As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Ottawa will not license any Indigenous "moderate livelihood" fishery in Atlantic Canada unless it operates within the commercial season, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said Wednesday, siding with a key demand from the region's commercial fishing industry, while angering Indigenous leaders. The statement is a major development in the dispute over treaty rights-based fishing that sparked violence last fall when the Sipekne'katik band launched its own self-regulated 'moderate livelihood' lobster fishery. The fishery in St. Marys Bay in southwest Nova Scotia took place outside the commercial season, angering other fishermen who said it was both unfair and bad for conservation. "Seasons ensure that stocks are harvested sustainably and they are necessary for an orderly, predictable, and well-managed fishery," Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said in a statement, confirming a CBC News report earlier in the day. "In effort-based fisheries such as lobster, seasons are part of the overall management structure that conserves the resource, ensures there isn't overfishing, and distributes economic benefits across Atlantic Canada." WATCH | The history of the Mi'kmaw fishery: DFO indicated a willingness to discuss other details with affected First Nation communities. But Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack urged Mi'kmaw bands in Atlantic Canada to reject the federal government's position and told reporters his First Nation will continue to operate its fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021. "They're trying to divide and conquer and throw a carrot to a band or two and have them sign and just hurt everybody's case. So I hope that no other communities do sign. They don't take that low hanging fruit," he said. Sack restated his position that the treaty right was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada's Marshall decision, and accused DFO of trying to divide and conquer the Mi'kmaq. In 1999, the court affirmed the Mi'kmaw treaty right to fish in pursuit of a "moderate livelihood," but under federal government regulations for conservation. Ottawa spent half a billion dollars integrating Indigenous bands into the commercial fishery through licence buy-backs and training, but it never defined "moderate livelihood." Jordan cited part of the Marshall ruling to justify her authority. She noted the Supreme Court said "treaty rights are subject to regulation provided such regulation is shown by the Crown to be justified on conservation or other grounds of public importance." "That is what we are implementing," Jordan said in her statement. The department is offering Indigenous fishermen in Nova Scotia a pathway to sell lobster harvested in a moderate livelihood fishery. Right now, that catch does not have DFO's stamp of approval. Without authorization, they can't legally sell their catch to licenced buyers, such as lobster pounds and processors. Bands that accept DFO's position will receive a moderate livelihood licence that will allow them to sell the catch in 2021. Under provincial rules, only fish products harvested under federal commercial licences can be purchased by shore processors. The federal government "will balance additional First Nations access through already available licences and a willing buyer-willing seller approach, protecting our stocks and preserving the industry for generations to come," Jordan's statement said. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Michael Sack, right, halted talks with the federal Fisheries Department in December after reaching an impasse.(Paul Withers/CBC) The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaw Chiefs called the government's conditions "unacceptable" and condemned them as part of a "colonial approach" to the rights-based fishery recognized by the Supreme Court. "DFO continues to dictate and impose their rules on a fishery that is outside of their scope and mandate," said Chief Gerald Toney, the assembly's fisheries lead, in a statement. The right to a livelihood fishery isn't, and shouldn't be, driven by industry or the federal government, he said. "It is something that needs to come from the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia. Imposing restrictions independently, without input of the Mi'kmaq, on our implementation of Rights is an approach that must stop." Mi'kmaw leaders and some academics have insisted the fishery in St. Marys Bay poses no risk to stocks because it is too small. It's a claim the commercial industry rejects. One organization representing commercial fishermen said the DFO has made public what it had been telling the industry in private. "This position needs to come from them and they need to come out publicly, more often," said Martin Mallet, executive director of the Maritime Fishermen's Union. Mallet said commercial fishermen expect the DFO to enforce its rules if bands operate out of season, including pulling traps and "potentially arresting individuals that are not keeping up with the law." A group representing harvesters in southwestern Nova Scotia said the government's position "can provide certainty" for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous fishermen. "However, lasting and consistent enforcement that is fair to all harvesters will be critical," the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance said in a statement. The ambiguity over moderate livelihood led to violence last year when several bands launched self-regulated lobster fisheries — all taking place outside of commercial lobster seasons. In October, two facilities storing Mi'kmaw catches were vandalized, including one that was later burned to the ground. Indigenous harvesters also said hundreds of their traps were pulled by non-Indigenous commercial fishermen. After tensions abated, the DFO pulled hundreds of Mi'kmaw traps out of the water, many bearing band moderate livelihood tags. On Wednesday, the DFO returned to Sipekne'katik more than 200 traps it had seized last fall. Sipekne'katik First Nation Chief Mike Sack, shown in October, said Wednesday his band will continue to operate its moderate livelihood fishery outside DFO seasons in 2021.(Pat Callaghan/CBC) When defending the self-regulated fisheries, the Mi'kmaq point to the huge number of commercial traps in the water compared to those from bands. The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance, which represents shore buyers, said that is misleading. Stewart Lamont of Tangier Lobster said he accepts the treaty right but maintains the fisheries must take place within commercial seasons. "The lobster biomass is extremely vulnerable during certain months of the year, most particularly late July, August, September, October, when lobsters are going through their annual molt," said Lamont. "They're literally hungrier than normal. They've taken on a new shell. They are far more readily embraced into a trap." He said hauling lobster at that time is short-sighted. "By the same token, they are of far lesser quality. They tend to be soft and medium shell. It's not a premium product." Commercial lobster fishing season varies across Nova Scotia, in part to maintain a steady supply to the market, and to protect stocks when they are vulnerable. MORE TOP STORIES
WASHINGTON — The Defence Department took more than three hours to dispatch the National Guard to the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol despite a frantic request for reinforcement from police, according to testimony Wednesday that added to the finger-pointing about the government response. Maj. Gen. William Walker, commanding general of the District of Columbia National Guard, told senators that the then-chief of the Capitol Police requested military support in a 1:49 p.m. call, but the Defence Department's approval for that support was not relayed to him until after 5 p.m., according to prepared testimony. Guard troops who had been waiting on buses were then rushed to the Capitol. That delay stood in contrast to the immediate approval for National Guard support granted in response to the civil unrest that roiled American cities last spring as an outgrowth of racial justice protests, Walker said. As local officials pleaded for help, Army officials raised concerns about the optics of a substantial National Guard presence at the Capitol, he said. “The Army senior leadership” expressed to officials on the call “that it would not be their best military advice to have uniformed Guardsmen on the Capitol,” Walker said. The Senate hearing is the second about what went wrong on Jan. 6, with national security officials face questions about missed intelligence and botched efforts to quickly gather National Guard troops that day as a violent mob laid siege to the U.S. Capitol. Even as Walker detailed the National Guard delay, another military official noted that local officials in Washington had said days earlier that no such support was needed. Senators were eager to grill officials from the Pentagon, the National Guard and the Justice and Homeland Security departments about their preparations for that day. Supporters of then-President Donald Trump had talked online, in some cases openly, about gathering in Washington that day and interrupting the electoral count. At a hearing last week, officials who were in charge of security at the Capitol blamed one another as well as federal law enforcement for their own lack of preparation as hundreds of rioters descended on the building, easily breached the security perimeter and eventually broke into the Capitol. Five people died as a result of the rioting. So far, lawmakers conducting investigations have focused on failed efforts to gather and share intelligence about the insurrectionists’ planning before Jan. 6 and on the deliberations among officials about whether and when to call National Guard troops to protect Congress. The officials at the hearing last week, including ousted Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, gave conflicting accounts of those negotiations. Robert Contee, the acting chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, told senators he was “stunned” over the delayed response and said Sund was pleading with Army officials to deploy National Guard troops as the rioting rapidly escalated. Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar, one of two Democratic senators who will preside over Wednesday's hearing, said in an interview Tuesday that she believes every moment counted as the National Guard decision was delayed and police officers outside the Capitol were beaten and injured by the rioters. “Any minute that we lost, I need to know why,” Klobuchar said. The hearing comes as thousands of National Guard troops are still patrolling the fenced-in Capitol and as multiple committees across Congress are launching investigations into mistakes made on Jan. 6. The probes are largely focused on security missteps and the origins of the extremism that led hundreds of Trump supporters to break through the doors and windows of the Capitol, hunt for lawmakers and temporarily stop the counting of electoral votes. Congress has, for now, abandoned any examination of Trump’s role in the attack after the Senate acquitted him last month of inciting the riot by telling the supporters that morning to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. As the Senate hears from the federal officials, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman will testify before a House panel that is also looking into how security failed. In a hearing last week before the same subcommittee, she conceded there were multiple levels of failures but denied that law enforcement failed to take seriously warnings of violence before the insurrection. In the Senate, Klobuchar said there is particular interest in hearing from Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, who was on the phone with Sund and the Department of the Army as the rioters first broke into the building. Contee, the D.C. police chief, was also on the call and told senators that the Army was initially reluctant to send troops. “While I certainly understand the importance of both planning and public perception — the factors cited by the staff on the call — these issues become secondary when you are watching your employees, vastly outnumbered by a mob, being physically assaulted,” Contee said. He said he had quickly deployed his own officers and he was “shocked” that the National Guard “could not — or would not — do the same." Contee said that Army staff said they were not refusing to send troops, but “did not like the optics of boots on the ground” at the Capitol. Also testifying at the joint hearing of the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees are Robert Salesses of the Defence Department, Melissa Smislova of the Department of Homeland Security and Jill Sanborn of the FBI, all officials who oversee aspects of intelligence and security operations. Lawmakers have grilled law enforcement officials about missed intelligence ahead of the attack, including a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that warned of online posts foreshadowing a “war” in Washington. Capitol Police leaders have said they were unaware of the report at the time, even though the FBI had forwarded it to the department. Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the report was disseminated though the FBI’s joint terrorism task force, discussed at a command post in Washington and posted on an internet portal available to other law enforcement agencies. Though the information was raw and unverified and appeared aspirational in nature, Wray said, it was specific and concerning enough that “the smartest thing to do, the most prudent thing to do, was just push it to the people who needed to get it.” Mary Clare Jalonick And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 4 a.m. ET on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 64,485 new vaccinations administered for a total of 2,014,128 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 5,314.423 per 100,000. There were 40,180 new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 2,482,350 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 81.14 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,827 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 20,285 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 38.739 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 33,820 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.5 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 59.98 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 966 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 12,596 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 79.405 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 14,715 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 9.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 85.6 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 5,505 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,471 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 34.298 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 61,980 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 54 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 7,424 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 33,741 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 43.255 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 46,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.0 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.13 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 16,513 new vaccinations administered for a total of 455,328 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 53.213 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 537,825 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 84.66 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 22,326 new vaccinations administered for a total of 727,021 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 49.494 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 903,285 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 80.49 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,535 new vaccinations administered for a total of 78,205 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 56.794 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 108,460 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 72.1 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 947 new vaccinations administered for a total of 80,236 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 68.045 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 74,605 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 107.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 9,546 new vaccinations administered for a total of 245,054 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.668 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 274,965 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 6.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 89.12 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 7,501 new vaccinations administered for a total of 283,182 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 55.184 per 1,000. There were 40,180 new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 364,020 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 7.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 77.79 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 1,097 new vaccinations administered for a total of 17,168 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 411.397 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 18,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 45 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 90.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting 3,321 new vaccinations administered for a total of 19,775 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 438.285 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 19,100 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 42 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 103.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 664 new vaccinations administered for a total of 8,066 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 208.284 per 1,000. There were no new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 23,900 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 62 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 33.75 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. In some cases the number of doses administered may appear to exceed the number of doses distributed as some provinces have been drawing extra doses per vial. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
GlobalFoundries will invest $1.4 billion this year to raise output at three factories in the United States, Singapore and Germany, as a global shortage of semiconductors has boosted demand for chips, its chief executive said. The U.S.-based company, a unit of Abu Dhabi's state-owned fund Mubadala, may also bring forward its initial public offering to late 2021 or the first half of next year, from a previous target of late 2022 or early 2023. Automakers and electronics producers are facing a global shortage of chips which has fueled manufacturing delays.
