Original Content podcast: Hulu's 'Little Fires Everywhere' is agonizing in all the right ways

Anthony Ha and Jordan Crook

"Little Fires Everywhere," a new miniseries on Hulu, can be hard to watch.

Based on Celeste Ng's novel of the same name, it takes place in the planned community of Shaker Heights during the 1990s, where the arrival of artist Mia (Kerry Washington) and her daughter Pearl (Lexi Underwood) sets something into motion that (we're told in the opening scene) will eventually result in a fire that burns the lavish home of the wealthy Robinsons to the ground.

While the show has plenty of distinctive characters, it centers to a large extent on the prickly relationship between Mia and Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon). Every scene between them feels fraught, as Elena's awkward and condescending attempts to prove that she's a good person (and a not racist) are repeatedly rebuffed.

For reasons that it would be too spoiler-y to disclose here, the two of them eventually find themselves in conflict, and their children, along with Elena's husband (it's genuinely mind-blowing to see Joshua Jackson — Pacey from "Dawson Creek" — as a 40-something dad), get pulled in as well.

On today's episode of the Original Content podcast, we review "Little Fires Everywhere," laying out all the ways that the show's initial episodes impressed us. We also offer some general recommendations for what to stream while you're stuck at home.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you'd like to skip ahead, here's how the episode breaks down:

0:00 Intro
1:09 Streaming recommendations
11:15 "Little Fires Everywhere" review
39:34 "Little Fires Everywhere" spoiler discussion (spoilers for first three episodes)


  • Why the Queen's rare broadcast will bring 'dignity and gravitas' to the battle against COVID-19
    News
    CBC

    Why the Queen's rare broadcast will bring 'dignity and gravitas' to the battle against COVID-19

    It doesn't happen very often — in fact, she's only done it four times in the 68 years of her reign.But it will happen again on Sunday, when Queen Elizabeth makes a special broadcast — this time in response to the coronavirus pandemic that is unleashing such great uncertainty, illness and an escalating number of deaths throughout the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world.The televised broadcast, recorded at Windsor Castle, where she and her husband, Prince Philip, are staying, is likely to be calm and stoic, offering thanks to those on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 and support for everyone working together at a time of crisis."It's not going to be Churchillian. It's not in her nature," said John Fraser, author of The Secret of the Crown: Canada's Affair with Royalty, alluding to the British leader famed for his Second World War oratory. "But it will probably be quite moving."Elizabeth isn't "leading us out on the battlefield," Fraser said, but she's likely to "ask us to hold together."On one level, Fraser suggested, the address is likely to be "fairly anodyne," with the Queen thanking the people who are working and caring for those who have COVID-19. But Fraser expects she will also do what she does best: "presenting her dignity and gravitas."While the address is a rarity, it is not really a surprise. Many in the United Kingdom were wondering when the Queen would address the country.And the timing is likely quite deliberate. "Queen Elizabeth acts on the advice of her government, and the timing of the broadcast will have been determined in consultation with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and perhaps Commonwealth leaders as well," said Toronto-based royal author and historian Carolyn Harris.Other such addresses came at the beginning of the 1991 Persian Gulf War; a few days after the death of her daughter-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997; after her mother's death in 2002; and for her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.The address after Diana's death came following a widespread view that the Royal Family was out of touch with public sentiment."At the time of Diana's death, the Queen's first course of action was to remain at Balmoral with her family, allowing her grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry to mourn in private," said Harris. WATCH | Queen Elizabeth make an address after the death of Diana in 1997:"However, there was widespread popular demand for the Royal Family to be seen mourning with the people, and the Queen and her family returned to London and the Queen gave an address as a grandmother in response to the widespread outpouring of mourning."While Sunday's broadcast is a relative rarity, it won't be the first time the Royal Family seeks to show support at a time of crisis. But the particulars of this crisis in some ways may be dictating the format of that support.Doing things differently"The social distancing required to reduce the spread of COVID-19 precludes the traditional royal engagements that took place in past times of crisis," said Harris.During the Second World War, Elizabeth's parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, went to visit neighbourhoods in London's east end devastated by bombs during the Blitz. And Elizabeth visited the site of the Aberfan mining disaster in Wales, a focus of one of the episodes of the current season of the Netlix drama The Crown.But this situation is different."As the Queen cannot make in-person visits to those who are suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic, the broadcast provides a way for her to speak directly to the people of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth and acknowledge the work of medical personnel and other essential roles during the crisis," said Harris.While it's rare that the Queen makes a special televised address, she does do a regular broadcast every Christmas Day. WATCH | In 2019 Christmas message, Queen Elizabeth encourages 'small steps' to create change:"That address follows a tradition set by her grandfather, King George V, who saw the radio and the Christmas broadcast as a means of bringing what was then the British Empire and Dominions, and now the Commonwealth, together," said Harris."The Queen takes her role as head of the Commonwealth seriously, and her Christmas broadcasts allow her to speak directly to the Commonwealth by radio, television and, in the 21st century, the Royal Family's online social media streams."Sunday's address is also directed toward the Commonwealth, as noted by Buckingham Palace in announcing the broadcast.The Queen's address follows a video message from her son and heir, Prince Charles, who addressed the U.K. last week, and is out of self-isolation after falling ill with the coronavirus himself."None of us can say when this will end, but end it will," Charles said. "Until it does, let us all try and live with hope and, with faith in ourselves and each other, look forward to better times to come."Harris said Sunday's broadcast will reassure the public that Elizabeth "is safe and well" and offer a window into how the Royal Family is experiencing a crisis affecting people around the world.Public interestDuring global and national crises, Harris said, there is public interest in how the Royal Family is faring, and their popularity increases if they are seen to be sharing in the same conditions as the wider population.WATCH | Queen Elizabeth speaks during the 1991 Persian Gulf War:"In the current pandemic, there has been concern for the health of the Prince of Wales, who contracted COVID-19 and experienced mild symptoms, and for the health of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh because one of the Queen's footmen also tested positive for the illness."The Queen could also have an effect on those listening to the message. "If the Queen expresses her personal support for social distancing measures, she may have a positive impact on the public acceptance of these measures, especially if these policies remain in place for an extended period of time."Fraser expects the Queen's address will end on a religious note, and also points to the timing, coming as it does on Palm Sunday, and in the Christian calendar, during the "toughest week of the year." He also expects the address will encompass other religions and will "probably bring a lot of comfort.""There are not many figures in the world who can transcend national boundaries as well as she can," he said."I think for her, it will be memorable." * The Queen's special broadcast will be live streamed on CBCNews.ca on Sunday. Special coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. ET.

  • Trump fires watchdog who handled Ukraine complaint
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Trump fires watchdog who handled Ukraine complaint

