Trace Lysette on why trans actors should get first dibs at transgender roles: 'We're out here struggling to play ourselves'
Trace Lysette on why trans actors should get first dibs at transgender roles: 'We're out here struggling to play ourselves'
Several provinces were preparing to loosen COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, as Canada's chief public health officer expressed optimism over vaccines ahead of the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 crisis.The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic last March 11, and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said it's been a difficult 12 months marked by hardship and sacrifice."Yet, as the months have gone by, I have also witnessed the remarkable courage, strength, and generosity demonstrated by Canadians," she wrote in a statement."Through it all, it is the incredible support that Canadians have shown for one another that has impressed me the most."Tam expressed optimism that brighter days were coming, thanks to the recent approvals of the Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines."This week has been a very good week for Canada's COVID-19 vaccination programs," she wrote.The anniversary comes as all provinces are expanding their mass vaccination programs and some are loosening restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick are among the provinces preparing to lift restrictions on Monday after weeks of stable or declining cases. A stay-at-home order in Ontario's Toronto, Peel and North Bay regions will lift on Monday, while five Quebec regions, including Quebec City, will be downgraded from red to orange on the province's colour-coded regional alert system.All of New Brunswick will transition to the less-restrictive "yellow" alert level Sunday at midnight, meaning residents can expand their contacts from 10 to 15 people and team sports activities may resume.Canada's two biggest cities will remain under fairly strict restrictions, however. Toronto — and neighbouring Peel Region — will enter the "grey lockdown" category, which will allow more retailers to open, with restrictions, but leaves gyms, personal care services and indoor restaurant dining closed.The greater Montreal region remains a red zone, which means an 8 p.m. curfew is still in effect.Tam said the addition of the two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster and help ease the worries surrounding supply disruptions or setbacks.In a long message, Tam said it is not that it is not possible to directly compare the efficacy of different vaccines to one another."Each vaccine was studied in a separate trial conducted at different times, using different populations and conditions," she wrote.She said the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, manufactured by Janssen, was shown to be 66 per cent effective overall in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, while the AstraZeneca vaccine was found to have an efficacy of 62 per cent in generally preventing "symptomatic COVID-19." Both vaccines, she said, were found to protect against severe disease, meaning that those who got COVID-19 after the shot were much less likely to get seriously ill. Currently, Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization does not recommend that the AstraZeneca vaccine be given to those aged 65 or over due to limited data, but Tam stressed that the recommendations could change.She noted both the new vaccines are easier to transport than those produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which require freezer storage. With Canada set to receive more than 900,000 COVID-19 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines this week, many provinces are ramping up their vaccination campaigns.Health authorities across British Columbia will start booking COVID-19 vaccination appointments Monday for people 90 years old and older and Indigenous residents over the age of 65.Quebec, which has been booking vaccine appointments for seniors 70 or 80 and over depending on the region, will speed up the pace this week as more mass vaccination centres open across the province after focusing mainly on hard-hit Montreal last week. Quebec counted 707 new cases of the virus on Sunday, and seven more deaths. Ontario reported administering 30,192 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, for a total of 890,604 doses handed out so far. That province logged 1,299 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, and 15 added deaths. Manitoba counted 56 new cases of the virus and two more deaths. Saskatchewan, meanwhile, reported 116 more cases and two more deaths due to COVID-19, including a person who was under 20 years old. Alberta logged roughly 300 new cases of the virus Sunday, though the province said a system upgrade meant precise numbers weren't available. Farther east, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island each recorded two new cases of COVID-19. The government said it would receive more than 14,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week, which will be sent to five different parts of the province.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021 Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
The Champions League talking points ahead of the first set of second-leg matches in the round of 16 on Tuesday and Wednesday: JUVENTUS VS. PORTO (first leg: 1-2) Álvaro Morata is finding his best form at the right time for Juventus. Morata had not scored in the league since December and was sidelined recently with illness but the Juventus forward has scored three times in his last two matches -- including in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Lazio. Morata has scored six goals in this season’s Champions League, two more than teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. The 36-year-old Ronaldo was given some much-needed rest at the weekend and went on only for the final 20 minutes, which should leave him fresh for Tuesday's match against Porto. Juventus has been dealing with illness and injuries. Coach Andrea Pirlo hopes Giorgio Chiellini and Matthijs de Ligt will recover in time to play Porto. Forward Paulo Dybala is still sidelined, while Rodrigo Bentancur is also out after contracting the coronavirus. Porto also has some injury problems, including defender Pepe with a right leg ailment. DORTMUND VS. SEVILLA (3-2) Borussia Dortmund’s 4-2 loss to Bundesliga rival Bayern Munich at the weekend could leave its mark for Tuesday’s visit from Sevilla. Star striker Erling Haaland, who scored twice in Dortmund’s 3-2 win over Sevilla in the first leg, was taken off early with stud marks on the back of his right ankle after a nasty challenge from Jérôme Boateng. Although Haaland told Dortmund coach Edin Terzic “it wouldn’t be a big problem.” The loss in Munich marked the end of Dortmund’s four-game winning run across all competitions. The team was without Jadon Sancho, Raphaël Guerreiro and Gio Reyna. All three face a race to be fit for Tuesday. Sevilla has been struggling since the first-leg loss to Dortmund, losing three of its four matches since then. It is coming off a loss to relegation-threatened Elche in the Spanish league, and was eliminated by Barcelona in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey despite a 2-0 first-leg win. PSG VS. BARCELONA (4-1) Barcelona seems like a different team to the one which played so badly in the second half at home to PSG. Ronald Koeman’s lineup is 16 games unbeaten in the league and the defence appears to be considerably stronger now that he has ditched the ineffective 4-3-3 formation for a 3-5-2 system which offers his central defenders more protection. Veteran defender Gerard Pique is a doubtful starter for the game, however, after hurting his knee midweek. A lot will rest Wednesday on Barça’s French