The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
7:55 p.m.: The threat of a federal election seems to be easing as the Liberal government prepares for a return to Parliament next week amid concerns Canada could already be heading into a dreaded second wave of the novel coronavirus.
Fears of a COVID-19 resurgence hung over a cabinet retreat Tuesday as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers met behind closed doors for a second straight day to plot a path through — and eventually beyond — the pandemic.
Yet politics were also heavy in the air as talk moved to the return of Parliament with a throne speech on Sept. 23 that Trudeau had previously suggested would lay out a bold plan for rebuilding Canada’s economy. The government now says it will largely focus on containing the effect of the illness.
There had been questions in the past few weeks about whether the throne speech would serve as the catalyst for a fall election, as the minority Liberal government would need the support of at least one opposition party to survive a confidence vote in the House of Commons.
There was also speculation the Liberals wanted an election, and were planning to use the throne speech as an excuse for launching a campaign in the hopes of winning a majority government.
Such talk was emboldened by Monday’s election results in New Brunswick, where the Progressive Conservatives under Blaine Higgs went from a minority to a majority government by riding a wave of support for its handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh appeared to take the wind out of federal election speculation on Tuesday, suggesting his party would hold its nose and give the government a pass on the throne speech and then hold the Liberals to account on the budget or future legislation.
“What they say in the throne speech really doesn’t have that much impact. It doesn’t really matter when it comes down to it because they’ve said a lot of things in the last throne speech that they haven’t followed through on,” Singh said.
“I want to see implementation, perhaps in the budget. The budget bill might be a way for us to really gauge if the government is serious about following through.”
The throne speech is expected to include some commitments that would align with NDP priorities, such as on child care. This increases the likelihood, although does not guarantee, that Singh’s party will find a way to support it.
Singh added he is scheduled to speak to Trudeau by telephone later this week, in which the NDP leader planned to push the government not to reduce the $2,000-per-month Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Trudeau is also scheduled to speak to Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and Green party Leader Elizabeth May about the throne speech later this week, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
The theme of congeniality emerged as fears of a second wave of COVID-19 were heightened after another increase in the number of positive cases in Canada. That continues a troubling trend in recent weeks that has hijacked the Liberals’ talk of setting a bold new post-pandemic course for Canada.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu was unable to say Tuesday whether the trend is a temporary blip — or a cause for larger concerns, saying: “It’s hard to speculate because we still have time to actually keep these numbers under control if we all work together as governments and as individuals.
“But listen, we can’t rule that out. We can’t rule out that we could continue to see these numbers rise across the country. And that is the real risk of COVID-19.”
7:00 p.m.: WestJet Airlines Ltd. is offering refunds to customers with European flights cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Travellers with flights to or from Europe and scheduled to depart between March 1 and Oct. 31 of this year can be reimbursed within four weeks, according to an update sent by WestJet to travel agents this month and obtained by The Canadian Press.
The policy marks a shift from the airline’s previous stance that offered flight credit or no-fee rebooking rather than reimbursement for trips that were cancelled as airlines halted the majority of their flights amid border shutdowns, quarantines and a collapse in travel demand.
6:50 p.m.: The Manitoba government went looking for a way to quickly set up exterior visitation rooms at personal care homes across the province — something that could keep residents and their loved ones safe during the COVID-19 pandemic but also comfortable during the frigid winter.
On Tuesday, the government revealed the result: repurposed shipping containers, complete with insulation, heat and even interior finishings to make the boxy structures feel a little homey.
“This is going to make a difference for all those Manitobans who need to have that contact with their family and their friends and their loved ones, no matter what is happening outside of their personal care home,” Health Minister Cameron Friesen said.
He said the system is believed to be the first of its kind in Canada and other jurisdictions are looking at the idea.
PCL Constructors Canada Inc. came up with the design. The company plans to refurbish 90 containers and set them up in locations across the province by late fall. The province is paying $17.9 million.