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump abruptly fired the inspector general of the intelligence community, sidelining an independent watchdog who played a pivotal role in his impeachment even as his White House struggles with the deepening coronavirus pandemic.Trump informed the House and Senate intelligence committees late Friday of his decision to fire Michael Atkinson, according to letters obtained by The Associated Press. Atkinson handled the anonymous whistleblower complaint that triggered Trump’s impeachment last year.His removal is part of a larger shakeup of the intelligence community under Trump, who has always viewed intelligence professionals with skepticism. Democrats reacted swiftly, saying the firing would have a “chilling effect” and was “unconscionable” during a pandemic. And a prominent Senate Republican said the administration needed to provide more information about why Atkinson was fired.Trump said in the letter that it is “vital” that he has confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general, and “that is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general.”He did not elaborate, except to say that “it is extremely important that we promote the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of federal programs and activities," and that inspectors general are critical to those goals.The head of the council representing inspectors general throughout government said Atkinson was known for his “integrity, professionalism, and commitment to the rule of law and independent oversight,” an implicit suggestion that Trump's criticism stems from a sense of a loss of loyalty from an official who is supposed to be independent.Trump said in the letter to the Senate that Atkinson would be removed from office in 30 days, the required amount of time he must wait after informing Congress. He wrote that he would nominate an individual “who has my full confidence” at a later date.According to two congressional officials, Atkinson has been placed on administrative leave, meaning he will not serve out the 30 days. One of the officials said Atkinson was only informed of his removal on Friday night. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Atkinson’s administrative leave has not been announced.Atkinson was the first to inform Congress about the anonymous whistleblower complaint last year that described Trump’s pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democrat Joe Biden and his son. That complaint prompted a House investigation that ultimately resulted in Trump's impeachment.Atkinson informed lawmakers of the existence of the complaint in September, saying he believed the complaint was “urgent” and “credible.” But the acting director of national intelligence at the time, Joseph Maguire, said he did not believe it met the definition of “urgent,” and tried to withhold it from Congress.The complaint was eventually released after a firestorm, and it revealed that Trump had asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a July call to investigate the Bidens. The House launched an inquiry in September, and three months later voted to impeach Trump. The Republican-led Senate acquitted Trump in February.Atkinson’s firing thrusts the president’s impeachment back into the spotlight as his administration deals with the deadly spread of the coronavirus. As Trump was removing Atkinson, the number of U.S. deaths due to the virus topped 7,000.The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence panel, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, said it was “unconscionable” that Trump would fire Atkinson in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.“We should all be deeply disturbed by ongoing attempts to politicize the nation’s intelligence agencies,” Warner said.House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who led the House impeachment inquiry, said “the president’s dead of night decision puts our country and national security at even greater risk.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the firing “threatens to have a chilling effect against all willing to speak truth to power.” And Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Trump “fires people for telling the truth.”Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Finance Committee, said in a statement that inspectors general “help drain the swamp," a phrase often used by Trump.“Congress has been crystal clear that written reasons must be given when IGs are removed for a lack of confidence,” Grassley said. “More details are needed from the administration.”Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said Atkinson “turned the office of ICIG around” and praised his professionalism and responsiveness.“Like any political appointee, the inspector general serves at the behest of the executive," Burr said. “However, in order to be effective, the IG must be allowed to conduct his or her work independent of internal or external pressure.”Michael Horowitz, chair of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency and the inspector general at the Department of Justice who is well-liked by lawmakers in both parties, defended Atkinson's handling of the Ukraine case.“The inspector general community will continue to conduct aggressive, independent oversight of the agencies that we oversee," Horowitz said in a statement.Horowitz said that includes oversight of the $2 trillion law signed last week to help combat the coronavirus pandemic and boost the economy. Trump has already tried to limit some of the oversight that Congress set up to police that money.Tom Monheim, a career intelligence professional, will become the acting inspector general for the intelligence community, according to an intelligence official who was not authorized to discuss personnel changes and spoke only on condition of anonymity. Monheim is currently the general counsel of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.The intelligence community has been in turmoil because of the constant turnover. Atkinson is at least the seventh intelligence official to be fired, ousted or moved aside since last summer. Maguire, the former acting director of national intelligence, was also removed by Trump and replaced by a Trump loyalist, Richard Grenell.The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which was created to improve co-ordination of the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies after 9-11, has been in upheaval since former Director Dan Coats, who had a fraught relationship with Trump, announced in July 2019 that he was stepping down.Trump nominated Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, to replace Coats, but his selection drew sharp criticism from Democrats and a lukewarm response from some Republicans because of his lack of experience.Trump withdrew Ratcliffe's name from consideration shortly after he was nominated, but then re-nominated him again in February. The Senate has yet to move on the nomination.Under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, Grenell could only serve in his post until March 11 unless the president formally nominated someone else for the job. So by selecting Ratcliffe again, Grenell can stay for up to 210 days while Ratcliffe weaves his way through the Senate confirmation process, and for another 210 days if senators reject Ratcliffe’s nomination.Mary Clare Jalonick And Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press

  • Asymptomatic Coronavirus Cases Reinforce Need To Keep Your Distance: Dr. Theresa Tam
    News
    HuffPost Canada

    Asymptomatic Coronavirus Cases Reinforce Need To Keep Your Distance: Dr. Theresa Tam

    The CDC urged Americans Friday to wear cloth masks in public to protect themselves against COVID-19.

  • Trump:  'This is voluntary. I don't think I'm going to be doing it'
    CBC

    Trump: 'This is voluntary. I don't think I'm going to be doing it'

    U.S. president lists face mask recommendations from the CDC today, but stresses they are voluntary.

  • Being on the East Coast a double-edged sword in COVID-19 pandemic medical battle
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Being on the East Coast a double-edged sword in COVID-19 pandemic medical battle

    HALIFAX — Being a small East Coast province in the pandemic is a double-edged sword: there are fewer critically ill patients, but the supply of hospital beds is limited if the worst-case scenario materializes."We will have fewer beds, but we will have a lower population density too," said Dr. Ward Patrick, the head of critical care at the Nova Scotia Health Authority — the biggest health agency in Atlantic Canada.The 60-year-old veteran of intensive care medicine said in an interview his teams have access to an existing supply of 120 intensive care beds provincewide — each equipped with ventilators and staffed by specialized health workers.In addition, the province's intensive care units have been emptied by 50 per cent to prepare for COVID-19 patients, and Patrick says Nova Scotia could surge to over 200 intensive care beds as the pandemic progresses.However, he also acknowledged there are "wild cards," ranging from unanticipated jumps in infections to finding replacements for sick staff.His health authority has created scenarios where 7,000 of its 23,400 staff are off due to self-isolation or illness, and Patrick said he's aware of estimates that could go higher.Janet Hazelton, the president of the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union, said she believes the Atlantic provinces could face some of Canada's biggest staffing issues."We don't have enough that we can move them all over, as in some of the biggest provinces," she said during an interview.An outbreak from two gatherings at a funeral home last month in St. John's, N.L. — which has generated nearly three quarters of the province's 195 infections — illustrates another key risk when ICU beds are at a premium.Gilles Lanteigne, the chief executive of the Vitalite Health Network in New Brunswick — which serves the province's francophone population — says intense outbreaks in one location are the most worrying scenario for smaller health agencies like the one he oversees."The average age of our population is very old, and we have some regions where people are not as healthy when compared to the average region in the country," he said in a telephone interview."Clustering, if that ever happens ... it could cause almost a disaster. It could increase significantly the cases."His agency has 33 intensive care beds prepared for COVID-19 patients, with a capacity to surge in two stages to a total of 116, he said. Horizon Health Network, New Brunswick largest health authority, has 98 intensive care unit beds in place, 53 of which are currently occupied.Newfoundland and Labrador has 98 such beds, and four COVID-19 patients were in intensive care Friday.Dr. John Haggie, the minister of health in the province, has said repeatedly he believes his province can cope, but this week he added: "Whether we're right, ask me in three weeks' time."Javier Sanchez, an epidemiologist at the University of Prince Edward Island's faculty of veterinary medicine, sees some hope emerging for smaller jurisdictions.Though he's a veterinarian, Sanchez's expertise has been called upon to help with COVID-19 modelling for the Island's population of 156,000. He said with just 22 positive cases and no community transmission as of Friday, P.E.I. may be exhibiting "a unique situation."He said there's little doubt a concentrated outbreak could challenge the Island's two hospitals, which have just 17 intensive care beds and a capacity to bring on 46 additional units if needed.However, Sanchez said unlike large urban centres, the Island, with a single bridge linking it to the mainland, has the advantage of being able to tightly restrict entry of people from other jurisdictions.He also suggests a rural population is likelier to succeed in social distancing than large cities, and breaking the rules would be more quickly detected."In P.E.I., everyone knows everyone, so if you have to self-isolate and you're going around, somebody will know you," he said.Lanteigne says New Brunswick's Acadian population's advantage is "the population is dispersed." With the exception of Moncton, "we don't have very large cities with high-rise buildings," he said. To date, there's little clear indication of when the Atlantic provinces expect their critical care capacity will face its greatest test.Nationally, figures cited by the chief public health officer of Canada have suggested about three per cent of the current infected population will become critically ill.New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have committed to releasing models next week showing the best- and worst-case scenarios they are working with, and when the peak of the pandemic is forecast.Dr. Robert Strang, the chief medical officer of health in Nova Scotia, has said technical expertise is in short supply to create the models.Meanwhile, Patrick, the Nova Scotia critical care director, says he hopes people realize their respect of public health directives will help determine whether intensive care systems in the region are overwhelmed."It's a busy time. But we're going to see this through," he said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020 Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

