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Changes coming for international students beginning Canadian studies online – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
The federal government is rolling out a series of measures aimed at making it easier for international students who will be beginning their fall semesters taking online courses from Canadian schools, while COVID-19 restrictions remain in place.

The government says it will be allowing students to count the time spent studying online while abroad towards their eligibility for a post-graduation Canadian work permit if at least 50 per cent of their post-secondary program is completed in Canada. 

As well, the government is allowing international students who are not able to submit all of the documentation needed to process their post-graduation work applications due to COVID-19-related closures but still want to begin their studies while in another country to do so. 

This is being facilitated through a new two-stage approval process. The new process will allow prospective students to go ahead with their plans upon receiving an “approval in principle.” 

In order to be approved in principle, students need to show they have been accepted to a Canadian college or university and have the ability to pay for it. 

It would then be the responsibility of international students to submit all outstanding documents and be approved before being allowed to enter Canada. 

The full approval requires submitting biometrics, an immigration medical exam, and a police background check.

International students who are staring a program this fall who submit a study permit application before Sept. 15, 2020 are eligible for these new measures. 

“These changes will give students more certainty about their ability to enter Canada once travel and health restrictions are eased in Canada and their own home countries. They mean that students will be eligible to work in Canada after graduation, even if they need to begin their studies online from overseas this fall,” said the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship in a statement.

These new measures are in addition to other pandemic-prompted temporary policy changes already made by the federal government. 

Last year more than 650,000 international students were enrolled in Canadian college and university programs, with more than 58,000 becoming permanent Canadian residents.

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on international students and the Canadian institutions and communities that host them,” said Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino in the statement.

“We value the contribution of young people seeking a high-quality education in Canada, and we’re making every effort to minimize how current challenges affect their plans and dreams for the future.” 

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Canada 'not at the back of the line' for COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna chairman says – CBC.ca

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The head of a U.S. biotechnology company that is developing one of the most promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates says Canada is not far behind other countries when it comes to receiving doses of its vaccine.

“Canada is not at the back of the line,” Noubar Afeyan, co-founder and chairman of Moderna, told CBC’s Chief Political Correspondent Rosemary Barton on Sunday.

Afeyan said because Canada was among the first countries to make a pre-order with Moderna, the country is guaranteed to receive a certain portion of the company’s initial batch of doses — as long as the vaccine proves safe and effective and is given regulatory approval.

“The people who were willing to move early on with even less proof of the efficacy have assured the amount of supply they were willing to sign up to,” Afeyan said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live

“Nothing that happened subsequently can affect that.”

The Canadian government secured an agreement on Aug. 5 with Moderna for 20 million doses of its mRNA vaccine, with the option to procure an additional 36 million doses. It’s one of seven vaccine makers Canada currently has agreements with.

Moderna’s vaccine is currently in Stage 3 clinical trials and preliminary data released two weeks ago showed it appears to be 94.5 per cent effective.

Despite that promising news, the Liberal government came under intense pressure this week to lay out a timeline for when Canadians will begin receiving an inoculation as countries like the U.S., U.K. and Germany have all announced plans to begin vaccinating their populations in December. 

Opposition politicians and some premiers argued Canada was falling behind other countries in its planning after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians would have to wait to get vaccinated because the first doses of any vaccine will go to people in the countries where the vaccines are being manufactured.

Federal officials said on Thursday that if all goes well as many as three million Canadians — mainly those in “high-priority groups” — could be vaccinated in early 2021.

WATCH | Federal government pressured on when Canadians will get COVID-19 vaccine

As other countries give timelines, the Trudeau government faces mounting questions about when Canadians will get a COVID-19 vaccine. But the complex task of delivering doses depends on factors still up in the air. 2:00

Regulatory approval pending

Moderna is in the process of applying for emergency-use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Once the company obtains that authorization, Afeyan said it will begin shipping doses to countries that have made pre-orders, including Canada.

Afeyan said he expects to start shipping the vaccine to Canada in the first quarter of 2021 and the quantity of shipments should increase through the second quarter and throughout the rest of the year.

The company expects to be able to produce a total of 20 million doses by the end of 2020 and between 500 million and 1 billion doses throughout 2021.

