Ontario crossed the 300,000 mark for total number of COVID-19 cases on Sunday and remains the province with the highest tally.
Its overall count rose to 300,816 after health officials counted 1,062 new infections.
The province has been logging roughly 1,000 new cases per day in recent weeks. Ontario is also approaching 7,000 deaths linked to the virus since the start of the pandemic, with 6,980 in total recorded as of Sunday.
Ontario is taking a regional approach to its pandemic response and is set to push two public health units back into lockdown on Monday: Simcoe-Muskoka and Thunder Bay.
Restrictions will loosen on Monday in Niagara Region; Chatham-Kent; Middlesex-London; Southwestern; Haldimand-Norfolk; Huron Perth; and Grey Bruce public health regions.
To the east, Prince Edward Island is bringing in some new circuit breaker restrictions, starting Sunday, because of a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Most of the province’s previous cases have been linked to travel, but many of its 12 new COVID-19 cases in the past few days have no such connection.
The restrictions will be in effect until at least March 14, Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.’s chief public health officer, said in a COVID-19 briefing on Saturday.
They include no in-restaurant dining, no sports games or tournaments, a limit on gym capacity and restricting personal gatherings to household members plus 10 “consistent” people.
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What’s happening across Canada
As of 11:15 a.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 866,000 cases of COVID-19, with 30,718 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 21,989.
In British Columbia, Fraser Health reported that an outbreak had been declared at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, where five patients in a medicine unit have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Alberta Health Services CEO Dr. Verna Yiu is apologizing for the “frustration and worry” caused by the problematic launch of its online COVID-19 vaccine appointment booking system. The site repeatedly crashed, and the 811 phone line jammed as Albertans tried for hours to book appointments.
Alberta registered 415 new cases and six additional deaths on Saturday.
Saskatchewan reported 162 new cases and five deaths.
First Nations in the province have continued to be hit hard by COVID-19 in the first two months of 2021, with Indigenous Services Canada saying there were 2,779 new cases on reserves in Saskatchewan so far this year — more than any other province in Canada.
Manitoba confirmed 90 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths.
With numbers continuing to decline, the provincial government is considering a broad swath of relaxed COVID-19 rules that could increase outdoor gathering sizes, let families form a “bubble” with another household and see almost all establishments allowed to reopen, including in the retail and indoor recreation sectors.
WATCH | Manitoba government considers relaxing COVID-19 rules:
Ontario reported 1,062 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 additional deaths on Sunday, after counting 1,185 new cases and 16 new deaths the previous day.
The province also announced Friday it is activating an “emergency brake” in Thunder Bay and Simcoe-Muskoka, sending the regions back into lockdown to “immediately interrupt transmission and contain community spread. “The two regions will move into the grey lockdown level of Ontario’s COVID-19 restriction plan effective 12:01 a.m. ET on Monday, March 1.
Quebec marked one year on Saturday since detecting its first case of COVID-19. It has Canada’s second-highest count for coronavirus infections among the provinces and territories.
In that time, Quebec has registered 287,740 cases of the virus, including 737 that were announced Sunday. A total of 10,393 deaths in the province have been attributed to the respiratory infection, including nine new deaths on Sunday.
The province is working to accelerate its mass vaccination campaign, with the goal of administering 12 million doses by the beginning of September. Montreal is expanding its vaccination program to include members of the general public aged 80 and over. The city’s campaign is set to get underway on Monday.
New Brunswick reported one new death attributed to COVID-19 on Sunday but no new cases.
Residents of the province can now go between regions for non-essential trips. Under revised orange phase guidelines, those living in other regions can be part of a household’s steady 10 contacts, and hospital visits are permitted with public health measures in place.
Newfoundland and Labrador reported four new cases and one additional death, bringing its total death toll to six.
Nova Scotia announced four new cases on Saturday as tighter restrictions came into force to stem a recent spike.
Restaurants and bars in the Halifax area must now stop serving food and drinks by 9 p.m. and must close by 10 p.m. Restrictions are also being placed on sports, arts and culture events.
WATCH | How the pandemic has affected young adults:
Prince Edward Island reported six new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. The new cases — five men and one woman — are all in their 20s. Five are close contacts of previous cases.
Nunavut added six recoveries on Saturday. Active cases in the territory now stand at 20.