  • The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada
    News
    The Canadian Press

    The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada

    The latest news on the COVID-19 global pandemic (all times Eastern):7:15 p.m.Police in Delta, B.C., say it was "troubling" to catch two people this week allegedly reselling medical face masks at highly inflated prices.The police department alleges in a news release that officers found one vendor offering 60 N-95 respirators for $1,200 and another selling 3,000 surgical masks for $2,200.Both vendors were given $500 bylaw tickets and voluntarily gave up the medical supplies to police.The police say they will consult the local health authority to determine the best use for the masks.The secondary resale of medical supplies and personal protective equipment was banned on March 26 in B.C.\---7 p.m.Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the province has seen 107 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.He is attributing the high number to the province's largest single-day total of test results.Kenney says the total number of cases is 1,075.He says there have been five additional deaths, bringing the total to 18.Kenney says 196 people have recovered from the virus.\---6:10 p.m.Four more people have died in British Columbia from COVID-19, bringing the number of deaths to 35.Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, says there have been 53 new positive tests for the virus for a total of 1,174 cases.Of those, 641 people have recovered.Henry says the province is in the "thick" of the fight against the new coronavirus.\---6:09 p.m.An annual summertime ritual at Rideau Hall is being cancelled.In a tweet, Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre says the military is cancelling changing of the guard and the mounting of sentries at Rideau Hall.The head of the Canadian Army says the difficult decision is necessary to protect the safety and well-being of all involved.\---5:45 p.m.Mayor Naheed Nenshi says Calgary's ban on public events until June 30 includes NHL and CFL games should those leagues resume before then.Leagues, games and tournaments around the world have been suspended, cancelled or postponed indefinitely because of the COVID-19 crisis.The NHL suspended operations March 12 with 189 regular-season games remaining.The Calgary Flames were in playoff position sitting third in the Pacific Division. All CFL training camps have been postponed.\---4:45 p.m.Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says the Trump administration's call for a manufacturer to shop shipping N-95 masks to Canada is nothing short of a betrayal.Moe says the decision is reckless and wants it reversed.He says Canada and the U.S. have been the closest of allies and he's reaching out to American governors on the issue.\---4 p.m.Canadians who had been stranded for weeks on two cruise ships are now on their way home.Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne tweeted that a plane chartered by cruise operator Holland America has taken off.Only those who are asymptomatic are being allowed back into Canada for the time being, and the government has said they'll enter isolation upon their return.\---3:55 p.m.The Saskatchewan government says an employee at an assisted living centre in Regina has tested positive for COVID-19.It says the facility is closed to admissions, discharges and transfers.The Ministry of Health says there's no indication the virus has spread to other employees or residents, but residents who were in contact with the infected employee will be isolated for 14 days.The province also announced all employees working in long-term care facilities will have their temperatures checked before beginning their shifts.Saskatchewan has reported 220 cases of the virus.\---3 p.m.Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says there are no confirmed outbreaks or clusters of COVID-19 in the city's Downtown Eastside, where many residents have underlying health conditions.But he says it's "simply a matter of time" before COVID-19 spreads in communities across B.C.Stewart says BC Housing has now secured hundreds of hotel rooms in Vancouver for people who are homeless or precariously housed and need to enter self-isolation.He adds that recent income, food and cleaning supports are "stop gaps" for the next few weeks and the city needs help from higher levels of government to keep these efforts going.\---2:30 p.m.The Manitoba government reported 15 new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total to 182.There has also been a second death, a man in his 50s with underlying medical conditions.Nine people are hospitalized, with six in intensive care.Health officials say 11 people have recovered.\---2:23 p.m.Ontario Premier Doug Ford says more businesses will be closing in the province in the wake of grim projections about the spread of COVID-19.Ford says the new closures will take effect Saturday at 11:59 p.m., and will include all industrial construction except for essential projects, such as hospitals.The announcement comes after public health officials released figures showing between 3,000 and 15,000 could die in Ontario over the full course of the pandemic.Ford says physical distancing saves lives and his government is prepared to do whatever it takes to protect Ontarians.\---2:05 p.m.CIBC says it is offering reduced interest rates on personal credit cards for Canadians in financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The bank says credit card clients who request to skip a payment and are experiencing financial difficulties will receive a temporary lower annual interest rate of 10.99 per cent.It says for the 80,000 Canadians who have already received CIBC credit card relief, the temporary lower rate will be retroactively applied to March 15.\---1:55 p.m.New Brunswick is reporting four new cases of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 95.Chief medical officer Dr. Jennifer Russell says modelling is being done to determine what the province's health-care system can absorb.That modelling is expected to be released next week.Russell said she expects a shipment of personal protective equipment and other supplies to arrive on Monday.\---1:21 p.m.Quebec Premier Francois Legault says the province recorded 25 more deaths related to COVID-19 since the day prior, bringing the provincial total to 61.But Legault said today the majority of the new recorded deaths did not occur in the past 24 hours, because the province had been investigating 20 prior fatalities to see whether they had been the result of COVID-19.The premier says the province recorded an additional 583 positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 6,101, and another 64 hospitalizations including 26 patients in intensive care.Legault says medical authorities are planning to present to the public a series of projections related to COVID-19 next Tuesday. 1:12 p.m.Canada's top public health official is urging people to have caution when looking at provincial models for how COVID-19 will develop.Ontario released its projections for the best and worst case scenarios of the crisis.Dr. Theresa Tam says people should remember they are just that, projections, and not real data.She says both must be examined to get an accurate picture of where the virus is headed.\---12:57 p.m.Health Minister Patty Hajdu says Canada is paying inflated prices for personal protective equipment.She says the global market is extremely competitive as every country vies for the limited supply.She says Canada is keeping an eye on the cost, but is focused on getting what’s needed.Health Canada is also taking measures to guard against fraud and counterfeit PPE that’s being produced.\---12:51 p.m.The 2020 edition of the Montreal International Jazz Festival has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.The flagship event that draws musicians and fans from around the world was set to open June 25.The festival's general manager says the decision to cancel it, as well as a festival of francophone music set for June, was necessary to protect the public, artists and festival staff.The announcement comes the same day Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy festival announced it will be postponed until the fall, opening Sept. 29.\---12:49 p.m.Canada’s top public health official says authorities are reviewing their policies in light of new studies about the transmission of the novel coronavirus.Some studies have found that people without symptoms are able to transmit the virus.Dr. Theresa Tam says those studies have only been released in the last few days and weeks, and are being reviewed.She says they may have implications for policies in long-term care settings in particular.\---12:42 p.m.Prince Edward Island is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 Friday, leaving the provincial total at 22.Chief medical officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, says four people have recovered.She says more than 1,000 tests have been done on the Island.Morrison says extra people have been hired to help staff the 811 Tele-care line.\---12:36 p.m.There are 12 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador, bringing the provincial total to 195.Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, chief medical officer of health, says the cases announced Friday are all in the Eastern Health region.Fitzgerald says eleven people are in the hospital due to the virus and 11 people have recovered.\---12:36 p.m.Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says the government is planning to ‘pull out all the stops’ to press the U.S. on its plans to limit supplies to Canada.The White House ordered manufacturer 3M not to ship N95 respirators across the border to Canada.Freeland says Canada will push back hard.She says all ministers are in touch with their U.S. counterparts and the provincial premiers have also been asked to get involved.\---12:32 p.m.The Manitoba government is letting people hurt by the COVID-19 economic fallout avoid penalties and interest on some utility payments and property taxes.Premier Brian Pallister says there will be a six-month period, until Oct. 1, in which people can defer payments to Crown-owned hydroelectric, natural gas and auto insurance agencies without interest or penalties.Pallister says he is also working with municipalities so that interest is not charged for six months on the provincial education property tax and school division fees.The province is also funding 140 new beds at homeless shelters, and repurposing a vacant public housing building to allow for social distancing.\---12:24 p.m.Canada’s top public health official says 4 per cent of tests for COVID-19 have been confirmed positive.The percentage has slowly climbed by one percentage point over the course of the week.Dr. Theresa Tam says Canada is also seeing a sharper increase in deaths.So far, she says the health system is coping.\---12:10 p.m.Beaders in many parts of the North have joined a project to create a visible symbol of appreciation for front-line workers battling COVID-19 — from doctors and nurses to grocery store clerks and truck drivers.Yukon resident Kyla Popadynec (pop-a-DEN'-ick) says she came up with the idea earlier this week to create a beaded fireweed pin for staff at the Dawson City health clinic where she works.But when several hundred people from Alaska to Yellowknife offered their beading skills, Popadynec says plans for the tribute pins were expanded.She says the fireweed design was selected because the purple flower is often the first plant to return after a wildfire, and represents strength, healing and renewal.\---11:56 a.m.Nova Scotia is reporting 14 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the provincial total to 207 confirmed cases.Health officials say five people are currently in hospital, while 21 people have now recovered and their cases of COVID-19 are considered resolved.Most cases in Nova Scotia are connected to travel or a known case, with one confirmed case of community transmission and more expected in the future.Officials say testing done to date has resulted in 8,234 negative results.\---11:39 a.m.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s working with the United States to help them understand that trade between the two countries goes both ways.He made the comments after the White House ordered a U.S. manufacturer to stop delivering N95 respirators to Canada from the United States.He says it would be a huge mistake to restrict staff, or products and services from crossing the border in both directions.\---11:32 a.m.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government will be delivering additional aid to low-income people through the GST credit sooner than expected.The government initially announced the money would be available in May, but Trudeau now says the money will be delivered this month.Every qualifying adult will receive up to $300, plus $150 for each child.\---11:24 a.m.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government would donate $100 million to meet urgent food needs across the country, including in northern and Indigenous communities.He says the money will help buy and deliver food to the people who need it most.The organizations who will receive funding include Food Banks Canada, The Breakfast Club of Canada, The Salvation Army and others.\---11:21 a.m.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Canadian Forces are being sent to northern Quebec to help communities there prepare to respond to COVID-19.He says the federal government is answering a call from the Quebec government.In a daily appearance outside his Ottawa residence today, Trudeau also says the federal government has an agreement with Amazon to use its distribution network to send medical supplies to meet provincial needs.\---11 a.m.Ontario is reporting 462 more COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total number in the province to 3,255.Health officials also reported 14 more deaths, bringing the toll to 67.There are also 192 more resolved cases for a new total of 1,023.\---10:20 a.m.Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is calling for the federal Liberals to be more transparent about their response to the COVID-19 crisis.He wants the government to release national level data on the spread of the virus and its implications.He also says the government needs to move faster to get money into the hands of business, calling for them to immediately rebate GST payments.Scheer says his party wants to be part of a Team Canada approach to virus response, but that doesn't mean not asking tough questions and demanding accountability.He says Parliament must find a way to convene remotely to increase oversight of the government.\---10:11 a.m.The growing movement in British Columbia and across Canada to salute health care workers by clapping and making noise each evening at 7 p.m. will gain even more volume tonight.A statement from the Chamber of Shipping, the voice for the marine industry on Canada's west coast, says all ships in B.C. waters will sound their horns in solidarity.The statement says the audible celebration is noteworthy because ship crews are also working to maintain essential transportation networks.The chamber says vessels move critical cargo directly supporting medical efforts or supplying communities to ensure they continue to function.\---8:20 a.m.The Canadian Bankers Association says the country's six largest banks have deferred more than 10 per cent of the mortgages in their portfolios as borrowers affected by COVID-19 seek financial help.The association says almost 500,000 requests for mortgage deferrals or to skip a payment have been completed or are in process.Canadian banks announced a mortgage deferral program over two weeks ago in a move to help those hurt by the steps taken to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.The six largest banks said they would allow customers to defer mortgage payments for up to six months among other changes.\---6:30 a.m.A regional government near Toronto has apologized after revealing it accidentally mailed letters to 16 people saying their COVID-19 tests were negative when they were actually positive.The Region of Peel's top medical official says the letters were mailed on Tuesday and Wednesday.Dr. Lawrence Loh says his team is working to notify the people involved and that changes have been made to their process to ensure the mistake doesn't happen again.\---The Canadian Press

