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11 new deaths and 450 new cases in Ontario over the last day; 240000 Canadians have already applied for CERB; E-Learning starts for Ontario students – Toronto Star

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The latest novel coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Monday (this file will be updated throughout the day) with web links to longer stories if available:

11:25 a.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is asked by the Star’s Alex Ballingall about Premier Doug Ford’s comments to Citynews about how Ontario will run out of personal protective equipment for health-care workers in one week after claiming the U.S. stopped a shipment of PPE into Canada. Trudeau says the two countries continue to have productive conversations, and that it’s a two-way street.

11:24 a.m.: Nova Scotia is reporting 31 new cases of COVID-19. The province’s total has now grown to 293 confirmed cases — 64 of which have been resolved.

While most cases in Nova Scotia have been connected to travel or a known case, the province has confirmed cases are now being linked to community spread.

11:15 a.m. (updated): Trudeau says 240,000 people successfully applied for emergency relief in the first few hours after Ottawa opened the process. Only people with birthdays in the first three months of the year can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit today.

The benefit offers $500-a-week payments for workers who have lost all of their income. Trudeau says changes to the program will come soon to offer help for people whose hours have been slashed but who are still working a little.

11:08 a.m: As of 11 a.m., Ontario’s local public health units are reporting 4,859 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, including 149 deaths, according to the Star’s latest count of the public tallies and press releases issued by the province’s 34 regional health units.

The total number of cases is up nearly 450 cases, or 10.0 per cent, since the same time Sunday morning.

The health units have reported 11 new deaths in 24 hours, including four more reported in Peel Region Monday morning. Peel has not yet released any information on these deaths, which bring the region’s total to eight since the pandemic began.

Speaking from outside his home in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discusses the federal government’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

Meanwhile, the number of people hospitalized and in intensive care continues to grow in Ontario. According to the province, 589 patients are now hospitalized with COVID-19, including 216 in an intensive care unit.

The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day. The province also cautions its latest count of deaths — 132 — may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in its reporting system.

The local health units post new information to their websites throughout the day. The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.

10:50 a.m.: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is calling on the government to increase the charitable donation tax credit. He says this would help increase charitable contributions to hospitals, churches, food banks, women’s shelters and other worthy organizations.

Scheer also wants the government to immediately remove the capital gains tax on charitable donations of private company shares and real estate. He says although many businesses are struggling, some are still thriving and should be encouraged to support the charitable sector.

10:40 a.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will hold his daily media briefing about the COVID-19 situation at 11:15 a.m. from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa. Live video of his briefing will be posted here.

On Sunday, Trudeau announced details for a cash payment for Canadians out of work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accepted starting Monday, offering Canadians who have lost their jobs because of the crisis $2,000 a month.

10:24 a.m.: The Open Championship, also known as the British Open, has been cancelled, organizers announced Monday. It’s the first time since 1945 that this major golf championship has been cancelled.

10:05 a.m.: VIA Rail has suspended service of the “Canadian” — its service connecting passengers between Toronto and Vancouver — until June 1, due to the spread of the coronavirus, the national rail passenger service said in a news release.

The measure is needed “in light of the continued expansion of travel limitations as well as the widening of physical distancing and isolation measures,” the company said.

Passengers who booked a trip during this period will be contacted and reimbursed automatically.

10 a.m.: Toronto Mayor John Tory says he’s in favour of shutting down High Park, which usually attracts huge crowds for the cherry blossoms later this month. “I just don’t think that crowd scene is going to work in terms of the kind of physical distance we’re trying to encourage,” Tory told CP24, adding that he hopes to have some announcement this week of some sort of livestream so that people can still see it.

Hundreds were turned away from Toronto parks over the weekend as residents defy COVID-19 warnings, the Star’s Katie Daubs reports.

9:58 a.m.: Spain reported the lowest number of new coronavirus cases in more than two weeks, a sign that Europe’s biggest outbreak is slowing.

