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Bank of Canada survey says business confidence is up – CBC.ca



The Bank of Canada’s latest business outlook survey suggests business confidence has edged higher as global trade tensions have eased, but the Prairies continue to remain a weak spot.

The survey, which is based on interviews with senior management at about 100 firms, says that outside of the energy-producing regions, reports of improved indicators of future sales are widespread.

It says foreign demand, particularly from the U.S., continues to lift exports and expectations for U.S. economic growth have improved as trade tensions have declined.

The central bank’s Business Outlook Survey also suggested that labour shortages are a key obstacle to meeting an unexpected rise in demand except in the Prairies where businesses continued to report limited capacity pressures.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Canada’s new Survey of Consumer Expectations suggests Canadians’ expectations for wage growth over the next year held steady near two per cent, just below their expectations for inflation.

The new consumer survey also found mixed signals about the labour market as Canadians saw both an increased chance that they will leave their job voluntarily during the next 12 months and an increased probability that they will lose their job over the next year.

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Eyes now on Canadian police after Trudeau demands transport blockades torn down – Global News



All eyes are on Canadian police forces now that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said barricades on rail lines and other major transportation routes must come down.

A Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief says that won’t happen unless and until the Mounties get off their traditional territory in northern British Columbia and Coast GasLink halts construction on a natural-gas pipeline that crosses their land.

Chief Woos of the Grizzly House says Indigenous leadership will only begin negotiating with the Canadian government under those same conditions. But Trudeau says injunctions ordering the rail lines be cleared must be obeyed and the law must be enforced.

Trudeau says Wet’suwet’en solidarity blockades ‘need to come down now’

The blockades are responses by Indigenous people and supporters to a move by the RCMP to clear protesters who had been blocking access to the pipeline worksite.

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Protesters who’d been blockading a CN Rail line in St-Lambert, Que., south of Montreal since Wednesday cleared out Friday night shortly after riot police arrived on scene ready to enforce an injunction to clear the tracks. But the blockade of a critical east-west rail line on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in eastern Ontario remains in place — and more protests are planned for March 20 along the borders of Manitoba.

Wet’suwet’en chiefs meet with Mohawks

Wet’suwet’en chiefs meet with Mohawks

Ontario Provincial Police say they don’t intend to break up the Tyendinaga protest in the immediate future, however, Trudeau says the inconvenience to Canadians has gone on long enough, given that the blockades have halted rail lines for weeks.

“Let us be clear: all Canadians are paying the price. Some people can’t get to work, others have lost their jobs,” he told a news conference yesterday. “Essential goods ? cannot get where they need to go.”

But Woos said the inconvenience to Canadians pales in comparison to what the Wet’suwet’en people have experienced.

Planned meeting between feds, Wet’suwet’en now delayed due to Trudeau’s comments: chief

“There is a difference between inconvenience and injustice — total difference. Don’t confuse one with the other,” he said after meeting with Mohawk allies on Tyendinaga territory.

He noted that Wet’suwet’en land was never surrendered to the Canadian government in any treaties, so RCMP presence there amounts to an occupation.

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On Thursday, the RCMP in B.C. sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, telling them the force intends to move its officers off the access road and station them instead in the nearby town of Houston.

Trudeau: Blockades must now come down

Trudeau: Blockades must now come down

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said he believes this move meets the original conditions set by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, but Woos said it doesn’t go far enough.

“Out means out,” Woos said.

In addition to tension with the First Nations, Trudeau is also experiencing pushback from the provinces.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued a statement Friday saying “enough is enough.”

‘The impact is huge,’ says Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association of rail shutdown

“The illegal blockades must come down. This is a national emergency and innocent people from coast to coast are being hurt. The federal government must co-ordinate action to take down these illegal blockades across the country.”

Alberta’s Jason Kenney, a former federal Conservative cabinet minister, said the barricades are scaring away investment and giving the impression that Canada can’t operate as a modern democratic country.

And Quebec Premier Francois Legault warned on Thursday that provincial police would dismantle the blockade near Montreal as soon as an injunction was granted.

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© 2020 The Canadian Press

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What Canada's latest coronavirus case tells us about the evolution of the outbreak – CBC.ca



This is an excerpt from Second Opinion, a weekly roundup of eclectic and under-the-radar health and medical science news emailed to subscribers every Saturday morning. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do that by clicking here.

As new outbreaks of coronavirus continue to appear in countries outside of China, experts are now recalculating the risk of the virus and our ability to contain it worldwide.

