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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada – Richmond News

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern):

8:00 p.m.
A curfew intended to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Quebec is now in effect.

The new measure was announced earlier this week by Premier Francois Legault and kicked in at 8 p.m.

Under the terms of the curfew, most Quebec residents could face fines of up to $6,000 if they go out into the streets between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. for the next four weeks.

There are exemptions in place for certain groups such as essential workers.

6 p.m.

Alberta is reporting 31 new deaths due to COVID-19 and 989 more cases of the virus. 

The province’s chief medical officer of health says there are 827 people in hospital — 132 of whom are in intensive care. 

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says there are some positive signs in the province, but the virus is still spreading so people must remain vigilant. 

5 p.m.

Saskatchewan is reporting 332 more cases of COVID-19 and seven added deaths today.

As it stands, there are nearly 3,200 active cases of the virus in the province.

Health officials say 179 people are hospitalized with the virus, including 30 in intensive care. 

3:50 p.m.

Manitoba is reporting seven new deaths from COVID-19 and 203 new cases as of 9:30 a.m.

The province’s daily pandemic update says there are more than 4,600 active COVID-19 cases.

The province says there are 229 people in hospital with active COVID-19, plus another 84 who are no longer infectious but who remain in hospital because they still require care.

The number of patients in intensive care stands at 37.

— 

3:30 p.m.

Health officials in Nova Scotia are reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 31.

The province says two cases are in the central zone, with one a close contact of a previously reported case, while the other is related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.

The last case in the eastern zone is a student at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, and is also related to travel outside of Atlantic Canada.

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, says the cases among post-secondary students returning to the province serve as a reminder of the importance of public health measures.

2:45 p.m.

New Brunswick is reporting 30 new cases of COVID-19 today, one of the highest single-day increases since the onset of the pandemic. 

The outbreak is spread out across much of the province, with the Fredericton, Edmundston, Campbellton and Moncton regions all reporting the highest number of cases.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical health officer, encouraged residents to download the COVID alert app.

The number of active cases in New Brunswick is 171.

11:30 a.m.

Quebec is reporting 3,127 new cases of COVID-19 today hours before a provincewide curfew is set to take effect. 

The province is also reporting 41 new deaths related to the virus, 12 of which occurred in the past 24 hours. 

Data shows 24 of the deaths took place between Jan. 2 and 7, while five occurred before Jan. 2.

Hospitalizations declined slightly to 1,392 across the province, with 206 patients in intensive care.

—   

11:05 a.m.

Ontario’s education minister says the province is expanding the list of essential workers eligible to receive free child-care during the time school is taught remotely.

Stephen Lecce says Canada Post staff, workers with the RCMP and Canada Border Services, and workers with homeless shelters and children’s aid societies are among those on the expanded list. 

Earlier this week, the province announced online learning would continue until at least Jan. 25 for students across southern Ontario in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

The province reported 3,443 new cases of the virus today along with 40 related deaths. 

— 

9:30 a.m.

Quebec’s premier is urging residents to respect a curfew that takes effect tonight and that he argues is necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

Francois Legault says the month-long curfew is meant to discourage gatherings he says are responsible for rising case numbers and hospitalization rates.

He calls the measure a “shock treatment” necessary to keep the province from reaching a tipping point that would leave the most seriously ill patients without proper care.

Starting tonight and until at least Feb. 8, most Quebecers are being asked to remain at home between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Residents will receive an emergency alert later today to remind them of the new rules. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 9, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Coronavirus pandemic pushed thousands of new migrants to leave Canada for home: Statistics Canada – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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OTTAWA — The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted some recent immigrants to leave Canada and return to their countries of origin, where they have more social and family connections.

The number of permanent residents who have been in Canada for less than five years declined by four per cent to 1,019,000 by the end of 2020 from 1,060,000 the year before, according to an analysis of Statistics Canada’s labour force survey that measures the number of workers between 15 and 65 years old by their immigration status.

The number had grown three per cent a year, on average, in the previous 10 years.

