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Mortgage deferrals will soon end for many Canadians. Then what? – Global News



Six-month mortgage deferrals for borrowers struggling with the financial impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic will be over for many in the fall. How many of those deferrals will turn into defaults is one of the questions hanging over the future of Canada’s economic recovery.

Around 2.6 million Canadians, or just over nine per cent of credit consumers, have at least one active deferral, according to a recent survey by TransUnion Canada. Of those deferrals, 28 per cent are mortgages, the report also shows.

As of the end of June, some 760,000 Canadians, or about 16 per cent of mortgage holders, have taken advantage of mortgage deferral options rolled out by banks since the middle of March.

Mortgage deferral ‘cliff’ is coming

Mortgage deferral ‘cliff’ is coming

How many of those homeowners will be able to keep up with their bills when the payment vacation ends is something policymakers, investors and economists will be watching closely.

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“The numbers are looking better than they are in the economic data and also the corporate earnings because there’s so much government intervention,” says Gregory Taylor, chief investment officer at Purpose Investments.

“It will be interesting to see how things really are there when you take the training wheels off,” he adds.

Those training wheels include federal income support programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the payment deferrals, which, while offered by private financial institutions, have been aided by a variety of crisis policy measures.

READ MORE: What do the new CMHC rules mean for homebuyers?

When it comes to the end of the mortgage-payments grace period, there is no consensus on what the future holds.

In May, Evan Siddall, president and CEO of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), spoke of a mortgage deferral “cliff” looming in the fall, when some jobless homeowners would have to start making payments again.

“As much as one-fifth of all mortgages could be in arrears if our economy has not recovered sufficiently,” Siddall warned.

Mortgage expert Robert McLister, on the other hand, sees more of a “deferral ditch.”

There is “no question” that mortgage defaults will jump in the last three months of 2020, says McLister, who is mortgage editor at and founder of rates comparisons site

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But many borrowers appear to have taken advantage of payment vacations not out of financial necessity but to build an emergency cash buffer, McLister says citing conversations with lenders. Others will be able to tap their lines of credit to continue making their mortgage payments, he adds.

Open House: Mortgage deferrals

Open House: Mortgage deferrals

It helps that home prices have generally held up or risen in much of Canada since government restrictions linked to COVID-19 began to loosen up. On average home prices were up a whopping 14.3 per cent in July compared to the same month last year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

The strong real estate market also means homeowners who can’t keep up with payments after the end of the deferral period will have an easier time putting their properties on the market, McLister says.

“There’s definitely going to be an increase in (the housing) supply,” he says.

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But if the housing-market rebound bodes well for Canada’s chances of dodging a massive spike in defaults, record-high household debt is a significant vulnerability.

“The potential for a trigger event to occur when household debt is high has long been cited as the biggest risk facing Canada’s financial system,” a recent Bank of Canada analysis notes.

The research, which dates back to June, finds that one in five households has enough financial buffers only make just two months of mortgage payments and about one-third can make up to four months of payments. In other words, without a regular income, many homeowners wouldn’t last long.

READ MORE: Canadians who have exhausted EI included in post-CERB plan

Mortgage deferrals and programs like the CERB help keep financially stretched homeowners afloat while the labour market recovers from the impact of the lockdown, the researchers note.

It’s unclear how much longer borrowers will be able to rely on those two buoys.

On Aug. 20, the Trudeau government announced a $37-billion package to prolong the CERB by another four weeks and bolster support for workers affected by COVID-19 once the emergency benefit runs out. The new measures include broad changes to Employment Insurance and the creation of three new benefit programs.

A degree of uncertainty, however, surrounds the future of the new measures, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has prorogued parliament until Sept. 23 following the resignation of Bill Morneau as federal finance minister and the WE Charity scandal.

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READ MORE: Liberals unveil $37B for CERB transition to new benefits, EI changes

Sources who have been briefed on the government’s plan say the new income supports will be created through regulations, rather than legislation, the Canadian Press has reported.

