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2 new COVID-19 cases in N.S. amid exposure warnings on 2 flights and at gas station – CBC.ca

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Nova Scotia reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, both related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

Both cases were identified in the Northern Zone. One individual has been self-isolating as required. The other was not required to self-isolate under the Health Protection Act, but did so once symptoms started to develop, according to a news release.

Essential workers who must enter Nova Scotia for work are exempt from the requirement to self-isolate.

Nova Scotia Health also warned the public Friday of three potential exposures to COVID-19 in the last week.

Two were on recent Air Canada flights to Halifax. The other was at a gas station restaurant just outside Debert, N.S.

Air Canada Flight 7488 on Oct. 25 departed from Montreal at 7:15 p.m. and arrived in Halifax at 9:50 p.m. AT.

Public health is advising passengers in rows 21 to 27 in seats D, E and F to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. It’s anticipated anyone exposed to COVID-19 on that flight could develop symptoms up to Nov. 8.

Air Canada Flight 622 on Oct. 27 departed from Toronto at 6:40 p.m. and arrived in Halifax at 9:40 p.m. AT.

According to a news release, the passenger moved throughout the plane, so public health is advising all passengers on that to flight monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, which could develop up to Nov. 10.

Public health also advised of a potential exposure to COVID-19 at the Glenholme Loop Petro Pass Restaurant on Highway 104, between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. AT on Oct. 25. Anyone there during that time is asked to monitor for symptoms, which could develop up to Nov. 8.

Six active cases in Nova Scotia

The province also renewed its state of emergency. That comes into effect at noon on Nov.1 and runs until noon on Nov. 15, unless the province extends or terminates it.

Nova Scotia Health completed 950 tests on Thursday. As of Friday afternoon, there were six active cases in the province. No one was in hospital related to COVID-19.

To date, Nova Scotia has had 1,104 positive cases and 65 deaths. 

The latest numbers from around the Atlantic Bubble are:

  • New Brunswick reported one new case Friday. There are 39 active cases in the province.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases Friday. There are three active cases in the province.
  • P.E.I. had no active cases as of Tuesday.

Symptoms

Anyone with one of the following symptoms should visit the COVID-19 self-assessment website or call 811:

  • Fever.
  • Cough or worsening of a previous cough.

Anyone with two or more of the following symptoms is also asked to visit the website or call 811:

  • Sore throat.
  • Headache.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Runny nose.
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Nav Canada warns air traffic controllers that job cuts are coming as pandemic crushes revenue – CBC.ca

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Air traffic controllers are being warned that layoffs are coming as Nav Canada pursues a “full restructuring” in response to a revenue slump caused by the pandemic, CBC News has learned.

CBC News has obtained a confidential memo sent internally to air traffic controllers today. In it, Ben Girard, Nav Canada’s vice president and chief of operations, told staff that the company has seen a $518 million drop in revenue compared to its budget.

He said he’s been pushing the federal government for help but — unlike some other countries — Canada has not released an industry-specific bailout package yet.

“We anticipate that until air traffic returns to higher levels, which will not occur until the end of this fiscal year, we will continue to operate in a daily cash negative position and this will be made worse as funding from the [Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy] program is ratcheted back,” Girard wrote. 

Girard did not say in the memo how many air traffic controllers will lose their jobs, or which area control centres will be affected.

“I know this is very difficult news to hear. It is also very difficult news to deliver,” he wrote. “This is a decision that has been made at my level based on what needs to be done to ensure Nav Canada’s financial sustainability.”

‘We’re facing years of a downturn in air traffic’

Nav Canada manages millions of kilometres of airspace over Canada and used to provide air navigation services for more than 3 million flights a year. It’s funded through service fees paid by air carriers.

In November, Canadian air traffic was down 54 per cent compared to the same time period in 2019, according to the memo.

“Over the summer and fall months, the outlook for the aviation industry has deteriorated significantly and it has become increasingly clear that we’re facing years of a downturn in air traffic that is much larger and broader in scope than we all initially believed, and will be much deeper and longer than any downturn in the history of the industry,” wrote Girard.

Nav Canada says it is conducting studies of air traffic control towers in Whitehorse, Regina, Fort McMurray in Alberta, Prince George in B.C., and Sault Ste. Marie and Windsor in Ontario which “will result in workforce adjustments.” The company also is looking into closing a control tower in St. Jean, Quebec.

Nav Canada air traffic controllers were told today a workforce adjustment is coming because “the aviation industry has deteriorated significantly.” (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Government ‘pressed’ for help 

The company has been focused on securing liquidity and tapped into the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy to pay up 75 per cent of employees wages, he wrote. Girard added these payments are being reduced and will run through December, but Nav Canada isn’t sure if it can continue receiving that wage support.

“While an extension for the CEWS program through June 2021 was recently announced, NAV CANADA’s eligibility is uncertain,” wrote Girard.

Girard said the government has so far failed to come up with a bailout package for the airline sector, despite “significant lobbying.”

Last month, the Globe and Mail reported the federal cabinet is working on a package for the airline sector that would include low-interest loans. 

Since September 22, Girard wrote, the company has cut more than 700 managers and employees — 14 per cent of its workforce. It also let go 159 students earlier in the pandemic, he added, and in November cut even more, “leaving just a few in the system.”

Along with the cuts, seven air traffic control towers are being considered for a downgraded level of service and another 25 sites that are already Flight Service Stations — which provide only advisory services — could face more cuts.

Nav Canada’s board of directors has cut its fees by 20 per cent, and executives and managers have dropped their salaries by up to 10 per cent, Girard wrote.

These cost reductions, and access to government support through the wage subsidy program, have saved the company $200 million since March 1, he added. 

“However, that number still pales in comparison to the $518 million reduction in revenues as compared to budget,” wrote Girard.