defenders Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti, with PSG is almost at full strength. Goal-scoring winger Angel Di Maria is back from injury and Neymar is close to a return after getting back to training. PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino may see no valid reason to drop the 4-2-3-1 formation which worked so well in Spain, with Kylian Mbappe helping himself to three goals despite playing wide and not as the central striker. Even though PSG defends a big lead at Parc des Princes, there may be some nerves about facing Lionel Messi in top form once again. PSG went out after losing 6-1 in Spain in 2017 having won the home leg 4-0. But this Barcelona lineup is not as strong as the 2017 squad, and PSG is more resilient now. LIVERPOOL VS. LEIPZIG (2-0) The teams return to neutral territory at the Puskas Arena in Budapest with Liverpool's two-goal cushion perhaps not as commanding as it seems given the team's recent problems, particularly in its injury-hit defence. The pressure is on the soon-to-be-deposed English champions because winning the Champions League might be the most likely route back into the competition for next season. Juergen Klopp's squad currently sits outside the Premier League's top four. Leipzig is on a six-game winning run in the Bundesliga and briefly took over top spot on Saturday. Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann omitted Angeliño from the team that beat Freiburg 3-0, but dampened hopes the Spanish winger will return in time for Liverpool. Uncharacteristic defensive lapses helped Liverpool in the first leg. The game is again taking place in the Hungarian capital due to German restrictions on visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
MANCHESTER, England — Success for Manchester United these days is being the spoiler as Manchester City goes on to eventually claim the league titles. City manager Pep Guardiola's pursuit of a world-record winning streak ended after United won the derby 2-0 on Sunday. A penalty won after 36 seconds was converted by Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw netted five minutes into the second half to end City's 21-match winning run in all competitions. But the complexion of the Premier League has drastically changed since City's last defeat 106 days earlier at Tottenham left the team in 11th place — eight points behind the London club at the top. Now losing is more a matter of pride and missing out on catching the mark of 27 consecutive wins set by Welsh side The New Saints in 2016. City has not only climbed to the summit but built a lead that meant its second-placed neighbour only trimmed the gap to 11 points with victory at the Etihad Stadium. With such a commanding lead and only 10 games remaining, United has probably only just delayed the moment City dethrones Liverpool as champion. Just like three years ago when Jose Mourinho's derby win prevented City sealing the title that April day. But it's only two months since United harboured ambitions of its own of lifting the trophy — for the first time since 2013 — when it sat in first place. The title challenge has melted away for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side and United will likely be consigned to seeing City crowned champions for the third time since United's name was last etched into the trophy. But there is no longer a vast gulf when these two sides meet in the Premier League. United has won three of the last derbies and drawn the other. It's almost a year to the day since United also beat City 2-0 at Old Trafford, the last time they played in a full stadium or any fans were allowed into a Manchester stadium due to the pandemic. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Rob Harris, The Associated Press
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso — A series of explosions at a military barracks in Equatorial Guinea killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 600 others on Sunday, authorities said. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema said the explosion at 4 p.m. local time was due to the “negligent handling of dynamite” in the military barracks located in the neighbourhood of Mondong Nkuantoma in Bata. “The impact of the explosion caused damage in almost all the houses and buildings in Bata," the president said in a statement, which was in Spanish. The defence ministry released a statement late Sunday saying that a fire at a weapons depot in the barracks caused the explosion of high-calibre ammunition. It said the provisional death toll was 20, adding that the cause of the explosions will be fully investigated. The country's president said the fire may have been due to residents burning the fields surrounding the barracks. State television showed a huge plume of smoke rising above the explosion site as crowds fled, with many people crying out “we don’t know what happened, but it is all destroyed.” Images on local media seen by The Associated Press show people screaming and crying running through the streets amid debris and smoke. Roofs of houses were ripped off and wounded people were being carried into a hospital. Equatorial Guinea, an African country of 1.3 million people located south of Cameroon, was a colony of Spain until it gained its independence in 1968. Bata has roughly 175,000 inhabitants. Earlier, the Health Ministry had tweeted that 17 were killed. The ministry made a call for blood donors and volunteer health workers to go to the Regional Hospital de Bata, one of three hospitals treating the wounded. The ministry said its health workers were treating the injured at the site of the tragedy and in medical facilities, but feared people were still missing under the rubble. The blasts were a shock for the oil rich Central African nation. Foreign Minister Simeón Oyono Esono Angue met with foreign ambassadors and asked for aid. “It is important for us to ask our brother countries for their assistance in this lamentable situation since we have a health emergency (due to COVID-19) and the tragedy in Bata,” he said. A doctor calling into TVGE, who went by his first name, Florentino, said the situation was a “moment of crisis” and that the hospitals were overcrowded. He said a sports centre set up for COVID-19 patients would be used to receive minor cases. Radio station, Radio Macuto, said on Twitter that people were being evacuated within four kilometres of the city because the fumes might be harmful. Following the blast, the Spanish Embassy in Equatorial Guinea recommended on Twitter that “Spanish nationals stay in their homes." ___ Joseph Wilson reported from Barcelona, Spain. ___ A previous version of this story was corrected to show that state television is TVGE, not TGVE. Sam Mednick And Joseph Wilson, The Associated Press
Police in Nelson, B.C., say a 26-year-old Castlegar man has been charged with manslaughter in relation to the beating death of an off-duty Abbotsford police officer in July of 2020. On Sunday, the Nelson Police Department issued a news release saying that a charge of manslaughter was approved against Alex Willness. Police say Const. Allan Young, 55, was attacked after approaching another man in downtown Nelson at around 11:45 p.m. PT on July 16 to try to help with a disturbance taking place on the road. A 26-year-old was arrested after a physical altercation with Young. Police said at the time that the suspect could face charges of aggravated assault. The two men did not know each other. Young died on July 22, after being on life support at a hospital in the B.C. Interior for several days. Abbotsford police said Young had been with the department since March 2004. He had previously worked with the Toronto Police Service since 2000, after immigrating to Canada from Scotland in 1997. Willness was arrested by Nelson police and remains in custody. His next court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday Mar. 9.
