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Manitoba gives $200 cheques to low-income Manitobans with disabilities - CBC.ca
Premier Brian Pallister has announced $4.6 million for low-income Manitobans living with disabilities to help offset added costs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Premier Brian Pallister has announced $4.6 million for low-income Manitobans living with disabilities to help offset added costs due to the coronavirus pandemic. More than 23,000 Manitobans already receive monthly benefits under the disability category of employment and income assistance. Under the new disability economic support program, each of them will be mailed a $200 cheque in early June for one-time support, Pallister said. The payment will not be considered taxable income and will not affect any other benefits received. "COVID-19 is creating new challenges and causing financial difficulties for some of our province's most vulnerable people," Pallister said at a Tuesday morning news conference. "Manitobans living with disabilities may be facing additional costs to adjust to the new realities of daily life during the pandemic." Asked how the province arrived at the $200 amount, Pallister called it a guess, saying he wanted to get the support out as soon as possible. "Going and doing the analysis 20,000 times is going to do nothing but delay [the help]," he said. He doesn't know if it's the right amount but said it'll help. Each cheque will include a letter signed by the premier, as was done when the province sent out $200 cheques for seniors. When asked by a reporter if that was going to be the case, Pallister responded, "Who else would sign it?" He was also asked to respond to criticisms that he's politicizing the financial supports. Pallister said that kind of political move happens shortly before an election, not months after a government was elected. "It's a pretty weak case to say we're doing it for politics when the next election is years away," he said. The Progressive Conservatives won a solid majority in September 2019 so there's no need to politicize anything, he said. Latest local news: Response to the support for those living with disabilities has been mixed. "While it's good that there is finally some recognition for people with disabilities who are living in poverty, a one-time $200 cheque is a drop in the bucket for what's needed for people living in poverty, especially considering the multiple extra challenges people are facing due to COVID-19," said Michael Barkman, chair of Make Poverty History Manitoba. He also took exception to the fact that there is an income qualification for people with disabilities to receive the cheques, but there wasn't one for seniors to receive the money. To be eligible for the benefit announced Tuesday, individuals must be receiving employment and income assistance. The cheques for seniors, meanwhile, went to everyone 65 or older, including Pallister, regardless of income level. "We're concerned this once again creates a deserving/undeserving distinction for low-income people," said Barkman. "We know everyone on EIA and living in poverty is suffering, and everybody needs support, including single adults on EIA, and that can't just be a one-time cheque." 'Totally inadequate' Manitoba Liberal Party Leader Dougald Lamont said the payment is welcome "but totally inadequate." Basic needs funding for people on income assistance is less today than it was over three decades ago, he said in a press release, noting Pallister was part of a PC government in 1992 that rolled back EIA rates to 1986 levels and froze them there. The NDP left those rates the same for the 17 years they had a majority government, he added. "We have said many times that Manitoba's EIA system is sadistic in the way it treats recipients. It is a system designed to punish people for their poverty, including people with disabilities." Inclusion Winnipeg Inc., though, welcomed Tuesday's announcement. "The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in hardship for many Manitobans with disabilities and this payment will provide economic relief to thousands of people," said Janet Forbes, the executive director of the non-profit, which works with adults and children with intellectual disabilities. "We appreciate the province recognizing the financial challenges faced by people with disabilities and providing additional support during this difficult time." 10-day paid sick leave Pallister also spoke on Tuesday about his support for a national paid sick-leave program. He said that he and British Columbia Premier John Horgan have raised the issue on multiple calls with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. On Monday, Trudeau announced he will push for provinces and territories to institute at least 10 paid sick days as a way to provide financial safety nets for workers returning during the pandemic. "We are pleased the federal government is looking at a sick leave program that protects people and businesses, and we look forward to advancing this initiative. Paid sick leave is crucial for the safe restart of our economy," Pallister said as part of a joint statement from himself, Horgan and Yukon Premier Sandy Silver. A national paid sick leave program would ensure people can stay home from work when they are sick without fear of not being able to pay their bills, the statement said, adding it will also give the public confidence that the businesses and workplaces they visit are safe. "We don't want people returning to work sick and giving COVID a chance to make a comeback as it has in so many other jurisdictions," Pallister said. He emphasized that he is not pursuing a permanent 10-day paid sick leave program, that this would be just while coronavirus "I'm not interested in using the pandemic to create change in the national social fabric," he said.
