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Children under 12 lead Canada's COVID-19 infections: PHAC – CTV News



Canadians under the age of 12 now account for the highest number of new COVID-19 infections, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says.

Speaking at a press conference in Ottawa on Friday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said those under 12 currently represent over 20 per cent of daily cases, despite only representing 12 per cent of the country’s population.

Tam said this overrepresentation is “not unexpected,” though, given the “high level of vaccination in other age groups.”

According to PHAC, there are approximately 4.3 million children under 12 who are not vaccinated.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11. Inoculations in the U.S. began this week.

While Canada has ordered 2.9 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine for children, it is still pending approval from regulators.

Tam confirmed Health Canada’s review of the vaccine remains ongoing, adding that it will likely be “weeks, not months” before the agency comes to a decision.

Tam said while there have been some outbreaks in schools and daycares, they have generally been small in size.

In general, she said younger children experience milder COVID-19 infections than adults, but there are rare instances of more severe illness.

COVID-19-related deaths in young children happen rarely, Tam continued, adding that over the course of the pandemic there have been fewer than 20 fatalities among those under 19.


Over the past month, Canada has made “good progress” in slowing the growth of COVID-19 across Canada, Tam told the press conference.

However, according to the most recent epidemic modelling released by PHAC on Friday, the rate of decline has “slowed somewhat.”

Tam said while she is cautiously optimistic, the country could see some “bumps” in the trajectory of the pandemic in the months ahead, and noted that severe illness trends are “still elevated.”

Tam said since the last modelling released in early October, daily average case counts across the country have continued to decrease.

Over the past week an average of 2,230 cases were being reported daily, she said.

“This means we are about halfway down from the peak of the fourth wave, when over 4,400 cases were being reported daily,” Tam continued.


The PHAC modelling suggests that since the agency’s last update in October, vaccination efforts and public health measures have helped to bring the fourth wave of the pandemic under control along the reduced transmission trajectory previously forecast.

The modelling now suggests if the country continues along the path it is on now, and maintains current levels of transmission, Canadians could expect to see around 1,000 new COVID-19 cases daily by early December.

However, Tam cautioned that it’s “still too soon to fully ease public health measures.”

“If we were to do so we could expect to see a rapid rise in cases,” she explained. “Now is not the time to let our guard down. We may still be in for a challenging winter and maintaining a cautious approach can help keep us safer as we move indoors for the arrival of colder weather.”


According to the latest data from PHAC, more than 58.9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across Canada since vaccination began in mid-December.

The PHAC data suggests that as of 9 p.m. EDT on Thursday, 58,964,890 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in Canada.

This means over 89 per cent of the eligible population – those 12 and older – have received at least one shot, while more than 84 per cent of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated.

But, Tam said there are still more than 5.5 million Canadians who could receive a vaccine, but who have not yet been fully vaccinated.

PHAC data shows 4 million people have not yet received a single dose, while 1.5 million people are only partially vaccinated.


Canada may still be in for a “bumpy ride” through the rest of fall and into the winter, Tam cautioned.

“This virus has proven time and time again that this virus could go through evolutions,” she said. “It’s possible that we could get different variants – and we have to monitor that.”

Asked if the pandemic could be over by the end of winter in Canada, PHAC Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo, said it’s “too early to say,” adding that there are several factors which could impact the pandemic’s trajectory.

“I think we need to be cautious,” he said in French.

The PHAC is urging Canadians to “layer protections” against respiratory infections as the country heads into winter.

This includes getting COVID-19 vaccines, flu shots and other routine vaccines, continuing to wear face masks, improve indoor ventilation and avoid crowds.

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Behavioral tools of pandemic should be applied to climate policy – scientists



Lessons learned from the pandemic about shifting people’s behavior will be applied to policies to counter climate change and disinformation in the future, leading scientists said Thursday.

Carlos Scartascini, from the Inter-American Development Bank, said behavioral tools became critical in the pandemic, in a panel at the Reuters Next conference.

“When you say ‘wash your hands’ – you can say (it) 20 times, but if you don’t change the way you say people basically do not react,” he said.

