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March 23: Western Canada and COVID-19

In the event that a balance between personal freedom and public health and safety measures cannot be struck, leaders are opting to implement further restrictions.




As of Monday March 23, there are 2,036 cases in Canada with less than half, 859 cases, in the western provinces.

Officials are becoming upset with the lack of compliance from Canadians with regard to public health recommendations. In the event that a balance between personal freedom and public health and safety measures cannot be struck, leaders are opting to implement further restrictions.

As of Monday, PEI has completed a shutdown of non-essential businesses to keep people at home. Ontario and Quebec have each announced an impending shutdown of non-essential businesses to begin at midnight March 24. Quebec’s shutdown is in place until April 13 after their numbers spiked from 221 to 628 Monday.


There have been 42 new cases announced in Alberta bringing the province’s total to 301. 24 cases are believed to be from community spread.

Calgary Emergency Management Agency announced Monday morning that Calgary playgrounds will closed in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The announcement comes just one day after Rocky View Schools announced they will restrict access to all playgrounds on school property.

“Even mild symptoms can result in infection,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health said Monday.

Dr. Hinshaw also said that contact with surfaces which were previously touched by someone who was positive for the virus, can transmit the virus.

Alberta will not be testing those who have minor symptoms asking instead that those who present minor symptoms self-isolate for 14 days.

Hinshaw said new measures will be taken to protect health workers. Those who work within the system, including contractors and non-medical staff, will be tested prior to coming to work.

While people are still being encouraged to go outside and to go for walk, Hinshaw said that social distancing is still very important.

Mountain day trips are not recommended at this time as many public washrooms and other public access buildings are now closed, Hinshaw said.

Those who need additional assistance for mental health are encouraged to reach out to someone they trust.

Alberta Health Services has developed a text messaging system to help offer encouragement to deal with Alberta’s “new normal”.

Dr. Hinshaw reiterated that the province must monitor the measures currently in place to determine whether those measures are sufficient or need to be strengthened. If the current measures are found to be insufficient in flattening the curve of infections, additional measures may be implemented.

Based on new information, individuals may be able to return to work after 10 days rather than 14.

Additional information for Alberta residents can be found here.

British Columbia

The province announced 48 new cases bringing its total to 472 with 100 recovered and 13 deaths.

Six long-term care facilities have seen infections including Lynn Valley where 36 residents and 19 staff have tested positive, Hollyburn, Haro Park (10 residents and 12 staff), Delta View long term care (one staff) and German Canada House (one staff).

Grocers, banks and pharmacies have deemed essential businesses, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s health official stated.

The province is also looking to increase precautions for long-term care facilities which will mean a further reduction in visitation accessibility.

The City of Vancouver has announced that it will fine businesses up to $50,000 if social distancing recommendations are not followed. Individuals could be fined up to $1,000 within the city.

Additional information for B.C. residents can be found here.


One new case was identified in Manitoba but the province’s numbers remain at 20 as one presumptive case has been found negative.

The single case that was unrelated to travel was under investigation but was eventually determined to be a false positive according to chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin.

All residents who are returning from travel outside of the province, even within Canada, are asked to self-isolate upon their return.

“I want to make it clear that this is not just a suggestion,” Roussin said during a briefing Monday.

“We have this in place because the risk to Manitobans is real, since all of our cases have been imported from travel. We are appealing to people’s civic duties.”

At this time there are no plans to limit travel within the province.

The province has completed more than 4,000 tests and there is no longer anyone in hospital for COVID-19-related illness.

There have been no deaths from COVID-19 in Manitoba.

Additional information for Manitoba residents can be found here.


The province has identified 14 new, confirmed cases, bringing the province’s total to 65 confirmed and one presumptive case.

Two of the cases are individuals between the ages of five and 19, all others are adults according to the government press release on Monday.

61 per cent of the cases are in males and 39 per cent are in females.

All residents who are returning from destinations outside of Canada are subject to “mandatory self-isolation order”, said the release.

“Anyone identified by a Ministry of Health Official as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 shall go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from the date of having been exposed.”

Additional information for Saskatchewan residents can be found here.

Provincial tallies:

  • Quebec: 628 confirmed and presumptive cases, including 1 recovered and 5 deaths
  • Ontario: 489 cases, including 5 recovered and 3 deaths
  • British Columbia: 472 confirmed cases, including 5 recovered and 13 deaths
  • Alberta: 301 confirmed cases including one death
  • Saskatchewan: 66 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Nova Scotia: 28 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Manitoba: 20 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • New Brunswick: 17 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Prince Edward Island: 3 confirmed cases
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 9 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Northwest Territories: 1 confirmed case
  • Yukon: 2 confirmed cases

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard
Twitter @Mitchell_AB


The world wants to move to Canada

Residents of 30 countries around the world pick Canada as their top destination.




Canada is the top country most people around the world want to move to, a new survey reveals.

Residents of 30 countries around the world pick Canada as their top destination. Japan trailed badly in second place with only 13 countries selecting The Land of the Rising Sun to move to.

On the map – generated using Google search data – country names have been supplemented by their residents’ most yearned-for spot to emigrate to.

