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7:40 p.m. EDT

3M announces deal to resume exporting N95 respirators to Canada

Minnesota-based medical supply maker 3M announced Monday that it had made a deal with the Trump administration that will allow it to resume exporting N95 respirators to Canada and Latin America.

Under the terms of the deal, 3M will import 166.5 million respirators from China over the next three months to supply the U.S., the company said. In exchange, the Trump administration will lift its ban on 3M exporting American-made masks to other countries.

“The plan will also enable 3M to continue sending U.S. produced respirators to Canada and Latin America, where 3M is the primary source of supply,” the company said in a statement.

Mr. Trump, who last week bashed 3M on Twitter and invoked the Defense Production Act to stop them exporting, lauded it as “a great company.”

“We have reached an agreement, very amicable agreement with 3M,” Mr. Trump told the daily White House coronavirus briefing.

Neither the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security or Department of Health and Human Services – the three U.S. government departments named in Mr. Trump’s executive order last week allowing officials to shut down imports – responded to questions on whether they were stopping any other companies from exporting to Canada.

Adrian Morrow

5:15 p.m. EDT

Toronto to open more food banks in library branches

Toronto is opening food bank locations in library branches and joining with charities and corporate donors to try to prevent people going hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A number of the city’s food banks have been unable to continue operating during the pandemic, which has at the same time sparked a surge in need. Complicating the situation for many residents is a city recommendation that those over 70 not go out if possible, making it harder for some of them to buy food.

Starting Tuesday, seniors who have no other form of assistance will be able to get food hampers delivered by the Red Cross and the United Way. The number to access this service is 1-833-204-9952. Also Tuesday, food banks will open in another two library branches, bringing the number to six. The plan is to expand this ultimately to 10 libraries, with the food being packed by library staff.

Toronto Mayor John Tory, announcing these measures Monday, noted food and food credit donations by Sobeys, Loblaw and Kraft Heinz, calling it “a tremendous city, corporate and community partner collaboration to help ensure that the food needs of vulnerable Torontonians continue to be met.”

- Oliver Moore

3:20 p.m. EDT

Edmonton man charged after coughing on bus driver, peace officers: police

Edmonton police say a man who tested positive for COVID-19 is facing charges under the Public Health Act for allegedly coughing on a bus driver and peace officers.

Police say the bus driver pulled over after noticing a fight between two passengers on Sunday afternoon.

They say a man then entered the bus driver’s enclosure and repeatedly coughed on the public transit worker.

Police say the man also coughed on peace officers during his arrest, before disclosing that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The 38-year-old Edmonton man faces two counts of assault, assault on a peace officer and contravening an order by the chief medical officer.

He is scheduled to appear in court on June 16.

- Canadian Press

12:25 p.m. EDT

Top health official says masks could help prevent the spread of COVID-19

Canada’s top public-health doctor says wearing masks is a way for people who might have COVID-19 without realizing it to keep from spreading the illness to others.

That’s a change from previous advice.

Dr. Theresa Tam says the change is due to increasing evidence that people with the virus can spread it without knowing they’re sick.

She says masks worn this way protect others more than they protect the people wearing them, and don’t exempt wearers from all the other measures they should take against COVID-19, including physical distancing and regular handwashing.

And Tam says medical masks still need to be preserved for front-line health workers, so cloth masks and other alternatives are the way to go.

11:55 a.m. EDT

B.C. officials seek checkpoints at southeastern border with Alberta

Politicians in southeastern British Columbia are calling on the provincial health officer to close the B.C.-Alberta border to non-essential travel.

A statement on the Regional District of East Kootenay website says people are not heeding the message from health officials in both B.C. and Alberta urging everyone to stay home.

The regional district also wants all non-resident property owners to stay away and it is seeking closure of all private campgrounds, overnight and backcountry camping.

- Canadian Press

11:25 a.m. EDT

PM says 240,000 accessed emergency benefits

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says 240,000 people successfully applied for emergency relief amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the first few hours after the federal government opened the process this morning.

Only people with birthdays in the first three months of the year can apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit today.

The benefit offers $500-a-week payments for workers who have lost all their income.

Trudeau says changes to the program will come soon to offer help for people whose hours have been slashed but who are still working a little.

