After some pandemic-related delays, the Liberal government says it’s now on track to connect 98 per cent of Canadians to high-speed internet by 2026.
The announcement comes as more Canadians find themselves living online while stuck at home due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a handful of cabinet ministers held a news conference in Ottawa to launch the $1.75 billion universal broadband fund — a program unveiled in the federal government’s 2019 budget and highlighted on the campaign trail and in September’s throne speech. Most of the money was announced in last year’s budget.
“We were ready to go in March with the new Universal Broadband Fund and then the pandemic hit,” Rural Economic Development Minister Maryam Monsef told reporters.
The prime minister said the government is now on track to connect 98 per cent of Canadians to high-speed by 2026 — an increase over the previously promised 95 per cent benchmark — and to link up the rest by 2030.
“These are ambitious targets and we’re ready to meet them,” Trudeau said.
About $150 million from the fund will be freed up to fund projects aimed at getting communities connected by next fall.
Senior officials with the department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development said applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until Jan. 15, 2021, with a goal of having projects completed by mid-November, 2021.
Deciding who gets upgraded connectivity first will depend on the service providers applying, they said.
Josh Tabish is corporate communications manager at the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, the not-for-profit agency that manages the .ca internet domain. He said he’s hoping that a rapid build will bring relief to many Canadians over the next year.
“In terms of action, I think this is great news for Canadians who are stuck at home suffering from slow, crappy internet,” he said.
But Tabish also said he hopes the government will look at need when deciding which projects should get approval first. His group has been working to identify the communities that have the slowest rates in Canada.
“What we really want to see happen is communities who are suffering with slow, sluggish connectivity get those upgrades first,” he said.
The prime minister said the government also has reached a $600 million agreement with Telesat for satellite capacity to improve broadband service in remote areas and in the North.
“Good reliable internet isn’t a luxury. It’s a basic service,” he said.
“Now more than ever, a video chat cutting out during a meeting or a connection that’s too slow to upload a school assignment — that’s not just a hassle, that’s a barrier.”
Tories call out timelines
The Opposition Conservatives criticized the government’s timelines, arguing Canadians need better access now more than ever.
“This is absolutely unacceptable and a slap in the face to the nearly one million Canadians who don’t have internet access at home, much less a reliable cell phone signal,” said MP John Nater, Conservative critic for rural economic development.
“For months, Canada’s Conservatives have been demanding concrete action to connect Canadians. We will continue to advocate for lower cell phone prices and for real improvements to broadband internet services, so that Canadians living in rural and remote areas have consistent access to these essential services.”
The CRTC declared broadband internet a basic telecommunications service in 2016. But its data suggest just 40.8 per cent of rural Canadian households have access to download speeds of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 10 Mbps.
The government said those speeds will allow Canadians to work and learn online and access telehealth services.
Here's what Canada did while you were sleeping on day 13 of Tokyo Olympics – CTV News
HALIBURTON, ONT. —
Canada added two medals to its collection overnight on day 13, bringing home silver in women’s canoe sprint and a bronze in women’s cycling.
Here’s a look at some of the 2020 Summer Olympic events you may have missed overnight.
Lauriane Genest won Canada’s first-ever medal in the keirin, capturing bronze in the event. New Zealand’s Ellesse Andrews took silver while Shanne Braspennincx of the Netherlands captured gold.
The keirin is an eight-lap race amongst six cyclists who start the race following behind a motorized pace bike, as it accelerates to top speed of 50 km/hr. The pace bike moves off the track with two laps to go before cyclists jockey for positions to finish the race.
On the water
Canada’s Laurence Vincent-Lapointe captured canoe sprint silver in the women’s C-1 200-metre race on Thursday, taking second place in 46.786 seconds. American Nevin Harrison took the gold with a time of 45.932, while Ukraine’s Liudmyla Luzan claimed bronze at Sea Forest Waterway. Canadian teammate Katie Vincent finished eighth in 47.834 seconds.