In the Northwest Territories, a Gahcho Kué mine worker who contracted COVID-19 is in critical condition, health authorities confirmed Friday. The territory has seen a total of four people hospitalized for complications related to COVID-19, with three connected to the Gahcho Kué mine. All but one have recovered.
What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday, more than 113.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with 64.3 million of them listed as recovered on a tracking site maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.5 million, according to the U.S.-based university.
The Philippines received its first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine on Sunday, among the last in Southeast Asia to secure the critical doses despite having the second-highest number of coronavirus infections and deaths in the hard-hit region.
A Chinese military transport aircraft carrying 600,000 doses of vaccine donated by China arrived at an air base in the capital. Initial vaccinations of health workers were scheduled to start in six Metropolitan Manila hospitals on Monday.
Aside from the donated vaccine from Sinovac Biotech, the government has separately ordered 25 million doses from the China-based company. An initial 525,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca were also scheduled to arrive on Monday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
The initial deliveries are a small fraction of at least 148 million doses the government has been negotiating to secure from Western and Asian companies to vaccinate about 70 million Filipinos for free in a massive campaign largely funded with foreign and domestic loans. The bulk of the vaccine shipments are expected to arrive later this year.
The United States is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose.
Health experts are anxiously awaiting a one-and-done option to help speed vaccinations, as they race against a virus that has already killed more than 510,000 people in the U.S.
The FDA said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations and death. One dose was 85 per cent protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents — protection that remained strong even in countries such as South Africa, where the variants of most concern are spreading.
Johnson & Johnson is initially providing a few million doses, and shipments to states could begin as early as Monday. By the end of March, the company has said it expects to deliver 20 million doses to the U.S. and 100 million by summer.
Have questions about this story? We’re answering as many as we can in the comments.
IRCC: Canada welcomed over 35,000 new immigrants in June – Canada Immigration News
Canada recorded its strongest month for new permanent resident arrivals during the pandemic in June 2021, according to the office of Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.
In a recent Globe and Mail article, the minister says “We are going to make good on our commitment to land 401,000 new permanent residents.”
Under its Immigration Levels Plan 2021-2023, the Canadian government is seeking to welcome at least 401,000 new immigrants annually, beginning this year. Prior to the pandemic, this target was set at 341,000 newcomers.
The plan is the most ambitious in Canada’s history. Only once has Canada welcomed over 400,000 immigrants in a year. This took place in 1913, but Canadian immigration plummeted immediately after due to the onset of the First World War.
The minister’s office estimates that Canada welcomed over 35,000 new permanent residents in June. In follow up email correspondence with CIC News, the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said its preliminary figures show Canada welcomed 35,700 immigrants last month. This figure is significantly higher than Canada’s totals in recent months.
Canada got off to a strong start to the year. It welcomed 24,680 new immigrants in January but lost momentum in the months to follow. The country then welcomed 23,395 in February, 22,425 in March, and 21,155 in April, and 17,100 in May.
Altogether Canada has welcomed some 143,000 new permanent residents through the first six months of 2021 which remains well short of the pace it needs to welcome 401,000 newcomers by the end of this year.
In order to achieve this newcomer target, Canada needs to land another 258,000 immigrants — an average of 43,000 per month — over the rest of the year.
Welcoming this volume of immigration over the remaining six months will be difficult but there is an outside chance it can be achieved.
Prior to the pandemic Canada welcomed an average of 25,000 to 35,000 newcomers per month. Immigration levels tend to be higher in the warmer months as more newcomers arrive during favourable weather conditions and leading up to the start of the academic and business calendar in September.
In 2019, levels were stronger in the second half of the year compared to the first as Canada welcomed 180,000 newcomers between July and December.
Assuming Canada welcomes that same level in the second half of 2021, it will conclude the year at just over 320,000 new permanent residents which is still below its target.
However there are several tailwinds remaining that could propel Canada closer to its newcomer goal.
Some 23,000 additional Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) holders are now eligible to move to Canada after restrictions on them were eased on June 21st.
Anyone else newly approved for permanent residence can also immediately move to Canada as a result of this easing.
IRCC also introduced six new permanent residency streams that will enable some 90,000 international student graduates and essential workers to remain in Canada. The department’s goal is to process some 40,000 of these applications by the end of this year.
