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Turkey passed up Canada's offer of help with Khashoggi investigation, documents show – CBC.ca

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Canada offered to help Turkey investigate the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, but the Turks never took up the proposal. 

Documents from Global Affairs Canada obtained by CBC News under Access to Information law show that in October 2018, then-foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland told her Turkish counterpart Canada would be happy to send investigators to help probe the death of the prominent Saudi journalist and dissident.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and well-known critic of the government of Saudi Arabia, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul early in October 2018 when he tried to pick up a marriage document for him and his Turkish fiancé.

Investigations have pinned responsibility for his death on Saudi Arabia. His dismembered remains have never been found.

A Global Affairs employee, who asked not to be identified, told CBC News that Turkish officials let the offer hang and never asked for Canada’s help — despite repeated calls from its president for broad international co-operation in the investigation of Khashoggi’s death.

“Turkey simply never asked us,” the Canadian official said.

The U.S. has featured more prominently in Turkey’s efforts; President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally urged the Americans to get more involved in the probe. Turkey also sent Washington and other national governments an audio recording of Khashoggi’s death.

Days later, Canadian Security Intelligence Service chief David Vigneault flew to Turkey to hear the same recording at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s request.

Contacted by CBC News, Turkish officials said that Canada has a “strong” record on human rights but didn’t say why Canada’s offer of help wasn’t accepted.

“Turkey’s only goal is to seek justice and accountability for this terrible crime. In this respect, we have demonstrated our readiness to co-operate with all responsible and interested actors and partners,” said a statement from the embassy sent to CBC News.

Self-exiled Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi said earlier this year that the Saudi government has been moving toward nationalist radicalism. 1:14

“We see that the international community is gradually losing its interest in this issue,” the statement continued. “It is important to reverse this trend and increase awareness. Canada is well placed to play a leading role.”

International community’s response was lacklustre: report

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on executions, conducted her own investigation this summer, stating that Saudi Arabia was responsible for Khashoggi’s “premeditated execution” and citing “credible evidence” implicating Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the killing. Turkey had started its own investigation before Callamard issued her report.

Callamard’s report also raked the international community over its ineffective response to Khashoggi’s murder.

“His killing was the result of elaborate planning involving extensive co-ordination and significant human and financial resources,” the report says. Callamard concluded that Khashoggi’s killing violated six international laws, including provisions on torture, misuse of consular offices and freedom of expression.

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia is currently a member of the UN Human Rights Council and is serving as host of the G20 summit this coming year.

Canada’s first concrete public step against Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s killing came six weeks after news of his death. The government introduced sanctions against 17 Saudi nationals — but the move was criticized as a half-measure.

“I don’t think it has much practical effect,” Canada’s former ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dennis Horak told CBC’s Power & Politics at the time.

Canada weighing relationship with Saudi Arabia

The documents obtained by CBC News also show Canada was weighing the negative impact the Khashoggi case would have on its relationship with Saudi Arabia.

“The murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and involvement of the Saudi government, have complicated prospects for progress towards normalizing relations in the near-term,” says one document sent to Global Affairs staff. 

In August 2018, Saudi Arabia froze all new trade with Canada and ordered Saudi students studying at Canadian universities to relocate after Freeland tweeted her concerns about human rights activists imprisoned in the kingdom. The Saudi foreign ministry called Freeland’s statement “blatant interference” in their domestic affairs.

Canada also has been chastised by the international community for years for arranging a controversial multi-billion-dollar armoured vehicle sale to Saudi Arabia. Since Khashoggi’s death and the reports about the Saudi crown prince’s alleged involvement, those calls for Canada to pull back from the kingdom have only gotten louder.

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Could zero-waste shopping be the solution to Canada’s plastic packaging issue? – Global News

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When you walk into The Tare Shop, you’ll notice one thing that sets it apart from other stores: no plastic bags or containers in sight.

When Kate Pepler opened her flagship store in Halifax’s north end three years ago, it was hailed as Nova Scotia’s first completely package-free bulk store.

“After announcing the business in Jan. 2018, I was flooded with messages from folks from all over Nova Scotia saying how excited they were to finally be able to shop at a package-free place,” Pepler tells Global News.

“You bring in your own containers and we encourage folks to reuse what they have.”

Read more:
Love Your Local: The Tare Shop

It’s a business model that has seen so much success, the 27-year-old entrepreneur just opened up her second location on Portland St. in downtown Dartmouth.

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The Tare Shop owner Kate Pepler in her newly-opened second package-free bulk store located in downtown Dartmouth.


thetareshop.com

“It’s really encouraging to see. It definitely feels like this way of shopping is catching on and is growing,” says Pepler.