The majority of Canadians said they would prefer to move to the U.S.

The map has been drawn up by financial services provider Remitly, which looked at search data from Google for 100 countries. It says it created a ranking by looking at average monthly search volumes for phrases commonly associated with a move abroad and the most-searched-for locations within the 100 countries, the Daily Mail reported.

“It says that Canada, known for its friendly locals, beautiful scenery and well-paid job prospects, proves a clear favourite for relocation for everywhere from Qatar and the Seychelles to Belgium,” the Mail reported.

“Featuring prominently in the Global Peace Index as one of the safest places to live, and boasting low unemployment rates alongside a high amount of immigration options, it’s arguably no surprise that Canada is head and shoulders above the rest of the world.”

The Mail reported Jago McKenzie, business manager at Remitly, said: “Some of the main reasons people seek a move to another country are for greater job prospects, better pay, quality of life and to send money back home to their families, and I think for many, 2020 has been a year for assessing the choices that could change our lives for the better.

“With that in mind, I wasn’t surprised to see that many are searching for this change and potentially thinking about making it when worldwide travel resumes.

“While Canada topped the list, it was encouraging to see the variety of where different nationalities are looking to move to, with many places home to great job prospects with high earning potential.

“With the need for digital remittance services for immigrants even more important after the pandemic, we hope we’ll be able to make any transition smoother.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Edmonton spends nearly $550K to keep eight public washrooms clean during COVID pandemic

The dollar figures have some Edmonton councillors shaking their heads.




Talk about pricey Port-a-Potties!

Edmonton taxpayers have been flushing out a pretty penny to keep the Whyte Ave. and seven other public washrooms clean during the pandemic.

A report headed to council on Wednesday shows from April 7 to Oct. 8, 2020, a total of $548,002 was spent on COVID-19 washroom response to ensure residents, especially vulnerable populations, have access to public toilets.

A total of $126,000 was spent just keeping the Whyte Ave. facility clean. There are two attendants on the site, day and night.

Source: City of Edmonton

“The outbreak of COVID-19 disrupted the operation and accessibility of many public facilities including washrooms, libraries and recreational centers (sic). In order to ensure Edmontonians still had access to public washrooms, Administration worked with Boyle Street Ventures to provide washroom attendants,” the report said.

“Public washrooms play a key role in ensuring healthy and equitable urban places.

“A cost analysis showed that despite a significant increase in direct staffing costs for monitoring the washroom (compared with costs of custodial services with no attendants on site), these costs may be partially offset via the overall increase in safety, cleanliness and a reduction in police response to social disorder as well as a reduction in repairs to the facility.

“Attendants provided thorough cleaning of the washrooms, disinfection and ensured users followed physical distancing guidelines to make washrooms safe and mitigate the spread of the virus.”

Source: City of Edmonton

The city will now create a formal long-term implementation plan to address challenges
associated with managing public washrooms.

The dollar figures have some Edmonton councillors shaking their heads.

“I do not understand how we spent over half a million dollars  in half a year to operate eight bathrooms. When we are thinking about cutting everything else in our budget this seems like a prime opportunity. I will be finding out how we can save money here,” said Coun. Jon Dziadyk, vice chair of the Community and Public Services committee which the report will be presented to on Wednesday.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Majority of Canadians want Terry Fox to be the face of new $5 bill

Past Tory voters overwhelming pick Fox




The vast majority of Canadians want Terry Fox to adorn the new $5 bill, a new poll finds.

The non-profit Angus Reid Institute found that among the eight final candidates, Terry Fox is named more than all others as the preferred new face, chosen by 57 per cent of Canadians.

Angus Reid poll

After losing part of his right leg to cancer, Terry Fox campaigned to raise national awareness and funding for cancer research by running his Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada 42-km daily run, on his prosthetic leg.

By February 1981, $24.7 million had been raised—or $1 for every Canadian.

His run was interrupted just past the half-way point when the cancer reached his lungs, and ultimately took his life.

Today, annual Terry Fox Runs are held all over the world to raise money for cancer research. In 2020, the Marathon of Hope marked its 40th anniversary.

“Famed Indigenous soldier Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow) is chosen by one-in-five (21 per cent), including one-quarter of residents in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. Crowfoot (Isapo-muxika), an integral part of Treaty 7 negotiations in Alberta, is chosen by one-in-five (19 per cent) as well,” Angus Reid pollsters found.

“Past Conservative voters are much more likely to prefer Terry Fox as their choice (three-quarters do so), while those who support other parties like candidates other than him.

Angus Reid poll

“Residents in Quebec (34 per cent) and young women across the country (27 per cent) show considerable support for Robertine Barry, the first French-Canadian journalist and an advocate for women’s rights, as a candidate.”

Angus Reid poll

More than three-in-five overall, and a majority in each region of the country, say it is a good idea to change the face of the five. But a significant segment, 37 per cent (including 57 per cent of past Conservative voters), disagree.

Sir Wilfred Laurier, Canada’s seventh prime minister, has graced the nation’s sky blue five-dollar bank note for almost 50 years.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is to make a decision early next year about who should adorn the new bill.

Bios on all the finalists can be found here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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