- Canadian Press

11:15 a.m. EDT

Ontario reports 309 new COVID-19 cases, including 13 more deaths

Ontario is reporting 309 new COVID-19 cases today, including 13 new deaths.

There have now been a total of 4,347 cases in the province, including 1,624 resolved and 132 deaths.

The new cases reported today represent a 7.7 per cent increase in the past 24 hours, while the number of resolved cases jumped by more than 37 per cent.

A backlog of pending tests that was once at nearly 11,000 now stands at just 329.

There are now 589 people in Ontario hospitalized with COVID-19, with 216 people in intensive care and 160 of them on ventilators.

Meanwhile, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton has declared a COVID-19 outbreak after three of its health-care workers in the special care nursery tested positive. No babies or parents in the unit are symptomatic.

10:50 a.m. EDT

Scheer calls for increase to charitable donation tax credit

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is calling on the government to increase the charitable donation tax credit.

He says this would help increase charitable contributions to hospitals, churches, food banks, women’s shelters and other worthy organizations.

Scheer also wants the government to immediately remove the capital gains tax on charitable donations of private company shares and real estate.

He says although many businesses are struggling, some are still thriving and should be encouraged to support the charitable sector.

- The Canadian Press

10:38 a.m. EDT

Halifax police ticket people in prohibited areas

Halifax police say they issued 39 tickets on the weekend for violations of the province’s Health Protection Act and the Emergency Management Act.

That means Halifax Regional Police have handed out a total to 47 tickets since the province declared a state of emergency on March 22.

The majority of the fines were handed to people in prohibited areas under the Emergency Management Act.

- The Canadian Press

10:30 a.m. EDT

Gould, aid groups discuss helping world’s poorest with $100-million funding boost

Days before Canada announced more than $100-million in new foreign aid to fight COVID-19, a federal minister and a leading aid advocate said the country can’t afford to scrimp on its overseas spending in fighting COVID-19.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul was simply not an option, said International Trade Minister Karina Gould and Nicolas Moyer, the president of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, an umbrella group for aid agencies.

Their pointed discussion came on Thursday during an online meeting between Gould and the aid sector as the government was preparing to announce more new money on Sunday.

The discussion highlighted a key concern: how to sell spending millions of dollars overseas to help the less fortunate when the government was trying to bolster a flagging domestic economy with tens of billions in new spending at home.

On Sunday, Gould announced that Canada was increasing its international aid by $109.5-million on top of the $50-million the government announced earlier in March to help stop COVID-19 abroad.

The new money included $30-million to specific countries, $40-million for the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations co-ordinating the world’s efforts to find a vaccine for COVID-19, and $84.5-million for a number of international groups.

- The Canadian Press

Open this photo in gallery:

A CAE team in Montreal tests a ventilator on a health-care simulation mannequin. CAE hopes to begin manufacturing ventilators as soon as its model is approved by Health Canada.CAE

8:45 a.m. EDT

CAE lays off 2,600, announces dividend suspension

CAE Inc., the Canadian flight training and simulator manufacturer, said it is cutting staffing and implementing pay cuts for remaining employees to protect its finances against the coronavirus crisis.

Montreal-based CAE said in a statement Monday it will temporarily lay off 2,600 of its 10,500 employees and place another 900 on a reduced work week schedule. The company said it is suspending its dividend and share repurchase plan.

The moves are part of a wider effort to cut costs, which will also see CAE freeze or reduce employee salaries, the company said. Chief Executive Marc Parent will take a 50 per cent pay cut while vice-presidents will take 30 per cent cut, directors and managers will take a 30 per cent cut and group leaders and employees will take a 10 per cent cut, the company said.

As a supplier of training equipment and services to airlines, CAE has been hit hard as carriers slash capacity and park planes in response to an unprecedented shut down of air travel worldwide. The corporation’s defence and security operations are less impacted.

“Taking decisive yet flexible action will help to protect our people and operations over the short-term and gives us the necessary agility to resume long-term growth when global air travel returns,” Mr. Parent said in a statement.

CAE’s balance sheet is under pressure but it should be able to weather the crisis, Desjardins Capital Markets analyst Benoit Poirier said in a note published Sunday. The analyst expects the company’s debt-to-income ratio to climb to a peak of 3.2 times at the end of fiscal 2021, which he said still provides a decent cushion.

