As Canadians rely on home internet more during the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people in rural areas and in First Nations still do not have access to stable, broadband internet service.
U.S. President Donald Trump says he will grant approval to a $22-billion freight rail project connecting Alaska and Alberta.The president tweeted Friday that based on the recommendations of Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young, he will be issuing a presidential permit approving the A2A Rail project. The project would build a new rail line from Fort McMurray, Alta., through the Northwest Territories and Yukon to the Delta Junction in Alaska, where it will connect with existing rail and continue on to ports near Anchorage. The 2,570-kilometre railway could move cargo like oil, potash and ore, container goods, or even passengers. Christine Myatt, a spokesperson for Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, said in an emailed statement that the premier welcomed the approval."The Government of Alberta is glad to see the approval of the A2A rail project in the United States," she said."We support the development of trade corridors that can unlock new markets for Alberta's products."Kent Fellows, an economist at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy, said while oil is likely the main driver for the project, it's not the only advantage to bringing a rail line up north."Rail has some advantages and some drawbacks compared to pipelines," he said."You can diversify a little bit … you don't just have to haul crude oil. You can hold a lot of other commodities, too, as long as there's a market for it. So market access is big, not just for crude oil."Fellows said as well as carrying Alberta or Yukon goods to international markets, the line could be used for imports, too."That's the whole point of trade. It's a two-way street."The next steps will include going through environmental impact assessments, and obtaining the correct regulatory approvals in both the U.S. and Canada. In July, the company commissioned an engineering firm to begin surveying land along the Alberta segment of the proposed route. It said it planned to begin field activities like land clearing, fencing and access road preparation in the province in the next three to six months. "The new rail line will create new economic development opportunities for a wide range of businesses, communities and Indigenous communities in Canada and Alaska," A2A founder Sean McCoshen said in a release at the time.CBC News has reached out to the company for comment on the promised approval. A2A Rail has said that if built, the project will create more than 18,000 jobs for Canadian workers and bring in $60 billion to the country's GDP through 2040.
In a normal year, Point Roberts is a bustling place during the summer season, packed with B.C. tourists ready to spend their money on local businesses, B.C. bargain hunters filling up on gas and picking up packages at the local parcel shops while dual citizens spend the summer at their homes on the idyllic peninsula.But this year has been different; COVID-19 made certain of that.'When you walk down [the main street] today, you see nobody and I'm not kidding, nobody," says Brian Calder, director of the Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce. "It's a ghost town."Calder is a third-generation resident of Point Roberts. His great-grandfather settled in the U.S. enclave that shares a single border with Tsawwassen, B.C.Growing up, his years were split between B.C. and Point Roberts with summers on the peninsula. But 15 years ago, he moved there permanently for his semi-retirement.But now, he says Point Roberts is on the brink of collapse, having lost more than 80 per cent of its business, all from Canadians, according to the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University.The community has experienced an economic downfall since the pandemic hit, despite not having a single confirmed case of COVID-19.Back in March, the borders between Canada and the U.S. were closed to non-essential travel, blocking Point Roberts from its main source of income."We're totally dependent on Canada," said Calder, who twice served as a Vancouver city councillor.Month by month, he says, the community continues to crumble. Businesses have shuttered, most kids have left either to the U.S. mainland or to B.C. to continue their education, and people are fleeing because jobs aren't just scarce, they're non-existent."For people who don't have independent wealth, it's devastating. What do they do? There are no jobs. None. Not one job. Not even handyman stuff," said Calder.On-season, Point Roberts hosts up to 6,000 people, which drops to about 1,250 in the off-season. And since the closure of the border, he estimates there are now between 800 and 900 people left.Right now, there are five gas stations to serve fewer than a thousand people, one grocery store that, at its peak, would serve 5,000 customers a day, an empty marina, many closed businesses including the golf course, one bank that announced it will close in December and one restaurant.Every morning, Calder heads over to the Saltwater Cafe for breakfast — Point Roberts' last restaurant standing — but that's something that could soon change, too."We're trying to stay open for the local community, but it's been a difficult go," says Tamra Hansen, the owner of the restaurant and a resident of Point Roberts for the past 20 years.She says business is down 80 per cent and she's no longer making any money. Week-by-week, she says she reassesses whether to open.No road to economic recoveryEven if the borders were to reopen tomorrow, Calder believes the damage has been irreparable and he can't envision a road to recovery.After all, Point Roberts is a summer town built on tradition, he says. Year-after-year, families return to Point Roberts as they have done for generations."That's gone and I don't think half of it's coming back because we've broken the tradition," said Calder. "If there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it's like a coal train coming at you. It ain't pretty at all."Point Roberts has always been isolated from the State of Washington, but now, that isolation has increased. Point Roberts is the orphan of Whatcom County, as Calder puts it. And he's frustrated at the lack of support his community has received from both the county and the state.The Washington State Governor's office said in a statement it has provided Whatcom County with more than $16 million in funding since the beginning of the pandemic, but it's unclear how much of that funding went to businesses in Point Roberts, as officials at Whatcom County were unavailable for an interview."Governor [Jay] Inslee is committed to finding a solution to the unique challenges that Point Roberts residents face due to border restrictions," wrote his office.Previously, Gov. Inslee wrote to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking for border exemptions for the people of Point Roberts and his office says he is having frequent meetings with the government of B.C.But even if changes were to come, Calder doubts it would make a difference as businesses continue to close and the community loses more of its members every week."When the COVID is over ... when that ends... It doesn't end for Point Roberts," said Calder.
