(The Canadian Press)

(The Canadian Press)

Ontario unveils paid sick-leave program as Nova Scotia shuts down schools, businesses

Ontario reported 3,480 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 24 more deaths linked to the virus

Ontario took steps to combat workplace COVID-19 outbreaks Wednesday as it unveiled a new paid sick-leave program for workers, while efforts to curb community spread in Nova Scotia saw the province enter a full lockdown.

The Ontario government announced it will give all workers who need to self-isolate three days of paid sick leave, and reimburse employers up to $200 a day for what they pay out through the program.

The announcement comes after months of pressure from health experts and advocates to provide paid sick leave to help curb workplace infections, which remain a major source of outbreaks in hot spot areas.

Toronto and nearby Peel Region, the two main hot spots in the province, last week began to temporarily shut down businesses with recent outbreaks. On Wednesday, a Canada Post facility in Mississauga, Ont., was ordered to have some 80 employees self-isolate after 12 tested positive for the virus over a week.

The province also issued an emergency order Wednesday meant to free up capacity in its overburdened hospitals. The measure allows hospitals to transfer patients waiting for a long-term care bed to any nursing home without their consent.

Ontario’s health minister, Christine Elliott, said transfers without consent will only take place in the most urgent situations, and only if doctors are confident the move won’t compromise the patient’s condition.

Ontario reported 3,480 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 24 more deaths linked to the virus.

Out east, a full shutdown took effect in Nova Scotia Wednesday in an effort to rein in surging COVID-19 cases, closing schools and non-essential businesses.

The lockdown is set to last two weeks and comes as the provinces grapples with nearly 500 active infections – including 75 new cases reported Wednesday.

Premier Iain Rankin said the province will also start offering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to residents 40 to 54 years old as early as Friday.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported four new cases Wednesday, as well as its first case of a COVID-19 variant first identified in Brazil.

In Quebec, which logged 1,094 new infections and 12 additional deaths Wednesday, relatives of a woman who developed blood clots and died after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine urged people to watch closely for symptoms following immunization.

Francine Boyer received the shot alongside her husband on April 9 and began to experience headaches and severe fatigue in the following days, according to a statement issued by her family.

She was treated in hospital and at the Montreal Neurological Institute, but died of a cerebral thrombosis on April 23.

“Ms. Boyer’s family would like to encourage people who receive a vaccine to stay alert for symptoms or unusual reactions and to contact Info-Sante (811) if in doubt,” the statement said.

Public health officials in Quebec have said they believe Boyer is the first person in Canada whose death can be potentially linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Experts have repeatedly stated that blood clots related to the AstraZeneca shot are very rare and the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.

In Alberta, health officials were looking into whether the death of a 17-year-old girl was caused by a COVID-19 variant, the teen’s father said Wednesday.

Ron Strate said his daughter Sarah’s health deteriorated Monday and she died soon after arriving at the hospital. He said her death demonstrates that the pandemic should be taken seriously.

Alberta moved Wednesday to send more vaccine doses to two of its hot spots – Banff and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes the oilsands hub city of Fort McMurray.

The province is also broadening the age eligibility for immunization in those areas, offering AstraZeneca shots to those 30 or older. Indigenous people in Wood Buffalo will also be able to receive the Moderna vaccine if they are 30 or older.

Meanwhile, Canada was to receive its first 300,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, according to a federal source. The doses are expected to be distributed to provinces next week.

Canada’s panel of vaccine experts, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, hasn’t issued any guidance yet on how the vaccine – the fourth approved for use in Canada – should be used.

Another 650,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine also arrived at Toronto’s Pearson airport, the Canada Border Services Agency said.

The shipment contains only half of what Canada initially expected to receive, however, due to production issues. It was also delayed from last week.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

CoronavirusNova ScotiaOntario

Just Posted

Surrey Mayor delivering “virtual” State of the City Address on Tuesday. (Screen shot)
Surrey Mayor says city is ‘earning accolades from near and far’

Doug McCallum delivered his second State of the City Address on Tuesday since being elected in 2018

North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex. (Photo: larkgroup.com)
North Surrey rink, Newton playground earn B.C. excellence awards

Awards presented by BC Recreation and Parks Association

Delta council began with an Indigenous land acknowledgement for the first time on Monday, May 10, 2021.
Delta council opens first meeting with Indigenous land acknowledgement

Acknowledgment will be read at the start of each council/committee meeting and City of Delta event

Surrey Fire Service battled a fire at an apartment building in Fleetwood late Friday night (May 14), near 84th Avenue and 160th Street. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey firefighters collecting donations for people displaced by Fleetwood apartment fire

Fleetwood BIA, community association also band together for donations, help

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Cat who chases away coyote asked to join Port Moody, Vancouver police 

Caught on camera Friday, the black cat jumps out from under a parked car and runs the wild animal out of a vacant lot

A forest of dance-protesters outside the BC Legislature on April 11. These participants were doing the Dance for the Ancient Forest in support of the Fairy Creek blockade and against old-growth logging. (Zoë Ducklow/News Staff)
Arrests begin at Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island

Five protesters arrested as RCMP begin to enforce injunction

A thunderstorm pictured in Fraser Valley in 2021. (Black Press Media/Jaimie Grafstrom)
Wildfire concerns sparked after 320+ lightning strikes blasted B.C. yesterday

Approximately one-quarter of the province is currently listed as being at moderate risk of fire

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit released a poster Tuesday, May 18 featuring the names and photos of more suspects involved in the Lower Mainland gang conflict.
Police issue warning for 8 more men involved in Lower Mainland gang conflict

B.C.’s gang task force says it’s expecting ‘violence to continue and escalate’

A restaurant server on White Rock’s Marine Drive serves customers on a roadside patio. Indoor dining and recreational travel bans have been in effect since late March in B.C. (Peace Arch News)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate falls to 411 cases Tuesday

360 people in hospital, up slightly, two more deaths

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Names of those aboard the ship are seen at Komagata Maru monument in downtown Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The City of Vancouver has issued an apology for its racist role in denying entry to 376 passengers aboard a ship that was forced to return to India over a century ago. Mayor Kennedy Stewart says discrimination by the city had “cruel effects” on the Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims aboard the Komagata Maru, which arrived in Burrard Inlet on May 23, 1914. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says sorry for city’s role in turning away South Asians in 1914

Kennedy Stewart has declared May 23 as the annual Komagata Maru Day of Remembrance

A crew of WestCoast WILD Adventures employees tackled an onslaught of litter left at the ‘Locks of Love’ fence at Wally Creek on May 2. (Anne-Marie Gosselin photo)
Litter woes consume popular ‘Locks of Love’ fence on B.C.’s Pacific Rim

Popular view spot near Tofino plagued by people hanging masks and other unwanted garbage

Vincent Doumeizel, senior advisor at the United Nations Global Compact on Oceans, as well as director for the Food Programme for the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, pulls up some sugar kelp seaweed off the French coast in April 2020. He was the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Seaweed Days Festival. (Vincent Doumeizel/Submitted)
Let’s hear it for seaweed: slimy, unsexy and the world’s greatest untapped food source

Experts talks emerging industry’s challenges and potential at Sidney inaugural Seawood Days Festival

Most Read