The United States has identified three online publications directed by Russia's intelligence services that it says are seeking to undermine COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna, a State Department spokeswoman said on Sunday. The outlets "spread many types of disinformation, including about both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, as well as international organizations, military conflicts, protests, and any divisive issue that they can exploit," the spokeswoman said. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) first reported on the identification of the alleged campaign on Sunday.
VICTORIA — Health authorities across British Columbia announced locations for COVID-19 vaccine centres Sunday, the day before some of the province's oldest residents could start booking appointments to get their first shots. Vaccine call centres are set to open Monday morning to make COVID-19 vaccine appointments for people 90 and older, and Indigenous people 65 or older, as well as those who identify as Indigenous elders. Island Health officials said Sunday 19 community sites across Vancouver Island have been identified to administer COVID-19 vaccines and 25 community sites in the Vancouver Coastal Health region will be used as clinic locations. The Interior, Northern and Fraser health authorities say they will confirm vaccination sites with people when they book a COVID-19 appointment. "We recognize that there's lots of people that are eager to call in and get going (Monday), so just another reminder that please, unless you are in that category of over 90 or Indigenous over 65 or you identify as an elder, please don't call next week so we can get through this important population,'" said Victoria Schmid, Island Health's pandemic planner. "Your turn will come," she said at a news conference Sunday. "We just need everyone to be patient right now." People can contact their health authority and book appointments for themselves or their spouse, and family members or friends are permitted to schedule an appointment on someone else's behalf, Schmid said. People will be asked to provide the person's first and last name, date of birth, postal code and personal health number and will be asked for an email address or text number to confirm the COVID-19 vaccine appointment, she said.. People born in 1936 or earlier can start calling for appointments on March 15 and those born in 1941 or earlier can start scheduling their shots on March 22. Schmid said she expected the appointments to last about 30 minutes, which includes a 15-minute waiting period following the administration of the vaccine. She suggested people wear short sleeves to make it easier to give the vaccine and not to forget a mask. A support person to can accompany people to the vaccine clinic, she said. Schmid said sites for the community clinics were chosen for their accessibility and comfort and familiarity for Indigenous people. "Ease of access was really important to us," she said. "We really tried to keep a travel time to no more than 15 minutes within urban areas. We want to make sure these sites are accessible for individuals with mobility challenges." Immunization clinics will also be held at Indigenous friendship centres in Victoria, Port Alberni and Port Hardy, Schmid said. Vancouver Coastal Health said in a news release its clinics will be located cross Metro Vancouver and the Squamish and Whistler areas and the Sunshine Coast. The clinics will be held at community, friendship, senior and cultural centres and other regional sites. The health authorities plan to have B.C.'s population of elderly people, ranging in age from 80 to more than 90 years and Indigenous people 65 and older and elders, vaccinated against COVID-19 by April 12, Schmid said. She said a person 90 years and older who calls next week for a COVID-19 vaccination will get their appointment within one week. "They have a week to register for the following week's vaccination appointment," said Schmid. "After that, we're going to move to register those over 85 and then moving down the week after to those over 80." Island Health's Dr. Mike Benusic said he's optimistic about the vaccination rollout. "The announcements we're giving right now provide me with such a sense of hope," he said. "The fact is right now we have 25 times the number of people vaccinated within Island Health than people who have had COVID-19 within Island Health, and we're only going to see that number sky rocket in the next few weeks and months." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021. Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
Hundreds marched near the National Assembly in Quebec City Sunday afternoon, calling on the government to allow team sports to resume in the province. Athletes, parents, community organizations and politicians participated in the march, stressing the importance of team sports on peoples' mental and physical health. The protest was started by Isaac Pépin, a football player in Secondary 5 at Séminaire Saint-François. He is asking that Quebecers be allowed to participate in team sports again, both for health reasons, and so that younger athletes can keep improving at their sports. "With everything that's going on today and the number of people who showed up, I have hope that this will work," Pépin said Sunday. High school football player Isaac Pépin, centre, organized the pro-sports march Sunday. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press) The protest also garnered the support of Isabelle Charest, the province's minister responsible for sports. "I hear your cries and it is these positive messages that I take with me when I speak to public health," Charest wrote on Twitter Sunday. "We will make it happen." Montrealers voice support In Montreal, several people echoed their sentiments. Tony De Francesco, director of community services and sports at Sun Youth, believes a return to team sports is long overdue. "People from youth organizations like us have noticed a lot of issues, especially with young student athletes, in terms of being able to function on a daily basis without sports," said De Francesco. De Francesco says many of the youth he works with rely on sports as a means to succeed academically, and many feel lost without it. "A lot of them use this as a social construct and as a coping mechanism to a lot of the things that are happening in their life for the first time," he said. "Sports is their way out and it actually helps them get better grades." Justin Frattaroli, an 18-year-old CEGEP student who plays football at Sun Youth, usually relies on team sports as an outlet for his stress. For most of the past year, he's had to resort to exercising at home instead. "Because of this pandemic, not only am I missing out on practices, on games, but — I'm sure all athletes can agree with me — we miss being with teammates, the bus rides home, the going out to eat with each other and just being together," said Frattaroli. "Practicing got everything off my mind. It helped me mentally. It helped me physically" Discussions with federations ongoing Starting March 15, extra-curricular activities and sports in schools will be allowed across the province, but team sports outside of school are still forbidden. Last week, Premier François Legault said the government is in talks with sports federations to gradually resume sports more widely, but Legault said it's clear some sports cannot be allowed given the risk of transmission. Legault is expected to announce more details on that next week. In an interview Sunday, Luc Fournier, interim general manager of Sports Québec, said the federation has submitted its proposal for the resumption of sports and is currently waiting to hear back from public health authorities. "We hope to have an answer maybe Monday or Tuesday," said Fournier. "We know that competitions would be very tough to reopen right now but if we can start by practice or by side activities that would be great." Some less eager for team sports to resume Montreal resident Jennifer Cox says there would need to be strict public health measures in place for her to send her child back to his hockey team. (CBC) Before the pandemic, Montreal resident Jennifer Cox would be at the arena with seven-year-old son, Cameron, every weekend. "Hockey was a really big part of our family's life, our weekend life," said Cox. This year, she opted to set up a skating rink in the family's backyard instead, to make sure Cameron could keep practicing. While her son misses interacting with his teammates and coaches, Cox isn't sure she'll be sending him back to the rink just yet — especially because they have an at-risk family member at home. "If we were to consider it, we'd really have to see the numbers, how many kids are being allowed to get on the ice, if there's any additional safety restrictions in terms of wearing masks under their helmets and things of that nature," said Cox. "I don't think we're 100 per cent ready to dive back into full team sports right now."