New infections were 4,273, taking the total to 135,032, according to Health Ministry data on Monday. The death toll rose by 637 to 13,055 in the past 24 hours, a smaller gain than Sunday’s 674 and the lowest number of daily fatalities since March 24.

9:44 a.m.: Stocks jumped in markets around the world Monday after some of the hardest-hit areas offered sparks of hope that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak may be on the horizon. U.S. stocks climbed more than three per cent in the first few minutes of trading, following similar gains in Europe and Asia. Bay Street was up 3.6 per cent at the opening of the market.

9:40 a.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to hold his daily media briefing about the COVID-19 situation at 11:15 a.m. Monday from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa. Check back here for the live video from the news conference.

9:15 a.m.: The latest numbers on the Johns Hopkins website report the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide at 1,288,372 with 70,482 deaths. Among those, 270,249 have recovered from the illness. The United States (337,933), Spain (135,032), Italy (128,948) and Germany (100,132) have the highest number of cases.

8:44 a.m.: South Africa, one of the world’s most unequal countries with a large population vulnerable to the new coronavirus, may have an advantage in the outbreak, honed during years battling HIV and tuberculosis: the know-how and infrastructure to conduct mass testing.

8:31 a.m.: The United States and Britain braced for one of their bleakest weeks in living memory on Monday as the social and financial toll of the coronavirus pandemic deepened. New infections in Italy and especially Spain showed signs of slowing, with emergency rooms in the hard-hit Madrid region returning almost to normal a week after scenes of patients sleeping on floors and in chairs.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was infected last month, was hospitalized overnight in what his office described as a “precautionary step” after persistent symptoms. The 55-year-old Conservative leader, who had a fever for days, is the first known head of government to fall ill with the disease.

8:26 a.m.: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says that he will declare a state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures as early as Tuesday to bolster measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak, but that there will be no hard lockdowns.

7 a.m. Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says Canadian passengers on the Coral Princess cruise ship will be headed home Monday, after undergoing a health screening.

Champagne says in a tweet that Canadians who don’t show any symptoms of COVID-19 will be allowed to disembark the ship in Florida and get on a flight chartered by Holland America.

The minister says they’ll be screened again upon arrival and subject to a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period.

Some passengers were allowed off the ship yesterday but Canadians weren’t among them, due to new guidelines by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

Those guidelines said cruise passengers shouldn’t board commercial flights, meaning only those with chartered flights were able to disembark.

6 a.m.: Three out of four U.S. hospitals surveyed are already treating patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, according to a federal report that finds hospitals expect to be overwhelmed as cases rocket toward their projected peak.

4:15 a.m.: Applications open today for the new federal emergency aid benefit for Canadians who lost their income because of COVID-19.

The Canada Revenue Agency will open its application portals this morning to those born in the first three months of the year, with those born in other months able to apply later in the week.

People born in April, May and June can apply Tuesday, those born in July, August or September can apply Wednesday and applications are accepted Thursday from people born in October, November and December. Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be open to anyone.

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More than two million Canadians lost their jobs in the last half of March as businesses across the country were forced to close or reduce their operations to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Others are unable to work because they are required to self-isolate at home, or need to look after children whose schools and daycares are closed.

To be eligible for the emergency benefit, workers must have earned at least $5,000 in 2019, or in the 12 months before applying. The benefit is the same for everyone regardless of previous income, and is a less complicated application process than for employment insurance.

Canadians who sign up for direct deposit could get their first payment before the end of the week, while those who opt for printed cheques will get money in 10 days.

4:05 a.m.: Students across Ontario begin online learning today, more than three weeks after COVID-19 shuttered schools in the name of physical distancing.

Teachers will lead the effort with both live and pre-recorded lessons, but the move poses challenges nonetheless.

The Ministry of Education has said that e-learning cannot fully replace the in-class experience, so the goal is to help students continue their education as much as possible during the pandemic.