When it comes to mortgage deferrals, some lenders have said they’ll work on a case-by-case basis with borrowers who can’t resume regular payments.

The other key variable to watch is the speed at which the labour market will heal, the Bank of Canada researchers note.

Since May, the economy has recouped around 1.7 million of the roughly three million jobs it lost in March and April amid mandatory business and school closures.

But after a strong partial rebound, the pace of the recovery seems to have stalled a bit, Taylor says. And there could be setbacks, he warns, such as the arrival of a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

There’s also a risk that, as companies stick with a work-from-home model for longer, “they’ll probably realize they don’t need everyone to come back,” Taylor says.

“The fall is going to be really interesting.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Today's coronavirus news: Public school in Scarborough the first Toronto school to close; Mexico virus data may not be available for years; India's confirmed case tally reaches 6M – Toronto Star




  • 5:31 a.m.: Mexico virus data may not be available for years

  • 5:29 a.m.: Dubai to restrict nightlife amid virus increase

  • 5 a.m.: India’s confirmed coronavirus tally reaches 6 million cases

  • 4 a.m.: Erin O’Toole and Bloc Quebecois chief expected at House of Commons this week after being benched due to COVID-19

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Monday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

9:50 a.m. Statistics Canada says it recorded 56,296 business closures in June, an improvement from May but still 44 per cent more than in February before the COVID-19 pandemic struck in force in Canada.

It says the number of business closures in across Canada in June was down 5.6 per cent compared with May.

The trend observed in June was observed in every province and territory except Quebec, which had a two per cent increase in business closures compared with the previous month.

There were also 52,723 business openings nationally in June, 33 per cent more than Statistics Canada recorded in May,

But the agency says only about one-fifth of all businesses that closed in March or April had reopened by June.

As a result, 14.1 of businesses that were active in February remain closed as of June.

9:30 a.m. Toronto’s cycling advocates say “keep going” on the city’s expanded bike lanes that were installed over the summer in response to COVID-19.

As part of the city’s recovery program, 40 kilometres of new bike lanes were installed across Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue. The new lanes created an almost complete street-spine bikeway spanning east and west from Dawes Road and Danforth Avenue to Bloor Street West and Runnymede Road.

In response to what it says is a “long-sought for achievement,” cycling advocacy group Ward 14 Bikes is hosting a Bloor-Danforth Celebratory Ride on Oct. 4.

Groups of cyclists from all over the city will ride on their local section of the new Bloor-Danforth bikeway to celebrate the installation in addition to Ward 14 Bikes participants on Danforth Avenue.

9:30 a.m. The Correctional Service of Canada is suspending visits to its institutions in Quebec to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in federal prisons and community correctional centres.

The agency says it’s also stopping inmates’ work releases and temporary absences except for medical and compassionate reasons.

The rules apply to 16 facilities in the province of Quebec.

The Correctional Service says work, health and rehabilitation programs inside its institutions will continue, and inmates can connect with their loved ones by phone and video conferences.

After outbreaks of COVID-19 in several prisons earlier this year, the service says there are no cases of the illness in the federal system now.

9 a.m. Canadian households continue to be increasingly optimistic about housing, even as the country suffers through a second wave of coronavirus cases, polling suggests.

About 44 per cent of respondents expect the value of real estate in their neighborhood will go up over the next six months, according to the latest weekly survey by Nanos Research for Bloomberg News. That’s the highest percentage since March 13, before full pandemic shutdowns began and one of the strongest readings for this question in the past seven years. The share of Canadians who expect home prices to drop slid to 27 per cent, also the lowest since mid-March.

The residential real estate market has been a bright spot in Canada’s economic recovery from COVID-19. Last month, home prices and sales reached a record from pent-up demand combined with low interest rates and tight inventory. Although the market has defied expectations, economists predict the gains will peter out in line with other data that shows a slow down in activity as cases rise and restrictions get re-imposed.

