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Air Canada to suspend operations in Fredericton – CBC.ca

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The province’s airports have been dealt another blow with the announcement that Air Canada will suspend all flights to Fredericton International Airport as of Saturday, Jan. 23.

Air Canada confirmed the news in a statement Tuesday.

“We continue to experience stifled demand due to COVID-19 and ongoing travel restrictions and quarantine requirements,” Pascale Déry, Air Canada’s director of communications for Quebec, Eastern Canada and Europe, said in an email.

“As a result, we are suspending until further notice all passenger flights to Fredericton, beginning Jan. 23.”

Déry said the decision was not taken lightly.

“We regret the impact on our customers and communities, but it is increasingly difficult to continue to operate in this challenging environment,” she said, noting Air Canada’s overall network capacity is currently down about 80 per cent from  2019.

“We are still operating Montreal-Moncton and Toronto-Moncton.” 

Air Canada also announced the following Atlantic Canada flight suspensions Tuesday, effective Jan. 23, including Gander-Halifax, Goose Bay-Halifax and St. John’s-Toronto

Air Canada will continue to evaluate and adjust its route network as required in response to the effects of the pandemic and travel restrictions, she said.

The Fredericton flight suspension is just the latest blow to New Brunswick’s airports.

On Dec. 8, the airline announced it was suspending all flights out of the Saint John Airport and all Toronto flights out of the Fredericton airport indefinitely, starting Jan. 11, because of the second wave of the pandemic.

The last flight out of the Saint John Airport departed on Monday.

Fredericton International Airport CEO Johanne Gallant said the federal and provincial government travel restrictions during the pandemic have had a significant impact on the air travel sector and ‘support is needed’ to help airlines get through it. (Shane Fowler/CBC News file photo)

Airlines need support, airport CEO says

Fredericton International Airport CEO Johanne Gallant said Air Canada’s decision is not surprising, given how deeply the air travel sector has been affected by pandemic restrictions.

“These are extremely difficult times for airlines, and we know that this was not an easy decision for Air Canada to make,” Gallant told CBC News in an email Tuesday.

“Federal and provincial government-imposed travel restrictions are significantly impacting the air sector and support is needed for airlines to get through the pandemic.”

Gallant said the airport remains operational and will continue to serve the region for “non-passenger-related activity.”

“We look forward to a resumption in passenger service as soon as possible and remain focused on our region’s economic recovery.”

Fredericton Chamber of Commerce CEO Krista Ross said Air Canada’s suspension of flights to Fredericton will be difficult for the business community, ‘but we’re very hopeful that this is temporary.’ (CBC News file photo)

Businesses ‘hopeful this is temporary’

News of Air Canada’s decision to suspend operations in Fredericton was “discouraging” but not entirely unexpected, the CEO of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce said.

Krista Ross said Air Canada informed her of their decision on Tuesday, and she also received a phone call from an Air Canada senior executive thanking the chamber for its continuing support.

“It’s been a difficult year for business since everything got started with the pandemic, and this is just another challenge they will be facing,” Ross said in an interview Tuesday.

“They definitely understand that businesses need to make difficult decisions, but unfortunately, this one has a broad impact on our community.”

Ross said it will take some time to assess the full impact of the decision on the city’s business community and the chamber’s 1,017 business members.

“We’ll have a better handle on that in the coming days, but it definitely will affect some of the businesses that operate out of the airport. And it will impact any businesses that still have a need to travel in and out of our communities.”

In the meantime, Ross said, she is “very hopeful” the suspension is temporary.

“We’ve been told they are leaving the flights in the system until April 12, so that tells us …. they’ll be monitoring the situation, and it will depend on what happens between now and then” in terms of health outcomes and travel restrictions, she said.

“So to me, that’s a positive go-forward plan,” Ross said. “We’re anticipating that with the rollout of the vaccine and as things calm down, hopefully we’ll be able to welcome Air Canada back to our airport and reinstate those flights.” 

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These are Canada's fastest growing communities as cities see record exodus – CTV News

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TORONTO —
In her 40 years in Halifax real estate, agent Sandra Bryant has never seen as many buyers flocking to town shopping for homes as she did in 2020.

“It was my best year ever,” Bryant told CTVNews.ca on Tuesday.

The surging demand has sparked bidding wars in a city where low prices and glacial growth were once the norm. Now Bryant says she’s seeing a record-breaking number of sales, particularly among young out-of-towners from Toronto seeking a different pace of life in picturesque Atlantic Canada.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Bryant said. “I always knew it was an incredible place to be.”