She says she’s seen more customers — particularly new customers — during the coronavirus pandemic: an increase of about 30 to 40 per cent each month.

It’s a surge in new customers that doesn’t come as a surprise to Sylvain Charlebois, a Dalhousie University professor who studies Canadian food trends and habits.

“We do waste a lot of food and our lifestyles have changed since the start of COVID,” he says.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Soaring reliance on single-use plastics stalls zero-waste movement'



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Coronavirus: Soaring reliance on single-use plastics stalls zero-waste movement


Coronavirus: Soaring reliance on single-use plastics stalls zero-waste movement – May 24, 2020

“There are reports that suggest that we are wasting more than ever, especially when it comes to packaging, so I’m not surprised that more and more people are conscious about this issue and they’re willing to do something about it.”

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And just how much work Canadians are willing to put in to their shopping trips to help the environment could depend on where they live, according to Charlebois.

“We conducted a study last year about food waste awareness or packaging waste awareness, and awareness levels on both coasts in Canada were higher than say, in the prairies, Ontario or Quebec. That’s probably because we can actually see the problem, they see things on the beach, they see things in parks. So I’m not surprised to see this movement actually getting some traction in our region,” he says.

Read more:
London’s first zero-waste grocery store could open by year’s end: Reimagine Co.

But, he says, while it may be a solution for some, he doesn’t believe a package-free shopping model will solve Canada’s food waste issue, as plastics have become a “safety net” for consumers.

“I do think that there is a good market for shops like that, but not for the masses. Everything that you have to do to visit these shops require more time. It’s a lot of work. The key is to save the planet, with convenient solutions for consumers,” Charlebois says.

He says during the pandemic, people simply aren’t focused on sustainability issues as public health takes centre stage. That said, Charlebois expects the focus to shift back to environmental issues soon.

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“We need to change behaviours as quickly as possible because right now, parks and oceans don’t care about the pandemic. The problem is still there,” Charlebois says.

Read more:
Toronto’s newest packaging-free market opens in east end

That is what motivates Pepler, who says she is happy to cater to those who are willing to put in the work today.

“It definitely can get very frustrating walking into a grocery store and not being given an option for a lower-waste or a plastic-free option. We can make these small changes in our lives, but we have to go one step further and push those big businesses and manufacturers and producers to take responsibility for their packaging and offer more sustainable solutions that are also economical,” she says.

“It’s been really great to be able to still provide folks with a safe way to shop a lower waste lifestyle, because, we are in a time of crisis, not just COVID-19, but the climate change and the plastic problem. We need to act, and we need to act now.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Wednesday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

Answering growing frustration over vaccine shortages, President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. is ramping up deliveries to hard-pressed states over the next three weeks and expects to provide enough doses to vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of the summer or early fall.

Biden, calling the push a “wartime effort,” said Tuesday the administration was working to buy an additional 100 million doses of each of the two approved coronavirus vaccines. He acknowledged that states in recent weeks have been left guessing how much vaccine they will have from one week to the next.

Shortages have been so severe that some vaccination sites around the U.S. had to cancel tens of thousands of appointments with people seeking their first shot.

“This is unacceptable,” Biden said. “Lives are at stake.”

He promised a roughly 16 per cent boost in deliveries to states over the next three weeks.

The administration said it plans to buy another 100 million doses each from drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna to ensure it has enough vaccine for the long term. Even more vaccine could be available if federal scientists approve a single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson, which is expected to seek emergency authorization in the coming weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the government plans to make about 10.1 million first and second doses available next week, up from this week’s allotment of 8.6 million. The figures represent doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. It was not immediately clear how long the surge of doses could be sustained.

Governors and top health officials have been increasingly raising the alarm about inadequate supplies and the need for earlier and more reliable estimates of how much vaccine is on the way so that they can plan.

Biden’s team held its first virus-related call with the nation’s governors on Tuesday and pledged to provide states with firm vaccine allocations three weeks ahead of delivery.

Biden’s announcement came a day after he grew more bullish about exceeding his vaccine pledge to deliver 100 million injections in his first 100 days in office, suggesting that a rate of 1.5 million doses per day could soon be achieved.

The administration has also promised more openness and said it will hold news briefings three times a week, beginning Wednesday, about the outbreak that has killed over 420,000 Americans.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the CDC reported that just over half of the 44 million doses distributed to states have been put in people’s arms. That is well short of the hundreds of millions of doses that experts say will need to be administered to achieve herd immunity and conquer the outbreak.

The U.S. ranks fifth in the world in the number of doses administered relative to the country’s population, behind No. 1 Israel, United Arab Emirates, Britain and Bahrain, according to the University of Oxford.

