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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on May 1 – CBC.ca

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The latest:

Nova Scotia announced Friday it’s immediately easing some of its COVID-19 restrictions, one day after Alberta and Newfoundland released frameworks for how they would reopen their economies. As more political leaders follow suit, many businesses, health practitioners and even cities are working to figure out how they will operate as restrictions are lifted.

Manitoba’s largest city is scrambling to try and get amenities, such as playgrounds and golf courses, ready to reopen on Monday, after a provincial plan set out a timeline for lifting restrictions.

“There is much more to reopening than simply reversing measures that we’ve put into place,” Mayor Brian Bowman said, as he asked Winnipeggers to be patient with the reopening process. 

Officials in Quebec announced they will be launching a more “aggressive” testing strategy as they prepare to loosen their own restrictions. Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s director of public health, said the province is planning to conduct 14,000 tests a day, up from roughly 6,000. Increased testing and contact tracing are considered by experts to be an essential part of any plan to reopen the economy.

Workers unload medical supplies arriving from China at Mirabel Airport in Mirabel, Que. on Friday. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Ontario on Friday announced it will allow a limited number of businesses to reopen, as long as they meet “strict public health measures.” Lawn care and landscaping services, garden centres and nurseries with curbside pickup, community gardens, automatic and self-serve car washes, auto dealers and some construction projects will be allowed to open on Monday, with specific rules around how they can operate.

“Today’s news show us if we stay the course, if we stay vigilant and take the measured approach, we can keep moving in the right direction,” Premier Doug Ford said at a news briefing. 

And while provinces eye ways to jump-start their economies, people across the country are struggling to receive EI payments after losing their jobs due to the pandemic. Many Canadians have gone weeks without benefits because of problems with their EI applications, and find they’re unable to make it through jammed phone lines to get help.

The C.D. Howe Institute’s Business Cycle Council, which monitors recessions and recoveries in Canada, declared on Friday that the country is officially in a recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic is still less than two months old in Canada, but it said Friday the slowdown is already so swift and deep that it’s safe to declare a recession. 

People wearing face masks are seen in downtown Ottawa on Friday. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

As of 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Canada had 55,061 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with the majority concentrated in Ontario and Quebec. Provinces and territories list 22,762 of the cases as resolved or recovered. A CBC News tally of COVID-19-related deaths based on provincial data, regional health information and CBC’s reporting lists 3,507 deaths in Canada and two known coronavirus-related deaths of Canadians abroad.

Public health officials have cautioned that the recorded numbers are likely too low, noting that they fail to capture information on people who have not been tested or who are still under investigation as possible coronavirus cases. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, has urged people to behave as though there is coronavirus in their community, even if there haven’t been any recorded cases. 

The novel coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. There is no proven treatment or vaccine for the virus, which first emerged in China in late 2019. 

What’s happening in the provinces and territories

Police in British Columbia have made hundreds of home visits to make sure residents who recently returned home from abroad are following self-isolation orders. The visits were to roughly 500 people who had not responded to phone calls and text messages from authorities making sure recent travellers were quarantining as promised. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.

A golfer is seen at the reopened McCleery Golf Club in Vancouver on Friday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Alberta is reporting an outbreak at an Amazon warehouse north of Calgary. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical health officer, says there are five cases at the site in Balzac. The company reported its first confirmed case among the more than 1,000 full-time workers on April 12.

Also Friday, Hinshaw announced the province is launching a voluntary mobile app to expand contact tracing. The app, once downloaded, uses Bluetooth to identify any other nearby phones that have the same app. Anyone with the app who later develops COVID-19 will be asked to upload the data to Alberta Health Services, which will use it to reach out to those who came in contact with the person. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.

Saskatchewan on Friday reported 26 new cases — the largest single-day increase in more than a month, and the second largest increase in the province since the pandemic began, behind the 30 new cases reported on March 28. Of the 26 new cases, 19 are in La Loche and the surrounding area, including Clearwater River Dene Nation. 