“Despite these cost-containment efforts, we find ourselves in a situation where we expect our revenues to continue falling far short of our costs for several years, and we continue to require further cost-containment measures and indeed, a full restructuring of our business.

“In an environment where 30 per cent of costs are associated with ‘things’ and 70 per cent of costs are associated with ‘people’, when all possible cuts with ‘things’ have been done, any further cuts will directly affect people.”

Girard added that he hopes the company can bring back some of the laid-off staff once the pandemic passes.

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Windsor-Essex COVID-19 numbers already in 'red' status, says health unit – Windsor Star

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Article content continued

Of those new cases, 19 are close contacts of previously confirmed case, five are workers in the agri-farm sector, two are related to travel to the U.S., two were the result of community transmission, and 14 remain under investigation.

As of Wednesday, Windsor-Essex has 341 active cases of the novel coronavirus. 3,005 local cases are considered resolved.

To date, there have been 77 local deaths related to COVID-19.

There are currently outbreaks associated with five long-term care facilities or retirement homes, two agri-farm workplaces, two schools, two residential buildings (Riverplace Residence and Victoria Manor), and one place of worship.

Theresa Marentette, CEO and chief nursing officer of the WECHU, said on Wednesday that the outbreak at Frank W. Begley Public School now involves 43 cases of COVID-19, while the outbreak at W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School remains at four cases.

Investigation and analysis of the school outbreaks are ongoing.

Late Wednesday, the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board announced that it had dismissed a cohort of 24 students from Corpus Christi Catholic Middle School in the city’s east end after receiving notification of a confirmed case of COVID-19.

The confirmed case was part of the Sports Academy program at Central Park Athletics and didn’t attend the main campus of Corpus Christi, the separate school board said in a news release.

The Applebee’s Restaurant location at 2187 Huron Church Rd. in Windsor is shown in this October 2018 Google Maps image. Photo by Google Maps /Windsor Star

Other recent public exposure notifications include an Applebee’s Restaurant in Windsor (2187 Huron Church Rd., Unit 240) and Tabouli by Eddy’s, a restaurant in Tecumseh (1614 Lesperance Rd., Unit 5).

The potential exposure dates and times at the Applebee’s were: Nov. 19, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Nov. 21, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.; and Nov. 22, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The potential exposure dates and times at Tabouli by Eddy’s were: Nov. 17, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Nov. 21, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and Nov. 22, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Previous public exposure locations named this month include RIA Financial in Leamington (54 1/2 Erie St. South), Deer Run Church in Leamington (1408 Deer Run Rd.), and Food Basics in Tecumseh (1655 Manning Rd.).

Visit wechu.org for more information about the COVID-19 situation in Windsor-Essex.

dchen@postmedia.com

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit’s list of potential COVID-19 exposure locations in the region, as of Nov. 25, 2020. Photo by Windsor-Essex County Health Unit /Windsor Star

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Will Canadian Banks Spoil the TSX Rally Next Week? – The Motley Fool Canada

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The Santa Claus rally has arrived a tad early this year. Driven by the vaccine news, the otherwise muted November has brought more than 11% gains for the TSX Index. However, broader markets face the moment of truth as Big Six Canadian banks plan to release their fiscal fourth-quarter earnings next week.

Canadian bank stocks are the biggest constituents of the TSX Index. One can expect a strong dominance of these stocks on the index movement for the next few weeks. The TSX Index has soared more than 55%, while Canadian bank stocks at large have surged 45% since the respective pandemic lows in March.

Canadian banks to report earnings next week

The biggest among them, Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY)(NYSE:RY) will report its quarterly earnings next Wednesday. The sequential growth both on revenues as well as on the earnings front might see some lift.

However, it might take years to reach 2019 profitability levels. The strong performance of the capital market segment will likely remain the bright spot once again. Surging markets added record profits for almost all banks in the fiscal third quarter, and the trend could continue in Q4 as well.

Royal Bank has already set aside $3.5 billion in provisions for bad loans in the last two quarters. Its cautious provisioning will likely curtail the dent in the upcoming quarterly earnings.

No increase in dividends

Canadian regulators have barred banks and financial institutions from increasing dividends or buying back shares due to the economic fallout. Although that might hurt investors in the near term, cash retention is more vital for banks to weather the crisis. Royal Bank will pay a dividend of $4.32 per share in 2020, implying an annualized yield of 4%.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSX:TD)(NYSE:TD), the second-biggest bank by market cap, will report its quarterly earnings next Thursday. While a resilient housing market and increasing repayments from borrowers could underpin banks’ earnings, higher deposits and lower interest rates could impact their margins.

TD stock has soared 45% since its record lows in March. It yields 4.4%, higher than TSX stocks at large.

I don’t see any substantial movement in Canadian bank stocks driven by their upcoming earnings. While quarterly earnings growth could remain subdued, their strong balance sheets and attractive dividend profiles might continue to attract long-term investors.

Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS)(NYSE:BNS), the country’s third-biggest bank, will report earnings on Tuesday. Apart from its earnings, how Scotiabank’s management looks forward to 2021 will be a key driver for its stock. Notably, it is the cheapest stock from the valuation standpoint among the Big-Six Canadian banks.

Broader economic recovery in 2021

A sooner than expected vaccine launch could remarkably alleviate uncertainty and could restart corporate investments, which will once again boost employment and help the economy get back on track.

Certainly, it will take time. But I’m expecting a strong comeback in the second half of next year, assuming the vaccine reaches a large population by then. Limited restrictions and promising changes on the vaccine front should drive the economic recovery.

If you are not looking for substantial gains in the short term, but stability and dividends are your priority, then Canadian bank stocks should be your bet.

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Fool contributor Vineet Kulkarni has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends BANK OF NOVA SCOTIA.

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