The reason more of the available shots in the U.S. haven’t been dispensed isn’t entirely clear. But many vaccination sites are apparently holding large quantities of vaccine in reserve to make sure people who have already gotten their first shot receive the required second one on schedule.

Also, some state officials have complained of a lag between when they report their vaccination numbers to the government and when the figures are posted on the CDC website.

Emergency debate in Parliament on vaccines

Canada is facing its own struggles with vaccine rollout, as provinces call for more supply from Ottawa to meet demand.

No doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive in Canada this week, and there will be a reduction in deliveries next week too as the company retools a production facility in Europe.

During an emergency debate Tuesday night, Procurement Minister Anita Anand told the House of Commons that Pfizer has assured her it will ramp up its deliveries once its plant is upgraded and will still meet its contractual obligation to supply Canada with four million doses by the end of March. Another two million doses are scheduled from Moderna by that time.

With those two vaccines alone, Anand said the country remains on track to meet the government’s goal of vaccinations for every willing Canadian by the end of September. If Health Canada authorizes any of the other five vaccine candidates for which the government has contracts, she said that schedule could be accelerated.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for suggesting earlier in the day that Canada is “in good shape” when it comes to the vaccine supply.

“He thinks we’re in good shape when Canadians will only receive eight per cent of the vaccines his government promised Canadians just last month,” O’Toole said. “If this is what the prime minister considers good shape … what does he consider terrible shape? Three per cent?”

The vaccine rollout across the 27-nation European Union has also run into roadblocks and has likewise been criticized as too slow. Pfizer is delaying deliveries while it upgrades its plant in Belgium to increase capacity. And AstraZeneca disclosed that its initial shipment will be smaller than expected.

The EU, with 450 million citizens, is demanding that the pharmaceutical companies meet their commitments on schedule.

-From The Associated Press, The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 6:30 a.m. ET


What’s happening in Canada

As of 11:25 a.m. ET, Canada had reported 760,020 cases of COVID-19, with 58,303 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 19,505.

Ontario reported 1,670 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 49 additional deaths. According to a provincial site, hospitalizations stood at 1,382, with 377 patients in intensive care units.

Quebec, meanwhile, reported 1,328 new cases and 53 additional deaths. The province on Wednesday reported having 1,290 COVID-19 patients in hospital, with 221 people in intensive care units.

The province said Tuesday it plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions in some regions as of Feb. 8 if the situation in the province continues to improve. Premier François Legault said the average number of new cases in the province has declined in recent weeks — something he credits to government measures that include a nighttime curfew.

In Manitoba, Premier Brian Pallister said Tuesday that people coming into the province will have to self-isolate for 14 days, with some exemptions.

WATCH | Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announces changes for travellers:

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says Manitoba is worried about variants of COVID-19 which have been detected in B.C. and Alberta. Starting Friday, anyone entering Manitoba, including people coming from Western Canada, will have to self-isolate for 14 days. 29:00

Here’s a look at what’s happening across the country:

-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 11:25 a.m. ET


What’s happening around the world

As of early Wednesday morning, more than 100 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 55.4 million of those considered recovered or resolved, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.1 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, China has given more than 22 million coronavirus vaccine shots to date as it carries out a drive ahead of next month’s Lunar New Year holiday, health authorities said Wednesday. The effort, which began six weeks ago, targets key groups such as medical and transport workers and has accelerated vaccinations in China. About 1.6 million doses had been given over several months before the campaign began.

“The carrying out of vaccination has been ongoing in a steady and orderly manner,” Zeng Yixin, vice chairman of the National Health Commission, said at a news conference.

He said that 22.76 million doses had been administered as of Tuesday. It’s not clear how many people that represents since the vaccine is given in two doses, and some may have received their second shot.

China, which largely stopped the spread of the virus last spring, has seen fresh outbreaks this winter in four northern provinces. About 1,800 new cases have been reported since mid-December, including two deaths. Authorities are strongly discouraging people from travelling during the Lunar New Year holiday, a time when Chinese traditionally return to their hometowns for family gatherings.

Health workers in protective gear spray disinfectant in a blocked off area in Shanghai’s Huangpu district on Wednesday after residents were evacuated following the detection of a few cases of COVID-19 in the neighbourhood. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

South Korea has reported 559 new cases of the coronavirus, its highest daily increase in 10 days, as health workers scrambled to slow transmissions at religious facilities, which have been a major source of infections throughout the pandemic. The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Wednesday brought the national caseload to 76,429, including 1,378 deaths.

Nearly 300 of the new cases came from the Seoul metropolitan area, home to half of the country’s 51 million people, where infections have been tied to various places, including churches, restaurants, schools and offices.