The aim is to ensure that even if COVID-19 numbers grow and restrictions are put in place inside nursing homes, residents and their relatives can continue to meet in a separate space that is safe and cleaned between each visit.
The 13-metre-long units will be connected directly to the exterior of the homes, so that residents are sheltered as they move back and forth. Visitors are to enter from a separate door. And if COVID-19 numbers climb and more protection is needed, a small divider can be put in place between residents and visitors.
3:36 p.m. The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sept. 15, via The Canadian Press:
There are 138,582 confirmed cases in Canada.
Quebec: 65,554 confirmed (including 5,785 deaths, 57,628 resolved)
Ontario: 45,068 confirmed (including 2,820 deaths, 40,091 resolved)
Alberta: 15,833 confirmed (including 254 deaths, 14,041 resolved)
British Columbia: 7,279 confirmed (including 219 deaths, 5,446 resolved)
Saskatchewan: 1,741 confirmed (including 24 deaths, 1,616 resolved)
Manitoba: 1,466 confirmed (including 16 deaths, 1,181 resolved)
Nova Scotia: 1,086 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,020 resolved)
Newfoundland and Labrador: 271 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 266 resolved)
New Brunswick: 194 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 189 resolved)
Prince Edward Island: 57 confirmed (including 56 resolved)
Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved)
Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)
Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)
Nunavut: No confirmed cases
Total: 138,582 (0 presumptive, 138,582 confirmed including 9,188 deaths, 121,567 resolved)
2 p.m. Coronavirus is disproportionately killing minority children in the U.S., especially those with other underlying health conditions, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that shows how devastation from COVID-19 among Black and Hispanic adults has carried down to their offspring.
Children are much less likely than adults to contract coronavirus or fall seriously ill because of the infection, health records show, though vulnerability varies based on demographics.
Of the 190,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the U.S., 121 of those who died by July 31 were under the age of 21, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Three of every four were of Hispanic, Black, American Indian or Alaskan descent, the agency said. Hispanics accounted for 45 per cent of deaths overall, while Black people accounted for 29 per cent.
Deaths were more common among males, particularly at the older end of the spectrum, with young adults age 18 to 20 accounting for nearly half, the agency found. The next highest risk was in infants under the age of 1. Underlying medical conditions were also common among the young patients, with 75 per cent having at least one other health concern.
1:52 p.m. American Airlines is cutting the number of flight attendants on many of its larger planes and longer trips starting in October, coinciding with upcoming furloughs and layoffs for more than 19,000 employees.
American has already told flight attendants that the job will have to change starting Oct. 1 when federal stimulus aid runs out and the carrier tries to find a path back to profitability despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
American will drop two flight attendants from its three-class Boeing 777-300 jets, giving it 11 flight attendants for the plane with about 304 seats. American’s Boeing 777-200 and 787-900 jets will go from 10 to nine flight attendants. Meanwhile, transcontinental service on Airbus A321 planes will lose one of its six flight attendants.
1:50 p.m. Authorities in southern Germany said Tuesday they have recorded three more cases of COVID-19 in people who frequented bars visited by a 26-year-old American woman suspected of flouting quarantine rules in the Alpine resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
The latest cases take the total number of recent infections there to 59, including 25 staff at a hotel resort that caters to U.S. military personnel and at which the woman worked.
Anton Speer, who heads the county administration, told reporters that authorities are still waiting for the results of about 300 tests conducted on Monday and it was too soon to give the “all-clear.” The three new cases emerged from 740 tests conducted over the weekend.
Bavaria’s governor, Markus Soeder, called the outbreak in Garmisch-Partenkirchen “a model case of stupidity” because the 26-year-old had gone partying despite having COVID-19 symptoms and awaiting a test result.
Soeder said Monday that “such recklessness must have consequences” and suggested the woman, who hasn’t been named, could receive a stiff fine.
