A union representing workers on university campuses in Ontario is calling for the government to put classroom capacity limits and distancing requirements in place. Ontario announced earlier this month that it wouldn’t need distancing or class caps when post-secondary institutions resume in-person learning. CUPE President Fred Hahn says the universities’ proof-of-vaccination and mandatory masking policies are not enough to stop the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19. The Ministry of Colleges and Universities says schools are able to institute their own, stricter rules.
Alberta Needs Help:
The federal government says it’s responding to Alberta’s request for more critical care medical staff and Armed Forces assistance airlifting patients to other provinces. The province’s hospitals face an overwhelming wave of COVID-19 patients. The head of Alberta’s health system says one of the reasons the system hasn’t collapsed is because patients are dying off. The Opposition NDP says it’s time for United Conservative Party Premier Jason Kenney to leave public health decisions to medical professionals. New Democrat Leader Rachel Notley says Kenney is more focused on his political survival than on the pandemic.
The #GoC has accepted a Request For Federal Assistance from #Alberta to provide medical airlift capability and human health resources to help their response to the fourth wave of #COVID19. We’re working closely with our federal and provincial partners during this difficult time.
— Public Safety Canada (@Safety_Canada) September 23, 2021
Quebec Working to Get More Nurses:
Quebec Premier Francois Legault says he is launching a mini revolution in the health network to address a shortage of nurses in the province. Legault says full-time nurses in the public system will receive one-time bonuses of $15,000-dollars. Nurses who have quit the public health-care network and want to return full-time will get $12,000-dollars. The bonus will be $18,000-dollars for full-time nurses who are working in five regions that are hit particularly hard by shortages.
Quebec Bans Protests Around Hospitals:
Quebec Premier Francois Legault says there are limits to the right to protest, as his government tables legislation that would ban protests related to the COVID-19 pandemic within 50 metres of schools, daycares and health-care facilities. The bill would also apply to COVID-19 testing and vaccination centres. People who violate the ban would face fines of between $1,000 and $6,000 dollars. That would be doubled if they threaten or intimidate anyone who is entering or leaving a site. The special law would expire when the health emergency order that has been in place since March 2020 is lifted.
Canada’s Turn at the UN General Assembly:
Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations says it’s in Canada’s national interest to do more to ensure the rest of the world is vaccinated against COVID-19. Bob Rae is attending the UN General Assembly meetings of world leaders this week. He notes the rise of new variants and the fact the country’s economy is dependent on international trade should spur Canada to share more of its COVID-19 vaccine surplus with less fortunate countries. Ottawa has promised a total of 40-million doses so far, but won’t say exactly how many have been delivered.
Retail Sales Dropped As Canada Came Out of Lockdown in July:
Retail sales in Canada dropped 0.6 per cent to 55.8-billion dollars in July as shoppers diverted some of their spending from goods to services as the economy re-opened. Statistics Canada says sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores fell 3.4 per cent as more people returned to restaurants and patios. BMO economist Shelly Kaushik says the drop in retail sales is consistent with a pullback in economic growth in July, but indications for August point to a broader rebound in activity. Statistics Canada says its initial estimate suggests retail sales gained 2.1 per cent in August, but the agency cautions that figure will be revised.
COVID Has Lead To a Surplus of Commercial Vacancies:
The latest report from commercial real estate firm CBRE Group says the national office vacancy rate in the third quarter hit its highest level in 27 years. The report says the rate increased to 15.7 per cent from 15.3 per cent in the previous quarter as the fourth wave of the pandemic slowed an expected return of people working from home. But the firm says leasing activity is picking up, driven especially by demand from the technology sector, and that four of 10 major Canadian markets saw increased occupancy. Vancouver’s vacancy rate remains the lowest at 7.4 per cent, while Toronto stands at 13.7 per cent and Calgary at 30.1 per cent.
Ontario reported 193 people in intensive care units due to COVID-19 yesterday. 12 of them are fully vaccinated. Provincial figures show that another 12 are partially vaccinated and 106 are unvaccinated. The vaccination status of the remaining 63 people isn’t known. Across the province there were 677 new cases of COVID-19 and six more deaths.
In Ontario, 21,519,784 vaccine doses have been administered. Nearly 85.5% of Ontarians 12+ have one dose and 79.6% have two doses.
307 people are hospitalized with #COVID19. 273 are not fully vaccinated or have an unknown vaccination status and 34 are fully vaccinated.
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) September 23, 2021
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
Waterloo Region Public Health reported 24 new cases yesterday and no new deaths. Hospitalizations dropped by 4 patients, to a total of 8. There are 176 active cases.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health had 10 new cases yesterday. Active cases are down to 155. There are 6 people in the PHU’s hospitals.
WDG Public Health has added proof of vaccination requirements for those who support an indoor organized sport or recreational fitness activity.
This includes volunteers, coaches instructors, coordinators, trainers, officials, and organizers.
— WDG Public Health (@WDGPublicHealth) September 23, 2021
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: University of Kentucky