The federal government has added fully vaccinated foreign nationals to the ranks of travellers who are once again welcome on Canadian soil.
To be eligible, travellers must have allowed at least 14 days to pass since their last vaccine shot and show proof of a negative molecular test for COVID-19 that’s no more than 72 hours old.
They are also required to use the ArriveCAN app or online web portal to upload their vaccination details.
Denis Vinette, vice-president of the travellers branch of the Canada Border Services Agency, says the latest wave of vaccinated visitors is arriving primarily by air.
Vinette says that simplifies matters for the agency, since airlines will be screening travellers to ensure they meet the criteria.
“The great thing in air is that you’ve got the airline working with you, who will not allow individuals to get on if they’re not meeting all of the requirements,” Vinette said in an interview. “The land border is a different beast.”
Canada has approved four COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot, also known as Covishield, and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson option.
Vinette said the agency will continue to conduct random tests of travellers at the border, a surveillance program that has been in place since the phased-in process of easing travel restrictions began earlier this summer.
U.S. travel advisory for Canada a blow to tourism
Between Aug. 9 and 26, the positivity rate for randomly selected, fully vaccinated travellers was just 0.19 per cent despite the increase in cases in both Canada and the U.S.
“While cases are currently increasing in Canada, the illness severity and hospitalization rates remain manageable as Canada’s vaccination rates continue to rise,” the agency said in a release last week.
“This data, along with continued adherence to public health measures by Canadians and incoming travellers, means that Canada is better able to prevent outbreaks of infection and can now allow more incoming fully vaccinated travellers without increasing the risk to the health and safety of Canadians.”
Passengers, tourism operators in Calgary welcome ‘fantastic’ easing of COVID-19 quarantine rules
Direct flights from India and Morocco will remain suspended until at least later this month. Travellers from either country who take an indirect route to Canada will be required to produce a recent negative molecular test taken in a third country.
The U.S., meanwhile, continues to prohibit non-essential Canadian travellers from entering the country by land. Air and sea travellers are exempt, though passengers by rail, ferry and pleasure boat are not.
The U.S. has also maintained stringent travel limits on a number of foreign countries, including China, India, Ireland, Iran, South Africa, Brazil and the 26 European countries without border controls, known as the Schengen group.
The borders with Canada and Mexico, however, are widely seen as falling into a different category, in part because of the close trade ties between the three countries as well as the fact that visitors can arrive by land without the help of a private-sector company like an airline or cruise ship operator.
U.S. mistakenly tells Americans ‘do not travel’ to Canada
The continuing U.S. restrictions have provided the agency with a silver lining of sorts, however: since Canadians can’t cross the border for short incidental trips or shopping excursions, that’s meant fewer people trying to return to Canada than might otherwise be the case.
“In a normal year, throughout the summer, about 65 per cent of our border crossings are what we term day trippers,” Vinette said.
“Currently, we only have unidirectional entry, and so you don’t have day trippers from Canada going to the U.S. and then coming back, which is a significant portion of our usual traffic volumes.”
Airlines struggle to keep up with passenger volumes
© 2021 The Canadian Press
'ET Canada' cancelled by Corus Entertainment, blames 'challenging' advertising market – CTV News
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Entertainment Tonight Canada to end after 18 seasons
Canadian media company Corus Entertainment has announced it is ending flagship entertainment program Entertainment Tonight (ET) Canada after 18 seasons.
“The costs of producing a daily entertainment newsmagazine show in a challenging advertising environment have led to this decision,” read a statement posted on the company’s website on Wednesday.
“We recognize the impact this decision has on the dedicated team who have worked on the show and we thank them for their meaningful contributions over the years.”
The show’s final episode will air on Oct. 6, with reruns airing in the same time slot on Global TV until Oct. 31, a Corus spokesperson told CBC News.
The cancellation won’t impact Corus’s obligation to produce Canadian content under the rules set out by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the spokesperson said.
ET Canada’s website and social media platforms will also be shut down. The spokesperson declined to comment on how many people had been laid off as a result, but said the program’s hosts were impacted.
The network said it has no plans for another entertainment news show.
