Most provinces and territories are advising people not to travel to cottages or hold gatherings on this holiday weekend during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cottage life is something people are longing for these days, for its spiritual and mental health benefits, Terry Rees, executive director of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations, told CBC News earlier in the week.
He said travelling to the cottage is not illegal, but people visiting their vacation properties need to be mindful to the fact that people living in those communities have legitimate worries.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix has asked British Columbians to avoid travel around the province unless it’s absolutely necessary, and if they do hit the road, they should pack their own food and not visit stores in other communities.
Police checkpoints set up last month to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus are coming down on Monday in various parts of Quebec, including between Gatineau and Ottawa, which will allow Ontario residents to go to cottages in the Gatineau Hills.
WATCH | Dr. Theresa Tam urges caution over May long weekend:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is to start his Saturday with what has become his routine daily briefing on the pandemic outside Rideau Cottage, a 22-room heritage
home on the grounds of Rideau Hall, the governor general’s estate.
However, he’ll give no updates Sunday or Monday, when he’s expected to join his family at his official country residence at Harrington Lake, Que.
Trudeau’s travel between the two locations caused something of a furor when he posted an Easter weekend photo of him posing with his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, and their three children at Harrington Lake.
But the way Trudeau sees it, he’s simply travelling between his work in Ottawa and his family’s home 30 minutes away, across the river in Quebec — just like many other Quebecers.
“Since I work at the residence in Ottawa and I do press conferences every day, it was not ideal for the children to stay there, so they went to the other official residence (at Harrington Lake),” he told popular Quebec television talk show Tout le monde en parle a couple of weeks ago.
“And I spend several nights a week with the family, then I go down to work in the city like many Quebecers who live in the Outaouais.”
He added: “I think people understand that I have to work in Ottawa even if I live a lot with my family in Quebec.”
At Saturday’s daily briefing, Trudeau is expected to focus on a one-time boost to the Canada Child Benefit, which goes into effect next week, to help families cope with the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic.
WATCH | At Issue: The politics of pandemic spending:
Families that were entitled to the benefit in April and still have an eligible child in their care this month will get up to $300 extra per child as part of their regular monthly payment.
Trudeau is also expected to highlight various federal measures aimed at helping charities and women’s shelters weather the crisis.
Ahead of the long weekend, Alberta’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced the province is increasing the limit on outdoor gatherings. Up to 50 people can now gather, raised from the previous limit of 15. Still, Hinshaw warned, Albertans must continue to practise physical distancing.
WATCH | Summer camps face cancellations and uncertainty:
“In well-ventilated, open spaces, there can be less of a risk in those contexts as long as people are following the guidelines,” Hinshaw said at a Friday briefing
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador are similarly allowing families to slightly relax their physical distancing measures over the holiday weekend thanks to recently implemented “double bubble” rules in which two households can agree to spend time together exclusively. Nova Scotia additionally announced public beaches will be opened, though physical distancing will need to be observed and groups can be no larger than five people.
Emergency wage subsidy extended until end of August
The federal government’s emergency wage-subsidy program will be extended until the end of August to help employers keep their workers on the payroll during the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.
The $73 billion wage-subsidy program, which covers 75 per cent of an eligible company’s payroll up to a maximum of $847 per week per employee, was originally set to expire next month.
WATCH | Some good news from around the world this week:
Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey data estimates that more than three million jobs have been lost during the COVID-19 crisis.
Heading into the weekend, Air Canada said it will lay off about 20,000 of its employees, more than half its total workforce, by June 7. The company says even with the now-extended federal wage subsidy program, it does not see the industry returning to normal in time to save those jobs.
Air Canada has been forced to ground some 225 airplanes and slash flight capacity by 95 per cent due to border shutdowns and a sharp drop in demand for travel.
As of early Saturday, Canada had 74,613 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 36,908 of those considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of COVID-19 deaths based on provincial health data, regional information and CBC’s reporting stood at 5,664.
While most cases of coronavirus are mild or moderate, some people — particularly the elderly or those with underlying health issues — are at higher risk of severe disease or death. There are no proven vaccines or treatments for the novel coronavirus, which causes an illness called COVID-19.
Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories:
On Friday, Newfoundland and Labrador marked its eighth straight day without new cases. “This is no small feat, and serves as a good reminder of what we can achieve by working together,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald said at Friday’s daily briefing. Read more about what’s happeneing in N.L.