“We’ve very concerned with the increase in cases,” said Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer. “The current outbreak in the north is due to further community transmission; people who have been exposed in the community.” Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.

New rules kick in for Manitoba care homes today, limiting health-care workers to just one care home. The province reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total to 279. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.

WATCH | Indigenous teen hoop dancer moves into Ottawa retirement residence to help during COVID-19:

‘I consider them almost, like, as a second family,’ said Makhena Katerie Rankin Guérin. ‘That bond, it’s so valuable to me.’ 7:26

Ontario reported eight COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care homes on Friday, bringing the provincial total to 198. In response to the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care and retirement homes, a provincial health-care advocacy group is organizing a day of action Friday to call for improved access to testing and personal protective equipment at the facilities.

Also on Friday, the province announced it would allow some businesses to reopen on May 4 “under strict guidelines. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario. 

A cyclist wearing a face mask rides past cherry blossoms fenced off to curb gatherings at a park in Toronto on Friday. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Quebec’s director of public health says the province is launching a more “aggressive” testing strategy in the community, as it begins to loosen pandemic restrictions. Dr. Horacio Arruda said the province is planning to conduct 14,000 tests a day, up from roughly 6,000 tests a day that it’s currently doing. 

Arruda also announced 163 more COVID-19-related deaths. While this is the highest number reported on a single day, he said it includes previously unreported deaths for the month of April. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec, including concerns parents and teachers in the province have over a plan to reopen schools in under two weeks.

A person is given hand sanitizer before being tested at a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal on Friday. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

New Brunswick has now gone 13 days straight without a new case of COVID-19. “That is very good news, but we are still actively searching for cases of COVID-19,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the chief medical officer of health, during Friday’s news briefing. On Thursday, Russell cautioned there will be new cases in New Brunswick, but health officials are now more prepared for the next wave. Read more about what’s happening in N.B.

The Nova Scotia government announced Friday it is immediately easing some public health restrictionsRules around physical distancing and social gatherings remain in place. People must keep two metres apart and not gather in groups of more than five.  ​​​​​​ 

Nova Scotia reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing its total to 959 confirmed cases. The province has recorded 29 deaths related to COVID-19. Read more about what’s happening in N.S.

A paramedic and an ambulance is seen at Northwood Manor, one of the largest nursing homes in Atlantic Canada, in Halifax on Friday. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Prince Edward Island had no new cases of COVID-19 again on Friday. Since Thursday, 75 new negative test results have returned, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said. Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I., including how the premier is asking the federal government to change its COVID-19 benefits program in order to motivate people to get back to work. 

WATCH | COVID-19: Is airborne transmission possible?

An infectious disease specialist answers your questions about the COVID-19 pandemic including whether airborne transmission is possible. 2:18

Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case on Friday. It’s the first in five days. On Thursday, the province introduced a reopening plan, which sets May 11 as a target date for the lifting of some restrictions, including around non-urgent medical care and low-risk outdoor activity. That plan allowed households to form a “bubble,” allowing them to spend time with one other household. On Friday, the province’s chief medical officer of health warned that allowance could be rescinded if the number of new cases spikes. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.

In Canada’s North,  all of the territory’s 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have recovered. Yukon Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee also announced Friday that someone has been charged under Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for allegedly failing to self-isolate as required. Read more about what’s happening across the North.

WATCH | Some good news from across the country on Friday:

With much of the world struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still some good-news stories to report. Here’s a brief roundup. 3:13

What’s happening in the U.S.

From The Associated Press, updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

More than a dozen states let restaurants, stores or other businesses reopen Friday in the biggest one-day push yet to get their economies up and running again, acting at their own speed and with their own quirks and restrictions to make sure the coronavirus doesn’t come storming back.

