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Canada's UNESCO natural wonders – CBC.ca

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A wild horse grazes at Dungeon Provincial Park in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Bonavista Peninsula, part of Discovery Geopark, which has just been named a UNESCO Global Geopark. (EB Adventure Photography/Shutterstock)

Nova Scotia’s Cliffs of Fundy and the Discovery Global Geopark in Newfoundland and Labrador received official status Friday as UNESCO Geoparks — a designation that recognizes sites and landscapes of international geological significance. They join three other Canadian UNESCO Geoparks and a collection of other UNESCO-designated Canadian sites. Here’s a look at some of Canada’s impressive natural wonders recognized by the UN agency. 

Cliffs of Fundy, N.S.

The Cliffs of Fundy Global Geopark in Nova Scotia stretches along a roughly 165-kilometre drive, with about 40 designated sites from Debert to the Three Sisters cliffs, past Eatonville, out to Isle Haute. The area is the only place on Earth where geologists can see both the assembly of supercontinent Pangea 300 million years ago and its breakup 100 million years later.

(Kayla Hounsell/CBC)

Discovery Global Geopark, N.L.

The Discovery Global Geopark in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Bonavista Peninsula, a rugged coastline that overlooks views of caves, arches and sea stacks.

(Shutterstock)

Stonehammer Geopark, N.B.

Stonehammer Geopark covers 2,500 square kilometres across southern New Brunswick, stretching from Lepreau Falls to Norton, Saint John and Grand Bay-Westfield to St. Martins. It became Canada’s first UNESCO Geopark in 2010. This couple walks on the ocean floor at low tide to view caves carved into the red sandstone by the Bay of Fundy.

(Kevin Bissett/The Canadian Press)

Tumbler Ridge Geopark, B.C.

The Tumbler Ridge Geopark includes part of the eastern Hart Ranges of the northern Rocky Mountains in British Columbia. The area is notable for fossils, including the northernmost prints of brontosaurus, the most complete dinosaur skeleton ever found in the province and, below, ankylosaurus footprints preserved in rock.

(Pecold/Shuttestock)

Percé, Que.

The most noticeable landmark at Percé Geopark is the Percé Rock, a massive limestone stack 433 metres long, 90 metres wide and 88 metres at its highest point, rising from the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Quebec near the village of Percé.

(Marika Wheeler/CBC)

Nahanni National Park, N.W.T.

Canada’s first entry on the UNESCO list, in 1978, this preserve protects a portion of the Mackenzie Mountains Natural Region, including massive canyons, sulphur hot springs, alpine tundra and the spectacular rapids of the South Nahanni River.

(GeGiGoggle/Shutterstock)

Pimachiowin Aki 

An expanse of boreal shield became Canada’s first mixed cultural and natural World Heritage Site in 2018. Pimachiowin Aki is nearly 30,000 square kilometres of boreal land straddling the Ontario-Manitoba border, where Anishinaabe peoples have lived for thousands of years.

(Matt Medler/International Boreal Conservation Campaign/The Associated Press)

Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alta.

A World Heritage Site 75 million years in the making, this spot in the heart of Alberta’s badlands has been a destination for paleontologists since dinosaur fossils were first discovered here in 1884. UNESCO also recognized the provincial park’s “particularly beautiful scenery” when adding it to the World Heritage list in 1979.

(Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock)

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, Alta.

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, also known by its Blackfoot name Áísínai’pi, became Alberta’s sixth World Heritage Site in 2019. According to the provincial government, the park is home to the most significant concentration of rock carvings and paintings on the North American prairies, some of which date back 2,000 years. 

(Paul Karchut/CBC)

Joggins Fossil Cliffs, N.S. 

Nova Scotia’s Joggins Fossil Cliffs, regarded as the best record of life in the Coal Age 300 million years ago, was added to the exclusive ranks of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2008. The fossil cliffs are home to enormous fossilized trees and what’s believed to be the remains of the world’s oldest reptile. 