Nova Scotia is entering the second phase of reopening, Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Robert Strang announced Friday. The province is introducing an immediate-family bubble, which would let two households come together without physical distancing.
Friday also marks the opening of lobster season. But fishermen are setting their traps amid concerns that COVID-19 has depressed the market through decreased demand and reduced capacity of plants to process lobster where physical distancing on the line could cut into how much they can produce. On Thursday, the federal government pledged close to $470 million to support fish harvesters.
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New Brunswick‘s chief medical officer of health has announced that another person has recovered from COVID-19 in the province. It has been nine days since the province has reported any new cases. But Dr. Jennifer Russell is reminding the public to protect themselves over the upcoming long weekend by keeping to their respective two-family-household bubbles and following physical distance guidelines. Read more about what’s happening in New Brunswick.
P.E.I.’s plan to launch Phase 3 of its ease-back plan will be expedited to an expected start of June 1 from June 12, said Premier Dennis King during an afternoon media briefing Friday. Read More about what’s happening in P.E.I.
The Quebec government is donating one million masks to the greater Montreal region and $6 million in funding for public transit in the region, Premier François Legault announced Friday. Meanwhile, four Canadian soldiers serving in Quebec long-term care homes have tested positive for COVID-19, as did one soldier assisting with long-term care homes in Ontario. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed news of the infections at his Friday morning media availability but did not provide details.
“There are always risks in what they do and they go into that knowingly and willingly, and that is why we offer them our deepest gratitude every day,” Trudeau said. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec.
WATCH | Lobster fishermen must learn how to physically distance on a small boat:
Ontario‘s Health Minister Christine Elliott reported a “glitch” in the province’s COVID-19 reporting Friday, which caused some new cases to be missed in yesterday’s update. At the province’s daily news briefing Friday afternoon, Elliott said the problem arose when cases out of Toronto weren’t uploaded into Ontario’s system. That finding comes a day after the province announced plans for the first phase of reopening. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario, including how Toronto extended the cancellation of major festivals and called off all city-run summer camps and recreation programs on Friday.
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No new cases were reported in Manitoba on Friday for the fourth day in a row. While the numbers remain low in the province, there is still a worry about re-importation of the virus, especially if people start travelling this long weekend, said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer.
He is urging everyone to be “COVID careful” and continue to stay at home despite the warm weather that’s moving in. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba, including what’s expected for restaurant visits in the province.
First Nations residents of northern Saskatchewan say highway bans and checkpoints put in place to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between different areas of the province has created a double standard and alienated them. Some residents say that although they’re supposed to be allowed to leave their communities for essentials such as shopping, that hasn’t happened — leaving them unable to access affordable groceries and supplies only available at larger stores in southern towns and cities.
Eight more cases of COVID-19 were reported in the province on Friday, all of them in the far north region. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.
Alberta is relaxing restrictions around outdoor gatherings, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced Friday. Outdoor gatherings can now consist of as many as 50 people, as long as members of different households stay two metres apart.
Earlier, Hinshaw said the province should know within a week if yesterday’s reopening of bars, restaurants and some other businesses in most areas will lead to a surge in new cases. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta.
A new COVID-19 outbreak has been detected at a British Columbia food facility, officials said Friday afternoon. The outbreak is at the Oppenheimer Group, a fruit and vegetable processing plant in Coquitlam. According to the statement, there are two cases connected to the facility. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.
The Northwest Territories is entering the first phase of its COVID-19 recovery plan, affecting both indoor and outdoor gatherings, as well as the reopening of some businesses. Read more about what’s happening across the North, including Yukon’s announcement that they will also begin to ease restrictions.
Here’s a look at what’s happening around the world:
As of Friday night, there were more than 4.5 million confirmed cases of coronvirus around the world, according to a database tracking system maintained by the coronavirus resource centre at Johns Hopkins University. A quarter of those cases (more than 1.4 million) were in the United States.
According to the tracking system, COVID-19 has killed roughly 307,000 people globally. It says the 10 most affected countries at this time, based on the reported number of deaths, are the U.S., the U.K., Italy, France, Spain, Brazil, Belgium, Germany, Iran and Canada.