Halifax saw its population grow by two per cent last year, making it the second-fastest growing community in Canada, according to a new report from Statistics Canada. Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo in Ontario tied Halifax with two per cent growth. The only city to grow faster was Oshawa, Ont., a suburban community on the outskirts of Toronto that grew by 2.1 per cent.

At the same time, Toronto and Montreal saw a record-breaking loss of people between July 2019 and July 2020. Statistics Canada said this decisive shift away from cities will be “an important trend to monitor.”

“Personal health, the ability to work remotely, and higher housing costs are among the most important factors contributing to the decision of many Canadians to continue (or to no longer continue) living in large urban centres hardest hit by the pandemic,” wrote the report’s authors.

The report offers a snapshot of what real estate agents have been seeing on the ground for months: young couples once priced out of cities now have the freedom to look for properties elsewhere, thanks to the shift to working from home. Low interest rates have made buying a home even easier.

Lauren Haw, CEO of Zoocasa, a real estate agency that offers market analysis, said the desire for more square footage is tempting urbanites to consider smaller communities where their money goes further.

“People who said, ‘I’m gonna buy this $600,000 one-bedroom condo in downtown Toronto,’ are now saying, ‘I can work from home in Barrie, Ancaster, Guelph or London.’ And people in London are doing the same and moving to Strathroy and Woodstock,” Haw said in an earlier interview.

In Oshawa, which leads the country in population growth, agents have seen stunning competition. In one recent case, a townhouse listed for $550,000 received 39 offers, according to broker Paul Baird.

“This time last year, maybe you’d get a couple offers because the market was starting to heat up. Two years ago in 2019, you’d be lucky to get an offer in the first week on the market. It just took a lot longer to sell a house. And then, all of a sudden, the demand just surged,” he said.

The reason for these bidding wars is simple: “There’s just too much demand and not enough supply,” Baird said.

The closest precedent to today’s demand, Baird said, was in 2017 when investors began competing for properties in Oshawa, sometimes buying up multiple properties at once. These days, the typical profile of buyers is much different.

“I think a lot of the people we see now are just trying to buy their first house,” he said.

According to Statistics Canada, the communities with the highest population growth rates are:

  • Oshawa (2.1 per cent)
  • Halifax (2 per cent)
  • Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge (2 per cent)
  • Kelowna (1.9 per cent)
  • Calgary (1.9 per cent)
  • Saskatoon (1.9 per cent)
  • Moncton (1.8 per cent)
  • Edmonton (1.8 per cent)
  • Barrie (1.8 per cent)
  • Belleville (1.6 per cent)
  • Ottawa-Gatineau (1.6 per cent)
  • London (1.6 per cent)
  • Lethbridge (1.5 per cent)
  • Trois-Rivières (1.5 per cent)
  • Guelph (1.5 per cent)
  • Sherbrooke (1.5 per cent)

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Feds on defensive as no Pfizer vaccine shipment arriving next week – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Canada will not be receiving any shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine doses next week, which the federal government says will be the hardest hit the country gets during a month-long shortage in deliveries from the drug giant.

The news Canada will be experiencing a “temporary” delay in shipments resulting in an average weekly reduction of 50 per cent of coming doses due to the pharmaceutical company’s expansion plans at its European manufacturing facility came on Friday. 

On Tuesday, Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin who is leading Canada’s logistical rollout revealed that in reality, while this week’s shipment includes 82 per cent of what was originally planned, next week no new deliveries of doses will be coming to this country.

That means over the next two weeks Canada is set to receive just over 171,000 vaccine doses instead of the more than 417,000 planned before Pfizer announced its delay.

“Next week’s deliveries have been deferred by Pfizer in their entirety,” Fortin said, adding that the company just confirmed the amounts Tuesday morning. He said deliveries will start back up in the first two weeks of February.

“But those numbers remain to be confirmed by Pfizer Canada,” Fortin said, adding that because the shipments come in trays with 975 doses, some provinces will feel the impact more than others, but the federal government will strive to keep the future allotments as proportional per capita as possible. 

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said in an interview on CTV’s Power Play that Canada is still waiting for the future delivery schedule from Pfizer.

The shipment shortage has strained provincial rollout campaigns— plans are being made to hold off on giving first doses to more people and to delay the administration of second doses for some—and has put the federal government on the defensive.

In his Rideau Cottage address on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to reassure people about having access to considerably fewer Pfizer shots over the next few weeks, saying that “doses are coming,” and vaccinations for long-term care home residents and health-care workers continue.

