Shocking body-worn footage shows Anthony Browne, 63, wielding a sword.
Shocking body-worn footage shows Anthony Browne, 63, wielding a sword.
BEIJING (Reuters) -China will tread carefully in relaxing its birth policies for fear of harming social stability, even as the latest census highlights the urgency to address the country's declining birth trends and ageing population, policy sources said. Expectations for birth policy reforms are rising after the 2020 census last week showed China's population grew at its slowest in the last decade since the 1950s as births declined and ageing accelerated. A fertility rate of 1.3 children per woman in 2020, on par with ageing societies like Japan and Italy, underscores the risk for China: the world's second-biggest economy may already be in irreversible population decline without having first accumulated the household wealth of G7 nations.
A controversial Quebec singer who used his platform to share conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS, has died. Bernard Lachance, originally from Montmagny, Quebec, garnered fame for his ambitious pursuit of performing. He would rent out theatres with his own money and sell his CD and tickets to his concerts on the streets, regardless of not having any representation.
An accusation made public earlier this month alleging Dennis Oland assaulted his wife in a Toronto hotel room in June 2018 may not be enough on its own to push police to re-examine the incident or put Oland in any new legal trouble, according to experts. And they say had the incident become public in 2018, it probably would not have affected the outcome of Oland's second murder trial. "It might be enough to start an investigation," Osgoode Hall law professor Lisa Dufraimont said about the domestic assault allegation. "Certainly not to lay a charge on the basis of what they have so far." Toronto criminal defence lawyer Shayan Shaffie, who specializes in domestic assault cases, doubts the accusation by Oland's estranged wife Lisa Andrik-Oland will even be looked into by authorities based on the limited new description of what is alleged to have happened. "I wouldn't hold my breath on the police initiating a renewed investigation in respect of a three-year-old matter," said Shaffie. "It's not impossible, but I think that it's not likely." Lisa Dufraimont, who teaches at York University's Osgoode Hall law school, says violent acts in one case by an individual generally cannot be used against that person in a trial about an unrelated matter.() A handwritten description On May 3, the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench unsealed details of an emergency intervention order applied for by Lisa Andrik-Oland in June 2020 to keep Dennis Oland from entering their then home. The two had been separated several months by then. In a section of the application asking for details of intimate partner violence to justify the application, Andrik-Oland briefly detailed two incidents over 15 months where she said Oland had assaulted her, including once in Toronto in June 2018. In a four-line handwritten description of what happened, she said Oland used his belt during a "physical altercation" to tie her hands behind her back in a hotel room. The incident was just four months before Oland was scheduled to stand trial a second time for the 2011 murder of his father, Richard Oland. According to Andrik-Oland's account, it was tumultuous and alarming enough to cause people in the room next to theirs to call police. "There was a physical altercation," she wrote. "Dennis at the time was going to begin his second trial so I told police everything was OK." Lisa Andrik-Oland's handwritten account of what she says were two physical assaults by Dennis Oland may not be enough to trigger new police investigations. (CBC) Police won't confirm Police in Toronto will not explicitly confirm it dealt with the couple but do say officers were involved in a call of that type during the same weekend Andrik-Oland cited in her statement. "From the details you have provided I have found an incident from June 9 (2018)," Connie Osborne, the manager of media relations for the Toronto Police Service, wrote in response to a request seeking information about it. Andrik-Oland listed the incident as happening on Friday, June 8, but Osborne said police records show they were called well past midnight, at 4:53 a.m., on Saturday, June 9, to a "property" in the upscale neighbourhood of Avenue Road and Bloor Street West. "They checked inside the property and spoke separately to a man and a woman to carry out inquiries and check the well-being of both individuals," Osborne wrote of officers who responded to the call "Neither party made any allegations of criminality." There are three hotels in that specific area, which is adjacent to the Royal Ontario Museum and sandwiched in between the affluent Yorkville shopping district and the University of Toronto campus. The Hazleton, the Yorkville Royal Sonesta and Windsor Arms are each nearby, but Osborne says it is not police practice to release specific locations of where incidents occur "unless it is a homicide investigation or has a public safety element." Toronto police will not confirm they responded to a domestic abuse call involving Dennis Oland at a city hotel in 2018 but do say officers were involved in a call of a similar type and at a similar time as described by Lisa Andrik-Oland.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) Shaffie said although he doubts police will revisit the case based on the scarcity of information provided in the new accusation, he does think had police been told by Andrik-Oland that night that she had been tied up and confined, the consequences would have been serious. Police answering intimate partner violence calls are expected to use specific "mandatory charging" rules that do not apply in other assault cases. Those require the laying of a criminal charge by officers if there are reasonable grounds to believe abuse has occurred, with nothing else required. "And that's irrespective of the gravity of the offence and it's irrespective of the wishes of the complainant," said Shaffie. "I think it's fair to say that had the police shown up in June of 2018, and a claim like the one that's included in this application was made at the time, the police certainly would have engaged in an investigation at that point. "They would have separated the parties, they would have questioned them. And if they felt at the conclusion of their investigation that they had reasonable grounds to believe that a domestic assault had occurred or a forcible confinement, they would have certainly made an arrest at that time." Shayan Shaffie is a criminal defence lawyer in Toronto who specializes in domestic abuse cases. He believes Dennis Oland could have been charged in 2018 if new allegations made by Lisa Andrik-Oland about being assaulted by him in a Toronto hotel had been expressed to police at the time.(Submitted) An arrest in the heart of Toronto so close to the start of Oland's second murder trial would likely have triggered intense media coverage but it would not necessarily have changed anything about the trial itself. Previous violence can't be considered Dufraimont, who specializes in criminal law, procedure and evidence, said that with rare exceptions, an accused's presumption of innocence in a trial involving violence forbids the consideration of other unrelated violent events, including assaults. "Rules about bad character are very complicated, but one of the rules is that the Crown can't rely on someone's violent character to prove that the person is likely to have committed a violent offence," she said. Dennis Oland had been under intense legal and public scrutiny since the brutally violent murder of his father in July 2011. Family and friends and Oland himself insisted publicly he did not possess the temperament for the hacking and bludgeoning attack suffered by his father, and over the years there were efforts to convey that view to the court and the public. Sixty-six people submitted character reference letters on Oland's behalf following his first trial, including one from his mother, Connie, depicting him as a "gentle" and "caring" person. Oland himself maintained he was not capable of erupting in uncontrollable anger. "I'm not that kind of monster. I'd never do that to my dad or any person," Oland testified during the second trial about the murder. That's part of what made Andrik-Oland's account of being assaulted by especially jarring and why legal experts say it would have been out of bounds to be used in a murder trial if it had been known at the time. "Courts are very careful when it comes to that kind of evidence, because it can lead to a miscarriage of justice," said University of Calgary law professor Lisa Silver, who teaches courses on crime and evidence. "It can lead to convictions that aren't based on the evidence before the court, but just based on a bad feeling about the accused." Lisa Silver teaches criminal law at the University of Calgary. Had accusations Dennis Oland assaulted his wife surfaced publicly prior to his second murder trial she believes it would not have changed the outcome.(Mike Spenrath CBC) What did or did not happen in a Toronto hotel in 2018 sheds no factual light on what happened in Richard Oland's office in 2011, and Silver and Dufraimont both said a properly run murder trial would have sealed off any consideration of the hotel incident had it been public. An allegation by Andrik-Oland of a second assault in New Brunswick in September 2019 occurred after Oland's acquittal and unlike the incident in Toronto did not involve police being called. It is also unclear which police force would have jurisdiction to investigate the matter since the accusation specifies only that it happened on an island in the St. John and Kennebecasis river system but not which one. Some islands are inside Saint John city limits and would be in the jurisdiction of Saint John police, and some are in the local service district of Westfield, which is the responsibility of the RCMP. Shaiffe does not see any movement being made by police unless a more formal complaint is made. "They could call her, they could say, 'Ma'am, we've had this brought to our attention, and we'd like to give you an opportunity to tell us what happened.' "I wouldn't count on that. I think it's more unlikely than it is likely.". Dennis Oland has declined to comment on the allegations through his lawyer.