A Keswick couple is suing provincial archeologist Brent Suttie and the province, claiming he used the alleged discovery of an arrowhead years prior to thwart their plans to build a retirement home next door to his house in Douglas. Rocky and Cassie Brawn allege Suttie threatened to have their land locked down as an Indigenous archeological site with one call to the minister of tourism, heritage and culture, who oversees the archeology and heritage branch. They say the province subsequently agreed to buy their property for $154,200, but backed out of the deal at the last minute, according to the statement of claim, filed with the Court of Queen's Bench in Fredericton. None of the allegations have been proven in court. Suttie could not immediately be reached for comment. Asked for a comment about the lawsuit and Suttie's employment status, given the allegations, Tourism, Heritage and Culture spokesperson Jeremy Trevors said the department had no comment on the matter. But the department "reiterates its confidence in its staff and its commitment towards the conservation of archeological sites throughout the province," he said in an emailed statement. Fredericton lawyer Gordon Shepard, who is representing the Brawns, declined to comment. Case dates back to 2012 The Brawns acquired the property at 1315 Route 105, on the shore of the St. John River, on March 22, 2012, and began site work soon after. They claim Suttie, who lives at 1311, was aware of their development activities, which included excavating, cutting down trees and removing stumps, hauling in truckloads of fill, levelling and compacting, and digging a test pit for a septic system, all with the help of heavy equipment over six years. He even gave them two rolls of road-building fabric he had leftover from a project, according to the court document. Rocky and Cassie Brawn listed the house on their property at 1315 Route 105 in Douglas for sale in 2015 and planned to build a retirement home on a subdivided eastern section of their lot, adjacent to Brent Suttie's property.(Ed Hunter/CBC) Suttie "took no action whatsoever" to stop them — even when they removed soil about 50 metres from where an arrowhead was allegedly discovered by someone picking fiddleheads in 2012. Nor did he notify the Brawns of the existence of "the archeological find and its implications" for their plans. The couple had also applied for various development permits from the province during this period, which were approved with no mention of any arrowhead, according to the court document. Offers to buy lot rejected It was only in June 2018, after they subdivided their property and Rocky Brawn told Suttie's wife he would be cutting trees on his side of the dividing property line to build a new home that problems started. Suttie told Brawn he "would not tolerate" him cutting any trees near the boundary, expressing concerns about drainage as well as a reduction in privacy. He asked if Brawn was interested in selling him the vacant lot. When Brawn said no, he offered to buy a 10-foot wide strip. Again, Brawn declined. The Brawns contend Brent Suttie, who lives at 1311 Route 105, pictured here, never mentioned an arrowhead until they planned to cut some trees along the dividing property line.(Ed Hunter/CBC) Suttie responded by informing Brawn that he was the provincial archeologist and he would "stop any further cutting on the property by calling 'the minister' and having the plaintiffs' property designated as a 'no future development area,'" the lawsuit claims. "It was at this point for the first time, that Suttie revealed that an 'arrowhead' had been found on their property." Costly to report Suttie told Brawn he had registered the artifact but never reported it to the minister because "it puts my land at risk," according to the court document. He explained test holes would have to be dug at a cost of $300 each and if any artifacts were found, the area would need to be excavated at a cost of $7,500 per square metre at the owner's expense. "Suttie made it clear to Mr. Brawn that the Brawns were not going to be able to build on their lot if Suttie reported the arrowhead to the minister, and repeated his offer to buy the plaintiffs' lot." Brawn said he'd think about it. The notice of action and statement of claim were filed with the Court of Queen's Bench in Fredericton on Feb. 19.(Edwin Hunter/CBC) On June 20, Brawn visited the provincial archeological services office in Fredericton and was told no artifacts had been registered in connection with the properties. He was advised he was "free to break ground and commence building." So the couple proceeded to cut trees and hauled in 200 truckloads of fill, which was levelled and compacted. But in early September, the Brawns decided they would sell their lot rather than build, "out of concerns over Suttie's threats to interfere." Never inputted in computer system About a week later, Suttie told Brawn the property search done by Karen Narvey at the archeological services office was incorrect and they would be hearing from the office about the artifact. He asked again if they would be willing to sell him their lot. Around Oct. 3, they were advised an artifact had been found on the property but hadn't been inputted into the department's computer system. According to a Maritime Archeological Resource Inventory form, dated May 16, 2012, an alleged artifact was found on an unknown date and submitted to archeological services on April 18, 2012. Suttie alleges in the form that the artifact was found on the shore near the southern boundary of the Brawns' property. Suttie's subsequent report to the minister of tourism, heritage and culture has led to their property being designated as within the 200-metre site protection buffer of a registered pre-contact Indigenous archeological site. 'Wilfully withheld properly reporting' The Brawns contend they exercised due diligence by asking the archeological services office about the existence of any registered sites and relied on the advice of the branch in their decision to continue development of the lot. Suttie, meanwhile, "wilfully withheld properly reporting and registering" the discovery of the artifact to the minister, "contrary to his statutory duty" under the Heritage Conservation Act, according to the statement of claim. This prejudiced their ability to ascertain the existence of the archeological site as an impediment to their development plans for the lot and they had to abandon their plan to build their retirement home, the Brawns contend. They further allege Suttie used the threat of revealing the 2012 archeological discovery to the minister with malice, to pressure them to sell to him. He used the power of his office "in bad faith" and the province is liable for the actions of its employee, they claim. Intimidation and misfeasance In addition, they claim once they learned Suttie followed through with his alleged threat to have their property designated an Indigenous archeological site, "they pursued resolution of the situation involving Suttie with the province" through the office of the minister. They say the province had agreed to purchase the lot for $150,000 and to cover legal fees of $4,200. They were assured the funds had been allocated, but the COVID-19 pandemic and Sept. 14, 2020 provincial election had delayed closing the deal, according to the court document. They were asked to remain patient, it states. Then, on Dec. 10, they were advised the province "does not have the authority" to purchase the property. Against Suttie and the province, the Brawns are seeking damages in an amount to be determined by the court, based on the torts of intimidation and misfeasance of public office. Against the province, the Brawns are seeking a declaration that they're entitled to be paid $154,200, or damages for breach of contract or damages for breach of duty to act in good faith in its contractual dealings, as well as special damages for money "wasted" developing the property. They are also seeking legal costs and any other relief the court deems fit. No statements of defence have been filed yet and a hearing date has not yet been set.