Canada now has more than 95,000 coronavirus cases — more than 34K are active – Globalnews.ca
More than 720 new cases of the novel coronavirus were reported in Canada on Saturday — all but 41 of them from Ontario and Quebec.
As Canada surged past 95,000 cases of COVID-19, the two most populous provinces continued to account for the vast majority of new cases and deaths reported daily.
Nearly 53,000 people around the country are considered recovered.
Ontario saw 455 new cases — but only 387 of them were new since Friday — while Quebec reported 226 new infections. Quebec has more than 52,000 cases so far, while Ontario has seen more than 30,000.
Quebec has seen nearly 5,000 deaths so far, accounting for almost 64 per cent of the national death toll. Ontario has the second highest number of deaths, at just over 2,400.
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Out of 70 new deaths reported on Saturday, Ontario and Quebec both reported 35 fatalities each. Quebec saw hospitalizations go down, and only 22 of the 35 deaths were classified as new.
Alberta recorded 40 new cases and no new deaths, bringing its figures to more than 7,100 cases and 146 deaths. This was a sharp uptick from a day earlier, when the province reported just seven new cases. More than 6,600 people are deemed recovered.
Saskatchewan reported one new case, for a total of 650 cases. Eleven people have died so far, and more than 610 are considered recovered.
No new cases
For the second day in a row, all of the Atlantic provinces saw no new cases or deaths on Saturday. Nova Scotia has the most number of cases — 1,058, including 61 deaths. Most of New Brunswick’s 136 cases have recovered as it battles an outbreak in the Campbellton region — one person in the province has died.
Coronavirus: Montreal borough announces cancellation of summer aquatic activities
Newfoundland and Labrador has two active cases, and is set to allow travel within the province starting June 8 (Monday). Prince Edward Island has seen no new infections since all 27 of its cases have recovered.
The Northwest Territories and the Yukon remain COVID-19 free, with all their cases having recovered weeks ago. Nunavut remains the only region in Canada that hasn’t seen a case yet.
Manitoba also reported no new cases on Saturday, leaving it with nine active cases and more than 280 recoveries. Seven people have died in the province so far.
British Columbia had no new figures to report on Saturday. The province has seen more than 2,600 cases so far and 167 deaths.
The novel coronavirus has resulted in more than 6.8 million cases around the world and more than 398,000 deaths, according to data tracked by Johns Hopkins University.
— With files by The Canadian Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Anti-black racism protests, vigils planned across Canada – CBC.ca
Canadians continued to rally and demonstrate against anti-black racism and police brutality on Saturday, a day after thousands attended protests and vigils across the country.
The demonstrations follow days of protests across the U.S. over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis, Minn. A police officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Many are calling for police reform and an end to systemic racism.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam on Friday urged demonstrators to “take care of themselves” and follow public health guidelines such as physical distancing as much as possible and using hand sanitizers.
Read on to see what’s happening around Canada.
Thousands demonstrated in two separate protests in Toronto against anti-black racism. The first protest began at Nathan Phillips Square, while the second began at Trinity Bellwoods Park.
Twanna Lewis, a Toronto resident at Trinity Bellwoods Park, said she was protesting for the first time on Saturday because she felt the need to take a stand for people who are voiceless. She has an 18-year-old black son, cousins, uncles and a brother.
“It’s 2020 and we need to be doing better,” Lewis told CBC Toronto. “It’s a shame that we have to be having this conversation in this day and age, when we think that we have gone so far.”
WATCH | Hand sanitizer, masks handed out at Toronto protest:
At Nathan Phillips Square, demonstrators chanted, held placards and posters, and listened to speakers. Then the protesters marched to the U.S. consulate and onward to Yonge-Dundas Square.
“I can’t breathe,” the crowd chanted at one point at Nathan Phillips Square, in a reference to some of Floyd’s last words before his death on May 25.
People held up signs that read “No Justice No Peace” and “Yes it’s here too Ford.” Ontario Premier Doug Ford had said Canada doesn’t have the “systemic, deep roots” of racism as the U.S.
WATCH | Protesters, police speak at Toronto demonstration:
Thousands of people kneeled on the lawn of Confederation Building in St. John’s during a rally in support of the Black Lives Matter.
The rally, organized by newly established Black Lives Matter NL, featured speeches and performances from members of the area’s black community sharing their own stories of racism.