Trudeau said he knows there is “a lot of work still to do,” but the overall goal of vaccinating six million prioritized people by March, and then everyone who wants to be by the end of September 2021, remains on track despite this “roadblock.”

Asked why he hasn’t tried to put more direct political pressure himself on Pfizer to rectify Canada’s complete absence of doses next week, Trudeau said the company remains contractually obligated to provide Canada with the doses purchased.

The federal government also faced questions about why it appears Pfizer is not treating all countries equally as promised when it comes to scaling back the size of shipments, with some European countries reporting their deliveries will not be as severely impacted as Canada’s.

Neither Trudeau or Anand could offer an explanation, with the prime minister stating that in his weekend call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel she too raised that she was being criticized for her country’s rollout.

“She sort of complained to me that every day she gets it from the German media that they’re not doing as well as Canada. I think a lot of people are comparing stories from country to country, and trying to figure out how we can all move quicker,” Trudeau said.

According to CTV News’ vaccine tracker, Canada is immunizing people faster than Germany by a small margin. 

Anand said the situation with Pfizer’s delay is “very disappointing,” and she “spent the weekend on the phone with Pfizer executives,” pushing for Canada to return to the regular delivery schedule as soon as possible.

She said Canada “insisted” on equitable treatment, which she said Pfizer assured her Canada is receiving.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday he was “very angry” about the situation and if it was up to him, he’d be “on that phone call every single day,” with Pfizer. He then floated that in the interim, President-Elect Joe Biden should send Canada one million doses from the U.S.-based Pfizer facility, which is not experiencing delays.

Anand said Tuesday in response to Ford’s suggestion that all the vaccines being made at the U.S. plant will be distributed within Canada but she will “continue to press all levers.” 

In an interview on CTV’s Question Period that aired on Sunday, Anand said she’d heard concerns from some vaccine companies about lengthy delays between vaccine doses, as they go beyond what their clinical-trial-based recommendations are. 

In an email, Pfizer said some provinces decision to delay the administration of their second doses was not a factor in the current delivery schedule for Canada, stating that the decision to scale-up at the Belgium plant is so that by the end of 2021 the pharmaceutical giant can deliver 2 billion doses worldwide.

“Pfizer is working closely with all Governments on allocation of doses.  While the precise percentage allocation may fluctuate, we anticipate that it will balance out by the end of Q1 2021. Pfizer remains dedicated to helping each country meet the vaccination needs of its citizens without compromising our highest safety and quality standards,” said spokesperson Christina Antoniou. 

Canada was planning on receiving between 124,800 and 366,600 Pfizer doses every week between now and the end of February, as part of the plan to have six million doses total from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of March when Phase 1 ends. Officials continue to state that once next week passes, deliveries will ramp-up and make up for the loss with larger batches arriving.

Fortin said Tuesday that Canada’s Moderna deliveries will continue as planned. These vaccines are delivered in a three week cycle, with the next shipment of 230,400 doses coming the first week of February.

Anand said come the spring Canadians will see a “dramatic increase in vaccine deliveries,” but cautioned about “additional supply challenges along the way.”

“This is precisely why we have multiple agreements in place with multiple manufacturers,” Anand said.

In a statement, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said he is “deeply frustrated by the government’s on-going failure to procure and deliver vaccines for Canadians.”

He is calling on the Liberals to deliver an “emergency plan,” and disclose Canada’s precedence in comparison to other countries’ vaccine delivery contracts.

“We cannot accept this kind of failure, not with so much at stake,” O’Toole said. 

So far, more than 604,000 Canadians have received their first dose of one of the two approved COVID-19 vaccines, and nearly 37,200 have received both shots required in the two-dose regimen.

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Feds on defensive as no Pfizer vaccine shipment arriving next week – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Canada will not be receiving any shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine doses next week, which the federal government says will be the hardest hit the country gets during a month-long shortage in deliveries from the drug giant.

The news Canada will be experiencing a “temporary” delay in shipments resulting in an average weekly reduction of 50 per cent of coming doses due to the pharmaceutical company’s expansion plans at its European manufacturing facility came on Friday. 

On Tuesday, Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin who is leading Canada’s logistical rollout revealed that in reality, while this week’s shipment includes 82 per cent of what was originally planned, next week no new deliveries of doses will be coming to this country.

That means over the next two weeks Canada is set to receive just over 171,000 vaccine doses instead of the more than 417,000 planned before Pfizer announced its delay.