  • Pandemic has shunted aside an array of Liberal initiatives, at least for now
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Pandemic has shunted aside an array of Liberal initiatives, at least for now

    OTTAWA — As a new year dawned, the government's throne-speech commitments, unfurled just weeks earlier, were grabbing headlines and galvanizing the attention of federal policy-makers.Then came the most serious public health crisis in recent memory.The Trudeau government's planned gun-control measures, assisted-dying legislation and efforts to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples are taking a back seat, at least for now, to the all-consuming fight to help people weather COVID-19.Even the federal budget, a fixture of the late-winter parliamentary agenda, has been delayed indefinitely as the virus monopolizes time and resources.The minority mandate the Liberals received in the fall election is a starting point, not the final word, said the re-elected Liberal government's December throne speech, read by the governor general."The government is open to new ideas from all parliamentarians, stakeholders, public servants and Canadians. Ideas like universal dental care are worth exploring, and I encourage Parliament to look into this."It seems any fresh ideas will now have to find space in an already jammed queue.The Liberals campaigned on a commitment to outlaw military-style assault rifles, including the popular AR-15, saying guns designed to inflict mass human casualties have no place in Canada. They said owners of legally purchased firearms that fall under the ban would be offered fair-market prices through a buyback program.The government also plans to empower provinces and cities to take steps to manage the storage and use of handguns within their individual jurisdictions, given that they have different needs and concerns.PolySeSouvient, a leading voice for stricter controls, urged Public Safety Minister Bill Blair in November to take prompt steps, and the group now sees it as an opportunity lost."It's a real shame that minister Blair did not act decisively and swiftly when he had the chance," said Heidi Rathjen, co-ordinator of PolySeSouvient, which includes students and graduates of Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique, where 14 women were gunned down in 1989.It is one thing to allow online sales of regular hunting firearms and ammunition during the COVID-19 crisis, she said. "It is quite another to allow continued sale of military-style assault weapons in such a volatile context."Citing several online social media posts, Rathjen said the group worries a "typically American individualistic survivor mentality" is creeping into Canada."Assault weapons and panic-prone individuals in the midst of a pandemic are a very dangerous mix," she said. "Indeed, you do not want to introduce guns designed for mass killing in a context of generalized high anxiety, with fears of economic meltdown and potential food shortages."Although the government is seized with addressing the pandemic, it remains resolute in its commitment to strengthening firearms control in Canada, said Mary-Liz Power, a spokeswoman for Blair."Gun-control measures remain a crucial priority in this mandate," she said. "We will be announcing details of our government's plan to reduce gun violence in due time, which will come as each step is ready to be implemented."Bill C-7 would amend Canada's law on medical assistance in dying, in response to a Quebec Superior Court ruling last September that struck down a provision restricting the procedure to those whose natural death is "reasonably foreseeable."The court initially gave the government until March 11 to change the law but last month granted an extension to July 11.The bill was introduced in late February and was still in second-reading debate in the House of Commons when Parliament adjourned for the COVID-19 crisis.There would appear to be little chance of it being approved by the new July deadline but Justice Minister David Lametti's spokeswoman said no decision had yet been made about seeking another extension.The Liberals promised to build on steps toward improving the lives of First Nations, Metis and Inuit in Canada by continuing to implement recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as well as the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.The government also pledged legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the first year of its new mandate.Other initiatives include ensuring safe drinking water in First Nations communities and improving access to culturally relevant health care and mental health services.Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said efforts are proceeding on the many recommendations of the missing-and-murdered inquiry."The COVID pandemic has really hit a number of ministries quite hard but that doesn't prevent them from continuing their work in a number of super-important areas, of which this is one."Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, easily rhymes off the long list of Liberal promises to Indigenous Peoples."There are so many things that were in the throne speech that we pushed for that we still have to follow up on going forward," Bellegarde said."But we know our energy and attention is on COVID-19 and this health-care threat to all of Canada, including First Nations people. We have to focus on that."This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 4, 2020.—With files from Joan Bryden and Teresa Wright—Follow @JimBronskill on TwitterJim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

