Ontario's new COVID-19 rules and restrictions - from cutting outdoor gatherings to extending police powers - have drawn out mass criticism and condemnation by medical experts, residents.
SANTA FE, N.M. — The 300-million-year-old shark’s teeth were the first sign that it might be a distinct species. The ancient chompers looked less like the spear-like rows of teeth of related species. They were squatter and shorter, less than an inch long, around 2 centimetres. “Great for grasping and crushing prey rather than piercing prey,” said discoverer John-Paul Hodnett, who was a graduate student when he unearthed the first fossils of the shark at a dig east of Albuquerque in 2013. This week, Hodnett and a slew of other researchers published their findings in a bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science identifying the shark as a separate species. He named the 6.7-foot (2 metre) monster Dracopristis hoffmanorum, or Hoffman’s Dragon Shark, in honour of the New Mexico family that owns the land in the Manzano Mountains where the fossils were found. Hodnett says the area is rife with fossils and easy to access because of a quarry and other commercial digging operations. The name also harkens to the dragon-like jawline and 2.5-foot (0.75-meter) fin spines that inspired the discovery’s initial nickname, “Godzilla Shark.” The formal naming announcement followed seven years of excavation, preservation and study. The 12 rows of teeth on the shark's lower jaw, for example, were still obscured by layers of sediment after excavation. Hodnett only saw them by using an angled light technique that illuminates objects below. Hodnett is now the paleontologist and program co-ordinator for the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission’s Dinosaur Park in Laurel, Maryland. His fellow researchers come from the New Mexico museum, as well as St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania, Northern Arizona University, and Idaho State University. The recovered fossil skeleton is considered the most complete of its evolutionary branch —ctenacanth — that split from modern sharks and rays around 390 million years ago and went extinct around 60 million years later. Back then, eastern New Mexico was covered by a seaway that extended deep into North America. Hodnett and his colleagues believe that Hoffman’s dragon shark most likely lived in the shallows along the coast, stalking prey like crustaceans, fish and other sharks. New Mexico's high desert plateaus have also yielded many dinosaur fossils, including various species of tyrannosaurus that roamed the land millions of years ago when it was a tropical rain forest. ___ Attanasio is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for Americ a is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues. Follow Attanasio on Twitter. Cedar Attanasio, The Associated Press
Saturday marks the first day of at least six weeks of enhanced policing powers in Ontario in an attempt to curb an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases. However, several police forces across the province have already said they do not intend to make use of additional powers that allow them to ask anyone outside their residence — including stopping vehicles — to indicate their purpose for leaving home and provide their address. A ticket if individuals refused would cost roughly $750. Peterborough Police and London Police Service tweeted "we will not be randomly stopping people." Both Waterloo Regional Police Service and Niagara Regional Police Service similarly tweeted, "We will not be conducting random vehicle or individual stops." The president of the Peel Regional Police Association also took to Twitter to urge the government, "Don't make cops the bad guys here!" In a statement, the Ottawa Police Service said it will also not be conducting random checks. "We are very mindful of the perception of the broader public as well as within our more marginalized, racialized and/or Indigenous/Aboriginal/Inuit peoples," said Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly. "We do not want these powers to impact public trust," Sloly said. While Toronto police initially said it needed more time to review the changes, the force tweeted on Saturday morning that it "will continue to engage, educate and enforce, but we will not be doing random stops of people or cars." "Prior to any change in our enforcement strategy we will notify the public on how we plan to implement the new provincial orders," its spokesperson said. The London Police Services Board says it has "serious concerns" about whether the provincial government's expanded police powers are even constitutional. "We cannot enforce our way out of the pandemic," said the board's chair Dr. Javeed Sukhera in a statement released Saturday morning. Sukhera said the board "would encourage the Provincial government to shift their focus to stabilizing the health system, ensuring equitable access to vaccines, and following the advice of health experts." The expanded police powers have quickly raised alarm bells across the province. "It's a Black Friday of rights slashing by Queen's Park," said Michael Bryant, executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in a statement. "A hodge-podge of pandemic restrictions cannot be policed like this because overzealous enforcers overshoot the mark, based on Canada's 1st Wave experience," Bryant's statement said. He called random police stops "unconstitutional" since they wouldn't be "indiscriminate, stopping everyone in a single location" like a RIDE program does. "Blanket powers for police to stop vehicles like this bends our constitutional freedoms too far, and will cause a rash of racial profiling," Bryant said. "These new restrictions… may face a court challenge." Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie tweeted his own reaction, saying he'll be "checking out our Charter [of Rights and Freedoms]" and that the city will be reviewing it. "I'm concerned about this," his tweet said. "Either way, we're not going to be policing our way out of this pandemic, that's for sure." In Toronto, Mayor John Tory tweeted that he was "very concerned about arbitrary stops of people by police at any time." He said he will review the new police powers "extremely carefully" and consult with the city's police chief and top doctor.