On Monday, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health Dr. Barbara Yaffe reported the province faced a total of 14 total cases of blood clotting due to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, 10 of which are vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). Ontario recently put a pause on administering the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to the extremely rare blood clotting disorder, but will offer second doses to those who want one.
OTTAWA (Reuters) -Canadian home sales, prices and starts all fell in April compared with the previous month, as some of the frenzy of recent months began to unwind, though activity remains strong, data showed on Monday. Canadian home sales fell 12.5% in April from March, while the average selling price was down 2.9% in April from the previous month, according to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Housing starts, meanwhile, fell 19.8% in April compared with March on a sharp decline in multiple urban starts, though starts remain well above pre-pandemic levels, separate data from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) showed.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 8:30 p.m. ET on Monday May 17, 2021. There are 1,334,104 confirmed cases in Canada. Canada: 1,334,104 confirmed cases (67,639 active, 1,241,482 resolved, 24,983 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 4,586 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 177.97 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 39,905 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 5,701. There were 35 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 301 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 43. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 65.74 per 100,000 people. There have been 33,592,273 tests completed. Newfoundland and Labrador: 1,203 confirmed cases (97 active, 1,100 resolved, six deaths). There were 10 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 18.58 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 62 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 256,309 tests completed. Prince Edward Island: 192 confirmed cases (nine active, 183 resolved, zero deaths). There was one new case Monday. The rate of active cases is 5.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been five new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 154,580 tests completed. Nova Scotia: 4,827 confirmed cases (1,434 active, 3,320 resolved, 73 deaths). There were 91 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 146.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 793 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 113. There was one new reported death Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.03 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 7.45 per 100,000 people. There have been 725,813 tests completed. New Brunswick: 2,073 confirmed cases (119 active, 1,913 resolved, 41 deaths). There were 10 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 15.23 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 60 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 5.25 per 100,000 people. There have been 323,946 tests completed. Quebec: 363,847 confirmed cases (7,011 active, 345,794 resolved, 11,042 deaths). There were 551 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 81.77 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,051 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 722. There were eight new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 49 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is seven. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 128.78 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,862,183 tests completed. Ontario: 511,486 confirmed cases (25,869 active, 477,128 resolved, 8,489 deaths). There were 2,170 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 175.57 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 16,467 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,352. There were four new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 162 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 23. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.61 per 100,000 people. There have been 14,619,412 tests completed. Manitoba: 45,579 confirmed cases (4,568 active, 40,000 resolved, 1,011 deaths). There were 430 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 331.19 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,129 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 447. There was one new reported death Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 14 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.15 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 73.3 per 100,000 people. There have been 747,968 tests completed. Saskatchewan: 44,709 confirmed cases (1,965 active, 42,225 resolved, 519 deaths). There were 178 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 166.71 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,414 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 202. There were two new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 17 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.21 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 44.03 per 100,000 people. There have been 820,209 tests completed. Alberta: 219,682 confirmed cases (21,288 active, 196,246 resolved, 2,148 deaths). There were 721 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 481.42 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,295 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,328. There were five new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 31 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.1 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 48.58 per 100,000 people. There have been 4,404,789 tests completed. British Columbia: 139,664 confirmed cases (5,175 active, 132,841 resolved, 1,648 deaths). There were 424 new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 100.53 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 3,556 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 508. There were 14 new reported deaths Monday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 26 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.07 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.01 per 100,000 people. There have been 2,631,197 tests completed. Yukon: 84 confirmed cases (one active, 81 resolved, two deaths). There were zero new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 2.38 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 4.76 per 100,000 people. There have been 9,129 tests completed. Northwest Territories: 121 confirmed cases (38 active, 83 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 84.14 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 19 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 22,405 tests completed. Nunavut: 624 confirmed cases (65 active, 555 resolved, four deaths). There were zero new cases Monday. The rate of active cases is 165.17 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 52 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is seven. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 10.16 per 100,000 people. There have been 14,257 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published May 17, 2021. The Canadian Press
Vancouver police have released the names and photos of six known gangsters they believe pose a significant risk to residents as the Lower Mainland gang war continues to claim victims and play out during the daytime in busy public places. Vancouver police Chief Const. Adam Palmer said the men are being identified because, according to police intelligence, they are the most likely next targets of rival gangs and a danger to anyone who happens to be nearby. "I want to make it clear that today's announcement is not about naming and shaming," he said on Monday. "We are providing these photos and names so Vancouverites can know them and take steps to ensure their own safety and safety of friends and family." The Lower Mainland has recorded 20 gang-related homicides in 2021 and 20 gang-related attempted murders. In the past three weeks alone, seven men tied to gangs have been shot dead in public settings that include Vancouver International Airport, a recreation centre, a community park, a mall parking lot and outside shops and restaurants. The men identified by the VPD are Garinder Deo, 35; Harjit Deo, 38; Barinder Dhaliwal, 38; Meninder Dhaliwal, 28; Ekene Anigbo, 22; and Damion Ryan, 41. 2015 murder attempt Ryan, a full-patch member of the Hells Angels, was the target of a wild 2015 murder attempt at the Vancouver airport food court, carried out by a teen disguised in a black burka. Would-be killer Knowah Ferguson was from Ontario, had no previous criminal record and was promised $200,000 for the hit. WATCH | Surveillance video shows failed assassination of Hells Angels member: Security video played at his trial shows a burka-clad Ferguson walking up to Ryan and putting a gun to his head. The gun jams and both men flee. The 18-year-old was later sentenced to seven years in prison for attempted murder and four years for conspiracy. Palmer said neither Ryan nor the other five men identified on Monday are currently wanted by police. He said releasing their names is in the interest of public safety, similar to when police release the name and photo of a sex offender who has moved into the community. "[The six] not only pose a risk to friends, family and acquaintances, but also to people who don't even know them every time they go to the gym, go shopping, to the grocery store, to a restaurant or a bar, when bars are open." Palmer said he expects other police agencies to follow Vancouver's lead and release more names and photos of gang members in their jurisdictions. He said the VPD is deploying a suite of overt and covert operations in an attempt to tamp down the violence and that officers would be seizing gang members' cars, homes and other valuables gained through crime. RCMP officers stand near a body covered with a tarp in the parking lot of a shopping complex in Burnaby, B.C., on May 13. Police later said the victim, Jaskeert Kalkat, was connected to gangs and targeted.(Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press) A new department task force that was recently formed to react quickly to gang activity stopped a retaliation shooting last week, according to Vancouver police Supt. Lisa Byrne. Two men were arrested in a stolen car loaded with gas canisters. One of the individuals was a youth, the other had a loaded firearm. Deputy Chief Howard Chow said citizens should report any suspicious cars they notice to police. "We know gang members park stolen cars in neighbourhoods in advance of targeted hits that they later use as getaway vehicles that we find later burned," he said. Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers announced Monday that it is reviving its gang violence awareness campaign.(CBC) Earlier Monday, Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers announced it is reviving a gang violence awareness campaign thanks to new funding. The campaign encourages people with information on gangs and illegal guns to report anonymously. "If you see something, say something," said Crime Stoppers executive director Linda Annis. "We only want your information so we can pass it on to police. We do not want to know who you are." The widow of Paul Bennett, who was killed in 2018 in what police believe was a case of mistaken identity, said she is pleased the Crime Stopper guns and gang campaign is coming back. "Every arrest, every gun seized means a threat to an innocent life will be reduced," Darlene Bennett said. "Next month marks three years since Paul's life was so senselessly taken. Our lives will never be the same."