The data show that the number of permanent residents who have been in Canada for five to 10 years also dropped from 1,170,000 in 2019 to 1,146,000 in 2020.

“It’s actually not uncommon to have immigrants go back to their home country during the recessionary periods,” said Robert Falconer, a researcher at the University of Calgary School of Public Policy.

“If they’ve lost their job, they can go and live with their family and not pay rent. They can maybe find some social connections and work back home.”

He said the number of new immigrants fell by about three per cent between 2008 and 2009 during the financial crisis and the recession that followed.

He said many of those who have left in the past year might not come back if the economy doesn’t recover quickly.

“The longer they stay at home in their home countries, the less likely they are to come back to Canada.”

A study by Statistics Canada released in August showed that in the early months of the pandemic, recent immigrants to Canada were more likely than Canadian-born workers to lose their jobs, mainly because they had held them for less time and, as a whole, are overrepresented in lower-wage employment. That includes in service-sector jobs.

Julien Berard-Chagnon, an analyst with Statistics Canada, said the agency doesn’t keep a monthly count of immigrants who leave the country but a group of its analysts are now working on a paper to examine the issue during COVID-19 pandemic.

“The literature signals that immigrants, especially recent immigrants, are more likely to emigrate than the Canadian-born population,” he said.

While the pandemic has also driven down immigration to Canada by about 40 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, the Liberal government announced in October that Canada is seeking to admit upwards of 1.2 million new permanent residents in the next three years, including 401,000 this year.

But this number seems optimistic as travel restrictions and the sharp economic downtown remain.

“I doubt they will hit their target this year,” Falconer said.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said the government is very confident it will meet it immigration targets in the next three years.

“In January 2021, we welcomed more new permanent residents than in January 2020, when there was no pandemic,” Alexander Cohen said in a statement.

“We’re already ahead of schedule, welcoming new permanent residents at a rate 37 per cent higher than our projections.”

Falconer said the government is focusing on transitioning temporary residents in Canada to permanent status.

“It’s the best thing to do for people who are living here,” he said. “But in terms of this population growth, it’s a wash, meaning that we’re not actually increasing our population.”

He said this policy is necessary but not sufficient to help the government meet its high immigration target this year.

“Not every temporary resident wants to become a Canadian permanent resident or Canadian citizen. Some of them are here to work, to study and they are perfectly happy to go back home.”

He said the incentive for the government is still to try to increase immigration numbers, especially in jobs related to health care and technology because having fewer immigrants will harm these two sectors more than others.

Andrew Griffith, a former director of citizenship and multiculturalism at the Immigration Department, says immigrants who arrive during an economic downturns tend to suffer economically, at least in the short term, more than those who arrive when the economy is growing.

He said maintaining high levels of immigration at a time when the economy is weak and sectors such as hospitality, retail and tourism are devastated has an element of irresponsibility.

Griffith said immigrants leaving Canada can reflect a failure of Canadian integration policies.

He said the government needs to put more focus on immigrants who are already here as we face structural change in sectors including hospitality, travel and service industries that will affect mostly women, visible minorities and recent immigrants.

“We may be in a fairly structural shift that will eliminate some jobs or dramatically reduce some jobs, and then what kind of retraining programs or other programs we need to support people as they transition.”

Cohen said the government has invested in settlement services during the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing funding to help boost wages by 15 per cent. It has helped buy personal protective equipment to keep staff safe, as well as cellphones and laptops to ensure services, including language training and job-search help, can be offered remotely.

Falconer said the government should address problems with licensing and professional development that many newcomers face in Canada.

“We make it very, very difficult for somebody who worked in a profession in their home country to come here and work in the same profession.”

“Immigrants come here with aspirations or hopes of being able to work and earn a much better living here in Canada than they did in their home country and they discover that they’re actually going to be working in an unpaid, underemployed job.”

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Coronavirus pandemic pushed thousands of new migrants to leave Canada for home: Statistics Canada – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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OTTAWA — The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted some recent immigrants to leave Canada and return to their countries of origin, where they have more social and family connections.

