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Insurance companies refused to pay a dime to Fiona’s victims in N.L., but there’s a solution on the horizon



Peggy Savery plays cards with her husband Lloyd at her new table in a sun-drenched kitchen. The family is still settling into their new home in Port aux Basques, bought and furnished by a hodgepodge of donations and disaster relief funding.

Their old house, the one destroyed by a storm surge during post-tropical storm Fiona, was covered, she says, estimating the family paid their insurance company about $60,000 to protect their most valuable asset.

But when disaster struck last September, all of the Saverys’ claims were denied; damage from seawater wasn’t included in their premiums.

“They didn’t give us a dime,” she said.


The Saverys are among 102 households in Port aux Basques and surrounding communities that were destroyed by Fiona whose insurance companies refused to pay out for damages from the storm.

A woman sits at a table playing cards
Peggy Savery was able to buy a home at a below-market cost thanks to a kind neighbour in Port aux Basques. Without an insurance payout, she says, she would have had to move away. (Malone Mullin/CBC)

Most were left homeless, with nowhere to turn and forced to depend on government aid to rebuild their homes or buy again. The Newfoundland and Labrador government paid out $41 million to Fiona’s victims after a lengthy application and assessment process to fill the void left by insurers.

Denise Pike Anderson was forced to downsize and move to nearby Cape Ray.

Had her insurance paid out, she would’ve been able to rebuild, she said. Instead, her company told her she needed special surge protection — something almost no insurers currently offer.

“The insurance [companies] should be grateful to the government,” she said. “I really believe that we need stricter laws.”

Ottawa to underwrite new flood program

About 1.5 million Canadians live in a flood plain or low-lying coastal community, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

With increasing risk from climate change, a collection of insurance companies and the federal government are hammering out a deal to offer flood insurance to homeowners in those areas, says Craig Stewart, a vice-president with the bureau.

This is why insurance companies refused to pay for houses lost to Fiona

Newfoundlanders who lost their home to the most powerful storm to make landfall in Atlantic Canada say insurers didn’t pay out a cent when their homes were destroyed in September 2022. But an insurance expert says there’s a solution on the horizon for future flood victims.

“Insurance is designed for accidents, and when people live in flood plains or in low-lying coastal communities … we know they’re going to flood at some point, and it’s no longer an accident,” Stewart told CBC News. “That’s why insurance isn’t a good fit, and why we’ve been pursuing another solution for those people.”

The federal government will underwrite that insurance, with capped premiums available for people in at-risk areas, Stewart said.

“Right now we essentially have two solutions: we have government-backed disaster assistance, which is essentially free insurance paid for by the taxpayer, and then you’ve got an insurance market which won’t cover those at high risk,” he said. “Neither is optimal.”

Fiona’s wrath in Newfoundland prompted Ottawa to include storm surge coverage in its national flood program, he said, adding it’s expected to roll out in 2025.

A look from inside Peggy Savery's new home, which features a small sign that reads "Stronger than the storm" and a candle.
A look from inside Savery’s new home, which features a small sign that reads ‘Stronger Than the Storm.’ (Brianna Gosse/CBC)

Peggy Savery, meanwhile, has been busy replenishing what the family lost, trucking in furniture from Stephenville and decorating with whatever she’s salvaged from the rubble left by Fiona.

These days she’s focused on the future, grateful her new home’s previous owner offered the house to her family at a below-market price.

Without that act of kindness, she suspects they would have moved away.

“Had the insurance company done what they should have done, it never would have been an issue for us,” she said.

“When you see the insurance companies raking in millions and billions of dollars and not paying out, it just doesn’t seem fair that the government has to bail us out.”


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'ET Canada' cancelled by Corus Entertainment, blames 'challenging' advertising market – CTV News



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Entertainment Tonight Canada to end after 18 seasons



A woman wearing a large pink dress holds a microphone and speaks to a camera while attending a red carpet event.
Cheryl Hickey, longtime host of ET Canada, speaks to the camera on the red carpet of the 2019 Canadian Country Music Awards at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. ET Canada will end on Oct. 6 after 18 seasons. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Canadian media company Corus Entertainment has announced it is ending flagship entertainment program Entertainment Tonight (ET) Canada after 18 seasons.

“The costs of producing a daily entertainment newsmagazine show in a challenging advertising environment have led to this decision,” read a statement posted on the company’s website on Wednesday.

“We recognize the impact this decision has on the dedicated team who have worked on the show and we thank them for their meaningful contributions over the years.”

The show’s final episode will air on Oct. 6, with reruns airing in the same time slot on Global TV until Oct. 31, a Corus spokesperson told CBC News.


The cancellation won’t impact Corus’s obligation to produce Canadian content under the rules set out by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the spokesperson said.

