Canada’s chief public health officer says it will likely take at least a year before a vaccine is developed to protect people against the new coronavirus that is spreading around the globe.
In the meantime, Dr. Theresa Tam says government and public health authorities should plan on having to manage the outbreak for some time to come.
More than 7,700 people in China have been diagnosed with the new coronavirus and 170 of them have died.
Ontario public health officials reported Wednesday that a presumptive case of the new deadly strain of coronavirus reported earlier this week has been confirmed by the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg, bringing the number of confirmed cases in that province to two.
There is also one presumed case in British Columbia. All three of these Canadian cases are linked to recent travel in China.
Tam, who updated members of the House of Commons health committee on the outbreak, said the risk of catching the virus in Canada remains low.
And she said Canada and the world are much better prepared to deal with a potential pandemic than they were during the outbreak of SARS, another coronavirus that killed more than 700 people worldwide from 2002-04.
Multiple countries reporting first cases of coronavirus
Among other things, she said international health regulations have been strengthened and Canada now has a public health agency that didn’t exist during the SARS outbreak, as well as improved laboratory and diagnostic capacity and better co-ordination among federal, provincial and territorial health authorities.
The speed with which the three cases in Canada have been identified, diagnosed and managed “is a testament to how the system has improved over time,” Tam told the committee.
That system will be tested as the virus spreads.
For now, the only treatment available for those who catch the virus is “supportive care,” Tam said. But she said countries around the world are collaborating to see if any existing anti-viral remedies are useful in this case.
A number of vaccines have previously been developed for other coronaviruses and she said countries around the globe are pulling together to see if they can accelerate development of a new vaccine that would protect against this particular strain.
“But what I can say is that even with the most rapid acceleration, I don’t believe we are going to see a vaccine that is ready probably for a year,” Tam said. “So at least we have to plan for the fact that we’re going to be managing this particular virus with no specific vaccine.”
Tina Namiesniowski, president of the Public Health Agency of Canada, told the committee it is to be expected that there will be travel-related cases in Canada and that the number of confirmed cases will rise.
Ottawa secures plane to fly Canadians out of China
At the three airports that receive direct fights from China — Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal — information screens in the customs areas have been set up, advising people to self-report to customs officials if they are experiencing any symptoms of the novel coronavirus. At electronic kiosks, a question has been added, requiring travellers to specify if they’ve been in the Chinese province at the heart of the outbreak.
By the end of the week, Namiesniowski said more public health officials will be in customs areas at the three airports to help border officials.
The federal government, meanwhile, announced Wednesday that it has chartered a plane to evacuate 160 Canadians who’ve been trapped in China due to strict quarantine measures imposed by the Chinese government in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
Details are still being worked out about how and when the evacuation will take place and whether those returned to Canada will have to be quarantined once they arrive.
Not everyone who wants to come back to Canada may be able to leave, Tam warned.
“The Chinese authority will not let anyone who might be infected on the plane,” she told the committee.
Some airlines have halted all flights to China as a result of the outbreak, including British Airways and several Asian carriers, while Air Canada is only cancelling select flights to China.
The Canadian government is advising against all travel to China.
© 2020 The Canadian Press
Canada’s immigration backlog has decreased to 2.2 million – Canada Immigration News
New data obtained from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reports that Canada’s immigration backlog has dropped to just over 2.2 million.
In an email to CIC News, IRCC provided updated data, which is current as of December 2.
The inventory across all lines of business has progressed as follows since July 2021:
- November 3, 2022: 2,411,388 persons
- September 30, 2022: 2,600,000 persons (figure rounded by IRCC)
- August 31, 2022: 2,583,827 persons
- July 15-17, 2022: 2,679,031 persons
- June 1-6, 2022: 2,387,884 persons
- April 30-May 2, 2022: 2,130,385 persons
- April 11-12, 2022: 2,031,589 persons
- March 15 and 17, 2022: 1,844,424 persons
- February 1, 2022: 1,815,628 persons
- December 15, 2021: 1,813,144 persons
- October 27, 2021: 1,792,404 persons
- July 6, 2021: 1,447,474 persons
The citizenship inventory stands at 314,630 applicants as of November 30, compared to 331,401 on October 31.