Until now, the focus of containing the coronavirus illness, known as COVID-19, has centred on China. 

Millions remain under quarantine in China’s central Hubei province, where the outbreak began, and travel restrictions are still in place throughout the affected region. 

But outbreaks have since emerged in South Korea, Italy and Iran. Infectious disease physicians say the rapid spread of coronavirus cases outside of China could signal a game changer in the response to the global outbreak. 

“Globally, we will not be able to contain the spread of this virus. We can slow it down, but we can’t stop it,” said Dr. Allison McGeer, an infectious diseases specialist at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital who worked on the front lines of the SARS epidemic in 2003.

“The number of countries with cases is going to continue to increase.” 

The WHO is increasingly concerned about COVID-19 outside China, especially in South Korea and Iran. 2:51

Officials are also concerned about the number of cases with “no clear epidemiological link,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday, such as travel history to China or contact with a known confirmed case. 

He said while the number of cases outside of China remains small, they are “worrisome.”

“It’s in our hands now,” Tedros said. “If we do well within the narrowing window of opportunity, we can avert any serious crisis. If we squander the opportunity, then there will be a serious problem on our hands.”

1st case in Canada with no connection to China

Canada’s ninth presumptive case of coronavirus is a woman in her 30s who recently travelled to Iran and is now recovering at home in British Columbia. 

Health officials were surprised to learn she had not travelled to China or any of its neighbouring countries, and have classified the case as a “sentinel event” — one that originated from a region that is completely unexpected. 

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, said they are investigating where the woman may have contracted the virus, working alongside the Public Health Agency of Canada. The woman had a travelling companion, was visiting family and is now in isolation at home.

“Until very recently, we didn’t consider Iran as a place of transmission of COVID-19,” Henry said in an interview. “So that set off quite a number of warning bells for us.” 

Henry said the investigation continues into where the woman travelled, but she hadn’t been to the city of Qom, where a handful of cases have been recorded. “She did report at the airport [in Tehran] that there were quite a lot of people who were sick and who were wearing masks,” she said.

The answers are important to public health measures aimed at containing the virus, such as whether Canada should expand its border-screening questionnaires for travellers from places beyond the epicentre in China’s Hubei province.

An Iranian man wearing a protective mask walks at Grand Bazaar in Tehran on Thursday. (Nazanin Tabatabaee/West Asia News Agency/Reuters)

Henry said the exportation of a case from a country like Iran, which hasn’t previously reported a lot of infections, also has parallels with the start of the epidemic in China. 

“The first exported cases from China were similar,” she said, “and essentially an indication that there may be more cases than were recognized.”

If it is confirmed the traveller was infected in Iran, then it likely means there’s more than a handful of cases there, said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease physician at Toronto General Hospital who is researching the outbreak.

“The real question is how much disease burden is in Iran and do they have the capacity to really get this under control,” he said. “We might be inching toward this situation where this infection is not contained and we have to really be prepared for a possible scenario where there’s more widespread transmission throughout the world.” 

‘Alarming numbers’ in South Korea 

South Korea is also seeing a surge in new cases — reportedly linked to what authorities call a “super-spreading event” at a church congregation where the majority of infections originated.

“What we’re hearing out of South Korea is starting to sound like alarming numbers,” said Bogoch. “But South Korea has a pretty robust medical system and a fantastic public health infrastructure.” 

Bogoch said South Korea’s health-care system was tested significantly with an epidemic of MERS in 2015, much like Toronto was with SARS in 2003. 

“We learned incredible lessons from SARS that are really implemented to this day that are helping us cope with this COVID-19 epidemic,” he said. 

“Hopefully Korea has really learned some lessons from their MERS epidemic a few years ago to really help them cope with this.” 

People wearing masks wait for a signal at a crosswalk in central Daegu, South Korea on Friday. (Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters)

While managing ill patients and preventing hospital outbreaks are key to a country’s health-care infrastructure, McGeer said that infrastructure may have little to do with preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

“This is not about how strong your health-care system is,” she said. “They may well be able to identify chains of transmission and quarantine and isolate people. But the larger the number of cases, the more difficult it becomes.” 

In northern Italy, officials shut down schools and public events after a cluster of 16 cases and one death were announced Friday. Five of those cases were identified as health workers.

WHO officials have pushed for countries to be transparent about its cases, so resources can be shifted to where the need is greatest.