  • COVID-19 crisis underscores dire need for transitional housing, advocates say
    News
    CBC

    COVID-19 crisis underscores dire need for transitional housing, advocates say

    There is a growing need for transitional housing that can provide a safe yet isolated environment for street teens and victims of domestic abuse — unique populations that don't have homes but aren't usually considered homeless."It's a really complex situation that's been made even more complex," Margo Long, executive director of the Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS), told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on Friday."We've become an essential service to provide a place of safety for these young people. And the complexity for us is figuring out how to keep the ones that are COVID-negative safe, how to keep our staff safe and how to take care of the ones that do get sick." YESS staff have carved out an isolation space at the 24-bed overnight shelter, allowing them to temporarily separate youth who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms. They're then taken to the Expo Centre, which has been set up to accommodate Edmonton's larger adult homeless population, to be tested and stay overnight in the designated medical area, Long said.It's hardly an ideal situation for teens, many of whom have experienced some kind of trauma that has caused them to be out on the street, said Long. 'Safe homes'"What we need right now is more transitional housing. We have kids that are 15 years old. They're not ready to be in a hotel or an apartment by themselves. But they're certainly OK to be in a group home situation, where we can have bedrooms, we can have isolated floors and bathrooms [where they can] wait their 14 days," she said."That sounds great — but then I need a couple of apartment buildings and about 20 more staff."The executive director at WIN House, a shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence, is also considering the need for separate apartment or kitchen suites as coronavirus continues to spread.The organization has 71 beds in three different shelters, and the accommodations are already set up to offer women and families the ability to self-isolate, Tess Gordey told CBC News on Friday."But if and when a family is testing positive, or if social isolation in their rooms is getting to be very difficult for any number of reasons, we are exploring options for safe homes outside of the shelter, perhaps apartments or kitchenettes," said Gordey. Fundraising plans disruptedBoth organizations also share another problem: a looming drop in revenues due to the cancellation of key fundraising events and the expected loss in donations from corporate and community partners.On Friday, WIN House launched a COVID-19 Relief Fund, seeking donations to help ensure its programming can continue. "Of course we can't have that golf tournament or that casino now," Gordey said. "The whole idea of our COVID-19 relief fund campaign is specifically to top up those dollars so we can meet our budget and continue to keep the number of beds open that we have."The annual YESS gala, which had been scheduled for mid-April, has been cancelled but Long said the organization is continuing with its raffle. If all the raffle tickets are sold, she said, the organization should clear almost as much as it would have from the gala.Long said the services YESS offers are more critical than ever as the impact of coronavirus begins hitting the youth."For some, they've been operating in flight, flight or freeze for most of their life," she said, "and this is another crisis."

  • Detailed screening tells paramedics when to wear full protective gear
    News
    CBC

    Detailed screening tells paramedics when to wear full protective gear

    Island paramedics are donning protective equipment — gowns, gloves, mask and face shield — for several of its calls each day now.Island EMS gets about 70 to 80 calls a day. Five or 6 of those are for patients in self-isolation or showing symptoms that could indicate COVID-19."Patients understand that paramedics need to take precautions," said Jeremy Measham, operations manager for Island EMS. "They're they're not too surprised to see paramedics and other health care staff wearing these kinds of precautions."The gear is used once and then thrown away. Supplies are holding up well, according to paramedics.Measham credits the use of screening measures — a series of questions about patients' symptoms and travel — for helping first responders know when they need to use protective gear, and when they can save the increasingly precious resources for future use."We would encourage everyone to be as forthcoming as possible when they call 911 and have interaction with paramedics," said Measham.So far, no COVID-19 symptoms have appeared among paramedics. The service remains fully staffed with 180 paramedics and 14 ambulances at bases in Souris, Montague, Charlottetown, Alberton and O'Leary.Orders to wear the extra protection have been in place since early March, according to Island EMS.Paramedics say they're surprised by the amount of traffic on Island roads, despite the COVID-19 shut-downs. More from CBC P.E.I.

  • News
    CBC

    'Do not panic': MLA confirms COVID-19 case in Fort Resolution

    The MLA representing Fort Resolution, N.W.T., took to Facebook to confirm rumours that a case of COVID-19 had been identified in the community.Territorial health officials announced in a release late Thursday that two new cases of COVID-19 had been identified in the territory, including one in what the release identified as a "small community." That person was later hospitalized in Yellowknife.On Friday, a post on Fort Resolution's Deninu Kue First Nation Facebook page, apparently from Chief Louis Balsillie, suggested that case was identified in Fort Resolution."Yesterday the big brasses in [Yellowknife] were notified that the Covid was in the community," the post reads. "As a chief I was not notified by any officials and just word of mouth late last night. Only this morning I was informed that yes there is a case here."In a video recorded shortly after 4:30 p.m. Friday, MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh Steve Norn said "this report is true.""The said patient is now recovering at the Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife," he said."With this news, I want to say to everybody, do not panic."For privacy reasons, health officials in the N.W.T. do not identify the location of confirmed COVID-19 cases in small communities.In comments on Balsillie's post, many residents have attempted to identify the patient in question."I ask that everyone be kind and patient with each other," said Norn in his video. "Nothing is going to be gained through bickering and petty arguments."Fort Resolution Mayor Patrick Simon told CBC that the chief public health officer has refused to confirm whether the latest case was a community resident. "To ensure that we begin to act properly in this situation, we have to be told something so that we can take our measures to ensure the community is safe and healthy," Simon said.  Roadblock, checkpoints set up near communityIn a subsequent post made Friday to the Deninu Kue Facebook page, Balsillie said the community had set up a checkpoint on the road into the community."All vehicles will be stopped and people who do not live in Fort Resolution will have to turn around except for essential service workers and grocery/ fuel trucks," a post from Balsillie reads. "Residents of Fort Resolution can still leave and return to the community."In his earlier post, Balsillie said he tried to set up the checkpoint "2 weeks ago.""As a leader I am really upset I'm notified after the fact. How am I supposed to help keep the community safety when I'm in the dark," he wrote.Calls for unityIn his video, Norn said he supports all measures the community is taking "to protect themselves."He also called for the community to work together to prevent further spread of COVID-19."We've went through these scourges before, as a community, and we got through it, as a community, because we worked together. And this presents a perfect opportunity to do that," he said."It's going to take discipline."Norn said in light of the news, he will be lobbying aggressively for new restrictions on liquor sales in the N.W.T."There's still rumours of partying happening, gatherings," he said. "Please, please, please, do not do this. You're putting people's health at risk."Norn said he was sympathetic to residents experiencing cabin fever in a time when most are out at spring carnivals, dog races, and talent shows."This whole experience is going against the grain as northerners. I ask again that we be patient.""This COVID-19 is no joke. It's bigger than politics," he said. "It doesn't [infect] through family lines or social status. It infects indiscriminately.""Look after each other."

