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Passenger on flight from Montreal to Vancouver tests positive for coronavirus

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Feb 24th, 2020

Air Canada has confirmed that a passenger who flew on one of its flights from Montreal to Vancouver on Valentine’s Day has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The airline says it was advised on Feb. 22 by health authorities about the passenger.

“Air Canada is working with public health authorities and has taken all recommended measures,” read a brief statement from the airline.

The British Columbia Ministry of Health says everyone in proximity to the woman during her travels has already been notified, stressing the information released by Air Canada does not mean there is a new case in the province.

Man shot near Victoria Park and Finch

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Feb 24th, 2020

A man in his 40s is recovering in hospital after he was shot in Scarborough on Sunday night.

Police were called to Chester Le Boulevard and Morecambe Gate, near Victoria Park and Finch avenues, around 10 p.m.

The man’s injuries are serious but not life-threatening.

There is no word on suspects.

Rail blockade by Tyendinaga Mohawk remains after police deadline passes

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Feb 24th, 2020

TYENDINAGA MOHAWK TERRITORY, Ont. – Ontario Provincial Police reportedly gave protesters until midnight Sunday to clear a rail blockade on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, or face an investigation and possible criminal charges.

But the deadline came and went, and the blockade near Belleville, Ont., that has crippled both freight and passenger rail traffic in most of eastern Canada for nearly three weeks remained in place Monday morning.

The barricades are a response to a move by the RCMP to clear protesters who had been blocking access to a Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline worksite on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia.

Hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation oppose the work on their traditional territory, despite support from elected band councils along the pipeline route.

On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the barricades had to come down and injunctions ordering the tracks cleared needed to be enforced.

However, Heredity Chief Na’moks, also known as John Ridsdale, said Sunday that Trudeau’s “antagonistic” speech had just the opposite effect.

New presumptive case of coronavirus diagnosed in Toronto

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Feb 24th, 2020

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health has confirmed a new presumptive positive case of coronavirus in Toronto.

The province says the woman arrived in Canada from China on Feb. 21 and presented at North York General Hospital’s emergency department with an intermittent cough that was improving. She was discharged and, per protocols, went into self-isolation.

The Public Health Ontario Laboratory confirmed today that she tested presumptive positive for COVID-19. The sample has now been sent to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg for confirmation.

The province says it’s unlikely that the woman was infectious.

“Given the individual’s clinical assessment and history, there is a low risk that she was infectious,” the province’s health officials said in a statement. “The individual followed all protocols and wore a mask throughout her travels back to Toronto and, since landing, the woman has had very limited exposure to other individuals.”

The province says it is coordinating with local public health units to ensure that passengers in close proximity to the woman on the plane are contacted and monitored.

This mark’s the fourth case of coronavirus in Ontario. The three previous cases – a married couple from Toronto and a university student living in London – were all cleared last week by health officials following two negative tests at least 24 hours apart. All had recently travelled to the region of China at the centre of the global outbreak.

Wet’suwet’en chiefs to spend Friday with Mohawk supporters in Ontario

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Feb 21st, 2020

A group of hereditary leaders from the Wet’suwet’en Nation in British Columbia is to spend the day with Mohawk supporters in Ontario.

The B.C. hereditary chiefs are thanking the Mohawks for supporting them in opposition to a pipeline project on their traditional territory by blocking a critical rail line between Toronto and Montreal.

A notice telling police and reporters to stay away says the gathering is to celebrate friendship, healing, peace and optimism, and to talk politics.

The rail blockade, and others like it across the country, went up after the RCMP enforced a court injunction against the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and supporters, forcing them off an access road to a worksite for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

It’s part of a multibillion-dollar project to send natural gas to a terminal on the B.C. coast for export, which has broad support from elected band councils along the route.

The hereditary Wet’suwet’en leaders say they’re willing to talk with representatives of the Crown, but only after the RCMP and Coastal GasLink workers have left their traditional lands.

B.C. woman returning from Iran diagnosed with coronavirus

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Feb 21st, 2020

A sixth case of the novel coronavirus has been diagnosed in British Columbia after a woman in her 30s returned to the province this week from travel in Iran.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday the woman’s presumptive case is relatively mild and a number of her close contacts have already been put in isolation.

She said health officials are working on a detailed investigation of the woman’s travel and when her symptoms started to help determine if they need to notify those who travelled with her on the same aircraft.

Henry said the woman lives in the Fraser Health region, which is located east of Vancouver.

Iran announced three more infections Thursday, a day after it reported its first two deaths.

It is a presumptive case of the virus until positive test results come back from samples sent to the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg.

Henry said the woman went to a local hospital concerned about influenza-like symptoms. She was examined and released, Henry added.