Damian Warner is inching closer to the top of the podium, continuing to hold a commanding lead in the decathlon with only two events left to complete. The Canadian posted an Olympic decathlon record of 13.46 seconds in the 110-metre hurdles before going on to place third in discus. Warner also tied a personal best in pole vault after clearing 4.90 metres on Thursday.
Warner leads with just javelin and the 1,500 metre left in the competition. Australian Ashley Moloney sits in second place while fellow Canadian Pierce LePage rounds out the top three. The last two events are set for later Thursday.
Canada’s medal chances were dashed after Meaghan Benfeito failed to qualify for 10-metre platform diving final. The 32-year-old missed the 12th and final qualifying spot on her fourth dive of the day, finishing in the 13th spot, wrapping up her time at the Tokyo Olympics.
On the track
The Canadian men’s 4×100-metre relay team is off to the finals after sprinter Andre De Grasse made a late comeback for the team, crossing the finish line in second place, just hours after winning himself a gold medal in the 200-metre sprint.
Canada’s Brooke Henderson had a better day on the course, bouncing back to shoot a 3-under 68 in the second round of the women’s golf tournament. Henderson is currently tied for the 34th spot, sitting at even par.
The cost of down payments in Canadian cities skyrocketed in 2021, new data shows – CTV News
Skyrocketing housing prices in 2021 are driving up how long it would take for homebuyers to save for a down payment, new data shows.
The National Bank of Canada (NBC)’s latest report found that during the second quarter of 2021, housing affordability has worsened by the widest margin in 27 years. The report examined housing and mortgage trends in 10 cities across the country.
To save up enough for a down payment for an average home in Canada, it would take just short of six years – or 69 months – if you saved at a rate of 10 per cent of their median pre-tax household income.
This marked a notable jump compared to the 57 months of saving at that same rate this time last year.
And, if you live in Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto, it could take decades – assuming you put away 10 per cent of your before-tax household income.
Here’s a breakdown of how much time it would take to save up for a down payment for an average home or condo, if you saved a tenth of your pre-tax income:
- Standing head and shoulders above the other cities, it would take a staggering 34 years – or 411 months – of saving to be able to afford a home here.
- The average home here costs $1.47 million.
- It would take just under five years – 57 months — to save up enough for a down payment on an average condo in Vancouver.
- An estimated 28 years, or 338 months, of saving to make a down payment for a non-condo home, with the total price of a representative home set at $1.03M.
- It would take 47 months of saving to afford a condo down payment.
- To save enough for a down payment for a home here would take 26.5 years – or 318 months.
- The average home here costs approximately $1.2 million.
- To afford a condo down payment here would take just under five years, or 56 months.
- At a 10-per-cent saving rate, you’re looking at 6.5 years of saving up to afford a down payment for a home — and around four years to afford a condo in this city.
- Trying to save up a home down payment in Canada’s capital could take a little over four years.
- Saving up a tenth of your pre-tax earnings for 3.5 years would mean you could afford a down payment on a representative home in Montreal
- The total price tag of a non-condo home sits at $492,777.
- Trying to afford a condo here could take you just a little more than two and a half years of saving.
- You’d need to save up for just under three years – or 34 months – to afford a home here, or about half that time to afford a condo.
- Potential homebuyers were looking at 2.5 years – or 30 months – of saving if you’re looking to make a down payment on a non-condo home.
- The average total cost of a non-condo home was $428,600.
- Affording a down payment on a $370,000 home could take homebuyers about 2.3 years worth of saving.
- Home buyers needed 18 months to save up a down payment on a condo.
- The price of a representative home in Quebec’s capital is $330 742 and it would take the average Canadian household just over two years – or 28 months — to save up a down payment.
Researchers also found mortgage payments now make up 45 per cent of the income for a representative household, slightly above the average amount (43 per cent of income) needed in 1980.
NBC noted that during most of the past two years, income growth and lower interest rates have been conducive to improving affordability.
But 2021 has been a stark contrast, the bank said, with home price increases outpacing income growth and mortgage interest rates also rising.
Countries making COVID-19 vaccines mandatory
A sharp upturn in new coronavirus infections due to the highly contagious Delta variant and a slowdown in vaccination rates have pushed governments to make COVID-19 shots mandatory for health workers and other high-risk groups.
