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Manitoba PNP draw invites 199 immigration candidates



Gimli VikingManitoba held its 95th Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) draw on July 31.

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) issued a total of 199 Letters of Advice to Apply (LAAs) to immigration candidates.

LAAs are invitations for immigration candidates to apply for a provincial nomination for permanent residence in Canada. Manitoba issued invitations under the following three immigration streams:

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

Out of the 199 LAAs issued in this draw, 15 were given to candidates with profiles in the federal Express Entry system.

Manitoba has so far issued LAAs to 2,833 immigration candidates in 2020.

Manitoba’s EOI system

Immigration candidates need to register an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the MPNP to receive an LAA through the Skilled Workers in Manitoba and Skilled Workers Overseas categories.

Under Manitoba’s system, such candidates are ranked out of 1,000 points for human capital characteristics such as their English or French language skills, education, work experience, Manitoba connections, and other factors.

In today’s draw, successful candidates needed a score of at least 475 points to obtain an LAA under the Skilled Workers in Manitoba stream. Skilled Workers Overseas candidates needed a minimum score of 764 points.

About Manitoba immigration streams

The Skilled Workers Overseas Category and Skilled Workers in Manitoba categories allow the province to nominate skilled workers who can support Manitoba’s labour market needs.

People who are overseas need to have an established connection to Manitoba. This can be demonstrated through close family ties or friends in the province, previous experience in Manitoba, or an invitation under one of the MPNP’s Strategic Recruitment Initiatives.

Candidates do not need to be physically present in Manitoba at the time of the application to be eligible.

Successful candidates in the Skilled Workers in Manitoba category must meet certain criteria, such as having a full-time permanent job offer from an employer in Manitoba.

International students that graduated from an educational institution in Manitoba may receive an LAA under the International Education Stream if they have in-demand skills.

Express Entry Manitoba

Express Entry manages applications for three federal immigration streams: Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Eligible candidates are ranked on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) which gives them a score based on human capital factors such as age, work experience, education, and language ability.

The highest-scoring candidates are issued Invitations to Apply (ITAs) through regular federal Express Entry draws.

If the 15 MPNP candidates, who received an LAA in the July 31 draw, successfully receive the provincial nomination they will be awarded an additional 600 CRS points.

The extra points effectively guarantee that the candidate will be selected in a subsequent Express Entry draw.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

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Staffing to be adjusted in some Regina schools as online teacher-to-student ratio hits 1 to 67: trustee




Teachers in some Regina schools are being shuffled due to significant demand for online learning, according to Regina Public School Board trustee Adam Hicks. 

Hicks posted a Facebook video Thursday evening talking about the changes, saying they will start to come into effect on Monday.

In the video post, Hicks said 2,200 students have registered for e-learning, with 33 teachers assigned to online teaching — a ratio of 67 students for every teacher.

“With 2,200 students in e-learning, our allocations of staff were, unfortunately, not enough,” Hicks said in the video.

Just over 25 staff from 22 schools will be reassigned to accommodate e-learning — a move made necessary by budget constraints, he said.

“We hired as many new teachers as we possibly could [for online teaching], but when it came down to it, we don’t have additional funding to hire all the rest.”

Education Minister Gord Wyant said Public Health was involved in the decision, and that the safety of staff and students is the top priority in this shuffle.

The Opposition NDP says the staff shuffle shows a failing in the Saskatchewan Party government’s back-to-school plan, but Wyant defended his government’s overall pandemic response as “exceptional.”

“I think that the response that the government has made … has been sufficient to support children and teachers in the classroom,” Wyant said. “I discount the criticism we’ve received for that.”

Children are safe in classrooms and getting the education they deserve, he said.

Earlier this month, Wyant and his ministry announced $51 million for school divisions as a first round of government money to deal with additional costs associated with schooling in a pandemic. Of that, $9.5 million is allocated to address additional distance-learning capacity, including funding 102 teachers and staff.

