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Canada changing travel restrictions to allow more families to reunite – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
The federal government is easing the current cross-border travel policies on family reunification, expanding who will be allowed into Canada while also adding new COVID-19 public health screening measures for travellers entering the country.

While the Canadian border is set to remain closed for another month at least to all non-essential travel, changes are coming to allow more extended family members into Canada on compassionate grounds, as well as allowing international students to enter the country under certain criteria.

As of Oct. 8, extended family members of Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents, including those in an exclusive dating relationship of at least one year and their dependent children, as well as adult children, grandchildren, siblings and grandparents can come to Canada. So can non-relative foreign nationals under compassionate reasons in specific circumstances, such as a close friend experiencing a life-threatening illness, critical injury or death, with the potential for limited release from quarantine to visit the injured or dying loved one.

Starting Oct. 20, international students who are attending a learning institution that has a COVID-19 readiness plan in place, will also be able to enter Canada.

The federal government says more detailed information about who can qualify for the new entry allowance will be available on the government’s website next week, but it will include each traveller needing to apply for and be issued a travel authorization before coming to Canada.

Travellers entering Canada will still need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, and plan to stay in the country for at least 15 days.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu are making the announcement about updated border measures and travel regulations.

Asked about the incoming policy change ahead of the announcement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will keep Canadians safe while allowing more compassionate cases of family reunification, without getting into specifics.

“From the very beginning, our priority has been quite simple: Making sure that Canadians are protected from COVID-19 and that has meant taking strong actions at the border and continually looking how we can improve our actions to prevent importation of COVID-19,” Trudeau said.

He went on to say that community transmission is the biggest driver of new cases, whereas the importation of cases from outside of Canada is a “tiny fraction” of the source of the virus’ spread.

“What we’re doing is working and we need to continue it, however, we can always look at ways to improve our measures while keeping Canadians safe and to do a better job of understanding the heart-wrenching stories of families divided, of compassionate cases that should be given flexibility, that wouldn’t endanger Canadian safety,” Trudeau said.

As of June 9, foreign nationals who are immediate family members of either Canadian citizens or permanent residents were permitted to enter Canada to be reunited, under a limited exemption to the current border restrictions. This has allowed both foreign and cross-border Canada-U.S. families to reunite under certain stipulations, including parents, spouses, common-law partners, dependent children and their children.

However, many other families remained separated by the border restrictions including non-married couples. People in that predicament have been putting considerable political and public pressure on politicians and policymakers to further ease up on the rules.

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Trudeau announces $214M for Canadian coronavirus vaccine research – Global News

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The federal government says it’s spending $214 million to support “made in Canada” coronavirus vaccine research.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that $173 million would go to Quebec-based Medicago, while Vancouver’s Precision NanoSystems would receive $18.2 million for development and testing.

“This is about securing potential vaccines for Canadians while supporting good jobs in research,” he told reporters at a press conference in Ottawa.

Read more:
Coronavirus — Canada adds 2,787 new cases, breaking previous day’s record

The deal with Medicago includes up to 76 million doses of its vaccine candidate, as well as funds to set up a production facility in Quebec City.

A further $23 million will go toward the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program.

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To date, the federal government has spent more than $1 billion to secure doses of a vaccine against the coronavirus. Deals have been struck with half a dozen pharmaceutical giants, and Canada is also part of an international vaccine alliance through COVAX.


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Coronavirus: Ford calls for more funding from Ottawa to assist in long-term care improvements


Coronavirus: Ford calls for more funding from Ottawa to assist in long-term care improvements

“Canada has an excellent portfolio of vaccine potential, but we also know, nobody’s got that vaccine yet,” Trudeau said.

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Trudeau said the “reasonable expectation” is that vaccines could arrive sometime in the new year, but initially there will be smaller amounts available and the shots would be going to priority groups first.

Read more:
When the COVID-19 vaccine is ready, will you get it? We want to hear from you

“I think of our most vulnerable or our frontline workers, and we have experts busy evaluating exactly how and where and in which way to distribute these vaccines,” he said, adding that Ottawa would be working with the provinces and territories on the distribution.