CPP adds $17B to assets now worth more than $409B despite pandemic - CBC.ca
The Canada Pension Plan earned a return of 3.1 per cent after expenses during the financial year ended March 31, the board that manages the fund's money reported Tuesday.
The Canada Pension Plan earned a return of 3.1 per cent after expenses during the financial year ended March 31, the board that manages the fund's money reported Tuesday. Net assets for Canada's national pension plan totalled $409.6 billion as of the end of March, up from $392 billion at the end of the previous financial year. The $17.6-billion year-over-year increase included $12.1 billion in net income from its investments. The other $5.5 billion came from contributions of more than 20 million Canadian workers covered by the plan. In the past five years, investment returns have added $123 billion to the fund's assets, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board said Tuesday. While the plan made money for the year as a whole, the fourth quarter was a challenging one because of COVID-19. The fund said fixed-income assets did well as investors fled for safety, but values of stock-based investments fell. "Despite severe downward pressure in our final quarter, the fund's 12.6 per cent return on a 2019 calendar-year basis combined with the relative resilience of our diversified portfolio helped cushion the impact," chief executive officer Mark Machin said. "Amid the significant number of concerns many Canadians have today, the sustainability of the fund is one thing they shouldn't worry about. The fund's long-term returns continue to help ensure the security of Canadians' retirement benefits." A three per cent return may not sound impressive, but Michel Leduc, a senior investment executive with the fund, said in an interview that the fund's financial performance in the middle of a serious economic crisis is a testament to its strategy. The CPP measures its own performance against a series of market-based benchmarks, the main one being the Reference Portfolio. That reference portfolio declined by 3.1 per cent in the past year, the same amount that CPP increased by. 'Quite resilient' Leduc noted that the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 23 per cent in the same time frame, it's worst performance in 35 years. If the CPP were just to have matched the stock market, "the fund would be would be $23 billion smaller today," he said. "You've got to look at in the context of going through an economic shock which we know we're going to go through from time to time. To preserve $23 billion I would say to Canadians that their fund is quite resilient and the active management put the fund in that safe harbour." The Chief Actuary of Canada audits the CPP every three years to assess its ability to cover its obligations. At the last review in December 2018, the chief actuary deemed the CPP was on track to meet its obligations for the next 75 years at least, assuming the fund can earn a return of 3.95 per cent above inflation. The CPPIB has achieved a real return of eight per cent, on average, over the past 10 years, and 6.1 per cent over the past five. Buying opportunities Leduc said the current downturn could lead to some attractive buying opportunities for CPP, but that doesn't mean the fund is running off on a buying spree without making sure that any investments fit the long-term objectives. "We're one of the few institutional investors around the world that can pretty much acquire anything," he said. "We will look at opportunities, very carefully, but it's not the Wild West we're not going out and buying everything." While on track in terms of performance, the CPP has faced some criticism for the amount of money it spends on costs as it has grown and expanded over the years. While its total value has quadrupled from $96 billion to $409 billion since 2006, that growth has come with added costs, as CPPIB now employs 1,824 employees around the world 11 times more than the 164 it did back then. It only had one office then; today it has nine, including two in the U.S., two in Europe, two in Asia, one in Brazil and one in Australia. That growth has come at a cost: CPPIB incurred more than $1.2 billion in expenses last year. That's about 30 cents out of every $100 invested, a slightly lower ratio than the previous year's level of 32 cents. All told, CPP racked up $3.4 billion in expenses, management fees and transaction costs last year. That's up from $3.2 billion the year before. CPP said it is "committed to maintaining cost discipline as we continue to build a globally competitive platform that will enhance our ability to invest over the long term."