EDMONTON — Alberta’s Opposition says Premier Jason Kenney is sowing distrust by recounting misleading anecdotes to illustrate COVID-19 policy decisions. “I think this is about trust. I think this is about telling the truth,” NDP critic Sarah Hoffman said Friday. “I think we’ve seen many examples where the premier tries to bolster his own narrative. “This is a trend of being dishonest, and I think it really does call into question what trust and confidence we can have in the things the premier says and does.” Hoffman’s comments came a day after Kenney’s office confirmed the United Conservative premier “misspoke” when he used an anecdote about a super-spreader birthday party in Athabasca as a key driver of recent soaring COVID-19 rates in the town north of Edmonton. Kenney used the party as an example of how super-spreaders are not necessarily driven by in-school transmission but by social gatherings. "Apparently the virus had a 100 per cent attack rate at that birthday party. All of the kids who came to that birthday party got sick,'' Kenney said Monday. He repeated the same information at a news conference again Tuesday. An official with Alberta Health later said there was no data to suggest there had been an outbreak from a children's party in the community. Athabasca Mayor Colleen Powell said the publicity the community of 13,000 people has received since the premier's comments is not the kind it wants. "Why are you saying these things when you don't know?" Powell asked in an interview. "I had a couple of people get in touch with me (asking) who held the party. News spreads like wildfire." Just over 100 people, including students and a dozen staff, from three different schools in Athabasca tested positive for COVID-19 and its variants. Kenney’s spokesperson, Jerrica Goodwin, responded Friday in a short statement. “The premier was using the very real example to illustrate a point of the serious nature of COVID-19 and ease of transmission. As we've acknowledged, he misspoke on the specific location,” said Goodwin. “All the NDP's ridiculous criticism shows is that they can only attack and criticize.” Kenney has used anecdotes before to illustrate the rationale for COVID-19 policy decisions taken by his government. In late November, he cited an impromptu encounter with a food court kiosk owner — a refugee from Venezuela — as an example of the devastating impacts that COVID-19 health restrictions can have on businesses. “She came up to me, and she broke down in tears in front of me saying, 'Sir, I put my entire life savings as a refugee into this business. We're struggling to pay the bills. If you shut me down, I'm going to lose it all, everything, and I'll be in abject poverty,’” Kenney recounted at the time. When reached later by a reporter, the owner, Carolina De La Torre, said Kenney accurately recounted her core concerns of balancing health and the economy. But she dismissed the colourful drama, saying she did not cry and did not approach him, rather it was Kenney who approached her. Earlier this week, the premier came under criticism for challenging a radio host for saying Kenney once downplayed COVID-19 as the flu, telling the host he had never done so. Hansard, the official record of house debate, recorded Kenney calling the virus “influenza” multiple times during debate on May 27, 2020. In late February, just before Kenney’s government released its first COVID-era budget, he announced that due to oil and gas revenues the revised forecast deficit for the 2020 fiscal year would be about $14 billion — a third lower than expected. Treasury officials refused reporter requests to confirm the accuracy of that figure and, two days later, the budget revealed the 2020 deficit forecast was $20 billion. This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2021. — With files from Fakiha Baig in Edmonton Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
While British Columbia's latest COVID-19 modelling shows a "levelling off" in some key data points, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, stressed that with variants of concern spreading, people need to continue to diligently follows the public health measures in place.
Liberal MPs launched a late Friday filibuster of the House of Commons defence committee to prevent a former prime ministerial adviser from being summoned to testify on what he knew about sexual misconduct in the Canadian military. The parliamentary dust-up started when the Opposition Conservatives tried to convince the committee to hold at least one more public hearing into the social and leadership crisis that has gripped the Armed Forces. Elder Marques, who served in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office for two years, had agreed at the end of March to testify before the four-party committee. Opposition MPs want to hear from the PM's former adviser about claims of inappropriate behaviour by Gen. Jonathan Vance.(Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press) The Conservatives tabled a motion to hear Marques talk about what he knew regarding allegations of inappropriate behaviour involving Gen. Jonathan Vance, the country's former chief of the defence staff, which were brought to his attention in the spring of 2018. The Conservatives insisted on a "summons" because while Marques did not decline the committee's invitation, he and the committee couldn't agree over a six week period on a time for him to appear. Committee chaos The meeting was thrown into chaos when the chair, Liberal MP Karen McCrimmon, initially refused outright to consider the Conservative motion — and then lost a vote to uphold her decision. All of the Opposition members — Conservatives, NDP and Bloc Quebecois — declined to back her, and McCrimmon abruptly and temporarily suspended the meeting. After the committee reconvened, Liberal MPs began filibustering over the wording of the motion, objecting specifically to the notion of using a summons on Marques. The meeting was adjourned Friday evening by McCrimmon, who cited unspecified "health and safety concerns." The committee voted earlier this week to begin shutting down public hearings on sexual misconduct in the military — which have heard 25 hours of testimony already — and to move on to the report-writing stage of its investigation into what members of the Liberal government knew about concerns about Vance's personal life, and when they knew it. 'We need to get on to other work' Responding to Conservative MP James Bezan's call for an additional hearing involving Marques, McCrimmon, a former lieutenant-colonel in the military, ruled the motion out of order. "I believe the committee has already decided," said McCrimmon. "They have already voted to deliver a report on this study and that the idea was to wrap up this study, and we have completed our work on this study and we need to get on to other work." Bezan said the motion passed by the committee earlier in the week set a deadline for presenting the final report to Parliament and it did not preclude further testimony — especially from a witness who had already agreed to testify. "I think it is imperative we hear from Mr. Marques," said Bezan. James Bezan and other Conservative MPs on the Commons defence committee are insisting on hearing from former prime ministerial adviser Elder Marques.(Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press) Marques' testimony could be important, because he was the official in the Prime Minister's Office who was consulted after former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne brought forward an informal misconduct allegation against Vance. He was also the official who helped set in motion an unsuccessful review of the claim by the Privy Council Office. Vance is under military police investigation following allegations of inappropriate behaviour involving two women of junior in rank which were raised in the media. His successor as defence chief, Admiral Art McDonald, is the subject of a separate misconduct claim and has stepped aside temporarily. The Conservatives were adamant on Friday about hearing from Marques. 'Critical testimony' "We would not want to complete this study without hearing his critical testimony," said Conservative MP Leona Alleslev. Liberal MP Anita Vandenbeld, the Liberal parliamentary secretary for defence, accused opposition MPs of seeking to prolong hearings to dig up political dirt. She pointed out that Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has testified twice before the committee. "Everything for the last number of weeks in this committee has been this kind of, you know, pointing fingers to say it's this person's fault, it's that person's fault," said Vandenbeld. "What we have here is just digging further and further down to see if we can just keep on calling [witnesses]." She said the opposition was interested only in claiming a cover-up. "There is no cover-up here. We don't need to hear from more people," said Vandenbeld. That drew a sharp response from NDP defence critic Randall Garrison, who said the accusation of "petty politics" was unhelpful. "I think my Liberal colleagues miss the point," said Garrison. "We've had the minister here. We've has tons of other witnesses and what we know is that the minister came to us and said, 'It wasn't my job. I wasn't responsible. I referred it to others.' "Therefore the committee has to actually speak to those others to find out exactly what happened."