  • Car smashes through front of BMO branch in Halifax
    News
    CBC

    Car smashes through front of BMO branch in Halifax

    A car smashed through the front of a BMO branch in west-end Halifax on Friday evening, causing extensive damage but no apparent injuries.Halifax police say a 25-year-old man is now facing multiple charges under the Motor Vehicle Act including driving with a revoked license and texting while driving. In a news release, police say they determined the crash to be accidental.Eyewitnesses say the dark compact car failed to navigate a turn before hopping a curb and crashing through the main entrance of the branch on Mumford Road.The outlet is usually teeming with customers, but it had closed nearly two hours earlier.The incident happened around 5:45 p.m. AT, say witnesses.Video from one onlooker's cellphone showed a man getting out of the driver's side of the car before police, paramedics and firefighters arrived.After first responders reached the scene, officers could be seen questioning the man, who displayed no signs of injury and was answering their queries.Police formed a perimeter around the damaged bank branch as more than a dozen passersby looked on.MORE TOP STORIES

  • 'Always new expenses:' Lawsuits filed as anniversary of Broncos bus crash nears
    News
    The Canadian Press

    'Always new expenses:' Lawsuits filed as anniversary of Broncos bus crash nears

    It's been almost two years since the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan and with the solemn anniversary comes a closing legal window that has seen several lawsuits filed in court.Sixteen people died and 13 others were injured after a transport truck barrelled through a stop sign and into the path of the bus carrying the junior hockey team on April 6, 2018.The inexperienced driver of the truck, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu of Calgary, was sentenced to eight years in prison.A proposed class-action lawsuit was filed Friday in Regina Court of Queen's Bench against Sidhu and his former employer. It also lists the governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta, as well as the federal government."The people wanting to go forward aren't motivated financially so much as these were wrongs by governments," said lawyer Tony Merchant. He pointed to the trucking industry as a major concern.Carol and Lyle Brons are listed as the plaintiffs. Their 24-year-old daughter, Dayna, was the team's athletic therapist and was killed in the crash.Also listed are all the others who were on the bus, their families, all hockey team staff, billet families and first responders who treated the victims.At least one family has said it has asked to be removed from the class action, which still needs to be certified by the courts.Several other lawsuits have also been filed.Russ and Raelene Herold of Montmartre, Sask., were among the first of the families to file a few months after the collision. They are suing the truck driver, the Calgary-based company that employed him and the bus manufacturer. The lawsuit asks for damages and a court order that all buses carrying sports teams in Saskatchewan be equipped with seatbelts.The couple's son, 16-year-old Adam, was the youngest player on the team to be killed.Their suit has since been joined by the families of three players and an assistant coach who died: Jaxon Joseph, 20, of St. Albert, Alta.; Logan Hunter, 18, also of St. Albert; Jacob Leicht, 19, of Humboldt; and Mark Cross, 27, from Strasbourg, Sask.No statement of defence has been filed in that lawsuit.Injured Broncos player Derek Patter, 21, of Edmonton, filed in March against the truck driver and the trucking company. The Alberta government joined as a plaintiff to recoup health-care costs.Kevin Matechuk of Colonsay, Sask., said his family would also be filing a lawsuit against the trucker and trucking company on behalf of his son Layne, 20, who is still recovering from a traumatic brain injury."He will need special care. We don't know if he will ever be able to live on his own. We're hoping so. It's still our hope and dream."It's the same situation for Ryan Straschnitzki, 20, of Airdrie, Alta., who was paralyzed from the chest down. His suit also takes on the Alberta and Saskatchewan governments, as well as the team's bus driver."There's always new expenses and he's going to have to be taken care of for the rest of his life," said his mother, Michelle Straschnitzki."We won't always be here. And people don't understand ... long-term care for people who are in wheelchairs — the cost is astronomical."The Straschnitzkis said they've received hateful comments and death threats since their lawsuit was reported in the news last week."Ryan never got millions from the GoFundMe like a bunch of these dummies are saying," said his father Tom Straschnitzki.A GoFundMe campaign, which raised more than $15 million, paid out $525,000 to each of the families who lost a loved one and $475,000 to each injured player.Some families have said they plan to give away through charities some of the money they received from donations."It's not our plan to sue," said Toby Boulet, whose 21-year-old son, Logan, was killed.The Lethbridge family has used money received to set up a fund for causes that were important to their son, including organ donation.The Adam Herold Legacy Foundation is a charity that gives Saskatchewan youth a chance to develop their hockey skills and leadership potential.Others, including Evan Thomas's family of Saskatoon, have given back through memorial scholarships and other donations.Evan's father, Scott Thomas, said the family decided against legal action."We just don't feel its part of something we want to be a part of," he said.Thomas said it might have been different if his son had lived. "I know a lot of people think insurance is going to take care of them, but it's not."At least one injured player doesn't want anything to do with a lawsuit.Myles Shumlanski of Tisdale, Sask., said his 22-year-old son Nick just "wants to move on." He was the only one on the bus able who walked away without serious injuries."We're going to put in for a little bit of insurance," said his father."He doesn't even feel comfortable doing that."— With files from Colette Derworiz in EdmontonThis report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020Stephanie Taylor and Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    Daughter serenades father on his deathbed in the centre of a COVID-19 outbreak

    A daughter who serenaded her father with her trumpet at his Vancouver care home amid the COVID-19 pandemic has played a final tune for him.Samantha Monckton said her father Gary, who was living at the Haro Park Lodge in Vancouver, has died at the age of 78. Although she couldn't touch her father inside the care home as he battled COVID-19 and other ailments, she was able to let her trumpet do it from outside.Speaking with CBC Radio's On The Coast with Gloria Macarenko, Monckton says Gary used to smoke two packs a day until dementia took hold.He switched to ice cream and finished his life Wednesday night with a sweet treat."He ate four cups, and he never woke up ... well for him he's probably like, 'Well, hell I'm not going to leave any in the fridge, let's go!" she said."He's just [scarfing] it all, God love him, and he went out with a belly full of ice cream, which is [what else could] I ask for?"Monckton says she loves his care home staff like her own family. And she thanks his neighbours."I knew the people in the West End were bringing their pots and pans out and banging enough to maybe wake him up! And it worked!"