1:11 p.m. The Ontario government is spending $2.5 million to help Guelph-based Linamar Corp. retool to make 10,000 e700 ventilators. There are 11 COVID-19 patients on ventilators in Ontario hospitals.
12:35 p.m. Provinces are looking to expand COVID-19 testing as Canadians in many provinces wait long hours to be swabbed or can’t get in for testing at all.
Demand for testing surged in much of the country in recent days, as schools and universities reopened and the number of positive cases began to surge, raising fears that a second wave of the pandemic has arrived.
Ottawa health officials say they are experiencing record lineups for testing and are extending testing site hours to try to accommodate the demand.
One testing site in Ottawa’s west end closed its doors to new arrivals for the second day in a row as the line had already grown to the site’s daily capacity before noon.
In London, Ont., a testing site at Western University hit capacity only two hours after opening Monday, after word spread that five students on campus had tested positive.
Ontario chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams says Ontario is looking ahead to managing long testing lines as the weather gets cooler by adding new sites and figuring out how to have people wait indoors safely despite the pandemic.
10:55 a.m. (updated) For the fifth day in a row Ontario is reporting more than 200 new cases of COVID-19.
There were four additional deaths reported, but the province’s tally of 251 new infections Tuesday was an almost 20 per cent drop from Monday’s headline-grabbing 313 new cases.
“Locally, 24 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases with 14 reporting no new cases,” Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Twitter, noting there are three main hot spots in the province.
“Toronto is reporting 73 new cases, with 51 in Ottawa and 42 in Peel,” said Elliott.
9:40 a.m. The number of Canadians who expect to buy a home within the next year grew this summer, particularly among renters looking for more outdoor space and distance, says the second of a four-part survey by Mortgage Professionals Canada (MPC).
But the association’s chief economist Will Dunning said there are still too many unknowns to predict whether the summer’s hot housing market will continue through the fall.
The survey found that the number of nonhomeowners who want to buy in the next 12 months increased to 16 per cent in August. That’s a slight bump from 14 per cent in the first instalment of the survey in June-July. But it is more than double the 7 per cent who said they were expecting to get into the market last fall before COVID-19 shut down the economy.
That doesn’t mean all those people will necessarily get a mortgage or move ahead to buy, said a report on the findings on Monday.
Although consumer attitudes are moving in “a helpful direction, it’s still not a full recovery by any stretch of the imagination,” Dunning told the Star.
9:26 a.m. The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales in August climbed 6.2 per cent compared with July to hit an all-time record for the month with gains led by the Greater Toronto Area and B.C.’s Lower Mainland.
Compared with a year ago, sales in August were up 33.5 per cent.
Home sales in Canada came to a near halt in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but have surged through the summer, helped by pent up demand and low mortgage rates. CREA says in addition to a record for August it was the sixth-highest monthly sales figure of any month.
Sales through the first eight months of the year have totalled 341,463 homes, up 0.8 per cent compared with the first eight months of 2019.
The national average home price also set another record in August at more than $586,000, up 18.5 per cent compared with a year ago.
Excluding Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, two of Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets, lowers the national average price by about $122,000.
8:16 a.m. Premier Doug Ford’s governing Progressive Conservatives are changing the rules of the legislature in a move the opposition New Democrats charge is a pandemic power grab.
As MPPs returned to Queen’s Park for the fall session, government house leader Paul Calandra announced amendments to the Legislative Assembly’s standing orders designed to streamline proceedings.
“We are proposing a number of permanent and provisional amendments to the rules of the legislature to further enhance the ability of all members of provincial parliament to represent their constituents,” Calandra said Monday.
“The changes proposed are fair and balanced updates that will enhance democracy in our legislature,” he said.
Under the proposal, which should pass this fall because the Conservatives have a majority with 72 MPPs in the 124-member chamber, there will be greater focus on private members’ legislation by considering one bill per day Tuesdays through Thursdays.
That will help Tory backbenchers as well as opposition MPPs pushing their own legislative initiatives.