The number of charging points for electric vehicles in Germany has increased by more than 10% in the past three months to reach 39,538, energy industry association BDEW said on Wednesday. Policymakers in Europe's biggest economy aim to cut emissions from transport by expanding the use of electric vehicles. "The expansion of public charging points continues unabated," BDEW said, adding that government efforts to boost demand for electric vehicles and equipment were bearing fruit.
Another socially-distanced legislative session kicked off this week, this one marked by COVID-related issues, a two-month delay of the provincial budget, and an Opposition bench tasked with holding a majority government in check during a pandemic. “Our job as the Official Opposition is to hold the government to account,” said Interim BC Liberal Opposition Leader Shirley Bond on Feb. 26. “That's going to be a challenging job with a significant majority in the legislature, but we have a skilled team.” One immediate challenge will be the delayed provincial budget. The legislative session will run from Mar. 1 to June 17, with some breaks, and the budget will be presented on Apr. 20. Typically tabled every year in mid-February, governments were legally bound to present a budget by the end of March. However, the Finance Statutes Amendment Act 2020, passed last December, extends the deadline to Apr. 30 when a budget follows an October election, as it does this year. “British Columbians deserve to know the financial state of our province,” said Bond. “We should have had that discussion. The budget should have been tabled by now.” Back in December, the Liberals voted against the legislation containing the extension. “We really don't see a need why it had to happen,” said BC Liberal House Leader Peter Milobar last week. “We said this would create uncertainty with groups. It was brushed off by government.” Now, as session begins two weeks after a budget would normally have been introduced, agencies, businesses and associations are starting to get worried, he said. “I've spent this week on a lot of Zoom calls with agencies and organizations that don't know what the budget delay will, or won't, mean to them,” said Milobar who represents the riding of Kamloops-North Thompson. “It's incumbent on the government, they're the ones that have delayed this budget, to provide that certainty.” The December legislation also included a provision to extend special warrant spending authority to keep essential funds flowing if the budget and estimates are presented after the beginning of the new fiscal year – Apr.1 for most businesses and institutions – which will be the case this spring. “It is not intended to provide for new program spending but, rather, to provide for continuation of the operations of government until a supply act can be passed by the Legislative Assembly,” Finance Minister Selina Robinson told the legislature on Dec. 9. “Any enhanced or expanded programming cannot happen until a new budget is introduced,” Milobar said. Meanwhile, the government will have four weeks to introduce legislation prior to the Throne speech, which occurs one week before the budget. “I'm assuming the government will have work for legislators to do. We'll have to wait and see what that agenda looks like,” said Bond, who is MLA for Prince George-Valemount, and will be attending the session in person for the first time since the pandemic began. Previously, she attended by Zoom, as do the majority MLAs due to public health restrictions. The top priority is the pandemic and the health and well-being of British Columbians, but people are also concerned about economic issues, said Bond. “How is British Columbia going to emerge as we move ahead? Sectors, like the tourism sector, that have been decimated by COVID, what will the government do to support and energize that sector?” Last year, the Province announced $105 million in funding for the sector, along with the creation of a task force made up of tourism and hospitality industry representatives to disperse the funding. “We're going to be highlighting the challenges that the Horgan government has created for small businesses and for British Columbians – a quarter of a billion dollars sitting on the sidelines, because the government couldn't manage the to get it out the door,” said Bond, referencing the $280 million or so in COVID-19 relief funding still not disbursed from $300 million designated for small and medium-sized businesses. The program is set to expire mar. 31, when any remaining funding will be rolled back into the provincial government coffers, Premier John Horgan confirmed in February. “They've made lots of commitments, and many of them they've yet to deliver,” said Bond. “There's going to be no shortage of questionable situations around how the premier and his ministers have been handling their files,” said Milobar. “We're all very focused on wanting to shine a light on the shortcomings of the government's response to a wide range of issues.” Additional priorities for the Opposition will include scrutiny of the vaccination roll out and continued calls for rapid testing in long term care and schools, said Bond, who is also the opposition critic for seniors services and long-term care. “There will be lots of debate and dialogue,” said Bond. “It's going to be a very intense session.” Fran@thegoatnews.ca / @FranYanor Fran Yanor, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Rocky Mountain Goat
After its 2020 season was cancelled by COVID-19, the Stratford Festival announced plans this week to stage outdoor productions over the summer. Beginning in late June, the festival plans to stage a combination of plays and cabarets running about 90 minutes each. Performances will be held underneath two open-air canopies at the Festival Theatre and the Tom Patterson Theatre and will also be streamed online. "We realized we had to find an open airway where people could feel safe, socially distanced with masks on, but getting a very exciting experience on the stage," artistic director Antoni Cimolino told CBC News. "If things get better, we can always scale up, we can bring the productions indoors, but we needed to find a way to just be able to deliver the plays and that's what we're excited about." Cimolino said the festival lost millions when it cancelled last year's season. This year's season is supported, in part, by a $1.8 million cash infusion announced by the province Tuesday, though Cimolino expects with audiences capped at 100 people, they won't turn a profit this year, either. "We're going to be losing money again, but we have to be present this summer," he said. Return to festival's roots The Stratford Festival tent is pictured in 1953. The Festival's plan to hold performances under canopies is, in some ways, a return to its roots. (Photo by Peter Smith & Company. Courtesy of the Stratford Festival Archives.) The canopies will, in a way, be modified versions of the original performance tent used by the festival when it was first established in the early 1950s. The canopy top will provide protection from the rain while the lack of side panels means there will be better ventilation than in a traditional tent, Cimolino said. "It will be a change from what we had years ago but very much in the same spirit," he said. Each canopy is expected to seat about 100 people, although plans may change depending on what public health guidelines are in place over the summer. Performances will be capped at a brisk 90 minutes to avoid the risk of audience members getting too close during intermissions. Actors will also perform in one play each in order to bubble casts together and stop the spread of COVID-19 between different shows. "Everything about this summer will be tailor-made to address the current situation," said Cimolino. 'Great news' for local business Stratford City Centre BIA chair Rob Russell welcomed the news of the festival's upcoming summer season. Russell said his business, like many others in Stratford, suffered last year due to the lack of tourist traffic and he hopes to welcome more in-person customers this year. "I do know it's not nearly, of course, the size of season they would normally run, but it's great news for all the businesses in Stratford that are working hard to bring more people to town," said Russell, who owns MacLeods Scottish Shop. "That can only have a positive impact and make this year that much better than last year." Cimolino said this year's season will be tied to a theme of metamorphosis. Further details about the performance titles and cast members will be released later this spring. The 2021 season is expected to begin at the end of June and wrap up in late September. The Stratford Festival, which has been holding annual theatre productions in Stratford, Ont., since 1953, will put it’s entire 2020 season on hold amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. See man and woman walking in front of Stratford Festival shop.(Evan Mitsui/CBC)
The Kremlin on Wednesday played down the impact of sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union over Moscow's treatment of opposition politician Alexei Navalny, but said it would retaliate with reciprocal measures. In President Joe Biden's most direct challenge yet to the Kremlin, the United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions to punish Russia for what it described as Moscow's attempt to poison Navalny with a nerve agent last year.
One dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech's or AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine helps to prevent disease severe enough to require hospitalisation of people in their 80s with other illnesses, interim data from a UK study showed on Wednesday. The findings, from an ongoing surveillance project funded by Pfizer and known as AvonCAP, found that one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, which began to be used in Britain on Dec. 8, 2020, was 71.4% effective from 14 days at preventing symptomatic illness severe enough to result in hospitalisation among patients with a median age of 87 years. For the AstraZeneca vaccine, which began to be rolled out in Britain on Jan. 4, the results showed it was 80.4% effective by the same measures among patients with an average age of 88.
Jon Stanfield has about 300,000 medical gowns to help in the battle against COVID-19, but they're sitting unused in his Nova Scotia factory after the federal government decided to stop buying personal protective equipment from his company. Last spring, Stanfield's Ltd. of Truro quickly retrained its staff and retooled its factory at the start of the pandemic and pumped out PPE for front-line workers. That $27.9-million contract ended in October and Stanfield bid for a second contract. "The message from government was that they're going to invest in domestic capacity to make PPE across the country," Stanfield told CBC News on Tuesday. The company paid its PPE workers $1.8 million to keep them employed from October to last week. They produced a few hundred thousand isolation gowns, which are used to protect against the transfer of microorganisms and body fluids. The company thought since Ottawa said it wanted to build domestic capacity for manufacturing PPE, it would give some of 2021's work to Stanfield's, as well. Stanfield's posted this photo of the gowns to social media last month. (Stanfield's) "We're probably the oldest manufacturer of apparel in the country, we have 300,000 square feet, we have training, we bought equipment, we retooled the factory to participate in round two," said Stanfield. "I thought we'd have a level of it. I didn't think it would be zero." But the government accepted different bids, leaving Stanfield's out in the cold. The company laid off 150 workers last week. It still employs about 225 people in its regular clothing business. "This is just disappointing because I think our people — who put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into round one — also thought that we would have a level of work. Because this is what we do." 'We are no longer facing a PPE shortage' Stanfield disputed a Feb. 26 Facebook post by Liberal MP Lenore Zann, who said her government "invested $27.9 million into the initiative in order to enable Stanfield's to switch their factory from making underwear to creating disposable gowns for front-line workers." "They invested zero dollars," said Stanfield. "We negotiated a contract to make gowns for the federal government." Money from the contract went into training and paying workers as well as buying equipment, fabrics and other items to start making PPE. Stanfield said his company did apply for funding to retool the factory, but was rejected. Zann, whose riding of Cumberland-Colchester includes Truro, said Tuesday that she'd spoken to the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the trade union confirmed what Stanfield said: the government did not pay his, or any other company, to retool to produce PPE. "Since the very beginning of the pandemic, Canadian businesses across the country have come forward to offer their services and pitch in to provide life-saving equipment ... at a time of great need," Zann told CBC News. "Because of their efforts, we are no longer facing a PPE shortage." Zann said the government is now taking the time to use competitive bids "while continuing to focus on Canadian-made supplies." She said all nine contracts went to Canadian manufacturers. Stanfield said even part of an order — say for one or two million gowns — would have been enough to keep people working. Now, he's talking to provincial health-care providers to see if they want to work with his company to ensure a domestic supply of PPE. He said if Canada wants to have a domestic capability to make PPE, it should look to companies like his, which has made apparel for 150 years and will continue making it deep into the future. "So Canada wouldn't get into the position that we were in last spring," he said. "Because it's not a matter of if, but probably when, it occurs again." MORE TOP STORIES
Orban announced the decision in a letter to the chairman of the EPP, Manfred Weber, on Wednesday, making good on his threat to leave the grouping over changes to its rules.View on euronews
The euro zone economy is almost certainly in a double-dip recession as COVID-19 lockdowns continue to hammer the services industry, but hopes for a wider vaccine rollout has driven optimism to a three-year peak, a survey showed on Wednesday. "The small upward revision to the euro zone's Composite PMI for February still leaves it consistent with another contraction in GDP in Q1," said Jessica Hinds at Capital Economics. The euro zone economy contracted in the first two quarters of 2020 and a Reuters poll of economists last month forecast it would do so again in Q4 and the current quarter, saying risks to the already weak outlook were skewed to the downside.