J.K. Rowling unveils new kids tale The Ickabog as free online serial - CBC.ca
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is releasing her latest book as a free online serial for kids "needing distraction during the strange and difficult time we're passing through" — and she's also calling on fans to help create illustrations for an eventual prin…
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is releasing her latest book as a free online serial for kids "needing distraction during the strange and difficult time we're passing through" and she's also calling on fans to help create illustrations for an eventual print version. Rowling, who specified the story is not a spin-off of her blockbuster Harry Potter franchise, announced on her personal website and via social media Tuesday her plans to post her fairy tale The Ickabog in segments, beginning Tuesday. New instalments of the English-language tale will emerge every weekday on theickabog.com until July 10. Rowling also plans to post translations of the story in other languages. "The Ickabog is a story about truth and the abuse of power," Rowlings noted. The first two chapters released Tuesday introduce an imaginary land of plenty called Cornucopia, led by an easily fooled king. On the northernmost tip of the "magically rich" kingdom is a lacklustre region known for the legend of the Ickabog. "Naturally, as with all legends, it changed a little depending on who was telling it," Rowlings writes. I always meant to publish it, but after the last Potter <br>was released I wrote two novels for adults and, after some dithering, decided to put those out next.<br><br>Until very recently, the only people whod heard the story of <br>The Ickabog were my two younger children.<br><br>3/13 —@jk_rowling "However, every story agreed that a monster lived at the very northernmost tip of the country, in a wide patch of dark and often misty marsh too dangerous for humans to enter." Written more than a decade ago, the story "isn't intended to be read as a response to anything that's happening in the world right now. The themes are timeless and could apply to any era or any country," she added on her website. The British writer said she penned The Ickabog in pieces between Harry Potter instalments and had intended to publish the tale after the conclusion of her blockbuster boy wizard series. However, when the time came, she opted instead to take a break from writing and then subsequently plunged into a new detective novel series for adults. That meant The Ickabog was shelved in her attic for years, said Rowling, only to be retrieved to be read to her two younger children. Recently, when she floated the idea of releasing the story to entertain kids at home during the pandemic, her now teenaged children wholeheartedly supported her. Rowling is also calling on young fans to create their own illustrations for the story, ahead of the fall publication of The Ickabog's print version, slated to be released this November. Ebook and audiobook versions are also planned for November. "I want to see imaginations run wild! Creativity, inventiveness and effort are the most important things: we aren't necessarily looking for the most technical skill," she said, urging parents to share the illustrations via social media using the hashtag #TheIckabog. The best pictures in each publishing territory will be included in the books we intend to publish in November 2020. <br><br>As individual publishers will know best which illustrations work in their editions, I wont be personally judging this competition. <br><br>However...<br><br>10/13 —@jk_rowling Lastly, I intend to donate my author royalties from the published books to projects and organisations helping the groups most impacted by Covid-19. Full details will be made available later in the year.<br><br>12/13 —@jk_rowling Rowling said she will give up all author royalties from The Ickabog to charities, specifically aiding groups particularly impacted by COVID-19. She has previously penned books with proceeds donated to charity: the Harry Potter companion books Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages, proceeds of which have raised more than £17 million for Comic Relief. Thanks to her bestselling Harry Potter series, which sold more than 400 million copies around the globe, Rowling is one of the world's best-read writers and among the U.K.'s wealthiest people.
Police announce arrests after probe into organized crime and violence in tow truck industry - CBC.ca
Police say the Greater Toronto Area has been a staging ground for violence in recent months, with rival tow truck companies allegedly fighting over profits from the towing of vehicles and frauds committed after the initial tow.
