As the world continues to grapple with the novel coronavirus pandemic, many countries — including Canada — have closed their borders and have implemented stringent travel measures.
But as the number of cases in Canada continues to rise, many are wondering if it may be time to restrict travel between provinces and territories to stem the spread of the virus.
On Sunday, Yukon reported its first two cases of COVID-19.
As a result, Yukon’s chief medical officer, Dr. Brendan Hanley, “strongly” advised that all non-essential travel into and out of Yukon be suspended.
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Asked by reporters if the federal government is looking into implementing such restrictions Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is scheduled to speak with premiers Monday evening about “measures that we can take as a country to move forward.”
“I look forward to that conversation,” he said.
Should the government limit travel between provinces and territories? How would it be enforced?
Here’s what experts say.
Could the government do this?
Section 6 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms affords Canadian citizens the right to enter, remain in and leave the country.
It also affords citizens and permanent residents the right to “move to and take up residence in any province and to purse to gaining of a livelihood in any province.”
But Emmett Macfarlane, a political science professor from the University of Waterloo, said there have been “very few instances” where the government has been able to infringe on these rights.
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He said in this case, the courts might allow a ban on non-essential travel between provinces if the government could demonstrate a significant risk of spreading COVID-19.
“So the context of a health emergency certainly provides the government with the reasonable limit argument,” he said. “But the government probably wants to look at the evidence about how many people are unnecessarily travelling between provinces right now.”
One way the government could implement such restrictions is by declaring a federal emergency and implementing the Emergencies Act.
The act would give the government the right to regulate or prohibit travel to, from or within areas “where necessary for the protection of health and safety of individuals.”
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However, MacFarlane says any federal rule brought in under the Emergencies Act would require provincial implementation.
“So the federal government can set a rule, but it is often at the whim of the province to see it implemented, and that would definitely be the case here,” he said. “If they’re thinking about it, then they almost certainly have discussed this with the provinces, at least as an option.”
But on Sunday, Trudeau said Canada was not in a position where implementing the Emergencies Act was necessary, saying the federal government was continuing to “work closely” with its provincial counterparts.
Is closing provincial borders necessary?
Craig Janes, director of the school of public health at the University of Waterloo, said Canada should be restricting travel between provinces and territories.
He said with community spread, the number of cases could increase “exponentially.”
“Anything that we can do to just stop people moving around is going to reduce the amount of transmission and slow it,” Janes said. “And that gives health systems the ability to respond without getting overwhelmed.”
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, as of 11 a.m. ET on Monday, there were more than 1,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, with the majority of infections reported in Ontario and B.C.
However, MacFarlane said the government is likely taking more of a “wait and see approach.”
He said in a week or so, the country will have a better idea whether the current social distancing measures in place have been effective.
“I think if we see the rate of spread continue to climb, particularly if it continues to climb in that exponential way, then the government’s going to have to start to look at more stringent measures and more draconian rules to try to deal with that,” he said. “If we see things start to flatten out, then it may be unnecessary to bring in these more severe measures.”
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How would it be enforced?
According to MacFarlane, if the government does choose to restrict travel, enforcement would fall to provincial and federal police authorities.
But, while it would be easy for police to monitor major highways and routes, MacFarlane said the measures would be “quite difficult,” to enforce.
He said it would be impossible to stop everyone who is “determined to break the law.”
“We’re talking about such enormous stretches of land between the various provinces, that it would be quite difficult,” he said.
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Janes too said enforcement will never be 100 per cent effective, but that the government can convince citizens to comply by “communicating clearly” why the measures are necessary and important.
“I think this is really critical in this case,” he said.
Would travel restrictions between provinces impact the flow of goods?
In an email to Global News, Marc Fortin, president at the Retail Council of Canada in Quebec said they “don’t expect there will be a big impact on food supply” if travel restrictions between provinces were to be implemented.
“There will be previsions in place by governments, similar to the U.S. restrictions which apply to people but not commerce, to maintain the flow of services and goods, especially if they are essential like food and pharma,” he wrote.
Fortin said regionally there may be a shift in buying patterns in places such as Ottawa and Gatineau, because Canadians won’t cross from one province to another to shop.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Times are tough for Canada's self-proclaimed french fry capital – CBC.ca
For the past few years, Ottawa’s Carole Richard has made an annual pilgrimage with her friends to the small town of Alfred, Ont., to sample the local spuds.
The village of about 1,200 people on County Road 17 — about 70 kilometres east of Ottawa — is, after all, the self-proclaimed french fry capital of Canada.
“I like small fries like these, well-cooked, a little dry,” said Richard, pausing between bites at the Landriault Snack Bar. “They’re super good.”
These days, however, fried potato enthusiasts like Richard only have one local option for satiating their cravings. Of the multiple chip stands and canteens that once dotted the village, only one — the Landriault Snack Bar — still remains.
“When we [were] here 10, 11 years ago, there were four,” owner Bruce Forget recently told Radio-Canada in a French-language interview.
“They all disappeared quietly,” he said.
Some in Alfred trace the decline of the fry shacks to the arrival of a Tim Hortons franchise at the village’s entrance.
Others cite the 2012 completion of Highway 50 on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, which allowed motorists travelling between the National Capital Region and Montreal to bypass County Road 17 altogether.
There’s also the simple fact that the french fry business is hard work — one of the main reasons that Suzanne Villeneuve, owner of Miss Alfred, decided not to open her doors this winter.