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He stressed that no vaccine would be available until Health Canada officials are certain the immunization is safe.

Trudeau’s announcement came after Canada posted a record increase in new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with nearly 2,800 people newly diagnosed with the illness.

“We have to get these numbers down,” Trudeau said. “This is serious and everybody must do their part.”


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Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada has surpassed 200,000 COVID-19 cases


Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada has surpassed 200,000 COVID-19 cases

In response to a Radio-Canada report that found Canada could be months behind countries such as the United States on receiving COVID-19 vaccines, Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said that the government was “strategically positioning” Canadians to have access.

“With agreements in place for seven leading vaccine candidates, for one of the most diverse COVID-19 vaccine candidate portfolios in the world, Canada is very well placed,” read a statement from Anand.

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Anand’s statement also said that anticipated delivery dates start as early as the first quarter of 2021, but are dependent on the results of the clinical trials, as well as on Health Canada approval.

“However, let me be clear, we are being very aggressive in our negotiations regarding delivery dates, with the ultimate priority of making sure that Canadians have access to safe, proven and effective COVID-19 vaccines as soon as they are ready.”

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

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Ontario reports record 978 new COVID-19 cases

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Ontario reported 978 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, the most on a single day since the outbreak began in late January.

Saturday’s count surpasses the previous high of 939, which was reported on Oct. 9.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said the majority of the new cases are concentrated in Toronto, which once again led the way with 348. Another 170 cases were reported in Peel Region, followed by 141 in York Region and 89 in Ottawa.

A handful of other areas saw double-digit increases as well:

  • Durham Region: 51.
  • Eastern Ontario: 43.
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 23.
  • Halton Region: 21.
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 15.
  • Waterloo Region: 14.
  • Hamilton: 10.
  • Niagara Region: 10.

The number of patients hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19 now sits at 294, an increase of 18 since Friday.

There are 82 people in intensive care units, an increase of four, and 53 people are on ventilators, an increase of six.

The province’s seven-day average of new daily cases has also broken a new record. As of Saturday, it sits at 803 — higher than any other day so far this year.

Ontario’s cumulative total of cases now sits at 69,331. Some 625 cases were marked as resolved in Saturday’s update.

Six more people have died of COVID-19 in Ontario. The provincial death toll now stands at 3,086.

 

 

Ontario reported 978 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the most reported in the province in a single day. Quebec reported more than 1,000 cases for the fifth time in seven days. 3:13

Nearly 44,200 tests completed

Meanwhile, Ontario’s network of community, commercial and hospital labs processed 44,151 novel coronavirus test samples since its last daily report.

While that figure marks the highest number of daily tests completed so far this week, it still falls short of Ontario’s goal of processing 50,000 tests per day by mid-October. The province also set a goal of processing 68,000 tests by mid-November.

Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious diseases specialist at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga, Ont., attributes that shortfall to Ontario’s tightened testing criteria and move to appointment-only testing.

 

 

“This has caused a bit of problems because we’re getting people to make appointments, but there are some double bookings happening, people not showing up,” he told CBC News Network on Saturday.

“This has put a little bit of a wrench in plans.”

But Chakrabarti said despite those issues, he hopes testing will ramp up in the coming weeks.

“It’s important for us to have the right testing at the right time and not just the big numbers. Otherwise you start to get a picture that does not actually represent what’s happening on the ground,” he said.

Halton mayors ask to stay in Stage 3 

Meanwhile, two mayors and MPPs from Halton Region wrote a letter to Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, on Friday, pleading with him to refrain from imposing Stage 2 restrictions on the area.

“Last week when York Region faced new restrictions, Halton Region came together. We acted quickly to implement several recommendations made by our Medical Officer of Health,” the letter reads.

“These measures are working.”

The letter — signed by MPPs Parm Gill and Jane McKenna, as well as Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr, Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz — also noted that the region’s positivity rate has not moved past public health’s “high alert” range of 2.5 per cent.

 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, shown earlier this month, hinted on Friday that Halton Region could soon join the list of regions with stricter COVID-19 measures. He said provincial officials will examine the situation there over the weekend to decide whether the area needs to be moved back into a modified Stage 2. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

 

“In these unprecedented times, individuals and businesses need to have some level of predictability and stability. This is why we are also calling on you to clearly define the criteria used to determine when further restrictions or rollbacks are required, as well as the criteria that must be met for lifting any restrictions or rollbacks,” the letter reads.

