B.C. RCMP say they'll leave outpost on Wet'suwet'en territory if road is kept clear

B.C. RCMP say they'll leave outpost on Wet'suwet'en territory if road is kept clear

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says he's hoping the RCMP's offer to leave their outpost on Wet'suwet'en territory in northern B.C. will lead to the barricades coming down, as talks aimed at ending the rail blockades crippling the country's rail network continue.

"I'm very hopeful that that will satisfy the concerns that were raised," said Blair ahead of a Thursday morning cabinet meeting.

"I believe the time has come now for the barricades to come down."

CBC News has obtained a copy of a letter sent Wednesday from RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan to the hereditary chiefs offering to move the RCMP's temporary detachment from near the protest site to the nearby town of Houston — as long as Morice West Forest Service Road remains clear. The RCMP confirmed that letter was sent.

"As always, we encourage dialogue over enforcement with a goal of a long-term solution," Strachan wrote, while asking for a meeting "in the near future."

In a separate letter to staff, Strachan said the decision to re-assess their presence was "not an easy one to consider."

"By making this gesture in good faith, we are not only supporting efforts towards a peaceful and sustainable solution, but also facilitating them," she wrote in the internal email, first reported on by Global News.

"Our hope has always been to create mutual understanding for a peaceful resolution, without the need for police intervention."

Watch: Blair says he doesn't direct RCMP on blockades

It's not clear yet whether the hereditary chiefs will meet with federal and provincial government representatives. Earlier this afternoon, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett said she had not heard back from the chiefs on whether they will accept Strachan's offer.

The RCMP, which acts as the provincial police service in B.C., moved in to enforce a court injunction earlier this month after the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and their supporters blocked construction of the $6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline project. The B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction in December authorizing the police to clear away the protesters who had blocked access to the public road.

Those arrests triggered national protests and the rail blockades, which have lasted just over two weeks now. Via Rail announced nearly 1,000 layoffs Wednesday in response to the nationwide rail shutdown, while CN Rail says it has issued temporary pink slips to 450 workers because the blockade has shuttered much of its eastern Canadian operations.

Bennett has offered to meet with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs as soon as possible to help resolve the dispute.

Trudeau calls blockades an 'unacceptable situation' 

So far, the hereditary chiefs have said they won't meet with the federal and provincial ministers until the RCMP leave their territory.

Blair said he hopes the RCMP's offer will meet the chiefs' conditions.

"I have not been directing the RCMP, but they have been making very thoughtful and well-informed operational decisions with respect to their deployment in response to concerns that have been raised," he said after today's cabinet meeting.

Watch: Miller is still waiting to meet the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs

In a tweet, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde called the RCMP's decision "an important opportunity for progress, dialogue and safety."

A handful of hereditary chiefs are travelling to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ont., to meet with protesters there who have been blockading CN Rail in solidarity. The chiefs are also expected to visit Mohawks at Kahnawake in Quebec.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford's office put out a statement calling the B.C. developments a positive step while pushing for a timeline to end the blockades.

"While the Ontario government believes in the rule of law, it is imperative that elected officials do not direct police operational decisions," his office said in a statement.

CN gets injunction for Montreal blockade

"We believe the OPP is in the best position to ensure the protest remains peaceful, as both sides find a negotiated resolution."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet met in Ottawa Thursday morning to chart a path forward.

"We're working very hard to end the blockades. It's an unacceptable situation," said the prime minister.

CN Rail says it has obtained an injunction to dismantle a rail blockade on Montreal's South Shore.

"We've obtained the injunction and are hoping for a swift resolution of this incident so that passenger commuter rail service can resume," it said in a statement.

Quebec Premier François Legault told reporters earlier Thursday that "once the injunction is granted, we will dismantle the blockade."

Watch: Blair says B.C. RCMP offering to leave Wet'suwet'en territory

  • More evidence indicates healthy people can spread virus
    News
    The Canadian Press

    More evidence indicates healthy people can spread virus

    NEW YORK — Scientists offered more evidence Wednesday that the coronavirus is spread by seemingly healthy people who show no clear symptoms, and the federal government issued new guidance warning that anyone exposed to the disease can be considered a carrier.A study by researchers in Singapore became the latest to estimate that somewhere around 10% of new infections may be sparked by people who carry the virus but have not yet suffered its flu-like symptoms.In response to that study and others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed how it defined the risk of infection for Americans. The agency's new guidance targeted people who have no symptoms but were exposed to others with known or suspected infections. It essentially says that anyone may be a carrier, whether that person has symptoms or not.The findings complicate efforts to gain control of the pandemic and reinforce the importance of social distancing and other measures designed to stop the spread, experts said.“You have to really be proactive about reducing contacts between people who seem perfectly healthy,” said Lauren Ancel Meyers, a University of Texas at Austin researcher who has studied coronavirus transmission in different countries.The newest research was published online by the CDC. It focused on 243 cases of coronavirus reported in Singapore from mid-January through mid-March, including 157 infections among people who had not travelled recently. Scientists found that so-called pre-symptomatic people triggered infections in seven different clusters of disease, accounting for about 6% of the locally acquired cases.One of those infections was particularly striking. A 52-year-old woman's infection was linked to her sitting in a seat at a church that had been occupied earlier in the day by two tourists who showed no symptoms but later fell ill, investigators said after they reviewed closed-circuit camera recordings of church services.An earlier study that focused on China, where the virus was first identified, suggested that more than 10% of transmissions were from people who were infected but did not yet feel sick.The seemingly healthy people who can transmit the virus are believed to fall into three categories: pre-symptomatic, who do not have symptoms when they spread but develop illness a couple of days later; asymptomatic, who never develop symptoms; and post-symptomatic, who get sick and recover but remain contagious. The Singapore and China studies focused on pre-symptomatic infections.It remains unclear how many new infections are caused by each type of potential spreader, said Meyers, who was not involved in the Singapore study but was part of the earlier one focused on China.CDC officials say they have been researching asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic infections, but the studies are not complete.In an interview Tuesday with a radio station in Atlanta, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield cited an estimate that 25% of infected people may be asymptomatic. It was not clear what that estimate was based on, or if it included people who were pre-symptomatic or post-symptomatic. The AP requested more information from the CDC, but the agency did not provide those details.Redfield's comment was in response to a question about whether the agency is going to recommend that people who seem healthy wear masks or face coverings when they go out. He said the agency is reviewing its guidance, looking at research in Singapore, China and other places in making that decision.California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week said he planned to announce new state guidelines on wearing masks.Wearing scarves or bandanas over noses and mouths is “not necessarily going to protect you, but if you are carrying the disease, it may reduce the amount you transmit,” said Carl Bergstrom, a University of Washington evolutionary biologist who studies emerging infectious diseases.In the initial months of the pandemic, health officials based their response on the belief that most of the spread came from people who were sneezing or coughing droplets that contained the virus.Another kind of coronavirus caused the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which was first identified in Asia in 2003 and caused a frightening but relatively short-lived international outbreak that never spread as widely as the new virus.Although some asymptomatic infections were discovered, none were found to have spread the disease. Because symptomatic people were the spreaders, health officials could focus on them to see an outbreak happening and could better isolate infected people and stop the spread.“It was much, much easier” to contain, Bergstrom said. With the new coronavirus, “we clearly have asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission,” he added.—-The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press

  • B.C. health officials 'considering' widespread mask use as COVID-19 cases rise
    News
    CBC