As the United States searches for a path back to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, it is tiptoeing through a minefield laid by former U.S. President Donald Trump. The mines are Iran-related sanctions Trump imposed on more than 700 entities and people, according to a Reuters tally of U.S. Treasury actions, after he abandoned the nuclear deal and restored all the sanctions it had removed. Among these, Trump blacklisted about two dozen institutions vital to Iran's economy, including its central bank and national oil company, using U.S. laws designed to punish foreign actors for supporting terrorism or weapons proliferation.
Schooling Under Stress: CBC News sent a questionnaire to thousands of education professionals to find out how they and their students are doing in this extraordinary school year. Nearly 9,500 educators responded. A pandemic-marred school year is entering its final weeks and for many B.C. teachers the question now is how it will impact students, academically and psychologically. According to responses to CBC News's Schooling Under Stress questionnaire from over 1,500 B.C. educators, including 1,100 classroom teachers, the long-term effects on students are a major concern and teachers badly want help so the pandemic does not limit their students' futures. "Student needs are ever-increasing. There are more students displaying signs of trauma," wrote one B.C. respondent. "I feel overwhelmed and I do not see things improving for next year." Questionnaire sent to Surrey, Nanaimo, Kelowna CBC sent the questionnaire to 52,351 email addresses of school workers in eight provinces, across nearly 200 school districts. Email addresses were scraped from school websites that publicly listed them. The questionnaire was sent using SurveyMonkey. CBC chose provinces and school districts based on interest by regional CBC bureaus and availability of email addresses. As such, this questionnaire is not a representative survey of educators in Canada. None of the questions were mandatory, and not all respondents answered all of the questions. Almost three-quarters of B.C. respondents to the questionnaire — sent to educators in the Surrey, Nanaimo and Kelowna school districts — somewhat or strongly agreed that with the pandemic school year experience in mind, some students will not catch up academically. About half said fewer students are meeting learning objectives. Half said their students were a bit behind schedule and one-quarter said their students were far behind schedule. Nine out of 10 agreed that the challenges of the pandemic year would have a psychological impact on some students. "Worried for my students' well-being, learning and progress," another respondent wrote. "I am doing my best and it is just hard seeing students stressed, their potential hampered with this pandemic, and joy limited." CBC spoke to several respondent teachers who said that while some students may be permanently affected by the pandemic, most will overcome it. They want more support for students and teachers so fewer slip through the cracks. 'Academics and mental health are hugely connected' At Peace Arch Elementary School in Surrey, French immersion teacher Rachael Froese said academic problems were apparent back in September. Most kids had been away from in-person school for about five months and skills like oral French were especially poor. "We really had to work on that, especially at the beginning of the year," Froese said. Most students were able to catch up but stress and anxiety, especially those from less stable homes, was common. "Academics and mental health are hugely connected," she said. Teacher Rachael Froese said the individual situations of kids — especially the stability of their home lives — has influenced how successful they've been during this school year.(Maggie MacPherson/CBC) "They need to feel safe. They need to feel secure. They need to feel respected. They need to feel loved … if they're too busy trying to work out how to get those needs met they're not really able to be present in class." North Surrey social studies teacher Mark Bomba said his focus, more than other years, has been preparing his high school students for university. That and the demands of a sometimes-online, sometimes-in-person school year has meant students have had to mature quickly. "We've seen some amazing students who are ... resilient," he said. "But it's also exacerbated a lot of problems." Teacher Mark Bomba said his biggest concern is for students in grades 10 and 11, who are preparing for university. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC) One of those problems is that he's not seeing some students in person. Over two-thirds of CBC's questionnaire respondents agreed that some students have stopped coming to class entirely, which may lead to learning gaps going forward, especially for post-secondary ambitions. "Some students you just don't hear from and nothing gets handed in," Bomba said. Christina Smith, who teaches English and social studies online at Lord Tweedsmuir secondary, is also concerned about becoming disconnected from her students, especially because it's been more difficult to see who is struggling with their mental health. "A lot of students that I have talked to are feeling overwhelmed with concerns about their family, concerns about their health, concerns about their learning," Smith said. Teacher Christina Smith, who teaches English and social studies online at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary in Surrey, B.C., is concerned students will suffer poorer learning outcomes following the stress of the pandemic.(Submitted by Christina Smith) "They're really struggling to be able to manage a load that is, quite honestly, very difficult for adults to manage right now and that I think is going to have long term effects." She's concerned that for some students, a poorer school experience now could lead to fewer opportunities later in life, less desire to pursue life-long learning and create less engaged citizens. Minister evaluating needs Froese, Bomba and Smith were optimistic most students would overcome this year's challenges but some — likely those already at-risk — might not. The teachers want more support: counsellors to help students' mental health; support teachers to work with them on the gaps in their learning; and training and professional development for teachers. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside said she is looking at what gaps have emerged or become more pronounced during the pandemic. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside said keeping schools open during the pandemic has been important for young peoples' mental health.(Belle Puri/CBC) "There were pre-existing needs before COVID and we know that those needs will be likely increased as we try to return to a more normal state in September," Whiteside said. "We're certainly looking at what those needs are." Discussions are ongoing for what summer programs and September will look like, she said. She highlighted $56 million in spending from the latest provincial budget for child and youth mental health teams. Smith believes with more help for at-risk students, more will rise above this challenging year. "It's not going to destroy a generation of children," she said. "Students are really resilient and teachers really care about them." CBC Vancouver's Impact Team investigates and reports on stories that impact people in their local community and strives to hold individuals, institutions and organizations to account. If you have a story for us, email email@example.com. If you're experiencing suicidal thoughts or having a mental health crisis, there is help out there: In Quebec (French): Association Québécoise de prévention du suicide: 1-866-APPELLE (1-866-277-3553) Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: Find a 24-hour crisis centre
In March 2020, Minakshi thought her journey to Canadian citizenship was coming to a close, as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada set a date for her test. Then the world changed before her eyes on March 11, exactly a week before her scheduled citizenship exam, as the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The IRCC cancelled all tests, including hers, except for what it called a few "urgent" exams, held virtually. "We understood, we tried to co-operate," Minakshi said. But several months passed before the department resumed tests, shifting them online at the end of November. Testing backlog grew during pandemic Data obtained by CBC News shows Minakshi is one of hundreds of thousands of people stuck in a waiting pattern. In a series of internal IRCC emails, employees acknowledge that the backlog of those permanent residents who are ready to take a citizenship test grew from 87,000 people in March 2020 to 102,000 by the start of this year. The information also shows there were 311,259 people waiting to go through the entire application process for citizenship at the end of January. Of those, 102,989 had been waiting between 13 and 18 months — and 865 for more than four years. "One hundred and two thousand applicants, that's just like the size of a mid-sized city in Canada," said Ahsan Umar, the head of an ad-hoc advocacy group, Advocates for Citizenship Test. The group lodged the access to information request that revealed the figures and the internal department emails. "We all understand reasonable delays because of this whole situation we are in," Umar said. "But when it gets to lack of transparency and unreasonable delays, that instils a lot of deep sorrow in itself." The cost of waiting For Minakshi, who came to Canada 10 years ago and lives in London, Ont., it also compounded job-seeking issues. She has only a first name, not uncommon for the part of India where she's from. She would like to start a career in real estate in Canada and obtain a surname. But to legally do that, she would first need to pass her citizenship test. Since 2018, she estimates she's paid up to $600 to renew her permanent resident card and an Indian passport — and to get her fingerprints scanned three times to help with the IRCC's criminal background check, which must be periodically redone as a citizenship application is being processed. Although she started her Canadian citizenship application in 2018, Minakshi said she has yet to receive a new test invitation, and she doesn't understand why it's her responsibility to pay for new scans, since her actions haven't caused the delay.. "Every morning, you know, instead of doing my regular work, I'm checking my phone. Everyday, have I got the email yet? Do I need to prepare for my citizenship test?" Ben Mansoura was among the 5,000 applicants to receive an online citizenship test invitation by the end of 2020. He had to submit an access to information request to find out he passed. (Mark Bochsler/CBC) Toronto resident Ben Mansoura, another permanent resident, managed to be among the first 5,000 candidates to receive an invitation to take an online test in December. But the senior IT manager had to file an access to information request about himself just to find out he passed. He's still waiting on criminal background and language eligibility results, with no indication of when those might arrive. "The agents on the phone would almost be like: 'Why are you calling us?'" Mansoura said, whenever he called the IRCC to get updated information. For some permanent residents who thought they were close to becoming Canadian citizens, the prospect of further delays raises the possibility they may be unable to vote in the next federal election, expected later this year.