Bangladesh started vaccinations against coronavirus in the nation’s capital, with the hope of administering more than 30 million doses over next few months.

In Europe, health authorities in Spain said they are running short of COVID-19 vaccines due to delays in deliveries by pharmaceutical companies. Northeast Catalonia, home to Barcelona, said 10,000 people who had received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine won’t be able to get their required second dose administered as planned 21 days later.

Regional authorities for the territory surrounding the capital of Madrid also said they were halting the administration of the first shot of the Pfizer vaccine to ensure that those awaiting a second shot could get it as scheduled.

Spain has administered 95 per cent of the 1.3 million vaccines it has received as part of the EU plan, according to its health ministry.

Meanwhile, the daily number of new coronavirus infections in France remained over 20,000 on average for the fourth straight day on Tuesday, while hospitalizations reached an eight-week high of 27,041.

A couple wearing face masks walk along a promenade in Barcelona on Wednesday. With more than 2.6 million infections and more than 56,000 deaths for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, Spain ranks among the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus in Europe. (Emilio Morenatti/The Associated Press)

Portugal’s government was urged to transfer COVID-19 patients abroad as deaths hit a record high and the oxygen supply system of a large hospital near Lisbon partly failed from overuse.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that the global COVID-19 pandemic could drag on unless millions of people receive protection from the virus. He made the comments while speaking at a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

In the Americas, Mexico’s Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said emergency use of Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine should be authorized within days.

WATCH | Brazil struggles to keep up with rising COVID-19 infections:

Brazil has the world’s second-highest COVID death toll, and the health care system cannot keep up with new infections. Doctors on the ground say they’re exhausted and desperate for more equipment. 2:28

In Africa, South Africa has approved AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use and is reviewing applications by rival manufacturers, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, the medicines regulator said on Wednesday.

In the Middle East, Bahrain said it’s discovered a mutated strain of the coronavirus on the island kingdom and will send students to home for remote schooling for the next three weeks. The island in the Persian Gulf off Saudi Arabia also said it would stop dining-in service at restaurants and cafes during that time period. The restrictions are set to begin Sunday.

Iran urged the new U.S. president this week to lift sanctions that it said were hampering Tehran’s fight against the pandemic, and approved the import and production of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 10:50 a.m. ET

Have a question or something to say about the pandemic? CBC News is live in the comments now or you can send your coronavirus questions to COVID@cbc.ca

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Burnt out but booming: Canada's TV and film sector plows ahead during the pandemic – CBC.ca

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For Debi Drennan, the film business is a family affair. The Toronto-based makeup artist has been working in the industry before the days of The Littlest Hobo. Her sons, Christian and Tyler, followed her into the business, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re all as busy as ever.

Christian, a key grip, just wrapped The Man from Toronto starring Kevin Hart. Key rigger Tyler recently jumped from working on Netflix’s Sex and Lies and is now on Station Eleven.

Drennan herself was one of the first to return to work after Ontario’s first coronavirus lockdown, as part of CBC’s Murdoch Mysteries.

She says that with all of the precautions in place, she wasn’t worried about safety.

“We’re not allowed on the property until we have a correct temperature and we’ve done a screening. We all had apps on our phone, and we would have to answer those apps every morning.”

With surging coronavirus rates shutting down production in parts of California, Canadian crews such as the ones the Drennans worked on are competing with an influx of American productions. In both British Columbia and Ontario, the industry isn’t just busy — it’s booming.

Switching face shields for safety glasses

Virus or not, Drennan and her colleagues in the makeup trailer still had to make the cast look picture perfect. For starters, she procured a high-end UV sterilization machine to prevent cross-contamination.

Makeup artist Debi Drennan spends her days in multiple layers of plastic for the CBC series Murdoch Mysteries to guard against COVID-19. She says the cast and crew quickly became accustomed to the new rhythms of work, but she didn’t anticipate how worn out she would become. (Debi Drennan)

But applying makeup while wearing masks and face shields turned out to be a challenge. The solution was safety glasses with prescription lenses, which became standard on set.

As both the face of and a director on the 14th season of Murdoch Mysteries, Yannick Bisson says he was all too cognizant of the risks.

“There was pressure, we were going to be one of the first shows out of the gate,” he said. “So the potential for failure was there.” 

Drennan says the cast and crew quickly became accustomed to the new rhythms of work, but what she didn’t anticipate was how worn out she would become.

“It’s exhausting…. I just felt like halfway through the day, they couldn’t call lunch fast enough. I just needed to get in my car, pull my mask off, take my goggles off and just sit.”