    B.C. health officials 'considering' widespread mask use as COVID-19 cases rise

    As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases soar, B.C. health officials are starting to consider whether the wider use of face masks could curb the spread.Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has so far recommended against widespread community use. That's consistent with advice given by the World Health Organization, the Government of Canada and the nation's chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam: Unless you are exhibiting symptoms, you don't need to wear a face mask.Henry also warned that wearing a mask improperly could lead people to fiddle with it and contaminate it, especially if they do not wash their hands before removing and donning the mask.But the stance against face masks softened Wednesday when Henry said her team is now looking into community use."Obviously, this is something we've been considering as well," she said at her daily press conference Wednesday. Henry said masks might have some benefit for people who don't have any symptoms."The use of non-medical masks ... may reduce, in some cases, the touching of your face [and] they can have some benefit in keeping your droplets in," she said."But we need to be careful ... what is not proven is that they provide you with any protection. That's the really critical part."Lack of consensusThere is currently no global consensus on whether a widespread use of face masks would slow down the spread of COVID-19. But European countries like Austria and Czech Republic are now making it mandatory to wear masks. And the practice is common in several East Asian countries that have seen some success in keeping transmission low.Benjamin Cowling, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Hong Kong, says there is evidence that face masks are just as effective as hand hygiene in preventing the spread of respiratory viruses.And while physical distancing appears to be most effective in curtailing the spread of COVID-19, "it would make sense that if everybody was wearing face masks, there would be less chance of transmission to occur than if people are not wearing masks," Cowling said."There is definite recognition that some infected persons have been able to spread infection before their symptoms appear. So if everybody wears a face mask, it also reduces the chance that if you're infected, you're going to spread infection to other people."Reserving limited supplyHenry maintains that B.C.'s health-care workers are a priority to receive the province's limited supply of masks. After hearing that health-care workers are facing a shortage of personal protective equipment, Vancouver dentist Patrick Wu says he and other volunteers started collecting face masks and other supplies to donate to local hospitals.But while he agrees health-care workers have the most urgent need for masks, Wu also makes sure to wear one when he is in a public space.Wu, who was born in Taiwan and grew up in Vancouver, says people in other Asian countries also do the same."During this pandemic, we're all fearful of the airborne disease, so [we believe] wearing a mask gives us some protection," he said.

  • Trudeau defends new flights bringing Canadians home from across the globe
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Trudeau defends new flights bringing Canadians home from across the globe

    OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians being flown home from abroad must subject themselves to "rigorous" and mandatory 14-day self-isolation to keep their fellow citizens safe.Trudeau says Canadians must "look out for each other," but they have a duty not to infect others, especially health care workers."The public health case is that if people who return properly and rigorously self-isolate, then we are not significantly increasing the risk to everyone else," the prime minister said during his daily briefing at his Rideau Cottage residence.Trudeau spoke as the government announced today that six planes carrying Canadians stranded in Africa and Europe are to touch down today in the effort to repatriate travellers stranded by COVID-19.Global Affairs Canada says the planes will arrive from Algeria, Ecuador, Senegal, Democratic Republic of Congo, Hungary and Spain.The department says the government is planning more flights from Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Peru, Algeria, Poland and Pakistan in the coming days.Plans are also being made for several fights from India, starting on April 4 and continuing for the next four days until April 7.The government is reiterating that not all Canadians stranded abroad will be able to come back to Canada, and that those returning will be subjected to mandatory self-isolation.Trudeau said the government wants to see Canadians come home, "but we also very much expect and demand that they keep themselves and their neighbours safe by self-isolating in rigorous conditions for two weeks as soon as they get home."We would much rather have people home than have them stranded elsewhere around the world where things are getting — you know — worse."Speaking in French, Trudeau said the government was "implementing strict and rigorous measures" so the people who come home do not endanger other Canadians, including their neighbours and health care workers.The government says it has approved 449 loans worth $1.4 million under its emergency program for Canadians abroad and is processing another 900 loan applications.This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 1, 2020.Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

  • 'A battlefield behind your home': Deaths mount in New York
    News
    The Canadian Press

    'A battlefield behind your home': Deaths mount in New York

    New York rushed to bring in an army of medical volunteers Wednesday as the statewide death toll from the coronavirus doubled in 72 hours to more than 1,900 and the wail of ambulances in the otherwise eerily quiet streets of the city became the heartbreaking soundtrack of the crisis.As hot spots flared around the U.S. in places like New Orleans and Southern California, the nation's biggest city was the hardest hit of them all, with bodies loaded onto refrigerated morgue trucks by gurney and forklift outside overwhelmed hospitals, in full view of passing motorists.”It’s like a battlefield behind your home," said 33-year-old Emma Sorza, who could hear the sirens from severely swamped Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.And the worst is yet to come.“How does it end? And people want answers," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "I want answers. The answer is nobody knows for sure.”President Donald Trump acknowledged that the federal stockpile is nearly depleted of personal protective equipment used by doctors and nurses and warned of trying times to come.“Difficult days are ahead for our nation," he said. “We're going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially a few days from now that are going to be horrific.”Scientists offered more evidence Wednesday that the coronavirus can be spread by seemingly healthy people who show no clear symptoms, leading the U.S. government to issue new guidance warning that anyone exposed to the disease can be considered a potential carrier.Stocks tumbled on Wall Street and markets around the world, a day after the White House warned Americans to brace for 100,000 to 240,000 deaths projected in the U.S. before the crisis is over. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 970 points, or over 4%.A new report Wednesday from the United Nations said the global economy could shrink by almost 1% this year instead of growing at a projected 2.5%.Under growing pressure, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis belatedly joined his counterparts in more than 30 states in issuing a statewide stay-home order. The governors of Pennsylvania, Nevada and Mississippi took similar steps.Trump said his administration has agreed to ship out 1,000 breathing machines vital for treating severe cases of COVID-19. He said the U.S. government has kept close hold on its stockpile of nearly 10,000 ventilators so they can be deployed quickly to states in need.Meanwhile, European nations facing extraordinary demand for intensive-care beds are putting up makeshift hospitals, unsure whether they will find enough healthy medical staff to run them. London is days away from unveiling a 4,000-bed temporary hospital built in a huge convention centre.In a remarkable turnabout, rich economies where virus cases have exploded are welcoming help from less wealthy ones. Russia sent medical equipment and masks to the United States. Cuba supplied doctors to France. Turkey dispatched protective gear and disinfectant to Italy and Spain.Worldwide, more than 900,000 people have been infected and over 45,000 have died, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, though the real figures are believed to be much higher because of testing shortages, differences in counting the dead and large numbers of mild cases that have gone unreported.The U.S. recorded about 210,000 infections and about 4,800 deaths, with New York City accounting for about 1 out of 4 dead.More than 80,000 people have volunteered as medical reinforcements in New York, including recent retirees, health care professionals taking a break from their regular jobs and people between gigs.The few who have hit the ground already found a hospital system being driven to the breaking point.“It’s hard when you lose patients. It’s hard when you have to tell the family members: ‘I’m sorry, but we did everything that we could,’” said nurse Katherine Ramos of Cape Coral, Florida, who has been working at New York Presbyterian Hospital. "It’s even harder when we really don’t have the time to mourn, the time to talk about this.”To ease the crushing caseload, the city's paramedics have been told they shouldn’t take fatal heart attack victims to hospitals to have them pronounced dead. Patients have been transferred to the Albany area. A Navy hospital ship has docked in New York, the mammoth Javits Convention Center has been turned into a hospital, and the tennis centre that hosts the U.S. Open is being converted to one, too.On near-lockdown, the normally bustling streets in the city of 8.6 million are empty, and sirens are no longer easily ignored as just urban background noise.“After 9-11, I remember we actually wanted to hear the sound of ambulances on our quiet streets because that meant there were survivors, but we didn't hear those sounds, and it was heartbreaking. Today, I hear an ambulance on my strangely quiet street and my heart breaks, too,” said 61-year-old Meg Gifford, a former Wall Streeter who lives on Manhattan's Upper East Side.Nearly 6,200 New York City police officers, or one-sixth of the department, were out sick Wednesday, including about 4,800 who reported flu-like systems, though it was not clear how many had the virus.Cuomo said projections suggest the crisis in New York will peak at the end of April, with a high death rate continuing through July.“Let's co-operate to address that in New York because it's going to be in your town tomorrow," he warned. "If we learn how to do it right here — or learn how to do it the best we can, because there is no right, it's only the best we can — then we can work co-operatively all across this country.”In Southern California, officials reported that at least 51 residents and six staff members at a nursing home east of Los Angeles have been infected and two have died. Mayor Eric Garcetti warned residents of the nation's second-largest city to wear non-medical-grade masks whenever they go outside.The number of dead topped 270 in Louisiana, Grand Canyon National Park closed to visitors indefinitely, and Florida was locked in a standoff over whether two cruise ships with sick and dead passengers may dock in the state.Even as the virus appears to have slowed its growth in overwhelmed Italy and in China, where it first emerged, hospitals on the Continent are buckling under the load."We don't have enough masks, enough protective equipment, and by the end of the week we might be in need of more medication too,” said Paris emergency worker Christophe Prudhomme.Spain reported a record 864 deaths in one day, for a total of more than 9,000, while France registered an unprecedented 509 and more than 4,000 in all. In Italy, with over 13,000 dead, the most of any country, morgues overflowed with bodies, caskets piled up in churches and doctors were forced to decide which desperately ill patients would get breathing machines.England's Wimbledon tennis tournament was cancelled for the first time since World War II.India’s highest court ordered news media and social media sites to carry the government’s “official version” of developments, echoing actions taken in other countries to curb independent reporting.Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to order law enforcement to shoot troublemakers and stop massive food and cash aid if there are riots and people defy a lockdown imposed on millions. Duterte, who has been condemned for a brutal anti-drug crackdown that left thousands of mostly poor suspects dead, also said he would ask police to punish people who attack health workers with toxic chemicals by dousing the offenders with the substance or forcing them to drink it.The strain facing some of the world's best health care systems has been aggravated by hospital budget cuts over the past decade in Italy, Spain, France and Britain. They have called in medical students, retired doctors and even laid-off flight attendants with first aid training.The staffing shortage has been worsened by the high numbers of infected personnel. In Italy alone, nearly 10,000 medical workers have contracted the virus and more than 60 doctors have died.For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause severe symptoms like pneumonia.___Charlton reported from Paris. Sherman reported from Washington. Associated Press writers around the world contributed, including Joseph Wilson in Barcelona; Danica Kirka and Jill Lawless in London; Frank Jordans in Berlin; Karen Matthews in New York; and Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand.___Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakRobert Bumsted, Angela Charlton And Mark Sherman, The Associated Press