(Tijana Martin/The Canadian Press) In 2019, he didn't have the right to vote in the federal election, and he's worried he may still be unable to cast a ballot in the next election, expected later this year, if delays continue indefinitely. "I do want to take part in the betterment of this country," said Mansoura, who arrived in Canada in 2012 from the Czech Republic. "I feel unwelcome here, I feel like I'm not being treated equally." More digital tests coming 'very soon': minister Some of the internal IRCC emails in the 353-page document obtained by Ahsan Umar's group date back from before the online test launch, with employees settling on what one referred to as an "aggressive plan" to begin the pilot project with 5,000 test invitations by the end of 2020. Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino was unavailable for an interview on the subject, but at a recent news conference, he asked those still waiting to "keep the faith." "More digital testing and citizenship ceremonies are coming to you very soon," he said. Immigration MInister Marco Mendicino, shown at a news conference last June, asks those still waiting for an online citizenship test invitation to 'keep the faith.'(Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press) In a followup statement to CBC News, the IRCC said it had sent out 65,893 online test invitations by the end of April, and 43,697 people had completed their citizenship tests. "Immigration officers have had to scramble for this last year as well," said Raj Sharma, a Calgary-based immigration lawyer. Glimpsing at the numbers obtained by CBC News, he said he had expected the backlog to be worse due to the pandemic. But Sharma said there was no explanation for the large number of people waiting for such a long time. "It appears to be clear there were delays on some applications well before this pandemic, well before the excuse of this pandemic," he said. WATCH | Essential workers, graduates to get new pathway to permanent residency: "It does look like there's some promising signs of spring ahead," Sharma said, referring to the online testing process flowing more smoothly now. But it is little comfort for Minakshi: "If I get the fourth fingerprint request next year, I'm going to withdraw my file," she said.
New Brunswick Public Health reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, five of them in the Fredericton region, which is also battling a growing "cluster" of cases at the Delta hotel, a new confirmed case at New Maryland Elementary School, a third confirmed case at Leo Hayes High School, an outbreak at the hospital, and has several new possible exposure warnings. Ten more cases of COVID-19 have been identified at the Delta Fredericton since Friday, said Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane. That pushes the total number of cases linked to the former designated quarantine hotel to 25, including at least one employee. Public Health isn't calling it an outbreak, but rather a "cluster." The Delta is no longer part of the designated quaratine hotel program, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell confirmed last week. Macfarlane did not respond to questions about whether an employee, isolating guest or regular guest has been identified as the index case. But he did confirm there were previous positive cases at the hotel when he clarified numbers released last week. On Friday, Macfarlane said there were five "direct" cases and 10 cases that were "direct contacts of previously confirmed cases." On Monday, when asked whether the 10 cases referred to people in the community who were contacts of previously confirmed cases at the hotel, or people at the hotel who were contacts of previously confirmed cases in the community, he replied: "We mean people in the community who are contacts of either those five at the hotel or previous cases at the hotel." Macfarlane could not say how many employees the Delta has. The Delta has not responded to a request for comment. Employees who worked at the hotel or its restaurant, STMR.36 BBQ & Social, from May 6 to 12 or from April 26 to May 2 have been "strongly encouraged" to get tested and abide by work isolation until Thursday. If they choose not to get tested, they're required to isolate for 14 days after the date of the last potential exposure in the workplace. Whether the employees get tested or not, members of their household are required to self-isolate for 14 days. "Although it is not an outbreak, Public Health has put in processes at the Delta Fredericton similar to those used by the PROMT (Provincial Rapid Outbreak Management Team) in a long-term care facility outbreak to facilitate risk management processes and testing," Macfarlane said last week. He did not say how many of the 25 cases involve the highly contagious variant first reported in India, which is circulating in the region. 118 active cases The province now has 118 active cases. The breakdown of the 11 new cases reported Monday is as follows: Saint John region, Zone 2, three new cases: A person 19 or under. Two people 50-59. Two of these are contacts of previously confirmed cases and the other is travel-related. Fredericton region, Zone 3, five new cases: Two people 19 or under. Two people 40-49. A person 50-59. All of these cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases. Edmundston region, Zone 4, two new cases: Two people 50-59. Both cases are under investigation. Bathurst region, Zone 6: one new case: A person 30-39. This case is travel-related and the individual is isolating out of province. The 11 new cases of COVID-19 announced Monday and the revised case count put the province's total active cases at 118. (CBC) Six patients are hospitalized in New Brunswick, including two in an intensive care unit. Another four patients are hospitalized out of province, with one in an intensive care unit. New Brunswick has had 2,073 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with 1,913 recoveries and 41 COVID-related deaths. A total 315,114 COVID tests have been conducted, including 1,126 on Sunday. As of Monday, 324,056 New Brunswickers have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That's 46.7 per cent of the eligible population. Confirmed case at New Maryland Elementary School A positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at New Maryland Elementary School, David McTimoney, superintendent of the Anglophone West School district, said in a letter to families Monday night. The letter said Public Health officials will contact people if their child has been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case, in which case the child and all household members will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. If a child was potentially exposed due to a "common environment exposure," such as using the same restroom or hallways, then the child and all houshold members will be asked to self-isolate for 72 hours and self-monitor for 14 days. Tuesday will be an operational day, with no instruction, to allow for continued contact tracing and cleaning of the school, said McTimoney. Students will transition to online learning from home on Wednesday at 10 a.m., which will continue Thursday, when the situation will be reassessed and an update provided, he said. 3rd case of COVID-19 confirmed at Leo Hayes High School A third case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton over the weekend. Two cases of COVID-19 were detected last week, forcing the local high school to close. "Public Health has also confirmed that at this time, there is NO in-school transmission at Leo Hayes High School," McTimoney said in a letter to families on Sunday. New Brunswick Public Health has confirmed a third case of COVID-19 at Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton over the weekend. (CBC) McTimoney said Monday is a planned non-instructional day as per the school calendar. Students will be learning from home on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. "We will reassess the situation on Thursday and provide you with an update on continued learning at that time," McTimoney said. The high schools is working with Public Health officials to identify any students and school personnel who may have been in contact with the case, he said. Those people will be asked to self-isolate. Horizon staffing 'a concern' Forty Horizon Health Network employees in the Fredericton area are off work Monday because the COVID-19 outbreak at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital, Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation and Veterans Health Unit. That's down from 42 Sunday and 49 on Saturday. But "staffing remains a concern," the regional health authority said in a news release. The outbreak was declared Thursday after an employee of the Chalmers hospital tested positive for a COVID-19 variant of concern. Geri Geldart, vice-president of clinical services, previously confirmed the employee is a health-care worker. An unknown number of Horizon employees and patients may have been exposed to the Chalmers health-care worker who tested positive for a COVID variant of concern last week.