People in Louisiana could eat at restaurants again but had to sit outside at tables three metres apart with no waiter service. Maine residents could attend church services as long as they stayed in their cars. And a Nebraska mall reopened with Plexiglas barriers and hand-sanitizing stations but few shoppers.

Meanwhile, the first drug shown to help fight COVID-19 won emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In a major study, remdesivir shortened patients’ recovery time from 15 days to 11 on average and may have also reduced deaths.

Shoppers wearing face masks enter a department store in Omaha, Neb., on Friday. (Nati Harnik/The Associated Press)

President Donald Trump said Friday that he’s hoping the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States will be below 100,000, which he acknowledged is a “horrible number.” Trump’s predictions of the expected U.S. death toll have changed over time, with his earlier 60,000 projection now being eclipsed. But he said at a White House event that “maybe millions of lives” have been saved by shutting down the economy.

More than 64,000 people have died in the U.S. so far.

With the crisis stabilizing in Europe and in many places in the U.S., countries and states are gradually easing their restrictions amid warnings from health experts that a second wave of infections could hit unless testing for the virus is expanded dramatically.

People wearing face masks are seen at a salon in Edmond, Okla., on Friday. (Sue Ogrocki/The Associated Press)

In much of Colorado, people could get their hair cut and shop at stores again, though stay-at-home orders remained in place in Denver and surrounding counties.

Wyoming let barbershops, nail salons, gyms and daycare centres reopen. In Maine, golf courses, hairdressers and dentists opened.

Hotels near South Carolina beaches opened and state parks unlocked their gates for the first time in more than a month. But in Myrtle Beach, the state’s most popular tourist destination, hotel elevators will be restricted to one person or one family — a potential inconvenience at the area’s 15- and 20-storey resorts.

Workers wearing face masks are seen at a reopned restaurant in Houston on Friday. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)

Texas’s reopening got underway with sparse crowds at shopping malls and restaurants allowing customers to dine in, though only at 25 per cent capacity in most places. A video posted on social media showed a city park ranger in Austin getting shoved into the water Thursday while asking people in a crowd to keep six feet apart from each other. Police charged a 25-year-old man with attempted assault.

Around the country, protesters have demanded governors reboot the battered economy. More than 100 people chanted and carried signs in front of Chicago’s Thompson Center, where Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has an office, to call for an end to the statewide lockdown.

Pritzker has said he will not lift his order until it’s safe, and several counterprotesters expressed support for his position. Nurse anesthetist Benjamin Salazar held up a sign that read, “Stay home. We are getting tired of seeing people die.”

Protesters rally against Illinois stay-at-home order outside in downtown Chicago on Friday. (Nam Y. Huh/The Associated Press)

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham invoked the state’s Riot Control Act as she sealed off all roads to nonessential traffic in the city of Gallup, population 70,000, to help control a surging coronavirus outbreak in the former trading post on the outskirts of the Navajo reservation.

In the hardest-hit corner of the U.S., New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said schools and colleges will remain closed through the rest of the academic year.

In Washington state, where the nation’s first COVID-19 case was confirmed in January, Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday that he is extending the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order through at least May 31 and that he will ease the restrictions in four stages. Washington also had the first deadly cluster of cases in the U.S., at a Seattle-area nursing home.

What’s happening around the world

From The Associated Press and Reuters, updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Countries must lift lockdowns gradually, while still being “on the look-out” for COVID-19 and ready to restore restrictions if the virus jumps back, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

Vulnerable people in institutions, including those in long-term care facilities, prisons and migrant dormitories, must be protected, said Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergencies expert.

Even if the virus is coming under control, communities must know to still follow physical distancing and hygiene measures, and testing of suspect cases must continue, he said.

WATCH | WHO review finds COVID-19 remains a public health emergency:

‘We know too little about the transmission of the virus,’ said Dr. Didier Houssin, expert adviser to the WHO, as he identified key issues that need to be addressed.. 2:12

As in much of the rest of Europe, Italy’s May Day traditions, which pay tribute to the role of workers in society, have been upended by lockdown rules forbidding gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.