4 a.m.: The U.S. Surgeon General says Americans should brace for levels of tragedy reminiscent of the Sept. 11 attacks and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, while the nation’s infectious disease chief warned Sunday that the new coronavirus may never be completely eradicated from the globe.

Those were some of the most grim assessments yet for the immediate future and beyond. But hours later, President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence tried to strike more optimistic tones, suggesting that hard weeks ahead could mean beginning to turn a corner.

“We’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel,” Trump said at a Sunday evening White House briefing. Pence added, “We are beginning to see glimmers of progress.”

The president, however, added that he thought the next two weeks “are going to be very difficult.”

Earlier Sunday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams told CNN, “This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly.”

The number of people infected in the U.S. has exceeded 337,000, with the death toll climbing past 9,600. More than 4,100 of those deaths are in the state of New York, but a glimmer of hope there came on Sunday when Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state registered a small dip in new fatalities over a 24-hour period.

4 a.m.: There are 15,512 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada, according to The Canadian Press.

  • Quebec: 7,944 confirmed (including 94 deaths, 464 resolved)
  • Ontario: 4,038 confirmed (including 119 deaths, 1,449 resolved)
  • Alberta: 919 confirmed (including 23 deaths, 279 resolved), 331 presumptive
  • British Columbia: 1,203 confirmed (including 38 deaths, 673 resolved)
  • Nova Scotia: 262 confirmed (including 53 resolved)
  • Saskatchewan: 249 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 67 resolved)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 217 confirmed (including 1 death, 28 resolved)
  • Manitoba: 187 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 17 resolved), 16 presumptive
  • New Brunswick: 101 confirmed (including 28 resolved)
  • Prince Edward Island: 22 confirmed (including 6 resolved)
  • Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed
  • Yukon: 6 confirmed (including 4 resolved)
  • Northwest Territories: 4 confirmed (including 1 resolved)
  • Nunavut: No confirmed cases
  • Total: 15,512 (347 presumptive, 15,165 confirmed including 280 deaths, 3,069 resolved)

7:20 p.m.: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to a hospital with the new coronavirus.

Johnson’s office says he is being admitted for tests because he still has symptoms, 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

Downing St. says the hospitalization is a “precautionary step” and he remains in charge of the government.

Johnson, 55, has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26.

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No difference between racism in Canada and the U.S., activists say – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Some of Canada’s leaders have said that systemic racism does not exist in the country the way it does in the U.S. However, Canadian activists say the racism black people face in each country is no different.

Former Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes told CTV’s Your Morning on Wednesday that racial tensions do not stop at the border.

“When people think about racism they look at what’s happening in the States and they put on these blinders, and they presume that racism… only exists when you can blatantly see it happening — when someone’s being choked with a knee, when someone’s being shot at, when someone is dying,” Caesar-Chavannes said. “That’s not the case of our reality every single day. Systemic racism, microaggressions exist in our institutions.”

Protests began last week in Minneapolis in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes. The protests have since spread across other parts of the world and Canadians have joined in solidarity.

Despite a surge in anti-racism protests globally, Canadian author and activist Desmond Cole told CTVs Your Morning that is not a new movement in either Canada or the United States.

“Black people have literally been saying the same thing for generations and it feels like the desperation to be heard before — [that] we’re completely unable to live in this society — the desperation is what’s changing, but nothing that we’re saying is new,” Cole said in an interview on Wednesday.

Cole said that police are repeatedly sent to help when a crisis involves a black person because Canadians are still afraid of black people.

“We keep insisting that there’s no other way, but obviously somebody who’s trained in de-escalation, somebody who’s trained to talk to people, someone who doesn’t have a weapon, someone who can offer services and support, that person is obviously a better person to come and respond,” Cole said.

Cole said the federal government needs to look at other ways to help black people when they are in crisis rather than sending the police.

“When somebody is in crisis, what we do now is we say, ‘Let’s send several burly men with guns, who have a licence to kill to go and support somebody who may be in mental health crisis.’ We don’t care about the fact that maybe that person might be terrified of an armed response to their house.”

