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PM to provinces: 'Act now' to slow surging COVID-19 – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
Citing “concerning” record-breaking spikes in new COVID-19 cases across the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is imploring provinces not to keep sectors of the economy open if it’s putting Canadians at risk, and to reach out for more help from the federal government if they need it.

“With rising cases of COVID-19 here at home, there’s added pressure on all orders of government to keep people safe, and to protect jobs. But I would hope that no leader in our country is easing public health vigilance because they feel pressure not to shut down businesses or slow down our economy,” Trudeau said during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday.

“I understand that worry, but let me tell you: that’s how we end up with businesses going out of business, and the economy damaged even more. Beating COVID is the only way to protect our economy,” he said.

The prime minister said he knows people are trying to find a balance between adapting to the now months-long reality of living life differently due to the pandemic, and not becoming complacent with the personal and societal precautionary measures in place.

In his view, the federal financial aid measures his government has offered since March—including $19 billion in “safe restart” funding for provinces—have been intended to allow provinces and regional public health authorities to make the tough but necessary decisions around closures and restrictions to keep COVID-19 under control.

“Job one right now is keeping people safe,” he said. “If businesses continue to suffer under surges of COVID-19, the damage will be longer lasting than targeted shutdowns.”

Asked for specific examples of rules or lack thereof that he finds the most troubling—whether it’s bars or gyms being operational in some places for example—Trudeau said it’s not up to the federal government to “decide who closes down where and how fast.”

On Tuesday, just as the province began recently easing restrictions in some high-infection zones, Ontario recorded a record-breaking 1,388 new infections. In Manitoba the government has just announced the entire province is moving under “Code Red” critical restrictions after seeing a surge of new cases in recent days.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford responded directly to Trudeau’s remarks on Tuesday, saying he doesn’t know if the prime minister was directing his comments at him, but if they were, Ontario businesses need more support.

“We need more support, financial support, and I’d be more than happy to sit down and talk to the prime minister about that support,” Ford said, adding that there are still pre-promised federal funding that has yet to flow.

Ford said his government is concerned about the increasing spread, but that to date Ontario is “sparing no expense or sparing no resources.”

Later on Tuesday, after appearing alongside Ford at an event, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced that Toronto will move to the red zone of Ontario’s COVID-19 tiered shutdown system, the last step of the tiered system before a full lockdown. Canada’s most populated city had just recorded its highest number of new COVID-19 infections, with 533 new cases in the previous 24-hours.

In unveiling his provinces new lockdown measures after initial steps proved to not be enough to slow the spread, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said that from Quebec to British Columbia, provinces are proving to be harder hit by COVID-19’s second wave than they were during the spring surge.

“When we were abiding by the fundamentals we were beating COVID, then some of us lost our way and now COVID is beating us,” Pallister said.

Trudeau said the situation is “really concerning,” but as has been his position over the course of the pandemic, he doesn’t think the Emergencies Act—which grants “extraordinary powers” to enact certain nationwide security measures—is needed.

“I’m imploring the premiers and our mayors to please do the right thing: Act now to protect public health. If you think something is missing in the support, we’re offering for your citizens, tell us,” Trudeau said. “Whatever it takes, however long it takes.”

Asked if the government is considering stepping in and imposing tougher restrictions if regions don’t heed his call to do “the right thing,” Trudeau didn’t say, but did suggest that quick action has been shown to work to get resurgent spread under control in other countries and if provinces take those kinds of lockdown measures, the federal government would support their residents.

During the press conference, the prime minister also provided an update on the state of the federal government’s procurement of key COVID-19 supplies.

Over the last few days the government has sent more than 1.2 million pairs of nitrile gloves to frontline workers; provided more than 3.3. million rapid tests to the provinces and territories; and secured a new deal for 7.6 million rapid tests and more than 2,100 analyzers that will be delivered by global medical technology company BD in the coming weeks.

As of 12:30 p.m. EDT, there are 40,390 active cases of COVID-19 across the country.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam told reporters on Tuesday that across Canada there have been on average more than 3,800 cases reported each day in the last week. She said that on average more than 1,300 Canadians are being treated for COVID-19 in hospital on any given day in the last week, with nearly 250 in critical condition and on average 51 new deaths each day.

“It is clear we have yet to bend the curve on accelerated growth in Canada,” Tam said. “It’s time to get really serious. Going into this respiratory season, COVID-19 is already well ahead of us.”

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Canadians offer mixed confidence in government's vaccine rollout: Nanos survey – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Just one in six Canadians are confident in the federal government’s rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine once one becomes available, according to the latest data from Nanos Research.

The survey, commissioned by CTV News and released on Monday, asked 1,096 Canadians how confident they are that the government has a “a well organized plan to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to Canadians as quickly as possible” and found that just 16 per cent of respondents said they are “confident,” while another 40 per cent said they are “somewhat confident.”