The Stz'minus First Nation says it's working with the Town of Ladysmith to replace a number of red dresses that were torn down along the highway near Oyster Bay. One hundred red dresses, meant to represent Canada's missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, were hung along the highway from Victoria to Port Hardy in January. Last weekend, two people were filmed tearing the dresses down near the Oyster Bay area. Video of the incident circulated on social media. Chief Roxanne Harris of the Stz'uminus First Nation said the incident was shocking "I was disheartened and really sad about what they were doing because of the meaning of the red dresses to our communities," said Harris. A video recorded near Ladysmith, B.C., on Saturday showed two men tearing down red dresses from along side the highway between Port Hardy and Victoria.(CHEK News) A powerful symbol Red dresses have become a symbol to represent missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across the country. One of the earliest projects, which involved the hanging of red dresses in spaces, began as an art installation by Métis artist Jamie Black in 2010. Black said her original installation was meant to serve as a visual reminder of all the women and girls who are no longer with us. "[The dresses] have kind of a ghostly presence, so it feels as though my room is filled with people who are no longer here. And that's the really powerful thing about an empty dress," Black told CBC News at the time. For Harris, whose aunt was murdered, the dress campaign is deeply personal. "For me, one of those dresses isn't just a dress to me. It symbolizes her and her death. For us, it's just part of our healing," she said. Dresses to be replaced on Saturday Harris has reached out to Mayor Aaron Stone of Ladysmith. The First Nation and the municipality will be replacing the dresses together on Saturday morning. Red dresses are being collected at the town hall, and the Ladysmith fire department has been enlisted to hang the dresses at a higher level so they will remain undisturbed. "We're stronger together and if our communities could be connected rather than separated by these issues, we're better off for it," said Harris. A national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls released a report in 2019. The inquiry found that Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or to go missing than members of any other demographic group in Canada — and 16 times more likely to be slain or to disappear than white women. The report included many recommendations to government, the police and the larger Canadian public to help address endemic levels of violence directed at Indigenous women and girls.
New Ontario COVID-19 restrictions are giving police the power to stop and question people who are outside of their homes and ask for their address. The option to increase police powers is a bit alarming and dishevelling to Chris Rudnicki, a partner and legal counsel at Rusonik, O'Connor, Robbins, Ross, Gorham and Angelini, who admitted he's concerned there could be some overstepping by police and are constitutionally concerning.
VANCOUVER — The B.C. Supreme Court says lawyers for Meng Wanzhou are applying to adjourn the final three-week leg of her extradition case set to begin April 26. The court says in a statement that the Huawei executive's legal team will bring the application before the court on Monday but it doesn't explain the reasons. The hearings are expected to cover a final branch of abuse of process allegations from Meng's team before moving on to arguments over remedy and the actual extradition hearing. Meng was arrested in 2018 at Vancouver's airport on a request by the United States, where she faces fraud charges that both she and the telecom company deny. She is accused of lying to HSBC about Huawei's control of another company doing business in Iran, putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions. A Hong Kong court approved a document-sharing agreement last Monday that Huawei claimed would allow it to obtain information from HSBC that would prevent her extradition. A Huawei spokesman did not immediately respond to a question about whether the ruling is linked the application to adjourn the planned hearings, saying only that the reasons would be disclosed in court. This story by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2021. The Canadian Press
INDIANAPOLIS — The former employee who shot and killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis was interviewed by FBI agents last year, after his mother called police to say that her son might commit “suicide by cop,” the bureau said Friday. Coroners released the names of the victims late Friday, a little less than 24 hours after the latest mass shooting to rock the U.S. Four of them were members of Indianapolis' Sikh community. The attack was another blow to the Asian American community a month after six people of Asian descent were killed in a mass shooting in the Atlanta area and amid ongoing attacks against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic. The Marion County Coroner's office identified the dead as Matthew R. Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; Amarjeet Johal, 66; Jaswinder Kaur, 64; Jaswinder Singh, 68; Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Karli Smith, 19; and John Weisert, 74. The shooter was identified as Brandon Scott Hole, 19, of Indianapolis, Deputy Police Chief Craig McCartt told a news conference. Investigators searched a home in Indianapolis associated with Hole and seized evidence, including desktop computers and other electronic media, McCartt said. Hole began firing randomly at people in the parking lot of the FedEx facility late Thursday, killing four, before entering the building, fatally shooting four more people and then turning the gun on himself, McCartt said. He said he did not know if Hole owned the gun legally. “There was no confrontation with anyone that was there,” he said. “There was no disturbance, there was no argument. He just appeared to randomly start shooting.” McCartt said the slayings took place in a matter of minutes, and that there were at least 100 people in the facility at the time. Many were changing shifts or were on their dinner break, he said. Several people were wounded, including five who were taken to the hospital. “You deserved so much better than this,” a man who identified himself as the grandson of Johal tweeted Friday evening. Johal had planned to work a double shift Thursday so she could take Friday off, according to the grandson, who would not give his full name but identifies himself as “Komal” on his Twitter page. Johal later decided to grab her check and go home, and still had the check in her hand when police found her, Komal said. “(What) a harsh and cruel world we live in,” he added. Smith, the youngest of the victims, was last in contact with her family shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday, family members said in social media posts late Friday. Dominique Troutman, Smith’s sister, waited hours at the Holiday Inn for an update on her sister. “Words can’t even explain how I feel. ... I’m so hurt,” Troutman said in a Facebook post Friday night. Weisert had been working as a bag handler at FedEx for four years, his wife, Carol, told WISH-TV. The couple was married nearly 50 years. President Joe Biden said he had been briefed on the shooting and called gun violence “an epidemic” in the U.S. “Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence. It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation,” he said in a statement. Later, he tweeted, “We can, and must, do more to reduce gun violence and save lives.” A FedEx employee said he was working inside the building Thursday night when he heard several gunshots in rapid succession. “I see a man come out with a rifle in his hand and he starts firing and he starts yelling stuff that I could not understand,” Levi Miller told WTHR-TV. “What I ended up doing was ducking down to make sure he did not see me because I thought he would see me and he would shoot me.” Paul Keenan, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis field office, said Friday that agents questioned Hole last year after his mother called police to say that her son might commit “suicide by cop.” He said the FBI was called after items were found in Hole’s bedroom but he did not elaborate on what they were. He said agents found no evidence of a crime and that they did not identify Hole as espousing a racially motivated ideology. A police report obtained by The Associated Press shows that officers seized a pump-action shotgun from Hole’s home after responding to the mother's call. Keenan said the gun was never returned. McCartt said Hole was a former employee of FedEx and last worked for the company in 2020. The deputy police chief said he did not know why Hole left the job or if he had ties to the workers in the facility. He said police have not yet uncovered a motive for the shooting. Police Chief Randal Taylor noted that a “significant” number of employees at the FedEx facility are members of the Sikh community, and the Sikh Coalition later issued a statement saying it was “sad to confirm” that at least four of those killed were community members. The coalition, which identifies itself as the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the U.S., said in the statement that it expected authorities to “conduct a full investigation — including the possibility of bias as a factor.” Varun Nikore, executive director of the AAPI Victory Alliance, a national advocacy group for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, said in a statement that the shootings marked “yet another senseless massacre that has become a daily occurrence in this country.” Nikore remarked that gun violence in the U.S. "is reflective of all of the spineless politicians who are beholden to the gun lobby.” FedEx Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Frederick Smith called the shooting a “senseless act of violence.” “This is a devastating day, and words are hard to describe the emotions we all feel,” he wrote in an email to employees. The killings marked the latest in a string of recent mass shootings across the country and the third mass shooting this year in Indianapolis. Five people, including a pregnant woman, were shot and killed in the city in January, and a man was accused of killing three adults and a child before abducting his daughter during at argument at a home in March. In other states last month, eight people were fatally shot at massage businesses in the Atlanta area, and 10 died in gunfire at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the community must guard against resignation and “the assumption that this is simply how it must be and we might as well get used to it.” ___ This story has been edited to correct the spelling of several names. ___ Associated Press reporters Michael Balsamo and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report. Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Casey Smith And Rick Callahan, The Associated Press
In November, the Canadian government said it would make it easier for Hong Kong youth to study and work in Canada in response to new security rules imposed by China on the former British colony. "In the first three weeks that the program was open (Feb. 8 to Feb. 28), IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) received 503 applications for work permits and 10 applications for work permit extensions," press secretary Alexander Cohen said in an emailed statement.
