scene. "So far our work has been to stabilize the vehicle to prevent it from rolling further and ensure fluids are not leaking from the truck," said Carson Tharris, adding that firefighters had not yet extricated the driver from the vehicle. The off-ramp will remain closed for several hours while investigators determine the cause of the crash.
Early indications are that a guidebook that focuses on First Nations co-operative development across the country will be well received. The guidebook, titled Your Way, Together, was launched at a virtual ceremony on Tuesday by Co-operatives First, a Saskatoon-based organization that promotes and supports business development in rural and Indigenous communities, primarily in western Canada. The guidebook can be downloaded for free at https://yourwaytogether.ca/, a new website also launched this week by Co-operatives First. Your Way, Together provides detailed information on starting up co-operative businesses. A co-operative business is one that is owned by various people or groups that share a common interest and collectively make decisions and split profits from that business. “The number one thing we want is to start a conversation,” said Audra Krueger, the executive director for Co-operatives First. Krueger is hoping that conversation will include Co-operatives First representatives who will be able to provide insight into the possible benefits and opportunities that can be had via co-operative business development. The title Your Way, Together indicates a Co-operatives First willingness to work with Indigenous communities to help find a co-op model that best works for them. They do work with all Indigenous peoples, however, the guidebook itself does specifically focus on the requirements of having a co-op on First Nations. More than 75 people attended the virtual launch for the guidebook on Tuesday. Krueger said all of those who took part in the launch have been mailed a printed copy of the guidebook. Krueger was also thrilled with the number of visits the organization’s new website had received in just one day. The guidebook had been downloaded 60 times by Wednesday. Also, 38 individuals had signed up to receive a Co-operatives First newsletter. And eight people had signed up to attend webinars that the organization will be hosting this spring. These events will be held on April 12 and May 13. These free workshops are both three hours long. Those attending the webinars will receive an introduction into co-operatives, how Indigenous communities have used co-ops throughout the country and also touch on both the opportunities and challenges facing Indigenous co-op entrepreneurs. While Krueger is hoping the guidebook is downloaded in droves, she said the plan is also to mail it to as many First Nations as possible. “We want it distributed to First Nations people and Indigenous people and we want them to reach out to us,” she said. The majority of the material in the guidebook was compiled by Trista Pewapisconias, who was hired to be Co-operative First’s Indigenous engagement lead three years ago. Since being brought on, Pewapisconias compiled information she had gathered and also kept notes on the inquiries she had received about First Nations co-op models. “Starting a business on First Nations is much more challenging than off Nation,” Pewapisconias said. The guidebook includes information on legislation applying to businesses on a First Nation, as well as details on business development and financing. Pewapisconias said the original plan was not to produce a guidebook with the work she had done. “It was going to be an internal document for us for working with groups,” said Pewapisconias, a member of Little Pine First Nation in Saskatchewan. But that changed. “It was over a year ago we decided with all of our tools and resources to put it online and make it available,” Pewapisconias said. Krueger is pleased that some of Pewapisconias’ hard work has been turned into a guidebook. “It was making sure all the research and experiences was captured somewhere,” she said. Since regulations and bylaws are frequently amended, Krueger added the Your Way, Together downloadable guidebook will, in all likelihood, be updated on an annual basis. As for Co-operatives First’s new website, Krueger was happy to see plenty of traffic there after it was launched. “We had a lot of activity on our website, which was great,” she said. “One of the most clicked areas was the case studies.” There are currently four case studies on the website, featuring details on various Indigenous co-op models. One of the models featured is eight First Nations in British Columbia that own and operate salmon fisheries. Another case study is on a group of Indigenous female artisans in Winnipeg who started a co-op. There’s also information on the Yukon fly-in community of Old Crow, which formed a co-op and established a grocery store to be run by its residents. And yet another study is on how members of a remote Métis community joined forces to start a co-op in their community in order to keep a local hardware store operating. The Your Way, Together website also includes a short video, about two minutes long, on starting a co-op model. Windspeaker.com By Sam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Elling Lien, seen in this file photo, says Newfoundland and Labrador is once again punching above its weight on the global music stage for the 2021 RPM Challenge.