  • Alberta hospitals prepare for COVID-19 influx 'that will certainly test our capacity'
    News
    CBC

    Alberta hospitals prepare for COVID-19 influx 'that will certainly test our capacity'

    Patients with COVID-19 have been showing up in increasing numbers at Alberta hospitals and things remain manageable for the time being, but doctors are bracing for a potential influx that could push the system close to its limits."We are preparing for an increase that will certainly test our capacity," said Dr. Neil Collins, who is handling the pandemic response for emergency departments in the Calgary health zone.People with COVID-19 symptoms have been showing up at ERs for roughly two weeks now, he said, and a growing number are expected in the coming weeks."Some of them have serious respiratory illness and others have mild illness — the whole spectrum," Collins said of the cases he's seen to date.Alberta Health said Wednesday that 29 patients are in hospital with COVID-19, including 13 in intensive care.Those numbers have been gradually rising since mid-March but are relatively lower than other provinces.In British Columbia, for example, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Wednesday there are now 142 patients in hospital, including 67 in critical care.In Quebec, there were 307 people in hospital, including 82 in intensive care, at last count.Collins said there are provincial models forecasting possible scenarios for the extent of the outbreak in Alberta and some of them include patient volumes that would stretch hospital resources close to capacity.Reporters have been asking the provincial government for days for the details of those models but it has so far refused to make the information public. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw has said there are plans to release the information eventually.Premier Jason Kenney reiterated that on Wednesday."It is our intention to come forward and present Albertans with a fairly detailed briefing on our modelling for the pandemic in Alberta and our capacity to cope with it," he said. "We think it's important to be as transparent as we can."Other jurisdictions have already shared their modelling data publicly.B.C., for example, has published some forecasts of peak use of acute-care beds and ventilators. Those models also suggest physical distancing measures have reduced the spread of the COVID-19 in that province, compared to what would have happened without such measures.On Tuesday, the White House said its models forecast 100,000 to 240,000 people in the United States could die from the disease, even if people follow measures such as physical distancing, and possibly more if they don't.Collins said "there's a lot of smarter people than me working on projections for the volume of patients" in Alberta.Based on those projections, he said the province has been taking "some extraordinary measures, the likes of which I have not seen in my career," to free up resources.Reorganizing health-care resourcesAll elective surgeries have been cancelled, which Collins said is a "big sacrifice" for both the patients who had been waiting on them and the surgeons whose careers rely on the work.Hospital wards are also being expanded and some community sites are being prepared to help shoulder the expected health-care needs.The footprints of emergency departments have also been increased and Collins said "we're looking at our manpower and our processes to handle the large influx of patients."Alberta has also been expanding its inventory of ventilators for the most critically ill patients.But are there enough?"It depends on how many people are going to require them," Collins said. "And that, right now, is a big unknown."Protecting staffAs for the health of health-care workers, themselves, Collins said there are "really rigorous practices for preventing staff from becoming infected.""The province and AHS have given us the tools to protect ourselves during this pandemic," he said.Alberta Health Services medical director Dr. Mark Joffe said the province had amassed a significant stockpile of supplies as part of its pandemic planning prior to the COVID-19 outbreak."We actually have a three-to-four-month supply of most of the items of personal protective equipment that will be required by our front-line health care workers," he said."The supply is slightly less for the N95 respirators that are used under specific circumstances and, of course, we are in the process of sourcing additional supplies."Emergency-room physicians are also preparing schedules that have them working extra shifts, Collins said, and a roster of ER doctors throughout the Bow Valley is being prepared. If needed, he said doctors from outside Calgary will be redeployed to fill gaps in the city, or vice-versa if there are needs at smaller hospitals elsewhere.Overall, Collins said he is confident that staffing will be maintained."We have a very dedicated group of 220 career emerg docs in Calgary," he said. "We staff four large emergency departments. We take great pride in being able to staff those 24 hours a day, seven days a week on every single day. We've done that for the past many years and I don't see a reason why we won't be able to do that in the future."Discharges and deathsThe hospitalization numbers cited above are the latest, current counts in Alberta and don't include patients who have been discharged from hospital — or died.In total, the province says 62 people have ever been hospitalized for COVID-19, including 20 who required intensive care.Eleven people have died from the disease, according to the latest count from Alberta Health.A 12th person has also died who is not yet included in that count. Late Wednesday, Revera Living, which operates the McKenzie Towne Long Term Care Home, confirmed that another resident of the facility had succumbed to the disease.Alberta Health confirmed that person's death was not yet included in the numbers released Wednesday afternoon.Collins said the coming days and weeks will be crucial in determining how many people ultimately end up in hospital with COVID-19."We need to listen to the leaders in public health and our provincial guidance around social distancing and staying at home right now," he said."We in the health-care business really need the curve to flatten here, and the number of cases to stop increasing exponentially in Alberta."