Crowds were able to physically distance during the rally, spreading themselves across the lawn of Confederation Building. There was a small police presence, but no incidents were reported.
Zainab Jerrett, who came to Newfoundland in the 1990s and is a professor at Memorial University, was one of the speakers on stage and was overwhelmed by the public support.
“That shows that this problem is effecting everybody, and everyone wants to chip in to bring a solution,” Jerrett said. “I almost got emotional because there’s so many people … young people of all cultures in Newfoundland.”
“This is an awakening. The people are interested in listening to the black community” she added. “[But] we are all the same. The more we come together as a human race, the better.”
“I am almost speechless. I am about to cry,” she says. “I feel like I am a Newfoundlander in spirit and soul.” <br><br>The audience yells back at her “you are!” <a href=”https://t.co/rZXj08NvIT”>pic.twitter.com/rZXj08NvIT</a>
A vigil is scheduled for 4 p.m. MT outside Calgary’s Olympic Plaza in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
“We must all come together to speak against murders by police officers and the institutions defending them,” organizers said in a Facebook post.
They also encourage attendees to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines like wearing masks and physical distancing.
Thousands attended a similar demonstration in Calgary on Wednesday.
Fort McMurray, Alta.
Elsewhere in Alberta, a Black Lives Matter rally was held at Fort McMurray City Hall.
The rally comes as Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam says Wood Buffalo RCMP officers beat and arrested him in a Fort McMurray parking lot earlier this year.
In London, Ont., hundreds gathered at Victoria Park for an anti-racism rally.
Mayor Ed Holder said he supports the purpose behind the rally but declined to attend in person to comply with physical distancing rules recommended by health authorities in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Hundreds of Londoners are here at Victoria Park for an anti-black racism protest <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/LdnOnt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#LdnOnt</a> <a href=”https://t.co/PVevHrYQGV”>pic.twitter.com/PVevHrYQGV</a>
Rally is so big it fits down Queens Street, around the block in both directions. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/LdnOnt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#LdnOnt</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/BLM?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#BLM</a> <a href=”https://t.co/3a6bzJFVwy”>pic.twitter.com/3a6bzJFVwy</a>
Volunteers handed out bottles of water and squirts of hand sanitizer to marchers in Guelph, Ont., as thousands of demonstrators descended upon city hall. Organizer took COVID-19 precautions after health officials urged protesters to adhere to public health protocols.
A similar demonstration in Kitchener on Wednesday saw thousands of people walk through the downtown core holding signs.
‘They’re targeting us’: Why some advocates want to defund Canadian police – Global News
In recent days, protests against anti-Black racism and police brutality have erupted across the U.S. and Canada in response to the deaths of Black Americans George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
Now, some advocates are calling for police forces to be defunded and taxpayer money to be redirected — a conversation that is also happening in Canada, stemming from the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old Black and Indigenous woman who fell from her Toronto apartment balcony after police entered the unit.
Police claim they were responding to a reported assault, but the family has questioned the role of the police in her death. The Special Investigations Unit, Ontario’s police watchdog, is currently investigating.
Defunding the police means redirecting the budget for Canada’s police forces to other services that focus on social supports, mental health and even spaces like transit, said Sandy Hudson, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter Toronto and a law student at the University of California, Los Angeles.
“There’s no reason why we can’t start a service that is another emergency response service where people can call a number and have someone who is trained in de-escalation,” Hudson said.
Now, with more incidents of police brutality in the news, calls for defunding the police both in the U.S. and Canada are louder than ever.
The history of police in Canada
This is hardly the first time defunding the police has been talked about in Canada, experts told Global News.
Examining the way police uphold and participate in anti-Black racism and violence towards Black and Indigenous communities in Canada has been a discussion for decades, said Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
“Part of it is discrimination within policing — both implicit and explicit — but then the other parts of it are how the police operate and what we’re asking police to do,” he said.
Regis Korchinski-Paquet death: Toronto protesters march in memoriam, against anti-Black violence
The origins of policing in the southern United States were based on preserving the slavery system, as Time magazine reports, and police were primarily tasked with being “slave patrols” to prevent Black slaves from escaping. After the Civil War ended, these patrols still existed to uphold segregation and discrimination towards Black people.
Police in Canada were historically also tasked with “clearing the land” to steal the property of Indigenous Peoples, said Hudson.