The number of permanent residents who have been in Canada for less than five years declined by four per cent to 1,019,000 by the end of 2020 from 1,060,000 the year before, according to an analysis of Statistics Canada’s labour force survey that measures the number of workers between 15 and 65 years old by their immigration status.

The number had grown three per cent a year, on average, in the previous 10 years.

The data show that the number of permanent residents who have been in Canada for five to 10 years also dropped from 1,170,000 in 2019 to 1,146,000 in 2020.

“It’s actually not uncommon to have immigrants go back to their home country during the recessionary periods,” said Robert Falconer, a researcher at the University of Calgary School of Public Policy.

“If they’ve lost their job, they can go and live with their family and not pay rent. They can maybe find some social connections and work back home.”

He said the number of new immigrants fell by about three per cent between 2008 and 2009 during the financial crisis and the recession that followed.

He said many of those who have left in the past year might not come back if the economy doesn’t recover quickly.

“The longer they stay at home in their home countries, the less likely they are to come back to Canada.”

A study by Statistics Canada released in August showed that in the early months of the pandemic, recent immigrants to Canada were more likely than Canadian-born workers to lose their jobs, mainly because they had held them for less time and, as a whole, are overrepresented in lower-wage employment. That includes in service-sector jobs.

Julien Berard-Chagnon, an analyst with Statistics Canada, said the agency doesn’t keep a monthly count of immigrants who leave the country but a group of its analysts are now working on a paper to examine the issue during COVID-19 pandemic.

“The literature signals that immigrants, especially recent immigrants, are more likely to emigrate than the Canadian-born population,” he said.

While the pandemic has also driven down immigration to Canada by about 40 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, the Liberal government announced in October that Canada is seeking to admit upwards of 1.2 million new permanent residents in the next three years, including 401,000 this year.

But this number seems optimistic as travel restrictions and the sharp economic downtown remain.

“I doubt they will hit their target this year,” Falconer said.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said the government is very confident it will meet it immigration targets in the next three years.

“In January 2021, we welcomed more new permanent residents than in January 2020, when there was no pandemic,” Alexander Cohen said in a statement.

“We’re already ahead of schedule, welcoming new permanent residents at a rate 37 per cent higher than our projections.”

Falconer said the government is focusing on transitioning temporary residents in Canada to permanent status.

“It’s the best thing to do for people who are living here,” he said. “But in terms of this population growth, it’s a wash, meaning that we’re not actually increasing our population.”

He said this policy is necessary but not sufficient to help the government meet its high immigration target this year.

“Not every temporary resident wants to become a Canadian permanent resident or Canadian citizen. Some of them are here to work, to study and they are perfectly happy to go back home.”

He said the incentive for the government is still to try to increase immigration numbers, especially in jobs related to health care and technology because having fewer immigrants will harm these two sectors more than others.

Andrew Griffith, a former director of citizenship and multiculturalism at the Immigration Department, says immigrants who arrive during an economic downturns tend to suffer economically, at least in the short term, more than those who arrive when the economy is growing.

He said maintaining high levels of immigration at a time when the economy is weak and sectors such as hospitality, retail and tourism are devastated has an element of irresponsibility.

Griffith said immigrants leaving Canada can reflect a failure of Canadian integration policies.

He said the government needs to put more focus on immigrants who are already here as we face structural change in sectors including hospitality, travel and service industries that will affect mostly women, visible minorities and recent immigrants.

“We may be in a fairly structural shift that will eliminate some jobs or dramatically reduce some jobs, and then what kind of retraining programs or other programs we need to support people as they transition.”

Cohen said the government has invested in settlement services during the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing funding to help boost wages by 15 per cent. It has helped buy personal protective equipment to keep staff safe, as well as cellphones and laptops to ensure services, including language training and job-search help, can be offered remotely.

Falconer said the government should address problems with licensing and professional development that many newcomers face in Canada.

“We make it very, very difficult for somebody who worked in a profession in their home country to come here and work in the same profession.”

“Immigrants come here with aspirations or hopes of being able to work and earn a much better living here in Canada than they did in their home country and they discover that they’re actually going to be working in an unpaid, underemployed job.”