Amanda had a two-year call history with the domestic violence unit of a B.C. police department and a detailed diary with photos documenting injuries to her and her son.She also had a letter from the B.C. government's Crime Victim Assistance Program quoting correspondence from police, which said "her file is deemed highest risk, as it has a substantial likelihood of grievous bodily harm or death."Police recommended charges, but Crown prosecutors said there wasn't enough evidence. They encouraged her to seek protection through family court. But when she appeared before a judge to stop her former partner from getting unsupervised access to their young son, Amanda said she learned the hard way that talking about abuse can backfire."I wasn't given more than a couple of minutes to say anything about the abuse. I think I got maybe to the end of the sentence where I said 'historical domestic violence.' And the judge at the time rolled his eyes and scoffed at me and sat there very silent," she said."And at the end of that, I was told by the judge that he believes that I'm alienating my child from his father and I would lose custody of my child if I kept going down that path." Then her lawyer told her not to mention it again, she said.Amanda is not the woman's real name. CBC News is not identifying her because her case is before the courts.It would not be the first time in Amanda's journey through the court system that she would be accused of parental alienation. Her story is not unique.Critics warn concept is misusedParental alienation is a concept that is increasingly used in family law. It refers to the process of one parent turning a child against the other and actively seeking to undermine the relationship in the context of a hostile separation.But some legal advocates are warning the concept is being weaponized as a way to prevent survivors of domestic violence from talking about it in child custody cases."What we're seeing in practice is that parental alienation claims are being brought by parents who've been accused of family violence," said Kim Hawkins, executive director of the Rise Women's Legal Centre in Vancouver. "Once that kicks in, any kind of protective behaviours that she engages in, any further disclosures of violence, even including any further disclosures of violence by the children, can then be used to support claims of alienation."Rise researchers, for a forthcoming report, interviewed 160 women in 25 B.C. communities who were domestic violence survivors and had been involved with the family court system. Slightly more than half (56 per cent) said they had been accused of parental alienation. The same proportion said they had been advised by lawyers not to talk about the abuse. An alienation finding can, in the most extreme cases, result in children being removed from the care of that parent, Hawkins said. "Conversely, if they don't raise [domestic violence], then the court will make decisions about the care of their children without knowing about the need of protection," she said. "Either way, they're placing their children at greater risk. And women were very aware of this dilemma and were very concerned about disclosing violence for that reason."Dilemma for courtsAccording to Nicholas Bala, a professor of family law at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., there are an increasing number of what are called high-conflict separations in Canada, many of which involve situations where children are refusing or reluctant to see one parent."Some of those cases are clearly ones of alienation, clearly cases where one parent, a favourite parent, is manipulating or pressuring the child into rejecting the other parent," Bala said. "But there are also cases of realistic estrangement, cases where a child has a legitimate and genuine fear of a parent and doesn't want to see them. And distinguishing these two situations can be very challenging for the courts."Alienation is a form of emotional abuse that should be taken seriously by the courts, Bala said."I think it's a very important, useful concept. And judges are aware of that and use it."Severe consequencesCanadian research suggests the consequences can be severe for parents when judges make findings of alienation. University of New Brunswick professor Linda Neilson analyzed 357 family court cases in which parental alienation was claimed or found by a Canadian court between 2008 and 2018. Close to half of them also involved allegations of domestic violence — and in more than three-quarters of those cases, the parental alienation claim was made by the alleged perpetrator of domestic violence.Neilson found while judges were equally likely to make findings of alienation against mothers and fathers, the consequences of an alienation finding were significantly worse for women. Mothers were twice as likely as fathers to lose primary custody or some degree of access to their children when findings of alienation were made against them.'They were looking at removing the children'Charlene Bradford knows this all too well. The Smithers, B.C., woman, who testified in court she was subjected to physical and verbal abuse, was accused of alienating her two boys against their father in a court-ordered psychological report."They were looking at removing the children ... and I would have limited access," she said. Her lawyer quit because he didn't feel capable of defending against an alienation finding, she said. Hundreds of thousands in debt from previous legal proceedings, Bradford, with the help of friends and family, prepared to represent herself in court to get the finding overturned. She was eventually successful, with a B.C. judge ruling in 2017 there were problems with the report. But the two years living in limbo took a psychological and emotional toll."It was completely horrifying knowing that I could lose them, one hundred per cent," she said. "And they would just be gone … just because the person said I had done these things."Education neededAdvocates including Hawkins have long-standing concerns about the psychological reports, such as the one in Bradford's case, that are given a lot of weight by B.C. courts in determining custody arrangements. B.C. has relatively few standards around how these reports — which are sometimes the source of alienation findings — are admitted as evidence and around training for the people who write them, Hawkins said.B.C. Attorney General David Eby said in a recent interview that may be about to change."I'm concerned that maybe this is an area where we need to expand that training in order to be able to provide more supports and ensure that the people who are interacting with victims of violence have that background to be able to do it properly," he said.The issue, however, is not confined to B.C.'I was getting abused all over again'Melanie, who lives in Ontario, is in the process of working out a parenting arrangement for her young son with her ex-husband.CBC News is not revealing Melanie's identity because her case is before the courts and due to safety concerns.Her ex, she said, was physically and emotionally abusive, especially when he was using drugs or alcohol, which made her concerned about him having unsupervised visits with their son.She raised this with a lawyer from Ontario's Office of the Children's Lawyer, who investigated."It was very frustrating," Melanie said, "because her conclusion was that she had noticed I had used two different words describing one incident and so concluded that I was perhaps being dramatic or that I was overexaggerating."Shortly after, a judge granted unsupervised access to her ex.Melanie said that on several occasions when she tried to tell her ex their son didn't want to visit, he would accuse her of parental alienation. "When the child is, like, crying this much and doesn't even want to talk like a FaceTime call, you know, throwing things, screaming … and I have to just facilitate these visits. I don't feel like I'm doing my job as a parent.""In many ways, it reminds me of being in the relationship … the whole situation of an abusive relationship is that it's meant to kind of throw you off your radar or your instincts."That sentiment was echoed by Amanda, thousands of kilometres away in B.C., who spoke of feeling humiliated in the courtroom after exposing intimate details of what happened to her and her child."It stripped me of any kind of strength that I had or courage that I had and put me back into that weak position that I was in when I was in the heart of a very abusive relationship. I was right back there," she said."Instead of being put in a place of strength and feeling supported, I was getting abused all over again. And this time it was legal. And this time my ex was able to sit in the chair opposite me and watch it happen."