The union that represents cargo ship crews in Canada says its members are in desperate need to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The Seafarers International Union of Canada says that is because of the potential danger of an outbreak onboard a vessel and a shortage of workers to replace crew members who get sick. There is limited space to physically distance on a ship and there are few medical resources on a vessel to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak should it occur. "We don't want to interrupt the vaccinations right now of those front-line workers and our elderly that are absolutely in dire need, but we're in dire need as well," said union president Jim Given. The union represents seafarers who work inside Canada and abroad. Jim Given is president of the Seafarers International Union of Canada. (Submitted by Seafarers International Union of Canada) Given wants his crews to be given the vaccine after health-care workers and seniors get their shots. Many seafarers spend three months aboard ship, with one month off, but some crews spend up to nine months on a vessel. Some workers have stayed on board even longer during the pandemic. There have only been a handful of COVID-19 outbreaks on ships so far, and one seafarer has died as a result, said Given. He's worried that could get worse if his members aren't vaccinated soon. It's incredibly difficult to cope with a COVID-19 outbreak on a ship, according to Desai Shan, an assistant professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She has been studying COVID-19's impact on seafarers. "They are extremely vulnerable in this pandemic," she said. "Considering they are important, and also vulnerable …seafarers getting priority for the vaccine is a fair request. "The medical resources and support seafarers would get on board are far, far limited compared to land-based working environments." Athaide waves to seafarers onboard bulk carriers in B.C.(Ben Nelms/CBC) Shan said countries like China and Singapore have already started vaccinating their seafarers because they recognize the importance of keeping their supply chains moving. "We carry most of the goods people use everyday, whether it be the raw materials to make the product or the product itself. We carry about 90 per cent of everything you touch and see everyday," said Given. A seafarer's job is so important it is considered essential. Given said the union wants to sit down with provincial and federal officials to come up with a plan to get its members vaccinated soon. Each individual province and territory decides how it will roll out its vaccinations. No province or territory has given seafarers priority, said Given. The CMA CGM Libra is the largest container ship ever to stop in Halifax. The vessel holds approximately 11,400 shipping containers.(Port of Halifax) Nova Scotia has taken an age-based approach. "We recognize there is interest from Nova Scotians who want to be prioritized to receive the vaccine, but we know the single biggest risk to COVID-19 patients is age," Marla MacInnis, a spokesperson for Nova Scotia's Department of Health, said in an email. She said eventually all Nova Scotians who want to get vaccinated will have the opportunity. Transport Canada had no comment on whether seafarers should be prioritized for vaccination. But spokesperson Sau Sau Liu said in an email that "Canada remains a strong advocate for the safety and welfare of seafarers and maritime workers." A truck passes by some of the many containers that it tows on a daily basis at Vancouver's port.(David Horemans/CBC) Liu said Transport Canada officials participate on a national seafarers' welfare board that advises the federal government on issues related to the well-being of seafarers. Given said that's not good enough. "It spreads so quickly and if we end up in a situation where we do get outbreaks on these ships the other aspect of it is there is nobody to replace the people to get the cargo moving again," he said. There is a shortage of seafarers in Canada right now, and with few people to replace them if they get sick, that could mean huge delays in the movement of goods and a slowdown in the Canadian economy, said Given. There are about 30,000 people across Canada employed as seafarers who directly or indirectly support 260,000 jobs and put $36 billion into the Canadian economy, he said. Many seafarers spend three months at a time on cargo ships like this one, but some can spend nine months aboard a vessel. That time onboard ship has been stretched out even further for some during the pandemic. (Steve Farmer/Port of Halifax) The country can't afford a slow down in the shipping industry, he said, especially with the busy season set to start in the spring when the Great Lakes thaw and ship traffic picks up. "We've got to find a way to get seafarers vaccinated so they have the mobility and the safety to do their jobs," said Given. MORE TOP STORIES
BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungary’s governing party pulled out of its conservative group in the European Union’s legislature on Wednesday following years of conflict over the rule of law and European values. The right-wing Fidesz party has held a two-thirds majority in Hungary’s parliament almost uninterrupted since 2010. It left the European People’s Party over the latter’s adoption on Wednesday of new procedures allowing for entire parties to be excluded from the group rather than just individual lawmakers. Fidesz officials, including Hungary’s prime minister and head of the party, Viktor Orban, had argued that the rule changes were “tailor-made” to sanction Fidesz, and threatened over the weekend to pull out of the EPP if the rules passed. The EPP backed the rule changes with an overwhelming majority: 148 in favour, 28 against and four abstentions. In a letter Wednesday to Manfred Weber, chairman of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, Orban announced Fidesz’s decision to leave the group. “The amendments to the rules of the EPP Group are clearly a hostile move against Fidesz and our voters ... This is anti-democratic, unjust and unacceptable. Therefore, the governing body of Fidesz has decided to leave the EPP Group immediately,” Orban wrote. Orban said the rule changes deprived Hungarian voters of their democratic rights and that Fidesz lawmakers would continue to represent Hungary in the European Parliament. A spokesman for the EPP Group, Pedro Lopez de Pablo, told The Associated Press that Orban pulling his party out of the EPP was “his own personal decision,” and that the group would not comment. Fidesz’s decision to leave the group could be the final note in a series of longstanding clashes with the EPP, the largest political family in Europe. The group suspended Fidesz’s membership in 2019 over concerns that it was eroding the rule of law in Hungary, engaging in anti-Brussels rhetoric and attacking the EPP leadership. In a tweet, Hungary’s minister for family affairs and a Fidesz vice-president, Katalin Novak, confirmed Fidesz’s decision to leave the EPP Group. “We will not let our MEPs be silenced or limited in their capacity to represent our voters. Tackling the pandemic and saving lives remains our number one priority,” Novak wrote. Justin Spike, The Associated Press