  • Ottawa 'likely did not have enough' protective gear stockpiled: Hajdu
    News
    CBC

    Ottawa 'likely did not have enough' protective gear stockpiled: Hajdu

    Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today Ottawa "likely did not have enough" personal protective gear in the national stockpile heading into the COVID-19 pandemic."To your question about whether we had enough — no, we likely did not have enough. I think federal governments for decades have been under-funding things like public health preparedness," she said during a news conference in Ottawa Wednesday."I would say that, obviously, governments all across the world are in the same exact situation."Her statement marks a shift in tone within the federal government. As recently as last week, Trudeau said he could "assure everyone that the federal stockpiles have been sufficient to meet the needs of the provinces until this point."Hajdu said she didn't have exact numbers on how large the stockpile is.WATCH: 'We likely did not have enough,' Hajdu"The numbers change, as you can imagine, day to day as we dispense equipment across the country," she told reporters.The Trudeau government announced yesterday that it will spend up to $2 billion to procure personal protective equipment, a measure that came amid growing questions about Canada's preparedness for a pandemic.Health care workers across the country have been raising alarms about the lack of N95 masks, with some hospitals and workers saying they have been rationing supplies while they wait for stocks to be replenished.On the same day that Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the federal government is "aggressively buying in bulk from all available suppliers and distributors," Quebec Premier François Legault warned that his province was just days away from running out of protective supplies."It is an extremely competitive space right now for personal protective equipment. We are pulling out all of the stops," said Hajdu."I have heard those stories myself from frontline workers, I know provinces and territories are developing different sets of rules for frontline workers around the disbursement and use of personal protective equipment, but I will tell you that we will not stop this work to get the PPE that we need."Guillaume Laverdure is the president of Medicom, one of the companies that has been contracted by the federal government to provide face masks. He said the problem of stockpiling is an ongoing issue."It's a trend we're seeing in a lot of countries in the world where at the end of a pandemic, there's an appetite to stockpile but then, when there is no further pandemic, for budgetary reasons or other constraints like that, the stockpile is progressively disappearing and is not replenished," he said.In the short term, Laverdure said, his company will begin shipping out all the masks they have in stock — including supplies from three factories in China which reopened after being requisitioned by the government there.In the longer term, he said, it's looking at opening a new factory to manufacture the product here in Canada."It's a highly regulated product and the reason it's highly regulated is because it has to have a very stringent protection characteristic to make sure we protect the health care professional and the patient," he said."It is a highly technical product, so not everybody can manufacture overnight."Health care system will be overwhelmed: Tam Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said today the amount of medical supplies needed to cope with the pandemic depends on the actions Canadians take now to physically isolate themselves and slow the spread of the virus."The really difficult message, I think, to Canadians is that on a whole range of these scenarios, this health system isn't well-designed to cope with it if we don't do something about it now," she said when asked about best- and worst-case scenarios for Canada."Any planning scenario has us potentially overwhelming our health care system."The Public Health Agency of Canada serves a national coordination role in planning and preparing for health emergencies, and can do bulk purchasing on the provinces' behalf — but Tam has said the responsibility for ensuring those inventories are adequate lies with the provinces.WATCH: Hajdu tells Canadians if 'we all stopped moving for two weeks' the virus would dieAt the end of February, before the virus was named a pandemic by the World Health Organization, Tam said that while the federal government has a stockpile of some medical supplies, it's normally reserved for rare, "high-impact" biological or radiological events.She said in those cases, the federal government can top up provincial and territorial supplies in the event they run short.A 2011 audit of the National Emergency Stockpile System found that some of what was in the stockpile was out of date. A spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada said that since then, the system has evolved to "better align with the ever-changing risk environment and is investing in strategic assets.""There has been increased engagement with provincial and territorial partners and other stakeholders to increase awareness of NESS capabilities," said PHAC's Tammy Jarbeau in a statement to CBC.Hajdu said all governments might want to consider reinvesting in public health and preparedness on the other end of this pandemic."But I will tell you that the situation right now is such that our government has the money, we have the will, we have the workforce and everybody's focus is firmly on getting PPE and we will continue to fight for Canada's shares in that available stock as it comes online," she said.

  • Coronavirus outbreak: Ford says Ontario to see 'turbulent waters' in coming weeks
    Global News

    Coronavirus outbreak: Ford says Ontario to see 'turbulent waters' in coming weeks

    Ontario Premier Doug Ford stressed Wednesday the province was set to see some "turbulent waters" over the next few weeks due to COVID-19 as health officials expect to see a surge in cases. Ford said the province can go the route of Italy and Spain in terms of cases and deaths, or the route of South Korea which was able to flatten the curve. The government did not provide actual numbers in terms of what models are predicting, but Ford explained they don't want to underestimate or create a panic by overestimating.

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    NASA call for astronauts draws 12,000 spaceflight hopefuls

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Who wants to be an astronaut? More than 12,000 people do, resulting in NASA's second-largest group of astronaut hopefuls.NASA said Wednesday that Americans from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories applied to be part of the space agency's next astronaut class. The monthlong application period ended Tuesday.NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said this next class of astronauts will help explore the moon and pave the way to Mars. They also could find themselves at the International Space Station, using new commercial capsules to get there."We are thrilled to see so many incredible Americans apply to join us," Bridenstine said in a statement.NASA's previous call for astronauts, in 2017, attracted a record 18,300 applicants. Twelve ended up being selected. The space agency tightened its qualifications this time, requiring at least a master's degrees in science, technology, engineering or math.The number of astronauts chosen next summer will depend on mission requirements and spaceflight rates, said NASA spokeswoman Brandi Dean. Recent astronaut classes have ranged from eight to 12.NASA's active astronaut corps currently numbers 48.___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

  • Italy coronavirus death rate slows but studies suggest true tally higher
    News
    Reuters

    Italy coronavirus death rate slows but studies suggest true tally higher

    Italy's daily death toll from coronavirus on Wednesday was the lowest for six days, authorities said, but the overall number of new infections grew and the government extended a national lockdown until at least the middle of April. The Civil Protection Agency said 727 people had died over the last 24 hours, down from 837 the day before, bringing total fatalities from the world's deadliest outbreak of the viral pandemic to 13,155. Italy accounts for around 30% of all global deaths from the highly infectious respiratory illness, and two new studies suggested its true death toll could be significantly higher.

  • News
    CBC

    RCMP seek witnesses to December apartment flooding in Inuvik

    Police in Inuvik, N.W.T., are appealing for the public's help in identifying the individuals who shut off gas to an apartment building last December and caused "extensive damage" in the process.According to a release on the "alleged mischief incident" from the RCMP, on the morning of Dec. 21, police came across "a large volume of water" coming from an apartment building … [and] flooding the road and sidewalk."A water pipe in an unidentified building on Inuvik's Mackenzie Road had frozen and burst, the release says. The building's owner later told police the gas line providing heat had been shut off sometime between Dec. 19 and 20.A release from the RCMP says the police force has been looking into the incident since then and "the investigation has reached the stage of Inuvik RCMP requesting public assistance."The "contents of surveillance cameras in the area" produced "no leads or suspects," the release says.The release asks anyone who witnessed suspicious activity in the area of Mackenzie Road and Kingmingya Road, between Dec. 19 and 20, to contact Inuvik RCMP at 777-1111.Anonymous tips can be left with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

  • In case of emergency, break glass: N.L. woman creates mosaic art
    News
    CBC