Several organized crime groups working in the towing industry have been using violence and property damage as a way to grab control and territory within the industry in southern Ontario, York Regional Police said Tuesday, while announcing multiple arrests. In a news release, police said that investigators from York police, Ontario Provincial Police, Toronto police and the Canada Revenue Agency had launched a joint forces investigation dubbed Project Platinum in response to murders, attempted murders, assaults, arsons, threats and property damage in the region. Police said the Greater Toronto Area has been a staging ground for violence in recent months, with rival tow truck companies fighting over profits from the towing of vehicles and alleged frauds after the initial tow. Investigators allege that Paramount Towing, which is owned and operated by Alexander Vinogradsky, along with other rival towing companies, have been defrauding insurance companies with vehicles involved in collisions and staged collisions. Police announced 20 arrests in total, with Vinogradsky facing charges of participating in a criminal organization, alongside a host of other charges. Also mentioned in documents released Tuesday is Mohamad El-Zahawi, 38, who was previously charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of 33-year-old Soheil Rafipour, who was shot and killed in Richmond Hill, Ont., in December 2018. Police say both El-Zahawi and Rafipour had ties to the tow truck industry. Police also allege in the release that towing companies partnered with auto repair shops and car and truck rental companies to carry out their frauds. York Regional Police Supt. Mike Slack said Tuesday that organized crime like this begins with an opportunity to make money, and a level of greed that leads to criminal behaviour and violence. "The towing industry and its lack of regulations have bred exactly that environment," he said in a video posted by police. "Over time, unscrupulous companies and the people working for them have found ways to inflate costs, and victimize consumers." Slack alleged that a combination of fraudulent billing, repairs and physiotherapy claims earned people connected to the probe millions in "illicit income." "When these profits were not enough, they staged collisions, using drivers they recruited. They deliberately caused collisions on roadways and in parking lots across the GTA," he said. 'A true wild west' According to investigators, the arrests and charges come after several search warrants were carried out in areas around the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas in April and May. "It's a true wild west show out there," John Henderson of the Provincial Towing Association of Ontario recently told CBC News. "It's gotten to the point where there could be as much as 60 per cent of the towing industry in the GTA [that] is run by the criminal element." According to police, evidence seized as part of the search warrants includes:
- 11 tow trucks.
- Dozens of guns, including handguns, shotguns, rifles, and a machine gun.
- Thousands of rounds of ammunition.
- Two conductive energy weapons and brass knuckles.
- An assortment of drugs, including five kilograms of fentanyl, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, 1.25 kilograms of crystal meth and 1.5 kilograms of pot.
- Over $500,000 in cash.
40 flights carrying personal protective equipment have arrived in Canada, Trudeau says - CBC.ca
More than 40 flights carrying personal protective equipment have arrived in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday, as countries around the world engage in a mad scramble to procure the critical items.
More than 40 flights carrying personal protective equipment have arrived in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday, as countries around the world engage in a mad scramble to procure the critical items. Demand is expected to grow as more people return to work and public health officials prepare for a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections. Trudeau said the government has also formally signed an agreement with GM to produce 10 million face masks at its plant in Oshawa, Ont. As of May 19, data posted by Public Services and Procurement Canada showed only a fraction of the millions of gloves, masks, face shields, ventilators and litres of hand sanitizer ordered by the federal government had so far been received. For example, of 29,570 ventilators ordered, only 203 had been received. When it comes to the coveted N95 respirator mask that's the standard-issue covering for the heath-care profession, upwards of 104 million have been ordered but slightly less than 12 million received and of those, 9.8 million didn't meet Canadian standards. The equipment has been in high demand worldwide, with every country competing for scarce supplies from a limited number of suppliers, mostly in China. In what's been described as a "wild west" battle, some confirmed orders have been snatched out from under Canada's nose by other countries willing to pay more. Even so, officials argue that the federal government has so far been able to deliver everything that the provinces and territories have requested. Demand likely to rise However, the demand is expected to go up now that provinces are easing up on the restrictions imposed in mid-March to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19. As businesses open up and more people venture outside their homes, they'll need masks and other protective gear to prevent spreading the virus. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Monday that the first wave of the pandemic never did exceed the capacity of Canada's health system. But she warned a second wave is potentially on the way and Canada must be prepared for that. Space in intensive care units needs to be guarded and infection control measures improved in high-risk settings like shelters, corrections facilities and long-term care homes. "I think you can never be overly prepared and that we need to just keep going with some of these capacity developments," she said. The government is purchasing supplies from traditional manufacturers and from Canadian companies that have pivoted from their usual lines of business to assist in the production of COVID-19-related material. Officials say thousands of domestic companies have stepped up. Among them is General Motors, which is using its plants to help make masks. 'Going to need a lot more' A company vice-president told a House of Commons committee that the non-traditional suppliers can only be part of the solution. David Paterson said he's seen estimates, for example, that some three billion face masks will be needed in Canada. "We're going to be making about 10 million of those, but we're going to need a lot more from different sourcing areas." In addition to the N95s, Public Services and Procurement Canada has ordered more than 333 million surgical masks and had received slightly more than 79 million as of last week. It has also ordered 55.6 million face shields, which skate-maker Bauer is now helping to produce in Canada, and had received 6.6 million.