(Heather Barrett/CBC) The annual RPM Challenge has wrapped up for another year, with musicians in Newfoundland and Labrador again making their presence felt in the global enterprise. The challenge, now in its 15th year, invites musicians to record new music in February. In previous years, the goal was to produce a full album, but this year the length of the recording was up to the entrant. The 2021 edition saw nearly 700 entries from 34 countries across all seven continents — including Antarctica. RPM Challenge co-ordinator Elling Lien said 113 entries came from Newfoundland and Labrador. "The music community here has really taken the RPM Challenge on and made it their own," said Lien from his home in St. John's. "It's a thing that people … look forward to every year. They convince each other to do it. The word of mouth is really how all of this happens." Newfoundland and Labrador's enthusiasm — and Lien's own — has a lot to do with why, when the New Hampshire-based founders of the challenge decided to move on, they put the endeavour in Lien's hands, and the RPM Challenge is now headquartered in St. John's. Lien said the challenge has shown off the range of musical styles in the province, with tracks and albums, including pop and rock, electronic and world music. "The diversity of music here is something that would have surprised me early on with the RPM Challenge, because Newfoundland was known for … folk music," he said. "We were expecting a lot of that early on, but the diversity is just all over the place in terms of sound. Name any genre and you'd probably find something." Pandemic provided ups and downs This year's edition was the first one affected by COVID-19. Newfoundland and Labrador was also in a much different place when this year's challenge ended than when it started, after the province moved back to Alert Level 5 in mid-February. "I think it probably derailed some people in some ways," Lien said. "They had been expecting to be able to focus on making music and being creative, and the variant coming to town and the lockdown.… It was scary." "It affected people's emotions, I'm sure. It certainly did mine. It put people in a unique head space." The pandemic has also changed how the music of the RPM Challenge will be shared with the world. While in-person listening parties have been a staple of the challenge, the listening party will instead take place online on Saturday. The RPM Challenge has been a highlight of Newfoundland and Labrador's music calendar since 2006.() "We're going to host a number of listening streams, cause we're doing it all in one day," he said. "I think even just playing a clip from each record adds up to about 39 hours or 40 hours, so we have to do a bit of fancy footwork and create a bunch of listening streams." Despite the uniqueness of the 2021 challenge, Lien said in a way it remains the same, allowing a creative vessel for people to use to escape the everyday. "This year, we also happened to be escaping from a pandemic and focusing on creativity because of that," he said. "Typically in Newfoundland and Labrador it's like 'The weather's bad, it's hard to go outside, it's cold.' So why not just spend the time inside and focus on that?" Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
LONDON — The timing couldn’t be worse for Harry and Meghan. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will finally get the chance to tell the story behind their departure from royal duties directly to the public on Sunday, when their two-hour interview with Oprah Winfrey is broadcast. But back home in Britain, events have conspired to overshadow the tale of a prince and his American bride. On top of the pandemic and record economic slump, Prince Philip, Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather is now recovering from a heart procedure. CBS announced the program Feb 15. The next day, Philip was admitted to hospital. “Harry and Meghan are hugely popular,’’ Pauline Maclaran, a professor of marketing and author of “Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture,” told The Associated Press. “But I think that some people who might otherwise have supported them will find this just a little bit distasteful, that they’re drawing all this attention to themselves … just at this time when Prince Philip appears to be quite seriously ill.” Though it is the choice of CBS when to air its pre-recorded interview, critics are already lining up to deride it as a brand-building exercise by the pair, who left Britain saying they wanted to live a normal life but have been accused of continuing to use their royal status to open doors