(Joggins Fossil Institute)

Kluane/Wrangell-St.Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek

The first binational entry on UNESCO’s list, named in 1979, the agency describes this 97,000-square-kilometre site as “an impressive complex of glaciers and high peaks on both sides of the border between Canada (Yukon Territory and British Columbia) and the United States (Alaska). It  includes the 5,959-metre-high Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak.

This massive reserve is home to some of the world’s fastest-moving glaciers and the largest non-polar icefield on the planet.

(Chuck Stoody/The Canadian Press)

Mistaken Point, N.L. 

Mistaken Point, on the southeastern point of the Avalon Peninsula, is home to the oldest-known evidence of Earth’s first large, complex, multicellular life forms — a 565-million-year-old sea floor that holds a collection of fossils known as the Ediacaran biota.

Mistaken Point became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016. 

(UNESCO)

Wood Buffalo National Park

Wood Buffalo, which straddles the Alberta-Northwest Territories border, is one of the world’s largest freshwater deltas and a breeding ground for millions of migratory birds from four continental flyways.

But it has been deteriorating for decades. In 2014, the Mikisew Cree asked UNESCO to examine the park and see if it still merited designation as a World Heritage Site.

UNESCO is considering the park’s status, while Parks Canada considers a $27.5-million plan to rescue it.

(Lennard Plantz/CBC)

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Former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney advising PM on COVID-19 economic response – CBC.ca

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Mark Carney — the former governor of the Bank of Canada and the Bank of England — has been acting as an informal adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Carney “certainly has been advising the PM through different phases of this,” said a senior government official speaking on background. “I’d hope we can count on him for more.”

News of the informal role was first reported by Bloomberg on Monday. 

Carney has long been rumoured to have political aspirations since returning to Canada after his term with the Bank of England expired earlier this year. Many in Liberal circles see Carney as a top candidate for finance minister should he seek office or as a possible leadership candidate to eventually succeed Trudeau. 

With a sudden vacancy in the Toronto-area riding of York Centre there have been rumours that Carney could be a candidate in an upcoming byelection, though senior Liberal sources have repeatedly thrown cold water on that idea. 

Carney is well-suited to advise the prime minister during difficult economic times. He led the Bank of Canada during the global financial crisis more than a decade ago and held the top job at the Bank of England during the Brexit uncertainty.

Carney, a former investment banker currently serving as the United Nations’ special envoy on climate action and climate finance, has likened the climate crisis to a financial crisis — and has urged financial sector to help tackle the issue.

Under pressure

The Liberals are under pressure to rein in the economy after pandemic spending helped drive the projected deficit for 2020-21 to $342.2 billion — some ten times higher than expected before COVID-19 — according to a financial snapshot provided last month by Finance Minister Bill Morneau.  

Most of that figure can be attributed to the $212 billion in direct support measures Ottawa is providing to individuals and businesses.

Morneau said at the time that, aside from the pandemic program spending, the economic slowdown is estimated to have added another $81.3 billion to the deficit in 2020-21.

The economy is projected to shrink by 6.8 per cent this year before bouncing back by 5.5 per cent next year, Morneau said, making this crisis the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression.

The economy is expected to decline in 2020-21 more than twice as much as it did in 2009-10 in response to the global financial crisis. 

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More than 500 COVID-19 infections in Canada linked to exposures at public places, new data suggests – CTV News

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TORONTO —
New data suggests that more than 500 COVID-19 infections in Canada have been linked to public venues including stores, bars, restaurants, daycares and schools since the beginning of July as more businesses continue to reopen and restrictions are eased.

New numbers released on Monday by Project Pandemic report that at least 148 different stores, restaurants, bars, schools, daycares, and other public spaces have issued warnings about potential exposure to the virus.

Since July 4, the data found that 505 individual coronavirus infections were reported in connection with those public venues in 61 cities across seven provinces.

Project Pandemic is a collaborative mapping effort led by the Institute for Investigative Journalism at Montreal’s Concordia University. The project employs reporters from journalism schools across Canada along with traditional news media organizations such as CTV News to collect data about the coronavirus pandemic and to use analysis tools to allow a clearer picture of where the COVID-19 disease has spread.

While more than 500 infections may seem like a lot, infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch told CTVNews.ca that these numbers are expected.