“It’s very early in this process and I think until we actually see more details and there’s more meat on the bone, I expect (the vaccine rollout is) still going to be a bit of a question mark for many Canadians,” Nik Nanos, the chair of Nanos Research, told CTV’s Power Play.

When broken down regionally, respondents from Quebec offered the most confidence, with 73 per cent of respondents indicating that they are either confident or somewhat confident, while respondents in the Prairies had the least confidence, with 29 per cent indicating they are “not confident” in the vaccine rollout.

On Monday, Moderna Inc. said its testing shows that their COVID-19 vaccine is 94 per cent effective. The company is currently under a “rolling review” process with Health Canada, but has already asked for a emergency use approval in the United States and Europe.

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin to lead Canada’s vaccine rollout, with the goal of immunizing half of Canadians by September 2021.

Nanos says that substantial details in the fiscal update about the vaccine rollout will go a long way towards curbing any skepticism from Canadians.

“Anything said relating to the funding of vaccines, the logistics of vaccines, the distribution, the role that the federal government’s going to take working with provinces, is probably going to be very well met, but if they don’t talk about those things, it’s just going to create a greater level uncertainty about the future,” he said.

With files from The Associated Press

METHODOLOGY

Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land-and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,096 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between November 26th and 29th, 2020 as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The sample included both land-and cell-lines across Canada. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

Individuals were randomly called using random digit dialing with a maximum of five call backs.

The margin of error for this survey is ±3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

This study was commissioned by CTV News and the research was conducted by Nanos Research.

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Canadians now owe more than $2 trillion, Equifax says – CBC.ca

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Consumer demand for credit intensified in the third quarter, driven chiefly by increases in mortgage balances and new auto loans, according to data released Monday by credit reporting agency Equifax.

Mortgage balances and new auto loans were up 6.6 per cent and 11.7 per cent year over year, respectively, according to Equifax. Overall average consumer debt increased 3.3 per cent compared with the third quarter of last year.

Rebecca Oakes, assistant vice-president of advanced analytics at Equifax Canada, said in an interview that growth in mortgages last quarter was especially high, with the largest increase among people under 35. That trend comes even as economic fallout from the pandemic and associated lockdown measures hit young people especially hard.

“In terms of new mortgages, that could be refinancing, or it could be brand-new, first-time home buyers or it could be people moving house,” Oakes said. “That was actually the highest value that we’ve seen ever.”

The increased demand for auto loans in the third quarter could have been a result of pent-up demand from people who had to wait to buy cars later in the year, Oakes said.

Total debt $2 trillion

The figures in Equifax’s report are drawn from banks and other lenders that provide data to the credit rating agency.

Equifax pegged total consumer debt at $2.04 trillion, while Statistics Canada reported in June that household debt had reached $2.3 trillion, with $1.77 in debt for every dollar of household disposable income.

More than three million consumers have chosen to use payment deferral programs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Equifax. Since the start of this year, some banks have offered consumers the option to suspend their loan payments for several months, in recognition of the financial strain the pandemic has created for many households.

However, under the payment deferral programs, interest continues to accrue during the months for which payments are suspended.

The percentage of balances where credit users have missed three or more payments was at its lowest level since 2014, with deferral programs likely masking the true delinquency rates, according to Oakes.

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Canadians now owe more than $2 trillion, Equifax says – CBC.ca

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Consumer demand for credit intensified in the third quarter, driven chiefly by increases in mortgage balances and new auto loans, according to data released Monday by credit reporting agency Equifax.

Mortgage balances and new auto loans were up 6.6 per cent and 11.7 per cent year over year, respectively, according to Equifax. Overall average consumer debt increased 3.3 per cent compared with the third quarter of last year.

Rebecca Oakes, assistant vice-president of advanced analytics at Equifax Canada, said in an interview that growth in mortgages last quarter was especially high, with the largest increase among people under 35. That trend comes even as economic fallout from the pandemic and associated lockdown measures hit young people especially hard.

“In terms of new mortgages, that could be refinancing, or it could be brand-new, first-time home buyers or it could be people moving house,” Oakes said. “That was actually the highest value that we’ve seen ever.”

The increased demand for auto loans in the third quarter could have been a result of pent-up demand from people who had to wait to buy cars later in the year, Oakes said.

Total debt $2 trillion

The figures in Equifax’s report are drawn from banks and other lenders that provide data to the credit rating agency.

Equifax pegged total consumer debt at $2.04 trillion, while Statistics Canada reported in June that household debt had reached $2.3 trillion, with $1.77 in debt for every dollar of household disposable income.

More than three million consumers have chosen to use payment deferral programs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Equifax. Since the start of this year, some banks have offered consumers the option to suspend their loan payments for several months, in recognition of the financial strain the pandemic has created for many households.

However, under the payment deferral programs, interest continues to accrue during the months for which payments are suspended.

The percentage of balances where credit users have missed three or more payments was at its lowest level since 2014, with deferral programs likely masking the true delinquency rates, according to Oakes.

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