Scotiabank profit falls 40% as bad loans more than double amid COVID-19 - CBC.ca
Scotiabank posted a profit of $1.32 billion in the three months up to the end of April, a fall of more than 40 per cent from last year's level as the bank had to set aside twice as much money for bad loans.
Scotiabank posted a profit Tuesday morning of $1.32 billion in the three months up to the end of April, a fall of more than 40 per cent from last year's level as the bank set aside twice as much money for bad loans. The bank's provisions for credit losses totalled nearly $1.85 billion for the quarter. That's up 111 per cent from the $873 million worth of bad loans the bank revealed in the same three months last year, well before the COVID-19 pandemic crushed the economy. Higher loan loss provisions don't necessarily mean that all of those loans will end up defaulting. Rather, it just means that they aren't being actively being paid back as planned. The bank revealed on Tuesday that 300,000 of its Canadian customers have applied for some sort of financial relief on the $60 billion they collectively owe to the bank. That would include mortgagees who asked for interest rate deferrals. Scotiabank has a huge presence in Latin America, and the bank says it has processed two million applications for loan relief from its international customers. Economic bellwether Not all of those loans will necessarily end up defaulting, but some may. So the uptick in loan loss provisions is troubling. Scotia is the first of Canada's big banks to reveal its financial performance through the current pandemic, numbers which will be closely scrutinized as they are considered to be a bellwether for the broader economy. That's because pain at other businesses tends to show up on the books of the banks that lend to them. Canada's other big banks Royal, Toronto-Dominion, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Bank of Montreal will report earnings in the next few days. On an adjusted basis, Scotiabank's profit for the quarter came in at $1.04 per diluted share. That's well down from $1.70 per diluted share a year ago, but ahead of the 98 cents that analysts who cover the bank were expecting. Not all bad news But not all parts of the bank's business saw tough times. The bank still posted a profit of more than $1 billion and some divisions did even better than usual. Scotia's global wealth management business posted a profit of $314 million, an increase of four per cent over last year's level. That uptick came about with investors around the world becoming much more active than usual as global stock markets plummeted. "This quarter saw record results for both new client account openings and trading volumes in Scotia iTRADE," the bank said. Similarly, the global banking and markets business posted a profit of $523 million, up 25 per cent from a year earlier. Investors were certainly focused on the positives on Tuesday, bidding the price of Scotiabank shares up more than five per cent to $54.69 on the TSX.
COVID-19 not very infectious 8 days after symptoms occur, Winnipeg study suggests - CBC.ca
COVID-19 appears to be infectious only for the first eight days after patients experience symptoms, Winnipeg researchers conclude in a study that has implications for the way the disease is treated, isolated and prevented.
