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Coronavirus information
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Latest headlines:

How many coronavirus cases are there in Canada, by province, and worldwide? The latest maps and charts

5:30 p.m. EDT

Alberta NDP wants Cargill plant near High Rivers shut down pending safety review

Alberta’s Opposition NDP wants the province to shut down Cargill’s-meat processing plant near High River, until it meets legal requirements to engage workers on safety.

An Occupational Health and Safety report says Cargill didn’t engage its workers in an internal review last month about the circumstances that led to over 950 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one employee death.

Labour critic Christina Gray says the United Conservative government has failed to keep Cargill employees safe by not including them in coming up with a solution before the plant reopened.

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She says the plant should be shut down immediately until that happens.

A spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers union Local 401 says he expects Cargill will be seeking a lot of union input before the May 18th deadline.

But Michael Hughes says the plant should not have reopened when workers don’t feel safe.

- Canadian Press

4:30 p.m. EDT

Man in his 50s is first to die of COVID-19 in Toronto’s shelter system

The City of Toronto says a man in his 50s is the first person to die of COVID-19 in the shelter system.

Medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa says the man lived at Dixon Hall Schoolhouse and died in hospital on May 8.

She says an outbreak occurred at the shelter in April, but it was declared over by May 5.

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The city’s handling of the homeless during the pandemic has become a contentious issue.

Advocates recently filed a lawsuit against the city for not enforcing physical distancing guidelines at the shelters.

The city has been buying and leasing hotels in an effort to house the homeless during the pandemic.

There have been 258 cases of COVID-19 in the city’s shelters thus far.

- Canadian Press

2:30 p.m. EDT

Northern Saskatchewan leaders want COVID checkpoint confusion sorted out

Leaders in northwestern Saskatchewan are asking the province to clear up confusion about checkpoints that are restricting travel in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Premier Scott Moe announced last month that non-essential movement into the area and between its communities would be limited to help contain the novel coronavirus.

The virus was brought in via travel from an oilsands work camp in northern Alberta.

A letter from northern leaders to the province’s chief medical health officer outlines their concerns over a lack of consultation about the travel restrictions and confusion over how to interpret them.

It says there are no Indigenous language speakers at the checkpoints and staff are not honouring notes from chiefs and councils that authorize certain people to travel.

The letter, posted online, says the province hasn’t addressed food security or how the lockdown means people can’t make a trip south for groceries.

Leaders say what’s missing is a discussion about how the public health order on travel is being carried out.

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“We can understand the temptation to blame us for complex issues in the northwest,” reads the letter.

“Many people in the province are expressing this attitude, and this is not only deeply painful to us, but also dangerously divisive to the social fabric of our province.”

Of Saskatchewan’s 564 reported COVID-19 cases, 193 of them are in the far north.

A community-run Facebook page says the Dene village of La Loche, 600 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon, is where most of the cases are concentrated and had a total of 143 infections as of the weekend.

- Canadian Press

2:15 p.m. EDT

Increased border traffic likely as Canada, U.S. economies reopen: Freeland

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada and the U.S. are working on plans to deal with what she calls an inevitable increase in cross-border traffic as economies in both countries emerge from their pandemic-induced comas.

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Freeland says traffic over the shared border is bound to increase as states and provinces reopen shuttered businesses and ease restrictions on personal mobility, even if the current Canada-U.S. ban on non-essential travel remains unchanged.

That agreement, which has allowed essential workers and trade shipments to continue to move back and forth between the two countries, was first imposed in March and is set to expire on May 21.

Freeland says discussions about when and how to begin easing those restrictions are ongoing, both between Canada and the U.S. and between the federal government and the provinces.

She says Canada will adhere to the same prudent and sensible approach that has guided it throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

And she says the premiers “by and large” share the same cautious view as the federal government.

“Inevitably, as our economies start to open up … even absent a single change in Canada’s border restrictions, we will see more travel across the border — we’ll see more Canadians choosing to go back and forth, and we’ll see more business activity, which will mean more essential travel,” Freeland said.