(Joe McDonald/CBC) As of Monday, there are two COVID-19 patients in hospital and one COVID patient in ICU, Horizon said. Overall "occupancy rates are high, and only urgent services will be provided at this time," the statement said. The occupancy rate at the Chalmers hospital is 95 per cent. The occupancy rates at the other hospitals in Zone 3 are also high: Oromocto Public Hospital: 98 per cent. Upper River Valley Hospital: 121 per cent. Latest public exposures Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the coronavirus at the following locations and dates in the Fredericton region: Fredericton: Montana's, 6 Trinity Ave., on May 2, between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Wolastoq Wharf, 527 Union St., on May 9, between noon and 2:30 p.m. McDonald's Restaurant, 1177 Prospect St., on May 14, between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. Harvey: Kubbyhole Craft Shop, 1879 Route 3, on May 7, between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. Nackawic: Cal's Independent Grocer, 135 Otis Dr., on May 14, between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the virus at the following location and date in Edmundston: Jean Coutu, 177 Victoria St., on May 15, between noon and 1 p.m. Public Health has also identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious while on the following flights: Air Canada Flight 314 – from Vancouver to Montreal, departed at 11:24 p.m. on May 11. Air Canada Flight 8902 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 1:06 p.m. on May 12. No update on Magee House Isolation for "a handful" of the people at Magee House residence at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton campus was expected to end Sunday. But neither Department of Health nor UNB officials responded to a request for an update Monday. UNB did not post any update on its website or through social media either. The outbreak at the 101-unit apartment-style residence was declared on April 27, after six cases were confirmed. Residents told CBC News they were notified about the first positive case on April 22. At least 13 cases have since been linked to the outbreak that involves the highly contagious COVID variant first recorded in India. Magee House in Fredericton is a UNB residence with 101 apartment-style units for mature students, some of whom may have children.(Ed Hunter/CBC) Officials did not respond to a request for an update on the ventilation system Monday either. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell previously said a Public Health inspector and UNB engineers found "there was a teeny tiny chance that there could have been some cross-contamination with one particular component" of the ventilation system. "So that was shut off [April 27]. And they won't be turning it back on until we give the go-ahead." About 180 people live in the building, which is designed for mature students, some of whom have families. Public Health officials believe surfaces in the elevator were the source of transmission in the outbreak. The faculty of the departments of history and classics had requested a rent break for the isolating students at Magee House and some students at the Elizabeth Parr-Johnston residence, who also had to isolate up until May 5 at 11:59 p.m. "The students who cannot work will lose a portion of their income," the letter to UNB president Paul Mazerolle states. "In addition, students might not be able to meet their monthly budgets because they must now rely exclusively on ordering necessities online, and thus have additional expenses with delivery charges and less control over buying lower cost items." UNB spokesperson Heather Campbell has not responded to requests for comment on whether the rent break was approved. Vaccine appointments today The Horizon Health Network has vaccination appointments available today in the Sussex and Fredericton areas. It posted on social media encouraging people aged 30 or older who are eligible to book an appointment. Appointments can be booked online. Walk-in appointments are not available. Revised case count Public Health has revised the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in New Brunswick. A case previously reported in the Bathurst region, Zone 6, had already been accounted for in another province, according to a news release. Due to confidentiality provisions, the province where the case was previously recorded will not be identified, Public Health said. Previous public exposures Public Health has identified a public exposure in Fredericton. Hilton Garden Inn Hotel and the Pickle Jar Restaurant, 620 Queen St., from May 11 to May 16. The province has also listed another flight with a passenger who has tested positive for COVID-19 on May 7. Air Canada Flight 318 – from Calgary to Montreal, departed at 11 a.m. Public Health is offering COVID-19 testing to anyone who has been in a public exposure area, even it they're not experiencing any symptoms. Residents may request a test online or call Tele-Care 811 to book an appointment. Other exposure notifications Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on May 6 while on the following flights: Air Canada Flight 396 – from Edmonton to Toronto, departed at 6:50 a.m. Air Canada Flight 8898 – from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:43 p.m. Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious on May 10 while on the following flight. Air Canada Flight 8946 from Toronto to Moncton, departed at 8:47 p.m. Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the coronavirus at the following locations and dates in the following regions: Moncton region: Pumphouse, 5 Orange Ln., Moncton, on May 4 between 8 and 10 p.m. Staples, 233 Main St., Moncton, on May 5, between noon and 8 p.m. Walmart Supercentre, 477 Paul St., Dieppe, on May 6, between 7 and 10 p.m. Greco Pizza, 311 Acadie Blvd., Dieppe, on May 7, between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Greco Pizza, 120 Killam Dr., Moncton, on May 5, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m., May 3, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m., and May 2, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. Greco Pizza, 311 Acadie Blvd., Dieppe, on May 4, between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre emergency department, 330 Université Ave., Moncton, on May 7, between 2-9:30 p.m., and May 6, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saint John region: Foodland, 1 Market Sq., Quispamsis, on May 3, between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Circle K, 309 River Valley Dr., Grand Bay-Westfield, between 11:30 p.m. on Friday, May 7, and 1 a.m. on Saturday, May 8. Fredericton region: My Home Consignment, 5 Acorn St., Fredericton — May 8 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., May 7 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., May 6 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and May 5 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sobeys, 1180 Prospect St., Fredericton, — May 8 between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Lunar Rogue, 625 King Ave., Fredericton — April 28 between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Fix Auto, 156 Greenview Dr., Hanwell — May 6 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., April 30 between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., April 29 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., and April 28 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Lunar Rogue, 625 King St., Fredericton, on April 28, between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. Fix Auto, 156 Greenview Dr., Hanwell, on May 6, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., April 30, between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., April 29, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. and April 28, between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. McDonald's Restaurant, 1177 Prospect St., on May 5, at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. McDonald's Restaurant in Walmart, 125 Two Nations Crossing, on May 6, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Brainfix Clinic, 56 Avonlea Crt., on May 6. Adica Massage Clinic, 152 King St., on May 6. Williams Chiropractic, 169 Main St., on May 6. Simms Home Hardware Building Centre, 190 King St., on May 6. Costco Gas Bar, 5 Wayne Squibb Blvd., on May 6. Massage Experts, 169 Dundonald St., on May 6, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on May 7, from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Delta Fredericton, 225 Woodstock Rd., on May 6-12. STMR. 36 Restaurant – Delta Fredericton, 225 Woodstock Rd., on May 6-12. Jack's Pizza, 379 King St., on May 7, at 1 p.m. Mitch Clarke Skate Park, 116 Johnston Ave., on May 7, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Garrison Skatepark, York Street parking lot, on May 7, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. James Joyce Pub, 659 Queen St., on May 7, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. McDonald's Restaurant, 94 Main St., on May 7, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and May 8, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Princess Auto, 21 Trinity Ave., on May 8, from 8 a.m. to noon. Fredericton Public Library, 12 Carleton St., on May 8, from 10 a.m. to noon. Northside Market, 170 Main St., on May 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Irving Oil, 181 King St., on May 9, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dollarama, 5 Trinity Dr., on May 9, from noon to 2 p.m. NB Liquor, 18 Trinity Dr., on May 9, from noon to 5 p.m. Home Sense, 18 Trinity Dr., on May 9, from noon to 5 p.m. Tim Hortons drive-thru, Regent Street, on May 10, at 1:30 p.m. Atlantic Superstore, 471 Smythe St, on May 10, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and May 11, from 10 a.m. to noon. Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital, 700 Priestman St., on May 10-11. Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation, 800 Priestman St., on May 10-11. Veterans Health Unit, 680 Priestman St., on May 10-11. Shoppers Drug Mart, 1040 Prospect St., on May 11, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Scott's Nursery, 2192 Route 102, on May 8, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. 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.