Roger Wiebe is one of millions of Canadians who has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, despite never contracting the virus.The Edmontonian was working in a medical supply warehouse when he lost his job after the pandemic struck. He qualified for the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB), the income support program the government rolled out during the pandemic to help people like him with payouts of up to $2,000 a month.But that program is set to expire on Sunday. Which brings new anxieties and uncertainties.He and his wife Kim, a legal assistant, used to earn around $6,000 a month combined, but she lost her job in February as work slowed before the pandemic struck, so she applied for employment insurance (EI). That ran out in August, when she was moved to CERB. The couple has been relying on government programs and food banks of late.On top of the financial stress, his wife recently had one of her legs amputated below the knee. "I'm really I'm trying to stay stable ... for my wife ... because she's going through a lot of emotional as well as physical pain due to the amputation," Wiebe said in an interview. "I'm trying to be a rock for her, but it's a lot of stress and emotional fatigue on me as well."CERB has kept them afloat, but now with rent and bills piling up and the job market looking no better than before — he says he and his wife have filled out 150 job applications since the pandemic began — he's worried.Despite the end of CERB, the government says people like Wiebe won't be left in the lurch. That's because most people who were on the program will be rolled into an expanded EI if they meet the qualifications, which have been expanded to include more people than usual.And almost everyone else, Ottawa says, is likely covered by another new income support program in the works, the Canada response benefit (CRB), which is designed to cover gig, freelance and contract workers who don't qualify for EI.That was previously slated to pay $400 a week, but the Liberals bumped the amount up to $500 after Thursday's throne speech."That may seem like a small change, but there's actually two million people ... that will benefit from this change," said David MacDonald, chief economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a progressive think-tank.Thats the good news. But MacDonald says the current EI plan could still leave more than a million people worse off than where they were under CERB. By his math, roughly 700,000 people who lost work in the pandemic but managed to take in some paid work will find themselves getting less in benefits.And MacDonald said there's a whole other group of roughly 400,000 low income, primarily part-time workers, who will still be making less than they would have been if the government simply extended CERB if they are lucky enough to get back to their regular hours.Transferring between programs 'a messy process'There's also the problem that whether you are transferred seamlessly from CERB to EI depends on how you applied for it. If you applied for CERB through Service Canada, the government says it will happen automatically. But if you applied through the Canada Revenue Agency, you'll have to begin a formal application for EI, which can take time.MacDonald estimates about 900,000 people will qualify for the new CRB. But since none of the programs have been officially created and passed through Parliament yet, there's uncertainty everywhere."The websites aren't up and running in terms of where people would apply, how they apply, how they find out their status and so on," MacDonald said. "There are four million people who are on CERB and will likely go through this transition [so] where they should go and where they should apply to is ... going to be a messy process."Wiebe says he has heard that it can take between six and eight weeks to get a first EI payment. "If that's the case, I'm not sure what we're going to do because we can't go eight weeks with no income," he said.Sarah Pacey is another CERB recipient who's worried about the future.She went on maternity leave from her job providing in-home behaviour therapy for autistic children in June of 2019, but her publicly funded employer lost funding last December. She was laid off while on maternity leave. When her mat leave expired in June 2020 she applied for CERB."With that ending, I'm a little bit just unsure about where I am now," said Pacey, who lives in Toronto.She has pored over the government website explaining EI, but since payouts are based on the amount of paid work you've done over the past year, "it doesn't seem like I really qualify for any of those programs," she said.Government confident no one will be left behindIn announcing the changes, Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said the government is confident that people like Pacey and Wiebe don't need to worry."I think we've created … a much more elegant balance between the need to not disincentivize work, but also support people who, regardless of effort, still aren't working or have significantly reduced hours," she said.WATCH | Carla Qualtrough on the transition from CERB:The government said in a statement that anyone currently on CERB will be eligible for their first EI payment as of Oct. 11. "Over 80 per cent of eligible Canadians are expected to receive their payment by Oct. 14 — three days after becoming eligible, and over 90 per cent are expected to be paid within three to 14 days."Wiebe is fairly confident that he will still qualify for some sort of support program, but his wife may not. Once the couple's $1,575 in rent and more than $500 a month in medical expenses are factored in, there will be little left for utilities and food.The couple's October rent has been paid. But once they take a $20 cab ride to his wife's doctor's appointment next week, Wiebe said he will be down to his last $7."They talk about the hardships and how they understand it," he says of the government's assurances. "But until you've actually lived it, you don't truly grasp it."
The federal government says it will soon introduce a free, automatic tax filing system for simple returns — a policy change meant to provide government benefits to qualified people who don't collect them now because they skip filing their taxes.The promise — a one-line commitment buried in the 6,783-word speech from the throne — could help hundreds of thousands of low- and fixed-income Canadians access benefits that are only paid to people who file tax returns.By law, and in most cases, only people who owe taxes are required to file a return each year with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).Many people — notably those on government assistance — don't expect to owe the federal government anything, so they seldom file.Under the proposed changes, the CRA itself would draw up the paperwork for such simple returns each year — using data they already have on hand about individuals' income — to eliminate a bureaucratic burden that stands in the way of financial support.Experts in tax policy have long said that the CRA already has enough personal information to automatically fill out tax returns for many infrequent filers. Much of the needed figures are electronically transmitted to the agency by employers and government agencies alike.Thirty-six countries, including Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom, already permit return-free filing for some taxpayers.Many Canadians missing out on federal moneyOn average, 12 per cent of working-age adults in Canada don't send in a return each year — a number that jumps to 15.9 per cent in Ontario, according to figures compiled by researchers at Carleton University.As a result, many would-be recipients miss out on some federal programs like the Canada child benefit (CCB), the Canada workers benefit and the carbon tax rebate — money that could give a significant leg-up to low-income families.Fewer than 3 per cent of homeless Canadians collect the GST/HST credit, according to research done by the Calgary Homeless Foundation.Research from Prosper Canada, published in 2018, suggests as many as 40 per cent of eligible First Nations families aren't collecting the CCB — a monthly cheque paid to people with kids who fall below a certain income bracket.A 2017 CBC News report documented internal government concerns about the slow uptake of the CCB among First Nations, Métis and Inuit people.The Liberal government reworked the benefit, which was introduced by former prime minister Stephen Harper, and tightened eligibility to send more money to low- and middle-income Canadians — but many of the neediest were still left out.Employment and Social Development Canada, the department responsible for sending the cheques to families, cited "a mistrust of the federal government and its programs and a resistance to taxation" as reasons why so many Indigenous people were leaving thousands of dollars unclaimed.Lindsay Tedds is a professor of fiscal and economic policy at the University of Calgary. She said tying benefit eligibility to a tax filing is bad policy because it leaves out many eligible recipients who, for whatever reason, don't file returns.Tedds said that for too long, tax filing and tax software lobby groups have been actively discouraging the CRA and its U.S. equivalent, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), from implementing automatic returns for fear it could put a dent in profits. "I find it really disturbing that someone with a very simple tax return is going to a provider to pay $60 to have them fill out something that the CRA already can do," Tedds told CBC News."If we're going to deliver benefits through the tax system then we absolutely have to rethink our tax structure that was set up in 1918. A significant number of vulnerable people are missing out."She said that while the change looks like a simple fix, it could go a long way toward achieving poverty reduction objectives.A spokesperson for National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier said the government is committed to making the tax process easier and more affordable for Canadians."In fact, in 2018, we introduced 'File my Return' where low and fixed-income Canadians were invited to file their tax returns through a simple and free telephone service," the spokesperson said in a statement.But Tedds said that program — which involves CRA agents proactively reaching out to people by phone or mail to encourage them to file in order to collect benefits — isn't all that useful because there's a great deal of mistrust out there, especially among Indigenous people."We have a colonial and institutional system whereby the interaction they have with the state is solely the state coming to take their kids away, so proactively reaching out is not going to overcome these fundamental barriers," she said.Tedds said many within the CRA see the institution as just a collection agency and not a purveyor of benefits — and are blind to the agency's grim reputation."The CRA is not known as being a loving, caring, nurturing organization to deal with," she said. "When we look at the data, CRA is not doing a fantastic job here."There are those in CRA and the Department of Finance who just don't fundamentally understand that the tax system is actually a barrier to achieving other objectives."
