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Monkeypox in Canada: Experts concerned over potential further spread – CTV News



Monkeypox infections continue to rise in Canada as the U.S. and the WHO declare the outbreak an emergency, leaving some experts concerned about the risk of further outbreaks.

There have been fewer than 1,000 confirmed cases in Canada since May, as of Friday. But on a per capita basis, the number of monkeypox cases in total in Canada has surpassed the United States.

On July 27, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam encouraged those at highest risk from monkeypox to get vaccinated, saying an “urgent” response is needed to address the outbreak.

But even though monkeypox has spread primarily among men who have sex with men, Dr. Donald Vinh, an infectious disease specialist at McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, tells CTV National News that there is a strong chance the infection could spread outside of that community.

“I’m not saying that we have to panic. I think we just need to be prepared that there’s a possibility that this virus could spread to the larger general public, and so we shouldn’t be surprised of that possibility,” he said.

Monkeypox often presents as a flu-like infection with a rash and spreads through close personal contact with someone who is symptomatic.

While monkeypox has been endemic to certain parts of Africa for decades, it has also been neglected, Vinh said.

And while the smallpox vaccine does protect against monkeypox, questions remain over whether those who were inoculated decades ago will still be protected from the disease today.

“And so this is something else that we need to learn, and learn pretty quickly,” Vinh said.

The Biden administration in the U.S. declared monkeypox a public health emergency on Thursday.

This came after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern on July 23.

However, Canada has yet to make a similar declaration

In a statement to, a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said the Government of Canada “acknowledges the WHO’s determination and recognizes that the global monkeypox outbreak requires an urgent global response.”

The spokesperson said more than 80,000 doses of the smallpox vaccine Imvamune have been sent to provinces and territories.

“PHAC also continues to work closely with international, provincial and territorial health partners to gather information on this evolving outbreak and to determine the best course of action to stop the spread of monkeypox in Canada,” the statement said.

“Canada will also continue to work with the WHO and international partners to strengthen the global response to the current monkeypox outbreak.”

Asked what Canada’s current vaccine stockpile status is, and the ability for Canada to increase its supply through additional procurements, the spokesperson said the agency “does not disclose details concerning medical countermeasures held by the NESS (National Emergency Strategic Stockpile), including types or quantities, due to security implications and requirements.”

At the local level, some are making efforts on the vaccination side.

This weekend, the public health unit in Windsor, Ont., will host its first monkeypox vaccine clinic at Sunday’s Pride event.

But on Friday, Ottawa Public Health announced it had to cancel its monkeypox vaccine clinics for the day “due to an unforeseeable short-term vaccine supply issue.”

Kerry Bowman, an assistant professor in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, said it’s still unclear where the monkeypox outbreak is going, but he believes there is more Canada can do.

“There’s a picture of a lack of clarity as to who’s eligible and the vaccination process itself is quite limited,” Bowman said.

Health officials have recommended vaccinations for high-risk groups, including health-care workers and men who have sex with men and have recently had multiple sexual partners.

But Bowman says he is also concerned about monkeypox spreading to non-human animals.

“I would like to see it contained because my fear is that it will become endemic — embedded — that it will get into non-human species the way I’ve seen it do in Africa, it will just keep circulating and coming back on people regularly,” he said.

With files from’s Rachel Aiello, The Associated Press and CNN.

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Iran protests: Canada sanctioning 'morality police' – CTV News



Canada will be imposing new sanctions on Iran as a result of a continuing violent crackdown on protesters, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.

The sanctions will be levelled on “dozens of individuals and entities, including Iran’s so-called morality police,” the prime minister said.

“We’ve seen Iran disregarding human rights time and time again, and now we see with the death of Mahsa Amini and the crackdown on protests,” Trudeau said, referencing the death of a 22-year-old who was detained for allegedly violating the country’s forced veiling laws. Her death has sparked outrage and has prompted a wave of international demonstrations, seeing some women cut their hair or burn their hijabs in revolt.