A growing number of countries also stipulate that a shot, or a negative test, will be needed for dining out, among other activities.
Here are some countries’ vaccine mandates:
Australia decided in late June to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for high-risk aged-care workers and employees in quarantine hotels.
It has also made vaccinations obligatory for Paralympic athletes heading to Tokyo because unvaccinated members on the team could pose a health risk.
It will be mandatory for care home workers in England to have coronavirus vaccinations from October.
English nightclubs and other venues with large crowds will require patrons to present proof of full vaccination from the end of September.
Canada‘s Treasury Board Secretariat said on July 20 it was considering whether COVID-19 vaccines should be required for certain roles and positions in the federal government, according to CBC News.
The French parliament on Aug. 2 approved a bill which will make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for health workers as well as require a bolstered health pass in many social venues.
The government said on July 19 that the planned 45,000 euro ($53,456) fine for businesses that do not check that clients have a health pass will be much lower, starting at up to 1,500 euros and increasing progressively for repeat offenders. Fines will not be imposed immediately.
Greece on July 12 made vaccinations mandatory for nursing home staff with immediate effect and healthcare workers from September. As part of new measures, only vaccinated customers are allowed indoors in bars, cinemas, theatres and other closed spaces.
Indonesia made COVID-19 inoculations mandatory in February, with the capital Jakarta threatening fines of up to 5 million rupiah ($357) for refusing.
A decree approved by the Italian government in March mandates that health workers, including pharmacists, get vaccinated. Those who refuse could be suspended without pay for the rest of the year.
Hungary’s government has decided to make vaccinations mandatory for healthcare workers, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told public radio on July 23.
Kazakhstan will introduce mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations or weekly testing for people working in groups of more than 20, the health ministry said on June 23.
Lebanon is to limit entry to restaurants, cafes, pubs and beaches to people holding vaccine certificates or those who have taken antibodies tests, the tourism ministry said on July 30. Non-vaccinated employees of these establishments would be required to conduct a PCR test every 72 hours.
Malta banned visitors from entering the country from July 14 unless they are fully vaccinated.
Poland could make vaccinations obligatory for some people at high risk from COVID-19 from August.
The Russian capital has unveiled a plan https://bit.ly/2TWsroN requiring 60% of all service sector workers to be fully vaccinated by Aug. 15, according to the Moscow Times.
Moscow residents no longer have to present a QR code demonstrating they have been vaccinated or have immunity in order to sit in cafes, restaurants and bars from July 19.
In May, Saudi Arabia mandated all public and private sector workers wishing to attend a workplace get vaccinated, without specifying when this would be implemented.
Vaccination will also be required to enter any governmental, private, or educational establishments and to use public transportation as of Aug. 1.
Saudi citizens will need two vaccine doses before they can travel outside the kingdom from Aug. 9, state news agency SPA reported on July 19, citing the ministry of interior.
Turkmenistan’s healthcare ministry said on July 7 it was making vaccination mandatory for all residents aged 18 and over.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced on July 29 that all civilian federal workers will need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or face regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements and travel limits, a source familiar with the matter said.
New York City will become the first major U.S. city to require, from Sept. 13, proof of vaccination for customers and staff at restaurants, gyms and other indoor businesses as the country enters a new phase of battling the Delta variant.
New York will require state employees to be vaccinated or get tested weekly, a mandate that will go into effect on Sept. 6, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will require their workers to get the vaccine or get tested weekly, Cuomo said on Aug. 2.
New Jersey state health care workers and employees who work in jails must by vaccinated by Sept. 7 or face testing twice a week.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said that all state employees would be ordered to get vaccinated starting Aug. 2 or undergo COVID-19 testing at least once a week.
Denver municipal employees and people working in high-risk settings in the city will be required to get vaccinated, Mayor Michael Hancock said on Aug. 2.
($1 = 0.8418 euros)
(Compiled by Paulina Cwikowska, Dagmarah Mackos and Oben Mumcuoglu; editing by Milla Nissi, Steve Orlofsky, Joe Bavier and Nick Macfie)
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