“Those numbers are not really surprising. We see a few outbreaks associated with restaurants and bars. There has been a few, but really a small number of transmission, in other places like for example grocery stores or liquor stores,” Bogoch said in a phone interview on Monday. “It’s a good reflection of where some, but not all, of the virus is being transmitted in Canada.”

According to the new data, more than half of the recent infections involved food sales, with potential exposure to the virus reported at 85 grocery stores, liquor stores and restaurants. There were also at least eight reports of infections and exposures at day camps, eight at schools and daycares, and three at parks and pools.

Project Pandemic noted that the numbers are not a comprehensive dataset and said in a press release that it is likely that there may have been more exposure warnings and subsequent infection than those reported.

The data found that places most affected by potential exposure and infections include Loblaw grocery chains such as No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore and Shoppers Drug Mart throughout cities in Ontario and Alberta. Exposure warnings were also issued for some of Loblaw’s Provigo stores in Montreal.

In an emailed statement to CTVNews.ca, Loblaw said it continues to follow public health guidance on COVID-19 and has teams “working around the clock” to monitor the needs of customers and employees “as the situation continues to evolve.”

“With the community spread of COVID-19, it’s unfortunate but probable that some stores will be affected. That’s why we have invested heavily since the beginning of the pandemic to enhance our sanitization and protections as well as enforcing social distancing practices in stores since,” the statement read.

Other grocery stores affected included Walmart and IGA.

Despite accounting for a number of infections, Bogoch said the risk associated with virus transmission in grocery stores remains low.

“When you think about how many people go into those stores daily, there really are very few cases linked to those settings. Grocery stores are taking great care [in] ensuring people are physically distant, employees in the grocery stores are wearing masks and many places have Plexiglas set up to separate the cashiers from customers,” Bogoch explained.

“As long as people adhere to good public health measures, I think we’ll continue to see very few cases, transmitted in those settings.”

Another retailer that saw in a number of exposure warnings was various SAQ liquor store locations across Quebec with exposures reported in at least 10 different stores and depots.

In a statement emailed to CTVNews.ca, an SAQ spokesperson said its locations have followed the required protocol for confirmed COVID-19 cases including quarantining and self-isolation for those who may have come into close contact with the infected employee.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, our priority is to ensure the health and safety of our employees and our customers. The SAQ has strictly complied with all recommendations issued by public health authorities,” the email said.

Bogoch said the main concern of virus transmission continues to be restaurants and bars.

“We know that in indoor environments like restaurants when there’s multiple people close together for prolonged periods of time, those are perfect environments for this virus to be transmitted and certainly if the virus is introduced to a setting like that, it would come to no one surprised that we’ll see subsequent cases,” Bogoch said.

Project Pandemic reported that various restaurants reported outbreaks across Canada however multiple restaurants in Calgary made the list with potential exposure warnings issued for multiple locations of Cactus Club Cafe, The Keg, Fire N Ice Lounge and Village Brewery.

To see fewer outbreaks in these settings, Bogoch said it is up to both restaurant owners and patrons to ensure everyone is following public safety measures. However, that may be easier said than done.

“If restaurants and bars really take the initiative to ensure people can stick to their tables and spread apart, it’ll be okay but the likelihood of that happening, we know it’s not that high,” Bogoch said. “We’ve seen cases in Canada and elsewhere in the world people go to bars to consume alcohol and, of course, it’s just more challenging to adhere to physical distancing in those settings.”

Bogoch said this does not mean that Canadians should avoid restaurants, but that patrons and employees must remain vigilant in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“Businesses really have to be set up for success. That means protecting their employees and also protecting their customers. That means creating a safe environment for people to eat and drink. You can have the best laid plans but if they’re not adhered to, they’re meaningless,” he said.

In restaurants, Bogoch said the key to limiting possible exposure is customer adherence to safety measures, but it is the business’ responsibility to enforce those measures. However, he added that following public health guidelines is what makes restaurants a challenging environment.

“If the restaurant or bar is set up in a way that is safer and if they really ensure that customers are adhering to the right policies and if customers are vigilant… then it’ll be OK. But of course, when we put that into real world settings, we see that many places do that, but some do not,” Bogoch said.

