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Ontario sees 2,202 new COVID-19 cases with lockdown looming – CBC.ca

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Ontario reported another 2,202 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as the number of patients with the illness in intensive care climbed to its highest at any point during the pandemic.

It’s the eighth consecutive day of more than 2,000 new cases in Ontario, and comes one day after Premier Doug Ford announced a provincewide shutdown set to begin on Boxing Day.

According to Critical Care Services Ontario (CCSO), there are now 285 people with COVID-19 being treated in intensive care units. The previous high of 284 came in April, during the first wave of the pandemic.

The ICU figures from the CCSO were posted publicly to Twitter by members of the Ontario Hospital Association. The numbers in CCSO reports often vary slightly from those in the province’s daily COVID-19 updates because of differences in how each is compiled. Even by the province’s official numbers, however, ICU admissions are at a record high.

There are now 1,005 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 90 more than in yesterday’s provincial update. It also marks the first time that figure has surpassed 1,000 since May. During the peak of the first wave of the illness in Ontario, 1,043 COVID-19 patients were in hospital.

In a briefing yesterday, public health officials said that in the last four weeks there has been a 69.3 per cent increase in overall hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19, and an 83.1 per cent jump in the number of patients requiring intensive care. Under any modelling scenario, ICU admissions are expected to exceed 300 by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, today’s new cases include 636 in Toronto, 504 in Peel Region, 218 in York Region, 172 in Windsor-Essex and 101 in Waterloo Region. 

Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were:

  • Hamilton: 95
  • Middlesex-London: 93
  • Durham Region: 86
  • Halton Region: 48
  • Simcoe Muskoka: 46
  • Niagara Region: 41
  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 34
  • Southwestern: 23
  • Ottawa: 19
  • Lambton: 15
  • Huron Perth: 14

(Note: All of the figures used for new cases in this story are found on the Ontario Health Ministry’s COVID-19 dashboard or in its daily epidemiologic summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit because local units report figures at different times.)

The seven-day average of new daily cases dropped somewhat to 2,266.

At a news conference Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford called on the federal government to implement pre-departure testing for travelers to Canada in light of a rapidly-spreading variant of the virus in the United Kingdom.

“It’s a massive threat that we can’t take lightly,” he said at a news conference.

“Everyday we delay it, thousands of people are landing,” said Ford. 

Just one travel-related case of the virus have been identified in the last day. That’s compared with 561 cases resulting from close contact. 

“We haven’t seen this mutated strain in Ontario yet,” Health Minister Christine Elliott told reporters. She said the mutated strain is believed to be 70 per cent more transmissible than the current version of the novel coronavirus.

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe added this particular mutation was in fact first identified in the fall, but has seen significant spread in England in recent weeks. Yaffe also stressed there is no evidence to suggest the COVID-19 vaccines will be any less effective against it. 

In the past day, Ontario has identified just one case of COVID-19 related to travel. (Government of Ontario)

On Tuesday, the province announced parents of secondary school will be eligible for a one-time payment of $200 per child to help offset education expenses. Education Minister Stephen Lecce said applications for the funding will be open from Jan. 11 to Feb. 8.

The government previously announced similar funding for younger students in its latest budget. 

The province also announced a freeze on electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 8.5 cents/kWh for a period of 28-days for residential, small business and farm customers paying regular rates.

There are currently 19,300 confirmed, active cases of the illness in Ontario, also a new record high. 

They come as the province’s network of labs processed 45,265 test samples for the novel coronavirus and reported a test positivity rate of five per cent. Another 47,872 tests are in the queue to be completed.

The province recorded an additional 21 deaths of people with COVID-19, bringing the official toll to 4,188.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic’s second wave, Ford and other Ontario health officials have suggested they were seeing the rate of increase slow down or plateau.

That still hasn’t happened, and now the province is moving into another lockdown.

Here’s a look at some of those comments and when they were made, compared with the climbing case numbers.

(CBC News)

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If Canada can survive four years of Trump, it can navigate the new Buy American: PM – CTV News

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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA —
If Canada was able to navigate Donald Trump’s four years of bilateral bluster, it can surely find safe harbour from the protectionist measures of his Democratic successor, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested Tuesday.

Joe Biden’s White House has more in common with Canadians than Trump ever did, Trudeau said when asked if he expects stronger headwinds from the latest version of Buy American than the Conservatives fought through a decade ago.