7:56 a.m. The Canadian International AutoShow, the largest annual consumer show in the country that’s been held in Toronto every February for years, has been postponed until 2022, to be replaced by a virtual exhibition.
The Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA), promoters of the annual event that attracts more than 330,000 people to the downtown Metro Toronto Convention Centre, made the decision to cancel the in-person event next February because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In its place, the AutoShow will present an immersive automotive showcase on a virtual platform.
The health and safety of AutoShow consumers, and all of those who work within the automotive industry, are of primary concern and the main reason behind the decision to go virtual next February, Jason Campbell, the show’s general manager, said early Tuesday in a release.
“The AutoShow has become a must-visit showcase for both new car buyers and automotive enthusiasts alike,” Campbell said. “We’re still committed to ensuring that the hundreds of thousands who would normally visit the show in person will continue to be able to engage with this great event — just in a new, more widely accessible way.”
7:21 a.m. Loblaw Companies Ltd. has signed a deal to buy a minority stake in telemedicine company Maple Corp. for $75 million.
The company says the investment will be made through its Shoppers Drug Mart Inc. subsidiary.
Maple helps people connect with doctors and medical specialists using a smartphone or computer and also provides technology for employers, insurers, hospitals and clinics.
Loblaw says Shoppers Drug Mart has been working with Maple and its virtual care is available in more than 160 Shoppers Drug Mart locations in B.C.
The two companies also worked together early in the pandemic to help enable virtual care visits.
6:41 a.m.: Ten positive cases of COVID-19 were reported in schools across the GTA on Monday, as some students headed back for their first day of in-person classes.
Among the newly added is John Fraser Secondary School in Mississauga, which a provincial database confirmed had one case of a student who tested positive.
The database is being used to track COVID-19 in schools and shows overall five additional cases in the Peel and Halton region have also been reported.
6:30 a.m.: Millions of Pakistani schoolchildren have returned to their classrooms as education institutions reopen after a closure of about six months to fight COVID-19.
Students in wearing masks were seen entering school buildings Tuesday, greeting each other from a reasonable distance instead of shaking hands or hugging.
The government has asked teachers, school staff and students to wear masks and regularly use sanitizers.
6:15 a.m.: Nearly 1.8 million Hong Kong residents took voluntary coronavirus tests as part of a massive community testing program, resulting in 42 cases being identified, the government said Tuesday.
The two-week testing program, which ended Monday, was aimed at identifying silent carriers of the coronavirus to cut the transmission chain in a wave of cases that began in July.
Although the total number of people tested fell short of the government’s initial estimate of four to five million, officials say the program met its objectives.
“The program ended smoothly, we have met the policy objective,” Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said at a news conference. “We have identified confirmed cases, we’ve isolated them and given them treatment to cut the transmission chain.”
5:31 a.m.: Unemployment in the U.K. edged up in July even though large sections of the British economy reopened after the coronavirus lockdown, a clear signal that the jobless rate is set to spike sharply higher when a government salary-support scheme comes to an end in the autumn.
The 104,000 rise in the number of people unemployed during the three-month period to July took the total to 1.4 million, and raised the unemployment rate by 0.2 percentage points to 4.1% — the biggest increase since the pandemic began.
The increase in unemployment came even after the reopening of the hospitality sector in early July, following on from the reopening of shops selling items deemed as non-essential, such as clothes and books.
5:21 a.m.: South Korea’s daily coronavirus tally has stayed in the low 100s for a third consecutive day, maintaining a downward trajectory.
The 106 cases added Tuesday brought the country’s total to 22,391, including 367 deaths. South Korea’s daily jump has remained in triple digits for more than a month, but its caseload has recently gradually slowed down in the wake of stringent social distancing rules.
5:19 a.m.: China has reported eight new coronavirus cases, all from people who entered the country, including two Myanmar nationals who had crossed the land border at the Chinese city of Ruili.