In a Global News exclusive, a Peel Regional Police sergeant was filmed getting up and personal with supporters of a Mississauga gym that's been ordered to close. As of Friday evening, it still was open. There were no masks and plenty of hugs as the officer watched Sean O'Shea get approached by an anti-mask supporter.
Yukon's mining regime needs a major overhaul, according to the final report from an independent panel appointed by the territorial government. The Yukon Mineral Development Strategy report was released on Thursday, and it includes 95 wide-ranging recommendations for how to modernize the mining industry and ensure it's socially and environmentally sustainable, and beneficial to local communities. Recommendations include updating mining legislation — namely the Quartz Mining Act and the Placer Mining Act — streamlining land use planning and revamping the royalty system to make it more equitable. Math'ieya Alatini, one of the three panel members appointed to draft the report, said the overall goal is to "move the industry forward," in co-operation with the Yukon government and First Nations. "Not just the industry, but the entire relationship, [moving] forward in a holistic manner — so really that was our approach," she said. "[It's] a very pragmatic approach to how we can do better, by working together." A central tenet of the strategy is ensuring First Nations rights are respected and that the mining sector's competitive edge isn't dulled. "The whole of Yukon government must embrace the principles of reconciliation and work to build the trust and respect of Yukon First Nation governments, and the entities and agencies borne of the modern treaties and agreements," the strategy states. The timing of the release — just days after the territorial election and before the next government is sworn in — was strategic, Alatini said. '[It's] a very pragmatic approach to how we can do better, by working together,' said Math'ieya Alatini, one of the three independent panelists who drafted the Mineral Development Strategy. (Philippe Morin/CBC) It's meant to show that the panel and its work are independent of government, she said — but it also puts it on the front-burner for the next territorial government, as well as First Nations. "In the report, there are priorities and, to us, there are some clear first steps. But it will really be up to the governments to have that discussion and to come up with the top priorities and how those top priorities are going to be implemented," she said. The report is the culmination of about 16 months of work by the three-person panel. That panel was appointed after the Yukon government and First Nations governments signed a memorandum of understanding on mining in 2017. A draft strategy was released late last year for public review and Thursday's document is the final product. 'Social sustainability' The strategy "fulfills the desire of many engagement participants for a bold, transformative approach to Yukon mineral development now and into the future," it reads. One of the goals is to move the industry toward "social sustainability," the report says. That would mean moving the territory farther away from how mining was approached in the past, when the North was plundered for resources to send south, and benefit other regions. "Recognition that the adverse effects of resource development are borne locally, while many of the benefits are exported outside the Yukon, is crucial to social sustainability." Recommendations in the report include: overhaul or replace Yukon's century-old Quartz Mining Act and Placer Mining Act with new legislation ensure that First Nations can capitalize on resource development projects change royalty and tax structures to ensure more money comes to Yukon implement a profit-based placer gold royalty introduce a payroll tax on out-of-territory workers in Yukon implement a First Nation Resource Charge, to help First Nations cover the costs of reviewing and monitoring mining and exploration projects introduce a new tax for all industrial water users accelerate the land use planning process across Yukon Lewis Rifkind of the Yukon Conservation Society welcomed the report and recommendations, saying it's time to fix Yukon's "ecological horror show." "Now, we don't agree with all of [the recommendations], but by and large what the panel is proposing will be a great improvement on what we currently have," Rifkind said. 'It's not going to be a perfect improvement, and there's a lot of room for changes and a lot of room for devil-in-the-details,' said Lewis Rifkind of the Yukon Conservation Society.(CBC) Rifkind said an overhaul of Yukon's mining legislation is overdue, but the panel's recommendation to complete that work by 2025 might be unrealistic. "That's ambitious," Rifkind said. "Rewriting one of the three major pieces of legislation of the Yukon government may take longer than that … but it does need to be redone." Rifkind also questioned whether a profit-based placer mining royalty would have any real benefit for Yukon, since mining companies typically reinvest any profits into further developing their operations. Still, he said, the report's recommendations need to be considered seriously. "It's not going to be a perfect improvement, and there's a lot of room for changes and a lot of room for devil-in-the-details." CBC News also requested an interview with Ed Peart, president of the Yukon Chamber of Mines, about the newly-released strategy, but was told Peart wanted time to review the document before commenting. CBC also sought comment from Chief Roberta Joseph, of Dawson City-based Tr'ondek Hwëch'in First Nation, but she was not available.
A Peel police officer has been suspended and an internal investigation has been launched after a Global News reporter recorded him hugging unmasked people who were protesting against the closure of a Mississauga gym. Peel Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah said he became aware of the incident, which took place outside the gym, Friday afternoon after he saw various social media posts. "Upon learning of the incident, I immediately directed that the sergeant be suspended and commenced an Internal Affairs investigation," he wrote in a statement. "Peel Regional Police are committed to ensuring the safety of our members and the public. Our officers will enforce municipal and provincial regulations as required." According to reporting by Global News, one of its reporters was at Huf Gym near Cawthra Road and Dundas Street East on Friday to report on continuing protests against the Ford government's COVID-19 restrictions, which have temporarily shuttered gyms. There, the reporter, identified as Sean O'Shea, recorded himself as an unmasked protester aggressively approached him wearing a sweater with the words, "hugs over masks." O'Shea, still recording, approached a Peel police officer at the scene and asked if he condoned that behaviour. The officer in the video can be heard telling the journalist that he was agitating the crowd. The same officer, not wearing a mask or any COVID-19 protective gear, can later be seen hugging some of the protesters and posing for pictures. None of the demonstrators can be seen physically distancing or wearing any protective equipment. Duraiappah's statement says members of the force continue to follow advice issued by local public health officials "while using the appropriate safety precautions, including all available Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)." Under current COVID-19 restrictions, all gatherings and protests must follow provincial laws. Tickets may be issued to individuals or organizers who do not comply with this order, the statement reads.