The heart and soul of Italy’s May Day commemoration have been rallies led by union leaders, followed by an evening of rock and pop music in Rome, drawing crowds sometimes topping 100,000 in the square outside St. John in Lateran Basilica. 

This year, musical artists will take turns performing solo in venues without anyone in the audience. Their music will be broadcast on TV and by state radio, with the evening’s theme being, “Working in safety to build a future.”

Deaths from COVID-19 in Italy climbed by 269 on Friday, down from 285 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new infections stood at 1,965 compared to 1,872 on Thursday.

WATCH | Italian cities test physical distancing measures as restrictions soon to ease:

Picturesque Florence and Ostia prepare to slowly transition to a somewhat new normal beginning May 4. 1:02

In Germany, hundreds gathered in a square in Berlin on Friday to mark May Day. They did so in defiance of a ban on public gatherings of more than 20, exposing deep frustrations with physical distancing rules in place in Germany since mid-March to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Germany has been slowly easing its way out of a six-week lockdown. Small shops reopened this week, and playgrounds, museums and churches will follow starting on Monday.

Most Germans support the lockdown enforced by the country’s 16 states and backed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, despite its heavy toll on the economy, which is expected to contract by a record of more than six per cent this year.

Demonstrators practice social distancing at a Labour Day rally in Duisberg, Germany, on Friday. (Caroline Seidel/dpa via AP)

Britain has hit its target of carrying out 100,000 COVID-19 tests a day, Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Friday, stressing the program is crucial to helping ease a national lockdown.

He set the target of 100,000 tests by the end of April after being criticized for moving too slowly compared to other countries such as Germany. Hancock also announced the British death toll had risen by 739 to 27,510 deaths — just below that of Italy, which was one of the first and worst-hit European countries.

A medical worker takes a swap at a coronavirus drive-thru testing centre in the parking lot of the closed Chessington World of Adventures Resort theme park in London on May 1. (Warren Little/Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Friday that the end of the national lockdown on May 11 would only be a first step as France looks to pull out of the crisis created by the COVID-19 outbreak. The number of people who have died from the disease in France rose by 218 to 24,594 on Friday, while hospitalisations and people in intensive care continued to decline, France’s public health chief said.

Spain’s government expects that the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy will shrink by 9.2 per cent this year and that unemployment will reach 19 per cent of the working-age population. Deputy Prime Minister Nadia Calvino announced the grim forecast on Friday when she explained Spain’s economic stability plan that it has presented to the European Union.

An elderly person wearing a face mask is seen sitting in a wheelchair in Barcelona on Friday. (Nacho Doce/Reuters)

Russia registered almost 8,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday in yet another record daily spike, bringing the total to 114,431. The number of cases is likely to be much higher as not everyone gets tested, and tests in Russia were reported to be only 70 to 80 per cent accurate.

In at least five Russian regions, health officials registered a surge of pneumonia cases. In Moscow, which accounts for half of all virus cases, all respiratory infections are likely to be caused by the coronavirus, according to the public health agency Rospotrebnadzor.

Police officers are seen wearing face masks while on patrol in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday. (Dmitri Lovetsky/The Associated Press)

Japan will formally decide as early as Monday whether to extend its state of emergency, which was originally set to end on May 6. 

In China, Beijing’s parks and museums, including the ancient Forbidden City, reopened to the public after being closed for months by the coronavirus pandemic.

WATCH | May Day celebrations prompt surge at China’s tourist hot spots as COVID-19 restrictions lessen

Outside Beijing’s Forbidden City, one man expressed the joy of the moment:  “I hope that by coming here to visit, I can start a beautiful day in 2020.”   0:53

India said on Friday it would extend its nationwide lockdown for another two weeks after May 4, but would allow “considerable relaxations” in lower-risk districts marked as green and orange zones under the government’s plan to fight the novel coronavirus. 