“To the women in Iran who are protesting and to those who are supporting you, we stand with you. We join our voices, the voices of all Canadians, to the millions of people around the world demanding that the Iranian government listen to their people, end their repression of freedoms and rights, and let women and all Iranians live their lives and express themselves peacefully,” Trudeau said.

While no official notice of the new sanctions has been published by Global Affairs Canada, the prime minister noted they come in addition to outstanding measures Canada has taken against Iran.

In an email to CTV News, Adrien Blanchard, press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said that Trudeau “announced Canada’s intention” to issue these sanctions, pledging more details “in due course.” 

Joly, as well as MPs from all parties, have spoken out about the escalating tensions and use of force against civilians in Iran, with the House of Commons unanimously passing a motion last week offering “solidarity to the women of Iran who are fighting for their rights and freedoms.”

With files from CTV News’ Michael Lee 

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Maine power workers cross border without incident to help in Nova Scotia



OTTAWA — Nova Scotia Power says there were no issues delaying American power crews from crossing the border to help repair the electrical grid from the devastation of hurricane Fiona.

On Sunday, the utility company and Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston had both said an issue related to the controversial ArriveCan app was delaying power crews from crossing into Canada.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said this morning that the order making the app mandatory and requiring that foreign citizens be vaccinated to come to Canada will expire on Friday.

Power crews helping to restore electricity are considered essential workers and are exempt from the border measures.

In a new statement Monday afternoon, Nova Scotia Power spokeswoman Jacqueline Foster says there was some confusion about the app but it is now confirmed there were no problems.

Versant Power says 15 line workers and two mechanics left Bangor, Maine, for Canada early Monday morning without issue, and Central Maine Power reports more than a dozen two-person crews and 10 support workers crossed the border without incident at around 7 a.m. Monday.

“We now know there were not any issues with ArriveCan,” said Foster. “Our contractor crews have made their way over the border and we are grateful to have them as part of our restoration efforts here in Nova Scotia.”

The Canada Border Services Agency reported that it cleared 19 power trucks at the Third Bridge border crossing in St. Stephen, N.B., just after 7 a.m. Monday. The CBSA said the average processing time was between 30 and 60 seconds per vehicle.

The ArriveCan app has been fodder for heated political debates for months and Conservatives have repeatedly demanded that the government shut it down.

During question period on Monday, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre cited the allegations that ArriveCan delayed power crews to demand that the app be scrapped ahead of schedule.

He asked, “Will the prime minister suspend the ArriveCan app today, not Saturday, so that no more holdups happen at the border for those who are trying to help those in desperate need?”

Trudeau said he can “confirm that there were no delays at any border because of ArriveCan or otherwise.”

The utility company had said Sunday that crews were physically stuck at the border, but confirmed a few hours after question period on Monday that this had never been the case.

Foster suggested the error was a result of “confusion” after a concern arose Friday — before the storm actually hit — that crews from Maine might not be able to cross the border because of ArriveCan.

No New Brunswick border crossings reported issues over the weekend.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.


Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


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Former top civil servant, medical association president appointed as senators



OTTAWA — Ian Shugart, a longtime bureaucrat and the country’s top civil servant during the first part of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been tapped for a seat in the Senate.

Dr. Gigi Osler, a Winnipeg surgeon, University of Manitoba professor and president of the Federation of Medical Women in Canada, is also set to become a senator.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the picks today after the two were recommended to him by the independent advisory board for appointments to the upper chamber.

Shugart, who will represent Ontario, stepped down as the clerk of the Privy Council in early 2021 to undergo cancer treatments and formally retired in May after a long public service career.

Trudeau also appointed him to the King’s Privy Council today, adding his name to a list that includes past and present cabinet ministers and people “honoured for their contributions to Canada,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Osler, who will represent Manitoba, became the first female surgeon and the first racialized woman to hold the presidency at the Canadian Medical Association in 2018.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.


The Canadian Press

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