An hour-long, magazine-style show that focused on entertainment, celebrity, film and TV news, ET Canada began airing in 2005 on Global TV, which is owned by Corus Entertainment.
The program has been hosted by Canadian media personality Cheryl Hickey since its launch, with regular appearances by entertainment reporters, including Sangita Patel — a co-host since 2022 — plus Carlos Bustamante, Keshia Chanté and Morgan Hoffman.
The cancellation leaves ETalk, CTV’s weeknight show, as Canada’s lone major entertainment news program.
Andrea Grau, founder and CEO of entertainment publicity firm Touchwood PR, said ET Canada offered a Canadian perspective that made it stand out in the U.S.-dominated entertainment landscape.
“There was this great Entertainment Tonight brand that was going on in the U.S. — we all watched. And the idea of a Canadian arm of it was very special because it could give a different slant,” she said.
ET Canada’s demise comes during a major shift in the industry, she said, as publicists struggle to find entertainment outlets that can shine a spotlight on emerging Canadian artists and projects.
“Even though we share a language with the U.S. and we share pop culture, we are still Canadian and we have a different perspective,” Grau said, noting that ET Canada’s hosts were a mainstay on the U.S. press circuit.
“You see those relationships that have been built over the years of having Sangita [Patel] standing on a red carpet interviewing someone, or Cheryl Hickey interviewing someone. They’re recognizable to [celebrities] after all of these years, too,” she said. “They’ve created such a strong brand.”
Canada just had its lowest number of births in 17 years. What’s behind it?
The number of babies born in Canada dropped to a 17-year-low last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a declining fertility rate, data shows.
A Statistics Canada report released Tuesday showed there were 351,679 births registered across the country in 2022, which was a five per cent decrease from the previous year. This was Canada’s sharpest drop recorded since 2005.
Before 2022, the lowest number of births recorded was in 2005, with 345,044 babies born nationwide.
While the number of births in all provinces and territories declined last year, Nova Scotia was the notable outlier with a 12.8 per cent increase in live births.
The biggest decrease was in Nunavut, with the number of births dropping 11.8 per cent compared with 2021.
Canada, like many other developed countries, has been seeing declining birth trends over the past several years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many people’s plans to have kids, said Kate Choi, an associate professor of sociology at Western University.
“Although the fertility decline was indeed part of a larger trend of fertility decreases that have been occurring in Canada, the magnitude of the decrease is larger than what we would have anticipated in the absence of COVID-19,” she told Global News in an interview.
The high cost of living has magnified the size of the drop in births, Choi said.
“It’s very expensive to have children and right now, when everything is expensive, it’s very hard for young adults to be able to have the type of lifestyle that allows them to have children, which is contributing to delayed and forgone fertility,” she added.
It’s a concerning trend for Canada, according to Choi, who said decreasing birth rates have the potential to exacerbate population aging issues.
Canada is considered a low-fertility country and its fertility rate has been declining over the past decade.
The latest Statistics Canada data from 2021 reported a fertility rate of 1.44 children per woman that year — marking a slight increase following a steady decline since 2009.
The fertility rate is an estimate of the average number of live births a female can be expected to have in her lifetime, according to StatCan.
Lifestyle changes and work decisions are contributing factors, with a shift toward smaller families, said Mark Rosenberg, an expert in geography and professor emeritus at Queen’s University.
“I think mainly the factors we should focus on are first and foremost women’s decisions around the labour force and delaying birth until they’re in their 30s,” he told Global News in an interview.
There is also an increasing number of younger people living in single-person households, Rosenberg added.
Despite the drop in births, Canada’s population has been growing at a “record-setting pace,” surpassing the milestone of 40 million people earlier this year, due to a focus on increasing immigration.
Meanwhile, the StatCan report Tuesday also showed a rise in the proportion of babies who were born with a low birth weight — less than 2,500 grams.
Seven per cent of all babies had a low birth weight in 2022 compared with 6.6 per cent the year before.
Babies with a low birth weight are at an increased risk of complications, such as inhibited growth and development and even death, according to StatCan.
“When we see higher rates of low birth weight babies or higher rates of babies that are born who are overweight, those are issues that we should be concerned about because they reflect on people’s health,” Rosenberg said.
— with files from Global News’ Katherine Ward
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