Myanmar has seen a surge in new coronavirus cases. On Friday, the country reimposed tough measures to control the spread of the disease. Ruili was placed under lockdown on Monday evening, with people banned from leaving the city and residents quarantined at home for a week.
5:15 a.m.: India confirmed more than 83,000 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing its total caseload to nearly 5 million.
The Health Ministry also reported 1,054 new deaths, driving total fatalities up to 80,776.
With 4.93 million confirmed cases, India has the second-highest total in the world after the U.S. Infections have maintained an upward surge amid an ease in coronavirus restrictions nationwide. More than 600,000 new cases have been confirmed in the last week alone.
5:10 a.m.: Momcilo Krajisnik, a former top wartime Bosnian Serb official who was convicted of war crimes by a U.N. court, has died after contracting the new coronavirus. He was 75.
The hospital in the northern Bosnian town of Banja Luka said that Krajisnik died early Tuesday “from consequences of infection with the new coronavirus.”
5:07 a.m.: Voters in New Brunswick delivered a majority win to Premier Blaine Higgs on Monday, effectively endorsing his decision to call a snap election in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic — a move described as unsafe and unneeded by his political rivals.
The closely watched campaign was the first in the country since COVID-19 hit, and though it looked much different than previous electoral races, elections officials reported few problems during the past four weeks or on voting day.
5:05 a.m.: The looming prospect of a second wave of COVID-19 this fall has governments cautiously monitoring daily infection rates as economies restart and students return to school.
A widespread return of economic and social restrictions that closed businesses and schools and cancelled public events in March is not the preferred option, but there may be no choice, say politicians and health officials.
“The last thing that anyone wants is to have to once again shut down our economies and suspend our lives to try and counter a massive second wave,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week.
He stressed public vigilance to fight the pandemic, frequent hand washing, mask wearing and physical distancing, because “as we’re seeing with cases rising across the country, we are not out of the woods.”
Winnipeg epidemiologist Cynthia Carr said Canadians should brace for more restrictions and shutdowns if COVID-19 cases continue to rise, even without the arrival of a second wave.
British Columbia ordered the immediate closure of nightclubs and banquet halls last week after daily COVID-19 case numbers were consistently above 100, with many infections traced to young people out socializing at events where alcohol was served.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also ordered bars, pubs, lounges and restaurants to cut off alcohol sales at 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m., unless serving only food.
Tuesday 4 a.m.: The Toronto District School Board will begin welcoming students back to elementary schools this morning.
Canada’s largest school board is spreading the return to class over three days as part of a staggered reopening plan.
The model will see different grades come back to school on different days, with specifics varying by school.
The board says the drawn-out reopening plan is designed to help children get used to the new safety protocols in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Intensive support programs will begin at all Toronto public schools today, including high schools.
The board announced Monday that it was pushing back the start of e-learning courses for all students until next Tuesday, citing a massive spike in enrolment numbers.
Monday 5:47 p.m.: A House subcommittee examining President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is launching an investigation into reports that political appointees have meddled with routine government scientific data to better align with Trump’s public statements.
The Democrat-led subcommittee said Monday that it is requesting transcribed interviews with seven officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services, including communications aide Michael Caputo. Caputo has often publicly pushed back on CDC statements about the coronavirus and said falsely in a Facebook video on Sunday that the CDC has a “resistance unit” to undermine Trump, according to The New York Times. His page has since been made private.
Finalists announced for 2020 Nature Inspiration Awards from Canadian Museum of Nature
OTTAWA, Sept. 18, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Canadian Museum of Nature, Canada’s national museum of natural history and natural sciences, is pleased to announce the 23 finalists and the Lifetime Achievement recipient for its 2020 Nature Inspiration Awards.
These national awards, now in their seventh year, celebrate projects by individuals, groups and organizations whose leadership and innovation connect Canadians with the natural world. Due to COVID precautions, this year’s winners will be announced by the museum on November 25 through online means, rather than during an in-person gala ceremony.