MADISON, Wis. — A federal appeals court on Sunday temporarily halted a six-day extension for counting absentee ballots in Wisconsin's presidential election, a momentary victory for Republicans and President Donald Trump in the key presidential battleground state.As it stands, ballots will now be due by 8 p.m. on Election Day. A lower court judge had sided with Democrats and their allies to extend the deadline until Nov. 9. Democrats sought more time as a way to help deal with an expected historic high number of absentee ballots.The Democratic National Committee, the state Democratic Party and allied groups including the League of Women Voters sued to extend the deadline for counting absentee ballots after the April presidential primary saw long lines, fewer polling places, a shortage of workers and thousands of ballots mailed days after the election.U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled Sept. 21 that ballots that arrive up to six days after Election Day will count as long as they're postmarked by Election Day. Sunday’s action puts Conley’s order on hold until the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals or U.S. Supreme Court issues any further action.No further details were immediately posted by the appeals court.State election officials anticipate as many as 2 million people will cast absentee ballots to avoid catching the coronavirus at the polls. That would be three times more absentee ballots than any other previous election and could overwhelm both election officials and the postal service, Conley wrote. If the decision had stood it could have delayed knowing the winner of Wisconsin for days.The Republican National Committee, the state GOP and Wisconsin's Republican legislators argued that current absentee voting rules be left in place, saying people have plenty of time to obtain and return their ballots.Conley in April had ruled that absentee ballots in the state's presidential election could be submitted up to six days after election day. The 7th Circuit let that decision stand but the U.S. Supreme Court said only ballots postmarked on or before election day would count.Conley on Sept. 21 also extended the state’s deadline for registering by mail or electronically by seven days, from Oct. 14 to Oct. 21 and declared that poll workers can work in any county, not just where they live. Clerks have reported fears of the virus caused shortages of poll workers in both Wisconsin’s spring presidential primary and state primary in August. Loosening the residency requirements could make it easier to fill slots.Trump won Wisconsin by less than 1 percentage point — fewer than 23,000 votes — in 2016 and the state figures to be a key battleground again in 2020. Polls show Democrat Joe Biden with a slight lead but both sides expect a tight race.Todd Richmond, The Associated Press
Recent developments: * Ottawa Public Health reported one new death from COVID-19 Sunday and 58 new cases. * Another OC Transpo employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The train operator last worked on Sept. 24 and hasn't returned to the job since. * As of this weekend, Ontario's bars and restaurants can no longer serve alcohol after 11 p.m. Strip clubs have also been closed.What's the latest?Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting one new death from COVID-19 and 58 new cases.Unlike yesterday, the majority of Sunday's cases, 39, are in people over age 30. OC Transpo says another one of its employees, a train operator, has tested positive. The operator last worked on the Confederation Line on Sept. 24 and hasn't been back since.OPH is now contacting people who were in close contact with the employee. The Ottawa Hospital is now overseeing two local long-term care homes that are experiencing severe outbreaks of COVID-19, a decision that's being lauded by those with connections to the homes. There are also now six confirmed COVID-19 cases involving staff at the Centre d'accueil Champlain long-term care home, according to a Saturday memo from the city's director of long-term care.As of this weekend, Ontario's bars and restaurants can no longer serve alcohol after 11 p.m. Strip clubs have also been closed.How many cases are there?Ottawa reported 58 new COVID-19 cases and one new death on Sunday. As of the most recent OPH update, 4,063 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. That includes 575 known active cases, 3,207 resolved cases and 281 deaths.Overall, public health officials have reported nearly 6,200 cases of COVID-19 across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, with nearly 5,000 of those cases considered resolved.COVID-19 has killed 104 people in the region outside Ottawa: 52 people have died in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties, 34 in the Outaouais and 18 in other parts of eastern Ontario.What's open and closed?Some public health rules are being rolled back because of the second wave of the pandemic.Ottawa and Kingston, Ont., public health officials are ordering anyone with symptoms or who has been identified as a close contact of someone who's tested positive to immediately self-isolate or face a fine of up to $5,000 per day in court.Kingston has also tightened its distancing rules in city parks and increased fines.Ottawa has resumed ticketing drivers who park longer than allowed in unmarked areas.It's also closing the McNabb Arena respite centre for people without housing on Oct. 2 and expanding services at nearby support centres.Private, unmonitored gatherings across Ontario are now limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.Quebec has introduced tighter restrictions in the province's "orange zones," which now includes the Outaouais.Distancing and isolatingThe novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes or speaks onto someone or something.People can be contagious without symptoms.This means precautions such as working from home, keeping your hands and frequently-touched surfaces clean socializing outdoors as much as possible and keeping distance from anyone you don't live with or have in your social circle, including when you have a mask on.Ottawa's medical officer of health is pleading with residents to reduce the number of people they're in close contact with as new cases of COVID-19 continue to surge.Masks are mandatory in indoor public settings in all of eastern Ontario and Quebec, including transit services and taxis in some areas.Masks are also recommended outdoors when you can't stay the proper distance from others.WATCH | Students experience pandemic learning gaps:Anyone who has travelled recently outside Canada must go straight home and stay there for 14 days.Most people with a confirmed COVID-19 case in Quebec can end their self-isolation after 10 days if they have not had a fever for at least 48 hours and has had no other symptom for at least 24 hours.Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems stay home as much as possible. What are the symptoms of COVID-19?COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. Children can develop a rash.Getting tested any sooner than five days after potential exposure may not be useful since the virus may not yet be detectable, says OPH.If you have severe symptoms, call 911.Where to get testedWait times and lines have been long at many of the area's test sites, causing some to reach capacity before closing time or even before opening.It's also taking up to five days for laboratories to process tests, according to OPH's Etches on Wednesday.Ontario health officials have said they're trying to add more test capacity.In eastern Ontario:The Ontario government recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you've been told to by your health unit or the province because of your work.Most of Ottawa's testing happens at one of four permanent sites, with additional mobile sites wherever demand is particularly high.A test clinic is expected to open at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex in Orléans, likely by mid-October.People without symptoms, but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy, can make an appointment at select Ottawa pharmacies.In the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, there are drive-thru centres in Casselman and Limoges and a walk-up site in Hawkesbury that doesn't require people to call ahead.Its medical officer of health says the Casselman centre will be moved to reduce its impact on traffic.Others in Alexandria, Rockland, Cornwall and Winchester require an appointment.In Kingston, the city's test site is now operating at the Beechgrove Complex near King Street West and Portsmouth Avenue.It will be open from 9 p.m. until 4 p.m., and will also offer drive-thru testing this weekend. Napanee's test centre is open daily for people who call ahead.People can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville, Picton or Trenton by calling the centre. Only Belleville and Trenton run seven days a week and also offer online booking.The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit has walk-in sites in Kemptville and Brockville. There are testing sites in Smiths Falls and Almonte which require an appointment.The health unit will also be running pop-up test sites in Gananoque on Monday and in Prescott on Tuesday.Renfrew County residents should call their family doctor. Those without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 for a test or if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not.People can also visit the health unit's website to find out where testing clinics will be taking place each week.In western Quebec:Outaouais residents can make an appointment in Gatineau seven days a week at 135 blvd. Saint-Raymond or 617 avenue Buckingham.They can now check the approximate wait time for the Saint-Raymond site.There are recurring clinics by appointment in communities such as Gracefield, Val-des-Monts and Fort-Coulonge.They can call 1-877-644-4545 if they have other questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby.Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms or who have been in contact with someone with symptoms. People without symptoms can also get a test.First Nations, Inuit and Métis:Akwesasne has had 14 confirmed COVID-19 cases, most linked to a gathering on an island in July.It has a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only.Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days.Inuit in Ottawa can also call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays.People in Pikwakanagan can book an appointment for a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-2259. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse.For more information
Hannah Murnaghan has loved the outdoors for as long as she can remember, so when the opportunity to look for freshwater mussels in the river presented itself, she jumped right in — literally."We see mussels in all the rivers that we work in," said Murnaghan, the co-ordinator at the Morell River Management Co-operative, which manages six rivers: Morell River, Midgell River, Bristol Creek, Marie River, Schooner Creek, and St Peters River. These, however, were no ordinary mussels she was searching for. Murnaghan and her team were on the hunt to find an alewife floater.Originally, only two types of freshwater mussels had been documented on the Island — the eastern pearlshell and the eastern floater. But Rosemary Curley, president of Nature P.E.I., said the alewife floater recently made the list."Some of them are hard to tell apart."Curley said the species was originally discovered in the rocky Midgell River back in 2018. At the time, she was accompanying others down by the water hoping to learn more about the eastern pearlshell's habitat."It wasn't really my project," she said. "I was invited to help some people who were visiting from the mainland."The small group was made up of her, Juergen Geist from the Technical University of Munich, Annie Paquet from the Quebec Department of Forest Wildlife and Parks, and Mary Sollows from the New Brunswick Museum."As soon as we got there, Mary picked up a shell and she and Annie said at the same time 'alewife floater,'" Curley laughed."The alewife floater had never been reported on P.E.I. before. It was newly found," said Curley.Travels by fishHow exactly this specific mussel made its way into P.E.I. waters remains unclear. Curley, though, said she believes it was transported by a fish. "Their life cycle includes a stage where they have a larval form called a glochidia," she said. "They attach to the gills of their host fish."As they mature, they'll drop off wherever the fish happens to be and they develop further into a mature clam in the river."According to Nature P.E.I., while additional shells were discovered, only one live specimen was collected and sent to the New Brunswick Museum."So this summer, I decided to see if I could find some other sites for the floater," said Curley.Quest to find moreShe began her new search by messaging watershed groups across the Island.> We thought we might have a chance at finding it. -Hannah Murnaghan, Morell River Management Co-operative"They were helpful because being the experts they are in their watersheds, they knew where some of these mussels were living," she said."We sent her a message and we told her we'd be interested in helping her try and look for the mussel," said Murnaghan, with the watershed at Morell River Management Co-op."We did know there was gaspereau in Bristol Creek, which is the species the alewife floater uses to get up Bristol Creek so we thought we might have a chance at finding it," said Murnaghan."But we didn't have any luck."So for now, even though leads on how a single alewife floater ended up on P.E.I. have run dry, Murnaghan said she's not giving up. "Going forward we'll probably pick [the mussels] up and see what species they are," she said."Although we didn't have any luck finding it in our field day with Rosemary, we will be keeping an eye out."More from CBC P.E.I.