Federal and provincial health officials are planning to extend the time between two-dose COVID-19 vaccines to four months. Here are some of the factors they're weighing and why it matters. Why do provinces want to space out the doses beyond official recommendations? More vaccines are arriving and the provinces aim to get them into the arms of willing Canadians as quickly as possible. But demand exceeds supply, so researchers in British Columbia and Quebec are studying what happens when the interval between doses is extended. That way they can use the supply to vaccinate more people with a first shot sooner. Late last year, Quebec decided to vaccinate more quickly and more widely by allowing a 90-day delay between doses. But British Columbia went further on Monday, moving to a four-month interval for doses of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy chief public health officer, pointed to advances since Health Canada approved those vaccines. A health-care worker prepares to administer a dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, in Santiago, Dominican Republic, in February. (Ricardo Rojas/Reuters) "What's happening is, I think, very encouraging," Njoo said in a briefing on Tuesday. "We have real-world data, the actual experience of what's happening with the vaccination, for example in British Columbia and in Quebec, as they're vaccinating seniors in long-term care facilities. We're seeing quite a high level of protection." Njoo said experts are balancing vaccinating a large number of Canadians to achieve a good level of protection without compromising the effectiveness of the vaccines. On Wednesday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said it "recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the interval for the second dose of vaccine to four months." Doing so creates opportunities to protect all of Canada's adult population more quickly, NACI said. Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada's chief medical adviser, told CBC Radio's The Current on Wednesday that all provinces are looking at waiting longer to give second doses. Health officials in Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador announced they're moving to a four-month interval. Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious diseases physician in Mississauga, Ont., says the top priority is to protect older individuals and those who are at highest risk of severe consequences, hospitalizations and death. Chakrabarti said the principle of getting as many people covered with one dose is a good one. WATCH | Delaying 2nd doses defensible, expert says: "We do know from other vaccines that increase in the interval between two shots doesn't have any major consequence in decreasing efficacy and in some situations might actually make it better," he said. "But keeping that in mind, we do have to be careful. I think that we don't want to stray too far away." What's the basis for the recommended dosing schedule? Vaccine-makers tested their shots in clinical trials with certain times between doses. Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine is meant to be given as two doses, 21 days apart, while Moderna recommends 28 days. For AstraZeneca-Oxford's, the interval is eight to 12 weeks. Health Canada approved the vaccines based on that clinical trial data. Both Pfizer and Moderna acknowledge that, in a pandemic, health authorities will make their own recommendations. What's the scientific basis for delaying? Chakrabarti says there's evidence, for example, to support delaying the second dose of the Hepatitis A vaccine by six to 36 months, and that's true for other vaccines, too. But the COVID-19 vaccines haven't existed long enough to know. Efficacy for Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine was around 95 per cent after both doses and 52 per cent after the first, according to clinical data. For Moderna's it was about 80 per cent after one dose and 94 per cent following the second. WATCH | Stop confusing vaccine messaging, expert says: The benefits of a second dose include longer-lasting protection, says Tania Watts, a professor of immunology at the University of Toronto who is studying immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines in Canadians. She says everyone should eventually get a second dose. But "as we go to the broader population, yes, I think we will still get the benefit if you delay the second dose," Watts said. Watts noted that when the mRNA vaccines were developed, the four-week interval for the "prime-boost effect" in the clinical trials was done for practical purposes. WATCH | Why B.C. plans to get 1st doses to as many people as possible quickly: "All things being perfect, we could stick to the protocol," from the clinical trials, Watt said. "But, if you can save a lot more lives by not giving everyone the second dose at three weeks, but giving a lot more people the first, I think this is where the rationale comes, and I think it makes complete sense." What's unknown? The variants of concern that are more transmissible than the original coronavirus could throw a wrench into the works for some combinations of vaccines. Watts said neutralizing antibodies that block the coronavirus from attaching and infecting cells dropped to almost nil in lab tests of those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech shot against the B1351 variant that first appeared in South Africa. "After two doses, which gives you stronger antibodies, you still had some partial protection," she said. Watts says Canada is at a critical juncture, watching to see if the variants will take off among partially vaccinated people. Epidemiological or population-level studies are also needed to figure out how many antibodies are needed to prevent infection as well as the details of immune system memory. As scientific understanding grows, NACI said it will update its guideline.
The real estate development company that now owns Ottawa's former Greyhound bus terminal land says it's committed to consulting the community before developing the land. "Everything is on the table," said Jessy Desjardins, Brigil's vice-president of development and design, adding that the company is still working on how it will receive feedback from stakeholders. The sale of the land was finalized Monday. Last month, Brigil said the one-hectare Ottawa Central Station site on Catherine Street is "a prime location for a prestigious project promoting urban densification." Greyhound bus services remain suspended across Canada and the transportation company has not announced a new terminal location in Ottawa. Plans were said to be underway to build a multi-use space featuring apartments, luxury rental condos, office space, hotel buildings, restaurants and retail stores. This week, Brigil fine-tuned that vision. Desjardins, son of founder Gilles Desjardins, says the company is looking to Copenhagen for inspiration. Desjardins said the company will invite designs from architectural firms in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto. The best concepts will be presented to stakeholder groups including politicians, merchants and citizens. At the centre of Brigil's vision is the concept of "the 15-minute walkable neighbourhood," where cars would be unnecessary. To that end, lower levels of a building that might be as tall as 27 storeys would be clad in brick at street level, and house a mixture of office and retail space. Upper stories would blend townhouse style condominiums along with rental accommodations, including some priced affordably, said Desjardins. Brigil says construction will begin at their newly-acquired Catherine street land in 2023.(Brian Morris/CBC) "We're not a big fan of just creating affordable housing on its own. We like to see it as a mixture in the building." It was the COVID-19 pandemic that killed the business model of Greyhound, the iconic bus company that offered affordable, long-distance travel and operated on the land since 1994. Desjardins says his company believes the migration of people and businesses out of the inner core is temporary and that Brigil's acquisition of the bus station lands is not a gamble. "Urban cores are the centre of everything," said Desjardins. "Once everything resumes, people are going to want to see each other, see shows, music festivals." Desjardins said the first phase of construction would likely not start until 2023. 'Long time coming' "It's been a long time coming," said Ray Sullivan, executive director of Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation which owns and operates over 50 properties in the city. "I'm all in favour of intensification, especially close to transit and road corridors, as that site is." Sullivan said there was a long history of groups like his calling for more affordable housing in Centretown and that the city should act on its commitment to affordable housing now. "When the city increases the zoning on a site like that, up to 27 storeys, they're literally creating value, they're creating wealth, out of thin air for that owner," he said. "What are we going to get as a neighborhood in return for that value the city created?" Mindy Sichel, president of the Centretown Community Association, said news that the bus station was gone forever had initially saddened her. "I think it's a big loss for the downtown area," she said. She hopes a design competition would lead to a building that's "more interesting and not boring" compared to others recently constructed in Centretown.
