Connect with us

News

'Stronger' measures needed across Canada to suppress COVID-19 resurgence: Tam – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

Published

 on


OTTAWA – Canada’s chief public health officer warned Saturday that current health orders are not enough to stop rapid growth of COVID-19, as provinces push ahead with plans to reopen their economies.

Longer-range forecast models predict a resurgence of COVID-19 infections unless public health measures are enhanced and strictly followed, Dr. Theresa Tam said in a written statement.

“With increasing circulation of highly contagious variants, the threat of uncontrolled epidemic growth is significantly elevated,” she said.

Tam said public health orders across Canada need to be stronger, stricter and sustained long enough to control the rise of variants of concern.

High infection rates in the most populous provinces are driving up the country’s average daily case counts, she said.

Quebec reported more than 1,000 new infections on Saturday for the first time since mid-February, a day after the province reopened gyms and spas in red zones, including Montreal.

The province’s government-mandated public health institute also warned on Friday that more transmissible variants would represent the majority of infections in Quebec by the first week of April.

Premier Francois Legault told reporters he wasn’t ready to reverse decisions to reopen gyms or to allow places of worship to welcome up to 250 people.

In Ontario, new cases topped 2,400 for the first time since January.

The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario released a statement Saturday urging Premier Doug Ford to scale back reopening plans, including the scheduled reopening of personal care services, such as hair salons, on April 12 in regions of the province that are in “grey-lockdown” zones.

The province’s own modelling projections indicate highly contagious variants could see daily case counts balloon, while COVID-19 patients are already occupying Ontario’s intensive care beds at levels “well above the threshold at which hospitals say they can cope,” the statement said.

Gyms in Ontario will be allowed to offer outdoor fitness classes and personal training in the lockdown zones starting Monday. Earlier changes allowed outdoor restaurant dining to resume in those zones, including Toronto, and increased indoor capacity limits for restaurants in other regions.

British Columbia reported 908 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, among the highest daily totals in that province since the pandemic began.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Thursday she would ease restrictions on visits to long-term care homes, where most staff and residents have been vaccinated.

Limited indoor religious services will also be allowed starting Sunday through May 13 to allow for the observation of holidays including Passover, Easter and Ramadan.

In Alberta, rising hospitalization rates and variant cases have delayed reopening plans that would have included relaxed restrictions on worship services, entertainment venues and adult team sports.

That province counted 668 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, of which the chief medical officer of health said 207 were variants of concern.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 27, 2021.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

News

Canadian retail titan W. Galen Weston dies at 80

Published

 on

(Corrects April 13 story to remove references to Primark in paragraph 3 and what had been paragraph 6, to reflect that Primark is actually owned by a different Weston family)

By Moira Warburton

(Reuters) -W. Galen Weston, patriarch of one of Canada‘s wealthiest families and retail titan, has died at age 80, according to a statement by the family on Tuesday.

Weston was the third generation of his family to lead George Weston Limited, an already-prosperous retail empire founded by his grandfather, which he expanded significantly.

The family company, now run by his son, Galen Weston, owns Selfridges in the United Kingdom, as well as the Canadian grocery chain Loblaw Co Ltd, pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart, and real estate company Choice Properties.

Weston passed away peacefully at home after a long illness, the statement said.

He was born in Buckinghamshire, England, and moved to Dublin at 21 to escape a domineering father, the Irish Times reported in 2014, where he met his wife, Irish model Hilary Frayne. They married in 1966.

In the 1970s Weston returned to his family’s base of operations, Canada, to revive the family’s struggling Loblaws supermarket chain, and helped turn it into one of the largest food distributors in the country.

“In our business and in his life he built a legacy of extraordinary accomplishment and joy,” Galen Weston, chairman and CEO of George Weston Ltd, said in a statement.

“The luxury retail industry has lost a great visionary,” Alannah Weston, Weston Sr.’s daughter and chairman of Selfridges Group, said.

The Weston family is among the wealthiest in Canada, with Forbes estimating their total wealth at $8.7 billion.

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in VancouverEditing by Matthew Lewis)

Continue Reading

News

Canada’s migrant farmworkers remain at risk a year into pandemic

Published

 on

By Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – Pedro, a Mexican migrant worker, knew he had to leave the Ontario cannabis operation where he worked when so many of his coworkers caught COVID-19 that his employer began to house them in a 16-person bunk house alongside the uninfected.