ET Canada’s website and social media platforms will also be shut down. The spokesperson declined to comment on how many people had been laid off as a result, but said the program’s hosts were impacted.

The network said it has no plans for another entertainment news show.


An hour-long, magazine-style show that focused on entertainment, celebrity, film and TV news, ET Canada began airing in 2005 on Global TV, which is owned by Corus Entertainment.

The program has been hosted by Canadian media personality Cheryl Hickey since its launch, with regular appearances by entertainment reporters, including Sangita Patel — a co-host since 2022 — plus Carlos Bustamante, Keshia Chanté and Morgan Hoffman.

The cancellation leaves ETalk, CTV’s weeknight show, as Canada’s lone major entertainment news program.

Andrea Grau, founder and CEO of entertainment publicity firm Touchwood PR, said ET Canada offered a Canadian perspective that made it stand out in the U.S.-dominated entertainment landscape.

“There was this great Entertainment Tonight brand that was going on in the U.S. — we all watched. And the idea of a Canadian arm of it was very special because it could give a different slant,” she said.

ET Canada’s demise comes during a major shift in the industry, she said, as publicists struggle to find entertainment outlets that can shine a spotlight on emerging Canadian artists and projects.

“Even though we share a language with the U.S. and we share pop culture, we are still Canadian and we have a different perspective,” Grau said, noting that ET Canada’s hosts were a mainstay on the U.S. press circuit.

“You see those relationships that have been built over the years of having Sangita [Patel] standing on a red carpet interviewing someone, or Cheryl Hickey interviewing someone. They’re recognizable to [celebrities] after all of these years, too,” she said. “They’ve created such a strong brand.”


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Canada just had its lowest number of births in 17 years. What’s behind it?



The number of babies born in Canada dropped to a 17-year-low last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a declining fertility rate, data shows.

A Statistics Canada report released Tuesday showed there were 351,679 births registered across the country in 2022, which was a five per cent decrease from the previous year. This was Canada’s sharpest drop recorded since 2005.

Before 2022, the lowest number of births recorded was in 2005, with 345,044 babies born nationwide.


While the number of births in all provinces and territories declined last year, Nova Scotia was the notable outlier with a 12.8 per cent increase in live births.

The biggest decrease was in Nunavut, with the number of births dropping 11.8 per cent compared with 2021.

Canada, like many other developed countries, has been seeing declining birth trends over the past several years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many people’s plans to have kids, said Kate Choi, an associate professor of sociology at Western University.

“Although the fertility decline was indeed part of a larger trend of fertility decreases that have been occurring in Canada, the magnitude of the decrease is larger than what we would have anticipated in the absence of COVID-19,” she told Global News in an interview.

Click to play video: 'Infertility: Shedding light on a common problem'

Infertility: Shedding light on a common problem

The high cost of living has magnified the size of the drop in births, Choi said.

“It’s very expensive to have children and right now, when everything is expensive, it’s very hard for young adults to be able to have the type of lifestyle that allows them to have children, which is contributing to delayed and forgone fertility,” she added.

It’s a concerning trend for Canada, according to Choi, who said decreasing birth rates have the potential to exacerbate population aging issues.

Canada is considered a low-fertility country and its fertility rate has been declining over the past decade.

The latest Statistics Canada data from 2021 reported a fertility rate of 1.44 children per woman that year — marking a slight increase following a steady decline since 2009.

The fertility rate is an estimate of the average number of live births a female can be expected to have in her lifetime, according to StatCan.

As some couples delay their plans to have kids for a variety of reasons, egg freezing and other fertility treatments are on the rise in Canada.

Click to play video: 'More IVF babies born after summer egg collection: study'

More IVF babies born after summer egg collection: study

Lifestyle changes and work decisions are contributing factors, with a shift toward smaller families, said Mark Rosenberg, an expert in geography and professor emeritus at Queen’s University.

“I think mainly the factors we should focus on are first and foremost women’s decisions around the labour force and delaying birth until they’re in their 30s,” he told Global News in an interview.

There is also an increasing number of younger people living in single-person households, Rosenberg added.

Despite the drop in births, Canada’s population has been growing at a “record-setting pace,” surpassing the milestone of 40 million people earlier this year, due to a focus on increasing immigration.

Meanwhile, the StatCan report Tuesday also showed a rise in the proportion of babies who were born with a low birth weight — less than 2,500 grams.

Seven per cent of all babies had a low birth weight in 2022 compared with 6.6 per cent the year before.

Babies with a low birth weight are at an increased risk of complications, such as inhibited growth and development and even death, according to StatCan.

“When we see higher rates of low birth weight babies or higher rates of babies that are born who are overweight, those are issues that we should be concerned about because they reflect on people’s health,” Rosenberg said.

— with files from Global News’ Katherine Ward


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