CHARLOTTETOWN — Two Atlantic Canadian provinces showed signs of progress in their fights against COVID-19 on Sunday, while another saw a record number of active virus cases in the aftermath of a sudden outbreak. Public health officials in Prince Edward Island reported the highest number of active infections across the province than at any other point during the nearly year-long pandemic. Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador logged 10 straight days of single-digit case growth and New Brunswick prepared to loosen public health restrictions in response to declining diagnosis rates. P.E.I.'s top public health official announced two new cases in the province on Sunday, bringing the number of active infections to 26. "I remain concerned about the current outbreak in our province," Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said in a release where she noted the province's sobering new high for active cases. The two most recent cases involve men in their 20s who are now self-isolating, the release said. One man is a close contact of a previously identified patient, and the other tested positive after visiting a public exposure site more than a week ago. Officials said the man first tested negative for the virus, but got tested again when he developed mild symptoms. The Island is under so-called circuit-breaker measures until March 14, which require all businesses and services to operate at reduced capacity and keep records for contact tracing. In Newfoundland and Labrador, public health officials reported one new infection, marking the province's 10th consecutive day with single-digit case numbers. The Avalon region of the province, which includes the metro area of St. John's, remains under lockdown measures after an outbreak spread through the capital last month. Officials said the outbreak was caused by the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom. Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province's chief medical officer of health, has said about 565 cases have been linked to the outbreak, which means it generated more new infections than in the previous 11 months combined. Officials were forced to cancel in-person voting in the Newfoundland and Labrador election when lockdown was introduced on Feb. 12. The province has 87 active infections, including three patients in intensive care, according to a Sunday news release from the Department of Health. In New Brunswick, meanwhile, residents will wake up to slightly more relaxed public health measures on Monday as the province eases restrictions put in place to curb once-surging case numbers. The province is set to move to the less restrictive "yellow" alert level of its pandemic response plan on that day, according to a news release Sunday from the Department of Health. Under the new measures, residents can expand their contacts from 10 to 15 people and team sports activities may resume. Both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. Officials in both provinces say the cases are linked to travel or to previously known infections. There are 35 active reported infections in New Brunswick, including three patients in hospital, two of whom are in intensive care. In Nova Scotia, there are 29 active reported cases of COVID-19, including two people hospitalized in intensive care. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021. The Canadian Press
Chinese drone giant DJI Technology Co Ltd built up such a successful U.S. business over the past decade that it almost drove all competitors out of the market. Yet its North American operations have been hit by internal ructions in recent weeks and months, with a raft of staff cuts and departures, according to interviews with more than two dozen current and former employees. The loss of key managers, some of who have joined rivals, has compounded problems caused by U.S. government restrictions on Chinese companies, and raised the once-remote prospect of DJI's dominance being eroded, said four of the people, including two senior executives who were at the company until late 2020.
Durham Region’s medical officer of health says the region is in “very good shape” with vaccine distribution and administration. In a recent update to the region’s health and social services committee, Durham Region Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Kyle says clinics opening Monday, all those ages 80 and older can now book their appointment to be vaccinated, noting the vast majority of seniors living in long-term care and high-risk retirement homes in Durham Region, as well as most healthcare workers, have been vaccinated. “We were tasked by the government to develop a plan that when fully operational, will allow vaccination of approximately 10,000 clients per day,” says Kyle, noting there will be at least one clinic in each of the eight municipalities. As of Monday, March 8, two clinics will be open: Durham College and Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, and the other in Pickering. “The staging of the opening dates (of the other clinics is) a sign that we are ramping up, staffing up,” he adds. According to the Durham Region Health website, The Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex in Clarington will open on Tuesday, March 9, followed by the opening of the McKinney Centre in Whitby on Monday, March 15. Uxbridge Arena, Scugog Arena and Rick MacLeish Memorial Community Centre Arena will open on a rotating basis beginning March 15. Finally, the Audley Recreation Centre in Ajax will open on Tuesday, March 16. The mobile clinic will also continue to vaccinate additional Phase 1 populations as required, Kyle notes. However, he says the region can’t get too far ahead of the vaccine supply. “While I say the maximum capacity is 10,000 clients per day, the number of clinic sites and available appointments will depend on vaccine supply,” Kyle continues. Furthermore, Kyle says the region’s communications plan is “robust” and has been developed to “promote vaccine awareness, accurate evidence, informed information, and timely and accurate information.” “We’re building on key messages from the Ministry of Health and the go-to place for all things COVID vaccine is durham.ca/covidvaccines,” he says, noting the website is updated on an ongoing basis. Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
Karla Combres says the night before the first COVID-19 lockdown last year, her husband was in Nipawin for a meeting with 100 people. "He came home that night and I said, you know what? I don't think you should go to work tomorrow," Combres told CBC's Saskatchewan Weekend. "It was as quick as that. You know, like, from one day to the next, it was unthinkable to gather with that many people." Combres is a life cycle celebrant in Saskatoon and one of the organizers of an online vigil being held this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. CST to mark the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. The vigil is called Together in Remembrance, Together in Hope, and it was organized by Saskatoon's multi-faith community, but Combres said everyone is welcome. "For anybody coming to this, no grief is too big or too small," she said. "This is really for everyone, no matter what your race or your creed or your colour or your age or where you are in the province." Her work centres around gathering people and in the early days of the pandemic, she said she wasn't sure how she was going to be able to continue doing that in a meaningful way. "Over the course of the past year, I have found ways through researching and participating in gatherings and then also through just really learning and being creative on my own with the people I work with," she said. Gatherings are smaller and people join via livestream but it is still possible to connect, she said, and she hopes people will find that with the vigil as well. Combres had the idea for a vigil but she said it was Blake Sittler who got the ball rolling initially to mark the anniversary. Sittler is the executive director of Saskatoon's Roman Catholic chaplaincy and another organizer of the vigil. He and his wife were celebrating their 25th anniversary in New York before the pandemic hit, arriving home only a few days before the first case was found there. "We went back to work for a day or two and on Friday, I grabbed my laptop and I said, you know, I'm going to take this laptop home in case I need to stay home for a few days and a few days turned into a full year working in my basement," he said. A person in a face mask walks through an almost empty Times Square in New York City as the COVID-19 outbreak pandemic continues.