    In case of emergency, break glass: N.L. woman creates mosaic art

    It seems a number of people are trying new things to help pass all the time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.But a Corner Brook woman is keeping calm and carrying on with a pastime that's served her well for several years now.Karin Galliott O'Keeffe is known to many on the west coast as the former manager of the Arts and Culture Centre in Corner Brook, a position from which she retired in March 2014.Now, instead of bringing someone else's art to the stage, she's creating her own, in the form of mosaics made from glass and tile."I think mosaics are a little bit like us. They're little pieces that come together," she said.Galliott O'Keeffe said her interest in mosaics began at the beach.She'd pick up bits of beach glass and arrange them to form shapes such as flowers, which she then glued onto wood to create pictures.Art that sprouts upGalliott O'Keeffe is an avid gardener, an activity she can only enjoy outdoors for part of the year in Newfoundland.So mosaic art gives her a way to work on her garden even in the winter, as she's made a bird bath and designs on patio stones. "I did one that was a teapot, for my mom, who loved her cup of tea," said Galliott O'Keeffe."And then I did another one with the masks, comedy and tragedy. So a nod to my work at the [Arts and Culture] Centre."Her latest project for the garden is an old window frame, which has a different Alice in Wonderland-inspired mosaic in each pane of glass.One person's trashGalliott O'Keeffe said making mosaics is also a chance to repurpose things that might otherwise have ended up in a landfill.An old teacup or a few spare tiles will never go astray in her studio."I upcycle old dishes that I find at yard sales and in thrift stores, or people give them to me because they don't need them anymore," said Galliott O'Keeffe.Good therapyGalliott O'Keeffe suggests it's not just the process of creating something new that can be helpful.She said breaking apart her found items of glassware and tile can be beneficial, too, in a cathartic sort of way."Breaking dishes is very therapeutic, I can tell you," she said. "And then you can cut them into the pieces that you need."Even now, during COVID-19, Galliott O'Keeffe goes for a walk outdoors on most days but, early on in her retirement, she found that the winters were long, and she needed something out of the weather to help occupy her time."I'm not a cold weather person. I love being inside, being cosy," she said."So when the sun is not shining and it's grey, which it is here most of the time in the winter, I'm here in my studio, where it's warm, and I'm clicking away."She said it's not unusual for her to go to her studio to work on a project, and then come out hours later, not realizing how much time had passed."It's like there's some sort of different time zone in this room, and I love it," she said.Read more by CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • As COVID-19 spreads in Montreal, public health authority cracks down on citizens' movement
    News
    CBC

    As COVID-19 spreads in Montreal, public health authority cracks down on citizens' movement

    Fourteen Montrealers have died of COVID-19, and with the community spread of the novel coronavirus, Montreal will be enacting stricter measures in the coming days to restrict people's movement, said public health director Dr. Mylène Drouin.There are now 2,097 confirmed cases in Montreal. That equates to about 102.5 people per 100,000 residents, according to Montreal public health.There are 132 people in hospital, with 26 in intensive care. As of Tuesday, 121 health-care workers have tested positive. Those cases may be due to travel, but some are also from contact with an infected patient, Drouin said.Among the new efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the city will restrict visits to large multiplexes and condominium buildings.Drouin said officials will be meeting with landlords and building managers to ensure visitors are limited, and the buildings are kept clean."If there are cases in the building, they will have to be more vigilant about isolating," said Drouin.Drouin said multiplexes have many communal spaces, such as staircases, hallways and elevators."So we are going to ask the owners of those buildings to reinforce hygiene measures and to secure access so there are no more visitors," she said.Public officials will be working to ensure these measures are respected and that residents of these buildings who have tested positive are staying inside their units. At this time, fines will not be issued, but if some owners do not collaborate, it could happen, Drouin said.Intervening in seniors' residences, businessesDrouin said nearly all of Montreal's boroughs now have cases of community transmission. She shut down any suggestion of quarantining entire neighbourhoods."When we are in community transmission in a region, it is not justified to confine or close a borough or a sector, in relation to the others," she said.In her briefing Wednesday, Drouin echoed the provincial health authority's concern about the spread of COVID-19 within seniors' residences.  She said more than 13 long-term care institutions on the island have at least two cases, and of those, three CHLSDs are coping with significant outbreaks."We must remember that overall, these are our most vulnerable environments and that currently there are a lot of efforts being made to secure these environments," said Drouin, citing the agency's focus on ensuring staff are not bringing the virus into buildings.Beyond seniors' residences, Drouin said businesses should not be demanding a doctor's note if employees call in sick because she doesn't want medical clinics overloaded with requests."If you have symptoms, don't go to work," Drouin said."If you are still working right now, you are considered an essential worker. And it is essential that those workers do respect the two metres [rule] and the hygiene measures."She said the agency is also ready to work with any company that has an employee who tests positive, helping to ensure everybody is safe from the spread of COVID-19.Montreal isn't closing parks yetDrouin said she will also be asking Montreal police to ensure people using the city's parks are practising physical distancing.She said officials do not want to close down parks, especially now that it is warming up, but it is important that everybody follow the public health guidelines.Police will first warn people, she said, but if they are not compliant, a fine will be issued."If you go out, respect the two metres [rule], and when you come home, please wash your hands," she said.She said people should only be going out if necessary and not visiting other neighbourhoods, if possible.Earlier this afternoon, Premier François Legault  assured the population that there are no plans to prohibit movement to and from the island of Montreal.Legault said if an island-wide travel ban were to be imposed, the province would also have to restrict access to the off-island suburbs, such as Longueuil and Laval."If we decided one day to do that, we would need also to close the suburbs because [from] north and south of the island of Montreal, there's a lot of travelling," he said.However, he did express dismay at how many people had been seen gathering in groups in La Fontaine Park on Tuesday."The message is becoming increasingly clear to police: it is necessary to start issuing tickets," he said.Montrealers in their 20s account for highest number of casesThe health agency said of Montreal's 2,097 cases, people aged 20 to 29 make up the highest number of cases, with 380 confirmed.People 30 to 39 account for 374 cases, and those 40 to 49 account for 357 confirmed cases. Those aged 50 to 59 account for 342 cases, and there are 258 positive cases in the 60 to 69 age group.By comparison, those 70 and up account for 259 cases, and 121 people aged 19 and under have tested positive.What this means is young people must respect physical distancing measures because it is clear they can easily spread the virus, Drouin said Wednesday.She said younger people are not at a higher health risk, but those in older age groups are, and that's why it is important that everybody follow the recommendations.Due to "technical difficulties," Montreal public health says it will not update the breakdown by borough and municipality until Thursday. For now, those numbers are based on Monday's data — when the island was still at 1,991 cases.Provincewide, there are now a total of 4,611 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the province, up from 4,162 a day earlier.

  • Review: James Elkington's melancholy the stuff for shut-ins
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Review: James Elkington's melancholy the stuff for shut-ins

    James Elkington, "Ever-Roving Eye" (Paradise of Bachelors)With his "Ever-Roving Eye," James Elkington sings about wolves in the womb, the sincerity of hyenas and the clock running out — a cradle to grave perspective, in other words.The album is a follow-up to the Chicago-based Englishman's 2017 debut and was recorded in 2018, but it inadvertently provides a fitting soundtrack to the current moment of isolation and confinement. Elkington sings in an indoor voice pitched low, reinforcing the reflective melancholy of his lyrics.“You’ll be underground in no uncertain terms, and dozing with the worms," he sings on the opener “Nowhere Time.” "There’s a master plan somebody understands, and I wish that one was me.”Elkington's guitar chops are such that he has done session work for Richard Thompson, among others, and his intricate acoustic fingerpicking underpins these sturdy songs, as do subtle melodies built to last. Cello, violin and woodwinds provide lovely ornamentation on occasion.The set echoes the British folk of 1968, or perhaps 1668, and will appeal in particular to music fans of a certain age who, when they hear the name Drake, think of Nick. Just the stuff for shut-ins, that is.Steven Wine, The Associated Press

  • Dua Lipa's 'Future Nostalgia' is a party with a purpose
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Dua Lipa's 'Future Nostalgia' is a party with a purpose