That’s when then-president Barack Obama, desperate to jump-start the U.S. economy following the global economic crisis of 2008, imposed domestic procurement rules similar to those Biden enacted Monday.

Biden’s version reflects important differences, including more rigid enforcement rules, more stringent oversight and — perhaps most importantly — a U.S. electorate steeped in four long years of divisive and nationalist rhetoric.

Trudeau’s answer suggests the federal Liberals hope to extract every ounce of political cover from that rhetoric that they can, even though Trump is no longer in office.

“Over the past four years, we faced an American administration that was both unpredictable and extremely protectionist, and we were able every step of the way to stand up for Canadian interests,” Trudeau said.

He counted off a list of wins, including the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, an eventual end to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs and last year’s agreement to keep trade and commerce moving across the otherwise-closed Canada-U.S. border.

“We were there to be able to advocate for Canada’s interests, and I can tell you we will continue to be effective in advocating for Canada’s interests with this new administration,” Trudeau said.

“President Biden has a lot of similar priorities to this government’s, to Canadians’ … and these are things that we’re going to be able to work on closely with our nearest ally and closest friend.”

The political goal behind Biden’s iteration of Buy American, a cornerstone of his successful election campaign, was to win over the same protectionist blue-collar workers who helped elect Donald Trump in 2016.

But on Monday, Biden didn’t sound like someone who’s backing down now that he’s in the White House.

Waivers, the exceptions that allow Canadian contractors, manufacturers and suppliers access to a lucrative and often essential source of business, will be granted only under “very limited circumstances,” Biden said.

A new “Made in America” office attached to the White House will review waiver applications and grant them only “when there’s an overwhelming national security, humanitarian or emergency need here in America,” he said.

“This hasn’t happened before. It will happen now.”

It took Canada more than a year to negotiate an escape from the rules Obama imposed in 2009, with Biden as his vice-president. Whether that experience makes those talks easier or more difficult this time around remains to be seen.

“We’ve got some work ahead of us in Canada to make sure we get exemptions from some of these things,” said Dennis Darby, CEO of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.

Canada is in a constant state of having to remind American officials of the integral role it plays not only in its own economic health, but that of the U.S. as well, Darby said.

“Is it a concern? Yes, and this is no time for us to take our foot off the gas.”

In Ontario, where the provincial government embarked on a strategy last year of forging closer economic ties and “strategic investment” agreements with regional and state leaders in the U.S., anxiety was running high Tuesday.

“If Ontario were a country, we would be the United States’ third-largest trading partner,” said Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli.

“Buy American policies disrupt existing Ontario-U.S. cross-border supply chains and erode the deep and long-standing relationships we have built over the years.”

If nothing else, the lesson from another round of Buy American hand-wringing ought to be the importance of diversifying Canada’s export markets, said Jenifer Bartman, a business adviser and consultant based in Winnipeg.

“From a Canadian perspective, this situation is a reminder that, although the U.S. is our largest trading partner and agreements are in place, it is beneficial for Canadian businesses to diversify their customer base into other countries,” Bartman said.

“It takes time for companies to understand the intricacies of foreign markets and to build customer relationships, and both time and qualified support are needed in order to achieve this.”

Conservative MP Tracy Gray, the party’s international trade critic, pressed the government Tuesday during question period on how it plans to secure a waiver, which the governing Conservatives did in 2010.

“We understand that both countries benefit from the integrated, secure and resilient supply chains between our two countries,” said International Trade Minister Mary Ng.

“Canada is the No. 1 customer for more than 32 states. We look forward to working with the American administration for the interests of Canadian workers and Canadian businesses here in Canada, indeed on both sides of the border.”

The latest Buy American strategy is the second potential blow to Canada’s economic fortunes to land in less than a week.

On his first day in the White House, Biden rescinded the presidential permit for Keystone XL, a controversial cross-border link between the Alberta oilsands and refineries and ports on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“Expressing concern and disappointment on important issues to Canadian businesses and workers is simply not enough,” Gray said in a statement.

“Canada and U.S. trade are closely tied — but this Buy American plan puts our mutual economic recovery at risk.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021.

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If Canada can survive four years of Trump, it can navigate the new Buy American: PM – CTV News

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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA —
If Canada was able to navigate Donald Trump’s four years of bilateral bluster, it can surely find safe harbour from the protectionist measures of his Democratic successor, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested Tuesday.