Hicks said in his video that the Regina Public School Board’s projections for the number of students attending classes in school were off. Fewer children are in school than they had originally thought, which means that funding — which is based on in-school enrolment — will be less than anticipated.

Wyant said he expects more students will return to in-class learning as the school year goes on.

But NDP Leader Ryan Meili said the government should ensure that funding remains consistent. 

“They’re still having to provide that teaching to people online but they are basically not … sure that they’ll be able to fund the number of teachers they have in place,” Meili said.

“We should absolutely have a commitment from this government that no money will be pulled back because of enrolment changes.”

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More than 1 in 10 Quebec schools have at least one case of COVID-19




A total of 272 schools in Quebec have at least one positive case of COVID-19, be it a student or staff member, according to the province’s Friday update.

That’s 25 more schools affected since Thursday’s report. 

That means more than 10 per cent — or one in 10 — of Quebec’s 2,685 schools are affected by the pandemic.

In all, 189 classes have had to be shut down since the start of the school year.

The Education Ministry is gathering data from all 72 service centres and school boards from across the province as well as 260 private schools. In all, it adds up to just over one million students.

A total of 401 students and 106 staff members have tested positive since the start of school — increasing by 54 in 24 hours.

Montreal remains the most affected region with 81 schools having at least one case of COVID-19. The Quebec City area has 41, Montérégie has 38, Laval 24 and the Outaouais has seven.

The list is not complete, the government says, as some schools are undergoing audits.

As for the rest of the province, there were 297 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death reported Friday.

Some worry substitutes will worsen situation

Wit the situation appearing to worsen, some substitute teachers fear they will become vectors of COVID-19 as they move between schools.

Amélie Beaulieu says she has filled in for teachers at seven schools since the year’s start.

“There are regularly situations where teachers are absent as they are waiting for results,” she told Radio-Canada.

And even though she wears a mask on the job, Beaulieu worries substitutes like her will create a situation like that seen in long-term care homes and hospitals this spring.

Minister of Education Jean-François Roberge says it is a mistake to compare health-care workers to substitute teachers when it comes to spreading the disease. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

Staff moving between health facilities or even between hot and cold zones in hospitals did lead to outbreaks.

After witnessing the tragic results of migrating health staff, Beaulieu isn’t the only one who is worried.

“We do not want to repeat what happened in the spring in the health network,” said
Marc-Étienne Deslauriers, a parents’ committee member in Montreal.

“If people move, we have to make sure that all the conditions, the sanitary measures, are respected.”

Catherine Beauvais-St-Pierre, of the Alliance des professors de Montréal, said teachers see more than students as they change schools. They bump into other adults as well.

“It is worrying for these teachers and it is also worrying for the spread of the disease from one establishment to another,” she said.

Roberge says substitute teachers aren’t a risk

Neither public health nor the workplace safety board (CNESST) have enacted specific measures concerning the movement of substitutes between schools.

Education Minister Jean-François Roberge said substitute teachers are not the same as health-care workers and it is a mistake to make the comparison.

Employees of long-term care homes or hospitals must get close to residents and patients, he said.

“That’s nothing like a Secondary III math teacher who moves from one school to another, but who has no direct contact with students, who stays two metres from students and who rubs shoulders with students who are more than 99.5 per cent negative [for] COVID-19,” he said.

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Ontario and Quebec schools shut down due to COVID-19 outbreaks




Staff stand outside Herzliah High School in Montreal on Sept. 17, 2020.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

The first two Canadian schools shut down because of COVID-19 demonstrate how the public health decisions to close them are a science that is not always exact.

Regional health officials in Pembroke, Ont., this week closed Fellowes High School after three staff members became infected, and at least one of them was known to have mingled among three classes. About 800 students and staff stayed home on Thursday while at least 90 students and about 50 staff were to be tested. No students had tested positive by Friday.

Quebec has had at least a dozen similar-scale outbreaks and several larger ones, but it opted to send classes home rather than close entire schools, until it shut down its first school late this week.