Sandra Valliquette is worried her brother is being left behind in Ontario's vaccination rollout plan. He lives at a group home in Saint-Pascal-Baylon, an area just southeast of Clarence-Rockland, Ont., that provides housing for people with special needs and mental health disabilities. According to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, people in group homes and other congregate settings will be vaccinated in Phase 2, beginning later this month and running through August. Valliquette says her brother has been living in lockdown for six months and worries what being categorized as a lower priority will mean for him, and the approximately 30 others he lives with. "My brother has underlying health issues. He's vulnerable in that place," she said. Lack of data worrisome, says advocate While people living in group homes are a higher priority than some, Valliquette worries that being in Phase 2 means her brother will remain in lockdown for the foreseeable future. "I am just confused about why he has to wait," she said. Sandra Valliquette says she's concerned for her brother who lives in a group home. (Submitted by Sandra Valliquette ) Megan Linton, a disabilities justice advocate, says people living in these group settings — whether they're for-profit homes, shelters or in independent living — should be fast-tracked up the COVID-19 vaccine queue. There's a lack of information about how many people with disabilities live in these places or have died of COVID-19, Linton said, but data from other parts of the world suggests people with disabilities are some of those most at risk. The situation has led to a lack of accountability for these institutions when there is an outbreak, said Linton. "It's incredibly concerning the way that disabled people have been left out of the vaccinations prioritization," she said. "If you are at higher risk, you should be prioritized." She said age shouldn't be the sole priority, noting that many living with disabilities have shorter than average life expectancies. "The government has the opportunity to prioritize and to ensure that this doesn't become a greater crisis," Linton said. Valliquette said if group homes can't be made a higher priority, she hopes Ontario reconsiders its stance inoculating more people with a single dose before moving onto the second. "There has to be some sort of flexibility and second thought," Valliquette said.
'I have to choose between my safety and my education,' said Concordia University student Alicia-Ann Pauld. (Submitted by Alicia-Ann Pauld) Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a struggle for Alicia-Ann Pauld, who has muscular dystrophy, to get to Concordia University's campus in downtown Montreal, especially during the winter. "If I fall, I can very seriously injure myself and I can't get back [up] on my own," said Pauld. "I've been in situations in the past where there's a snowstorm the day of an exam and I have to go outside and literally put my life in danger." She recalled an incident last year, when she fell on the ice on the way to one of her exams. "I injured myself a lot and I had to wait for someone to pick me up — a stranger." When the pandemic hit last March, universities quickly moved online. Lectures were given over Zoom or were recorded online as campuses shut down. For Pauld, it was a gift. She no longer had to choose between her health and her education. While the shift to the virtual world has been a source of distress for university students in general, it has been a revelation for many students living with disabilities and chronic illnesses. But with universities saying they are preparing for some form of in-class instruction in the fall, many students living with disabilities wonder what the future holds. 'I can't always get to class' Concordia told CBC that "public health conditions permitting, we are looking at a hybrid model of remote and in-person instruction" for the fall of 2021. McGill University has already announced it will return to in-person instruction at that time, but that it will make accommodations for students who need them. Concordia University in Montreal says it is considering a hybrid model of in-person and remote learning for the fall.(Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press) "Students with a weakened immune system or chronic condition that may be at risk of developing complications to COVID-19 should work or study from home if possible," McGill said in a statement. If activities require students to be on campus, they are supposed to contact their faculty's student affairs office to work something out. Students with disabilities and chronic illnesses are worried about losing the progress the pandemic has brought, in terms of providing more accessible education. "I can't always get to class, due to a combination of just, like, the building not always being super-accessible and the classroom not being accessible," said Aaron Ansuini, an art education student at Concordia who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a multi-systemic connective tissue disorder that often affects his mobility. Improving academic success As an ambulatory wheelchair user, it is often difficult for Ansuini to attend classes, so he misses important course content. "I've been encouraged to drop classes when I physically can't get to them, despite the fact that I maintain a 4.0 GPA," Ansuini told CBC Montreal's Daybreak. Before the pandemic, both Ansuini and Pauld sometimes had to miss classes and drop courses, which hurt their academic success. That's why remote learning has been so beneficial to them. "My only chance of graduating on time is [online learning], because it's the only way that I could actually do all the classes, all five classes that I know that I can do," said Ansuini. "My classes are going great," said Pauld, "I had such a high GPA last semester and I know this is what I'm capable of doing." Concordia University student Aaron Ansuini says returning to ‘normal’ is not equitable for students with mobility disabilities. (Submitted by Aaron Ansuini) While many students are looking forward to a return to normalcy, a return to how things were pre-pandemic is not ideal to students with mobility disabilities. "What's normal for most people [is] ... not exactly equitable for students with disabilities," said Ansuini. "So I'm concerned about people returning to normal and not realizing that what they're actually returning to is just an inequitable access to education." Pressure worldwide A 2018 report from the National Education Association of Disabled Students, in collaboration with Canadian researchers, concluded that accessibility and inclusion lag behind technological advances. Canadian students aren't the only ones who are feeling it. Students at the University of Washington, for example, are pushing their administration to continue to make class recordings available online even though the school has already opened its campus to students. They argue the current lack of access creates an unequal education system between students who are able-bodied and those with disabilities. Students with disabilities at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland made their case to the administration by documenting their experiences with remote learning. Now, with its campus reopen,Trinity College Dublin has implemented a hybrid model of remote learning and in-person instruction. For Pauld, the fact that Concordia says it is looking at a hybrid model of education is promising, but she would like to see every single class be part of such a model. "So that students who have to attend remotely for different reasons can have access to that, with no exception," she said. Pauld and Ansuini are hoping that the pandemic is proof that accommodations at school, as well as in the workplace, are possible for people with disabilities. "We are not some sort of other or some sort of anomaly," said Ansuini. "We're just part of the student population and our access to education should matter."