“And in the places that are not adhering to these measures, we’re seeing outbreaks.”

This map from Project Pandemic tracks known cases of COVID-19 across the country. If you can’t see the map on your device, go here for the full experience.

Using Esri ArcGIS technology

Backstory:

“Project Pandemic: Canada Reports on COVID-19” is a national collaboration bringing together journalists and journalism students from news organizations and universities across Canada to gather information as a public service.

The consortium draws on data gathered by governmental health authorities, journalists and the nonprofit platform Flatten.ca. This project is co-ordinated by Concordia University’s Institute for Investigative Journalism, with the support of the Canadian Association of Journalists. For the full list of credits, please visit concordia.ca/projectpandemic.

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Over 500 coronavirus cases connected to public places in Canada since July 4, data shows – Global News

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There have been over 500 reported cases of the novel coronavirus connected to outbreaks or confirmed infections at public places like grocery stores, restaurants and day camps across Canada since early July, according to new data on COVID-19 cases.

The data, compiled by the Institute of Investigative Journalism (IIJ) at Concordia University, reveal new details about how the virus has spread across Canada, since July 4, in places where members of the public can gather.

Reporters at the IIJ’s Project Pandemic identified at least 505 reported infections linked to outbreaks or exposures at 148 locations that span across 61 cities in seven provinces.

The newly released statistics come at a crucial moment in Canada’s fight against its COVID-19 outbreak, with many provinces and municipalities entering the final stages of their plan to reopen their economies and students set to return to classrooms in September.

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According to the data, a majority of the documented COVID-19 exposures or infections were related to food sales — with groceries, restaurants and liquor stores accounting for a total of 198 cases that involved employees and patrons. Only locations open to the public were included in the analysis of data and excluded facilities like long-term care homes or food processing plants.

Two major outbreaks of COVID-19 in July occurred at the Cactus Club restaurant and Fire and Ice lounge, both located in downtown Calgary. The Cactus Club location was linked to 25 COVID-19 cases, while Fire and Ice was linked to 57, according to the data.

“The safety and well-being of our guests and employees is our number one priority,” the Cactus Club said in a statement. “While (Alberta Health Services) has not mandated it, we have decided to voluntarily close this location out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health of everyone.”

The owners of Fire and Ice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Eight fitness centres were linked to 79 infections, with one location in Alberta accounting for 62 cases. The cases were linked to the Ride Cycle Club in Calgary, which was added to Alberta’s list of confirmed outbreaks in July.

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The company has said the studio was informed on July 13 that a member of its training community had tested positive for COVID-19 and “immediately shut down all Calgary operations and deployed a notification and awareness strategy.”

Eight day camps were associated with 46 infections, while schools or daycares had 23 infections at seven locations. One of the largest outbreaks occurred at a day camp on Montreal’s south shore, the Boucherville-based Les Ateliers de Charlot l’Escargot, which has seen at least 28 cases of COVID-19 among kids and staff.






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Retail stores, which include electronic and hardware shops, were also among the highest in the country with a total of 21 reported outbreaks. Other public areas that were measured as having fewer exposures or outbreaks included parks, hotels and malls, according to the data.

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On a province-to-province basis, the highest number of exposures or outbreaks occurred in Quebec, which had a total of 65. Alberta closely followed at 61 COVID-19 exposures or outbreaks, and Ontario had 45.

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Saskatchewan and Manitoba had 21 and 11 recorded incidents, respectively, while both British Columbia and Nova Scotia’s reported exposures were in the single digits.

To date, Canada has reported over 119,000 cases of the coronavirus as well as 8,981 deaths. Daily reported increases in coronavirus cases across the country have averaged at about 400 over the past week, according to Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam.

While new cases of the virus continue to follow a downward trend across Canada, health experts and authorities continue to warn of a potential second wave or another outbreak should measures to prevent the spread of the virus ease too soon.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases physician at Toronto General Hospital, said the new data confirms what public health experts have been sounding the alarm over: indoor settings spread transmission.