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“That does mean that the federal government will need to do even more at all of our borders to keep Canadians safe and well, and that is something that we are working on right now, and we’re very focused on.”

On Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford made crystal clear how he feels about the prospect of allowing visitors to Ontario from the U.S., where COVID-19 has exacted a brutal toll: more than a million active cases and 81,000 deaths to date.

“I do not want those borders open,” Ford said, noting that his counterparts in Quebec and B.C. feel the same way.

Screening at airports and border crossings will need to increase “tenfold” once the restrictions are lifted, he added.

British Columbia health officials also said they have “concerns” about opening the borders to visitors.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there is some “leeway” to look at family reunification but “broad reopenings of the borders is not in our best interest.”

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix echoed Henry.

“The premier has repeatedly made this point to the prime minister,” he said.

“It is our view that the border should not open for visitors at this time. It would make no sense to have visitors travelling either from Canada to the U.S. and returning.”

- Canadian Press

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada and the U.S. are working on plans to deal with what she calls an inevitable increase in cross-border traffic as economies in both countries begin to reopen. The Canadian Press

1:30 p.m. EDT

Quebec reports 85 new deaths

Quebec is reporting an additional 85 deaths from COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 3,013.

The total number of cases has risen to 38,469, an increase of 748 from the previous day.

Of those cases, 9,703 are classified as recovered.

On the day that elementary schools reopened in much of the province, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said the situation in Montreal remains “fragile” and a reopening of schools and shops planned there for May 25 could be further delayed.

- Canadian Press

12:45 p.m. EDT

Tam following the progress of about a 100 vaccines

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says there are about one hundred potential vaccines that officials are hoping will prevent COVID-19, though none is more promising than the others.

A vaccine has been seen as critical for returning to pre-pandemic normal, with researchers in Canada and around the world scrambling to develop one as quickly as possible.

Even as that work is going on, Tam says officials are also looking at how a vaccine will be rolled out to people if and when one is discovered.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu says the government is also looking at ways to ensure development and production of a COVID-19 vaccine does not take away from work on the annual flu vaccines that many Canadians get every year.

Eds note: An earlier version of this item incorrectly said Dr. Tam was looking at about a dozen vaccines.

- Canadian Press

11:45 a.m. EDT

‘Heavy handed’ approach would force inspectors into infected plants: Union

Canada’s Agriculture Union says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will order non-meat inspectors into meat plants under threat of discipline.

The union says the agency is instructing some of its non-meat-inspection staff to train up to be deployed to meat slaughter plants that have seen outbreaks of COVID-19.

Working conditions in the plants are a provincial responsibility but the federal inspectors are there to make sure the food they produce is safe for consumers.

A wave of COVID-19 infections has hit meat-packing plants across the country.

The union says 18 of 37 inspectors working at the Cargill plant in High River, Alta., have tested positive for the virus.

The Agriculture Union says it’s reached out to ministers on the matter but has not had a response.

- Canadian Press

10:50 a.m. EDT

Ontario reports 308 new cases of COVID-19

Ontario is reporting 308 new cases of COVID-19 today, and 35 more deaths.

That brings the province to a total of 20,546 cases, including 1669 deaths and 15,131 resolved cases.

The total represents a 1.5 per cent increase over Sunday’s total, holding the same low growth rate as in the previous day.

- Canadian Press

9:30 a.m. EDT

Ottawa to help large companies bridge coronavirus crisis with financing facility

The federal government announced a new program aimed at supporting large companies affected by the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic, but said any federal money will come with “strict” conditions.

Specifically, interested firms must impose limits on dividends and executive pay and commit to Canada’s climate change goals. The new program will also be off limits to any firm that has been convicted of tax evasion.

The new program is called the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility and is aimed at providing bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers.

The government said it is still working on the program details and further announcements would be made later.