Joe Biden’s White House has more in common with Canadians than Trump ever did, Trudeau said when asked if he expects stronger headwinds from the latest version of Buy American than the Conservatives fought through a decade ago.

That’s when then-president Barack Obama, desperate to jump-start the U.S. economy following the global economic crisis of 2008, imposed domestic procurement rules similar to those Biden enacted Monday.

Biden’s version reflects important differences, including more rigid enforcement rules, more stringent oversight and — perhaps most importantly — a U.S. electorate steeped in four long years of divisive and nationalist rhetoric.

Trudeau’s answer suggests the federal Liberals hope to extract every ounce of political cover from that rhetoric that they can, even though Trump is no longer in office.

“Over the past four years, we faced an American administration that was both unpredictable and extremely protectionist, and we were able every step of the way to stand up for Canadian interests,” Trudeau said.

He counted off a list of wins, including the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, an eventual end to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs and last year’s agreement to keep trade and commerce moving across the otherwise-closed Canada-U.S. border.

“We were there to be able to advocate for Canada’s interests, and I can tell you we will continue to be effective in advocating for Canada’s interests with this new administration,” Trudeau said.

“President Biden has a lot of similar priorities to this government’s, to Canadians’ … and these are things that we’re going to be able to work on closely with our nearest ally and closest friend.”

The political goal behind Biden’s iteration of Buy American, a cornerstone of his successful election campaign, was to win over the same protectionist blue-collar workers who helped elect Donald Trump in 2016.

But on Monday, Biden didn’t sound like someone who’s backing down now that he’s in the White House.

Waivers, the exceptions that allow Canadian contractors, manufacturers and suppliers access to a lucrative and often essential source of business, will be granted only under “very limited circumstances,” Biden said.

A new “Made in America” office attached to the White House will review waiver applications and grant them only “when there’s an overwhelming national security, humanitarian or emergency need here in America,” he said.

“This hasn’t happened before. It will happen now.”

It took Canada more than a year to negotiate an escape from the rules Obama imposed in 2009, with Biden as his vice-president. Whether that experience makes those talks easier or more difficult this time around remains to be seen.

“We’ve got some work ahead of us in Canada to make sure we get exemptions from some of these things,” said Dennis Darby, CEO of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.

Canada is in a constant state of having to remind American officials of the integral role it plays not only in its own economic health, but that of the U.S. as well, Darby said.

“Is it a concern? Yes, and this is no time for us to take our foot off the gas.”

In Ontario, where the provincial government embarked on a strategy last year of forging closer economic ties and “strategic investment” agreements with regional and state leaders in the U.S., anxiety was running high Tuesday.

“If Ontario were a country, we would be the United States’ third-largest trading partner,” said Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli.

“Buy American policies disrupt existing Ontario-U.S. cross-border supply chains and erode the deep and long-standing relationships we have built over the years.”

If nothing else, the lesson from another round of Buy American hand-wringing ought to be the importance of diversifying Canada’s export markets, said Jenifer Bartman, a business adviser and consultant based in Winnipeg.

“From a Canadian perspective, this situation is a reminder that, although the U.S. is our largest trading partner and agreements are in place, it is beneficial for Canadian businesses to diversify their customer base into other countries,” Bartman said.

“It takes time for companies to understand the intricacies of foreign markets and to build customer relationships, and both time and qualified support are needed in order to achieve this.”

Conservative MP Tracy Gray, the party’s international trade critic, pressed the government Tuesday during question period on how it plans to secure a waiver, which the governing Conservatives did in 2010.

“We understand that both countries benefit from the integrated, secure and resilient supply chains between our two countries,” said International Trade Minister Mary Ng.

“Canada is the No. 1 customer for more than 32 states. We look forward to working with the American administration for the interests of Canadian workers and Canadian businesses here in Canada, indeed on both sides of the border.”

The latest Buy American strategy is the second potential blow to Canada’s economic fortunes to land in less than a week.

On his first day in the White House, Biden rescinded the presidential permit for Keystone XL, a controversial cross-border link between the Alberta oilsands and refineries and ports on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“Expressing concern and disappointment on important issues to Canadian businesses and workers is simply not enough,” Gray said in a statement.

“Canada and U.S. trade are closely tied — but this Buy American plan puts our mutual economic recovery at risk.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021.

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If Canada can survive four years of Trump, it can navigate the new Buy American: PM – CTV News

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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA —
If Canada was able to navigate Donald Trump’s four years of bilateral bluster, it can surely find safe harbour from the protectionist measures of his Democratic successor, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested Tuesday.