and make money. The sit-down with America’s queen of celebrity interviews is a chance for the couple to explain what led them to quit royal life, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. A book about their departure, “Finding Freedom,” also alleges that senior royals had little respect for Meghan, a biracial former actor, and that courtiers treated her badly. Pre-released clips have already shown Harry talking about his fears that history would repeat itself after his mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash while pursued by paparazzi. In another clip from the interview, Winfrey asks Meghan how she feels about the palace “hearing you speak your truth today?” “I don’t know how they could expect that, after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” the duchess replies. “The firm” is a nickname for the royal family, sometimes used with affection and sometimes with a note of criticism. In another pre-released clip, Meghan told Winfrey how “liberating” it was to have a conversation with the television host without the input of royal minders. Ahead of the broadcast, relations with the palace are increasingly strained. First there was Queen Elizabeth II’s decision to strip Harry and Meghan of the handful of royal patronages they had retained in the one-year trial period following their departure last year. The couple responded with a terse statement promising to live a life of service — a move many in the U.K. saw as disrespectful to the queen, as she usually has the final word. Then on Wednesday, the palace said it was launching a human resources investigation after a newspaper reported that a former aide had accused Meghan of bullying staff in 2018. One of the authors of “Finding Freedom,’’ Omid Scobie, compared the recent commentary about Harry and Meghan in the British media to the Salem Witch Trials, while noting Americans have had more sympathy them. His tweet linked to a discussion on the U.S. television program “The View,’’ including comments from Meghan McCain, a conservative columnist and daughter of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain. “I think we can’t ignore the elephant of the room that there’s probably a racial angle to this,’’ McCain said. “There’s a lot of racism directed at this woman, in a lot of different ways she threatens a lot of people in the patriarchy. ... It just looks like they are bullying her in the press.’’ It was all supposed to be so different. At the time Harry started dating Meghan, the British public seemed smitten with the beautiful young woman who starred for seven seasons on the U.S. television drama “Suits.” When they married in 2018, newspapers were filled with optimistic stories about how the energetic couple would help make the monarchy relevant for a new, multicultural Britain. But less than two years later they decamped to North America. After a brief stay in Canada, the couple settled in Meghan’s home state of California, buying a house in the exclusive Santa Barbara County enclave of Montecito that reportedly cost more than $14 million. Among their neighbours: Oprah Winfrey. Then came deals with Netflix and Spotifiy, reportedly worth millions. The commercial deals and headline-grabbing amounts are uncomfortable for the royal family, which has devoted itself to public service as a justification for its wealth and privilege. The queen, among the richest people in Britain, has spent her life supporting charities, cutting ribbons at hospitals and travelling the world to represent her country. “The main thing that the royal family is so good at is serving the nation, serving the nation and the Commonwealth, basically serving us rather than serving themselves,’’ royal historian Hugo Vickers told ITV News. “And I’m sorry, if you’re sitting in an $11 million mansion in California and making fantastic deals, that is trading in on your royal heritage. And it’s all wrong, frankly.” Others are concerned that the interview will include damaging revelations about the royal family. The royals rarely grant interviews, and when they do the questions are usually narrowly focused on specific issues. For instance, Harry and his brother, William, have tried to remove the stigma from mental health problems by talking about their own struggles after the death of their mother. More free-ranging interviews have often gone badly. Interviews with Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Harry and William’s parents, around the time of their divorce led to embarrassing revelations about infidelity. More damaging for the palace was the interview Prince Andrew, Harry’s uncle, did with the BBC in 2019. Andrew tried to address rumours about his links with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, but he was forced to give up royal duties after failing to show empathy for Epstein’s victims. “I think it’s a bigger danger than the Prince Andrew car-crash interview,’’ Maclaran said of the Oprah interview, “because I think that Meghan is going to get a lot of sympathy, particularly