The country registered another daily high in coronavirus cases, with nearly 2,000 recorded in the past 24 hours. India’s Health Ministry said Friday the 1,993 new cases and 73 more deaths bring the country’s totals to 35,043 cases and 1,147 deaths.

The government is due to decide the future of its 40-day lockdown on Sunday. It allowed migrant workers and other stranded people to resume their journeys on Wednesday, as well as some shops to reopen and manufacturing and farming to resume.

A volunteer at Jhandewalan temple in New Delhi packs free food packets Friday to be distributed by the Sewa Bharti organization during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against COVID-19. (Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images)

A holiday atmosphere enlivened South Africa’s streets as the May Day public holiday is also when the country has begun easing its strict lockdown. For the first time in five weeks, people were permitted to walk outside for exercise between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., and thousands, with mandated face masks and keeping distance, were out walking through the streets.

Some South Africans will be able to return to work in small batches and many businesses will resume limited operations. Many factories can resume operations in phases, starting with only a third of employees allowed to return, and they must abide by distancing and other guidelines.

Public transport, including trains and buses, will begin operating with a restricted number of passengers. Even with the easing, South Africa’s lockdown remains strict, with no sales of liquor and cigarettes permitted.

A South African Police Service officer commands a man to wear a face mask in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, on Friday, during a joint patrol by the South African National Defence Force, the South African Police Service and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department. (Michele Spatari/AFP/Getty Images)

Zimbabwe‘s President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended a nationwide lockdown to fight the new coronavirus by two more weeks and announced a $720 million US stimulus package for distressed companies, most which will be allowed to reopen on Monday.

Brazil reported a record 7,218 cases in the last 24 hours and 435 additional fatalities. Peruvian authorities, meanwhile, closed a busy food market in Lima after mass rapid testing confirmed more than 160 positive cases.

WATCH | May Day 2020 brings protests, arrests and little physical distancing:

A roundup of events from some cities around the globe. 1:30

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'Safe restart' of Canadian economy will take 6-8 months, Freeland says – CTV News

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TORONTO —
A ‘safe restart’ of the Canadian economy will likely take at least half a year, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday, a day after Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam cautioned that relaxing current restrictions too much or too soon could result in an “explosive growth” of new cases.

“One other thing that we would like to really underscore is what we are talking about is the safe restart right now. So this is not a long-term plan,” Freeland told reporters when asked about the government’s plans for the $14 billion earmarked to help provinces and territories.

“This is for ensuring a safe restart over the next six to eight months. And I think it’s important for Canadians to understand that’s the timeframe that we are focused on.”

Canada is fast approaching 95,000 COVID-19 cases and has recorded more than 7,700 deaths across the country. Most provinces and territories have begun reporting no or very few cases and deaths and are beginning to look at how to restart the economy, but Ontario and Quebec are still reporting close to or morethan 300 new cases a day and numerous deaths. The two provinces now account for more than 90 percent of the cases, but have also begun plans for reopening.

Tam said Thursday that until an effective vaccine or treatment becomes available, Canada needsto remain vigilant with its containment efforts to prevent an “explosive” second wave, with the latest federal modelling showing that another peak was possible in October without sufficient prevention measures.

The last time the federal government made a projection was in late April, when it estimated that the country was on track to report between 53,196 and 66,835 cases of COVID-19, and between 3,277 and 3,883 deaths. In reality, there were 62,046 confirmed cases and 4,043 people had died by May 5.

Freeland said the government understands that the needs of each province and territory vary a great deal, and that it wanted to work collaboratively with them.

“We really are approaching this by saying to the provinces and territories, we understand that a safe restart is essential.  And that it is expensive.”

With files from Ottawa news Bureau Online Producer Rachel Aiello

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Feds to send $600 to some Canadians with disabilities – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Canadians with disabilities will be sent a one-time tax-free payment of up to $600, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday, in an effort to help offset the financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This new financial aid will go to all who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit, as of June 1.