Calgary police have released surveillance images of a suspect after several people were robbed on the street by an armed man in the downtown core last week. Police say nine robberies or attempted robberies happened from May 10 to May 12 in the core, mostly on the LRT platforms or along Eighth Avenue S.W. One incident happened in the Beltline near 12th Avenue and 11th Street S.W. "In each instance, a man approaches a female victim, shows a knife and then robs the victim of cash, their wallet or their purse," police said in a release. The culprit has been described as being in his early 20s, five foot six to five foot seven with a slim build and distinctive light blue to grey eyes. He was wearing dark clothing with his face and head covered during the robberies. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 403-266-1234 or contact Crime Stoppers.
BEIJING (AP) — China on Monday renewed calls for the U.S. to play a constructive role in ending the conflict in Gaza and stop blocking efforts at the United Nations to demand an end to the bloodshed. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China, as rotating head of the Security Council, has urged a cease-fire and the provision of humanitarian assistance, among other proposals, but that obstruction by “one country” has prevented the council from speaking with one voice. “We call on the United States to assume its due responsibility and take an impartial position to support the council and play its due role in cooling down the situation and rebuilding trust for a political solution,” Zhao said at a daily briefing. At an emergency high-level meeting of the Security Council on Sunday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on the U.S. to join the 14 other council members and support a statement urging a halt to the violence and reaffirming support for a two-state solution to the decades old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Wang, who chaired the virtual meeting, said the “dangerous and urgent” situation calls for an immediate cease-fire. “The international community must take action right now and make further efforts to avert a deterioration of the situation, prevent the region from backsliding to turbulence, and protect peoples’ lives,” he said. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao said Monday that China “strongly condemns” violence against civilians and calls for an end to air strikes, ground attacks, rocket fire and “other actions that aggravate the situation.”. Israel should “exercise restraint, effectively comply with the relevant United Nations resolutions, stop demolishing Palestinian people’s houses, stop expelling Palestinian people and stop expanding its settlement program, stop threats of violence and provocations against Muslims, and maintain and respect the historical status quo of Jerusalem as a religious holy site,” Zhao said. Calls have grown for the Biden administration to take a more active stance on the Israeli-Palestinian violence. Thus far, the United States, Israel’s closest ally, has blocked efforts by China, Norway and Tunisia to get the Security Council to issue a statement, including a call for a cessation of hostilities. China has long portrayed itself as a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, while building closer political, economic and military links with Israel. Wang told the council that “China will scale-up efforts to promote peace talks” and he reaffirmed Beijing’s invitation “to Palestinian and Israeli peace advocates to continue their dialogue in China.” He welcomed “representatives of the two sides to come to China for direct negotiations.” The Associated Press
While the typical approach for COVID-19 vaccinations is using the same brand for each dose, given at specific intervals, Canada has been exploring mixing doses on top of delaying second shots up to four months — two big bets that could pay off. Before vaccine shipments started ramping up, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) issued a bold recommendation to delay second doses well beyond manufacturing guidelines to a maximum of four months. The move sparked criticism that Canada was engaged in a "population level experiment," with concerns ranging from a lack of data, to a growing body of research suggesting it's not the safest approach for immunocompromised and older adults. Layered on that controversial move are more recent shifts toward mixing doses — including offering up an mRNA-based option, from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, to some Canadians who have already gotten a first shot of AstraZeneca-Oxford. According to multiple vaccine experts, these moves may seem unorthodox on the surface, but are rooted in decades of science, backed up by emerging research, and could be preventing COVID-19 deaths at a time when Canada has been struggling to bring in enough vaccines from abroad. "I think having the single dose strategy, which was put forth by our Canadian public health agencies, has really saved a lot of lives and has been really instrumental and will be important for us getting back to a more normal life," said Alyson Kelvin, a vaccinologist with VIDO-InterVac, a vaccine development company in Saskatoon. Mixing doses could also wind up being a useful approach in the months ahead, according to Dr. Christopher Labos, a Montreal-based cardiologist and epidemiologist. "Especially because we want people to get their second doses," he said. "And if supply issues continue to be a problem, we don't want to be pushing second doses back waiting for vaccine supply to come our way." Healthcare workers with Humber River Hospital administer doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a temporary clinic for member’s of Toronto’s Spanish-speaking community at the Glen Long Community Centre on May 14, 2021.(Evan Mitsui/CBC) Delaying doses can lead to 'better' immune response When it comes to Canada's unique approach to delaying doses, vaccine experts stressed that while it strayed significantly from the shorter schedule of the clinical trials, it falls in line with the broader body of vaccine science. Typically giving a bit more time between a first vaccine dose and the second vaccine dose "really leads to a better overall immune response, and protection from whatever pathogen the vaccine was made against," noted Kelvin. The exact guidelines for various COVID-19 vaccines vary, but one thing is common: the manufacturers' dosing schedules specify tight timelines, including two shots just 28 days apart for Moderna, two shots 21 days apart for Pfizer, and two shots a minimum of four weeks apart and no longer than 12 weeks for AstraZeneca. While the manufacturers recommend sticking with the dosing intervals from clinical trials, those schedules were based on quickly developing safe and effective vaccines during a global health crisis, not to figure out the best-possible time frame between doses, Kelvin said. WATCH | Clinical trials focused on 'shortest path to results' for COVID-19 vaccines, explains vaccinologist: On Friday, news broke that a U.K. study showed the Pfizer vaccine generates antibody responses 3.5 times larger in older people when a second dose was delayed to 12 weeks after the first — offering an early hint that a delay may actually offer more protection. More research is still needed. Dr. Danuta Skowronski of the BC Centre for Disease Control, whose research helped guide Canada's decision to extend the interval between COVID-19 vaccine shots, told CBC News the findings weren't a "surprise"; they underscored scientists' understanding that a longer time frame between doses could be beneficial. The move is also helping Canada rapidly vaccinate more residents, with more than half of all eligible adults getting at least one dose so far. Still, Labos is hoping most Canadians do get their second doses sooner than NACI's four-month maximum timeframe to ensure they develop solid protection, particularly for vulnerable and older populations who could experience waning immunity. "Four months is probably the outside limit; I don't think anybody's going to suggest that we push it much beyond that," he said. "The sweet spot probably is somewhere between that three week to three month interval." A woman walks by a sign advertising for COVID-19 vaccines in Montreal on May 14. (CBC / Radio-Canada) Different vaccines for different doses not 'unprecedented' For Canadians already wary of a potential months-long delay between doses, the notion of mixing brands — again, an approach not studied in the initial clinical trials — might also raise questions. Even so, various provinces are already going that route, or exploring mixed dosing strategies for the future, given the varying levels of supply coming from different manufacturers and ongoing concern over rare-but-serious blood clot risks tied to the AstraZeneca vaccine. The condition, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), has been reported 28 times across Canada out of more than 2.3 million AstraZeneca doses administered, according to federal public health data, including four deaths. Several experts stressed a mixing-doses approach could be helpful given Canada's situation, and isn't that unusual for other vaccines. "Certainly mixing and matching vaccine types is not unprecedented," noted Matthew Miller, an associate professor of infectious diseases and immunology at McMaster University in Hamilton, who is also affiliated with NACI but not speaking on the advisory body's behalf. "It's just that the nature of the situation here is that we're having to make these decisions based on evolving evidence in the context of an unprecedented public health emergency." WATCH | Dr. Tam discusses second doses, mixing vaccines: Annual flu shots, for instance, can come from a variety of sources, meaning people could be getting a different brand or form of vaccine technology each year. Same with the shingles vaccine, Miller said, which had one formulation in its first generation while a different formulation was used for a later, more effective dose. "Prior to this, nobody would actually ask, 'who made my vaccine,' you would just go for a flu vaccine," said Labos. "And nobody seemed to realize that there were multiple companies making different types of flu vaccines, and they were being used in different segments of the population — people were relatively oblivious to this entire issue." He also noted that preliminary results from a U.K. study suggest using different vaccines for different doses could even offer a "better immune response." The early findings, based on a trial using Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, showed swapping in one of each for the two doses hiked the chance of someone having mild or moderate reactions like fatigue, headache or a fever. These reactions may bode well for immunity, though further research is needed before drawing any firm conclusions. Deaths, hospitalizations among older adults dropping In recent weeks, despite the questions over Canada's approaches, it's becoming clear that country-wide vaccination efforts are starting to bear fruit. COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths among the oldest Canadians recently began dropping at a faster rate than in younger adults who are less likely to be vaccinated yet, according to a CBC News analysis released in late April. That finding suggests this country is now moving along the same path as the U.S., the U.K. and Israel, where mass vaccination campaigns are further along and deaths are dropping dramatically. Overall, Kelvin said Canada's strategies may raise questions but they're nonetheless in line with a body of vaccine research that existed long before COVID-19. "I think it was definitely a valid concern that all of the evidence we had for COVID-19 vaccines were based on the phase three clinical trials," she said. "Of course, that didn't take into consideration what we understand about vaccines and vaccine immune responses."