Headaches were common, and Drennan says she thinks dehydration may have played a role: Taking off all the layers of personal protective equipment for a sip of water or a snack was such an ordeal that the temptation was just to tough it out.

Sudbury producer Jason Jallet found himself competing with Hollywood productions for resources over the summer and fall of 2020. He completed two films in northern Ontario last fall. (CBC News)

Pandemic keeps productions on edge

Jason Jallet, a producer from Sudbury, Ont., completed two independent films during the fall and ran into trouble getting makeup and hair trailers, which had already been reserved for foreign productions. “They are all on a lot somewhere held until somebody needed them, so they were being paid for and unused.”

Jallet says he was forced to send drivers to Quebec from Sudbury for trailers, costing more time and money. He estimates COVID-19 precautions ate up about five per cent of his already precious budget.

On-screen, life on the CBC sitcom Kim’s Convenience looks the same as it did before the pandemic. But behind the scenes, the fifth season was shot under COVID-19 measures that were so strict, even Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, who plays Appa, struggled to adjust.

Behind the mask and visor is Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, who plays Appa on the CBC show Kim’s Convenience. The show’s fifth season was shot under strict COVID-19 measures. (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee)

“I remember really wanting to push back at the absurdity of having to wear a mask because I knew I didn’t have COVID and then realizing that I was making life hell for our COVID protocol officer.”

Eventually, Lee says, he decided to lean in and embrace the rules. Jean Yoon, who plays his on-screen wife, Umma, says she missed the faces of the crew. “Being in the same building with so many people we’ve worked with for all these years and not be able to see them.”

The strain of adapting to the regime of rules was so onerous that Jallet created a new position — a COVID-19 mental health officer — to give his crew someone to vent to. Jallet completed two films in northern Ontario last fall, Boathouse and Delia’s Gone, starring Marisa Tomei and Canadian actor Stephan James.

Jallet was also dealing with his own anxiety due to the lack of insurance for COVID-19 outbreaks. While the federal government eventually created a program to act as a backstop for Canadian productions, it wasn’t available in time for Jallet, leaving him on the hook for any potential outbreak.

“Every time the phone rang, I was like, ‘Is there a COVID incident? Is somebody sick? Are we going to have to shut down?'”

Director Robert Budreau, left, instructs Paul Hauser and Canadian actor Stephan James, right, in Sudbury, Ont., where Delia’s Gone was filmed in the fall of 2020. (JoBro Productions)

A surge in demand for studio space

While the rush for resources has taxed Canadian productions, it’s been a boon for companies offering studio space. Near Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, the sound of jets overhead has been replaced by a fleet of film trucks supporting the newest location for TriBro Studios. What was once an airport hangar is now a soundstage, home to upcoming Netflix production Nightbooks.

TriBro Studios president Peter Apostolopoulos poses in front of a converted airport hangar near Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, now a soundstage for Netflix’s latest production. (Craig Chivers)

TriBro president Peter Apostolopoulos says it can’t build studio space fast enough. “The phone hasn’t stopped ringing. There’s a tremendous amount of calls coming in for studio space. That’s why we expanded to the airport facilities. We needed more space.”

In Vancouver, independent producer Mark Miller says he is also seeing a scramble for space, with old warehouses being transformed into soundstages. The producer, who’s worked with Great Pacific Media and Thunderbird Entertainment, is  bullish on the future.

“We’re preparing for a big boom — actually, we think that once the pandemic comes to an end, there’s a lot of pent-up demand for new content.”

At the same time, Miller says he’s worried who will buy his shows.

Aggressive tax credits and the low dollar continue to make Canada an attractive location to serve American shows, such as Star Trek: Discovery or Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. But Miller says the pandemic is changing the broadcasting landscape here at home.

Independent producer Mark Miller is expecting a post-pandemic boom but is concerned about the impact of falling ad revenue on Canadian broadcasters. (CBC News)

“COVID-19 has been very hard on our broadcasters. I know it’s been hard on the CBC. I know it’s been hard at CTV,” he says. “Global advertising revenues are down throughout traditional television, which up until eight years ago was 100 per cent of my business.”

While COVID-19 has changed how stories are being captured, Yannick Bisson of Murdoch Mysteries says one thing remains the same: “The need for something to watch, the need for content. We want to watch our voices on our screen.”

In Ontario alone, there are an estimated 30,000 full-time jobs connected to the film and television sector. But as the pandemic stretches on, choosing whether to work or wait has producer Jason Jallet facing some tough choices.

“Do we go come up here to northern Ontario to make films? So if I’m bringing actors up from Toronto on a weekly basis to be on screen, am I putting my community here in northern Ontario at risk?”

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