“Can it continue this way? Absolutely not,” Benjamin Tal, Deputy Chief Economist at CIBC, said in a telephone interview. “As we enter winter, things will slow down economically and we will see it in the housing market. It doesn’t mean it will go down but it will stabilize and maybe soften a bit.”

Strong expectations on housing have been shoring up overall consumer confidence levels, the polling suggests, helping offset declining sentiment around the broader economic outlook as rising virus cases prompt local authorities to impose new social distancing measures.

8:39 a.m. Toronto’s subway system will likely get more crowded in the coming weeks as cold weather returns and people have fewer options to get to school and work. But with new COVID-19 cases in the city surging again, many might feel uneasy about packing onto crowded trains.

One important factor in how the virus behaves on the subway is airflow in the underground system. The Star took a closer look at how the subway ventilation system works to determine how it could affect the transmission of the virus.

Read the full story from the Star’s Ben Spurr

8:37 a.m. On World News Day, Toronto Star journalists look back on six months – and counting – of covering the COVID-19 pandemic: the stories they’re telling, the data they dig up, and why it is so important to them to keep asking questions and pushing for trustworthy, reliable information.

Read the full story from Star staff

8 a.m. Greek authorities say 12 crew members of a Maltese-flagged cruise ship on a Greek island tour with more than 1,500 people on board have tested positive to the coronavirus and have been isolated on board.

The Mein Schiff 6, operated by TUI Cruises, began its trip in Heraklion on the southern Greek island of Crete on Sunday night, with 922 passengers and 666 crew members on board, Greece’s Shipping Ministry said Monday. It had been due to sail to Piraeus, the country’s main port near the Greek capital, Athens, and later to the western island of Corfu.

Sample tests for the coronavirus were carried out on 150 of the crewmembers, the ministry said, and 12 of them were found to be positive. The passengers had undergone coronavirus tests before boarding and were not part of the sample testing.

Those who tested positive for COVID-19 had been isolated on board, and the cruise ship was headed to Piraeus.

Greek health authorities said the ship was expected to arrive on Tuesday, and a National Public Health Organization team would be on hand to re-test the 12 positive cases, as well as anyone else deemed necessary by the ship’s crew and on-board doctor. The health authority said all 12 of those who had tested positive were asymptomatic and with a “low viral load.”

7:37 a.m. Mason Road Junior Public School is the first Toronto school to close after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared by Toronto Public Health.

The school at 78 Mason Rd. in Scarborough will be closed from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 while public health continues the investigation, Toronto District School Board said in a tweet.

There are four confirmed cases at the school, including one student and three staff, according to TDSB.

This marks the second school in Toronto where an outbreak was declared.

Read the full story from the Star’s Cheyenne Bholla

7:25 a.m. Russian health officials have reported over 8,000 new coronavirus cases for the first time since mid-June.

The 8,135 new confirmed cases brought the country’s total to nearly 1.16 million, the fourth largest caseload in the world. Almost 27 per cent of Monday’s new cases — 2,217 — were registered in Moscow.

The number of daily new cases started to rapidly grow this month in Russia, which had earlier lifted most of the virus-related restrictions and resumed air traffic with several countries.

Officials have repeatedly dismissed rumours of a second lockdown, saying the growth in the autumn was expected and Russia’s health care infrastructure was prepared for it.

Last week Moscow authorities asked the elderly to stay at home starting from Monday, and employers to allow as many people as possible to work from home amid the surge of new cases.

Russia was the first country in the world to approve a vaccine against the virus last month. The move elicited criticism from experts worldwide as the shots have only been tested on a few dozen people and further studies are needed to establish the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness.

7:20 a.m. Inc. will hire 3,500 Canadians to work in spaces it is opening and expanding in British Columbia and Ontario.

The e-commerce giant revealed Monday that 3,000 of the jobs will be in Vancouver, where it is growing its footprint, and another 500 will be in Toronto, home of a new Amazon workspace.

Jesse Dougherty, Amazon’s vice-president and Vancouver site lead, said the company wanted to offer the jobs in Canada because the country has an “enormous” amount of tech talent Amazon is eager to tap into and accommodate at home.

“I look at it through the lens of how can we grow so that people don’t have to leave Canada to learn and take on amazing global challenges that are of a scale that aren’t typically available here?” he said.

The new corporate and tech jobs will include software development engineers, user experience designers, speech scientists working to make Alexa smarter, cloud computing solutions architects, and sales and marketing executives.

The bulk of the jobs will be done out of the Post, a Vancouver building where Amazon will take over an extra 63,000 square metres of office space. By 2023 it will be operating across 18 floors it is leasing in the building’s north tower and 17 in its south tower.

6:31 a.m.: While the federal government is pressing ahead with plans to buy billions of dollars worth of much-needed equipment for the Canadian Armed Forces, the Department of National Defence’s top procurement official says COVID-19 is further slowing down some already delayed purchases.

The past six months have seen a number of major milestones for Canada’s beleaguered military procurement system, including last week’s unveiling of the first of 16 new military search-and-rescue planes after 16 years of delays and controversy.

Procurement officials are also now reviewing three bids that were received from fighter-jet makers at the end of July as Canada inches closer to selecting a replacement for the aging CF-18s following more than a decade of political mismanagement.

The list of recent successes also includes Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding having delivered the first of six new Arctic offshore patrol vessels in late July, while progress has been made on a number of other files, such as the long-overdue purchase of new engineering vehicles for the Army.



6:15 a.m.: The Little Rock teachers union says its members won’t show up for in-person classes due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus in schools.

The Little Rock Education Association said Sunday its members are willing to teach classes virtually, but accused district administrators of not doing enough to prevent the virus’s spread. It was unclear how many teachers planned to participate in the action.

The superintendent of the state-controlled 21,000-student district said it was taking additional steps to ensure schools stay open for in-person instruction. Arkansas is requiring its public schools to stay open for in-person classes five days a week, though they can also offer virtual or hybrid options. Schools reopened Aug. 24.

5:31 a.m.: Mexico’s top coronavirus official says definitive data on the country’s death toll from COVID-19 won’t be available for “a couple of years.”

The statement by Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell is likely to revive debate about Mexico’s death toll, currently at 76,430, the fourth-highest in the world.

“When will the final statistics on deaths from COVID-19 be ready? Certainly, a couple of years after the first year of the pandemic,” López-Gatell said Sunday, adding that work would be left to the country’s statistics institute.

Officials have acknowledged in the past that the figure is a significant undercount, because it includes only those who died after a positive test result, almost always at a hospital. Mexico does very little testing, and many people die without a test.

But the Mexican government has avoided adjusting its death toll upward to account for people who died at home or weren’t tested.

5:29 a.m.: Dubai has announced new restrictions on nightlife to curb a rising tide of coronavirus infections.

Dubai’s tourism authorities have ordered all bars and restaurants in the city-state to stop serving and halt “entertainment activities” at 1 a.m. Hotels will be restricted by law to offering only delivery and room service after 3 a.m.

Authorities urged dining and drinking establishments to adhere to anti-virus protocols or face “consequential procedures and violations,” including shutdowns and huge fines.

The new rules are the first since restaurants and bars were allowed to reopen in July as Dubai, a top travel destination known for its lively nightlife, emerged from lockdown.

5:21 a.m.: Thailand’s agency for fighting COVID-19 says a state of emergency first declared in March will be extended for another month to help control the disease.

The spokesman for the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration said Monday that although Thailand has been successful in limiting the spread of the virus, risks are still high because of new outbreaks in other countries, especially Myanmar, which borders 10 Thai provinces.

The Cabinet is virtually certain to approve the agency’s proposal at a meeting Tuesday. Some critics say the government has used the state of emergency against political activists who have held anti-government rallies.

5:12 a.m.: South Korea has reported 50 new cases of the coronavirus, its lowest daily increase in nearly 50 days, a possible effect of strengthened social distancing measures that were employed to slow a major outbreak surrounding the greater capital region.

Monday’s daily increase reported by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency was the lowest since Aug. 11. The country reported around 200 to 300 cases a day from mid-August to early September, a resurgence that forced officials to tighten social distancing restrictions in the Seoul area and elsewhere.

Officials have called for vigilance ahead of the Chuseok harvest festival that begins Wednesday.

5:07 a.m.: Australia’s coronavirus hot spot Victoria state on Monday recorded its lowest number of new infections in more than three months as the nation’s second-largest city, Melbourne, further eased lockdown restrictions.

The easing of restrictions in Melbourne, the state capital, will allow most children to return to school from mid-October and send more than 125,000 people back to work.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters that his state was “so close to being able to take a really big step … towards that COVID-normal,” after only five new cases were recorded in the latest 24-hour period, the lowest case number since June 12.

5 a.m.: India’s confirmed coronavirus tally reached 6 million cases on Monday, keeping the country second to the United States in number of reported cases since the pandemic began.

The Health Ministry reported 82,170 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, driving the overall tally to 6,074,703. At least 1,039 deaths were also recorded in the same period, taking total fatalities up to 95,542.

New infections in India are currently being reported faster than anywhere else in the world. The world’s second-most populous country is expected to become the pandemic’s worst-hit country in coming weeks, surpassing the U.S., where more than 7.1 million infections have been reported.

4 a.m. While the federal government is pressing ahead with plans to buy billions of dollars worth of much-needed equipment for the Canadian Armed Forces, the Department of National Defence’s top procurement official says COVID-19 is further slowing down some already delayed purchases.

The past six months have seen a number of major milestones for Canada’s beleaguered military procurement system, including last week’s unveiling of the first of 16 new military search-and-rescue planes after 16 years of delays and controversy.

Procurement officials are also now reviewing three bids that were received from fighter-jet makers at the end of July as Canada inches closer to selecting a replacement for the aging CF-18s following more than a decade of political mismanagement.

The list of recent successes also includes Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding having delivered the first of six new Arctic offshore patrol vessels in late July, while progress has been made on a number of other files, such as the long-overdue purchase of new engineering vehicles for the Army.

Yet some of those milestones would have been achieved earlier had it not been for COVID-19. And Troy Crosby, the Defence Department’s assistant deputy minister of materiel, acknowledges many other projects are being affected as well.

That includes the more than 100 military procurements — roughly half of them dealing with new equipment and the rest focused on building new infrastructure on Canadian Forces bases across the country — that were listed as already delayed before the pandemic hit.

“COVID didn’t speed anything up,” Crosby said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “I think everybody would understand that that’s going to have some impact. And exactly what that impact is difficult to tell right now.”

Delays in military procurements can have several impacts. In some cases such the CF-18s, the Canadian Armed Forces is being forced to keep using equipment that was supposed to have been retired years ago. In others, delays drive up the cost of the new purchases due to inflation.

The projects most likely to be delayed due to COVID-19 are those in production, Crosby said. Examples include the construction of new naval ships by Irving and Seaspan ULC in Vancouver, which have had to adopt physical distancing and other COVID-19 measures at their shipyards.

“For the projects that are at a stage where the work is office-based … once we got over that initial hump as everybody had to as we moved toward a remote-work posture, the work continued,” said Crosby.

4 a.m.: Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Bloc Quebecois chief Yves-Francois Blanchet are expected to take their seats in the House of Commons this week after being benched due to COVID-19.

The two opposition leaders were absent from the Commons last week as both were in isolation after contracting COVID-19.

Their formal replies to the Liberals’ speech from the throne will come as Parliament is set to debate new COVID-19 relief measures over the coming days and potentially pass them into law.

The government plans to set up a new pandemic-benefits regime under the umbrella of the existing employment insurance system and also create paid sick leave for those who can’t work due to COVID-19. The NDP had made paid sick leave and a new benefits program as generous as the old one conditions for supporting for the Liberals’ throne speech. So, while the Tories and Bloc Quebecois have said they’ll vote against the speech, the NDP’s support is expected to keep the minority Liberals in power.

Sunday 9:30 p.m.: The Toronto District School Board said Sunday that public health officials have declared an outbreak at Mason Road Junior Public School, in Scarborough, and ordered that it be closed until Friday, Oct. 2, while they investigate. It is the first school to be closed in Toronto due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Toronto’s first school outbreak was declared at Friday at Glen Park Public School, where two students tested positive. As of Sunday evening, a total of 37 public schools across Toronto were reporting infections among students or staff, or both.

Click here for more of Sunday’s COVID-19 coverage.

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Canada adds 1,454 COVID-19 cases as diagnoses soar in Ontario, Quebec – Global News



Speed limits will once again be on Calgary city hall’s agenda on Wednesday when city administration presents a report on the topic to the Transportation and Transit Committee.

The report recommends that city council make changes to the speed limit bylaw by lowering the unposted speed limit from 50 km/h to 40 km/h within the city limits.

It also recommends that 50 km/h speed limit signs be posted on existing collector roadways if they aren’t already in place.

The final recommendation is for the city to work towards a long-term goal of lowering collector roads to 40km/h and residential roads to 30 km/h.

Calgary city council approves public engagement on speed limit reductions

Calgary city council approves public engagement on speed limit reductions

The report says that these changes won’t happen quickly, and that buy-in from drivers will be necessary.

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“In order to continue to make progress towards the desired long-term state, administration will work with industry partners to revise road standards to ensure that the construction of future roadways and retrofits of existing roadways result in environments where the recommended long-term speed limits would be credible to most drivers,” the report says.

Ward 6 Coun. Jeff Davison said that making Calgary streets safer should be a priority but that he doesn’t expect any citywide changes to be made quickly.

“There’s going to be a cost associated with this but there’s going to be long-term savings,” said Davison. “What I think is probably going to happen in committee is that we will accept the administration’s recommendations, but then forwarded to our budget talks in November.”

In the report, administration laid out the costs and benefits of several scenarios, balancing the cost of signage and traffic calming measures with the reduction in serious collisions.

The city estimates that changing the signage on residential roads would result in a one-time cost of $2.3 million. It estimates with that change, 90 to 450 crashes could be avoided every year, which includes six to 29 serious or fatal crashes.

It also adds that the reduction in crashes and injuries would save the city $8.1 million a year in “societal” savings.

Click to play video 'Calgary city council looking for public opinion on residential speed limits'

Calgary city council looking for public opinion on residential speed limits

Calgary city council looking for public opinion on residential speed limits

Pricier options such as putting permanent traffic calming measures in place across the city drive the cost up to $477 million, but as many as 900 crashes could be avoided.

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Ward 11 Coun. Jeromy Farkas said none of the options make financial sense for the city right now.

“Even by city hall standards, making the entire city a playground zone has to be the silliest idea I’ve ever heard,” said Farkas. “Not to mention that implementing this would cost millions of dollars. We just don’t have the money or the time for this right now.”

The recommendations will be presented to the Transportation and Traffic Committee on Wednesday.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Ontario and Quebec –



The latest:

The Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) expires on Sunday, ending the income support program the federal government rolled out during the COVID-19 pandemic to help people with payouts of up to $2,000 a month.

The government says about 8.8 million Canadians have received the benefit since April. Roughly half of the four million Canadians still getting the payments through Service Canada and who are eligible for employment insurance are expected to be transitioned to a modified EI program.

The changes will be in place for one year, with three additional programs proposed for those who do not qualify for EI.

On Monday, Parliament is set to debate a bill to implement those new recovery benefits.

The New Democrats and the governing Liberals reached a deal on Saturday that delivers two weeks of paid sick leave for people affected by the pandemic under the Canada recovery sickness benefit.

In return, the NDP is promising to vote in favour of the throne speech, giving the Liberals the backing they need to survive a confidence vote and avoid an election. 

What’s happening in the rest of Canada

As of 2:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had 153,110 confirmed or presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 131,066 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,307.

WATCH | Trudeau says Canada at ‘crossroads’ as COVID-19 cases surge:

In a rare televised national address this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned that Canada is at a ‘crossroads’ as COVID-19 cases spike in some provinces and that the pandemic will get worse in the fall. 7:37

Quebec reported 896 new cases on Sunday — up from 698 the previous day — and its highest jump in intensive care-unit patients since late April with an increase of 12 patients. A total of 18 new hospitalizations were reported Saturday.

In Dorval, in Montreal’s West Island, a long-term care home that was hit hard by the first wave of the pandemic, with 38 dead in less than a month, has put residents in isolation after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

The regional health authority said staff at CHSLD Herron learned of the positive case Saturday morning and quickly isolated and tested all patients and employees who had been in contact with them. 

People wear face masks outside a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal on Sunday. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Ontario added 491 more cases on Sunday, up from 435 on Saturday. The Ontario Health Ministry also reported that a total of 112 people are hospitalized, a number that is on the rise. On Saturday, the province reported that there were 100 people in hospital. 

The majority of newly confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus are concentrated in three public health units: Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa. 

In Wasaga Beach, Ontario Provincial Police say enforcing physical distancing at a large car meet on Saturday was an impossible task after more than 1,000 car enthusiasts flocked to the beach town for an evening of street racing and stunts. Social media posts from the scene captured footage of the gathering:

Despite a heavy police presence, hundreds gathered in close proximity for a car meet in Wasaga Beach on Saturday. 0:44

Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case on Sunday, the first in the province since Sept. 18. The province says the case is travel-related, as the man had returned home to the province from Manitoba, and he has been self-isolating since his arrival and following public health guidelines.

Manitoba reported 51 new cases on Sunday, including 36 in the Winnipeg health region. Starting Monday, people in Winnipeg and 17 surrounding communities will have to wear masks in all public indoor spaces and cap gatherings at 10 as the region moves to the orange — or “restricted” — level under the province’s pandemic response system.

What’s happening around the world

According to Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at more than 32.9 million. More than 995,000 people have died, while over 22.7 million have recovered.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, has further eased lockdown restrictions imposed after a surge in coronavirus cases, allowing most children to return to school from next month and sending more than 125,000 people back to work. A further easing could take place on Oct. 19 if the average falls below five new cases per day. Masks remain mandatory.

India has registered 88,600 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours in a declining trend, with recoveries exceeding daily infections. Sunday’s surge has raised the country’s virus tally to over 5.9 million.

A COVID-19 test is performed in Ghaziabad, India, on Sunday. (Prakash Singh/AFP via Getty Images)

In Europe, hospitals in the Paris and Marseille regions are delaying some scheduled operations to free up space for COVID-19 patients as the French government tries to stem a rising tide of infections.

Italy reported another 1,766 coronavirus cases on Sunday, in line with its recent daily increases. Another 17 people died, bringing Italy’s official death toll to 35,835, the highest in Europe after Britain.

A guest wearing a face mask has their temperature taken before entering an event at Milan Fashion Week on Sunday. (Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images)

In the Americas, coronavirus cases in Colombia, which is nearly a month into a national reopening after a long quarantine, surpassed 800,000 on Saturday, a day after deaths from COVID-19 climbed above 25,000.

The U.S. state of Florida now has more than 700,000 confirmed infections of the novel coronavirus, according to statistics released by the state Department of Health on Sunday.

Africa has more than 1.4 million confirmed cases across the continent, a majority of them — more than 668,000 — in South Africa.

Health experts point to Africa’s youthful population as a factor in why COVID-19 has not taken a larger toll, along with swift lockdowns and the later arrival of the virus.

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