The projects led by this year’s finalists, which were selected from among 85 nominations, address topics that include biodiversity and conservation, environmental education, and sustainable practices.
Among them are youth who advocate about the wonder of species diversity, as well as adults who galvanize others to conserve natural areas. Not-for-profits show leadership in education to preserve waterways and forests, engagement of citizen-scientists, and the protection of natural environments. The businesses being recognized show innovation with the development of “green” products, as well as environmental stewardship programs.
This year’s laureate of the Lifetime Achievement Award is spiritual leader, teacher and conservationist Father Charles Brandt, who lives in Black Creek, British Columbia. Now aged 97, the “hermit-priest” is best known for galvanizing volunteers and spearheading a campaign to successfully clean up the Tsolum River on Vancouver Island. This helped revitalize the river’s salmon population, which had declined due to pollution from an abandoned copper mine.
The shortlist for the 2020 awards comprises finalists in six categories: Youth (aged 17 and younger), Individuals (aged 18 and up), Not-for-Profits (small to medium), Not-for-Profits (large), Businesses (small to medium), and Businesses (large).
“Unlike past years, these 2020 awards are being announced at a time when access to nature, and a healthy connection with the natural world, seem more important than ever. Each of the finalists lead by example and inspire us in supporting a sustainable future,” says Meg Beckel, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature and Chair/ex-officio member of the selection jury. “We are pleased to recognize the efforts of our finalists, and even though we are forgoing our usual celebration gala, we look forward to acknowledging their achievements online through our website and social media channels.”
The Nature Inspiration Awards are supported by media partners The Globe and Mail and the Walrus. Category sponsors are the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for the Youth Award, and Ontario Power Generation for the Not-for-Profits (small to medium) Award.
The jury included Shelley Ambrose, former Executive Director/Co-Publisher, The Walrus; Caitlyn Baikie, Education Policy Advisor, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami; Carolynn Beaty, Director of Granting, The Sitka Foundation; Jack Cockwell, Chairman/CEO, Partners Limited; Philip Crawley, Publisher, The Globe and Mail; Dolf DeJong, CEO, Toronto Zoo; Marti Ford, Executive Director, Arctic Inspiration Prize; John Geiger, CEO, Royal Canadian Geographical Society; Danika Goosney, Vice-President, Scholarships and Fellowships, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; Geoff Green, Founder and Executive Director, Students on Ice Foundation; and Erica Thompson, Senior National Director, Conservation Engagement and Development, Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Winners for each category receive $5,000 that they can designate to a nature-related program of their choice. The Nature Inspiration Awards are produced by the Canadian Museum of Nature. Full details, as well as profiles of the finalists, can be found at nature.ca/awards.