Newfoundland and Labrador added three new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, all in the Eastern Health region, according to the Department of Health. In a media release Friday afternoon, the Health Department said all three cases — two men in their 40s and a woman between 20 and 39 years old — are related to travel within Canada. There have been no new recoveries since Thursday's update, leaving the province with 18 active cases and one person in hospital due to the virus. A case reported April 8 in the Eastern Health region remains under investigation. Because of Friday's cases public health is issuing advisories for passengers on three flights: Air Canada Flight 8018, leaving Montreal and arriving in St. John's on Tuesday. Air Canada Flight 8996, leaving Halifax and arriving in St. John's on Wednesday. Air Canada Flight 8018, leaving Montreal on Wednesday and arriving in St. John's on Thursday. Passengers on those flights are being asked to arrange COVID-19 testing by using the online self-assessment tool or by calling 811. Meanwhile, Premier Andrew Furey said Newfoundland and Labrador has offered COVID-19 support to Ontario, following calls from the Canadian Medical Association for collaboration among provinces and territories in the pandemic response. Revised modelling suggests Ontario could see up to 18,000 daily cases by the end of May. In a statement, Furey said the province is "quite happy to provide personnel, expertise, and extra equipment where capacity allows — understanding that the safety of people in our province is paramount." Furey said he has spoken with Ontario Premier Doug Ford several times, and Newfoundland and Labrador government officials are working with Ontario and the federal government. Furey later said the province has received a request for health care workers from Ontario's provincial government on Friday afternoon, and "is looking into what we can provide." In Ford's address to residents of Ontario on Friday, the premier said Furey has called him the most out of anyone. "A small place like Newfoundland, they wear their heart on their sleeves out there," Ford said. "He's putting some professional health care workers together, he said 'it might not be much because we're not that large,' but it's just the effort and the caring, coming together right across the country." The support from Newfoundland and Labrador will not include the redeployment of vaccines. "When it comes to vaccines, it is only fair for the per capita model to continue. Given the dynamic nature of this pandemic, any province or territory could be in a serious situation at any point," Furey said. Ford said he plans to visit the Atlantic provinces when the pandemic ends. "I'm so, so grateful. Very grateful. Andrew, thank you," Ford said. Vaccine effort About 12,000 people have filed into vaccine clinics across the province since last Friday for their first shot. Health Minister John Haggie has offered an optimistic outlook on vaccine shipments of late, telling reporters Wednesday that he's expecting about 29,000 doses per week. Theoretically, that number could double in May, he also said. Eastern and Central Health authorities have opened all COVID-19 vaccination clinics to people 65 years old and older for their first shots of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. Pre-registration is no longer necessary, and eligible residents can book an appointment online with an email address. Western Health is booking slots for people 70 and older, Indigenous adults and home support workers, according to its latest update. Residents in the Labrador-Grenfell Health region who are over 60 or a member of an array of priority groups — including essential workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable — can also book an appointment. To date, 128,895 people have been tested for COVID-19, including 463 since Thursday's update. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — La Soufriere volcano shot out another explosive burst of gas and ash on Friday as a cruise ship arrived to evacuate some of the foreigners who had been stuck on a St. Vincent island coated in ash from a week of violent eruptions. The explosions that began on April 9 forced some 20,000 to flee the northern end of the eastern Caribbean island for shelters and contaminated water supplies across the island. Friday morning's blast “wasn’t a big explosion compared to the ones that we last weekend, but it was big enough to punch a hole through the clouds," said Richard Robertson, lead scientist at the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center, in an interview with local NBC radio. “Probably got up to 8,000 metres (26,000 feet)." During a comparable eruption cycle in 1902, explosive eruptions continued to shake the island for months after an initial burst killed some 1,700 people, though the new eruptions so far have caused no reported deaths among a population that had received official warning a day earlier that danger was imminent. Meanwhile, British, U.S. and Canadian nationals were being evacuated aboard Royal Caribbean Cruises' Celebrity Reflection from the harbour in the Kingstown, capital of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The ship was due to arrive Saturday in Dutch Sint Maarten. Dozens of foreigners toting luggage descended from tour buses and cars at the port terminal in Kingstown and patiently waited in a line that began in the parking lot and reached deep into the terminal. They included students from the Trinity School of Medicine along with stranded tourists, including families with young children in arms. “As of right now, we are being evacuated for our safety and to keep the island as safe as possible," said LLeah Ransai, a Canadian student at Trinity. "Between the school, the government and the embassies of the US and Canada, we’re being evacuated now.” The U.S. Embassy said those aboard would have to make their own travel arrangements home. It also noted in an official statement that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recommended against travel on cruise ships because the chance of getting COVID-19 and said people who had been in close contact with suspected COVID-19 cases were barred from the trip. All aboard were supposed to have a negative rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of boarding. Meanwhile, thousands of locals were stuck n emergency shelters with no idea when they might be able to return home. Levi Lewis, 58, a retired public servant from the town of Fancy, said the eruption had left him trying to get by with practically nothing. “I just reusing clothing cause i didn't walk with much," he said. "Plus water is an issue, so I’m trying to conserve it still.” “I want to go back home, or to whatever is left of it," he added. A few people, however, never left, defying evacuation orders. Raydon May, a bus conductor in his late 20s who stayed in Sandy Bay throughout the eruptions, said he had always planned to stay if the volcano erupted and was trying to protect properties in the community while making occasional trips outside the evacuation zone to pick up water and supplies. He said so much ash had fallen that the roofs of houses were collapsing under the weight. “One roof might get on like three truckloads of sand," he said. “We trying to help ... but we can’t help everybody.” Kristin Deane, The Associated Press
Two Russian warships transited the Bosphorus en route to the Black Sea on Saturday and 15 smaller vessels completed a transfer to the sea as Moscow beefs up its naval presence at a time of tense relations with the West and Ukraine. The reinforcement coincides with a huge build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine, something Moscow calls a temporary defensive exercise, and follows an escalation in fighting in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian government forces.