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'Don't lose patience,' says Canada's top doctor as Ontario reports 1,299 new COVID-19 cases, 15 new deaths – CBC.ca

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Ontario reported 1,299 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 15 new deaths on Sunday, according to Health Minister Christine Elliott.

Toronto is reporting 329 new cases, Peel Region is reporting 192 new cases and York Region is reporting 116 new cases.

The province’s cumulative total of confirmed COVID-19 cases has now reached 308,296, with 7,067 cumulative deaths.

Both the daily case count and number of deaths reported on Sunday are an increase from provincial numbers reported on Saturday, when the province logged 990 new cases and six new deaths.

The latest figures come one day before Toronto and Peel Region are set to lift stay-at-home orders that have been in place for four months.

On Monday, both regions will move into the grey zone, which will allow for non-essential stores to open at 25 per cent capacity.

Grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies will operate at 50 per cent capacity. Individuals will still need to wear a mask and practice physical distancing.

Dr. Barry Pakes, program director for Public Health and Preventative Medicine at the University of Toronto, told CBC News on Sunday that the transition feels like “a reasonable thing to do right now.”

“The changes are really marginal,” he said, “and we do have to go really slow.”

Medical officers of health in both regions have stressed the need for a slow transition and Pakes says he approves of that approach.

Ontario delivers over 890,600 shots of vaccine

As of 8 p.m. on Saturday, Ontario has administered 890,604 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Toronto accounts for at least 197,155 of those doses. The city has vaccinated nearly 125,000 people as of Friday.

Ontario recently announced plans for an accelerated vaccine rollout, which should see all adults 60 and older given a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by early June. That’s a full month sooner than initially planned.

However, that plan is contingent upon supply.

“We know how to run mass vaccination campaigns and engage our partners to get all adults vaccinated by June. It’s doable as long as the vaccine arrives,” Pakes said. 

Pakes added that the challenge has really been the “whiplash back-and-forth” on availability.

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist at Toronto General Hospital and a member of Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine task force, echoed Pakes’ caution.

“I think that it’s doable,” Bogoch told CBC News of the June timeline, “but it’s hard to talk in concrete terms with this because the timelines keep changing.”

That change is mostly a good news story, Bogoch said, since the timeline is moving up with increased access to vaccines and a plan to space out dosing so more Canadians can have a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine sooner.

Still, Canada’s top doctor Dr. Theresa Tam said “don’t lose patience” and urged the public to continue to exercise vigilance while speaking on the Rosemary Barton Live show on Sunday.

“It’s a pretty tremendous thing that we have several, not just one, but several pretty great vaccines,” she said. 

“We’re buoyed by that sense of optimism,” she added noting that “with that sense of optimism comes the need to just hang on in there for a bit longer.”

Tam said once Canadians are vaccinated, the country will be able to break through the “crisis phase of this pandemic.” 

However, until then, she said people need to continue to rely on the years’ worth of good habits. That includes avoiding crowded areas, wearing a mask, washing your hands, and practising social distancing.

COVID-19 variants remain a concern

“We’re working hand-in-glove with provinces and territories,” Federal Health Minister Patty Hadju told the Rosemary Barton Live show. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel, we do have effective vaccines.”

Still, Tam said COVID-19 variants continue to be a concern.

“The virus constantly mutates, particularly in areas where there’s a lot of infection,” she said, which requires an increase in testing and screening.

“The good thing is that these variants, even though they can spread more readily, more quickly, can be controlled by the public health measures that we have,” Tam said.

WATCH | What still worries Dr. Theresa Tam one year into the pandemic:

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live that the government is closely monitoring the new coronavirus variants and how vaccines respond to them. She says public health measures need to be in place to bring cases down. 9:33

Tam’s caution around variants echoes comments made earlier this week by top doctors in Toronto and Peel Region.

In both areas, the doctors recommended the lifting of stay-at-home orders which takes effect on Monday, but warned people against complacency.

As Dr. Lawrence Loh said during a press conference earlier in the week: “Chasing normal too quickly could mean losing the progress that we’ve made to this point.”

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