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“Indoor settings where there is lots of people in close proximity for prolonged periods of time are at the greatest risk of transmitting infection,” Bogoch said. “There have even been a few cases transmitted at grocery stores and liquor stores.”

Read more:
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Bogoch said masking, handwashing and physical distancing have had a significant impact on reducing the number of cases across all provinces but warned that we still need to vigilant as more people flock to bars and restaurants and schools look to reopen in the coming weeks.

“We’ve had a few high profile outbreaks associated with restaurants and bars in the country and of course internationally,” he said. “We know these are hotspots for infections.”

“The key, is ensuring that people adhere to public health measures while in bars,” he said. “It’s one thing to have a plan in place. It’s another thing to implement that plan.”

He’ll also bee watching Ontario’s case numbers closely as the province has seen less than 100 cases for nearly a week, but reported 115 new cases on Monday.

“Some of this could be undone if people disregard these public health measures,” he said. “If businesses and organizations provide a safe environment for employees and customers, then we will be doing OK.

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“If there are breakdowns, then it should come to no one’s surprise that we are going to see a rise in cases in congregate settings.”

Community shutdowns more effective than closing schools, study finds

New research from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) found that shutting down communities — closing businesses and asking people to stay home — has a greater impact on reducing the total number of infections than closing schools.

According to a study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers with PHAC used computer modelling to evaluate the impact of several of the main interventions used to control the spread of the virus — case detection and isolation, contact tracing and quarantine, physical distancing and community closures — taken both together and alone.

After adding school closures to that mix, they found that while closing classrooms would indeed reduce the rate of infections within schools, it had far less of an impact on the pandemic overall compared to partial community closures, the likes of which were seen across Canada starting in March.

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In a scenario without any other public health measures taken, for example, the overall rate of virus infection was 54.7 per cent with schools closed versus .04 per cent with much broader closures, including workplaces and schools.

“When we have high levels of community transmission combined with minimal public health interventions and low adherence to physical distancing, school closures will have a minimal impact in combination with these interventions and will not be sufficient to control the epidemic,” lead researcher Dr. Victoria Ng, senior scientific evaluator with PHAC, said in a statement.

“In contrast, workplace and general community closures were much more effective, because transmission outside of the household is occurring predominantly in these settings,” she said.

Bogoch said Canada saw the effectiveness of lockdown measures play out in real time in March, April and May.

“We were able to bring our new cases down to very low levels from coast-to-coast,” he said. “It was extremely challenging and economically devastating for many individuals. It’s psychologically and emotionally challenging … but it did reduce the transmission of COVID-19.”

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The findings come amid intense scrutiny over the decision to reopen schools in all provinces, as well as the effectiveness of the measures governments have in place to protect students.

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After peaking in early May, the number of new coronavirus cases in Canada has declined dramatically this summer, though some provinces, including B.C. and Alberta, are seeing a recent uptick.

“The virus doesn’t care about our past efforts. It’s what we do now that matters,” Tam said in her daily statement on Sunday.

“We’ve come too far, lost too much, and have so much to protect. Our biggest struggle is to persevere with our collective effort, to maintain the careful balance of keeping the infection rate low… protecting the most vulnerable, while minimizing the unintended health and social consequences of restrictive public health measures.”

Researchers found that anywhere from 0.25 per cent to 56 per cent of Canadians could become infected over the course of the pandemic depending on the level of public health intervention implemented in the coming months and even years. The infection rate of 56 per cent could occur if no control measures were taken.

According to the study, the infection rate varied and depended on how much testing, isolation, contact tracing and quarantine were carried out, combined with effective physical distancing measures.

And while each of the measures studied was effective at curbing the spread of COVID-19 to varying degrees in the model, none of them except partial community closure could eliminate the virus on its own.

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A combination of case detection, isolation and contact tracing — and ramping up those activities along with physical distancing — was crucial to lowering the infection rate to a quarter of a percentage point.

“These interventions would need to be maintained until the epidemic is extinguished (either via herd immunity or vaccination), or there will be a resurgence,” the authors wrote.

Project Pandemic is co-ordinated by the IIJ, with the support of Esri Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists.

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

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