Pedro moved in with friends in the nearby farming town of Leamington, Ontario, at the end of October. He asked to be identified under a pseudonym because he fears that speaking out will affect his chances of employment.

“I didn’t know where to go, where to get help. So I was left behind, hopeless,” he said, speaking through a translator. About a week later, Pedro landed another job, working with peppers in a greenhouse. Conditions are better, he said.

But he added: “To be honest, I don’t think all employers are taking precautions.”

Pedro is one of about 60,000 migrant farmworkers – many from Central America and the Caribbean – who come to Canada as part of an annual migration of people that ramps up in spring. They grow and harvest the country’s food supply and have continued to work in the midst of a pandemic.

They feed the country and are a crucial part of a C$68.8 billion ($54.8 billion) sector, making up about one-fifth of the country’s agricultural workforce, according to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

As the pandemic crippled travel last year, agricultural employers were unable to fill one-fifth of the temporary foreign worker positions they needed, costing Canadian farmers C$2.9 billion due to labour shortages, according to research commissioned by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council.

These workers are also uniquely at risk. They live and work in crowded settings, and language barriers coupled with precarious immigration status tied to their employment prevent them from speaking out about unsafe conditions.

Last year they were hit hard by COVID-19, with 8.7% of migrants in Ontario testing positive. This year they are returning as Canada is in the grip of a third wave. While governments and employers say they are taking steps to keep these workers safe, advocates and workers contacted by Reuters say the dangers remain – except that now, those dangers are known.

Graphic on COVID-19 global tracker: https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/

SAME CRISIS

Syed Hussan, executive director of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, argues the same factors that made workers more vulnerable to COVID-19 last year – crowded workplaces, congregate living, visas that tie them to an employer and make them fearful of speaking out – still exist.

“We are walking into the same crisis yet again, the only difference being that we already know how bad it is.”

Keith Currie, vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, said employers are doing their best, but some transmission of the virus will occur.

“Because they’re living on the farm, they’re in contact with each other when they’re working … despite all our efforts, it spreads. Just like it does elsewhere in society.”

Some 760 farmworkers have been infected so far this year in Ontario, Canada‘s most populous province, according to provincial data. Ontario put agriculture workers in Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccinations, which begins this month, and has set up a clinic at Toronto’s airport offering vaccines to migrants on arrival.

But advocates worry migrant workers might lack requisite identification, especially if they are undocumented.

Advocates argue not enough is being done to keep these workers safe from the pandemic. They say rules such as the requirement to get – and pay for – a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of coming to Canada place an undue logistical and financial burden on migrants.

Last month the federal government announced new measures meant to protect migrant agricultural workers, including beefed-up inspections.

But the migrants interviewed by Reuters argued what will protect them is more stable status that does not tie them to an employer.

“Hopefully this year, the government of Canada gives us status,” said Teresa, a migrant worker from Baja California.

($1 = 1.2559 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto; Editing by Denny Thomas and Matthew Lewis)

Continue Reading

News

Canadian crude imports fall 20% in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic

Published

 on

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Imports of crude oil into Canada dropped 20% year-on-year in 2020 due to weak demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canada Energy Regulator said in an analysis released Wednesday.

Canada imported 555,000 barrels per day (bpd) last year, the lowest level in at least 10 years, down from 693,000 bpd in 2019 and more than 800,000 bpd in 2010.

The total cost of imported oil in 2020 fell 40% from the previous year to C$11.5 billion ($9.18 billion), reflecting the lower volumes and a slump in global crude prices.

Canada is the world’s fourth-largest crude producer and exports around 3.7 million bpd but the vast majority of its production comes from the western province of Alberta.

The country still imports some crude to serve refineries in eastern Canada because of a lack of pipeline access to western supplies, the specific product requirements of different refineries, and because it can be cheaper to import.

“Refineries in the main importing regions of Quebec and Atlantic Canada have been slower to recover from the pandemic impacts compared to refineries in the rest of Canada,” the CER said in its analysis.

The CER said that was because of tighter COVID-19 travel restrictions in Quebec and Atlantic Canada than in western provinces, and weak demand from other countries for refined product exports from Atlantic Canada refineries.

The percentage of barrels imported from the United States rose to 77%, up from 72% the year before. Another 13% came from Saudi Arabia, 4% from Nigeria, 3% from Norway, and the remainder from several other countries.

($1 = 1.2534 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Continue Reading

Trending