“Next week’s deliveries have been deferred by Pfizer in their entirety,” Fortin said, adding that the company just confirmed the amounts Tuesday morning. He said deliveries will start back up in the first two weeks of February.

“But those numbers remain to be confirmed by Pfizer Canada,” Fortin said, adding that because the shipments come in trays with 975 doses, some provinces will feel the impact more than others, but the federal government will strive to keep the future allotments as proportional per capita as possible. 

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said in an interview on CTV’s Power Play that Canada is still waiting for the future delivery schedule from Pfizer.

The shipment shortage has strained provincial rollout campaigns— plans are being made to hold off on giving first doses to more people and to delay the administration of second doses for some—and has put the federal government on the defensive.

In his Rideau Cottage address on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to reassure people about having access to considerably fewer Pfizer shots over the next few weeks, saying that “doses are coming,” and vaccinations for long-term care home residents and health-care workers continue.

Trudeau said he knows there is “a lot of work still to do,” but the overall goal of vaccinating six million prioritized people by March, and then everyone who wants to be by the end of September 2021, remains on track despite this “roadblock.”

Asked why he hasn’t tried to put more direct political pressure himself on Pfizer to rectify Canada’s complete absence of doses next week, Trudeau said the company remains contractually obligated to provide Canada with the doses purchased.

The federal government also faced questions about why it appears Pfizer is not treating all countries equally as promised when it comes to scaling back the size of shipments, with some European countries reporting their deliveries will not be as severely impacted as Canada’s.

Neither Trudeau or Anand could offer an explanation, with the prime minister stating that in his weekend call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel she too raised that she was being criticized for her country’s rollout.

“She sort of complained to me that every day she gets it from the German media that they’re not doing as well as Canada. I think a lot of people are comparing stories from country to country, and trying to figure out how we can all move quicker,” Trudeau said.

According to CTV News’ vaccine tracker, Canada is immunizing people faster than Germany by a small margin. 

Anand said the situation with Pfizer’s delay is “very disappointing,” and she “spent the weekend on the phone with Pfizer executives,” pushing for Canada to return to the regular delivery schedule as soon as possible.

She said Canada “insisted” on equitable treatment, which she said Pfizer assured her Canada is receiving.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday he was “very angry” about the situation and if it was up to him, he’d be “on that phone call every single day,” with Pfizer. He then floated that in the interim, President-Elect Joe Biden should send Canada one million doses from the U.S.-based Pfizer facility, which is not experiencing delays.

Anand said Tuesday in response to Ford’s suggestion that all the vaccines being made at the U.S. plant will be distributed within Canada but she will “continue to press all levers.” 

In an interview on CTV’s Question Period that aired on Sunday, Anand said she’d heard concerns from some vaccine companies about lengthy delays between vaccine doses, as they go beyond what their clinical-trial-based recommendations are. 

In an email, Pfizer said some provinces decision to delay the administration of their second doses was not a factor in the current delivery schedule for Canada, stating that the decision to scale-up at the Belgium plant is so that by the end of 2021 the pharmaceutical giant can deliver 2 billion doses worldwide.

“Pfizer is working closely with all Governments on allocation of doses.  While the precise percentage allocation may fluctuate, we anticipate that it will balance out by the end of Q1 2021. Pfizer remains dedicated to helping each country meet the vaccination needs of its citizens without compromising our highest safety and quality standards,” said spokesperson Christina Antoniou. 

Canada was planning on receiving between 124,800 and 366,600 Pfizer doses every week between now and the end of February, as part of the plan to have six million doses total from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of March when Phase 1 ends. Officials continue to state that once next week passes, deliveries will ramp-up and make up for the loss with larger batches arriving.

Fortin said Tuesday that Canada’s Moderna deliveries will continue as planned. These vaccines are delivered in a three week cycle, with the next shipment of 230,400 doses coming the first week of February.

Anand said come the spring Canadians will see a “dramatic increase in vaccine deliveries,” but cautioned about “additional supply challenges along the way.”

“This is precisely why we have multiple agreements in place with multiple manufacturers,” Anand said.

In a statement, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said he is “deeply frustrated by the government’s on-going failure to procure and deliver vaccines for Canadians.”

He is calling on the Liberals to deliver an “emergency plan,” and disclose Canada’s precedence in comparison to other countries’ vaccine delivery contracts.

“We cannot accept this kind of failure, not with so much at stake,” O’Toole said. 

So far, more than 604,000 Canadians have received their first dose of one of the two approved COVID-19 vaccines, and nearly 37,200 have received both shots required in the two-dose regimen.

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