Dr. Laura de Moliere, who heads up behavioral science in the UK Cabinet office, said a better understanding of human behavior became critical to policymakers in the pandemic, and that should carry forward.

“Climate change is probably quite an obvious one, where if we aren’t designing rules and regulations well, we will be seeing rebound effects where people are insulating their houses, but then buying bigger houses because the energy is cheaper,” she said.

She said transparency of decision making, central to COVID communication, would also be important for winning support for climate change policies.

“There’s lots of really interesting avenues for behavioral science application that have arisen because of because of the pandemic,” said Mary MacLennan, the cofounder of the United Nations Behavioral Science Group.


(Reporting by William James; writing by Merdie Nzanga)

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Majority of Canadians want to ditch the British monarchy. How feasible is it? –



Canada’s ties with the British monarchy are under scrutiny once again after Barbados officially removed Britain’s Queen Elizabeth as its head of state and became a republic this week.

For Barbados, the transition on Tuesday marked an end to its last remaining colonial bonds nearly 400 years after the first English ships arrived at the Caribbean island.

Read more:

Barbados celebrates as it officially becomes a republic, cuts ties with British monarchy

There is now renewed debate in Canada over whether to follow Barbados’ lead, with a majority of Canadians saying the monarchy is becoming less relevant or is no longer relevant at all, new polling shows.

According to an Angus Reid survey published Tuesday, more than 50 per cent say Canada should not remain a constitutional monarchy indefinitely, while one-quarter say it should.

The same poll also suggests that as long as Queen Elizabeth II continues to reign, 55 per cent of Canadians support continuing to recognize her as the official head of state.

Click to play video: 'Rising number of Canadians support dropping monarchy: poll'

Rising number of Canadians support dropping monarchy: poll

Rising number of Canadians support dropping monarchy: poll – Mar 1, 2021

However, that support has declined over the years, polling shows.

In an Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News in March 2021, two in three Canadians, or 66 per cent of respondents, said the Queen and the Royal Family should not have any formal role in Canadian society, as they are “simply celebrities and nothing more.”

That was up two per cent over last year and six per cent since 2016, according to Ipsos.

The waning support comes amid uncertainty around the 95-year-old monarch’s health that has recently limited her public appearances.

Challenges for Canada

Despite Canadians’ dwindling enthusiasm for the royals, eliminating the monarchy in Canada will be a “complicated process,” experts say.

To make any change to the role of the Queen or her representatives in Canada, there must be unanimous consent from the House of Commons, the Senate and each of the provincial legislatures to change the constitution — a process that could take years to complete.

Read more:

How Canada could break up with the monarchy

“Under our constitution, all 10 provinces would have to agree on changes to the office of the Queen and it’s very difficult for all 10 provinces to be on the same page at the same time,” said Carolyn Harris, historian and author of Raising Royalty: 1,000 Years of Royal Parenting.

Because Canada’s Indigenous communities have their own treaties with the Crown, First Nations would need to be consulted as well for any transition to take place, Harris said.

“So in Canada, it would be a very complicated process compared to the comparatively straightforward process in Barbados,” she told Global News.

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Queen responds to Harry and Meghan’s tell-all interview

Queen responds to Harry and Meghan’s tell-all interview – Mar 9, 2021

​Citizens for a Canadian Republic (CCR), a non-profit group, acknowledges there would be challenges when it comes to amending the Constitution but still encourages the discussion.

Among the hurdles it highlights on its website is “an unfair amending formula.”

“Compounding these difficulties is the subject of how Canadians should choose their new head of state and what role it would play in the federal system,” CCR states.

In the practical sense, abolishing the monarchy would not change much for Canada, as the Queen has no political authority, argued Melanie Newton, an associate professor of history at the University of Toronto.

“And the federal government could become a republic without the Indigenous people necessarily having to give up those symbolic ties to the British monarchy,” she said.

Barbados breaks free

Barbados’ move to becoming a republic was the culmination of a more than two decades-long push to ditch the monarchy.

A “major shift” took place last year spurred on by the racial inequalities of the COVID-19 pandemic response, access to vaccines and the Black Lives Matter protest movement across the world, said Newton.