COVID-19 appears to be infectious only for the first eight days after patients experience symptoms, Winnipeg researchers conclude in a study that, if confirmed by further work, could have implications for the way the disease is treated, isolated and prevented. In the largest study of its kind so far, researchers from the National Microbiology Laboratory, Cadham Provincial Laboratory and the University of Manitoba looked at nasal or throat samples from 90 Manitobans who tested positive for COVID-19 from March 12 to the first week of April. All of the samples came from patients who were confirmed to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, through polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, the most common means of diagnosing the disease around the world. This type of test extracts a small amount of genetic material and then copies it into quantities that can be more easily identified. The Winnipeg researchers used the same samples to try to grow more of the virus in cell cultures. They succeeded with 26 of the samples, or 29 per cent in total. There was no viral growth whatsoever in samples taken from patients more than eight days after they became symptomatic, according to study findings published Friday in the peer-reviewed journalClinical Infectious Diseases. 'Far less likely' "We found that [when] they went and got a swab done at Day 8 or beyond, those samples were no longer able to grow in cell culture," said Cadham Lab associate medical director Jared Bullard, the lead author on the study, in a interview on Monday. "If you've had symptoms for eight days or longer, you're far less likely to be infectious for other people." Viral cultures can take more than a week to grow. That makes them less efficient as a diagnostic tool but they are better able to predict whether a patient can still infect anyone else, Bullard said. The Winnipeg study is not the first to conclude COVID-19 is infectious for only eight days after symptoms show up. Bullard said researchers in Germany, working with a smaller sample, reached a similar conclusion in a study published in Nature last month. So did Chinese researchers who employed a mathematical model, he said. Nonetheless, the larger Winnipeg study allows public-health authorities to be confident in the practice of requiring returning travellers or anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to isolate at home for two weeks, according to the researchers, though the study said larger studies were still needed. Defining transmission risk "Isolation of COVID-19 cases in the community is typically recommended for at least 10 days after symptom onset. Our data supports this approach," the study concludes. "These results have implications for clinical care, infection prevention and control and public health. These data can be used to efficiently target case-finding efforts by better defining the period of maximal transmission risk." The study also found samples appeared to be the most infectious three to five days after patients first experienced COVID-19 symptoms. Since most patients get tested around Day 6, it becomes relatively easy to target contact-tracing efforts around the most infectious time for any given patient, Bullard said. "What this was designed to do was to really assist our colleagues in the clinical practice. They were making decisions about when they felt people could be removed from extra precautions," he said. 'Shouldn't be infectious' "If somebody's at home in the community, they typically will be at home for 10 days after those symptoms start, and at that point they're free to go out and they shouldn't be infectious to other people. We didn't have the data to support that, and in the hospital we were actually looking at longer." Manitoba, for now, has no plans to reduce the isolation period of 14 days for returning travellers, other people at risk or anyone diagnosed with COVID-19. "More work will be needed to review the results of this study, and any larger studies that are conducted, before any policy changes can be made," provincial health authorities said in a statement. Bullard said more study is needed, especially with even larger sample sizes. More research along those lines is being contemplated, he said. Matching population Nonetheless, the Winnipeg study is particularly valuable in Manitoba, because it reflects so many of the initial cases in the province, which has recorded 292 as of May 26. "What makes it very applicable here in this province is that you have a population that reflects what we've got, in terms of the different racial distribution and different ages, and for us that's really quite important," he said. "It allows us to have the best information possible to make the best decisions."
Pedestrian struck and killed by CTrain at Somerset station - CBC.ca
Calgary Transit says the Somerset station is closed and shuttle buses will take riders from Somerset to the Shawnessy and Fish Creek stations after a person was struck and killed by a CTrain early Tuesday morning.
A man was killed after being hit by the CTrain in southwest Calgary early Tuesday morning. It happened shortly after 4 a.m. at the Somerset-Bridlewood station, which is the last stop on the Red Line, police say. "He was obviously a pedestrian," said Sgt. Steve Campbell. "We're unsure at this time why he was on the CTrain tracks." No further information about the victim has been released. The incident is still under investigation. Calgary Transit says the Somerset station is closed and shuttle buses will take riders from Somerset to the Shawnessy and Fish Creek stations. Trains will begin and end at Fish Creek. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CTRiders?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CTRiders</a> UPDATE: Due to a Calgary Police Matter, Somerset station is closed this morning. Trains will not be servicing Somerset station. Shuttle buses will be travelling between Somerset-Shawnessy-Fish Creek. Trains will begin and end at Fish Creek. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/REDLINE?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#REDLINE</a> <a href="https://t.co/wuLDfpL5dy">pic.twitter.com/wuLDfpL5dy</a> —@calgarytransit
British government loses a minister over top aide's trips during lockdown - CBC.ca
A junior British government minister quit on Tuesday over Prime Minister Boris Johnson's failure to fire his top aide for allegedly breaching coronavirus lockdown rules.
