Racism often captured headlines and took up space in public discourse in 2019 — but a new poll shows those discussions didn’t necessarily change Canadians’ opinions.
An Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News found 49 per cent of Canadians don’t think racism is a serious problem in the country, while 43 per cent do.
Those numbers are similar to April findings, when 46 per cent said racism was a serious problem.
Sean Simpson, the vice-president of public affairs at Ipsos, told Global News that the poll was conducted to see whether key Canadian news events this year — including the federal election, videos and photos of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing blackface and Sportsnet’s firing of Don Cherry — changed opinions.
“It’s both good news and bad news,” Simpson said.
“The good news is that things don’t seem to be getting worse. The bad news is that there hasn’t been a lot of improvement.”
Simpson also pointed to the poll’s finding that nearly four in 10 Canadians feel that “white Canadians are under threat from immigration” — a number that’s unchanged from April.
“I think people hold their opinions and things that they see and hear from leaders or celebrities reinforces their own positions,” Simpson said.
“Either they agree with what’s being said, or they disagree with what’s being said, but it doesn’t necessarily have impact or sway their own point of view.”
However, changing opinions on racism won’t happen overnight, noted Kathy Hogarth, an associate professor at the University of Waterloo, whose work focuses on marginalized populations in Canada.
“We can’t lose hope because our numbers aren’t changing as quickly as we want them to change,” she said.
“We need to continue having the conversation, and we cannot let the resistance to changing attitudes derail the attitudes about racism.”
Hogarth said Canadians have only begun to question issues such as racism in the justice and child welfare systems, and there’s much more to do.
“We’re only scratching the surface. We need to dig deeper to what are the pillars, what are the policies that are holding and breeding racism in place.”
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Amira Elghawaby of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network added there needs to be systemic change in order for the country to truly understand and eradicate racism.
“We know that in our education system, there is not enough work being done to really understand Indigenous experiences in the this country,” she said.
“We’ve seen cutbacks in different provinces around funding and supporting Indigenous study, as well as looking at various forms of discrimination — Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and anti-Black racism.
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“We need to have more in our curricula that reflects these experiences; they can’t sort of be tacked on as an afterthought.”
Elghawaby said that efforts to eliminate racism need to be supported by all level of government, citing the federal anti-racism strategy, which advocates will be closely monitoring.
“At the city level, as well, there’s much that can be done to ensure barriers to services, barriers to employment, and any type of hate that’s going on in our communities, we’re looking for solutions.”
An ongoing conversation
Conversations about racism need to go beyond just high-profile news events, both Elghawaby and Hogarth agreed.
“I think that in our media, we need to consistently and continually have these conversations,” Elghawaby said, noting Canadians did have meaningful conversations after the blackface and brownface incident and after Cherry’s firing — but then it faded.
“It sort of winds up being only when such a high-profile situation happens. It captures people’s attentions over a news cycle or two, then it fades from public consciousness.”
Poll: Racism is less of a problem now than before
“We need to talk about these issues — and they are difficult conversations, but we still need to be having them,” Elghawaby said.
Hogarth added having ongoing conversations on racism would also help tackle the issue of polarization.
“When we begin to take an issue that’s really impacting the lives of a minority of people and make it a discussion point, people feel threatened, they feel the need to get defensive,” she said.
“We need to keep the conversation going because we need to understand that it’s not only a Black issue, it’s not a brown issue, it’s not an Indigenous issue. It’s all of our issue.”
Even beyond news events, she noted, conversations need to happen throughout the year — not just focused on specific months, such as Black History Month.
“The conversation must remain alive,” she said.
This Ipsos poll on behalf of Global News was an online survey of 1,002 Canadians conducted between Dec. 3-5, 2019. The results were weighted to better reflect the composition of the adult Canadian population, according to census data. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Health Canada approves rapid COVID testing device as Canada braces for caseload spikes – CBC.ca
Health Canada regulators today approved the ID NOW rapid COVID-19 testing device for use in this country — a move that could result in millions more tests for communities grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases.
