Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

A man wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in New Westminster, B.C. on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020.Marissa Tiel/The Canadian Press

3:30 p.m. ET

Canada passes 500,000 COVID-19 cases

Canada surpassed 500,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Saturday as infections continued to surge while the vaccine rollout reached its final province.

Saskatchewan pushed the country over the grim threshold Saturday, with 252 new cases reported as well as eight more deaths.

Earlier in the day, Ontario and Quebec, the two provinces hardest hit by the pandemic, each recorded daily case counts beyond 2,000.

It’s the fifth consecutive day Ontario has exceeded 2,000 new positive tests, with Saturday’s tally at 2,357.

The province, which is currently holding emergency talks to consider additional health measures, also recorded 27 new deaths.

Five regions in Ontario are scheduled to be in the province’s lockdown stage as of Monday.

Quebec recorded 2,038 new infections and 44 new deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

The latest 100,000 cases racked up in just 15 days across the country, marking the shortest growth period since the pandemic was declared in March.

It took six months for Canada to register its first 100,000 cases of the virus, another four to reach 200,000, less than a month to hit 300,000 and 18 days to hit 400,000.

- The Canadian Press

11:30 a.m. ET

COVID-19 vaccinations now underway in all provinces

Immunizations for COVID-19 are now officially underway in all provinces, while cases remain high in those hit hardest by the pandemic.

The last province to launch its inoculation program, New Brunswick, delivered its first COVID-19 vaccine this morning, to an 84-year-old resident of a long-term care facility.

Other residents and health-care workers were also set to get the shot today, part of the province’s plan to administer the the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 1,950 people.

Meanwhile, Ontario recorded more than 2,000 positive tests for a fifth consecutive day as the provincial government began emergency talks to consider additional health measures. The province reported 2,357 new cases today, and 27 new deaths.

Federal COVID-19 data shows Canada is inching closer to 500,000 cases.

The latest national tally, reported Friday evening, was 495,346, which includes 14,040 deaths and 405,611 cases considered resolved.

- The Canadian Press

11:30 a.m. ET

Quebec reporting 2,038 new COVID-19 infections, 44 deaths linked to virus

Quebec is reporting 2.038 new COVID-19 cases and 44 additional deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.

The province’s Health Department reports today that six fewer people were listed in hospital for a total of 1,005, with one more intensive-care case for a total of 142.

Of the 44 deaths, two were reported in the previous 24 hours while 39 fell between Dec. 12 and Dec. 17.

Quebec has had 174,839 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 7,715 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

An additional 1,847 were considered recovered for a total 149,245.

Authorities say 715 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered on Friday and 4,020 long-term care residents and health workers have received the first of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine since Monday.

- The Canadian Press

10:45 a.m. ET

First New Brunswick vaccinations begin at nursing home in Miramichi

New Brunswick started its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Saturday with the inoculation of long-term care facility residents and health workers.

Pauline Gauvin, an 84-year-old resident of Shannex Losier Hall in Miramichi, was the first recipient of the vaccine.

Gauvin told the health worker who provided the injection she felt comfortable with needles, and, after asking what her next step was, she was informed she could go back to the waiting area.

“(I’ll) go mix with the crowd,” she said, smiling.

- The Canadian Press

10:30 a.m. ET

Ontario reports 2,357 new cases of COVID-19 and 27 new deaths

Ontario is reporting 2,357 new cases of COVID-19 today, the fifth consecutive day with more than 2,000 daily new infections.

The province also recorded 27 new deaths related to the novel coronavirus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 665 new cases in Toronto, 448 in Peel Region, 174 in York Region, 170 in Windsor-Essex.

She says 67,200 tests have been completed since the last daily report.

The provincial government announced Friday that it will keep Toronto and Peel Region under lockdown, beyond the restrictions’ original expiry date next week.

Hamilton will join those regions in the lockdown stage of the province’s pandemic plan on Monday.

Premier Doug Ford said his government will also unveil new measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 on Monday after emergency talks slated for this weekend.

- The Canadian Press

8:30 a.m. ET

A year of COVID-19 has reversed a decade of progress helping world’s poor: Gould

nternational Development Minister Karina Gould isn’t running any victory laps despite ending 2020 by doing what so few of her political predecessors could — wrestling a sizable increase in Canadian foreign-aid spending.

Gould announced a $485-million increase in Canada’s $5.9-billion overseas development assistance budget this week, money earmarked for new international efforts to ensure the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries.

Gould also told a subsequent video conference on Friday with several international health organizations that Canada would “would absolutely be donating any excess capacity” of vaccines to poor countries. But as welcome as a vaccine will be, it won’t cure the damage the global COVID-19 pandemic inflicted over the course of this year.

Gould says the pandemic, in less than one year, wiped out a decade’s worth of progress in improving the plight of the world’s poorest people, especially children.

“What we’re talking about in international development is a decade of lost gains,” Gould said in an interview with The Canadian Press this past week.

The damage includes a dramatic drop in kids going to school, declining access to vaccines already used to combat preventable diseases, declining nutrition and soaring food insecurity.

- The Canadian Press

More coronavirus news and explainers

Mathematical model makes a case for immunizing the oldest first

New vaccine deals seek to overcome ‘vaccine apartheid’ in developing world

Theresa Tam calls for stricter COVID-19 lockdown measures in hard-hit provinces

Coronavirus commentary

The real cure for COVID is renewing our fractured relationship with the planet

Keeping vaccination lineups from getting unruly could become tricky

The antidote to fake facts: real ones

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

Follow topics related to this article:

Check Following for new articles