Canadians who have a valid certificate for the Disability Tax Credit will receive $600. Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension will receive $300. Canadians who are eligible for both of these programs and are also eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will be receiving $100.

The government says that because of the special one-time payments going to seniors, the amount seniors with disabilities will receive through this stream will be less, but in the end will total the same amount of $600.

“People who are eligible for this special payment will receive it automatically,” the federal government has announced, meaning that eligible recipients of these new one-time payments will not need to apply. However, as announced with the seniors funding on Thursday, it could be weeks before the money lands in the hands of those eligible. 

For those who are eligible and under the age of 18, the special payment will be sent to their primary caregiver and in cases of shared custody, each parent will receive $300.

“This payment will go to existing disability tax credit certificate holders, which includes parents with children or dependents with disabilities, seniors, veterans and many other Canadians that we know have costs associated with severe and prolonged disabilities,” Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough said on Friday.

Some Canadians with disabilities had been watching the various announcements for students, seniors, and other targeted demographics and have been left wondering why they appeared to have fallen through the cracks.

For many already living on a low income, they are facing more expenses due to the pandemic, such as increased costs for personal support workers, grocery delivery fees and prescription drug dispensing fees.

The government estimates that 1.2 million Canadians will be eligible for this one-time top-up, which will cost $548 million. Among working-age Canadians with disabilities, more than 1.5 million are unemployed or out of the labour market entirely.

NEW ACCESSIBILITY PROGRAMS

In addition to the one-time payments, the federal government is launching two new accessibility-focused programs.

One, focused on national workplace accessibility, will see $15 million go to community organizations to develop programs and expand current training opportunities to help Canadians with disabilities adapt to the realities of COVID-19, including helping set up effective work-from-home arrangements and training for in-demand jobs.

The second is a $1.8 million fund being shared between five projects to develop accessible technology such as accessible payment terminals for individuals with sight loss; arm supports that will allow Canadians with disabilities to use standard technology; systems to allow Canadians with neurological conditions to interact with technology for a longer period of time; and to develop software to expand expression and voice recognition.

“We know this pandemic has deeply affected the lives and health of all Canadians and disproportionately affected Canadians with disabilities in particular,” Qualtrough said. “We also recognize that persons with disabilities are at a higher risk of job loss during economic downturns.”

Asked more broadly whether the government has plans to extend or amend the $2,000 a-month Canada Emergency Response Benefit in light of the shifting economic situation and gradual reopening, the minister said that conversations are underway.

“Our thinking moving forward is how do we balance a need to continue to support workers while not disincentivizing work, and absolutely those conversations are happening right now.” 

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Canadian marches, vigils taking place to honour black lives lost at hands of police – CBC.ca

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Demonstrators plan to march from Parliament Hill through Ottawa streets mid-afternoon today to honour black lives lost at the hands of police.

The demonstrations follow days of protests across the U.S. after a video showed Minneapolis police killing a black man, George Floyd, unleashing a torrent of anger over persistent racism.

A police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while he pleaded that he couldn’t breathe.

Prosecutors on Wednesday expanded their case against the police who were at the scene of Floyd’s death, charging three of the officers with aiding and abetting a murder and upgrading the charges against the officer who pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck to second-degree murder.

The most serious charge was filed against Derek Chauvin, whose caught-on-video treatment of the handcuffed Floyd spurred worldwide protests.

Three other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. All four were fired last week.

Friday’s planned actions comes after rallies of a similar theme have taken place already this week in Saskatoon, Sydney, N.S., Burlington, Ont., and Calgary, among other locations. 

Read on to see what’s happening around Canada.

Ottawa

The Ottawa event is being organized by the group No Peace Until Justice.

The group says its goal is to bring together black activists and organizations and allies to stand in solidarity against police brutality and societal racism.