“My understanding, from initial discussions with the clinician who saw her as well as the patient herself, was they did think it was influenza,” Henry said.

She said the woman’s novel coronavirus diagnosis was surprising, primarily because of her travel only to Iran.

“That could be an indicator there’s more widespread transmission,” said Henry. “This is what we call an indicator or sentinel event. A sentinel event means it’s a marker that something many be going on broader than what we expect.”

She said B.C. has reported the case to the Public Health Agency of Canada and it will also be reported to the World Health Organization.

Henry said the diagnosis shows B.C. has a robust system for identifying people who have the virus.

“We still believe the risk in Canada and here in B.C. is low,” she said.

Henry said earlier this week that four of the five people already diagnosed with the virus were symptom free. The fifth person, a woman in her 30s who returned from Shanghai, China, is in isolation at her home in B.C.’s Interior.

Henry said over 500 people have been tested for the virus in B.C. and many of those tested positive for the flu.

In Ontario, the first person in Canada to test positive for the novel coronavirus has now been completely cleared of the virus.

Ontario health officials say the man in his 50s has now had two negative tests 24 hours apart, which is the standard for being cleared.

Associate chief medical officer of health Dr. Barbara Yaffe says the man is no longer infectious to others and has recovered.

The man returned to Toronto in January from the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak, and had to be hospitalized.

His wife, who had travelled with him, also fell ill, but had less severe symptoms and is still in self-isolation at home.

Yaffe says the woman is doing well and is expected to be cleared soon.

A third person has since completely recovered, with tests showing she no longer has the virus in her system.

1st round of Wuhan evacuees to be released from quarantine at CFB Trenton today

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Feb 21st, 2020

OTTAWA – Hundreds of Canadians and their family members are to be released from quarantine today after two weeks in isolation at an Ontario Canadian Forces base.

They’ll get to leave their quarters at CFB Trenton just hours after a new planeload of people potentially exposed to the novel coronavirus called COVID-19 arrived from Japan overnight.

The evacuees leaving quarantine were the first to arrive from the centre of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 7.

The 213 Canadians and accompanying family members were flown from the quarantined city aboard flights chartered by the Canadian and American governments and taken to the base for isolation and observation.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu says the government is helping all the evacuees with their travel plans, but all will be expected to make their own ways home from Ontario.

Ontario teachers plan large protest at Queen’s Park during provincewide strike

ALLISON JONES AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Feb 21st, 2020

Ontario’s public school teachers are planning a huge protest at the legislature on Friday to coincide with their provincewide strike.

The job action by the four major teachers’ unions is expected to shut down schools across Ontario, leaving about two million students out of class. Teachers and education workers will be picketing at various schools and politicians’ offices across the province but, in Toronto, the legislature is the only picket location.

The unions say that means as many as 30,000 people will attend. Legislative security is bracing for a large crowd and has said the road around the building will be closed.

Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, said he hopes it sends a message to the government.

“The minister of education points the finger of blame at everybody but himself,” Bischof said. “What’s clear in this historic event is that the common denominator for all of the chaos in Ontario’s publicly funded education system is the destructive (Premier Doug) Ford education agenda.”

This is the first time since 1997 that teachers and education workers from Ontario’s main education unions will all be out of their classrooms on the same day, the unions say.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said he wants union leaders to heed the concerns of parents who want their children in school.

“Two million students should be in class (Friday),” he said. “These strikes are impacting the very kids that we all purport to care about.”

Members of the four unions in Peel Region were also planning a mass picket, with teachers set to form a 30-kilometre line from Caledon down to the lakeshore in Mississauga.

Meanwhile, bargaining between English Catholic teachers and those in the French system and the government ended Thursday after two straight day of talks.

OECTA President Liz Stuart said while the discussions were “respectful” they did not result in an agreement.

“We will also continue planning for rotating strikes the week of February 24, although the Association remains ready to go back to the bargaining table if the mediator believes it is possible for the parties to continue making progress,” Stuart said in a statement.

Lecce has been signalling flexibility on class sizes – one of the most contentious issues in ongoing negotiations, particularly for secondary teachers. He has said he would rather make further moves on class sizes than on compensation for teachers.

The government announced last spring it would increase average high school class sizes from 22 to 28 and require students to take four e-learning courses to graduate.

Lecce has since offered to instead increase average high school class sizes to 25 and require two online learning courses, but the unions have been pressing for no class size increases and for no mandatory e-learning courses.

All the teachers’ unions are asking for around two per cent in annual salary increases, while the government won’t budge beyond offering one per cent. It passed legislation last year capping wage hikes for all public sector workers at one per cent for three years. The teachers’ unions and several others are fighting the law in court, arguing it infringes on collective bargaining rights.

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