Dangerous driving, lack of physical distancing and disregard for public gathering limits led the Ontario Provincial Police to start turning motorists away from Wasaga Beach on Saturday night. The Town of Wasaga Beach saw a large influx of car enthusiasts over the Sept. 26 weekend for what police called an unsanctioned car rally. Police say most participants were not from the local area. Late on Sept. 26, OPP officers set up at the entrances to town and began turning away motorists that were not Wasaga Beach residents. “There was an overall disregard of any kind of rules at all, so they made the decision in the interest of public safety to shut down the town, for lack of a better word,” said OPP Sgt. Jason Folz. “It's just a matter of time before somebody gets injured or killed based on these kind of driving behaviours.” Folz said there was a lack of physical distancing and complete disregard for the limits on outdoor social gatherings (25 people), which were implemented to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Folz said the car "take-over" continued on Sunday Sept. 27, and that police maintained an active presence throughout the duration. “I get the sense that certainly some of the local residents were frustrated with the number of people and the lack of respect for rules and dangerous driving behaviour,” he said. OPP were assisted by a helicopter, which Folz said was used to track people fleeing from police, monitor gatherings, and collect evidence. Police from York Region and Peel Region also assisted. Folz said information on the number of tickets and charges handed out over the weekend is not available yet. “It's very concerning for all police agencies involved,” Folz said. “We're trying to eliminate that culture where people think they can drive anywhere they want just because they bring lots of numbers of people to block roads and do whatever they please.”Shane MacDonald, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
Montreal and Quebec City will be upgraded to the highest COVID-19 alert level "in the coming days" according to provincial Health Minister Christian Dubé.He confirmed the two cities would move from orange to red alert while speaking on Radio-Canada's popular Sunday night talk show, Tout le monde en parle."Montreal and Quebec City are the hardest hit areas at the moment. They're very close to the red zone," he said. "We're going to announce in the coming days because I think we've arrived at that point. We're there and we have to act because people are expecting us to be transparent."Dubé said that difficult decisions lie ahead but didn't give details on exactly what the red zone restrictions would look like.The number of COVID-19 infections in the province continues to surge, with Quebec reporting 896 new cases on Sunday. The island of Montreal has the most new cases at 375. The Quebec City area clocks in at 120 and the Montérégie has 83 new cases.Dubé and public health officials have been calling on people to stop socializing for the next month in order to slow the spread of the virus.
Nagorno-Karabakh is an ethnically Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan that has been out of Azerbaijan’s control since the end of a war in 1994. View on euronews
White Rock's iconic, white boulder was partly covered this weekend in black paint and the social justice slogan, "Black Lives Matter." White Rock RCMP say an investigation is underway. Anthony Manning, a White Rock city councillor, told CBC News he spotted the paint Sunday morning while taking part in the annual Canadian Walk for Veterans."I support anyone's right to express their opinion, but defacing or destroying property is not the way to get one's message across," Manning said. "It undermines their position and emboldens the opposition."He said the incident was particularly unfortunate because the rock is considered sacred to the local Semiahmoo First Nation. The Nation could not be reached for comment."All in all, not a great way to put the very worthy BLM cause in the best light," added Manning.He expects the city to quickly paint over the message as it did a few months ago when people spray-painted an anti-police acronym onto the landmark.The city was not available for comment.
A total of 50 patients and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.Alberta Health Services confirmed on Sunday that five additional patients, for a total of 25 patient cases, and seven additional health-care workers, for a total of 25 staff cases, have tested positive.Four patients have died.As of Sept. 25, 136 health-care workers were self-isolating. AHS said that number will be updated twice weekly.The first case was detected at one of the cardiac units in the hospital on Sept. 18, and the first case in the hospital's general unit was found the next day. Cases were also identified in a second cardiac unit.Now, two additional units are part of the outbreaks. Cases at the transitional medical unit are linked to the current outbreak, but cases at a short stay unit are not believed to be connected.AHS said all patients and health-care workers who may have been affected have been identified and testing is underway."Multiple teams are working daily to determine where the infection may have started, how it was transmitted and who needs to be contacted and tested to limit exposure. This is standard procedure in our contact tracing that we implement with any outbreak," AHS said in an emailed statement. The COVID-19 outbreaks at Foothills hospital in Calgary are raising concerns about how hospitals around the province will be able to cope as cases mount.Alberta Health Services has said it is using overtime and reassignment of staff to cover shifts at Foothills.In Alberta, there were 1,497 active COVID-19 cases as of Friday, 518 of which were in Calgary.
A group of Strathmore, Alta., residents learned a bit more about their Siksika neighbours this past week when they took part in a unique Indigenous history lesson known as a blanket exercise.Throughout the exercise, participants stand on blankets that symbolize the land inhabited by Indigenous people that eventually became Canada."This is so amazing that in our time, 2020, we can actually teach non-Indigenous people about our history and why we have the circumstances that we do today as a result of our history with Canada and it wasn't always a good picture," said Charlotte Yellow Horn McLeod, the Indigenous cultural coordinator for a group called the Aspen Commons Family Resource Network, which hosted the event.Yellow Horn McLeod said it was a good opportunity for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to come together and work toward healing."I think in school people learn about the benevolent part of Canada without learning part of the story, so the blanket exercise kind of touches on our part of the story," she said.Yellow Horn McLeod walked participants through a timeline of historical events leading up to present day, illustrated through the symbolic artifacts on the blankets — moccasins, shawls and beadwork.The lesson sheds light on European colonialism and the mistreatment of Indigenous people in Canada.Strathmore resident Marcie Burtniak was shaken after the experience."I feel pretty emotional," she said. "When I played the part of the child that was forced from the community to go to residential school, that was one thing. But then they said, 'Turn your back because you're not really recognized by your community anymore' — Wow. That was so hurtful, and so heartbreaking."The retired teacher said she hopes the country can learn from the mistakes of the past."To have a government in the day, do that to the first people of our country was … so wrong," she said.Another attendee, Strathmore resident Roseanne de Beaudrap, said she had come to seek a better understanding of her country's history."I grew up in Saskatchewan in an area that was a large population of Indigenous people … I have a good base but there's a lot that I don't know, so I'm here for more understanding," she said. "Here in Canada we are such a diverse culture, I think it just helps us to live more cohesively if we understand each other and where we're coming from."Afterward the blanket exercise, de Beaudrap was emotional."I'm overwhelmed, and yet hopeful in a way, that this is maybe something that can ripple out, and there can be healing and more education to other people, that hopefully there will be more understanding," de Beaudrap said. "There's so much that I learned, my eyes have been opened. I'm grateful for this experience and I hope others experience it too."Mildred Broad Scalplock, from Siksika, said she hopes the communities continue to work together toward reconciliation through such simple but powerful exercises."I have a warm feeling in my heart knowing that people listened to my story and I felt accepted, and just hearing the impacts of everybody was really emotional," she said. "Also, building, bridging the gaps between Siksika and Strathmore, I feel empowered and I think that's something that should have been done a long time ago."