from American audiences, about her position being untenable.” Regardless of what’s actually said, the interview is a threat to the stature of the monarchy because it further blurs the line between celebrity and royalty — tarnishing the royal mystique, Maclaran said. Late night chat show host James Corden underscored the threat to the royal brand during a tongue-in-cheek segment with Harry broadcast last week in which Corden suggested the prince and his wife might move into the mansion that provided the backdrop for the 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” “If it was good enough for the Fresh Prince, it’s good enough for a real prince,” Corden said. The line put Harry, whose father and brother will be king one day, on the same footing as a TV character who fled west Philadelphia for a posh life in Southern California. Royal watchers wonder what could possibly be next. “It’s just such a mess,” said Penny Junor, who has written several books about the royals, including a biography of Harry. “I don’t think there are going to be any winners in it.” Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
No chemical contaminants were found in Kanesatake’s drinking water, according to a recently released report from Indigenous Services Canada (ISC). The Mohawk Council of Kanesatake disclosed the final study on February 17 on their Facebook page. The report stated that between September and October 2020, 17 sites in and out of the community were selected to have their water tested. “Routine chemical analyses were performed, to screen for the presence of different chemicals in the groundwater,” said Eugene Nicholas, director of Kanesatake’s environmental department in a statement. According to Leslie Michelson, the ISC spokesperson, the water assessment was conducted as a way to determine the presence of selenium, ammonia nitrogen, a variety of phenol compounds and lead that may have a negative impact on the surrounding environment. “In the spring of 2020, the Quebec Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC) carried out surface water testing along the Gratton Creek towards Lac Deux-Montagnes,” said Michelson, explaining that those contaminants were found in the surface water. “The ISC testing was conducted in order to determine if there were any possible impacts on the groundwater.” Back in August 2020, an unknown leak was found in Gratton’s creek, a small body of water that flows from the G&R recycling site into the lake. The nature of the spill remains confidential but the Quebec government retracted G&R’s license a few months later in October, due to a breach of environmental regulations. “The question is to see if what they find in the water is related to G&R or not,” said the grand chief of Kanesatake Serge Otsi Simon. The ISC plan to have water testing was developed in collaboration with Kanesatake Health Centre (KHC), which selected a series of private wells, according to the documents. Community members along Etienne Road, Bonspille Road, the northern end of Mountain Road and the western end of Ste. Philomene granted permission to have their water wells sampled. According to KCH spokesperson Robert Bonspiel, the 17 houses were randomly selected within proximity to the creek. However, ISC wouldn’t confirm whether or not those sites followed the water flow from the recycling site. When asked if it was possible that other harmful contaminants that were not tested could be found in tap water, ISC’s response was unclear and didn’t mention the possible report’s oversight. “Based on the results, it is determined that at the time of analysis, there is no direct influence from the Gratton Creek on the groundwater of the sites analyzed,” said Michelson. The analysis comes at a time where the discussion surrounding drinkable water in Onkwehón:we communities has been at the forefront of Canadian media for the past few weeks. A joint collaboration between six media outlets coordinated by the Institute for Investigative Journalism revealed information regarding the water problem in communities across the country - despite the 2015 electoral promise by the Liberals to eliminate all long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations by March 1, 2021. The Liberal’s promise followed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations’s Human Right to Water recommendations demanding access to clean water in Onkwehón:we communities as a way to restore relationships impaired by years of colonial policies. While the ISC report revealed no toxic elements in Kanesatake, many sources told The Eastern Door that they do not trust their wells and prefer to opt for bottled water. “I haven’t drunk tap water in over 30 years,” said the grand chief. email@example.com Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
Mourners left flowers and hockey sticks outside the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in Brantford, Ont., on Friday. The city is mourning Walter Gretzky, a fixture in the community, who died Thursday at age 82.