(Andrew Kelly/Reuters) Sittler said the goal of the event was to represent as many of the different communities in the province as possible, echoing the provincial motto, "From many peoples strength." "We knew we wanted to mark the day because humans do try to make meaning of their lives through ritual," Sittler said. He said the vigil is not a religious event but instead an opportunity to bring people together so they feel less alone. "You're not alone in your mourning, you know, you're not alone in the jobs you lost, your fear, the loneliness, the isolation.… And at the same time, now that the vaccines are coming out, we also wanted to let them know that they aren't alone in their hope." Sittler said he'll be thinking of people in special care and long-term care homes who have been isolated throughout the pandemic, as well as the workers in those facilities. "These are folks who have built up this province and have spent their life serving their community and their kids," he said. "It's like being in isolation in a prison. And some of them even asked that question is like, what did we do wrong that this is happening?" Sittler said he wanted to put an event together where people could gather and say, 'I'm not crazy for being sad and I'm not crazy for being hopeful.'(Supplied by Shirley Larkin/White Coat Black Art) The event will have greetings from representatives from different traditions. A front-line worker will speak about their experience, and there will also be poetry and music. The event also invites everyone to bring a candle to light. "People know what it means to light a candle in the window, you know, for the weary traveler to just find their way through the darkness," Sittler said. "And that's what this is, to light a candle, to give people hope to say that we're in this together." The event is free but you need to register at covidvigil.ca. You can join on Zoom, and it will also be livestreamed to YouTube.
More than 110,000 Olympic volunteers had their dream summer all mapped out for 2020. Instead, the unsung backbone of any Olympics - its corps of volunteers - has had to recalibrate lives, put vacations or returns to home countries on hold and seek out part-time jobs in Japan so they are still free to volunteer. "I'm actually wavering about taking part now," said Yamamura, 40, who lives in southwestern Japan, far from Tokyo.
WASHINGTON — The United States and South Korea have reached agreement in principle on a new arrangement for sharing the cost of the American troop presence, which is intended as a bulwark against the threat of North Korean aggression. The State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs said the deal includes a “negotiated increase” in Seoul's share of the cost, but it provided no details. The Bureau wrote on Twitter that the agreement, if finalized, would reaffirm the U.S.-South Korean treaty alliance as “the linchpin of peace, security and prosperity for Northeast Asia.” The negotiations had broken down during the Trump administration over a U.S. demand that Seoul pay five times what it previously had paid. The U.S. keeps about 28,000 troops in South Korea. The Wall Street Journal, which was first to report the agreement, said it would last through 2025. Robert Burns And Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
Research led by University of Manitoba (U of M) professors found that Indigenous people are twice more likely than others to have difficulty meeting their financial obligations during the COVID-19 crisis. A third of Indigenous Canadians surveyed lost their jobs early in the pandemic which is a higher proportion than people of colour, who were in turn more likely to lose their jobs than white Canadians. Of Indigenous men between the ages of 18 to 34 who took the survey, 47% reported having trouble paying their bills on time due to the pandemic. “Early in the pandemic, some of the United States’ largest reservations were reporting major COVID-19 outbreaks,” said Kiera Ladner, a U of M Professor in Indigenous and Canadian politics on Monday. “In Canada, the outbreaks on reservations followed shortly after. While the medical field can help us track the medical outcomes, our project focuses on the social, mental health and economic outcomes of Indigenous peoples, immigrants, refugees and the racialized communities.” COVID-19’s differential impact on the mental and emotional health of Indigenous Peoples and Newcomers: A socioeconomic analysis of Canada, US and Mexico examines the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 on Canada, the US and Mexico with a focus on the experiences of Indigenous Peoples and newcomers. When U of M received $671,332 in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in June 2020, the university’s team already had three months of survey data on COVID-19’s differential socioeconomic impact on Indigenous people. Sample survey results also showed that Indigenous people are 31 per cent more likely than other groups to experience moderate-severe depressive symptoms. Only a third of Indigenous people reported excellent or good mental health than 43% of people of colour and 46% of white Canadians. “It is important people recognize that the pandemic affects other people differently, not only because they are Indigenous people, but also the fact that Indigenous people are sometimes located in more remote communities,” said Dr. Jasmine Thomas, the research’s postdoctoral fellow. “These communities may have limited access to healthcare, so they have a greater risk of these negative outcomes. The research is still ongoing and expects to conclude by this year’s fall. Research results will be presented weekly to federal government officials who can use the information to help design pandemic programs, as well as to First Nation and community organizations delivering services. A web portal is under development to ensure that data is accessible to Indigenous communities and organizations. Since it can be difficult to survey First Nation reserves with poor Internet service, interviews with some First Nation communities will be conducted to fill in the gaps and help answer questions raised by the survey results. “At the end of the day, data matters. Indigenous nations need better data to create effective and meaningful policy,” said Ladner. “Data is needed for all governments trying to respond effectively to this pandemic and to create good public policy. Data is needed for Indigenous peoples to hold governments accountable when they fail to act or when differentiated action is required.” Ladner hopes that the research can be used to confront and destabilize the underpinnings of systemic racism in healthcare and to understand how systemic racism impacts COVID-19. Nicole Wong is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Nicole Wong, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Sun
Here's a sight most airline passengers don't get to witness! Watch as this flight soars right above the cloud deck.