- Bill Curry

8:30 a.m. EDT

Ontario expected to extend state of emergency

Ontario’s legislature will sit Tuesday and is expected to extend the province’s state of emergency to June 2, while also holding question period again.

A statement from the government house leader’s office says unanimous consent is expected to quickly vote on all stages of the bill to extend the state of emergency past its current expiry of May 12.

Politicians have returned to the chamber — with physical distancing protocols — several times since the pandemic began to extend the state of emergency, but have now also agreed to regular question periods.

The sessions will be held Tuesday, as well as May 19, 20, 26, 27, June 2 and 3.

The government says it is consulting with opposition parties about the possibility of extending sittings into the summer.

Only 42 out of Ontario’s 124 members will be allowed in the chamber at any given time to ensure physical distancing.

- The Canadian Press

7:30 a.m. EDT

Ontario residents bracing for mental health crisis triggered by COVID-19, poll suggests

A new poll from one of Canada’s leading mental health organizations says Ontario residents are bracing for a mental health crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey from the Ontario division of the Canadian Mental Health Association is the first in a series of three questionnaires meant to gauge the impact the outbreak and its various ripple effects will have on the way Ontario residents feel and behave.

The majority of the 1,001 respondents to the online poll conducted by Pollara say they fear the effects COVID-19 will have on the national economy, the future for both older and younger generations, personal finances and the well-being of friends and family.

The survey found 53 per cent of participants worry about their own mental health as a result of the pandemic, while 67 per cent say they’re concerned about the toll on their loved ones.

The survey also found 23 per cent of respondents admit to increasing their use of substances such as alcohol, cannabis and tobacco.

CMHA Ontario says the survey’s findings all point to a looming serge in demand for mental health supports that the province’s existing systems simply aren’t equipped to handle.

- The Canadian Press

6:30 a.m. EDT

Second World War veteran walks laps for children’s charity

A 101-year-old Second World War veteran has raised more than $115,000 for a children’s charity by walking laps in the courtyard of his Oak Bay retirement home.

John Hillman completed 101 laps at his retirement home and the money he raised will go to Save the Children Canada’s emergency fund.

Hillman’s daughter, Lynn McDiarmid, says her father was inspired by the efforts of Captain Tom Moore, a 100-year-old veteran who raised $55-million for Great Britain’s National Health Service by walking 100 laps of his garden.

His daughter says Hillman’s walking fundraiser became so popular that staff at Carlton House in Oak Bay where the veteran lives created a process for handling his numerous media requests.

- The Canadian Press

6:30 a.m. EDT

Sports Hall of Fame ceremony postponed

The 2020 inductees into Victoria’s Sports Hall of Fame will have to wait until next year for the official ceremony.

The class of 2020 hall of fame ceremony scheduled for this October will now be held in the fall of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former Olympic hurdler Bob McLaren of Victoria, who will be named to the hall of fame, says when he competed in the 1968 summer games in Mexico City the world was in the grip of the Hong Kong flu pandemic that killed one million people.

McLaren says he recalls 1968 as a tumultuous year that went beyond the pandemic and included the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the so-called black power protests at the Mexico City games and the election of Pierre Trudeau as prime minister.

- The Canadian Press

6:30 a.m. EDT

B.C. restaurants will struggle to reopen

A Restaurants Canada vice president says many B-C restaurants may not have enough cash to successfully reopen their doors when COVID-19 restrictions lift.

Mark Von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada’s Western Canada V-P, says a survey of restaurant owners finds up to 70 per cent are concerned about their ability to reopen or survive the coming months if they manage to open their doors.

B-C restaurants have been only able to provide take out and delivery services after the physical distancing restrictions were introduced.

B-C is expected to ease restrictions in the coming days that could see restaurants reopen beyond take out service but physical distancing will still be in place as will limits on gatherings at 50 people or less.

- The Canadian Press

Editor’s note: An incorrect date for Ontario's state of emergency extension was previously provided.

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