    NEW YORK — Put on Dua Lipa’s sophomore album and you’ll experience of party — a collection of upbeat, dance-flavoured, power-pop gems that could brighten your day. But take a closer, deeper look, and you’ll also find songs brimmed with messages of hope, equality and vulnerability.Lipa closes her 11-track “Future Nostalgia” release with “Boys Will Be Boys,” a song about the growing pains of life as a woman with clever, sharp lyrics like:“I'm sure if there's something that I can't find the words to say,I know that there will be a man around to save the day,And that was sarcasm, in case you needed it mansplained,I should've stuck to ballet.”“I wanted to really show another side of me,” the 24-year-old said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I always speak up about female equality and gender equality in general and female rights, (but) it was very important for me to put something in that’s very close to my heart, that I feel would make other women feel seen and feel heard.”“Future Nostalgia,” released last week, comes three years after Lipa dropped her self-titled debut, which featured the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hit “New Rules.” Outside the U.S., she's had even more success, clocking in countless Top 10 hits and collaborating with powerhouses like Calvin Harris, Mark Ronson, Diplo and BLACKPINK. She expanded her debut album to include those collabs as well as new songs, and it has become the most-streamed album by a female act in Spotify’s history.She performed on several tours, even opening for Bruno Mars and Coldplay (Chris Martin co-wrote a song on her debut album).“I do feel grateful for the nine months that I felt like I really had ... (to) just write and not really have to think about the outside world. I’m so grateful that everyone was so patient with me in making this,” she said. “I know what the music industry is like ... people, I guess, burn through music so much quicker.”Lipa co-wrote every song on “Future Nostalgia,” which includes tracks like “Cool,” a breezy tune full of confidence, and the experimental dance track “Physical,” which sounds like a song Rihanna would have topped the charts with during her sophomore album phase. Close your eyes and listen to “Levitating” and the house track “Hallucinate,” and you’ll hear Katy Perry. And first single “Don’t Start Now,” which has peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100, is a thumping, addictive song that’s hard to get out of your head.Then there’s “Love Again,” where Lipa opens up with lines like: “I used to think that I was made out of stone/I used to spend so many nights on my own.”“I had a lot of times when I was making this album where I was very much out of my comfort zone, where I really allowed myself to be vulnerable and talk about my very personal experiences,” she said. “On a song like ‘Love Again,’ for example, it wasn’t written for anyone in particular, but it was like a manifestation of allowing love and good energy into my life because I was going through a little rough patch. It was that point where I didn’t know that I could love again.”Lipa was born in London, where her parents fled to from Kosovo as war broke out. She said she started to take music seriously when she was 15, though she initially “didn’t think it was ever a possibility. Although my father is a musician, it was different because he was in Kosovo. Things are a lot smaller. It’s just different.”Fast forward nearly 10 years later, and she’s on top of the world. She’s already won three BRIT Awards and two Grammys, including best new artist, where she beat out favoured acts like R&B dynamo H.E.R. and country music streaming juggernaut Luke Combs.“It does come with pressures,” Lipa said of winning best new artist last year. “That’s how this album came about — me trying to get away from any pressure and any anxiety of making a second record, trying for it to be better than the first.”She’s hoping “Future Nostalgia” can provide a sense of comfort for her fans homebound from school or work because of the spreading coronavirus.“It’s just a fun album made with love that is there to help you get out of bed a little easier in the morning,” she said.Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press

  • Trump warns Iran against possible 'sneak attack' on U.S. in Iraq
    News
    Reuters

    Trump warns Iran against possible 'sneak attack' on U.S. in Iraq

    U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that Iran or its proxies planned a sneak attack on U.S. targets in Iraq, and warned they would pay a "very heavy price" but gave no details. It was not immediately clear what information Trump was referring to in his tweet, which was posted after he was scheduled to have a 12 p.m. ET (1600 GMT) intelligence briefing.

  • News
    CBC

    Help available for Calgary university students suffering financially due to COVID-19

    Student associations at Calgary universities say they're getting more questions about emergency funding and support for students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.And it's expected the need will only grow.Jessica Revington, president of the Students' Union at the University of Calgary, says there's been a slight increase in students looking for financial support compared with what's usual."But we do anticipate that this number will increase significantly as the financial impact of COVID-19 becomes apparent," she said.She says students can apply for up to $1,500 through the Students' Union Hardship Fund to cover essentials like rent, tuition and food."Over the past couple of weeks, our main focus has been ensuring that students get the information that they need when they need it. So we've been trying different ways on social media to get in touch with students providing them with resources and links to various community support that students can reach out to during this time," she said.The university says it's also in the process of setting up a dedicated fund for students who need emergency funding during the COVID-19 crisis.The Graduate Students' Association also has emergency funding available.Shereen Samuels, student services director for the Students' Association of Mount Royal University, says they're seeing lots of demand for a new food hamper program that was launched March 18 in response to COVID-19.In the first week, they gave away seven hampers, in the second week 25, and on Monday of this week alone they gave away 19."So we're definitely seeing increasing usage of that program," she said.The association also has a short-term loan program where students can access up to $300 at a time.Student groups say students can find out what supports are available by going online, or calling their offices.

  • Fredericton cab driver tests positive for COVID-19
    News
    CBC

    Fredericton cab driver tests positive for COVID-19

    A driver with Fredericton's Checker Cab company has tested positive for COVID-19, according to co-owner George Youssef.Youssef said the driver started to show symptoms after picking up a passenger at the Fredericton Airport who was returning from Punta Cana on a Sunwing flight in March.He said the driver is "high up in age."On March 27, Dr. Jennifer Russell identified a confirmed case COVID-19 on Sunwing flight 169 from Punta Cana to Fredericton on March 18.Youssef said he got a call from public health officials on Saturday, March 30, confirming the driver's test came back positive."Ninety-five per cent of the time we are the ones that pick people up at the airport," said Youssef.Public Health is aware of the case, and also confirms the driver was in contact with a traveller he picked up at the airport. "Public Health has been working with the cab company to identify anyone who had been in close contact with the driver," spokesperson Anne Mooers said in an emailed statement.'If you haven't been contacted, you're fine'Youssef said the driver "only drove that one day," but it's unclear whether that was one day with symptoms, or one day since the beginning of the outbreak.COVID-19 has an incubation period of 1 to 14 days, meaning a person can be an asymptomatic carrier and not know it.However, Youssef is confident all passengers in the man's car have been traced and contacted through the company's computerized system."If you haven't been contacted, you're fine," he said. "There weren't very many, I don't know exactly how many." Youssef said the cab company has been implementing precautionary measures for the past three weeks, including masks, frequent sanitizing of surfaces and having passengers sit in the back seat only. He said drivers are also not allowed to come into the dispatch building, to limit the possible spread to other drivers. Youssef said he doesn't have concerns about his other drivers in his 55-vehicle fleet, but if anyone of them is not feeling well, they are asked to stay home. The same goes for passengers. Youssef said any passenger who has had a COVID-19 test done or is presenting any symptoms will not be allowed in a Checker cab. "I'm not worried about the passengers, I'm worried about the driver. If my driver is well, he's going to drive that car," said Youssef. "But if that driver is ill, there wouldn't be a car and there would be no worry about the passenger getting sick."The driver is my most important asset."