Here is the list of finalists:
Youth category (aged 17 and under)
- Vesa Barileva, youth scientist (biodegradable food packaging), Oakville, Ontario
- Genevieve Leroux, environmental advocate for the Monarch Butterfly, Gatineau, Quebec
- Grace Gong, founder of Greenshirt, not-for-profit that diverts used clothing from landfill, Mississauga, Ontario
- Sophia Spencer, author, insect enthusiast and founder of #BugsR4Girls, Sarnia, Ontario
Individual category (aged 18 and up)
- Nory Esteban, teacher and naturalist, coordinator of Wings over the Rockies bird festival, Port Coquitlam, British Columbia
- Elin Kelsey, environmental activist and author, Victoria, British Columbia
- Amanda McConnell, co-founder of Grassroots Albany, a community forum for environmental discussion and action, Toronto, Ontario
- Gary Schneider, environmentalist and co-founder of the Environmental Coalition of PEI, Stratford, Prince Edward Island
Not-For-Profit category (small/medium organization)
- International Conservation Fund of Canada, programs to conserve threatened tropical ecosystems, Chester, Nova Scotia
- Tree Canada, community engagement for tree-planting, Ottawa, Ontario
- Water Rangers, citizen-science efforts to collect water quality data, Ottawa, Ontario
Not-For-Profit category (large organization)
- Beaty Water Research Centre, research, education and outreach about aquatic ecosystems, and clean water. Kingston, Ontario
- David Suzuki Foundation, Butterflyway Project: planting local wildflower, plant and shrubs patches Vancouver, British Columbia
- Goodwill Industries of Alberta, diversion and reuse of goods from landfill, Edmonton, Alberta
- Nature-Action Québec, protection and preservation of natural areas in Montreal’s urban areas, Beloeil, Quebec
Business category (small to medium)
- FireRein Inc, development of bio-based, non-toxic foams for use by firefighters, Napanee, Ontario
- PBA Tundra Supply, Ltd., research and development of a maple hybrid to grow in adverse soil conditions, West Elgin, Ontario
- Sans façon, integration of a stormwater treatment facility into the design of an urban public park, Calgary Alberta
- ULAT Dryer Balls, invention, patent and development of wool dryer balls Parksville, British Columbia
Business category (large)
- Fresh City Farms, Canada’s largest commercial urban farm, with a sustainable and locally focussed approach, North York, Ontario
- Nutrien, use of a waste byproduct from the phosphate fertilizer industry to create soil and grow trees. Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta
- Ontario Power Generation, implementation of biodiversity conservation programs and environmental assessments, Toronto, Ontario
- TELUS, sustainable business practices towards 2030 carbon neutral goal, including tree-planting program to offset paper usage, Ottawa, Ontario
About the Canadian Museum of Nature
Saving the world through evidence, knowledge and inspiration! The Canadian Museum of Nature provides evidence-based insights, inspiring experiences and meaningful engagement with nature’s past, present and future. It achieves this through scientific research, a collection of 14.6 million specimens and artifacts, education programs, signature and travelling exhibitions, and a dynamic web site, nature.ca.
Information for media:
Head, Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
Chief Marketing Officer
Canadian Museum of Nature
University education program still on hold for inmates across Canada
As university and college students start school this month, inmates across the country will not have access to a program that offers university credits at no cost.
The Walls to Bridges program has been on hiatus at federal prisons and provincial jails since the start of the pandemic shutdown in March as a safety precaution. It’s not clear when it’ll start again, according to Shoshana Pollack, who founded the program in partnership with Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ont. in 2011.
The program has been taught in five federal institutions across Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia, as well as several provincial jails. It’s even been expanded to a jail in Paris, France.
The university or college working with the facility helps fund the course for the incarcerated students with the help of community organizations and charities, and then the other half of the class is made up of students from the school.
“We’re the only post-secondary program in Canada that brings people from outside to study with people on the inside,” said Pollack, who’s also a professor in the Department of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University.
The program is an accessible option for students because it doesn’t require an internet connection, which inmates don’t often have access to, said Pollack.
‘Felt like I was a human being’
Rachel Fayter, who was incarcerated at Grand Valley Institution from 2014 to 2017, says she’s concerned for the students who are missing out on the program because of the pandemic.
“For those folks that are locked up, Walls to Bridges might have been their only opportunity to have an education,” said Fayter.
“There’s not very much access to [post-secondary] education, there’s not internet access, the computers are ancient … any kind of mail correspondence you have to pay for the courses yourself. So it’s very difficult for somebody in prison and has no income.”
Fayter, who’s now a third year PhD student in the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa, says the program changed her life.
It didn’t happen after the first class, but the confidence it gave her changed her outlook. She became hopeful again.
“In the Walls to bridges classroom, it was the first time in probably a year where I actually felt like I was a human being and my voice and experiences were valuable and respected,” said Fayter.
The classes are taught through a learning circle. The idea is to allow all perspectives into the circle, learn from one another and discover how students’ experiences have shaped how they view the world.