The permanent residence inventory stands at 512,342 people as of December 2, compared to 506,421 as of November 3.
Also on December 2, the temporary residence inventory stood at 1,416, 125 people, compared to 1,537,566 persons as of November 3.
Therefore, there were reductions in two of the three major categories, with the biggest reduction in the temporary residence inventory.
|Immigration Category||Persons as of December 2, 2022|
Express Entry and PNP inventories
As of December 2, there are 43,326 applications for Express Entry programs waiting in the queue, an increase of over 3,500 since November 3 data, which stood at 39,589.
Among the total people applying for Express Entry programs, there has been an increase of nearly 5,000 applications for the Canadian Experience Class over the past month.
IRCC resumed holding rounds of invitations for Express Entry candidates from all programs in July this year. Draws were limited to the candidates in the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) between September 21, 2021 and July 6, 2022 due to IRCC struggling to meet its service standard of six months or less for Express Entry applications. The pause in Express Entry invitations to Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) and Canadian Experience Class candidates enabled IRCC to reduce the Express Entry inventory and the department is back to its six month service standard for those who have received a permanent residence invitation since July 6.
The PNP has an inventory of 62,343 total applications (both base and enhanced combined).
Family class inventory
The inventory for all family class immigration programs has dropped slightly to 127,091 compared to November 3 when it was 128,112.
The Spouses and Partners sponsorship program is among the largest inventories among all lines of business, at 62,106, a minimal increase compared with November 3.
The Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) has an inventory of 53,770 persons compared to 55,653 persons waiting for decisions in November.
IRCC’s webpage that tracks the total inventory of applications shows that as of October 31, 1.2 million applications are considered backlog.
Data from September 30 showed that there were 1.5 million applications in backlog, meaning that IRCC cleared over 350,000 applications from the backlog. This comes while the number of applications in inventory has risen for permanent residency.
An application in backlog means it has not been processed within service standards. These standards provide the expected timeline, or goal, for how long it should take to process an application. The service standard is different from the actual amount of time that IRCC takes to process applications. Applications not processed within the service standard for their program are categorized as backlog.
IRCC aims to process 80% of applications across all lines of business within service standards. The service standard varies depending on the type of application. For example, a permanent residence application through an Express Entry program has a standard of six months. It is longer for other economic class lines of business. IRCC states its service standard for spousal and child family class sponsorship is 12 months.
Temporary residence applications have service standards that range between 60-120 days depending on the type of application (work or study) and if it was submitted within Canada or from abroad.
Tackling the backlog
The department reports that between January and October 2022, they produced 4.3 million final decisions for permanent residents, temporary residents and citizenship compared to 2.3 million final decisions in the same period last year.
IRCC aims to have a less than 50% backlog across all lines of business by the end of March 2023. To help meet this goal, the department began the transition towards 100% digital applications for most permanent resident programs on September 23, with accommodations made for those who are unable to apply online.
This transition also includes citizenship applications, which are now 100% online for all applicants over the age of 18. IRCC is aiming to make all citizenship applications digital by the end of this year, including those for minors under 18.
© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit CanadaVisa.com to discover your Canadian immigration options.
Canada Premiers to hold virtual news conference on struggling children’s hospitals
Hospitals across the country have been cancelling some surgeries and appointments as they redirect staff amid an increase in pediatric patients.
Admissions are surging under a triple-threat of respiratory syncytial virus, influenza and COVID-19 at a time when the health-care system is grappling with record numbers of job vacancies.
In Ottawa, two teams of Canadian Red Cross personnel are working rotating overnight shifts at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in support of its clinical-care team, while some patients have been redirected to adult health-care facilities.
A pediatric hospice in Calgary has been temporarily closed as staff are diverted to a children’s hospital.
Members of the Alberta Medical Association have sent a letter to the province’s acting chief medical officer of health calling for stronger public health measures to prevent the spread of the illnesses, including increasing public messaging about the safety of vaccines, encouraging flu and COVID-19 vaccines, and temporarily requiring masks in schools.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 9, 2022.