The Abbott Laboratories-backed point-of-care devices can be administered by trained professionals at places like pharmacies, walk-in clinics and doctors’ offices without the need for a laboratory to determine if someone is infected with the virus.
The approval comes only a day after the federal government announced that it would buy some 7.9 million ID NOW tests from the U.S.-based firm for distribution in Canada.
A nasal or throat specimen is collected from a patient on a swab and plugged into the ID NOW’s analyzer, which can detect the presence of the virus. The molecular devices can produce COVID results in 15 minutes.
To date, the vast majority of tests have been done at public health clinics, with samples then sent to laboratories for analysis — a process that can take days.
Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Tuesday that the purchase was designed to help the provinces and territories offer more testing options as some cities face hours-long lines at public health testing centres.
Speaking in question period today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is expecting to receive the first batch of these Abbott tests “in the coming weeks.”
Abbott has already shipped more than seven million ID NOW tests to all 50 U.S. states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. territories.
Trudeau said the government has earmarked more money for Health Canada to expedite the approvals process for “new technologies” like these diagnostic devices.
Health experts and the opposition Conservatives have said Health Canada’s regulatory process has been too slow to this point. Other Western nations have had such tests for months.
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Trudeau said his government put “science first” to protect Canadians from faulty devices. He said regulators were not pressured to approve the device after the multi-million dollar order for Abbott’s test.
The United States Food and Drug Administration first issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to Abbott for the ID NOW device at the end of March — just one of 248 such authorizations the U.S. has issued for testing devices since the onset of the pandemic. Only three point-of-care tests have been authorized for use in Canada.
Some researchers have said this Abbott device has led to false positives in a small number of cases. The FDA re-issued a revised EUA on Sept. 18, saying that the test should be administered within the first seven days of the onset of symptoms.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford praised Abbott as a group of “incredible folks.”
The premier also said he’s eager to see Health Canada approve another form of testing that could be used outside of health care settings: antigen devices which — like the ID NOW device — can produce COVID results in minutes.
The regulator hasn’t yet approved any antigen tests. In fact, Health Canada only posted guidance for antigen device manufacturers to its website yesterday, seven months into the pandemic.
Ford said he wants to send antigen tests to high-risk places — such as some workplaces and schools — to identify positive cases early enough to avoid further spread.
“I think it’s an absolute game-changer for the education system, for long-term care. It’s absolutely critical. My frustration is, how can regulatory authorities in countries around the world approve this? How can the U.S. regulatory bodies approve this, and everyone’s getting it, and it’s taking this long to go through Health Canada?” Ford said.
“People can know in 15 minutes. Imagine that. Think about going to a pharmacy, getting the test, waiting outside, and coming back in in 15 minutes and you have your results. Why it’s taking so long is just beyond me.
“I’m sorry, I don’t want to always pick on Health Canada but they’ve got to move faster, quicker, please. We’re in a crisis.”
Ford said he was told Health Canada is reluctant to approve rapid testing devices after the botched approval of the Spartan Bioscience testing product early in the pandemic.
The device was found to be faulty after it was subjected to efficacy testing at the National Microbiology Laboratory. Health Canada had to issue a recall on the device in May after the federal government already had placed an order for 40,000 tests.
Antigen tests — which, depending on the device, use matter collected from a nasal or throat swab — don’t require the use of a lab to generate results.
While much faster, these tests are considered by some to be less accurate than the “gold standard” — the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing process currently in use across Canada.
Antigen testing devices like Quidel Corporation’s Sofia 2 SARS, which received emergency authorization from the U.S. FDA in May, can produce results in less than 20 minutes.
As of Tuesday, Quidel’s device was still listed as “under review” by Health Canada.
Antigen tests have been used in thousands of U.S. long-term care homes for months.
Canada's GDP grew by 3% in July as more sectors reopened – CBC.ca
Canada’s economy continued its recovery in July from the first wave of COVID-19, with the country’s gross domestic product expanding by three per cent.
Statistics Canada reported Wednesday that all 20 sectors of the economy grew as businesses continued to reopen and tried to get back to some sense of normal after lockdowns in March and April.