  • Delta police say they stopped sale of medical equipment at inflated prices
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Delta police say they stopped sale of medical equipment at inflated prices

    DELTA, B.C. — Police in Delta, B.C., say it was "troubling" to catch two people this week allegedly reselling boxes of respirators and surgical masks at highly inflated prices.The police department says in a news release that a constable found an online ad offering N95 respirators at $15 a piece, plus a $300 delivery fee.The officer arranged a meeting to buy 60 masks for a total $1,200 on Thursday.On Friday, police arranged to meet a separate vendor selling 3,000 surgical masks for $2,200.Both sellers were given $500 bylaw tickets and voluntarily gave up the medical supplies to police, with the second seller relinquishing an additional 2,300 masks.Delta police say they'll work with Fraser Health to determine how the masks can best be put to use.British Columbia's Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issued an order under the Emergency Program Act banning the secondary resale of medical supplies and personal protective equipment on March 26."It’s troubling to see people trying to flout the ministerial order during this pandemic,” Delta police spokesman Cris Leykauf said in the release.This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    Union demands increased support for workers on the front lines of COVID-19 pandemic

    The head of the B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union is calling on the government to give its members who are deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic increased supports around sick pay, sick leave and benefits."Your government is asking thousands of our members to step up for their province. I am asking you to step up for them in return," said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith.In a letter addressed to Finance Minister Carole James, Smith said a wage premium granted to nurses last month has undermined the morale of BCGEU members working on the front lines of the crisis."All working people deserve fair compensation and support and the consequences of singling out some workers for preferential treatment and additional support are dire," said Smith. Smith says her members don't want "hazard pay," rather that provincial authorities recognize that BCGEU workers who are deemed essential "are facing extraordinary expenses as well as risks to their physical and mental health that are worthy of extraordinary supports from their employer."The demands are: * 100 per cent paid sick time for all workers. * 100 per cent pay for workers in self-isolation pursuant to the recommendations of the provincial health officer, or quarantined on the advice of a medical practitioner, including 811. * An increase in paid sick days for all workers to ensure they would be fully covered in the event of COVID-19 infection or self-isolation or quarantine as detailed above. * Continuing access to extended medical benefits regardless of age. * The ability of all workers to access paid special leave if they do not already have it to fully cover any period of infection, self-isolation or quarantine. * The ability for all workers subject to layoff due to COVID-19 to buy back pension time split with the employer. * Priority access to COVID-19 testing for front-line workers. * Access to job-appropriate personal protective equipment for front-line workers."We fully support the core message that our collective success in this pandemic depends on each of us doing what needs to be done for the greater good of all of us," wrote Smith.According to the union, its members are employed in social work, child and youth mental health, highways maintenance, corrections, wildfire response, conservation officers, liquor/cannabis stores, mental health and addictions in the DTES and elsewhere and in women's shelters and transition houses.The BCGEU represents 80,000 British Columbia private sector and public service workers.

  • News
    CBC

    Halifax home-care client says COVID-19 crisis makes him feel like a 'castaway'

    A Halifax man who relies on home care says the COVID-19 crisis has meant several of his recent appointments have been cancelled with no notice, making him feel like a "home-care castaway." Andrew Jantzen has a connective tissue disorder that causes his joints to dislocate on a daily basis. He uses a power wheelchair, and home-care workers from Northwood visit his apartment to help him eat, bathe, dress and take his medications.But Jantzen said since the start of the pandemic, home-care workers have cancelled at the last minute on several occasions."It creates some big challenges for just doing the basic things, like eating, you know," he told CBC's Information Morning.Jantzen has been chronicling his experience online. "We need some kind of plan that is going to protect both clients and home-care workers through this crisis," he said.On Friday, the head of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union echoed those concerns, saying the provincial government is not doing enough to protect home care and long-term care workers from being exposed to COVID-19. "It really increases my risk of contracting something." \- Andrew Jantzen, Northwood home-care clientJantzen said he's asked Northwood why staff are cancelling appointments."What I have gotten as a response is just that there aren't the workers and they don't tell you why. You don't get those reasons," he said.Jantzen said he doesn't have family nearby, so friends and members of the community have dropped by to help. But that kindness could come with a cost, he said."It really increases my risk of contracting something," he said.Northwood had 'particularly challenging' weekNo one from Northwood was available for an interview on Friday. In an email, spokesperson Murray Stenton said it's been very difficult to maintain staffing levels as the pandemic unfolds. Stenton said part of the reason is that staff need to self-isolate following travel or when they may have been in contact with a COVID-19 case."This past week was particularly challenging," Stenton wrote. "Many times we have had to make service decisions based on the level of priority and this impacts many clients."He said he can't comment on a specific case, but that a client's level of priority is determined by criteria approved by the province.The Department of Health and Wellness told CBC News it prioritizes cases based on client needs, the kind of help they require and how much support they have, and that it reassesses situations on an ongoing basis.Jantzen works from home, but said lately he's been spending most of his time making sure he has basic necessities like food."My energy is very low and I'm quite weak from just not being able to get my care. That's both a drain physically and mentally as well," he said.He's thankful he has friends who can drop by, but knows not everyone is that lucky. "I'm connected to other people in the disability community who've had some of these issues ongoing before the crisis," he said. "But it's just gotten worse now."MORE TOP STORIES

  • Prairies: Wintry weather meanders into northwestern Ontario
    News
    The Weather Network

    Prairies: Wintry weather meanders into northwestern Ontario

    The system that brought a significant shot of spring snow to parts of Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan will trek through northern Ontario Saturday

  • Air Canada to provide protective gowns, eyewear to flight crew amid COVID-19 pandemic
    News
    CBC

    Air Canada to provide protective gowns, eyewear to flight crew amid COVID-19 pandemic

    Air Canada said Friday it would provide gowns and eyewear to flight crews to protect them from coronavirus.The company said in a memo sent to staff and seen by CBC News that it secured a supply of plastic safety eyeglasses on Friday, and will provide workers with protective gowns to wear over their uniforms starting Sunday."We're also sourcing a protective item that can be worn over top of prescription eyewear and will report back soon," the memo read.The announcement came days after an investigation by CBC News found Canadian airline workers and their unions have complained about lack of protective equipment — such as protective suits or gowns, and mandatory testing — and several flight attendants became sick with COVID-19."I've asked several times, 'Why are we not wearing hazmat suits?' Other airlines are wearing hazmat suits," a flight attendant who works for a major Canadian airline told CBC News."We are on the front line and we are exposed to people from all around the world. We have connections from all over the world."WATCH | Flight attendants speak out after contracting COVID-19:CBC News agreed not to publish their name or that of their employer, as they are not authorized to speak publicly.In the memo, Air Canada said it chose gowns over hazmat suits "mainly because [they] can be removed quickly in the event of an emergency."Canada's airlines are required to provide gloves, masks, wipes and sanitizer to employees. Wearing the gear is optional, except when handling food. Air Canada said both gowns and eyewear are optional. It advises that gowns be disposed after each flight, and that eyewear, which is re-usable, should be cleaned with soap and water, sanitizer or antiseptic wipes.Reacting to Friday's announcement, the flight attendant who previously spoke to CBC News said they were "elated.""It changes my level of confidence in the protection of my own health and that of those around me," they said.

  • Canadian Hotels Light Up With Hearts To Spread Hope During COVID-19 Pandemic
    News
    HuffPost Canada

    Canadian Hotels Light Up With Hearts To Spread Hope During COVID-19 Pandemic

    Hotels in Niagara Falls are sending some positivity to Americans across the border.

  • Alberta to release COVID-19 projections early next week, Kenney says
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Alberta to release COVID-19 projections early next week, Kenney says

    EDMONTON — Alberta will release its COVID-19 projections early next week, Premier Jason Kenney said Friday as he announced five more deaths and a ban on visitors to hospitals.There were an additional 107 confirmed cases in the province, bringing the total number to 1,075.The five deaths include a woman in her 20s with no immediately apparent underlying health conditions. A total of 18 people have now died of the disease in Alberta."The total number of infections and deaths will, undoubtedly, continue to rise in the days and the weeks to come, but so will the number of recovered cases," Kenney said.Deena Hinshaw, chief medical health officer, said visitors will be banned from Alberta hospitals in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. She said some exemptions will be made on a case-by-case basis for child patients and women who are giving birth. "Please plan to support loved ones in hospital with virtual visits instead," Hinshaw said. There were about 4,000 completed COVID-19 tests in Alberta over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests done in the province to more than 60,000.Kenney said the total rate of deaths in Alberta is almost half of the hardest-hit areas of the world, such as Spain, Italy and the United States."I caution that this is just a snapshot in time, but it does reflect where Alberta is today and has consistently been for the past three weeks," Kenney said.There is now enough data to release modelling about potential paths of the pandemic in Alberta, he said."I can assure Albertans today, however, that the modelling indicates that we have the health-care equipment, personnel and supplies needed to cope with anticipated hospitalizations, including in intensive-care units and including the usage of ventilators."Ontario released its projections Friday, with its death toll expected to reach as high as 15,000.Kenney also called on businesses and non-profits to donate services and supplies to help control the spread of COVID-19, noting that more 1,000 have already reached out to Alberta's Emergency Management Agency.He said hotels have offered about 3,000 rooms for health-care workers, first responders and for those needing emergency isolation."Show us the kind of Alberta spirit in innovation, in production that we can generate to help fight the pandemic."This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press