As nature talks unfold, here’s what ’30 by 30′ conservation could mean in Canada
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was unequivocal Wednesday when asked if Canada was going to meet its goal to protect one-quarter of all Canadian land and oceans by 2025.
“I am happy to say that we are going to meet our ’25 by 25′ target,” Trudeau said during a small roundtable interview with journalists on the sidelines of the nature talks taking place in Montreal.
That goal, which would already mean protecting 1.2 million more square kilometres of land, is just the interim stop on the way to conserving 30 per cent by 2030 — the marquee target Canada is pushing for during the COP15 biodiversity conference.
But what does the conservation of land or waterways actually mean?
“When we talk about protecting land and water, we’re talking about looking at a whole package of actions across broader landscapes,” said Carole Saint-Laurent, head of forest and lands at the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The group’s definition of “protected area,” which is used by the UN convention on biodiversity, refers to a “clearly defined geographical space” that is managed by laws or regulations with the goal of the long-term protection of nature.
“It can range from areas with very strict protections to areas that are being protected or conserved,” said Saint-Laurent.
“We have to look at that entire suite of protective and restorative action in order to not only save nature, but to do so in a way that is going to help our societies. There is not one magical formula, and context is everything.”
The organization, which keeps its own global “green list” of conserved areas, lists 17 criteria for how areas can fit the definition.
Most of the criteria are centred on how the sites are managed and protected. One allows for resource extraction, hunting, recreation and tourism as long as these are both compatible with and supportive of the conservation goals outlined for the area.
In many cases, industrial activities and resource extraction are not allowed in protected areas. But that’s not always true in Canada, particularly when it involves the rights of Indigenous Peoples on their traditional territory.
In some provincial parks, mining and logging are allowed. In Ontario’s Algonquin Park, for example, logging is permitted in about two-thirds of the park area.
Canada has nearly 10 million square kilometres of terrestrial land, including inland freshwater lakes and rivers, and about 5.8 million square kilometres of marine territory.
As of December 2021, Canada had conserved 13.5 per cent of land and almost 14 per cent of marine territory. The government did it through a combination of national and provincial parks and reserves, wildlife areas, migratory bird sanctuaries, national marine conservation areas, marine protected areas and what are referred to as “other effective areas-based conservation measures.”
These can include private lands that have a management plan to protect and conserve habitats, or public or private lands where conservation isn’t the primary focus but still ends up happening.
Canadian Forces Base Shilo, in Manitoba, includes about 211 square kilometres of natural habitats maintained under an environmental protection plan run by the Department of National Defence.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is a non-profit organization that raises funds to buy plots of land from private owners with a view to long-term conservation.
Mike Hendren, its Ontario regional vice-president, said that on such lands, management plans can include everything from nature trails to hunting — but always with conservation as the priority.
To hit “25 by 25,” Canada must further protect more than 1.2 million square kilometres of land, or approximately the size of Manitoba and Saskatchewan added together. To get to 30 per cent is to add, on top of that, land almost equivalent in size to Alberta.
The federal government would need to protect another 638,000 square kilometres of marine territory and coastlines by 2025, or an area almost three times the size of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. By 2030, another area the size of the gulf would need to be added.
Trudeau said that in a country as big and diverse as Canada, hard and fast rules about what can and can’t happen in protected areas don’t make sense.
He said there should be distinctions between areas that can’t have any activity and places where you can mine, log or hunt, as long as it is done with conservation in mind.
“There’s ability to have sort of management plans that are informed by everyone, informed by science, informed by various communities, that say, ‘yes, we’re going to protect this area and that means, no, there’s not going to be unlimited irresponsible mining going to happen,'” he said.
“But it doesn’t mean that there aren’t certain projects in certain places that could be the right kind of thing, or the right thing to move forward on.”
The draft text of the biodiversity framework being negotiated at COP15 is not yet clear on what kind of land and marine areas would qualify or what conservation of them would specifically mean.
It currently proposes that a substantial portion of the conserved land would need to be “strictly protected” but some areas could respect the right to economic development.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 9, 2022.
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