Four individuals at Yorkton Regional High School have tested positive for COVID-19 and as a result, Good Spirit School Division has moved the high school to full mandatory remote learning.Quintin Robertson, the director of education for the school division, said in a statement the source of the infection is believed to be from community spread but school transmission has not been confirmed.The statement did not say if the positive cases were students or teachers at the high school.Classes for the high school will be hosted online until Oct. 16 with students returning to the school on Oct. 19, based on advice from the local medical health officer."The [Yorkton Regional High School] staff have been preparing for remote learning since the spring and are confident that the move to an alternate instructional model will not impact learning," Robertson said.Robertson said anybody who is identified as a close contact to those who tested positive will be contacted directly by public health.The statement said the facility team at the Good Spirit School Division will fully disinfect the high school before staff and students return.
The New Brunswick Women's Council says government needs to make sure people of low economic status continue to get paid when they're off work because of COVID-19."Not losing their job is important. But it's not just about, is their job being secured? It's about, are they still getting paid?" said executive director Beth Lyons.Lyons was referring to people who don't receive paid sick leave and don't have any savings because they're economically insecure. "If you're living paycheque to paycheque, having to take a full two weeks off is catastrophic," she said.'COVID-19 is not a great equalizer'In its COVID-19 response plan, the province promised it will continue to ensure there are no job losses for COVID-19-related caregiving.The plan, which also promises the continuation of the essential workers child-care program, was quietly released the same day Premier Blaine Higgs called the provincial election last month.It focuses on topics like the province's recovery plan, testing methods, returning to school and protecting New Brunswick's vulnerable populations.The 51-page document says the province is focused on ensuring that a gender-based analysis is applied in all COVID-19 response and recovery efforts."COVID is not a great equalizer," Lyons said. "It's not something that we are all impacted by in the same way when there were pre-existing inequalities. The pandemic has only exacerbated them and made them more clear."More women affected by COVID indirectlyThe New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training at the University of New Brunswick is launching a project aimed at identifying groups who are likely at risk from COVID-19, either directly or indirectly because of disruptions to income, school, employment, health service access and family composition. Those results are expected to be available in late October and Lyons is hoping they will illuminate the challenges faced by some more than others during this pandemic. Some of the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 are particularly around labour force participation in New Brunswick, said Lyons.Women are often clustered into jobs related to the five Cs: cleaning, catering, cashiering, clerical work and caring. Many of these jobs are being disproportionately impacted during the pandemic and were already paying "little to start with," she said.The situation is particularly challenging for single-parent families, Lyons said, which are predominantly led by women who don't have anyone to share caregiving responsibilities. The province's COVID-19 response plan also noted that women over the age of 55 who were off work at the height of the pandemic in the spring are less likely to return to work than their male counterparts.Lyons believes that's because many of those women are staying home to take care of grandchildren, particularly over the past six months when children have been home from school."In lots of ways COVID is a crisis of caregiving," she said. She also uses the example of a child or grandchild having to stay home because they're showing a symptom of COVID-19.Government needs to listen Moving forward, Lyons hopes government will listen to the recommendations of community-based organizations and independent entities like the Women's Council, including issues related to income insecurity, access to child care and increasing the wages of child-care workers. Issues she said, that are not new to New Brunswick."Society itself will grind to a halt if we don't have access to daycares."
Child-care advocates in Toronto say the creation of a national program proposed by the federal government could drive major improvements in a city that's home to one of the most poorly functioning child-care sectors in Canada.Gov. Gen Julie Payette announced in Wednesday's throne speech the government's intention to pursue what could become Canada's first universal child-care system."The government will make a significant, long-term, sustained investment to create a Canada-wide early-learning and child-care system," she told the House of Commons.Although the speech included few details about what that system would look like, or when the Liberal government intends to have it ready, people in Toronto welcomed the news as a possible sign of relief for a sector that's endured years of systemic problems and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic."Toronto has the highest child-care fees in the country and at the same time, early childhood educators are still making minimum wage — this is the challenge that's before us," said Carolyn Ferns, the public policy and government relations coordinator at the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care.Toronto has for years been Canada's most expensive city for child care, with an average infant daycare fee of $1,774 per month in 2019, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).The cities of Markham, Vaughan, Oakville and Mississauga round out the top five, cementing the Greater Toronto Area's status as Canada's most expensive urban area for child care."It has become evident that child-care fees in Canada are lowest when services receive substantial public operational funding and the fees are set as a matter of public policy," reads the CCPA report.High fees and low wages at the heart of Toronto's problemsIndustry advocates say the high fees and long wait lists facing many parents can only be resolved by a universal system accompanied by a significant increase in funding, which the Liberal government appears to have promised."There's a point in time now where we have an opportunity to really change the way that the system functions and look at what it is that families need," said Lidia Monaco, vice president of strategic initiatives at The Neighbourhood Group, which operates 10 non-profit child-care centres in Toronto.The Neighbourhood Group's newest child-care centre opened last year and was filled to capacity just three minutes after registration opened, Monaco said.Some Toronto families, she noted, don't have the means to pay for a spot, given the city's high fees and lack of access to subsidies."There's a lot of families that can't afford child care, so it makes it very difficult," Monaco added.Experts say the implementation of a national program would lower costs for families since child-care centres would no longer have to rely on parent fees to stay afloat.Increased funding could also improve wages in the industry, which could in turn make it easier to hire and retain education workers."As wages go up, parent fees go up, and this conflict is never really resolved," said Alana Powell, executive coordinator for the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario."We really need an investment soon to address these issues."National program could help women get back to workA more affordable and accessible child-care system has also been described as a critical element of Canada's recovery from the massive economic downturn caused by COVID-19.Advocates say a more affordable and accessible child-care system will result in more women returning to the labour force after having children.In Quebec, which generally has the lowest child-care fees in Canada, 81 per cent of women participate in the workforce, compared to 75 per cent in Ontario, according to a 2018 report by Statistics Canada.The gap grows larger when focusing solely on women with a child under three years of age. In Quebec, 80 per cent of mothers with young children participate in the labour force, compared to 69.5 per cent of Ontario women with young children.Ferns said Ottawa and provincial governments must act quickly and build up the program for Canada, and Canadian mothers, to have a swift recovery from the current downturn."[A national program] supports not only families, and especially women, it also supports the economy," said Monaco.