Minutes after Toronto FC ousted Mexico's Club Leon from the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, captain Michael Bradley had a message for his team. "The knife stays between our teeth. Keep going. There's more for us," the skipper, throwing in F-bombs for emphasis, told teammates crammed into a narrow corridor at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. While Mexican league leader Cruz Azul awaits in the quarterfinals of CONCACAF's flagship club tournaments, the MLS part of "more" starts Saturday when Toronto kicks off the regular season against CF Montreal in Fort Lauderdale, where the Quebec side has set up shop during the pandemic. While the TFC names essentially stay the same, it's a new-look Toronto under new coach Chris Armas, who succeeded Greg Vanney. The 48-year-old Armas, a former elite defensive midfielder who went on to coach the New York Red Bulls, brings his own brand of intensity to the job. While personable, he burns brightly — as does his preferred aggressive playing style. The goal is to pressure the opposition into mistakes, as TFC did against Leon. Armas calls it "hunt mode." "We're all-in and all committed to aggressive defending and this idea that we're dangerous when we don't have the ball," he said. The goal is to unbalance the opposition, win the ball back and then attack quickly. "I've had a really interesting view of it as I've been working my way (back to fitness) with the second group," said veteran fullback Justin Morrow, who returned to action and scored in Wednesday's 2-1 win over Leon. "And I keep on telling these guys after training (that) it's a really hard style of play to play against. I see it day-in and day-out at training. It's really uncomfortable the way they put pressure on the ball, the way we step up, And on top of that, we win the ball and we're going the other direction fast. "It's a little but different than we've had in the past but it's very fun to play in. And very hard to play against … Everyone's bought in. Eleven players moving together at the same time. That's the sign of a good team." It's also the sign of a fit one, even if Armas says there's more work to be done on that score. He says sports science data shows that while Toronto was in the upper tier among the league in distance covered during games last season, it was one of the lowest when it came to sprint distance. That is changing quickly under Armas, due to style of play and some of the young engines that are being utilized more. Toronto's pre-season got off to a rocky start, disrupted by a lockdown back home after the club reported nine cases of COVID-19. Add a wholesale change in off-field personnel including the sports science department, Armas' demanding tactics and a move to Florida and TFC bodies have taken a licking. "We've taken some knocks as we've trying to implement a really high-intensity transition-based team," Armas acknowledged. Toronto has a long injury list entering the season. Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo (thigh), Chris Mavinga (calf), Erickson Gallardo (groin), Julian Dunn (hip) and Ifunanyachi Achara (knee) are unavailable Saturday. Star striker Jozy Altidore (thigh) and Tsubasa Endoh (sports hernia) are listed as questionable. Midfielder Jonathan Osorio, who has been dealing with a thigh issue, is suspended after kicking out at Nashville's Alex Muyl in the playoff exit. While Osorio escaped punishment from referee Robert Sibiga, the play was subsequently reviewed by the MLS Disciplinary Committee, which handed out the one-game ban and an undisclosed fine. Striker Ayo Akinola, who has been out with an undisclosed ailment, is said to be healthy and working his way back to full fitness. Armas has already lived up to his promise to unleash the club's youth. Thirteen members of Toronto's 30-man first-team roster are 23 or under (including 21-year-old defender Rocco Romeo who is out on loan). There are three teenagers: Jahkeele Mashall-Rutty (16) and Jayden Nelson and Ralph Priso (both 18). GM Ali Curtis continues his hunt for a third designated player, a search complicated by the pandemic. He's looking for a game-changer. In the meantime, Armas is looking to make the most of what he has. He has seemingly taken the shackles off Bradley, allowing the 33-year-old to roam farther forward. And he clearly knows how important Bradley is to the team on and off the field. "He is the glue," he said. Armas related the story of how Bradley, after everyone has left training, can be found back in the locker room polishing his boots. "This is a pro," Armas said. "And he does it every day." Toronto has won five of the last six league meetings with Montreal over the last two seasons. Montreal's win last year ended a four-game TFC winning streak in the series. TORONTO FC LAST SEASON: Toronto (13-13-5) finished second in the East and the league, three points behind Philadelphia in the race for the Supporters' Shield. The season ended disappointingly in a 1-0 loss to expansion Nashville SC in the first round of the playoffs. PANDEMIC BASE: Orlando, Fla. MEET THE NEW BOSS: Chris Armas has taken over from Greg Vanney, who is now in charge of the Los Angeles Galaxy. REMEMBER THE NAME: Midfielder Marky Delgado is now going as Mark Delgado. OUT: Pablo Piatti, Laurent Ciman, Tony Gallacher. IN: Jordan Perruzza. PLAYERS TO WATCH: While Alejandro Pozuelo remains the straw that stirs the TFC drink, the club is still looking for another game-changer in the form of a third designated player. The club's talented youth contingent bears attention. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
New Brunswick recorded nine new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, six of them in the Edmundston region, Zone 4. The Moncton region, Zone 1, has two new cases, while the Saint John region, Zone 2, has one. The total number of active cases is 141. Twenty people are in hospital, 12 of whom are in intensive care. Public Health has revised the total number of confirmed cases. Two previously reported cases in Zone 4 have been removed from the list because of false positive results, according to a news release. "The lab is working to determine the cause," it said. The nine new cases break down in this way: Moncton region, Zone 1: two An individual 20 to 29. This case is a contact of a previously reported case. An individual 30 to 39. This case is travel-related. Saint John region, Zone 2: one An individual 80 to 89. This case is travel-related. Edmundston region, Zone 4: six Three people 19 or under. An individual 30 to 39. Two people 50 to 59. Most of the new cases are in the Edmundston region, Zone 4, part of which remains under lockdown for at least another week.