  • News
    CBC

    Number of active COVID-19 cases in Yukon drops, as people recover

    The number of active cases of COVID-19 in Yukon has dropped as people recover, but health officials say Yukoners must continue to take the threat seriously.In a news conference on Friday, chief medical officer Dr. Brendan Hanley reported no new cases of COVID-19 since his last public update on Wednesday, when there were six.Four of those six people have now recovered from their illnesses, Hanley said on Friday. That's one more than on Wednesday.All six cases of COVID-19 in Yukon have been in Whitehorse, and related to travel outside of the territory. None of the people who tested positive have required medical care."I think that puts us in good shape for taking a breather this weekend," Hanley said of the latest numbers.That doesn't mean the territory will relax protective measures, though. Hanley, along with Premier Sandy Silver, urged Yukoners on Friday to continue to observe all public health orders and self-isolate as much as possible, until further notice."I need every single Yukoner to take this incredibly seriously," said Silver."Staying home will literally save lives."On Thursday, the territorial government announced that all public health orders related to COVID-19 are now enforceable by law. Those orders include, among other things, mandatory 14-day self-isolation on arrival in Yukon, no gatherings of more than 10 people, and the closure of all bars.Violating orders can mean fines up to $500, or jail time up to six months.As of Friday, 753 Yukoners had been tested for COVID-19, and results were pending on 53 of those cases.

  • After Diana's death
    CBC

    After Diana's death

    Elizabeth speaks 'as your Queen and as a grandmother' in televised broadcast

  • Wolfhead Distillery distributes hand sanitizer, collects donation for Amherstburg food bank
    News
    CBC

    Wolfhead Distillery distributes hand sanitizer, collects donation for Amherstburg food bank

    Staff with the Wolfhead Distillery in Amherstburg, Ont. handed out more than 2,000 bottles of hand sanitizer on Friday, encouraging those picking up the antiseptic to make donations to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission and Food Bank. Lisa McDonald, an office administrator with the distillery, explained that staff wearing personal protective equipment handed out a maximum of two 350 ml bottles to a "crazy, overwhelmingly busy" line-up of cars, while staff with the food bank collected donations. "It worked really well," she said. "It was very efficient. Once the line started moving, it moved pretty good."McDonald explained that the distillery came up with the idea to collect donations for the local food bank after learning that food banks across the region were having trouble meeting demand. June Muir, head of the Windsor-Essex Food Bank Association, which administers 15 regional food banks including the Food and Fellowship Mission and Food Bank, told CBC News on March 20 that area food banks only had about 10 days worth of supplies left at the time. Muir explained that the shortage was caused by an increasing number of food bank visitors affected by COVID-19-related layoffs and work suspensions.Wolfhead capitalized on an existing relationship with University of Windsor chemistry professor John Trant to distill the company's supply of hand sanitizer. McDonald said the distillery is currently waiting on an "emergency license" that will enable the company to sell its hand sanitizer "to the front lines and get it out to the nursing homes and everybody who needs it.""Our hands are tied right now until that licensing comes through," McDonald said. "In the meantime, this is what we can do."Wolfhead isn't the only adult beverage company working on producing hand sanitizer. In late March, the Hiram Walker and Sons distillery on Riverside Drive announced plans to produce and donate locally made hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada
    News
    The Canadian Press

    The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada

    The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:14 p.m. on April 3, 2020:There are 12,547 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.— Quebec: 6,101 confirmed (including 61 deaths, 306 resolved)— Ontario: 3,255 confirmed (including 67 deaths, 1,023 resolved)— British Columbia: 1,174 confirmed (including 35 deaths, 641 resolved)— Alberta: 1,075 confirmed (including 18 deaths, 196 resolved)— Saskatchewan: 220 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 36 resolved)— Nova Scotia: 207 confirmed (including 21 resolved)— Newfoundland and Labrador: 195 confirmed (including 1 death, 11 resolved)— Manitoba: 164 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 11 resolved), 18 presumptive— New Brunswick: 95 confirmed (including 22 resolved)— Prince Edward Island: 22 confirmed (including 4 resolved)— Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed— Yukon: 6 confirmed— Northwest Territories: 2 confirmed— Nunavut: No confirmed cases— Total: 12,547 (18 presumptive, 12,529 confirmed including 187 deaths, 2,271 resolved)This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2020.The Canadian Press

  • 'A one-two gut-punch': COVID-19 puts B.C. taxi industry 'on the ropes'
    News
    CBC

    'A one-two gut-punch': COVID-19 puts B.C. taxi industry 'on the ropes'

    The COVID-19 outbreak has forced many B.C. cab companies to shut down while others have drastically reduced their fleet as demand for rides has dwindled.The Vancouver-based Yellow Cab company's fleet of 2,300 vehicles has been scaled back by two-thirds as the number of trips have dropped by nearly 80 per cent.The Surrey-based cab company Kuber Taxi Service has suspended its operations. On the North Shore, Sunshine Cabs has laid off the bulk of its staff and drivers, save for a few essential staff that provide wheelchair service."Naturally, our business like a lot of businesses suffered immensely, and the calls started to whither away," said Gurdip Sahota, 51, a general manager at Sunshine Cabs who was recently laid off."Just yesterday, I applied for my EI benefit ... I imagine all of my other staff have already applied, and we'll try to ride this out," he said.A challenging yearThe outbreak comes as cab companies try to adapt to a changing competitive landscape.Sahota says 2020 has been fraught with challenges as it competes with companies like Uber and Lyft for passengers — and drivers.He estimates his company has lost about a quarter of his drivers to ride-hailing companies."The taxi industry in British Columbia was already on the ropes," said Sahota. "With the advent of COVID-19, it was sort of like a one-two punch to the gut of the taxi industry and we still haven't recovered."Once the dust clears, Sahota hopes provincial transportation officials will ease up regulations over taxis — including rules that limit where drivers can pick up passengers — so it will boost the industry and make it more competitive with ride-hailing companies.Maintaining operationsCarolyn Bauer, general manager of Yellow Cab and a spokesperson for the Vancouver Taxi Association, says it's unclear how the industry will rebound amid this difficult stretch for business."I don't think any company has an answer at this point, but we're working really hard to continue to support the community and move the people that we've been moving for a hundred years now," she said. "Hopefully when this goes away, if it ever goes away, people will get the courage to step outside again."Kulwant Sahota, president of Yellow Cab and a taxi driver for more than two decades, continues to pick up passengers. Like the rest of the cabs in the fleet, his vehicle is outfitted with protective plastic polyethylene. New cleaning protocols are also in place, with drivers wearing masks and gloves.The company has had to adjust its business model to maintain operations."Some of the passengers we are taking on [are] the elderly care-home workers, the doctors. We're taking some of the construction workers, we're doing blood deliveries ... or medicine from pharmacies to care homes," said Sahota.Kulwant Sahota knows the risks picking up those passengers. He has two kids who are immune compromised and has had to distance himself from them as he continues to work."At the end of the day, I still have to feed my family. I still have to pay the bills," he said.B.C.'s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says taxis are an essential service and hopes companies can remain open. In a statement, the the ministry says it's trying to provide relief.Operators are allowed to temporarily defer their Passenger Transportation licence renewal fees for up to six months.