A junior British government minister quit on Tuesday over Prime Minister Boris Johnson's failure to fire his top aide for allegedly breaching coronavirus lockdown rules. Johnson has stood by Dominic Cummings over his decision to drive 400 kilometres from London to his parents' house in Durham at the end of March, despite a national order for people to remain at home. Cummings says he travelled so that extended family could care for his four-year-old son if he and his wife, who both had suspected coronavirus infections, fell ill. But many Britons say Cummings made a mockery of the sacrifices of people who followed the rules to stop the spread of the disease, even when it meant staying away from loved ones. Scotland Minister Douglas Ross said in a resignation letter that "the vast majority of people" didn't agree with Cummings. "I have constituents who didn't get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn't visit sick relatives because they followed the guidance of the government," he wrote. "I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior adviser to the government was right." I haven't commented publicly on the situation with Dominic Cummings as I have waited to hear the full details. I welcome the statement to clarify matters, but there remains aspects of the explanation which I have trouble with. As a result I have resigned as a government Minister. <a href="https://t.co/6yXLyMzItJ">pic.twitter.com/6yXLyMzItJ</a> —@Douglas4Moray Senior police officers said Cummings's interpretation of the rules made it harder to enforce the lockdown, and scientists said it could undermine messaging about the importance of physical distancing. "It threatens to undermine that sense of community if a figure as prominent as Dominic Cummings and if the prime minister himself starts undermining that 'We' message and starts talking about 'I,'' said Stephen Reicher, a behavioural psychologist who helps advise the government. Johnson has stood staunchly by his adviser, saying Cummings "followed the instincts of every father and every parent." On Tuesday, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove insisted that Cummings "didn't break the law. He didn't break the rules. He sought to protect his family." WATCH l Cummings explains 'exceptional' circumstances, has no regrets: Dominic Cummings, a top adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, defended breaking isolation orders imposed on the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.2:04 But Cummings's road trip has drawn criticism from scientists, doctors, bishops and Britons across the country. Cummings made a side trip to a well-known tourist stop, which he characterized as a test drive to make sure he was healthy enough to head all the way back to London. Ominously for Johnson, it also troubles a growing number of Conservative lawmakers. "We cannot throw away valuable public and political good will any longer," tweeted Conservative lawmaker William Wragg. "It's humiliating and degrading to their office to see ministers put out agreed lines in defence of an adviser. This is a time of national emergency and our focus must be unrelenting. We owe it to the nation."
What you need to know about COVID-19 in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 26 - CBC.ca
CBC Ottawa's latest roundup of key points during the coronavirus pandemic.
Recent developments: What's happening today? People staying away from health-care facilities out of fear of the coronavirus are hurting clinics that rely on fees, says the Ontario Medical Association, pointing to the closure of the Asclepios Medical Centre in east Ottawa. WATCH: 9,000-patient clinic closing causing uncertainty Carole Legault and Sophia Wright, who were both patients at Asclepios Medical Centre, say its closure has left them facing a lot of uncertainty made more stressful by the ongoing pandemic.0:44 With drive-in theatres open in other jurisdictions and poised to open in Quebec Friday, eastern Ontario's drive-ins say they're ready to safely screen movies again when given the OK. A teacher in Kazabazua, Que., tells CBC what it's like to back in the classroom with students during the pandemic. Send in your questions about COVID-19 and the workplace for CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning's weekly Q&A on Wednesday after 8 a.m. How many cases are there? There have been 1,901 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa and 234 deaths linked to the respiratory illness. There are more than 3,000 known cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec. More than 2,100 people in the region have recovered from COVID-19. The deaths of 49 people in Leeds, Grenville and Lanark counties and 30 more in the wider region have also been tied to the coronavirus. Confirmed casesare just a snapshot because not everyone can be tested and results take time to process, though testing criteria are being expanded. What's open and closed? Ontario is in "stage one" of its three-stage reopening plan. When ready, its next stage should bring more offices, outdoor spaces and gatherings back. Quebec now allows larger outdoor gatherings . Its libraries and museums can reopen Friday , with malls and services such as dentist offices and hair salons poised to reopen Monday . Gatineau Park and provincial parks are now open with limits, like the National Capital Commission andOttawa-Gatineau city parks . National parks start to reopen Monday. This Sunday, the farmers market at Lansdowne Park reopens for preordering and picking up at a designated time. Ontario schools are closed through summer. Post-secondary schools are moving toward more online classes this fall, with the province promising a fall plan for younger students by July. Quebec elementary schools outside Montreal are open. Its high schools, CEGEPs and universities are closed to in-person classes until fall . Ottawa has cancelled event permits until the end of August. Quebec has asked organizers to cancel events until September. Distancing and isolating The coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People don't need to have symptoms to be contagious. That means physical distancing measures such as avoiding non-essential trips, working from home, not gathering and staying at least two metres away from anyone they don't live with. WATCH: COVID-19's spectrum of risk Living life during a pandemic can be confusing. But experts say you can navigate how to approach different settings and activities once you know the risks.1:11 Ottawa Public Health recommends people wear a fabric or non-medical mask when they can't always stay two metres from strangers, such as at a grocery store. Anyone who has symptoms, travelled recently outside Canada or, specifically in Ottawa, is waiting for a COVID-19 test result must self-isolate for at least 14 days. The same goes for anyone in Ontario who's been in contact with someone who's tested positive or is presumed to have COVID-19. People 70 and older or with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions should also self-isolate. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a dry cough, vomiting and the loss of taste or smell. Less common symptoms include chills, headaches and pink eye. The Ontario government says in rare cases, children can develop a rash . If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Where to get tested In Ottawa any resident who feels they need a test, even if they are not showing symptoms, can now be tested . Tests are done at the Brewer Arena from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., seven days a week, or at 595 Moodie Dr. and 1485 Heron Rd. those same hours on weekdays. Testing has also expanded for local residents and employees who work in the Eastern Ontario Health Unit area . There is a drive-thru test centre in Casselman and assessment centres in Hawkesbury and Winchester that don't require people to call ahead and others in Rockland, and Cornwall that require an appointment. In Kingston, the assessment centre at the Kingston Memorial Centre is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for anyone with symptoms. Napanee's test centre is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily for people who call for an appointment. Ontario premier wants more people to get tested for COVID-19, even if they're not showing symptoms of the virus. But is that an effective way to control community spread? We get an infectious disease expert to weigh in.7:49 The Leeds, Grenville and Lanark unit asks you to call it at 1-800-660-5853, ext. 2499 or your doctor if you have questions after doing the province's self-assessment. It has a testing site in Smiths Falls which requires a referral, as well as a walk-in site in Brockville at the Memorial Centre, Almonte by calling 613-325-1208 and a home test service for people in care or with mobility challenges. WATCH: Slow return for Canada's dental offices Dental offices across the country are slowly reopening, but they have to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and many are having a hard time finding the necessary protective equipment.2:05 The public health unit in the Belleville area is asking people to call it at 613-966-5500 or Telehealth with questions. You can arrange a test in Bancroft, Belleville or Trenton by calling the health unit or in Picton by calling it, Telehealth or your family doctor. You may also qualify for a home test. Renfrew County is also providing home testing under some circumstances. Residents without access to a family doctor can call 1-844-727-6404 if they have health questions, COVID-19-related or not. If you're concerned about the coronavirus, take the self-assessment. In western Quebec: Outaouais residents should call 819-644-4545 if they have symptoms. They could end up being referred to Gatineau's testing centre. First Nations communities Local communities have declared states of emergency, put in a curfew or both . Akwesasne has opened a mobile COVID-19 test site available by appointment only. Anyone returning to Akwesasne who's been farther than 80 kilometres away is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. Anyone in Tyendinaga who has symptoms can call 613-967-3603 to talk to a nurse. Pikwakanagan's council plans tolet businesses reopen May 29 and Kitigan Zibi is keeping schools closed through the summer. For more information