Joe Biden’s White House has more in common with Canadians than Trump ever did, Trudeau said when asked if he expects stronger headwinds from the latest version of Buy American than the Conservatives fought through a decade ago.

That’s when then-president Barack Obama, desperate to jump-start the U.S. economy following the global economic crisis of 2008, imposed domestic procurement rules similar to those Biden enacted Monday.

Biden’s version reflects important differences, including more rigid enforcement rules, more stringent oversight and — perhaps most importantly — a U.S. electorate steeped in four long years of divisive and nationalist rhetoric.

Trudeau’s answer suggests the federal Liberals hope to extract every ounce of political cover from that rhetoric that they can, even though Trump is no longer in office.

“Over the past four years, we faced an American administration that was both unpredictable and extremely protectionist, and we were able every step of the way to stand up for Canadian interests,” Trudeau said.

He counted off a list of wins, including the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, an eventual end to Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs and last year’s agreement to keep trade and commerce moving across the otherwise-closed Canada-U.S. border.

“We were there to be able to advocate for Canada’s interests, and I can tell you we will continue to be effective in advocating for Canada’s interests with this new administration,” Trudeau said.

“President Biden has a lot of similar priorities to this government’s, to Canadians’ … and these are things that we’re going to be able to work on closely with our nearest ally and closest friend.”

The political goal behind Biden’s iteration of Buy American, a cornerstone of his successful election campaign, was to win over the same protectionist blue-collar workers who helped elect Donald Trump in 2016.

But on Monday, Biden didn’t sound like someone who’s backing down now that he’s in the White House.

Waivers, the exceptions that allow Canadian contractors, manufacturers and suppliers access to a lucrative and often essential source of business, will be granted only under “very limited circumstances,” Biden said.

A new “Made in America” office attached to the White House will review waiver applications and grant them only “when there’s an overwhelming national security, humanitarian or emergency need here in America,” he said.

“This hasn’t happened before. It will happen now.”

It took Canada more than a year to negotiate an escape from the rules Obama imposed in 2009, with Biden as his vice-president. Whether that experience makes those talks easier or more difficult this time around remains to be seen.

“We’ve got some work ahead of us in Canada to make sure we get exemptions from some of these things,” said Dennis Darby, CEO of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.

Canada is in a constant state of having to remind American officials of the integral role it plays not only in its own economic health, but that of the U.S. as well, Darby said.

“Is it a concern? Yes, and this is no time for us to take our foot off the gas.”

In Ontario, where the provincial government embarked on a strategy last year of forging closer economic ties and “strategic investment” agreements with regional and state leaders in the U.S., anxiety was running high Tuesday.

“If Ontario were a country, we would be the United States’ third-largest trading partner,” said Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli.

“Buy American policies disrupt existing Ontario-U.S. cross-border supply chains and erode the deep and long-standing relationships we have built over the years.”

If nothing else, the lesson from another round of Buy American hand-wringing ought to be the importance of diversifying Canada’s export markets, said Jenifer Bartman, a business adviser and consultant based in Winnipeg.

“From a Canadian perspective, this situation is a reminder that, although the U.S. is our largest trading partner and agreements are in place, it is beneficial for Canadian businesses to diversify their customer base into other countries,” Bartman said.

“It takes time for companies to understand the intricacies of foreign markets and to build customer relationships, and both time and qualified support are needed in order to achieve this.”

Conservative MP Tracy Gray, the party’s international trade critic, pressed the government Tuesday during question period on how it plans to secure a waiver, which the governing Conservatives did in 2010.

“We understand that both countries benefit from the integrated, secure and resilient supply chains between our two countries,” said International Trade Minister Mary Ng.

“Canada is the No. 1 customer for more than 32 states. We look forward to working with the American administration for the interests of Canadian workers and Canadian businesses here in Canada, indeed on both sides of the border.”

The latest Buy American strategy is the second potential blow to Canada’s economic fortunes to land in less than a week.

On his first day in the White House, Biden rescinded the presidential permit for Keystone XL, a controversial cross-border link between the Alberta oilsands and refineries and ports on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

“Expressing concern and disappointment on important issues to Canadian businesses and workers is simply not enough,” Gray said in a statement.

“Canada and U.S. trade are closely tied — but this Buy American plan puts our mutual economic recovery at risk.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021.

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