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Montreal’s Herzliah High School was closed on Thursday after at least 15 students and one employee tested positive for COVID-19. One class had eight cases while the others were scattered among different cohorts.

Public health officials in the two provinces were also taking different approaches to the timeline for reopening the schools. In Pembroke, public health officials said Fellowes students could return next week if the outbreak is contained. The shutdown may last just a few school days.

Robert Cushman, acting Medical Officer for Renfrew County and District Health, said closing the school is a preventive measure “to catch up and get ahead of it. Our goal is to lose four or five days of school rather than four or five weeks.”

In Montreal, officials extended the standard 14-day quarantine for the private Jewish school to Oct. 5 to account for family contacts that may take place during high holy days.

“The case of this school is complex,” said Mylène Drouin, Montreal’s Director of Public Health. “I would say the outbreak is controlled, but the other sporadic school cases coming from the community, the high level of incidence in that Côte-Saint-Luc neighbourhood, the context of the Jewish holy days starting, made it all seem judicious to move online.”

How many coronavirus cases are there in Canada, by province, and worldwide? The latest maps and charts

Is my province going back into lockdown? A guide to COVID-19 rules across Canada

All the provinces have different return-to-class and shut-down protocols, and have set different paces for reopening, and they are getting hit by school infections at different times.

Alberta on Friday reported its first case of transmission from one person to another within a school. Edmonton’s Waverley School will remain open while 12 students and seven staff are in isolation.

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Alberta’s Medical Health Officer, Deena Hinshaw, said protocols at Waverley School have not been changed as a result of the cases, and there is no reason to believe anyone else in the school is at risk. She said in-school transmission was inevitable and the public health measures currently in place are designed to minimize the chance of that happening.

“However, younger children need to interact with each other in a way that is less formal, perhaps, than adults, so as with anything else, it’s a balance,” she said during a news conference on Friday.

Most schools in Alberta resumed classes during the week of Aug. 31. Since then, the province has confirmed 78 cases at 57 schools. The province has more than 2,000 schools.

Ontario had 72 cases in 60 schools, including Fellowes, as of Friday. Quebec, where most kids went back to school on Aug. 27, has had 507 cases in 272 schools. While only Herzliah was closed, health officials have sent home 189 classes.

Parents at the closed schools in Ontario and Quebec seemed to take the matter in stride.

Derrick Nearing said his Grade 12 daughter, Hannah, and Grade 10 son, Reilly, were both thrilled to return for the week classes were in at Fellowes, and disappointed to be sent home.

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“I think they’re going about things the right way, and I think most parents feel the same,” Mr. Nearing said. “Everybody’s doing their best. Nobody’s been through this before.”

Mr. Nearing said Hannah is a top student, so he’s not too worried about her moving to online learning for a few days. The return to school was a balm for Reilly, who is in a special-needs class for autism. “He really needed to get back to school. The six months off was very isolating,” Mr. Nearing said. “Hopefully, he can get back to his routine quickly.”

Guilda Benhamou drove to Herzliah with her Grade 10 son to collect his books on Thursday. Both said the school and public health officials are taking a prudent course. Ms. Benhamou told CTV she hopes the closing is a warning to others who “have forgotten COVID-19 exists.” Her son said he has trouble concentrating with online learning, but the closing was the right move.

Public health officials have stressed the key to protecting schools is preventing community spread.

Dr. Cushman said he suspects the Fellowes outbreak originated in a commercial gym. The three infected school staffers each had common pre-existing conditions, including chronic headaches and seasonal allergies, which may have masked COVID-19 symptoms. “This is why these people were continuing to work, unfortunately,” Dr. Cushman said. “What bad luck.”

Dr. Drouin said the “principal source of these cases was the community, the acquisition of the virus was in the community.” She and other Quebec health and education officials continued to stress this week that schools are safe.

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With a report from James Keller in Calgary

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