The plea comes after Premier Doug Ford hinted on Friday that Halton could soon join the list of regions with stricter COVID-19 measures.

Ford said provincial officials will examine the situation there over the weekend to decide whether the area needs to be moved back into a modified Stage 2.

The restrictions mean restaurants can only offer outdoor service, and gyms and theatres must close.

“It’s concerning right now, I’ve seen the numbers go up again,” Ford said on Friday.

Asked if a similar move would be considered for Durham Region, where new cases are also increasing, Ford said the province will look at every area that’s experiencing “a little escalation” and provide clarity on Monday.

Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa moved to a modified Stage 2 — which includes the closure of gyms, movie theatres and casinos, and a ban on indoor dining in restaurants or bars — on Oct. 10, while York Region did so this week.

The tighter rules are set to be reviewed after 28 days, and Ford said he would make decisions on any steps beyond that based on the advice of the provincial health team.

Horwath calls for expansion of contact tracing

In a statement on Saturday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath blamed Ontario’s high case count on Ford’s “refusal to invest in stopping the growth of the second wave.”

Horwath said the province is sitting on more than $9 billion in pandemic support funding, more than $7 billion of which she said came from the federal government.

“Mr. Ford doesn’t want to spend the money. And cases are skyrocketing as a result,” she said in the statement

Horwath is calling for a “massive” expansion of testing and contact tracing in “every community” across the province.

She also wants to see enhanced protections in the long-term care sector, as well as a 15-student class cap in schools.

“People can’t afford to have Mr. Ford delay another day,” Horwath said.

10 patients, 4 staff infected at CAMH

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) said on Saturday that 10 patients and four staff members so far have tested positive for COVID-19 due to an outbreak at its Queen Street site.

The news of the most recent confirmed cases comes after the hospital first reported an outbreak last weekend.

“We continue to remain vigilant about policies and procedures to keep staff and patients safe and we are working with our partners at Toronto Public Health on reporting, surveillance, and infection control,” CAMH wrote in a statement on Saturday.

CAMH is not the only hospital that has reported outbreaks in Toronto over the last week. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre reported an outbreak in the facility’s surgical unit on Friday and St. Joseph’s Health Centre, along with Toronto Western Hospital, reported outbreaks last weekend.

Thermal blankets draw patio-goers

Some restaurants are looking for creative ways to keep dining available outside as COVID-19 hot spots in Ontario have reverted back to a modified stage two.

With indoor dining closed, restaurants in the Danforth neighbourhood in Toronto are part of a new initiative with the Broadview-Danforth BIA to entice customers to visit outdoor patios, despite chillier weather.

 

Patio-goers wrap themselves in thermal blankets provided for free by the Broadview-Danforth’s BIA in an effort to encourage residents to dine outdoors. (CBC News/ Robert Krbavac )

 

Beginning on Saturday, those who dine out on outdoor patios in the neighbourhood will receive a free thermal blanket and a $5 gift card to use at any BIA business in the area.

Some residents participated in the initiative on Saturday, wrapping themselves in the blankets to stay warm during the crisp, late October weather.

Source: – CBC.ca

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada – Yorkton This Week

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

8:15 p.m.

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Yukon says it has three new cases of COVID-19 with all the infections in Watson Lake.

Chief medical health officer Dr. Brendan Hanley says this is the fourth incidence of infection in a rural community.

The cases bring the territory’s total number of infections to 20 people.

7:15 p.m.

B.C. is reporting 223 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, tipping the number of active infections over 2,000.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says in a statement contact tracing teams throughout B.C. are working around the clock.

But she says their success depends on everyone doing their part and taking a step back from social interactions.

There have been two new community outbreaks, one at a hot tub and spa manufacturing company and one at a food processing business in Langley.

Seventy-five people are in hospital, including 24 in intensive care, but no one else has died from the illness since the province’s last update.

2 p.m.

