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Canada, Britain ink new trade deal, beating Brexit – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Canada and Britain struck a new trade deal on Saturday, allowing the long-standing partners to trumpet a commercial triumph in the face of the economic devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The interim deal beat the looming Dec. 31 Brexit deadline, replacing Canada’s current agreement with Britain under the European Union that covers trade between the two countries. Saturday’s interim pact, announced amid a virtual gathering of G-20 leaders, is a placeholder that buys Canada and Britain another year to reach a more comprehensive agreement while also warding off a no-deal scenario that would have triggered new tariffs on a range of Canadian exports on Jan. 1

But few details were released about the new interim agreement. Breaking with past practice during trade negotiations, there were no pre-announcement briefings for journalists and no text was released.

“This is a good moment,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he announced the deal during a video news conference with his British counterpart, Boris Johnson.

“Free trade is an important part of the way we’re going to bounce back from COVID,” Johnson said. “And using that, this is a moment in which to tackle climate change, but also to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in green technologies.”

The two leaders spoke on a shared video screen as they prepared to join their fellow G20 leaders at the start of their two-day virtual video summit hosted by Saudi Arabia.

The G20, which includes the non-democratic countries of China and Russia as well as the large economies of India and Brazil, is facing its greatest challenge since it rose to prominence in 2008 to battle the Great Recession — rebooting a global economy decimated by COVID-19.

Trudeau said the new pact sent a strong message about the importance of global trade.

“This continued sign of our collaboration, co-operation, and deep, deep friendship and partnership is really important not just for people in our two countries, but people around the world as well,” he said.

Britain’s decision to leave the EU after its Brexit referendum means that the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, will no longer apply to the country at the end of the year.

The new deal preserves CETA’s key provision — the elimination of tariffs on 98 per cent of Canadian exports to Britain — until a more comprehensive agreement can be reached later. Britain is Canada’s fifth-largest trading partner, with $29 billion in two-way merchandise trade in 2019.

International Trade Minister Mary Ng said legislation would be introduced in Parliament soon so the interim deal could be ratified. Ng noted that Canada did not give Britain any additional market access to British cheese, preserving the status quo of the country’s supply management system.

Canada’s dairy industry has complained loudly in the past about the additional foreign access to the Canadian market under previous trade deals, including CETA and the new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement.

Ng and her British counterpart, Liz Truss, committed to negotiating a new and more comprehensive agreement in the coming year. Ng said the new deal would explore co-operation around women’s economic empowerment, the environment and digital trade.

Conservative trade critic Tracy Gray accused the government of presenting an “11th-hour trade deal” that was temporary and would require more negotiation.

“We will do our due diligence as expected by Canadians to study the enacting legislation for this transitional agreement to ensure it is a good deal for Canada and does not leave Canadian exporters worse off compared to CETA,” Gray said.

Canada’s business community offered a mixed reaction, welcoming the economic certainty the interim deal offered while asking for more specifics.

Mark Agnew, the international policy director for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, called on both governments to publish the full details of their agreement.

But he said MPs must work towards “prompt passage of the necessary legislation to ” provide certainty for Canadian businesses.

Dan Darling, president of the Canadian Agri-Food Trade Alliance, described the deal as “a welcome stop gap.” But he also called on the government to fix the market-access obstacles that Canadian producers have faced under the current EU deal.

“For other agri-food exporters, a transitional arrangement simply reinforces a situation that remains unacceptable under CETA,” he said.

“That is why we are urging both parties to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible in order to reach a comprehensive and more ambitious pact that removes tariffs and non-tariff barriers.”

Goldy Hyder, president of the Business Council of Canada, said the transitional deal will prevent a disruption of Canada-British trade, but noted he wanted to see its specific terms.

“In the future, we believe there is an opportunity to enhance our bilateral trade and investment ties even further with a comprehensive and ambitious free trade deal,” Hyder said.

Canada and Britain have operated under an 11-month transition phase since the European country left the EU at the end of January. For Canada, the transition has meant CETA continued to apply to its trade relations with Britain.

Canadian and British negotiators have been meeting since the summer to strike a new deal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 21, 2020.

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It’s ‘unknown’ when Canada will reach herd immunity from coronavirus vaccine: Tam – Global News

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The percentage of the Canadian population that needs to be vaccinated in order to reach widespread immunity against the coronavirus is unknown, according to Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam.

Speaking at a media conference Friday, Tam was asked what entails a “successful vaccine campaign,” in order to determine when the population reaches herd immunity.

READ MORE: Canada is nowhere near herd immunity to the novel coronavirus as second wave surges, Tam says

“Nobody actually knows the level of vaccine coverage to achieve community immunity or herd immunity,” Tam explained. “We have an assumption that you will probably need 60 to 70 per cent of people to be vaccinated. But we don’t know that for sure … that’s modelling. Lots of these calculations are being done but bottom line is that we actually don’t know.”

The end goal, Tam added, is to vaccinate as many Canadian as quickly as possible.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), herd immunity is when a population can be protected from a certain virus, like COVID-19, if a threshold of vaccination is reached. It’s achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it, the WHO added.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

However, the percentage of people needed to be vaccinated in order to create herd immunity depends on the disease.

For example, herd immunity against measles requires about 95 per cent of a population to be vaccinated and for polio, the threshold is about 80 per cent, the WHO stated.