Pharmacists on Prince Edward Island are now delivering first doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Islanders 40 and over. Last week they stopped administering AstraZeneca-Oxford shots, on the direction of the province. Twelve pharmacies across P.E.I. are part of the vaccine program. "The use of AstraZeneca was suspended," Erin MacKenzie, executive director of the P.E.I. Pharmacists Association, told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin Monday. "Any of the AstraZeneca doses that they had on hand has been returned to [the] provincial pharmacy." Pharmacies are only giving first doses of vaccines for now, and are continuing to give shots of Moderna. Moderna uptake has been good The province does have enough AstraZeneca to deliver second shots to anyone who received it in the first round, but MacKenzie said the Chief Public Health Office will let pharmacies know around the end of May whether that will happen. She said the uptake of Moderna vaccines at pharmacies has been very good, especially since those 40 and over can now book appointments either at pharmacies or through the province's mass clinics. She said she is excited to hear pharmacies will be getting more Moderna delivered by the end of this week. Watch for online bookings at pharmacies to open up soon as the vaccine supply arrives, she said. She said pharmacists are getting a lot of questions about which vaccines are best, but she believes they are all safe and people should get vaccinated as soon as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19. More from CBC P.E.I.
EDMONTON — Staff in Alberta hospitals are treating more people in intensive care units than at any other time in the province's history, officials warn, adding that hospitalizations for COVID-19 are particularly high for people in rural areas. Dr. Verna Yiu, president and chief executive officer of Alberta Health Services, said more than 240 patients are in intensive care, including 186 with COVID-19. "That is easily the most ICU patients that we have ever seen in our health-care system and definitely higher than what we have seen in waves one and two," Yiu said Monday during a COVID-19 update with the premier and the province's chief medical officer. "The threat of serious illness is real. We are seeing more people needing ICU care, particularly younger adults with fewer underlying problems." Capacity would have been surpassed had the province not opened an additional 106 ICU beds on top of its pre-pandemic capacity of about 170, Yiu said. The province can expect to see the need for more beds continue to grow, she said, since hospitalization numbers lag about two weeks behind changes in infection rates. If needed, up to 425 ICU beds could be made available in Alberta by repurposing isolation or operating recovery rooms, "but we hope never to use these units," Yiu said. "Our biggest current challenge is staffing these additional spaces, and this is certainly more difficult than the first and second waves," she said. "ICU teams are doing incredible work, but they're exhausted. They have been doing this for more than 15 months." Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, said the idea that the pandemic is affecting mostly urban areas is a myth. Rural areas account for 12 of the 15 locations with the highest active COVID-19 case rates, she said. And, since February, rural Albertans have been 26 per cent more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people who live in urban centres. "None of this is to stigmatize rural Albertans or to suggest that any one part of our province is to blame," Hinshaw said. "This is not an urban versus rural issue. It is clear that COVID-19 is spreading and having an impact everywhere in our province." Hinshaw said the northern and central health zones have had the highest hospitalization rates per capita since the beginning of May. Northern Alberta, in particular, has had hospitalization rates more than double those of Edmonton and Calgary, she said. Health officials reported 721 new COVID-19 cases in the province and three new deaths Monday. There were 21,288 active cases in the province and 678 people in hospital. Premier Jason Kenney said overall transmission is going down, but public health restrictions are still needed to safeguard the health-care system and to keep the more contagious COVID-19 variants at bay. "If we did not take action, we would have to start looking at cancelling even thousands more surgeries and triaging patients — that means denying some people care and making the decision on who gets intensive care, for example," Kenney said. "I can't imagine that there is a single person out there who wants to test out this scenario." The premier has come under fire from some members of his party over restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19. Last month, 16 legislature members wrote an open letter to Kenney, saying the rules were needlessly restrictive and infringed on personal freedoms. Many of them represented rural areas. But the premier stressed Monday that the latest COVID-19 briefing wasn't about politics. "It doesn't matter where you live, your life is invaluable and we must take reasonable measures to protect lives wherever people happen to live," Kenney said. He said the emergency management cabinet committee will discuss reopening strategies this week and next. "We will certainly be tying reopening in large part to the percentage of the population that gets vaccinated," Kenney said. "We'll also be looking at hospitalizations, at least early in the reopening phase, in the reopening plan." Early this week, more than 50 per cent of eligible Albertans will have had at least one vaccine dose, Kenney said. Another 1.2 million doses are scheduled to arrive this month and there are currently 800,000 appointments in the system, he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2021. Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press
Prince Albert police have released more details about their investigation into the death of Braden Herman. They say that on May 11, veteran RCMP officer Cpl. Bernie Herman phoned a co-worker and said he had "killed someone." He agreed to go to his co-worker's house, located just north of Prince Albert. The RCMP, whose district the house was in, were then contacted and Bernie Herman was taken into custody. On May 12, 53-year-old Bernie Herman was charged with first-degree murder. He had served on the force for 32 years. He and Braden Herman are not related but knew each other for several years, according to police. During the initial RCMP response, Bernie Herman provided information as to where police could find the victim. Police say that when they located 26-year-old Braden Herman on the edge of Prince Albert near Little Red Park, he was dead and appeared to have been shot. At that time, the Prince Albert Police Service took over the investigation. Braden Herman, 26, was found dead on the edge of Prince Albert near Little Red Park. (Braden Herman/Facebook) Investigation continues, motive unknown Braden Herman's siblings have told CBC News the 53-year-old Mountie was known to them as having a "personal" and oftentimes "controlling" relationship with their brother. Braden Herman came from Clearwater River Dene Nation and Bernie Herman comes from the neighbouring community of of La Loche. Police say they cannot confirm what weapon was used in the homicide at this time. But Prince Albert police have seized Bernie Herman's service pistol and other "use-of-force equipment." Police say he was not on duty at the time of the offence. But upon investigation it was been determined that he left work in full uniform and utility belt after finishing his shift at 5 p.m. on May 11. Police have taken statements from family members of both Bernie Herman and Braden Herman. Investigators are continuing to gather statements in order to gain insight into the nature of their relationship, as well as the possible motivation for the offence. Bernie Herman made his first court appearance on May 13. His next court appearance is expected to be on May 26.