“Those two focuses of the police, Indigenous and Black people, controlling us … there’s a through line to today and how the police interact with our communities,” she said.
Policing has been used to enforce the dominant narrative in Canada, which is colonization, said Alicia Boatswain-Kyte, a social work professor at McGill University whose research examines systemic oppression.
“These institutions are a product of (colonialism); they stem from that,” she said. “Right now we’re seeing what it looks like at this stage … and it gets manifested in the form of police brutality.”
Mental health, homelessness and other social issues
Experts are concerned that police in Canada are tasked with issues related to poverty, mental health and homelessness, and they are “ill-equipped and an inappropriate resource to be addressing those issues,” Owusu-Bempah said.
A 2018 report on racial profiling by the Ontario Human Rights Commission found that a Black person was 20 times more likely than a white person to be involved in a fating shooting by Toronto police. The report was the result of an inquiry launched after Andrew Loku, a father of five who was experiencing mental health issues, died after being shot by police.
A coroner’s inquest ruled that Loku’s death was the result of a homicide and recommended that police are better trained if they are to deal with mental health calls.
“The violence we see inflicted by the police are often happening with people who are having a mental health crisis,” said Hudson.
Shifting the money to fund organizations that understand the nuances of mental health issues and the challenges faced by racialized communities would be a better use of taxpayers’ money, she said.
How racism affects Black mental health
Out of the nearly one million calls the force responds to, Toronto police respond to about 30,000 mental health calls every year, spokeswoman Meaghan Gray told the Canadian Press.
The force’s mobile crisis intervention teams — which include a trained officer and a mental health nurse — attend only 6,000 of those calls each year because they do not go to calls where a weapon may be involved.
Annual training for the force includes courses on communication and deescalation techniques, said Gray.
“The Toronto Police Service believes that mental health is a complex issue that requires the involvement of multiple entities, including but not limited to community support, public health, and all levels of government, to render any meaningful change,” she said.
It would be better if a mental health nurse or some other trained expert was always present, Boatswain-Kyte said.
“Are they (police) really the ones that are best suited?” she said.
“Social workers, for instance, go to school to understand how to form relationships, to understand how people are excluded and what factors contribute to their exclusion.”
By making police the body available to provide help in these situations, Boatswain-Kyte said, it sends a message that people with those health issues aren’t welcome in our society.
“Regardless of the amount of training … the implicit bias as a result of what (police) have been socialized to believe and understand about the ‘dangers’ of Black and brown bodies is going to influence them at the time when they have to make a decision.”
Boatswain-Kyte points to a study published in May from Columbia University that found there is “no evidence that enhanced police training focused on mental health crises” can reduce fatal shootings towards those having a mental health crisis, or racialized people in general.
By the numbers
In Toronto, the largest portion of a resident’s property tax bill — around $700 out of an average bill of $3,020 — goes to the Toronto Police Service. The lowest portion of property taxes goes to children’s services, Toronto employment and social services and economic development and culture.
The situation is similar elsewhere in the country, as the Vancouver police budget has grown by more than $100 million in the last decade, representing about one-fifth of the city’s $1.6-billion 2020 operating budget.
Backlash mounting over Premier Doug Ford’s comments on racism in Canada
A 2014 report published by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute found that policing budgets in Canada had doubled compared to the GDP since 2004, even though the public calls to police have “remained stable.”
“Police associations have been happy to stoke public fears about safety, but the correlation between numbers of officers, crime rates and response times has long been shown to be spurious,” the report said, authored by Christian Leuprecht, a political science professor at Queen’s University and Royal Military College.
Police work that is essentially unrelated to policing could be done by other groups, Leuprecht explains.
Owusu-Bempah is calling on city mayors like Toronto Mayor John Tory to review which roles and functions we want the police to provide and which should be provided by other agencies.
“Then we need a lot of (the) funding currently spent on police … given to other organizations” that are better equipped to help with issues like homelessness and mental illness, he said.
Given the recent incidents of anti-Black racism and brutality perpetuated by police, Hudson says defunding the police would also give agency and safety to Black communities.
“How could the body that is ostensibly meant to provide safety for our communities … be one of the the the the reasons we keep getting hurt?” Hudson said.
“Most people don’t have to interact with police at all … but for our communities, they’re targeting us.
“We just want to live like everybody else.”
— With files from the Canadian Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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