CAE, which has a medical training division, has created a ventilator prototype it hopes to mass produce, placing the company among a growing number of businesses that have responded to calls to industry to help contain the fallout from the novel coronavirus.

- Nicolas Van Praet

Chorus moves to deal with COVID-19 impact

Chorus Aviation Inc. is suspending its dividend, temporarily laying off staff and cutting executive salaries as it deals with the fallout from COVID-19. The company, which operates regional aircraft for Air Canada, says its main customer and partner has slashed its network-wide capacity in the second quarter. PHOTO.

- The Canadian Press

MTY suspends dividend and lays off staff

MTY Food Group Inc. has suspended its quarterly dividend, temporarily laid off over half of its workforce and reduced the base salaries of its leadership team.

The owner of brands such as Thai Express, Tiki-Ming, Tutti Frutti and Valentine says approximately 2,100 restaurants in its network have temporarily closed while the rest are operating in a reduced capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

- The Canadian Press

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Coral Princess cruise crew members look from their balcony at Port Miami as the coronavirus pandemic continues on Sunday, April 5, 2020.The Canadian Press

7 a.m. EDT

Coral Princess passengers heading home

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says Canadian passengers on the Coral Princess cruise ship will be headed home today, after undergoing a health screening.

Champagne says in a tweet that Canadians who don’t show any symptoms of COVID-19 will be allowed to disembark the ship in Florida and get on a flight chartered by Holland America.

The minister says they’ll be screened again upon arrival and subject to a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period.

Some passengers were allowed off the ship yesterday but Canadians weren’t among them, due to new guidelines by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

Those guidelines said cruise passengers shouldn’t board commercial flights, meaning only those with chartered flights were able to disembark.

- The Canadian Press

4 a.m. EDT

Application process for emergency benefits for workers begins this morning

Applications open today for the new federal emergency aid benefit for Canadians who lost their income because of COVID-19.

The Canada Revenue Agency will open its application portals this morning to those born in the first three months of the year, with those born in other months able to apply later in the week.

The agency is trying to keep demand from overwhelming its online and telephone systems.

More than two million Canadians lost their jobs in the last half of March as businesses across the country were forced to close or reduce their operations to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Others are unable to work because they are required to self-isolate at home, or need to look after children whose schools and daycares are closed.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau anticipates the wage benefit will cost the government $24-billion.

To try to prevent the website from crashing under the weight of millions of applications, Canadians are being asked to apply on different dates based on their month of birth:

  • Canadians born in January, February or March can apply on Monday;
  • Those born in April, May or June can apply on Tuesday;
  • Those born in July, August or September can apply on Wednesday;
  • Those born in October, November or December can apply on Thursday;
  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be open to all.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday Canadians who sign up for direct deposit could get their first payment before the end of the week. It’s anticipated direct deposit applicants will get money within three to five days, while those who opt for printed cheques will get money in 10 days.

To be eligible for the emergency benefit, workers must have earned at least $5,000 in 2019, or in the 12 months before applying. The benefit is the same for everyone regardless of previous income, and is a less complicated application process than for employment insurance.

Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre said yesterday the government needs to expand the eligibility for the benefit to include people who have lost most but not all of their income. Poilievre said restricting the benefit to people who are earning nothing discourages those who are continuing to work a little if that option is open to them.

- The Canadian Press

Open this photo in gallery:

Six-year-old Peyton Denette works on her speech and language skills from her home in Mississauga, Ont., on March 30, 2020. As children in elementary schools prepare for online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and parents say it'll be an imperfect process as they figure out how to work with each family's needs.The Canadian Press

Online learning begins for students across Ontario

Students across Ontario begin online learning today, more than three weeks after COVID-19 shuttered schools in the name of physical distancing.

Teachers will lead the effort with both live and pre-recorded lessons, but the move poses challenges nonetheless.

The Ministry of Education has said that e-learning cannot fully replace the in-class experience, so the goal is to help students continue their education as much as possible during the pandemic.

And Education Minister Stephen Lecce is asking parents to help the youngest of students through the transition, even as many are working from home.

The president of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, meanwhile, has said school boards have been hearing from parents in recent weeks that they need help teaching their children at home.

Cathy Abraham said every board in the province has been crafting a local plan to address the needs of students who may not have access to the internet, computers or tablets, or whose parents may not have time to oversee their schooling.

- The Canadian Press

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