TORONTO — Health-care workers across Ontario still struggle to obtain personal protective equipment to shield them from COVID-19, three major unions said Sunday as they called on the province to do more to ensure their safety as the pandemic rages on. Unifor, the health-care arm of the Service Employees International Union and the Canadian Union of Public Employees also called for a "universal wage" of $25 an hour for all personal support workers regardless of what part of the provincial system they work in. Both messages are part of a provincewide public awareness campaign set to launch in workplaces on Monday. The secretary-treasurer of CUPE's Ontario Council of Hospital Unions said many workers were denied access to PPE at the beginning of the pandemic, contending it was often kept under lock and key by employers. Sharon Richer said that practice continues today in some cases, despite assurances from the province that it has a stockpile of 12.4 million pieces of PPE such as N95 masks. "We're asked to work with a deadly virus," she said. "We're not provided with the tools to protect ourselves and not supported if we become ill from it. We demand better from this government and our employers." The unions, which represent 175,000 health-care workers, say thousands of them have contracted COVID-19 throughout the pandemic and 20 have died from the virus. Richer said early in the pandemic there was debate about how COVID-19 was spread and N95 masks were difficult to obtain. But as the pandemic nears its one-year anniversary, she argued there is no excuse not to provide workers with vital protective gear. "The masks were very scarce," Richer said. "They're not now. ... We shouldn't have to go into work on a daily basis and beg for protection to keep us safe from this virus." SEIU President Sharleen Stewart said the unions are also asking the government to raise the wages of personal support workers in all health care settings to $25 an hour. The pandemic has illustrated the importance of PSWs in hospitals, long-term care, and in home care, she said. A staffing study released by the province last year illustrated the disparity between PSW wages in different sectors of the health-care system. It found that PSWs in Ontario long-term care homes make an average hourly wage of $22.69. That compared to the $17.30 average hourly rate paid to PSWs delivering home care. Stewart said working conditions for PSWs are poor, full-time opportunities and benefits are hard to come by, and wages are low. "The government ... must raise the minimum wage for personal support workers and make it universal in every sector," she said. "Whether you work in a hospital, a nursing home or in home and community care, a PSW, is a PSW, is a PSW." Katha Fortier of Unifor said workers will participate in the campaign in the coming weeks, as Ontario prepares to launch its 2021-2022 budget. "COVID-19 has over-stressed Ontario's health-care resources and led to the tragic failure of the long term care system," she said. "But the truth is the pandemic revealed systemic problems that frontline workers have been struggling with for years." During the pandemic, Ontario has spent hundreds of millions to provide temporary pay hikes to workers throughout the health-care sector. In October, the province said it would provide a targeted wage increase between $2 to $3 an hour to more than 147,000 personal support workers. That program, which cost $461 million, is set to expire on March 31. A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott said the government is monitoring the impact of that temporary wage increase for PSWs and evaluating next steps. "We will continue to engage with our sector partners to inform an approach to a wage enhancement intervention after March and in the long-term for the home and community care sector," Alexandra Hilkene said in a statement. The government has also spent nearly $1.1 billion on PPE and other supplies for health care workers, she added. "We have continued to respond to emergency escalations for PPE within 24 hours to hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and other facilities in order to support essential workers in all settings and ensuring supplies and equipment are expedited to those most in need," Hilkene said. Meanwhile, Ontario reported 1,299 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, along with 15 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott said there were 329 new cases in Toronto, 192 in Peel Region, and 116 in York Region. Sunday's data is based on 46,586 completed tests. The province also reported administering 30,192 doses of COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, for a total of 890,604 doses handed out so far. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press
Health Minister John Haggie says the province may be on track to start staycations on time this tourism season.(Government of Newfoundland and Labrador) With the accelerating COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Newfoundland and Labrador, Health Minister John Haggie is optimistic that staycation season will start on time this year, but the reaction from tourism operators is mixed. "I think we may well be on track to start on time this year," Haggie said of staycations during Friday's provincial COVID-19 briefing, moments after Premier Andrew Furey announced that people who want the vaccine will have the shot by the end of June. Despite optimism from the provincial government, the pandemic has decimated the tourism industry worldwide over the last year, as people have been ordered to stay home as much as possible, borders have closed and airlines have slashed and suspended flights. Whales and icebergs normally draw thousands of tourists to Newfoundland and Labrador. There is optimism and uncertainty about how the tourism season will proceed amid the second year of the coronoavirus pandemic. (Submitted by Kris Prince) Last summer, the province's $1 billion tourism industry slowed to a trickle of staycationers and a few tourists from nearby provinces, once the Atlantic bubble formed in July. Kier Knudsen, owner the Dark Tickle Company in St. Lunaire-Griquet on the Northern Peninsula, says his family has been in business, in some form, for over 100 years. His company is known for its wild berry jams, sauces and chocolates sold in gift shops across the province. They also operate a boat tour expedition and a cafe. He said their gift shop and orders for their wholesale products were "dead" last year, and they didn't operate the boat tour at all. Knudsen calls the provincial government's optimism about staycations "a positive thing." But, he said, because they're about a thousand kilometres away from the Avalon Peninsula, fewer staycationers will be at their door, as it's difficult for them to come for the weekend. "I mean, we'll get some staycationers, but it's not enough to support a tourism business in this area," he said. "So we really need interprovincial travel to open for us to make a go of it." Knudsen noted 70 per cent of his business relies on visitors from Ontario and Quebec. Knudsen said business has dipped during the pandemic, but the Sculpin Cones have been a nice boost bringing in locals and people from across the island to his cafe.