The third tailwind is also from the domestic pool of permanent residence candidates. IRCC has been breaking various Express Entry records throughout the year as it prioritizes Canadian Experience Class (CEC) candidates.
Draw sizes are larger than ever while cut-off scores are at record lows. According to IRCC, some 90 per cent of CEC candidates currently reside in Canada so it is easier for the department to transition them to permanent residence amid the pandemic than candidates abroad. IRCC has already issued nearly 100,000 Express Entry invitations this year which is almost double the invitations it issued at the same point in 2020. A significant portion of those invited during the pandemic should complete their permanent residence landing by the end of 2021.
The minister’s office told the Globe that the 45,100 permanent residence applications IRCC processed in June were the highest ever, which suggests that IRCC has the capacity to process and finalize the necessary number of applications to achieve its levels goal.
There are risks along the way that could disrupt IRCC’s plans. The global coronavirus situation remains volatile and things such as increased case levels and travel restrictions could get in the way. For example, Canada continues to restrict flights from its main newcomer source country, India.
A prolonging of this restriction could get in the way of IRCC’s goal. Further delays to COPR holder arrivals is another risk. IRCC is currently seeking to correspond with thousands of expired COPR holders to arrange their landing in Canada. This is a time-consuming process as IRCC needs to individually contact each COPR holder to ensure they have all the necessary documents to complete the immigration process.
Nonetheless, the coming months should see immigration levels remain high. There also remains a strong chance that monthly immigration totals will hit record highs by the end of the year due to the combination of more overseas arrivals and in-Canada applicants completing their landings.
© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit CanadaVisa.com to discover your Canadian immigration options.
Sask. softball gets boost with Team Canada's bronze finish – CTV News Saskatoon
Members of the Saskatchewan softball community say Team Canada’s bronze medal win will help the future of the sport.
“Watching the Olympics, seeing Team Canada, seeing players that they recognize and names they recognize. It sets a drive for them to compete at the sport, and train hard, and have a goal and a dream of playing in the Olympics,” said Bryan Kosteroski, president of the Saskatoon Amateur Softball Association.
One of the names on Team Canada’s roster that stood out for Kosteroski was Jennifer Gilbert, who was born in Saskatoon.
“Now you look at Jennifer Gilbert, she was born in Saskatoon and has that Saskatchewan connection, they’re going to look at that and they’re going to say to themselves ‘you know what? I’m going to train, and I’m going to train hard. I want to be at the Olympic games in the future,” Kosteroski said.
“That’s the goal with all of these young ladies, that’s why they’re playing the sport, and that’s their drive, to play in the Olympics.”
Guy Jacobson, executive director for Softball Saskatchewan, said exposure coming to the sport of softball is always a good thing, and Team Canada’s win should have a big impact.
“It gives young players, especially young female players aspiring to maybe go further in the sport, an opportunity to think that there’s some great things down the path for them,” Jacobson told CTV News.
Disney to close almost all of its stores in Canada by next month – CBC.ca
Disney is planning on closing down almost all of its retail stores in Canada by next month.
The iconic chain announced in March that it planned to close 60 locations across North America this year, but had no specific comment on its Canadian locations, which at the time numbered 18.
“While consumer behaviour has shifted toward online shopping, the global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer,” the company’s statement at the time said. “Disney will remain flexible in its approach and continue to evolve its retail strategy to best meet the needs of consumers when and where they want.”
Since then, two stores in B.C. and one in Ontario have closed. It now appears as though almost all the remaining stores are slated to close down within weeks.
The chain currently has three locations in Vancouver, two in Calgary, two in Edmonton, one in Winnipeg, one in Ottawa five in the Greater Toronto Area and two elsewhere in Ontario. According to the store locator map on the company’s Canadian website, all but two of the GTA stores say they will be closed as of Aug. 18.
A spokesperson for Disney did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the fate of the two GTA stores not apparently slated for closure according to the chain’s website: one in the Eaton Centre downtown, and one in Scarborough in the eastern end of the city.
Shift to online
Retail analyst Bruce Winder says Disney has likely found more efficient ways to drive its brand and merchandise.
He says he expects the company will eventually connect its e-commerce platform shopDisney to its subscription streaming service Disney+.
The closure of Disney stores in Canada is part of sweeping changes hitting the retail industry and malls, Winder says.
“Malls are going to change considerably in terms of what they do and how they operate and what kind of stores are in there,” he says.
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