Output in agriculture, utilities, finance and insurance businesses, as well as real estate rental and leasing companies, clawed back to where it was before the pandemic struck. Retail trade businesses accomplished the same feat the month before, in June. But despite July’s growth, all other types of businesses still have yet to get back to their previous highs.
The biggest expansions in the month were in hotels/restaurants (up 20.1) and arts/entertainment/recreation (up 14 per cent), but those figures come off a very low base and are still facing the deepest slump versus year-ago levels, Bank of Montreal economist Benjamin Reitzes said of the numbers.
All in all, GDP was six per cent below February’s level, Statistics Canada said.
The three per cent gain was in line with what economists had been expecting. It was about half as much as the 6.5 per cent increase seen in June.
While StatsCan is still calculating the final numbers, its early projection for August shows an expansion of just one per cent, which suggests that Canada’s economic recovery is running out of steam as it appears a second wave of the virus is hitting some parts of the country.
TD Bank economist Sri Thanabalasingam said based on the July numbers, those fears are well founded.
“Slowing and uneven growth are indications that the Canadian economy is transitioning from the rebound phase to a more challenging stage of the recovery,” he said.
“Even without restrictions, consumers and businesses may rein in spending activity in response to rising caseloads. The second wave is now upon us, and the course of the recovery will depend on our success in containing it.”
Canada reports 1,657 new coronavirus cases, 13 new deaths on Tuesday – Global News
A new set of restrictions are in store for the Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches regions to stem the tide of COVID-19.
Those three areas are officially in a red zone, the province’s highest alert level for the health crisis, starting Thursday.
Here is a guide to the tightened measures and partial lockdown aimed at limiting the second wave of the novel coronavirus.
How long is the partial lockdown?
Quebec has placed those three regions in its highest alert level for nearly a month.
The new rules are set to last Oct. 1-28 — if all goes well. Premier François says he hopes to lift restrictions if the situation improves, but can’t make false promises.
What’s closed in red zones?
Bars, theatres, cinemas, casinos, museums and libraries are closed for at least four weeks starting Thursday.
Dining rooms in restaurants have also been ordered to shut down, but takeout and delivery are permitted.
Schools and daycares remain open, but the sanitary rules put in place are still in effect.
Gyms, retail stores, hair salons and other beauty care businesses remain open.
Private professional health services are allowed to operate, but only for services that require the patient to be physically there.
Places of worship are allowed to accommodate a maximum of 25 people and must keep a register.
Community organizations are also permitted to stay open.
Can I have someone over to my house?
The short answer is no. Quebecers who lived in designated red zones are prohibited from inviting others to their homes.
There are a few exceptions, however. The government says informal caregivers, individuals offering support or labour for planned work are permitted.
People who live alone are also allowed to welcome one other individual into their residences.
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Can I visit loved ones in long-term care homes?
Visits are limited in long-term care homes and private seniors’ residences located in red zones.
The goal is to keep the health crisis from sweeping through those facilities like it did during the deadly first wave.
The province says visits for humanitarian purposes are allowed. Informal caregivers are allowed to visit the elderly, but it’s limited to one person at a time and a maximum of two people per day.
Are private gatherings okay?
Private gatherings are not allowed in red zones.
Are gatherings in public places permitted?
Social gatherings in public places are also prohibited.
There are two exceptions: gatherings are allowed at funerals and places of worship. There is a maximum of 25 people allowed and a register of everyone attending must be maintained.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, for instance, has urged all city dwellers to steer clear of socializing in parks.
What about protests?
The province says protests or rallies are permitted, but all attendees must wear a mask to curb the spread of the virus.
Can I travel to other parts of Quebec?
Quebecers in red zones are asked not to travel to regions that aren’t as hard hit by the health crisis.
There is no ban, but the province says people should avoid heading to designated green, yellow and orange zones.
Essential travel such as for work and freight transportation is allowed.
Can I go to Ontario or elsewhere in Canada?
It is strongly advised that people in Montreal, Quebec City and Chaudière-Appalaches do not travel outside of the province.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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