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Face mask mandate return supported by majority of Canadians: poll

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Most Canadians say they would support or share some support for the return of face mask mandates this fall in indoor public space if deemed necessary by officials, according to a new survey conducted by Nanos Research.

The poll conducted for CTV News found seven in 10 Canadians said they would support the return of face masks mandates to some extent. Fifty-two per cent said they would support the return of such mandates, 17 per cent said they would “somewhat support” them, while 22 per cent would be against them. Eight per cent would be “somewhat” opposed to the idea.

At a national glance, Canadians across the provinces evenly agreed to the idea of the mandate, with respondents from most provinces reaching over 60 per cent in agreement. British Columbia reported the highest support with 72 per cent, followed by 71.4 per cent in Ontario, 71.3 per cent in the Atlantic, 65.3 per cent in Quebec and 62.9 per cent in the Prairies.

Of those opposed, respondents in the Prairies made up the highest percentage with 36.4 per cent, followed by 32.3 per cent in Quebec, 28.7 per cent in the Atlantic, 27.3 per cent in B.C. and 26.9 per cent in Ontario.

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Women were more likely to agree to the return of the mandate with 72.6 per cent saying they would show support, compared to 64.4 per cent of men in agreement.

The survey also found 34 per cent of men would be opposed to the mandate in comparison to 26.1 per cent of women.

Both women and men over the age of 55 resoundingly agreed – more so than any other age bracket – with the hypothetical return of the use of face masks, with 82.8 per cent saying they would support it. The age group that would be most against the mandate were those aged 18 to 34 with the survey results showing 44.3 per cent opposed.

Most provinces dropped masking requirements earlier this year and within the last couple months, the federal government put an end to its COVID-19 border restrictions, including wearing face masks on planes and trains. However, amid a resurgence of respiratory illness cases in hospitals there has been a growing discussion of whether the return of a face mask mandate would be needed.

Hospitals are already overwhelmed with cases of respiratory illness especially among children, prompting some health experts, like Ontario’s top doctor, to reinstate recommendations to the public to mask up ahead of a difficult winter season.

With files from CTV News Toronto

METHODOLOGY

Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,084 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between Oct. 30 and Nov. 4 as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The sample included both land- and cell-lines across Canada. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

Individuals were called using random digit dialling with a maximum of five call backs. The margin of error for this survey is 3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. This study was commissioned by CTV News and the research was conducted by Nanos Research. Note: Charts may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

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Inflation in Canada: Finance ministers meet

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TORONTO – The two big spending pressures on the federal government right now are health care and the global transition to a clean economy, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday.
After hosting an in-person meeting with the provincial and territorial finance ministers, Freeland said U.S. President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which includes electric-vehicle incentives that favour manufacturers in Canada and Mexico as well as the U.S., has changed the playing field when it comes to the global competition for capital.

“I cannot emphasize too strongly how much I believe that we need to seize the moment and build the clean economy of the 21st century,” Freeland said during a news conference held at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

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“This is a huge economic opportunity.”

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Canada needs to invest in the transition in order to potentially have an outsized share in the economy of the future, she said, or it risks being left behind.

This year in particular will be an important year for attracting capital to Canada, she said, calling for the provinces and territories to chip in.

“This is a truly historic, once-in-a-generation economic moment and it will take a team Canada effort to seize it.”

At the same time, Freeland spoke of the need for fiscal restraint amid economic uncertainty.

“We know that one of the most important things the federal government can do to help Canadians today is to be mindful of our responsibility not to pour fuel on the fire of inflation,” she said.

Freeland said these two major spending pressures, which were among the topics prioritized at Friday’s meeting, come at a time of a global economic slowdown which poses restraint on government spending.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to meet with the premiers Feb. 7 to discuss a long-awaited deal on health-care spending. The provinces have been asking for increases to the health transfer to the tune of billions of dollars.

Freeland said it’s clear that the federal government needs to invest in health care and reiterated the government’s commitment to doing so but would not say whether she thinks the amount the provinces are asking for in increased health transfers is feasible.

“It’s time to see the numbers,” Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard said Friday afternoon, in anticipation of the Feb. 7 meeting.

The meeting of the finance ministers comes at a tense time for many Canadian consumers, with inflation still running hot and interest rates much higher than they were a year ago.

The ministers also spoke with Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem Friday and discussed the economic outlook for Canada and the world, said Freeland.

“We’re very aware of the uncertainty in the global economy right now,” said Freeland. “Inflation is high and interest rates are high.”

“Things are tough for a lot of Canadians and a lot of Canadian families today and at the federal level, this is a time of real fiscal constraint.”

The Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate again last week, bringing it to 4.5 per cent, but signalled it’s taking a pause to let the impact of its aggressive hiking cycle sink in.

The economy is showing signs of slowing, but inflation was still high at 6.3 per cent in December, with food prices in particular remaining elevated year over year.

Interest rates have put a damper on the housing market, sending prices and sales downward for months on end even as the cost of renting went up in 2022.

Meanwhile, the labour market has remained strong, with the unemployment rate nearing record lows in December at five per cent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2023.

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Federal government is in a tight fiscal environment, Freeland says ahead of health talks – CBC.ca

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Federal government is in a tight fiscal environment, Freeland says ahead of health talks  CBC.ca

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Suspected Chinese spy balloon flew over Canadian airspace: sources – CTV News

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  1. Suspected Chinese spy balloon flew over Canadian airspace: sources  CTV News
  2. Canadian pilots were warned of ‘untethered balloon’ amid China surveillance concerns  Global News
  3. U.S. military shoots down suspected Chinese spy balloon off Carolina coast  CBC.ca

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