Quebec’s deputy premier has a dire warning for those living in the provincial capital and the neighbouring Chaudiere-Appalaches region amid a rising number of cases of COVID-19.

Genevieve Guilbault says people haven’t been following public health guidelines, resulting in a spike of cases in the two regions that could threaten the ability to provide medical treatment if it’s not brought under control.

Both regions were largely spared during the first wave, but Guilbault says in Chaudiere-Appalaches, there have been four times more cases and five times more deaths this time.

The Quebec City region holds the dubious distinction of having the highest number of active cases per 100,000 population in the province.

Guilbault was joined by the mayors of Levis and Quebec City, urging the population to limit their contacts and follow public health guidelines.

1:50 p.m.

A man in his 80s is the latest death linked to the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak in a Manitoba care home.

There has been a total of 15 deaths at the Parkview Place care home in Winnipeg.

There were 163 new infections Friday, the vast majority in the capital city.

Winnipeg went weeks without any new infections over the summer, but case numbers have risen rapidly in the last two months.

A total of 33 cases have now also been connected to a poultry plant in Blumenort, southeast of Winnipeg, and the company says one employee has died.

Quebec-based company Exceldor, which owns the plant, says an investigation is ongoing to see whether the death of the 42-year-old man is related to his COVID-19 infection.

1:15 p.m.

Newfoundland and Labrador is asking passengers who travelled on Air Canada Flight 7484 from Toronto to Deer Lake on Oct. 12 to call 811 to arrange for a test.

Health officials say the request for testing is being made out of an abundance of caution.

The request stems from a new case of COVID-19 announced Thursday affecting a man between 20 and 39 years old who returned to the province from work in Alberta.

On Thursday, officials said the man was self-isolating and contact tracing was still underway.

1:05 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting two new cases of COVID-19.

Both are in the Campbellton region, which is one of two areas in the province that were hit by significant outbreaks of novel coronavirus two weeks ago.

Health officials say the two new cases involve a person 40 to 49 years old and a person between 70 and 79 — both are self-isolating.

There are currently 75 active cases in a province that has confirmed 324 overall cases, while 245 people have recovered and four people have died.

11:50 a.m.

Canada saw a record high number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed yesterday, with 2,788 new illnesses recorded.

In an Ottawa news conference, Canada’s chief public health officer is calling, again, for Canadians to reduce their contacts with other people, wear masks and follow hygiene protocols.

Dr. Theresa Tam says the longer we wait to curb the spread of COVID-19, the harder it will be to contain.

____

11:45 a.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is spending $214 million to produce potential COVID-19 vaccines in Canada.

That includes a deal with Quebec’s Medicago and one with British Columbia’s Precision NanoSystems, both of which are working on potential vaccines.

Trudeau says the Medicago agreement includes the rights to buy up to 76 million doses of its vaccine, if it proves safe and effective, and funding for a factory in Quebec City to produce them.

The prime minister also says Canada has received “hundreds of thousands” of test kits from medical company Abbott to be distributed to the provinces and territories.

____

11:20 a.m.

Two more vaccine makers have asked Health Canada to study their product before it has completed clinical trials.

Both Moderna and Pfizer applied to Health Canada on Oct. 12 to have their vaccine candidates studied by the regulator.

Health Canada is trying to review the vaccines at the same time they are undergoing final clinical tests so they can be approved for use here as quickly as possible.

AstraZeneca applied for its vaccine candidate on Oct. 1.

All three vaccine candidates are among the ones Canada will get access to if they are deemed safe and effective.

____

11:15 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 905 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Authorities said today four COVID-related deaths occurred in the past 24 hours.

Hospitalizations dropped by 13 compared with the prior day, for a total of 540.

The province has reported a total of 98,226 COVID-19 infections and 6,106 deaths linked to the virus.

___

11 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 826 new cases of COVID-19 today, and nine new deaths due to the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says 292 cases are in Toronto, 186 in Peel Region, 87 in Ottawa, and 72 in York Region.

The province says it has conducted 40,019 tests since the last daily report, with another 35,436 being processed.

In total, 276 people are hospitalized in Ontario due to COVID-19, including 78 in intensive care.

___

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020.

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