BRDO, Slovenia (AP) — Serbia and Kosovo clashed Monday at a summit of Western Balkan nations over state border changes, a thorny issue in a region that is still recuperating from bloody civil wars in the 1990s. The largely ceremonial annual gathering in Slovenia of the presidents of two EU-member states, Slovenia and Croatia, with leaders of six Balkan nations that formally seek membership in the bloc was to adopt a resolution that calls for unchangeability of the existing borders in the region. However, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic rejected such a wording in the resolution because it would indirectly mean that Serbia recognizes the borders of its former breakaway province of Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence in 2008. He has proposed that only the borders recognized by the United Nations be declared as fixed. Kosovo, which is not an UN member, has been recognized by the United States and most of the West, while Serbia and its allies Russia and China refuse to do that. Kosovo “would like to interpret the borders as it wishes, or like a part of the world has already done,” Vucic told reporters after the meeting in the Slovenian resort of Brdo. Kosovo “did not want to talk about the U.N. at any price … for us to accept anything like that is absolutely impossible,” he said. In her speech at the summit, Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani said she wants to be “loud and clear: The Republic of Kosovo as a sovereign and independent country is a permanent project.” “There is nothing and no one that can reverse this reality. Dangerous adventures on border changes should be resolutely rejected by all of us, if we truly desire peace and stability in our region,” she said. The clash at the summit came several weeks after the publishing of a document allegedly drafted by the Slovenia's populist Prime Minister Janez Jansa, which proposed border changes across the Western Balkans. That is something highly controversial, because such attempts to forcefully change borders between former Yugoslav nations triggered the worst carnage in Europe since World War II. Jansa reluctantly denied that he was the author of the document handed over to the EU that triggered the political storm. The alleged “non-paper” was reportedly intended to settle lingering ethnic tensions by forming nearly ethnically pure states and thus help the Western Balkan nations in their long-term goal of joining the 27-nation European Union. The summit's hosts, Slovenian President Borut Pahor and Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, said a “compromise” wording was adopted in a joint statement by the participants that reaffirmed their commitment to EU enlargement. “There were many differences, voices were raised,” Pahor said. “But in the end we signed a document with which I’m very happy.” The meeting, marking the 10th anniversary of the initiative, was attended by the leaders of Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia. The in-person gathering was postponed twice last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. ___ Dusan Stojanovic and Jovana Gec in Belgrade, Serbia, and Llazar Semini in Tirana, Albania contributed. Darko Bandic, The Associated Press
As the province starts to provide COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone aged 18 and above, Island Health's chief medical officer said he's relieved to see the number of active cases in the Vancouver Island Health region continuing to trend down. "What we are seeing is a general decrease both in south and central Island," Dr. Richard Stanwick said on CBC's On the Island on Friday. "The numbers are absolutely bang on ... and that means our contact tracers are able to make sure we get a hold of anybody who has been exposed at this point." On Friday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Arian Dix reported 494 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C., including eight that were reported in the Vancouver Island region. The region has now recorded 4,875 cases since the pandemic began, and on Friday, there were 149 active cases, including 16 people in hospital and five in critical care. Stanwick said the warmer spring weather could be a contributing factor to the overall downward trend as more people head outside to enjoy the sun. "Fortunately, people are taking advantage of our spectacular weather and amazing things to see on the Island," he said. "So that reduces the ability of the virus to spread." He said over 400,000 vaccines have been administered to more than half of the population and approximately three per cent have received a second dose. "I think the key word ... is register, register, register," Stanwick said. "Our immunization clinics have been doing phenomenal." On Thursday, more than 11,000 people received their vaccine at the immunization clinics. Stanwick said he is advising the provincial heath office that vaccine administration for students can be done more effectively and efficiently at the larger clinics rather than at schools. "This could be a totally different approach because we've got other vaccines we would like to administer to students and we normally do that in the schools," he said, "so we may have a different program, a different look in the fall." LISTEN | Dr. Richard Stanwick talks about the number of active COVID-19 cases on CBC's On the Island.
The Yukon government has delivered on one of its promises to the NDP — a residential rent cap that came into effect over the weekend. The move has already drawn fire from the opposition Yukon Party, and some landlords who say they won't be able to afford their properties anymore. The cap came into effect on Saturday, and it limits any residential rent increases this year to one per cent, which is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Whitehorse in 2020. The percentage will be reviewed each year after the CPI is published. Housing was a central focus of the NDP's campaign platform this spring, and the party later made a rent cap a condition in their agreement to prop up the Liberals' minority government until at least 2023. Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn said the Liberals didn't support rent caps during the election campaign, but a deal's a deal. 'We're going to honour the agreement we signed with [the NDP],' said Richard Mostyn, Yukon's minister of Community Services.(Jane Sponagle/CBC) "Yukoners have spoken. They want us to work together with the New Democratic caucus. The New Democratic caucus wants a rental cap," Mostyn said. "We're going to honour the agreement we signed with them." 'I'm going to keep falling behind' The rent cap is already proving unpopular with some residential landlords. Louisa Williams says it's the "catalyst" for her selling her rental property. She bought a two-bedroom condo in Whitehorse two years ago as part of her retirement plan, and she's been renting it out for $1,600 per month. Now, she doesn't feel like she can afford to keep it any longer. "I'm going to be losing the small profit margin I had, because of the rent freeze. I am not going to be able to keep up with the fixed and variable costs that are being imposed. So I'm going to keep falling behind," she said. Williams is not evicting her tenants — she said they were already moving out. Now she'll take the opportunity to sell the place. Costs are going up all the time, she says, and rent is the only way to help cover those costs. "To make it fair, I think the government should impose a freeze on electrical fees, on Northwestel fees, on oil and renewable energy and on anything else, like insurance. So a freeze on all that, just like the rent, and then it would be fine, [it] would all equal itself out," Williams said. Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon said the rent cap is simply bad policy, and it's not going to improve Yukon's housing market for anybody. "It's going to result in fewer people wanting to be landlords, and therefore fewer rental properties, and fewer rental properties means fewer options for people in the housing market," Dixon said. Dixon also called the introduction of the rent cap a "masterclass in poor governance and bad policy-making." 'It's been messy, it's been ugly,' said Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon.(Mike Rudyk/CBC) "I mean, nobody seems to know what's going on ... there's been absolutely no communication with the public, there's been no consultation, there's no implementation plan, no communication plan. It's been, quite frankly, terrible," Dixon said, just before the change came into effect. "It's been messy, it's been ugly. And unfortunately, it's going to result in a whole lot of negative implications for our housing market." Tenants are relieved, says NDP leader NDP Leader Kate White dismisses the doomsaying. She says she's heard from landlords who are concerned about the change — but she's also heard from tenants. White argues that vulnerable tenants are rarely as outspoken as landlords, and don't have any sort of organization comparable to the Yukon Residential Landlords' Association. "I can tell you that I have heard from tenants who are relieved because those increases that they were facing are not going to come into effect right now," White said. White says the rent cap is in place until 2023, allowing plenty of time for the government to review it and also plan and consult about any long-term changes to rental legislation. White said it was important to do something now, and not wait to consult. "If there's a tenant right now facing a $300-a-month increase, and there's no flexibility around that, do they have the time to wait for that consultation? And my answer is no," White said. "Right now, this is a measure of protection and it's in place for 20 months."