Since COVID-19 arrived on the scene, virtual has been the only venue for most of Ottawa's nightlife. But those digital dance parties aren't really cutting it for two local DJs.Before the pandemic, Christopher Adamowicz, who goes by the name DJ Balu, could be found spinning tracks at Mercury Lounge in the ByWard Market. These days, the closest he gets to a club is his living room."Just me and my couch and a bunch of DJ gear," Balu told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning.His last live gig was back in March. A couple times a week, Balu livestreams his music on Facebook for friends and fans."It's tough to not be able to express yourself in front of people," he said, though he allows it requires a lot less equipment. "I just use my cell phone and adapter and get the best sound quality I can get." While bars and restaurants have been allowed to reopen, albeit with restrictions, nightclubs remain on the province's list of high-risk venues. According to Ontario's Stage 3 reopening plan, nightclubs are "not yet safe to open, due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of COVID-19."In addition, as of midnight Friday, new restrictions meant to curb COVID-19 transmission will apply to bars and restaurants. Last call will be at 11 p.m. and doors must close by midnight. Strip clubs across Ontario will be forced to close indefinitely. The tighter rules are meant to quell a recent flare-up of cases, especially in people ages 20-39.The rules have taken a heavy toll on the nightclub scene in Ottawa, forcing artists, DJs and producers such as Peter Albert, a.k.a. DJ Pithra, to pivot to online entertainment. Albert, co-founder of Music.Art.Ppl Collective, used to DJ regularly at Babylon, Mercury Lounge and Queen St. Fare."I miss the community. I miss being out there, dancing with others, connecting and sharing," said Albert on Ottawa Morning. "You can't replicate an immersive experience digitally."Albert did produce a virtual fundraising event for the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. "It was a good time, but … people on the other side watching through their screens? You don't really get that satisfaction of getting the reaction," he said.And the money? Not great, neither for the DJs, nor for the venues that can't make any extra money selling food and drinks at virtual events."Let's be real. It's not as … lucrative," Albert said.Albert is in touch with DJs elsewhere who are also struggling because of COVID-19."In the U.K., things are strict, if not stricter," he said. "If there's a renegade party, something that's not officially organized and legal, then there are fines of £10,000 (about $17,000 Cdn.).""There's just too much uncertainty to even book artists," said Albert. "Here in Ontario … the premier announced that regulations would change the next day. People had weddings that got cancelled."Albert worries colder weather will reduce options even further."It would be great if, as a community … we can find a creative way to do things in the winter, say a massive tent where the government allows different people to host events and it's aired out with a bunch of heaters. We just have to think of ways to make it work with the winter coming," he said. Balu remains cautiously optimistic Ottawa's nightlife will survive. "I have a feeling it's all going to come back tenfold, because people do need to go out," he said. "I know some clubs are struggling … others are holding on tight and praying that this ends quickly."
With cases of COVID-19 increasing in Quebec at a rate not seen since the spring, health experts are urging the government to take more drastic measures in order to spare the beleaguered health-care system from further stress. On Sunday, Quebec reported 896 new cases, a figure close to the worst days in April and May. Hospitalizations and deaths, though, are currently much lower than they were during the first wave.Nevertheless, hospitalizations have risen 46 per cent over the past week. There are currently 216 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 41 in intensive care.According to experts, the lower hospitalization numbers can be explained by the larger percentages of young people who are testing positive for the disease. At that age, they are less likely to develop complications.But hospital doctors in Montreal say they are in fact admitting younger patients, which potentially poses a new set of challenges for the health system.Dr. François Marquis, head of intensive care at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in Montreal, said the younger patients he's seen have taken longer to recover. "We could wind up, in this second wave, with a problem where a small number of young people fill our beds in intensive care because they don't die, but they don't get better. They're stuck between the two," Marquis said in an interview with Radio-Canada. "That's a reality the population has not understood and that young people, unfortunately, have not understood."Dr. Matthew Oughton, a physician of infectious diseases at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital, said he expects hospitalizations to increase more rapidly in about a month, as young people transmit the virus to older generations. "We're going to be back into the sort of crunch that we know many hospitals in Quebec were in back in the later part of March and April," Oughton said.Concern again about long-term careAnother area of concern as cases rise is the fate of long-term care homes. In the first wave of the pandemic, hundreds of publicly run facilities (known as CHSLDs) had outbreaks, which killed nearly 4,000 people.The government promised sweeping changes to protocol and staffing levels to prevent a similar disaster from taking place again. But in recent days, outbreaks at a number of CHSLDs and seniors homes have worried observers.Visits had to be suspended at the CHSLD Idola Saint-Jean in Laval Saturday, after 11 patients and seven employees tested positive for the virus.Meanwhile, 10 people tested positive at Residence l'Initial in the Outouais region and patients at the CHSLD Herron —where 38 people died in the spring — are once again in insolation after a staff member tested positive there."This is extremely concerning. This shouldn't be happening anymore," said Dr. Cécile Tremblay, an infectious disease specialist at the Université de Montréal hospital. "The government was firm on this and said it wouldn't happen anymore, but it is happening again." Tremblay said that while the government did hire more patient care attendants, long-term care homes are still dealing with a shortage of nurses and staff-to-patient ratios are less than ideal. Need tougher measures, experts sayIn an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Quebec government has been urging people to avoid all social gatherings, especially in private homes, for the next month."The high increase in cases is mainly associated to community transmission of the virus," Health Minister Christian Dubé wrote on Twitter, Sunday.Tremblay said the virus is spreading out of control, and suggested the government consider taking tougher measures to prevent the death toll from increasing. Making masks mandatory for students inside the classroom was among the measures she proposed."It is extremely important that people understand we are heading straight for a second wave that will be at least as bad as the first one, if not worse," she said.Oughton also said the government needs to do more. Simply asking people to reduce their contacts, he said, hasn't been enough. "It's a request, but it doesn't have any force to it. And as a result, I have a feeling that some people don't see this as being anything more than a suggestion or a recommendation," he said."Right now the message isn't getting through with sufficient clarity. The government needs to take firm and clear action to explain to people why this is such an issue."
If you're a fan of Mordheim or any Games Workshop title, Necromunda may be the next big thing you're looking for. In this review, we cover the basics of Necromunda on Xbox. The gameplay is fun and there are near infinite hours of play!