(Submitted by Kier Knudsen) Prince Edward Island's Premier Dennis King said Sunday he's hopeful the Atlantic Bubble will reopen by "early spring." But the Newfoundland and Labrador's health minister said it's too early to predict what will happen with interprovincial travel. "Because that's outside our control. But I really think that by the end of summer, there will be some serious consideration, maybe, of going back to a level one," Haggie said Friday. Meanwhile, Knudsen said people typically start their vacation planning during the winter and early spring, which will influence how well tourism operators do over the summer months. "If they're not doing that now, there's a good chance they're not going to be able to come in. The season — it's dead before it starts," he said. "2022 is what we're looking towards." Knudsen added he's hoping locals continue to support the province's tourism industry and continue taking staycations after the pandemic is over. Focusing on locals In contrast, Janet Denstedt, owner of the Old Saltbox Co. — a company operating vacation homes dotted across Newfoundland — says her focus will be on staycationers. "I think this year we're just really focused on supplying our Newfoundlanders with a special holiday and preparing out-of-province people for 2022 at this point," she said, while hoping for some out-of-province travels later in the fall. She calls the late start to last summer's staycation season "challenging," since her company lost all out-of-province bookings, amounting to 70 per cent of their business. The Old Saltbox Co. restores homes and decorates them with a modern touch. They rent vacation homes in Twillingate, Musgrave Harbour, Fogo Island, Greenspond, Burgo and Francois. (Old Saltbox Co.) "We survived," she said. "For the most part, it ended up pretty good. We had a whole lot more staycationers through our houses that never would have gotten to stay." While she is looking forward to a better season this summer, her biggest concern is about other tourism businesses who have also struggled through the last year. "The restaurants, and the tour operators and just local crafts people and musicians that are losing out on international and out-of-province visitors ... if we don't have them as part of our industry, then it really cuts down on the experience that the guests get," Denstedt said. Still, she thinks demand to visit the province will increase as the world recovers from COVID-19. "There's going to be so much pent up desire to get to the rock," she said. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
OCALA, Fla. — Austin Ernst won the Drive On Championship on Sunday for her third LPGA Tour title, pulling away to beat fellow former NCAA champion Jennifer Kupcho by five strokes at Golden Ocala. Tied for the lead with Kupcho after each of the first two rounds and a stroke ahead entering the day, Ernst closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the wire-to-wire victory at 15-under 273. “I think it’s just really cool to be in the heat of it all week and to be able to perform the way I did,” Ernst said. “To hit the shots I hit, and to shoot the scores I shot, I think it’s just kind of testament to me, that I can do this week in and week out and just if I have a little belief myself kind of what I can do.” Kupcho, coming off a closing eagle Saturday, had a double bogey and three bogeys in a 74. Brooke Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ont., finished in a tie for 44th place at 2-over 290. Calgary's Jaclyn Lee finished in a tie for 62nd after shooting a 7-over 295. Following sisters Jessica and Nelly Korda in the first two events of the year, Ernst gave the United States three straight victories to open a season for the first time since 2007. “I think the difference this week even just the last week was I just fully committed to believing in what I do and that it’s good enough,” said Ernst, who missed the cut last week in the Gainbridge LPGA with rounds of 75 and 72. “I think this week proved that it’s more than good enough. It was fun to walk up and know that I was going to win. I haven’t had that yet, so that was fun.” The 29-year-old former LSU star from South Carolina, showing her school spirit Sunday with a purple shirt, also won the 2014 Portland Classic and the 2020 NW Arkansas Championship. She won the NCAA title in 2011. With brother Drew — a former player at Coastal Carolina — working as her caddie, Ernst birdied Nos. 4-7 to get to 17 under, but dropped back with bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13. “Walked to 14 and Drew just told me, `Hey, you’re playing great. Just keep doing what you want to do and let’s just make a few birdies coming in,'" Ernst said. “Didn’t make any birdies, but played well coming in, and that made it easy.” Kupcho birdied 10 and 12 to pull within three strokes of Ernst, then bogeyed 14, made the double bogey on the par-3 15th and bogeyed 17. She played most of the back nine in the opening round Thursday with a migraine that blurred her vision. “I set myself up after 12 to be able to make a little bit of a move,” Kupcho said.” I just missed a pretty easy up-and-down, honestly, on 13, and obviously missed the putt on 14. ... But I didn’t really think it was over until I hit the tee shot on 15. Everyone hits bad shots. It’s just unfortunate that’s when mine came for the week.” Winless on the tour, the former 23-year-old former Wake Forest star from Colorado won the NCAA title in 2018 and the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019. “Just work on getting stronger and continuing to focus on my game,” Kupcho said. “Pretty much the same thing I did over the off-season. I think it will be nice to have a little bit of a break for sure for a couple days.” Jenny Coleman made it a 1-2-3 U.S. finish, closing with a 71 to get to 8 under. “It helps boost my confidence and know I have the game to be out here and I deserve to be out here,” the 28-year-old former Colorado player said. In Gee Chun of South Korea was fourth at 7 under after a 69. Switzerland's Albane Valenzuela was another stroke back after a 73. Nelly Korda, tied with Ernst and Kupcho for the first-round lead, had weekend rounds of 76 and 75 to tie for 28th at even par. Jessica Korda shot a 71 to tie for eighth at 4 under. The Associated Press