Born in November and gone by February. The sudden death of Wilder Lee in Kahnawake has left the community in mourning for the past week. Three-month-old baby Wilder was found by his mother, lifeless, on February 26. Following the tragedy, two days later, Kahnawa’kehró:non Brittany Lahache launched an Auction for Baby Wilder, to help out with the funeral and other expenses related to the shocking death. Lahache has been close with the family for years and didn’t want Wilder’s mother Lianne to worry about a thing. “After I got the phone call about what happened, I went to my son and just held him and cried,” said Lahache, who has a young son. “I wanted to do something that would help take any extra stress off.” The Facebook page collected donations for items to be auctioned from Friday, March 5 (today) to Saturday, March 6. The auction will be closed on Monday, March 8, at 6 p.m. From gift cards from various places around the community such as the Keg Steakhouse or Village Variety, to homemade clothing items, many people answered the call for help. “The community has been absolutely amazing,” said Lahache. “I received tons of messages for donations, people sending their condolences, and just asking if it was okay to share the Facebook group.” Kahnawake First Nation Nutrition, a healthy juice bar, joined in and will be donating one dollar from each drink sold at their store during those dates. Fresh Donations, a company that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables in the community, will also be donating five percent of all sales to Wilder’s mother. Lahache explained that the extra money raised would go toward paying the mother’s rent while she’s looking for another apartment in Chateauguay for her and her twin daughters. “She doesn’t want to go back to where everything happened, and I don’t blame her,” said Lahache. A friend of the family, Timmy Montour, has known the mother for the past seven years. He said that she has been overwhelmed to see the community coming together. “I told her, you know how Kahnawake is, they will help,” said Montour. “Because there’s nothing else we can do, we can’t bring her baby back, we can’t console her, but at least if she has no worries… “He was a beautiful boy,” he said. Mohawk Council of Kahnawake chief Ross Montour also knew the community was going to respond to a loss like this. Over the years, Montour has seen the community member’s kindness during dark days and believes he will see it again. “It’s an incredible burden, even if you have the means, it’s still crushing,” said Montour. “I would like to be a part of removing that burden that the mother is already carrying.” Montour added that he would encourage everyone to open their heart and take part in this initiative in any way they can. The auction is taking place this weekend on the Auction for Baby Wilder Facebook page. firstname.lastname@example.org Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
Au cœur d’un parcours scolaire qu’il qualifie de difficile, Djordan Lemay s’est découvert une passion pour le dessin. Encouragé par ses parents, le jeune homme originaire de Saint-Côme vit maintenant de son art via le tatouage et, éventuellement, par la création de sculptures de personnages «horrifiants». «Dès l’enfance, je n’écoutais pas souvent le prof et il me surprenait à dessiner», se rappelle-t-il en riant. Rapidement, Djordan Lemay puisera son inspiration dans les personnages issus de l’univers de Marvel et l’imaginaire des films d’horreur dans la création de ses oeuvres. «Ma mère, Chantal Lessard, est peintre. Avec mon père Richard, elle m’a payé des cours de peinture et, un peu plus tard, ma première machine à tatouage», se remémore-t-il reconnaissant. Exerçant son métier de tatoueur depuis une dizaine d’années, la pandémie provoquera chez le résident de Saint-Georges un choc économique et, heureusement, créatif. «Le confinement fut bénéfique pour moi pendant la première vague. Nous avons été forcés à l’arrêt et j’ai dû fermer boutique pour un temps indéterminé. Donc, j’ai dû me réinventer je me suis mis à la sculpture une passion que j’avais déjà, mais que j’ai décidé d’approfondir. Ayant une passion pour les films d’horreur, je me suis mis à sculpter pour le plaisir des personnages d’épouvante», souligne un Djordan Lemay qui aura la bonne idée de diffuser ses créations sur le web. «Rapidement, des gens de partout se sont mis à m’écrire après avoir vu mes sculptures! Mes créations ont attiré des gens de partout du Japon, du Mexique et de Los Angeles m’écrivaient. Plusieurs seraient acheteurs», dit-il en précisant que cet enthousiasme l’amène à penser au développement commercial de ce volet de son art. «Étant moi-même collectionneur d’objets reliés à des personnages de films d’horreur, je cherchais à me procurer des grandeurs nature. Souvent, je n’ai pas trouvé ce que je cherchais. Je me suis rendu compte que je suis loin d’être seul», constate celui qui est à se renseigner sur les droits de licence qui lui permettrait d’exploiter commercialement Freddy Krueger, Annabelle, Chucky ou Pennywise. «Je suis la preuve vivante qu’on peut se réinventer et si je peux être source d’inspiration pour d’autres personnes et montrer le positif dans toute cette pandémie et le confinement, pourquoi pas», conclut le positif Djordan Lemay. Comme quoi, parfois, il y a de la beauté dans l’horreur! Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