For WHO, sub-Saharan Africa was a concern, given the degree of travel between China and Africa and limited ability to test for the virus in many African countries.

Stephen Hoption Cann, an epidemiologist at the school of population and public health at the University of British Columbia, said if COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide, there is the possibility of the virus becoming endemic — or  something that re-emerges on a seasonal basis. 

“Are we going to be able to contain this virus and prevent it from spreading into the next season?” he said. “It’s really hard to say now; it’s looking like there’s a possibility that we will be seeing it back again next winter.” 

To read the entire Second Opinion newsletter every Saturday morning, subscribe by clicking here.

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Canadian excited for ‘normal meals’ after being released from coronavirus quarantine – Global News



After 14 long days locked in isolation over coronavirus fears, there was only one thing on Christopher Lan’s mind when he got out — good food.

“On my way here I saw a fast-food restaurant, a McDonald’s,” he said. “When I saw that, I thought, ‘Okay, we’re going to have a normal meal very soon.’”

Lan is among 213 Canadians and accompanying family members who were flown out of Wuhan, China — the epicentre of the outbreak — by the Canadian and American governments on Feb. 7.

Flight carrying Canadians from Japanese cruise ship riddled with COVID-19 lands at CFB Trenton

For the past two weeks, they’ve called CFB Trenton in southern Ontario home. The evacuees, who range from couples to newlyweds and families with young children, each had to complete two weeks in quarantine to be cleared of the virus, COVID-19, before they could be released on Friday.

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At no point during their stay did any of the evacuees at the base show any symptoms, government officials said.

The government offered the evacuees help with their travel from Trenton, but all were ultimately expected to make their own ways home.

Lan and his wife decided to rent a car at a dealership in Trenton in order to get back to their home in Orleans, Ont.

Coronavirus outbreak: Plane carrying Canadians from Diamond Princess cruise lands at CFB Trenton

Coronavirus outbreak: Plane carrying Canadians from Diamond Princess cruise lands at CFB Trenton

He said they travelled to China for Chinese New Year. His son is newly married, he said, and together they went to visit family in a town about 300 kilometres away from Wuhan.

Initially, the outbreak didn’t seem like a very big deal to Lan, but he said the situation developed quickly.

Lan, his wife and son were able to secure a spot on the Canadian flight out of Wuhan, but Lan’s son’s wife — a Chinese citizen — had to stay behind.

He said the journey from Wuhan was “kind of scary” but he felt relaxed seeing how organized things were.

Ultimately, he’s very happy to be back in Canada.

“It’s a great relief,” he said. “The feeling is amazing.”

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Coronavirus outbreak: Ottawa professor offers glimpse of life for Canadians inside CFB Trenton

Coronavirus outbreak: Ottawa professor offers glimpse of life for Canadians inside CFB Trenton

The repatriated Canadians were housed at the Yukon Lodge, a facility on the military base typically used for personnel and their family members. It resembles a hotel, with 290 rooms and basic amenities.

Prior to their arrival, members of the Canadian Red Cross filled the rooms with hygiene kits and extra blankets — items to make their stay a little homier.

Canada’s health minister to visit CFB Trenton where hundreds under quarantine

Lan said the workers, volunteers and military personnel running the quarantine were kind and organized.

The food, he said, they “got used to.”

“We really appreciate all the work the government and the Red Cross and the volunteers did to help us, because they really took a personal risk to help us,” he said.

“They didn’t want us to feel alienated or anything like that. They wore minimal protection.”

200+ Canadians begin two-week quarantine at CFB Trenton

200+ Canadians begin two-week quarantine at CFB Trenton

Meanwhile, as one quarantine comes to an end, another is just beginning.

A flight carrying 129 Canadians, this time from Japan, arrived in Trenton, Ont. on the same day. The evacuees spent nearly two weeks on a cruise ship in Yokohama, which became a hotbed for the flu-like virus in early February.

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At least 634 of the Diamond Princess’s passengers have since tested positive for the virus, making it the largest outbreak location outside of China.

Of the 2,500 passengers, roughly 255 were Canadian. Forty-seven of those Canadians were determined to be infected with the virus and forced to stay in Japan for treatment.

Those repatriated from the ship were screened for the virus again in Trenton on Friday morning before being bussed to Cornwall, Ont. where they will spend two weeks in quarantine at the Nav Centre.

— With files from Global News’ Morganne Campbell, Sean Boynton and The Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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