La gestion de l’aide d’urgence aux entreprises a amené la création d’un comité tactique au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean au début de la crise, une initiative qui pourrait être appelée à rester pour soutenir le développement économique régional. Le comité a été mis en place par l’organisme de concertation économique Développement économique 02, lorsque les municipalités régionales de comté (MRC) ont reçu la responsabilité à travers la province d’administrer l’aide d’urgence aux entreprises annoncée par Québec en avril. À l’image des mesures sanitaires, les fonds, programmes et critères d’admissibilité changeaient constamment, autant du côté de Québec que d’Ottawa, et les intervenants régionaux avaient eux-mêmes de la difficulté à s’y retrouver, afin de pouvoir accompagner les entreprises. « Il est arrivé une multitude de fonds, chaque semaine, on était tout le monde perdu, alors c’est pour ça qu’on s’est dit : “Est-ce qu’on peut se parler régionalement ? ” », explique Claudia Fortin, administratrice au sein de l’organisme qui relève de la Conférence régionale des préfets du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. C’est ainsi qu’un « comité tactique élargi » a vu le jour. Le comité stratégique, nommé Comité d’intervention régionale, a rassemblé plusieurs acteurs économiques régionaux habitués à collaborer, mais qui ne se retrouvaient pas autour d’une même table. Des rencontres en ligne ont été tenues chaque semaine, d’avril à juin. En plus des responsables du développement économique régional déjà présents au sein de Développement économique 02, des représentants régionaux du ministère de l’Économie, de Services Québec, de Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, de la Société de développement économique ilnu de Mashteuiatsh, d’Investissement Québec, de Développement économique Canada pour les régions du Québec, et un représentant des sociétés d’aide au développement des collectivités (SADC) régionales ont notamment pris part aux rencontres. Harmoniser l’administration La concertation des acteurs a permis entre autres d’harmoniser l’administration de l’aide d’urgence, de gagner en efficacité et de mettre en commun les pratiques. Les MRC devaient alors elles-mêmes bâtir les formulaires de demandes de prêts et assurer l’analyse des dossiers pour coordonner l’aide d’urgence aux entreprises frappées par les impacts de la pandémie de COVID-19. « À travers la dernière année, les directeurs de développement économique ont tellement travaillé à développer ces expertises-là et ces harmonisations-là que ça a permis justement à nos entreprises de survivre », estime pour sa part le maire de La Doré, Yanick Baillargeon, qui occupe la présidence de Développement économique 02 depuis décembre. Développement économique 02 n’était pas en mesure d’indiquer le nombre d’entreprises qui ont reçu un prêt dans la région et l’aide d’urgence totale dont la région a bénéficié jusqu’à maintenant. « On a eu besoin les uns des autres » Le comité stratégique, qui a pris une pause pendant l’été, a repris ses rencontres hebdomadaires à l’automne, en réduisant cependant le nombre de participants. Le comité est toujours actif aujourd’hui et pourrait reprendre une formule plus élargie à l’image de celle connue au printemps, à la demande de certains acteurs qui ont apprécié la concertation qui en a découlé, a indiqué Mme Fortin. « On a eu besoin les uns des autres, c’est surtout ça, souligne-t-elle. La force de la concertation, elle est là. Tout seul, c’était trop une grosse bouchée pour chacun, dans nos territoires, mais le fait qu’on était tout le monde ensemble, et qu’on partageait ça, ça a vraiment aidé. » Fonds de relance La concertation des acteurs régionaux a aussi mené à un sondage des entreprises régionales, afin d’identifier leurs besoins pendant la crise. Un fonds de relance régional de 750 000 $ a également été lancé en septembre, le Fonds de relance 02. L’initiative financée par Desjardins, Rio Tinto et les cinq MRC de la région proposait une subvention aux entreprises. Les demandes ont été nombreuses, si bien qu’en décembre, toutes les sommes étaient réservées. Le nombre d’entreprises et les projets soutenus seront connus ultérieurement. + LE BRAS FINANCIER DE LA CONFÉRENCE DES PRÉFETS Peu connu du public, Développement économique 02 agit en fait comme bras financier de la Conférence régionale des préfets du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Développement économique 02 vu le jour en réaction à l’annonce, en 2014, de l’abolition des centres locaux de développement (CLD) par le gouvernement Couillard. « En 2015, quand le gouvernement a décidé de mettre la hache dans les CLD, on trouvait ça dommage de perdre toute une expertise et une concertation qu’on avait autour du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean », explique Yanick Baillargeon, président de Développement économique 02. Le Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean comptait alors, depuis le début des années 2000, sur une association régionale rassemblant les CLD régionaux. Même si le modèle des CLD subsiste toujours aujourd’hui dans la province dans certaines municipalités régionales de comté (MRC), alors que d’autres ont choisi de rapatrier les services à l’interne ou de les transférer à un autre organisme, Développement économique 02 est demeuré en place afin d’assurer cette concertation sur le plan économique régional. « Dans toutes les régions du Québec, on doit être un des seuls qui a ce genre d’organisme de développement économique en concertation », souligne M. Baillargeon, qui est également préfet de la MRC du Domaine-du-Roy. L’élu, maire de La Doré, compte d’ailleurs solliciter un second mandat à la tête de la petite municipalité lors des élections municipales, cet automne. Le conseil d’administration de Développement économique 02 est composé de cinq responsables du développement économique des MRC de la région et de cinq élus, qui sont actuellement quatre préfets de MRC ainsi que la mairesse de Saguenay, Josée Néron, la municipalité ayant le statut de ville-MRC. Développement économique 02 chapeaute différents projets, comités et initiatives, en lien avec les enjeux de transport ferroviaire, les retombées économiques ou encore de l’emploi dans la région. « On n’est pas connu, mais on est dans l’action », souligne pour sa part Claudia Fortin, administratrice au sein de l’organisation. L’organisme, en étant lié à la Conférence régionale des préfets, est également distinct de la Table régionale des élus du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, qui a en quelque sorte repris le relais de la défunte Conférence régionale des élus (CRÉ), les CRÉ ayant été abolies en 2015. Myriam Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien