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Newcomers fuel largest N.B. population bump in 44 years – CBC.ca

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Ilia Reschny is 21 and in late September decided to pack up her dog, Pecan, and move from the British Columbia interior to New Brunswick, even though to that point she had never been east of Saskatchewan.

“We’re not used to seeing the ocean,”said Reschny. “Pecan didn’t know what the ocean was when we got here, but everyone’s been super nice. I love it so far.”

Reschny’s mother and her husband had moved to Saint John earlier in the year, attracted by affordable New Brunswick real estate, and so Reschny thought she would try it too.

They’re part of a growing number of newcomers fuelling the largest increase in New Brunswick’s population in two generations.

“The growth was the strongest since 1975, so in almost 45 years,” Statistics Canada demographer Patrick Charbonneau said of the increase in people calling New Brunswick home during the spring and summer.

Driven by the unprecedented arrival of immigrants and a surge of residents moving from other provinces, New Brunswick’s population grew by 6,134 between April and September, pushing it to a record 780,021.    

The increase is slightly below the national average but still a remarkable development in New Brunswick, which, as recently as 2007, had been shrinking.  

“It’s really international migration that is fuelling population growth in New Brunswick,” said Charbonneau, noting most provinces are having similar experiences.

“It’s really part of a larger trend in Canada,” he said.   

J.D. Irving Ltd. has sponsored a number of skilled immigrants to settle in central New Brunswick and work in its Chipman sawmill. A number of companies with operations in rural New Brunswick have recruited internationally for help. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

New Brunswick set a modern record in 2018 by attracting 4,609 immigrants. That’s the most since current Statistics Canada records began in 1946, but the province will shatter that number this year. It is already 100 people beyond last year’s total, with three months still to be counted.  

That is a major change.  

Six years ago, the province took in just 2,023 immigrants for the entire year and 20 years ago just 662.

Trevor Holder, the provincial minister in charge of population growth, said Thursday he’s encouraged by the new numbers.

Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder oversees the province’s population growth efforts and says he is pleased with a flood of new residents this year. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

“They represent very positive news for New Brunswick,” Holder said in a statement released by his office.

But in addition to immigrants, there are large numbers of people like Reschny moving to the province from other parts of Canada.  

During the first nine months of 2019, more than 11,026 people came to New Brunswick from elsewhere in the country, the most for the first nine months of any year since 1986. It was also nearly 1,400 more people than left New Brunswick to settle in other provinces — a net gain that Reschny is now part of.

“It’s way more affordable and I do like it,” she said.

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Canada's COVID-19 case numbers show early positive signs – CBC.ca

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Cases of COVID-19 are declining in many parts of Canada, but experts say those early positive signs are dependent on widespread restrictions. 

Quebec, now under a province-wide curfew, has seen new cases declineOntario has showed 10 consecutive declines in its seven-day average, a metric that helps to spot long-term trends compared to daily numbers that can spike up and down.

Caroline Colijn, an infectious disease modeller at Simon Fraser University, said most of the provinces seem to be declining.

“Ontario’s kind of uncertain, Saskatchewan’s growing still or again, but the rest are kind of flat or declining,” said Colijn, who also holds a Canada Research Chair in mathematics for evolution, infection and public health.

“That’s the first decline we’ve seen in Quebec and Ontario for quite a while,” she said. “In our models, it looks like a genuine decline.”

More tools needed

In B.C., for example, Colijn said the epidemic is stabilizing with strict measures such as telling people not to socialize outside their household.

But Colijn fears Ontario’s stay-at-home order, Quebec’s curfew and restrictions in other provinces aren’t solutions that people can sustain for months.

If people don’t limit their number of contacts with others then cases will start to climb again until vaccinations reach the general population. 

“Unless we want to do this for six months, we do need to be thinking about throwing other tools that we have available at this problem.”

WATCH | Researchers test new tools for COVID-19 surveillance:

Researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax are working on a 3D-printed ball that can collect a building’s sewage and test the water for coronavirus. They say the tool could be used to trace outbreaks and to test the effectiveness of vaccines. 4:05

Colijn said widespread restrictions, symptomatic testing and contact tracing remain cornerstone tools. But those tools should be supplemented with wider rapid testing technologies coming to the fore, which Colijn believes could support re-opening the economy.

Federal and provincial scientists are validating rapid tests, currently used at remote mines as well as the film and airline industries, for more widespread use. 

Sask. heading in the wrong direction

Nazeem Muhajarine, an epidemiologist at the University of Saskatchewan, divides the country’s into three main groups based on per-capita case counts:

  • The top: Atlantic Canada, which has the fewest cases.
  • The middle: Manitoba, Alberta and B.C., which have showed month-long improvements in COVID-19 activity following lockdowns. If trends in Ontario and Quebec continue, then they could be added to the middle group. 
  • The bottom: Saskatchewan, which Muhajarine said isn’t even heading in the right direction, with an average of 300 new cases daily.

Muhajarine is concerned about the steep climb in COVID-19 deaths in the Prairie province.

“On Dec. 1, we had 51 deaths and by Jan. 1 it tripled to 155,” he noted.

In the first 21 days of the month, another 84 people have died in Saskatchewan.

“We really need to reverse course,” Muhajarine said. “To do that, we need very strict measures with a stay-at-home order and enforcement of orders. When we see the case numbers reverse course, we have to get our testing, tracing and isolation regime back up.”

Restrictions on retail stores, restaurants and bars could help bring cases, hospitalizations and deaths down given how Saskatchewan is “stretched to the limit,” he said.

Even places with early signs of decline, like Ontario, will see hospitalizations and deaths continue to climb for a period because of the lag time from new infections in December, health experts say. 

Essential workplaces key for Ontario

Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease physician with Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga, Ont., said the province’s seven-day averages are encouraging.

A worker at the Gateway Postal facility, in Mississauga, Ont., on Wednesday. Canada Post confirms a major outbreak of COVID-19 at the plant — the largest mail facility in the country that reflects how cases continue to occur among essential workers. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

“We’re now more than two weeks past what would be the New Year’s surge,” Chakrabarti said, referencing people socializing over the holidays despite advice from public health officials and politicians to stay at home. 

Now that the holiday peak in new cases is over, regular winter transmission of the virus is happening in the population, he said.

Chakrabarti recalls how during the province’s first wave in the spring, cases came down and then were stuck at a plateau for months, which he said could happen again.

Driving case counts down further would ease pressure on health-care systems and protect vulnerable residents of long-term care homes.

The key, he says, is to tackle where transmission is still happening: essential workplaces.

“We were seeing people getting infected at work and then bringing it home to their family, where it was being amplified,” he said of the first wave. “That’s still happening and something a lockdown doesn’t address.”

It’s why Chakrabarti and others advocate for:

“Yes, there are some people who are breaking the rules,” Chakrabarti said. “But we also need to look at the very different industrial setups because these factors are huge, right? This is one of the reasons why things haven’t ever really turned quickly in Ontario.”

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Now hiring: StatCan needs 32000 Canadians to administer 2021 census – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Statistics Canada plans to hire 32,000 employees across Canada to conduct the next census in May 2021.

StatCan said in a press release on Thursday that individuals will be hired in “both big and small communities” to collect “crucial data that will be used to plan for the future.”

The agency says positions available include supervisory and non-supervisory roles between March and July 2021.

“Over the past 100 years, through the census, Statistics Canada has captured an ever-evolving snapshot of the country and its people. Canadians have relied on census data to tell them about how the country is changing and about what matters to them,” Anil Arora, Chief Statistician of Canada at Statistics Canada, said in the release.

Arora noted that the data from the “large-scale nation project” holds even more significance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we all work to respond to the social and economic impacts of COVID-19, it is more important than ever that we collectively pursue data-driven solutions that work for families, businesses and diverse communities from coast to coast to coast,” Arora said.

With COVID-19 in mind, Statistics Canada said the census process has been adapted to ensure Canadians have the opportunity to be heard “in the best and safest way possible.”

According to the release, census procedures have been redesigned to limit the amount of contact required to participate, with the majority of Canadians being able to complete the questionnaire through a “user-friendly” online application.

StatCan said it will provide all equipment required to keep census employees safe while on the job, and will have employees work close to home in their local communities.

The agency says census staff will “identify dwellings on maps, follow up with respondents by phone and conduct physically distanced in-person interviews, when required.”

According to the press release, census workers will be paid between $17.83 to $21.77 per hour, depending on position. In select northern and remote communities, StatCan says the rate of pay ranges from $29.25 to $31.25 an hour. In addition, all employees will be paid for authorized expenses.

The agency said applicants must be 18 years or older, eligible to work in Canada and able to commit to a “flexible work schedule,” including on evenings and weekends.

“As we prepare for the 2021 Census, we thank all Canadians who have trusted Statistics Canada to tell their unique stories and capture the diverse and changing portrait of our nation as it grows and evolves,” Arora said.

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Canada's top judge is now Governor General, but expert urges speedy replacement – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Julie Payette’s resignation amid allegations of workplace harassment means that the chief justice of the Supreme Court will now serve as interim Governor General, but a Crown expert says this temporary appointment should be as brief as possible as it presents potential conflicts.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accepted Payette’s resignation on Thursday following reports of a workplace harassment investigation that sources described to CTV News as “damaging.”

Chief Justice of Canada Richard Wagner will serve as Governor General on an interim basis until Trudeau recommends a new governor general to the Queen, something Trudeau says he will do “in due course.”

Philippe Lagasse, a Carleton University expert on the Westminster system and the Crown, described Payette’s resignation as “a bit sad, really,” and stressed the importance of limiting the amount of time Wagner stays in this role.

“I have to say, as somebody who is concerned about how offices appear in public, it’s really not ideal to have the chief justice of the Supreme Court act as an administrator for any long period of time,” Lagasse told CTV’s Power Play on Thursday.

The reason: the Governor General is in charge of turning bills into law through royal assent. Having an active Supreme Court judge in this role could be potentially problematic down the road, Lagasse said.

“We can think in our constitutional metaphysics that they’re wearing a different hat when they’re providing royal assent, you can imagine that it could create discomfort on the part of the judge who wants to be seem completely and utterly impartial if ever that legislation appears before them in a constitutional or legal challenge,” he said.

Asked about the timeline to replace Payette, intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said “obviously it’s not a question of months.”

“The constitutional role can be fulfilled as of tonight by Chief Justice Wagner and until a successor is sworn in,” LeBlanc told CTV’s Power Play.

“We obviously haven’t turned our attention to the details of how that successor would be recommended to Her Majesty, but we’ll have more to say about that in the coming days. But it’s not a circumstance that can go on for months and months.”

The Governor General holds the second-highest office in Canada after the Queen, with the role out-ranking even the prime minister. That’s because the Governor General can be called on to make decisions related to the formation of government, such as to prorogue Parliament or dissolve Parliament on the advice of a prime minister to trigger an election.

The Governor General also plays a key role in minority governments, as is the current case. If a minority government loses a confidence vote in the House of Commons, the prime minister would then have to request Parliament be dissolved. The Governor General then has the discretion whether to agree to that, and call an election, or allow another party in the House to attempt to form a government that would have the confidence of the House.

For example, in 2008, Stephen Harper asked then-Governor General Michaelle Jean to prorogue Parliament to avoid a non-confidence vote that he was expected to lose, which she allowed.

Everything considered, Lagasse said it’s in the country’s best interests to appoint a new Governor General pronto.

“To the extent possible, we should have a full-on governor general appointed as soon as possible, given the possibility of an election on the horizon,” he said.

“And ultimately, I would imagine the chief justice is not really keen on the idea of having to make some of these decisions and make some of the calls, particularly if another election returns another hung Parliament, and if there’s controversy around a dissolution of Parliament in the middle of a pandemic. These are all things that I imagine the chief justice doesn’t want to be particularly involved with either.”

CTV royal commentator Richard Berthelsen said that the Governor General plays a critical constitutional role in Canada as a representative of the Queen, but is also seen as a moral leader.

“So this really was a day that, in a lot of ways, had to happen. It’s sad that it has happened, but the report has left everyone with no alternative,” Berthelsen told CTV News Channel.

With files from CTV’s Rachel Aiello in Ottawa and The Canadian Press

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