(CBC) Four are these cases are contacts of a previously confirmed case and two are under investigation. New Brunswick has had 1,767 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March 2020. There have been 33 COVID-related deaths and 1,592 recoveries. A total of 273,193 tests have been conducted to date, including 1,382 on Thursday. The following chart shows the active case rates and total case rates for each of the province's seven zones, based on population numbers provided by the Department of Health and on current case counts. Region Population Active cases Active case rate* Cases to date Rate of cases to date* Moncton 222,694 15 6.7 378 170 Saint John 176,280 11 6.2 244 138 Fredericton 183,421 8 4.4 255 139 Edmundston 48,254 106 219.7 652 1,351 Campbellton 25,199 0 0 182 722 Bathurst 78,858 1 1.3 30 38 Miramichi 42,121 0 0 26 62 *per 100,000 population Positive case at daycare A positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at a daycare in Edmundston, Public Health announced on Friday. Garderie Mélubulles is closed and contact tracing is underway, according to a news release. All staff, children and their families have been advised to self-isolate until Sunday at midnight. "If you do not hear directly from Public Health, you have not been identified as a close contact," the release said. QMJHL announces updated playoff format The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League announced Friday the regular season in the Maritimes division will end Sunday, citing the reopening of the Atlantic bubble being delayed until May 3 The Halifax Mooseheads and Cape Breton Eagles won't take part in the 2021 President Cup playoffs, according to a news release. Meanwhile, the three New Brunswick-based teams will play in a nine-game round-robin tournament,with the winner facing off against the Charlottetown Islanders in the Maritimes division final. The league will determine the format of the round-robin tournament and the schedule in the upcoming days, the release said. The President Cup semifinals will group three teams from Quebec and one team from the Maritimes in a single "protected environment event." Teams will be seeded based on the 2020-2021 overall standings. The schedule and location of the event will be determined at a later date, the league said. The Moncton Wildcats are reminding fans to hold onto their unused season tickets. These will continue to be used in sequential order for all Wildcats home playoff games, it said in an email. Edmundston hospital continues to cope The Edmundston Regional Hospital continues to cope with the majority of the province's hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to an update issued by the Vitalité Health Network on Friday. It has 12 COVID patients, six of whom are in intensive care, including five on respirators. The hospital has only nine intensive care beds. Five COVID-19 patients are on respirators at the Edmundston Regional Hospital.(Radio-Canada) No COVID patients have had to be transferred to another hospital since April 7, however. One patient was transferred to Fredericton that day and two the day before. The emergency department remains open for people who require emergency care and want to see a doctor. "However, we ask that people whose health condition does not require urgent care make an appointment with their family doctor or nurse practitioner, consult with their community pharmacist, visit a walk-in clinic or call Tele-Care (811)," Vitalié said. Some ambulatory care services and elective surgeries are reduced temporarily. For now, Vitalité is asking people to plan to attend their appointments, as scheduled, and said it will contact them if they need to reschedule. Orange level begins in Grand Falls region The communities of Saint-Léonard, Grand Falls, Drummond, New Denmark and Four Falls in the Edmundston region, Zone 4, are now in the less restrictive orange COVID-19 alert level. They were moved from the red level Thursday at midnight after the COVID-19 situation improved, the chief medical officer of health said. Under the orange level, people may expand their household bubble to include a Steady 10 list of contacts, with whom they may dine out, Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said during Thursday's COVID-19 briefing. Masks are mandatory in indoor public spaces, as well as in outdoor public spaces when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Masks are also required when accessing food through the drive thru window. In addition to restaurant dining rooms, salons, spas, gyms and entertainment centres can reopen. In-person services at faith venues are limited to a maximum of 50 participants, depending on the size of the facility, and recreational and sports organizations can resume operations but are limited to holding practices. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard outlined some of the less restrictive Public Health measures at the orange COVID-19 alert level during Thursday's briefing.(Government of New Brunswick ) A section of Zone 4, including Edmundston and the Upper Madawaska region, remains under lockdown for at least another week. No travel is permitted in and out of the lockdown area or within the lockdown area except "when necessary," such as for vaccinations, medical appointments, work or to purchase essential goods, Shephard advised. Travel is not recommended in or out of areas at the orange level, but is allowed among areas at the less restrictive yellow level. The Saint-Quentin and Kedgwick regions in Zone 4, along with the rest of the province, remain at the yellow level. New possible exposures Moncton region, Zone 1: April 14 between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Urban Planet, Walmart and H&M – CF Champlain (477 Paul St., Dieppe) Edmundston region, Zone 4: April 9, between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Subway at the Edmundston Regional Hospital, 275 Hébert Blvd. Previous exposure notices Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on the following flights on April 2: Air Canada Flight 396 from Calgary to Montreal, departed at 1:10 a.m. Air Canada Flight 8898 from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 8:35 a.m. Moncton region, Zone 1: April 8 between 4:45 and 5:30 p.m. – COSTCO Wholesale customer service (140 Granite Dr., Moncton) April 6 between 5 and 8 p.m. – YMCA Vaughan Harvey, (30 War Veterans Ave., Moncton) April 4 between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. – Moncton Wesleyan Church (945 St. George Blvd., Moncton) April 3 between 8:00 and 9:30 p.m. – Kelseys Original Roadhouse (141 Trinity Dr., Moncton) April 1 between 12 and 1 p.m., April 3 between 1 and 1:30 p.m., April 6 between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., April 8 between 2 and 4 p.m. – CF Champlain (477 Paul St., Dieppe) Saint John region, Zone 2: March 29 and April 1, Guardian Drugs-Herring Cove Pharmacy (924 Rte. 774, Unit 2, Welshpool, Campobello Island) March 31, Service New Brunswick (73 Milltown Blvd., St. Stephen) March 31, Giant Tiger (210 King St., St. Stephen) March 31, Kent Building Supplies (188 King St., St. Stephen) March 31, Carman's Diner (164 King St., St. Stephen) April 9 between 2:10 and 2:40 p.m., GAP Factory East Point, (15 Fashion Dr., Saint John) April 9 between 5 and 6 p.m. – McAllister Place, 519 Westmorland Rd., Saint John April 8 between 12 and 1 p.m., – McAllister Place, 519 Westmorland Rd., Saint John April 8 between 1:15 and 2 p.m. – Service New Brunswick, 15 King Square North, Saint John April 1 between 6 and 7:30 p.m. – YMCA of Greater Saint John (191 Churchill Blvd., Saint John) Fredericton region, Zone 3: March 31 – Murray's Irving Big Stop (198 Beardsley Rd., Beardsley) Edmundston region, Zone 4: April 10, between 11 a.m. and noon, Staples, 11 Centre Madawaska Blvd. April 10, between noon and 1 p.m., Walmart, 805 Victoria St. April 7, 8 and 9, Canada Post (4 Grondin St., Edmundston) April 8 and 9 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Fenêtre Unique (130 Rivière à la Truite Rd., Edmundston) April 8 and 9, National Bank, (111 de l'Église St., Edmundston) April 9 between 12:00 and 1:30 p.m. – Shoppers Drug Mart (160 Hébert Blvd., Edmundston) April 8 between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m., April 7 between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m., and April 6 between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. – Tim Hortons (262 Isidore-Boucher Blvd., St-Jacques) April 7 after 6:00 p.m., April 6 after 6:00 p.m. – Epicerie Chez ti-Marc (256 Isidore-Boucher Blvd., St-Jacques) April 7 between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., and April 6 between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. – Dollarama (787 Victoria St., Edmundston) April 7 between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., and April 6 between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. – NB Liquor, (575 Victoria St., Edmundston) April 7 between 10:30 and 11:00 a.m. – Jean Coutu (177 Victoria St., Edmundston) April 7 between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. – Subway (180 Hébert Blvd., Edmundston) April 7 between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. – Atlantic Superstore (577 Victoria St., Edmundston) April 6 between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. – Scotiabank (75 Canada Rd., Edmundston) March 26 to April 8 – Napa Auto Parts - (260 Canada St., Edmundston) March 20 to April 9, Atlantic Superstore (577 Victoria St., Edmundston) April 5 at 11 a.m. – Shoppers Drug Mart (160 Hébert Blvd., Edmundston) April 1 – Royal Bank (48 Saint-François St., Edmundston) March 31 between 12 and 4:30 p.m. – Scotiabank (75 Canada Rd., Edmundston) March 30 between 12 and 4:30 p.m. – Scotiabank (75 Canada Rd., Edmundston) March 29 between 8:45 a.m. and 4 p.m. – Scotiabank (75 Canada Rd., Edmundston) What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: Fever above 38 C. New cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