  • Office relations: A couple's guide to working from home without hostility
    News
    CBC

    Office relations: A couple's guide to working from home without hostility

    Rae Schuller wasn't prepared for the booming volume of her partner's work voice, or how badly it would grate on her nerves.Schuller and Em Lamache have lived together for more than a year, but their quarters got a little smaller two weeks ago when they came down with the flu, went into self-isolation and began working from home. The new arrangement — in their small, one-bedroom apartment — was not ideal.Lamache, the director of a national non-profit, had what seemed like an endless number of virtual meetings with colleagues. Meanwhile, Schuller is a support worker for victims of domestic violence.Schuller's clients require quiet. Her partner's meetings were anything but.'Passive-aggressive co-worker' "It was impossible to do anything," Schuller said. "So I kept coming out and doing the passive-aggressive 'Shhh' and using hand gestures."  A few days into their shared 14-day stint in full isolation, the bickering began. "I was surprised by Em's volume and I think Em was surprised that I'm that passive-aggressive co-worker that comes over and shushes."  Desperate, Schuller began searching the internet for "noise management tools" and found an app called bouncyballs.org The website, designed for classrooms, measures audio through your computer's microphone and issues a warning when the room becomes too loud."The bubbles will bounce higher and higher the louder you speak," she said. "I'm happy to say it worked for both of us and now we can both work in peace," Schuller said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.Schuller isn't the only one surprised by a partner's behaviour at work. Isolation practices meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 have emptied offices, sending employees home to work in unprecedented numbers.For many couples who live together, working from home hasn't been a smooth transition, says Margot Ross-Graham, a workplace consultant and founder of Sandbar Coaching and Consulting.Couples sharing workspaces for the first time must contend with issues around noise, mismatched schedules, shared technology and distracting habits — maybe he hums incessantly or she leaves the computer desk in disarray, Ross-Graham said.  This is not a situation people really planned for. \- Margot Ross-GrahamRoss-Graham has heard horror stories about bickering, bathroom breaks being broadcast to large meetings, even spouses walking in barely dressed as their partners host important video conferences."This is not a situation people really planned for," she said. "I would say that there's a huge majority of people right now who had never intended to work from home, had no infrastructure in place to do it and maybe even don't want to do it." If you've discovered that the love of your life is a less-than-ideal cubicle mate, Ross-Graham has some advice. Establish your own spaceWhether it's a proper office or the kitchen table, maintaining your own work area within the home will help keep you sane and organized, as well as guard against misplacing important work items. Sharing an office can cause conflict, especially if one partner is a neat freak. It is also essential to find space in the home for important phone calls or work that requires quiet, she said — even a broom closet will do. Maintain boundariesEstablish a clear work schedule and stay within it. Ross-Graham also recommends that couples figure out what time of the day they are most productive and steer clear of each other during those hours. "A lot of people don't really think about what their working time is and what their distraction time is," she said. "Choose your window." Communication is keyIf something has become a nuisance, let it be known. Letting things fester in silence may end up impacting your relationship outside work hours.Have a meeting with a partner, set an agenda and come up with a plan, she said."We do that in workplaces," she said. "We do that all the time so there's no reason we can't do the same thing, even if it might seem a bit rude because you're doing it with your partner." As for Schuller, she said the bickering over noise has stopped but she does worry about the prospect of sharing an office with her partner for weeks, even months. She doesn't want work gripes to hurt the relationship. "I'm guessing more things are going to come up as we move through it so I feel better about the noise but it is a big change for everyone, I think."

  • Canada's COVID-19 infections skew younger than anticipated
    News
    Yahoo News Canada

    Canada's COVID-19 infections skew younger than anticipated

    In Canada, 66 per cent of COVID-19 cases are between the ages of 20 and 59, which is younger than forecasts originally suggested.

  • 'It really lifted my spirits': As COVID-19 shuts down birthday parties, kids get drive-by parades instead
    News
    CBC

    'It really lifted my spirits': As COVID-19 shuts down birthday parties, kids get drive-by parades instead

    Many people celebrating birthdays during the COVID-19 pandemic have had to postpone parties or opt for something more low-key because of physical distancing orders from the B.C. government.But one Cranbrook, B.C., woman is still hoping to make birthdays special by organizing parades for children who are staying home. Melissa Young told Radio West host Sarah Penton she decided to start these parades in her community after her son was having a hard time not being able to celebrate his 12th birthday.Young said anyone who wants to participate in the parades all meet at a specific location in their cars, then they drive off together blasting music and honking their horns while waving at the child celebrating their birthday.Kaylee's Sweet 16Young helped Kaylee Davis celebrate her Sweet 16 this past weekend. Davis said she didn't expect anything and was feeling down after she had to cancel her party but was happy to see the parade."When they passed by it really lifted my spirits, it was so special," David said over the phone.The two have never met in person."It was really cool to be able to brighten her day," Young said. Other paradesYoung said they've also been driving by the local hospital and assisted living homes to lift the spirits of healthcare workers and patients who can't have visitors. It's become so popular, Young said they now have professional lead drivers and help from the RCMP to guide two groups of about 25 drivers each through different sections of town.She said the first night they had three parades and now they're up to ten. Even though it's busy, Young is happy to do it."I just know we'll all get through this as a community."

  • News
    CBC

    Cameras that catch speeders, red-light violations now fully operational

    Drivers in a hurry are on notice: the British Columbia government says 34 speed cameras at high-risk intersections around the province are operating and ready to ticket motorists.A statement from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General says all the cameras are now operating around the clock.They not only identify drivers running red or yellow lights, they also monitor speed, snapping a photo of the fastest vehicles travelling through an intersection, regardless of the light sequence.Since the first five automated speed-enforcement cameras were activated last July, the ministry says more than 20,000 tickets have been issued, including one to a driver clocked at 174 km/h in an 80 km/h zone.The cameras are primarily located around the Lower Mainland, but there are two in Kelowna and one in Prince George.An additional camera is in place at an intersection in Nanaimo, but the Ministry says it won't start operating until September to allow drivers to adjust to recent speed reductions along the Island Highway.Multiple fines could be part of the pictureBecause the cameras capture more than one potential motor vehicle infraction, the ministry statement warns drivers they could receive two fines linked to a single photo."Before mailing tickets, which carry fines but no penalty points ... officers review the digital images and data to confirm the applicable Motor Vehicle Act charge or charges, " the statement says.Prominent warning signs are in place leading up to all the intersections where the cameras are located, says the ministry.

  • Substitute teachers, in-home care to be provided for kids of essential workers
    News
    CBC

    Substitute teachers, in-home care to be provided for kids of essential workers

    Premier Dwight Ball says the government will provide funding for essential workers to pick a relative or friend to watch their child, but the province will still need to rely on some early childhood educators and substitute teachers."These workers are critical to the operations of their employers and to government during this pandemic," Ball said during Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing.Public health advised the province that care in a home environment is best, Ball said, "Home environment is family, could be a trusted neighbour, could be some friends."The announcement comes a week after regulated early childhood educators expressed concern over what they called strong-arm tactics by government to reopen their daycare spaces for children of essential care workers. The contract provided to regulated centres suggested they would lose provincial funding already promised to shuttered spaces if they refused to reopen their doors.Ball said the province received 800 applications for free child care, and 50 of those will still need care outside of the home."The program will also allow families to avail of an alternate arrangement in a safe, regulated environment with guidance from public health," he said.Ball said child care centres have been contacted, matching families with their current child care providers prior to the COVID-19 closures.'All the options'The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is working with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District and the NLTA to utilize classroom space, and bring back substitute teachers to care for school-age children."We are exercising all the options we have available to us," Ball said."Of course, keep in mind, appropriate physical distancing can be maintained if the demand increases.'Families who are able to arrange their own child care will be reimbursed up to $200 per week, per child, upon confirmation from their employers that they are essential employees.Asked what the incentive would be for daycares to reopen, Ball doubled down on previous comments that regulated operators are "already being paid' and that the government is merely asking to work together for essential workers.Looking for an apologySusan Baker, an early childhood educator and advocate, said she and other operators do want to help out, but says the devil is in the details."They're painting the picture that we don't want to stand up and help essential workers, which couldn't be further from the truth," Baker said.The Early Childhood Educators Human Resource Council in St. John's, of which Baker is a member, sent a letter to Premier Dwight Ball, Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Warr, Advanced Education and Skills Minister Christopher Mitchelmore, and Mary Goss-Prowse, a director in the education department., with their concerns.She said Ball's announcement does appear to be a step in the right direction, however, she has not heard from any operators who have been consulted.She said it's still unclear if operators will continue to receive funding to ensure the cost isn't offloaded to parents.Baker said she and other early childhood educators want an apology from the premier over remarks he made during previous briefings.Ball had said health-care professionals would care for child care providers if they were sick, so he hoped early childhood educators would help them in their time of need.Baker said a lot of operators felt the comment was threatening, and was unfair.Read more by CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