TORONTO — Frustrations stemming from COVID-19 travel restrictions boiled over during a conference call Thursday when top executives at auto parts manufacturer Martinrea derided the health measures, saying it's "time to move on" and recognize the "good things happening," despite employee deaths from the novel coronavirus. "Everything is getting better, except for the government policy that we're seeing. It is just absolutely outrageous," said chief financial officer Fred Di Tosto, on the call. "We're seeing tremendous opening in the United States, in a lot of different places...it's time to move on. There are good things happening, and we've got to recognize that." When asked by an analyst about the "drag" on business caused by the acquisition of a company called Metalsa in March 2020, chief financial officer Fred Di Tosto said travel restrictions and "chaos at the border" have limited the work that Martinrea could do on the plants abroad, calling the 14-day quarantines and hotel quarantine policies "an incredible pain for our industry." At the time of the acquisition, Metalsa had locations in the United States, Mexico, Germany, South Africa and China. Martinrea's executive chairman, Rob Wildeboer, said earlier in the call that there has been no in-plant transmission of COVID-19 within the company, although some employees in Mexico died from community transmission of the novel coronavirus, and that other employees had lost loved ones. "Not only must our people be safe, but they must feel safe. They must know that we have their interest at heart," said Wildeboer on the conference call, adding that the company made 70,000 ventilator stands during the pandemic. "Many of our people have stated they feel safer at work than any place other than home." Deanna Lorincz, global director of communications and marketing at Martinrea, said Friday that Di Tosto meant "it is time to move on, lessen the restrictions on the border and continue to open up the economy." Lorincz also clarified comments from chief executive Pat D’Eramo, who said on the call it has been a "headache" getting employees back and forth to Germany, saying that the hotel quarantines cause workers "stress" and "anxiety." Lorincz said D’Eramo was referencing the need to "travel internationally to get the new plant in Germany online to the way we run things." "It’s been a challenge with the pandemic but we are hopeful we will start seeing progress," said Lorincz in a statement. "We have the right people lined up and some are there now. It is just getting them back and forth has been a challenge with the restrictions and not knowing if employees will have to quarantine in a hotel away from their families." Martinrea's home base of Ontario has been slowly loosening COVID-19 restrictions over the past month, with 1,250 new COVID-19 cases reported on Friday, down from more than 3,000 per day reported in mid January. In late January the federal government announced it would suspend all flights to and from Mexico until April 30, and would require a three-night hotel quarantine for travellers arriving in Canada, "to prevent further introduction and transmission of COVID-19 and new variants of the virus into Canada." "With the challenges we currently face with COVID-19, both here at home and abroad, we all agree that now is just not the time to be flying," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in January when announcing the new restrictions. After the government announced the new travel restrictions, the National Airlines Council of Canada noted that international arrivals were already down between 90 per cent and 95 per cent in January, compared with the previous year. "Countries that successfully implement a science-based and data-based testing and quarantine policy will not only protect public health but also drive their overall domestic recovery, and take market share, investment and jobs from those countries that do not," the NACC said in a February statement. The comments from Martinrea executives come after Linda Hasenfratz, chief executive of rival parts maker Linamar, resigned as a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Task Force in late January, after it was brought to Premier Doug Ford's attention that she travelled outside the country in December. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:MRE) Anita Balakrishnan, The Canadian Press