Ontario needs at least a six-week stay-at-home order with an average of 100,000 vaccinations per day to get the third wave of COVID-19 now gripping the province under control, a panel of experts said Friday. "Without stronger system-level measures and immediate support for essential workers and high-risk communities, high case rates will persist through the summer," Ontario's COVID-19 science advisory table said in its latest update, echoing recommendations it has been making for months. This latest update came on the same day as new provincial restrictions were introduced extending the stay-at-home order by two weeks, promising more vaccines for harder-hit neighbourhoods, and limiting inter-provincial travel. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the group of experts that advises the government on its pandemic response, presented the table's latest modelling at a news conference this afternoon. He was joined by Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer of health. You can read the full presentation at the bottom of this story. On course for 10,000 cases per day by May Cases of the illness are rising in most of the province's 34 public health units, and the province-wide test positivity rate has climbed to 7.9 per cent. That figure is higher than 10 per cent in Toronto, Peel and York regions. Charting out Ontario's current trajectory — with what Brown describes as "moderate" public health restrictions in place for four weeks, along with approximately 100,000 vaccines administered per day — Ontario could see more than 10,000 new cases per day by late May, and 15,000 by late June. The pace of vaccinations is simply not enough on its own to contain increasing transmissions of the virus, he continued. In fact, even with stricter public health measures in place and about 300,000 vaccinations administered per day, it could take until the end of June to see cases counts drastically reduced. "It really requires everyone to pull together," Brown said. He did note that things could have been worse, saying that without the measures that are currently in place, Ontario could have been on track to see more than 30,000 new infections per day by the end of May. Growth in ICU numbers 'baked in' for 2 weeks Hospitalizations and ICU levels are also at all-pandemic highs, "compromising care" for all Ontarians and causing the backlog of surgeries and procedures to grow, said Brown. "Notice that our hospitals can no longer function normally. They are bursting at the seams, we are setting up field hospitals," he said, alluding to a field hospital in the parking lot at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. "Our children's hospitals are admitting adults. This has never happened in Ontario before. It's never happened in Canada before." Many intensive care units in particularly hard-hit areas of the province were never able to fully recover from the second wave of the pandemic that peaked in January, Brown added. They are now approaching a breaking point. Health-care workers move through the intensive care unit (ICU) at Scarborough Health Network’s Centenary Hospital, in north-east Toronto, on Apr. 8, 2021. The number of COVID-19 patients in Ontario ICUs reached an all-time high this week. (Evan Mitsui/CBC) Under any scenario, ICU admissions are expected to top 800 in the coming weeks. With only the current measures in place, admissions will still likely exceed 1,000, Brown said. Continued impacts for critical care units are now "baked in" for at least two weeks given growth in overall cases. The "longer and stronger" public health measures remain in place, Brown said, the more it will drive down admissions to intensive care. Dr. Kali Barrett of the University Health Network, reacting immediately after the province's presentation, called the numbers that were unveiled "catastrophic." "The health-care system is now buckling down and going to the trenches to fight the battle of our lifetime," she said. Where Ontario went wrong after Christmas Part of the problem, Brown explained, is that Ontario began easing public health measures during the brief lull between the second and third waves of the pandemic. During this time, the prevalence of variants of concern — which are more transmissible and increase the risk of both hospitalization and death — exploded. The science table reported as early as late January that if the spread of variants was not brought under control, Ontario was facing a potential "disaster" scenario. Revised projections published in March built on those concerns, forecasting up to 8,000 cases per day by the end of April if action was not taken. "This is what we were expecting moving forward if we relaxed public health measures" coming off the second wave, Brown said. Ford and his government imposed a month-long stay-at-home order on April 8, one week after moving the whole province into a "shutdown." Another key issue is mobility. The current stay-at-home order has reduced how much people are moving around, based on cell phone data, but not nearly as much as the order that kicked in Boxing Day 2020. What restrictions would help? Brown offered several key recommendations for curbing the ongoing third wave, many of them measures the science table has repeatedly called for without corresponding action from the government. Among them is a paid sick leave program for essential workers that offers easier, quicker access to money than the federal option currently in place. Ford and his cabinet have thus far refused to offer such a program. Other recommendations to the province include: "Double down" on vaccinations in the highest-risk communities. Limit what businesses are allowed to stay open and enforce the rules. Limit mobility into Ontario and within Ontario. Make essential workplaces safer The province did say Friday it would limit travel, reduce the capacity of essential stores to 25 per cent, and promised to give 25 per cent more vaccines to hot-spot areas. You can read more about those restrictions here. When asked Friday why the province would not consider closing some non-essential warehouses, manufacturing, and other large workplaces, Premier Doug Ford responded that shutting down one manufacturing workplace would affect Ontario's supply chain and prevent the province from making the products it needs. Both Brown and Dr. David Williams also made appeals to individual Ontarians — though they were notably different in tone. "I know we're tired, I know we're demoralized, and I know some of us are heartbroken," said Brown, before asking people to stick to the basics of not seeing others indoors, mask-wearing and distancing, and getting a vaccine as soon as you are eligible. "There's been a sense among the public that this pandemic really is not such a big deal," said Williams during his turn to speak. "You really have to take this seriously now."