Caesar-Chavannes said racism in Canada can be seen daily when considering incarceration rates and health statistics.

“When you look at our health outcomes, when you look at our justice system and the overpopulation of our prisons with black and indigenous people, you have to really think about whether or not systemic racism does not actually exist in this country because I think it’s our lived reality every day,” Caesar-Chavannes said.

WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT RACISM IN CANADA

Caesar-Chavannes said politicians don’t have to look any further than the country’s Indigenous populations to understand that “racism has and continues to exist in Canada.”

Before steps can be taken to address racism in Canada, Caesar-Chavannes said there first needs to be “an accountability and an understanding [of] racism existing.” She said Canada’s leaders cannot throw around the term ‘anti-black racism’ without having concrete steps to help solve the issue.

“It needs to start with adequate, sustained and intentional funding for programs that address anti-black racism in a way that organizations [and] programs don’t have to keep seeking and looking for funding and jumping through hoops to get that funding,” Caesar-Chavannes said.

To do so, Caesar-Chavannes said “unusual suspects” — anyone who has “intersections of intersecting identities” — need to help drive these conversations forward and to suggest “ways for the government to actually create equity for equity seeking groups.”

Caesar-Chavannes explained that women, black women, Indigenous people, religious minorities and people with disabilities, among others, need to be part of the conversation to create change.

“We need to have those unusual suspects at the table. If you’re having the same conversations right now with the same people that you had conversations with two years ago, you need to really change and think about if you want, sustainable change and if you want lasting change — change that’s going to have a real impact with people on the ground,” she said.

At the beginning of the 43rd Parliament, Caesar-Chavannes shared on Twitter her 43 goals that she hoped to accomplish during the term, including increasing the number of black people in Cabinet, increasing the number of black staffers, and to understand that diversity is ubiquitous.

“We’ve not had an Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) or a Deputy Minister (DM) of black heritage, a black person, in any of those positions since the formation of our country. And I think the federal composition of our system needs to be reflective of the population that it serves and that includes on the bureaucratic side,” Caesar-Chavannes said in an interview with Your Morning.

She quit the Liberal caucus in March 2019 to sit as an independent after alleging that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had been hostile towards her.

POLICING AND CORPORATE POWER

Toronto community organizer and human rights activist Akio Maroon said in an interview with CTV News Channel that defunding the police would help address racism in Canada.

“Demilitarizing the police, defunding the police, that would be a start. I think Toronto’s police budget is $1.08 billion… And that is just way too much,” Maroon said on Wednesday. She added that that money could be spent elsewhere to better address the issue.

“The money that we are spending for law enforcement, we can move that money to mental health resources, we can have after school programs, we can educate our community members,” Maroon said. “There are other ways in which we could be looking at reinvigorating our justice system without this kind of carceral environment.”

In addition to the police, Cole said corporations can also be blamed for continued racism against black people, saying both of their powers should be disbanded.

While corporations including Nike, Ben & Jerry’s, Spotify and Amazon have taken to social media to share statements in support of anti-racism protests, Cole says they need to do more.

“Corporations have too much power like the police do. They are a huge part of this problem if not the main source of this problem, because all of this labour that poor people are doing is to serve these corporations while we die against it,” Cole said.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have found that black people are at a higher risk of in-hospital death compared to white people.

“We’re living in a crisis right now where people are dying of a communicable disease that we have never seen before this year, and corporations are still forcing people to go to work for minimum wage,” Cole said. “Black people are disproportionately dying of COVID, working for these corporations instead of staying home.”

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Trudeau positions Canada as champion of co-ordinated global recovery plan – CBC.ca

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will continue today to make the case for a co-ordinated global response to cushion the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world’s poorest countries.

He’ll be among the leaders and heads of state to deliver remarks during a virtual summit of the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS).

Among other things, he is expected to promise that Canada will partner with developing countries, which stand to be the hardest hit by the pandemic, and help to rally the world behind measures like debt relief to help them survive the crisis.