Read more:

53% of Canadians skeptical of the monarchy’s future beyond the Queen’s reign: Ipsos poll

In a historic throne speech in Sept. 2020, governor-general Dame Sandra Mason told the world Barbados was removing Queen Elizabeth as its head of state.

A two-thirds majority vote was needed to amend the country’s constitution.

The parliament unanimously passed the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2021 last month, effectively transferring the responsibilities of the governor general to a new position of president.

Mason was elected as the island’s first president by the Barbados parliament on Oct. 20 and formally sworn in on Nov. 30.

Click to play video: 'Barbados becomes a republic and parts ways with the Queen'

Barbados becomes a republic and parts ways with the Queen

Barbados becomes a republic and parts ways with the Queen

Cynthia Barrow-Giles, professor of political science at the University of West Indies, said the transition to the republic represents a “moment of pride for many Barbadians.”

“This move is very emblematic of overthrowing the yoke of British colonialism and with it some of the negative connotations that people have been dealing with more recently with respect to the character of British colonialism,” she told Global News.

But there is still a “significant amount of work” left to do in terms of the constitution and governance, Barrow-Giles added.

The process of becoming a republic is “far easier” when there is a centralized system of government, as was the case with Barbados, she noted.

“Canada’s situation compared to the Caribbean situation is a little more complex,” she said.

What about other Commonwealth nations?

Other Caribbean nations have also left the monarchy to become republics, including Trinidad and Tobago, but the last country to remove the Queen as head of state was Mauritius in 1992.

With Barbados cutting ties, that leaves 15 Commonwealth countries that have the Queen as their monarch, including Canada.

Read more:

Barbados becomes a republic: What it means for the Crown, the Commonwealth and Canada

However, Barbados will remain part of the Commonwealth, a grouping of 54 countries across Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe.

Other Caribbean nations, including Jamaica and St. Lucia, have also discussed breaking away from the monarchy.

Click to play video: 'The details on the Queen’s mounting health concerns'

The details on the Queen’s mounting health concerns

The details on the Queen’s mounting health concerns – Nov 16, 2021

Now, Barbados’ move may fuel republicanism within the Commonwealth, experts say.

“It’s certainly something that will be discussed and debated in the Commonwealth realms, especially as this transition does not mean a departure from the Commonwealth,” said Harris.

Barrow-Giles concurred, saying, “I would think that for a lot of the other Caribbean countries, the conversation would resume, and hopefully we’ll get that transition going.”

— with files from Global News’ Redmond Shannon

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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New travel rules: Canadian airports warn of 'chaos' – CTV News



Canada’s plan to require novel coronavirus tests for all but U.S. arrivals on international flights risks causing “chaos” and long lines if all passengers are expected to get tested at airports, industry groups said.

The move, announced Tuesday, comes as the travel season kicks into gear and could stretch airport resources as well as testing holiday-makers’ patience, they said.

Daniel Gooch, president of the Canadian Airports Council, said airports cannot test all overseas arrivals on-site without long wait times.

“Do we really want people waiting for hours for a test in a customs hall?” he asked by phone on Wednesday.

“We want to avoid chaos. And we want to ensure that travelers who have booked trips are comfortable to travel.”

Canada on Tuesday said it will require people arriving internationally by air, except from the United States, to take a COVID-19 test, seeking to halt the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Currently, only randomly selected passengers from international flights are tested at airports by private companies the government contracts.

The announcement came as the country’s aviation sector, battered by the pandemic, had been looking forward to a stronger holiday season this year.

Canadian public health authorities did not say Wednesday when the policy will come into effect, who will administer the tests or whether the tests will be administered on-site or through take-home kits.

Airports are pushing for the latter.

Tori Gass, a spokesperson for Toronto’s Pearson International Airport – Canada’s largest – said in an email that “a combination of onsite and off-airport testing must be considered to accommodate the volume of tests contemplated.”

Some travellers, meanwhile, who had rushed to book trips amid loosening restrictions just weeks before, were having second thoughts.

“I know various clients who have decided to cancel and are now looking at what refunds they’ll be able to get,” said Marty Firestone with Travel Secure insurance, adding that the travel landscape had been getting better.

“Now we’ve taken two steps back,” he said.

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