‘Don’t know where I’d be’
Since 2011, there have been 559 inmates across the country who have taken courses through the program.
Melissa Alexander is another graduate. She was studying computer systems technology at Seneca College in Toronto before she became an inmate at Grand Valley Institution.
“When you’re inside, you feel like you have no rights,” said Alexander. “Even when you get out you feel like there’s nothing you can do because you have a permanent record.”
Alexander took four courses over three years through the social work department at Laurier.
Inmates who complete courses then become part of a collective, helping advise the program going forward. She describes that community as pivotal in helping her forge a path for herself after her release in 2017.
“Without this group, I don’t know where I’d be today,” said Alexander, who now is a peer support worker in Toronto and a carpenter apprentice. She also plans to get her degree in social work with a minor in law.
‘It’s a necessity’
Peter Stuart, chief of education at Grand Valley Institution, says when women come into the prison, they’re often hungry to learn. They want to further their education, he says, and post-secondary education is critical.
“This idea that post-secondary education is a perk for offenders, I think is an outdated concept. I think it’s a necessity,” said Stuart.
“In our society, a high school diploma is obviously essential, but it’s not really enough anymore. Especially if you have a criminal record as an obstacle, you need to have not only the same as what other people have, but if anything something more,” said Stuart.
He says the prison looked at different models such as video conferencing to keep the program going through the pandemic, but Walls to Bridges relies on having students from the outside and inside together in one space without barriers.
“The model that Walls to Bridges uses just couldn’t work while COVID protocols were in effect,” said Stuart.
The women have been taking part in literature exchanges and correspondence while the program is on hold, according to Stuart. He hopes the program will start running again in the spring of 2021 at the prison.
“As soon as we get the go ahead from public health and provincial and federal authorities, we’ll bring it back in immediately,” said Stuart.
Government of Canada announces ongoing investments to improve railway safety
OTTAWA, ON, Sept. 17, 2020 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada is committed to keeping Canadians safe by improving rail safety and increasing public awareness and confidence in Canada’s rail transportation system.
Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced funding of more than $25 million over three years for the Rail Safety Improvement Program. This investment will support 165 new projects and initiatives that will increase safety and Canadian’s confidence at grade crossings and along rail lines.
The Rail Safety Improvement Program is an essential component of the Government of Canada’s commitment to improving rail safety and preventing serious incidents. In the past four years, $85 million have been invested in the form of grants and contributions.
Today’s announcement includes funding for:
- 161 new projects that focus on Infrastructure, Technology and Research, including: safety improvements on rail property; the use of innovative technologies; research and studies; as well as the closures of grade crossings that present safety concerns.
- Four rail safety Education and Awareness initiatives that focus on reducing injuries and fatalities in communities across Canada.
“Rail safety remains my top priority, even as we continue to face the challenges of COVID-19. Over the years, our government’s renewed commitment to rail safety demonstrates our dedication to supporting projects that keep Canadians safe, stimulate the economy, and ensure that our rail network remains one of the most efficient and secure rail transportation systems in the world.”
The Honourable Marc Garneau,
Minister of Transport
- Grade crossing and trespassing accidents still cause the most rail-related deaths and serious injuries in Canada.
- Transport Canada is taking action to implement recommendations from the 2018 Railway Safety Act Review report, including improving grade crossing safety and safer interactions of people and trains. Today’s investment complements efforts to bring together a broader range of partners to work with us to find ways to reduce largely preventable deaths and injuries at grade crossings due to trespassing.
- This year, Transport Canada is funding four public education and awareness activities, 146 grade-crossing improvements including crossing infrastructure projects, 12 grade crossing closures and three technology and research projects across the country.
- Backgrounder – Rail Safety Improvement Program
SOURCE Transport Canada
For further information: Livia Belcea, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, Ottawa, [email protected], 613-314-0963; Media Relations: Transport Canada, Ottawa, 613-993-0055, [email protected]
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