  • News
    CBC

    Calgary Transit service will be reduced starting April 6

    Transit service will be reduced in Calgary as ridership plummets and staffing is affected by the pandemic. Starting on April 6, all transit routes will have reduced service, but there will be no routes cut. "We know we need to maintain transit as much as possible, but certainly we're not seeing the ridership," said Tom Sampson, chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency."We know these changes are difficult but they're the right thing to do."Russell Davies, manager of Calgary Transit, said ridership has dropped by up to 80 per cent.He said the grace period for low-income and senior travel passes will be extended another month, meaning the March pass will be good through to May. City financesMayor Naheed Nenshi said transit is a critical service, but that the city's finance are strained. "We are losing, early estimates say, $10 and $15 million per week," he said of the city government. He said those constraints don't affect only transit, but will reduce the options the city has when it comes to any kind of property tax relief for Calgarians, many of whom have been hit hard by the pandemic."We're working hard to get a good solution, particularly around property taxes. We have a lot of constraints that the other levels of government don't have," he said, citing the inability to run a deficit. Nenshi said there would be a proposal for discussion at the meeting of council on April 6. "We'll have more news on that relatively soon," he said.

  • P.E.I. government stepping up COVID-19 screening, enforcement measures at Confederation Bridge
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    CBC

    P.E.I. government stepping up COVID-19 screening, enforcement measures at Confederation Bridge

    The government of P.E.I. is heightening COVID-19 screening and enforcement measures at the Confederation Bridge starting Wednesday evening, said Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Steven Myers."Don't come if it's not essential. You are going to be turned away," he said.Travellers who are not considered to be essential workers, students returning home, essential trade or transportation workers, people returning from off-Island medical appointments or commuting to the Island under compassionate grounds will be turned away. Myers said the new enhanced measures will include two screening protocols.The first will be conducted by law enforcement officials who will discern whether travellers should be turned away or passed through, he said. Once people are identified as essential and have passed through they will undergo a second screening where public health officers will do a health check, he said. 'Strongest measure we've had in place yet'Myers said the new measures will come into effect beginning Wednesday evening and have been implemented to support the chief public health officer's orders. He said New Brunswick will be working to ensure the same enforcement is mirrored on its side of the bridge for those trying to leave P.E.I. "This is the strongest measure we've had in place yet and I think we're going to show people that we're serious about this," Myers said. He also noted that the province is continuing to work to address Islanders' access to liquor stores. He said one liquor store in O'Leary was reopened with limited operating hours Wednesday. He also said the reopening of a location in Souris is planned for Thursday. Both stores will be operating from Monday to Saturday between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.At this time, Myers said P.E.I. Cannabis will not be reopening its doors, however it will continue to be available for purchase online. Income supportA new COVID-19 income support fund has been established to help Islanders experiencing a loss of income ahead of the arrival of other federal benefits and will come as a one-time lump sum of $750, said Minister of Economic Growth Matthew MacKay.  Islanders who, as of March 13, have lost their job, had their employment insurance benefits expire, are unable to return to work, have applied for benefits through EI or through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit may be eligible.The funding from the program will be distributed through Skills PEI. MacKay said Islanders can access the application form for the new benefits after 5 p.m. Wednesday, on the government's COVID-19 website. Money provided so farMacKay said the province's Emergency Income Relief Fund has approved 1,000 applications and has provided $850,000 to self-employed Islanders. Through the Emergency Worker Relief Assistance program, designed for Island workers who have had a reduction in hours because of the pandemic, MacKay said 173 applications have been approved to help 880 employees and has provided $150,000. I continue to promise you, you have our support and together we'll get through this. — Matthew MacKay, minister of economic growthThe province's Emergency Working Capital Financing geared toward small businesses has approved 70 loans, totalling $3.1 million, while its employee gift card program has received 1,108 applications from Island employers and 7,643 gift cards have gone out to employees who have been laid off. MacKay noted the province's new Commercial Lease Rent Deferral program has seen 40 inquiries and two applications.He also said the province is looking to roll out a separate fund for students affected by COVID-19 with more details to come over the next day or two.MacKay said Islanders can expect an announcement on summer job applications in the coming days."We know these are tough times but I continue to promise you, you have our support and together we'll get through this," he said.COVID-19: What you need to knowWhat are the symptoms of COVID-19?Common symptoms include: * Fever. * Cough. * Tiredness.But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.What should I do if I feel sick?Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.How can I protect myself? * Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. * Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. * Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

  • Man charged with 1st-degree murder in death of his own child, parents
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    CBC

    Man charged with 1st-degree murder in death of his own child, parents

    Nathaniel K. Carrier has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder after his son and parents were killed in Prince Albert. The 28-year-old is also charged with attempted murder.On Sunday afternoon, Prince Albert police were called to a home and found what has been described by the police chief as a horrific, incomprehensible scene. Officers found three people dead: Denis Carrier and Sandra Henry, both 56 years old, and seven-year-old Bentlee. They found Bentlee's five-year-old sister Kendrah critically injured. She was airlifted to an Edmonton hospital and is now in stable condition, after multiple surgeries.Police confirmed that Nathaniel is the son of the couple who was killed, and the father of the boy and girl victims. None of the charges have been proven in court."We're all still in a world of shock, and just can't believe that someone could be so sick and could do such a brutal crime to their family," said Billy McLennan, a cousin to Sandra who also lives in Prince Albert. "It's just something that you see in movies, that you never think would ever happen."McLennan said he's known Denis and Sandra for decades, having graduated high school with them in 1983. He said the couple were high school sweethearts.He'd most often see her when she was working at the grocery store.  "She always talked about her kids and her grandkids and asked about mine," he said. "She always had that sparkle in her eyes when she talked about them." The crime has left friends and family members in a state of shock and disbelief, grappling with a long list of questions. "How could it happen to someone so close to us? Why did it happen? Why were the kids — like how could someone do this to their mom and dad? How could they do this to their own son and daughter?"McLennan said they can't seem to find the answers. He said he's been telling everyone the same message as people try to cope with this tragedy: "Squeeze your kids a little bit tighter at night." Police reveal more detailed timelinePolice said a family member and a friend discovered the crime scene after going to check on the family's well-being on Sunday.Insp. Craig Mushka said officers responded immediately and quicky determined there had been foul play. Nathaniel also lived at the home, but he was missing and so was the vehicle registered in his dad's name, police said. RCMP located the missing vehicle in La Ronge, Sask., on Sunday but Nathaniel was not with it. "Investigators located Nathaniel in Prince Albert that evening and felt confident that he was no longer a risk to public safety," Mushka said.They determined he was "no longer a threat" and didn't arrest him until Tuesday afternoon. Mushka would not reveal where Nathaniel was from Sunday to Tuesday. Mushka said he expects that information to come out in court.He said police are still trying to determine Nathaniel's actions in La Ronge. Police will not reveal the cause or manner of death, but said the killings likely happened on Saturday. Police chief Jon Bergen previously said that additional mental health supports will be brought in for the officers who responded to the crime scene, because of the horrific nature.Mushka said it's too early to say why this happened, but police will continue to gather evidence.Nathaniel's first court date was Wednesday morning and the matter was adjourned to April 15. Online fundraisers have been started for the family members of the victims to help with medical, travel and funeral expenses.