That is similar to the message Trudeau delivered last week while co-hosting a major United Nations summit, alongside UN secretary general Antonio Guterres and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Without a global co-ordinated recovery plan, the UN estimates the pandemic could slash nearly $8.5 trillion US from the world economy over the next two years, forcing 34.3 million people into extreme poverty this year and potentially 130 million more over the course of the decade.

While no country has escaped the economic ravages of the deadly novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, developing countries, already in debt distress before the pandemic, cannot afford the kinds of emergency benefits and economic stimulus measures undertaken in wealthy, industrialized countries like Canada.

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Bank of Canada holds rate steady, saying COVID-19 economic impact 'appears to have peaked' – CBC.ca

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The Bank of Canada held its benchmark interest rate steady at 0.25 per cent on Wednesday and said it thinks the economic impact of COVID-19 on the world’s economy “appears to have peaked.”

Canada’s central bank has dropped its rate dramatically since the pandemic began, cutting its rate from 1.75 per cent in late February to 0.25 per cent barely a month later.

The bank’s rate influences the rates that Canadian borrowers and savers get from their banks on things like mortgages and bank accounts. The central bank cut its rate in an attempt to encourage borrowing and investing to stimulate the economy, but those rate cuts weren’t the only thing it did to try to buttress the economy from the unprecedented hit of COVID-19.

The bank also started a number of bond and debt-buying programs in order to make sure there is enough cash in the system.

It announced on Wednesday it will tinker with two of them because things are starting to look up, but it is still buying up government bonds at a record-setting pace in order to make sure banks have enough cash on hand to lend to credit worthy borrowers.

“The Bank’s programs to improve market function are having their intended effect,” the bank said. “After significant strains in March, short-term funding conditions have improved. Therefore, the Bank is reducing the frequency of its term repo operations to once per week, and its program to purchase bankers’ acceptances to bi-weekly operations.”

Bond-buying

Bank of Montreal economist Benjamin Reitzes noted that “both of these operations have seen much less take-up (or none at all) of late.”

“The bank stands ready to adjust these programs if market conditions warrant,” the central bank said. “Meanwhile, its other programs to purchase federal, provincial, and corporate debt are continuing at their present frequency and scope.”

In barely two months, the feverish pace of bond buying to buttress the economy has ballooned the bank’s balance sheet by $125 billion, Toronto-Dominion Bank economist James Orlando calculated. 

Slowing the frequency of new purchases is likely to bring that number down a little, but stimulus measures will remain in place for a while yet, CIBC economist Royce Mendes says.

“The bank had accumulated a large swath of short-term securities on its balance sheet, but now that those programs can wind down, the composition of the bank’s balance sheet is likely to change.”

Worst case scenario avoided for now

The reason for the bank’s cautious optimism is the bank’s belief that Canada has avoided the worst-case economic scenario that it painted in April.

The central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019, less than the 15 to 30 per cent decline forecast in April. 

“Massive policy responses in advanced economies have helped to replace lost income and cushion the effect of economic shutdowns,” the bank said in explaining its rate decision. “Financial conditions have improved, and commodity prices have risen in recent weeks after falling sharply earlier this year.

The rate decision means that Canadians with variable rate mortgages shouldn’t expect any changes to their lending rate any time soon.

Mortgage rates

“The historically low mortgage rates currently in the market are here to stay until the economy approaches the level it was at before the pandemic started,” said James Laird, co-founder of Ratehub.ca and president of mortgage brokerage CanWise Financial.

“This means that anyone with a variable rate can expect prime to remain unchanged. Fixed rates will stay near historic lows.”

Wednesday’s decision is the last one under the leadership of Stephen Poloz. Tiff Macklem was named to replace him. Macklem “participated as an observer in governing council’s deliberations for this policy interest rate decision and endorses the rate decision and measures announced in this press release,” the bank said Tuesday.

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