The event has touched off some online controversy about who is welcome to attend.

A poster stuck to a pole along Bank Street in Ottawa calls for solidarity with protesters in the United States. (Joseph Tunney/CBC)

Ottawa police were not invited at the request of the No Peace Until Justice organizers.

After Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson noted his intention to be there, the group said he was invited via Twitter by unaffiliated individuals. “The No Peace Until Justice organizers did not reach out to him or his office.”

The group says it opposes all streaming and the taking of videos or photos of the demonstration to protect the identity and safety of those attending.

WATCH l Calling for police reform in Canada:

A video of an aggressive arrest in Nunavut that sparked an investigation is among the recent arrests in Canada sparking questions about use of force, police funding and interactions with black and Indigenous Canadians. 2:05

For their part, the Ottawa police say public safety is a shared responsibility.

“We are working with organizers and all stakeholders to enable a safe, healthy and positive event,” the police service said Thursday.

“You have a right to be heard. And we will support that right by ensuring your safety,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in Ottawa on Friday he saluted those who are “standing up to speak out clearly” about systemic discrimination.

“We have thousands of people stepping forward to highlight the challenges and to show that they want to be allies,” he said.

Trudeau also said he saluted those who are “standing up to speak out clearly” about systemic discrimination.

“We have thousands of people stepping forward to highlight the challenges and to show that they want to be allies.”

WATCH | Trudeau welcomes peaceful protests:

With mass anti-racism demonstrations planned in several cities, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he looks forward to seeing Canadians peacefully protesting across the country. 0:32

Toronto

A similarly themed Toronto march is proceeding south from the Bloor-Yonge subway station on Friday, headed to city hall.

Several businesses on downtown Toronto’s Yonge Street and surrounding areas boarded up their windows in anticipation of the protest. Toronto Eaton Centre said it would be closed until Monday as a precaution.

Delsin Aventus, one of the organizers of the rally, told CBC Toronto that protesters hope to create dialogue between the community and civic leaders about issues of racism and violence.

“Today started as a march in solidarity both with lives lost both to racism and unfortunately some to police,” he said.

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders met with protesters. 

Saunders could be seen on one knee with protesters, though some have criticized police officers kneeling with demonstrators as ringing hollow, considering reports of police violence at protests in recent days.

Saskatchewan

Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said the video of George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis late last month has spurred people to action and now they’re making their voices heard.  

“It can’t help but move people to say, ‘That’s not acceptable,’ and that’s one act of violence. But we know the frustration that’s coming out is also because of persistent inequality and people living in two societies too often in Canada and North America,” he said Thursday.

Clark acknowledged these issues are faced by Saskatoon’s Indigenous and newcomer populations and said it’s inspiring to see so many people speak out against racism and inequality.

In Regina, demonstrators at a Black Lives Matter rally were silent for eight minutes and 46 seconds before erupting into the lyrics of Amazing Grace.

Participants met at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum before 11 a.m. CST. They planned to march to the Saskatchewan Legislature, where a similar rally was held on Tuesday.  

People take a knee after a speech by Regina Police Chief Evan Bray on Friday. (Alex Soloducha/CBC News)

British Columbia

In B.C., an estimated 3,500 people turned out at the Vancouver Art Gallery on May 31 in an event inspired by the Floyd killing.

On Friday, a protest is being held at 4 p.m. PT at Jack Poole Plaza in downtown Vancouver, this time focusing specifically on the Canadian context.

“We need to magnify this,” said Jacob Callender-Presad, who has organized both events. “We need to talk about this because racism in Canada does exist.”

Organizers are taking COVID-19 precautions, he said.

Those measures include supplying hand sanitizer, masks and gloves at the event, Callender-Presad said, with physical distancing to be encouraged.

Events are also scheduled Friday on the legislature grounds in Edmonton and Winnipeg, at Parade Square in Halifax and in Repentigny, Que.

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