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Canada is nowhere near herd immunity to the coronavirus as second wave surges: Tam


Canada is nowhere near herd immunity to the coronavirus as second wave surges: Tam – Nov 1, 2020

Tam previously told Global News in November that Canada is still nowhere near herd immunity with the coronavirus.

“We’re only at a few percentage points in terms of the immunity in our population. That leaves over 90 per cent of the population, or 95 per cent of the population still vulnerable,” Tam said.

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Read more:
Two shots. A waiting period. Why the coronavirus vaccine won’t be a quick fix

Canada is currently battling a severe second wave of COVID-19 cases. Officials are urging people to remain vigilant in stopping the spread of the virus, despite the promising vaccine news.

Canada expects the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to be administered in January, which will go to the country’s most vulnerable populations.

Last week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he hopes to see the “majority” of Canadians vaccinated by September, though he did not specify exactly what that means as far as a percentage of the population.

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

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Canada surpasses 400000 total COVID-19 cases – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Canada has now recorded more than 400,000 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the global pandemic.

Today’s bleak marker came after Saskatchewan reported 283 new cases of the virus today, bringing the national tally to 400,030.

The speed at which Canada reached the 400,000 mark is the latest sign of the accelerating pace of the pandemic across the country.

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 18 days ago on Nov. 16.

It took six months for Canada to record its first 100,000 cases of COVID-19, four months to reach the 200,000 threshold and less than a month to arrive at 300,000.

Canada’s national death toll from the virus currently stands at 12,470.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020.

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada – Richmond News

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

2:43 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting 283 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death.

Health officials say the person who died was in their 80s and the province’s death toll from the pandemic sits at 55.

There are more than 4,000 active cases of the virus in the province, many of the infections concentrated in and around Regina and Saskatoon.

Hospitals are treating 126 COVID-19 patients, with 25 of them in intensive care.

The province’s seven-day average of daily cases is 262.

Premier Scott Moe hopes to see a dip in transmission of the virus so more visitation can be allowed in long-term care homes over the holidays.

1:40 p.m.

Manitoba is announcing nine more deaths from COVID-19 and 320 new infections Friday as health officials released new modelling showing the impact of the pandemic on the province.

It shows that three people end up in hospital and one person dies for every 48 cases of COVID-19.

Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer, says if no public health measures had been put in place, there would have been up to 1,055 new infections a day by this Sunday.

Daily cases have been tracking between 300 and 500 recently.

1:29 p.m.

Nunavut will look to get the Moderna vaccine once it is available in Canada.

Chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson says Moderna is preferred because the cold storage and shipping of the Pfizer vaccine is too difficult in Nunavut. 

Patterson also announced today fewer than five Nunavut residents with COVID-19 were flown to a Winnipeg hospital this week and are in stable condition.

Patterson would not comment on exactly how many people were in hospital or what communities they come from.

1:22 p.m.

Ottawa is increasing its order of prospective COVID-19 vaccines.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada is exercising its option to obtain another 20 million doses of Moderna’s two-dose candidate, bringing its total order to 40 million in 2021.

That’s expected to be enough to vaccinate almost 20 million people.

Moderna is one of several manufacturers Ottawa has struck deals with for prospective COVID-19 vaccines, which will be delivered in batches.

In early 2021, Canada expects a combined total of six million doses of the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, if authorized for distribution.

1:07 p.m.

The group instructing provinces and territories about who should be first in line for COVID-19 vaccines has updated its advice.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization says the first doses of authorized vaccines should go to residents and staff of congregate living settings for seniors.

They should also go to older adults starting with people aged 80 and older, then decreasing the age limit to 70 as supply becomes available.

Health-care workers and adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences are also on the list.

12:45

Public Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting three new cases of COVID-19. 

There are now 27 active cases in the province, for a total of 343 cases since the pandemic began. 

Premier Andrew Fury says he will announce the province’s position on the Atlantic travel bubble Monday.

Newfoundland and Labrador withdrew from the arrangement on looser travel restrictions within the region last month.

12:30 p.m.

Nova Scotia is reporting 15 new cases of COVID-19.

Health officials say 11 cases are in the Halifax area, including a case at Citadel High School in Halifax reported late Thursday.

Three cases in the northern health zone are close contacts of other cases, and one case in the western zone is related to travel. 

A case has also been identified at Park West School, a primary to Grade 9 school in the health zone that includes Halifax.

11:38 a.m.

Nunavut is reporting eight new cases of COVID-19.

The territory says all the new infections are in Arviat.

The community on the western edge of Hudson Bay now has 44 active cases.

Nunavut mostly lifted a two-week lockdown earlier this week but restrictions remain in Arviat where numbers are highest.

11:18 a.m.

Public Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting eight new cases of COVID-19.

There is one new case in the Moncton region, two in the Saint John region, one in the Fredericton area and four in the Edmunston region.

All the individuals are self-isolating and their cases are under investigation.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick is 528 with 111 currently active. 

11:10 a.m.

There are 1,780 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario today and 25 more deaths linked to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 633 new cases in Toronto, 433 in Peel and 152 in York Region. 

She says that the spread of COVID-19 has “hit a critical point.”

The minister is asking Ontarians to wear masks and remain physically distant from each other.

11:08 a.m.

The Quebec government is reporting 1,345 new COVID-19 cases and 28 additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.

The Health Department says of the five of the deaths occurred in the past 24 hours.

The number of hospitalizations has increased by 24 for a total of 761 with 97 people in intensive care.

The province has reported a total of 147,877 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7,183 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 4, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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