Moderna submitted early safety and pre-clinical data from Phase 1 and 2 trials with Health Canada last month as part of the regulator’s rolling regulatory review process. Health Canada must approve any COVID-19 vaccine before it can be distributed to Canadians.

Experts say Moderna’s vaccine — which requires two shots taken 28 days apart — will be relatively easy to store and distribute because the vaccine can remain stable at normal fridge temperatures of 2 C to 8 C for 30 days. By contrast, another leading candidate manufactured by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer must be shipped and stored at -70 C.

WATCH | Health Minister on how the federal government should address vaccine hesitancy:

Health Minister Patty Hadju says some hesitancy around a new vaccine is ‘normal’ and stresses the value of regulatory independence. 10:42

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said it’s difficult to nail down a delivery date at the moment for any of the leading vaccine candidates because of the long list of uncertainties stemming from unfinished clinical trials, ongoing regulatory reviews, and manufacturing and logistical challenges related to distribution.

“We’re all anxious to get out of this mess as a world, but certainly as a country as well,” Hajdu said.

“As Canada’s health minister, I’m staying focused on Canadians and on our own process, making sure our delivery plans are well laid out and that we have what we need in terms of being able to deliver on the variety of different kinds of vaccines.”

Hajdu added that her top priority is ensuring that Health Canada has what it needs to make sure the regulatory process proceeds smoothly so that any vaccines that are approved are safe and effective.

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada

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

11:10 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 1,395 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 additional deaths linked to the virus.
Health officials say four of those deaths occurred in the past 24 hours and eight others took place between Nov. 22 and 27.
Hospitalizations went down by 13 today for a total of 665, including 92 people in intensive care – a decrease of one compared to the previous day.
Quebec has now reported 141,038 total cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began and 7,033 deaths.

11:00 a.m.

Ontario is reporting 1,708 new cases of COVID-19 today and 24 new deaths related to the virus.

More than half of the new cases remain in Toronto and Peel Region, which recorded 463 and 503 respectively.

The two regions are the only ones currently under lockdown under the province’s tiered, colour-coded pandemic response framework.

The province is moving five regions to higher alert levels tomorrow, which means tougher COVID-19 restrictions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Source: – NEWS 1130

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Sunday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

Canada’s death toll from COVID-19 passed 12,000 on Sunday, a day after the country’s chief public health officer said there is still a “window of opportunity” to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Canada remains on a troubling path for new infections as case counts continue to mount, Dr. Theresa Tam said Saturday, adding that the most recent infection rates indicate the country is on track to hit as many as 10,000 new cases a day by next month.

“If we continue on the current pace, our longer range models continue to forecast significant increases in daily case counts and estimate that there could be up to 10,000 cases reported daily by mid-December,” Tam said in a statement.

WATCH | Volunteers in the U.K. to be deliberately infected with controlled doses of coronavirus:

CBC News Network’s Natasha Fatah speaks to Andrew Catchpole, chief scientific officer with the British clinical development company, hVIVO, about the trials it is conducting where test subjects are infected with the coronavirus. 6:28

“Right now, we have a window of opportunity to act collectively together with public health authorities to bring the infection rate down to a safer trajectory.”

Canada is currently recording caseloads at about half that level, with the most recent seven-day average standing at 5,335 between Nov. 20 and Nov. 26.

Tam said Canada is also averaging 76 deaths a day and more than 2,100 people in hospital.

People 80 years and older are experiencing Canada’s highest COVID-19 death rate, and there are now more and larger outbreaks in long-term care facilities, hospitals, group living settings, Indigenous communities and remote areas, she said.

“Those developments are deeply concerning as they put countless Canadians at risk of life-threatening illness, cause serious disruptions to health services and present significant challenges for areas not adequately equipped to manage complex medical emergencies,” Tam said.

Tam redoubled her calls for Canadians to heed public health advice, limit their social interactions and practise physical distancing in a bid to bring surging case counts under control.

Her assessment came as case counts continued to soar in numerous provinces.

What’s happening across Canada

As of 10 a.m. ET on Sunday, Canada’s COVID-19 case count stood at 366,518, with 62,375 of those considered active cases. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 12,012.