Had she done so, her canteen would have celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.
“People can’t imagine [how busy it is],” Villeneuve told Radio-Canada in French, noting that all the food at Miss Alfred was homemade.
“It was 12 hours a day [six days a week]. On the seventh, you changed the oil and then finally took care of your own business.”
As for Forget, he agrees that running a fry shack is hard work — and is well aware that, when it comes to the village’s crispy claim to fame, he’s the only one left keeping it alive.
“I’m the last of the Mohicans,” he laughed.
Canada saw 221 new coronavirus cases Saturday — all of them from Ontario and Quebec – Globalnews.ca
Canada added 221 novel coronavirus cases on Saturday, all in Ontario and Quebec.
In Canada, the total number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed is 107,326, while 8,773 people have died. According to figures released Saturday, just over 3.6 million in the country had been tested for the virus.
Saturday’s numbers were incomplete though, as only six provinces released COVID-19 data that day. Missing are the provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Prince Edward Island and the territories.
In Ontario, officials reported 130 new cases and six deaths caused by COVID-19 for a total of 36,594 cases and 2,716 deaths. Saturday’s numbers mark an increase from Friday, which only saw a rise of 116 newly infected residents.
Over 1.6 million in the province have been tested while 32,422 people have recovered.
Quebec, the province hit hardest by the novel coronavirus,recorded more than 56,407 cases on Saturday after reporting 91 new confirmed cases — a drop from the 100 reported on Friday.
Eight more people have died, leaving the total number of deaths at 5,620. By Saturday, slightly less than half of all active cases had recovered while over 954,000 were tested.
Four out of the six provinces that released new data on Saturday haven’t seen new cases in the last two or more days.
In Manitoba, officials said no one has been diagnosed with COVID-19 since June 30, leaving the province’s total number of confirmed cases at 314 plus 11 cases considered presumptive. Seven people have died and just over 69,000 people have been tested as of Friday.
New Brunswick is on its third consecutive day without a new case of the COVID-19 and nobody in the province has died from the virus since mid-June. All but three of the province’s 166 infected residents have recovered while 46,214 have been tested.
There were no new cases recorded in Nova Scotia on Saturday, which is on its fourth day without any newly confirmed cases and 20th day without COVID-19-related deaths. More than 58,000 people have been tested so far and 1,000 have recovered from the virus.
Newfoundland and Labrador, too, had no new cases or deaths to report on Saturday. Only three people in the province have died from the virus while 258 of its 262 cases have recovered. Over 20,000 residents have been tested.
British Columbia, which last released data on Friday, has recorded 187 deaths and 3,028 confirmed cases — nine of which are ideologically linked, which refers to when a patient may have been in contact with one or more people who tested positive with the virus but hasn’t been tested.
Overall, Alberta has seen 8,596 cases and 160 deaths. As of Friday in Saskatchewan, 15 people have died from the virus while the number of cases remains at 815. Prince Edward Island has yet to record any deaths linked to the virus, but confirmed 33 cases as of Friday.
Nunavut has yet to have its first confirmed case, while the Yukon and Northwest Territories have each recorded 11 and five cases of the virus, respectively. All known cases in the territories have recovered.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Canada reports 10 new coronavirus-related deaths, more than 300 new cases – Globalnews.ca
Cases of the novel coronavirus in Canada surpassed 107,000 July 10, after 322 new infections were reported by provincial health authorities.
The new cases brings the total number of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country to 107,105. Another 10 deaths linked to the virus were also announced Friday, bringing Canada’s official coronavirus death toll to 8,759.
A further 70,842 people — over 66 per cent of Canada’s total infected — have since recovered from the virus, while another 3.3 million tests have been administered.
Ontario reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases on Friday, with 116 new cases and seven deaths. The province’s total COVID-19 infections now sit at 36,464, with 2,710 deaths from the virus.
However, at least 32,155 people have recovered.
Quebec, the province hit hardest but the coronavirus, announced 100 new cases on Friday. Three new deaths were also reported within the province — one of which occurred before July 2.
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The province’s total cases and deaths stand at 56,316 and 5,612, respectfully.
Alberta reported 77 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, the highest daily increase in new infections since May 10. The death toll in the province was lowered to 160 on Friday after a previous fatality was determined to not be COVID-19 related.
Confirmed cases in the province now total at 8,596.
British Columbia added 25 new cases on Friday, as well as one new death. The new numbers bring B.C.’s total infected to 3,044 and its death toll to 187. A further 2,679 patients have since recovered.
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Saskatchewan announced two new cases of the virus on Friday, as well, bringing its total infected 815. The province’s deaths still sit at 15, while 757 people have recovered from the virus.
Both Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador reported just one new case each of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing their provincial case totals to 33 and 262, respectively.
On Friday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam released a statement in lieu of a daily in-person update.
“Resilience is a word that we have all come to understand in a deeper way as we face COVID-19 in our communities. It implies courage, tenacity and collaboration,” read the statement, which touches on the AIDS 2020 international conference.
“The HIV community has been a beacon in the fight against stigma. Approaches to community-led and culturally appropriate care, particularly in Indigenous communities, have served as models and improved our responses to other health challenges, including in the response to COVID-19.”
Worldwide, cases of the novel coronavirus have reached 12,459,000 according to a running tally kept by John Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, a total 558,683 people have since died.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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