Ontario reported 1,708 new cases of COVID-19  and 24 deaths on Sunday, with nearly 54,000 tests completed. Locally, there were 503 new cases in Peel Region, 463 in nearby Toronto and 185 in York Region. On Saturday, the province logged case numbers just shy of Friday’s one-day record as it reported 1,822 new diagnoses.

Officials in the province have said it could take at least two weeks to see some improvements after the added restrictions were imposed on Monday.

Quebec set a new single-day record with 1,480 new infections Saturday as the provincial death toll crossed the 7,000 threshold.

Alberta also broke its own record, reporting 1,731 new cases of the virus on Saturday. It also counted five new deaths.

Case numbers also jumped sharply in Manitoba, where officials recorded 487 new infections and 10 new deaths on Saturday. Among those who died was a boy under the age of 10, officials said, though they offered no other details.

On Sunday, RCMP officers prevented people from accessing the parking lot of the Church of God south of Steinbach, Man. Police recently issued two fines to a minister at the church for attending a protest against COVID-19 restrictions and being at a Sunday religious service.

Under Manitoba’s public health restrictions, group sizes can’t exceed more than five people inside or outside. Churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship must be closed to the public, including for drive-up or drive-thru services.

Saskatchewan reported 197 COVID-19 cases and one death Saturday.

The province ordered the suspension of team sports earlier this week until Dec. 17 after confirmed COVID-19 cases among several minor and recreational hockey teams. The Saskatchewan suspension applies to hockey and curling leagues and dance studios.

WATCH | New COVID-19 restrictions come into effect in Saskatchewan:

As new pandemic restrictions come into effect in Saskatchewan, some business owners say they are more than willing to make the sacrifice. 2:02

In British Columbia, Fraser Health announced the closure of an elementary school in Surrey after confirming 16 COVID-19 cases.

Newton Elementary School will close for two weeks, said Fraser Health.

B.C. reported a daily record of 911 COVID-19 cases Friday. The province will update its numbers Monday.

WATCH | New mask mandate in B.C. a point of contention for some:

B.C.’s new mask mandate has become a pressure point in the province, as some people flout the rules or confront people for enforcing them. 2:08

Figures from New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador show increases of four and two cases, respectively.

Prince Edward Island reported two new COVID-19 cases, both involving young males aged 10 and 19.

There were 14 new cases in Nova Scotia and five COVID-19 cases in Nunavut.


What’s happening around the world

As of Sunday morning, there were more than 62.3 million cases of COVID-19 recorded worldwide, with more than 39.8 million of those considered recovered or resolved, according to a coronavirus tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The global death toll stood at more than 1.4 million.

Hong Kong reported 115 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday, including 109 locally transmitted, the highest in nearly four months. The government has ordered schools to close from Wednesday until after the Christmas holidays.

India has reported 41,180 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, with the daily toll staying below the 50,000-mark for the fourth week.

New Delhi also got some respite as it added fewer than 5,000 cases for the first time in a month.

The New Delhi government decided that half its employees, barring senior officials, will be allowed to work from home starting Monday. India reported another 496 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 136,696. India’s confirmed cases since the pandemic began are more than 9.3 million, second behind the U.S.

The United Sates has reported four million cases for November, as of Saturday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That’s more than double the 1.9 million cases reported the previous month. The total has recorded more than 13.2 million cases of the respiratory illness since the pandemic began, the most of any country.

The Czech Republic’s government has announced it is easing measures imposed to contain coronavirus infections. Sunday’s move was made possible by the falling numbers of new confirmed cases.

People gather by a Christmas tree illuminating the Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic on Saturday. The city has cancelled the traditional markets due to a surge in coronavirus infections. (Petr David Josek/The Associated Press)

The day-to-day increase of new cases reached 2,667 on Saturday. The country of almost 10.7 million has had 518,649 confirmed cases since the pandemic began, with 8,054 fatalities.

Health Minister Jan Blatny said all stores, restaurants and bars can reopen on Thursday, with limitations on seating. Stores and shopping centres will also still have to limit the number of shoppers.

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