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Friday, November 19, 2021

Canada drops COVID test rules for short visits away

    Canada column for Sunday, Nov.21/21

    THE CANADIAN REPORT

   By Jim Fox

    The Canadian government has ended its controversial but costly – $300 and more – negative COVID-19 test requirement for those returning home from foreign travel of less than 72 hours.

   Even as vaccinated Canadians are able to again cross the Canada-U.S. land border for non-essential travel, they are being warned to be cautious because of a lower vaccination rate and soaring virus numbers abroad.

   Travelers need to do a “risk assessment” when traveling to the United States, said Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

   The Niagara Falls and Buffalo, New York area sees more Canadian border crossers along with Windsor-Detroit but only 63 percent of Erie County residents are fully vaccinated compared to about 85 percent of Ontarians.

   The county, which includes Buffalo, has about 15 times as many virus cases in the past week at 414 per 100,000 residents compared with Ontario’s 27 new cases.

   As well, Canada has just approved giving Pfizer vaccine shots to children as young as 5.

   “As soon as you go across the border to Michigan or New York, you’re looking at rates of illness that are five to six times higher than ours in Ontario and maybe higher in certain communities,” Moore said.

   Border-crossers and traveling “snowbirds” need to make sure to be taking all appropriate precautions, he said.

   That includes wearing a mask, performing hand hygiene and distancing, and monitoring any symptoms when returning home, he added.

    ---

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was said to have “made it clear” at a closed meeting with President Joe Biden that the proposed tax credit for U.S.-built electric vehicles would be devastating to Canada.

   After petroleum products, cars are Canada’s second largest export while Biden said he wants cars made in America and “not halfway around the world.”

   There are concerns the U.S. Build Back Better Act would result in auto manufacturers shifting production to the U.S. from Canada to make cars that qualify for the subsidy.

   Plants that could be impacted are Ontario’s GM’s Oshawa assembly, Ford’s factory in Oakville and the Chrysler operation in Windsor.

    ---

    News in brief:

   - A family feud at Canada’s largest telecom company, Rogers Communications Inc., has resulted in CEO Joe Natale being replaced by Tony Staffieri by company chairman Edward Rogers. Edward’s sister Melinda, her sister Martha and mother Loretta voted against replacing Natale. This is happening as the Rogers company is working on completing a $26-billion takeover of Shaw Communications Inc.

   - Statistics Canada reports retail sales fell 0.6 percent to $56.6 billion in September. This was said to be the result of fewer new car sales caused by a limited supply due to shortages of semiconductor chips. Core retail sales, which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers, fell 0.3. Sales of clothing and accessories were down 5.9 percent. The agency said a preliminary estimate for last month shows an increase in retail sales of 1.0 percent for the month.

   ---

    Facts and figures:

   Canada’s dollar is steady at 79 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.26 in Canadian funds, before exchange fees.

   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is unchanged at 0.25 percent while the prime lending rate is 2.45 percent.

   Canadian stock markets are lower, with the Toronto index at 21,606 points and the TSX Venture index 988points.

   The average price for gas in Canada is lower at $1.45 a liter (Canadian) or $5.51 for a U.S. gallon.

   Lotto Max: (Nov. 16) 5, 6, 7, 17, 26, 29 and 42; bonus 38. (Nov. 12) 4, 6, 7, 10, 17, 27 and 44; bonus 40.

   Lotto 6/49: (Nov. 17) 3, 4, 18, 23, 27 and 28; bonus 38. (Nov. 13) 5, 6, 7, 18, 25 and 37; bonus 24.

    ---

    Regional brief:

    One person has been killed and four are missing after massive landslides caused by flooding and a break in a dike in British Columbia.

   Police said the death is connected with a mudslide on Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lilooet that stranded motorists and homeowners.

   Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said a dike that protects the prairie has been breached and a levee must be built quickly.

   Up to a dozen houses might need to be destroyed to shore up a levee and prevent the Sumas Prairie from turning into a lake once again, he said.

 -30-

 Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

Snowbirds from Canada and others line up for hours at U.S. border after reopening

 Canada column for Sunday, Nov14/21 

   THE CANADIAN REPORT 

   By Jim Fox 

   Canadian “snowbirds,” the human kind, lined up for hours in many cases in the past week after the land border between the United States and Canada finally reopened to non-essential travel after 19 months last Monday. 

   The pandemic-imposed closing by the U.S. and Canadian governments kept visitors away from their winter homes and vacations primarily in Florida as well as in other warmer and sunnier climates. 

   The border had been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020 but there are still conditions now. 

   Those crossing by cars, trucks and motorhomes who are 18 and older and fully vaccinated and younger travelers are allowed to cross. 

   U.S. Customs and Border Protection says be prepared to present vaccination documentation, upon request. 

   On the return to Canada, travelers must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test that could cost up to $$300 taken within 72 hours of their return flight or arrival at the land border. 

   However, fully vaccinated Canadians returning can skip Canada’s 14-day quarantine rule. 

    --- 

   A British Columbia doctor has diagnosed one of his patients with climate-change illness. 

   Family physician Dr. Kyle Merritt working at the Kootenay Lake Hospital said it’s time to recognize this as part of a medical finding. 

   The woman in her 70s has congestive heart failure and diabetes that were made worse from last summer’s unrelenting heat wave and wildfires in western Canada. 

   The heat wave led to 595 deaths in British Columbia where it had been naturally air-conditioned previously. 

   “We are actually starting to see the health effects of climate change now – it’s not just something that is going to happen in the future,” he said. 

 

   --- 

 

   News in brief: 

   - Public health units are reporting an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospital occupancy in Canada. Cases in Ontario, Canada’s most-populous province with 15-million people, could reach 200daily hospital cases by early in the New Year. All but eight of Ontario’s 34 public health units saw a surge in cases from Oct. 26 to Nov. 8, with Sudbury seeing the biggest growth in infections and renewed lockdowns. Group gatherings without taking precautions and not wearing masks are cited with the major causes of the latest spread with more than 600 new daily cases up from 400 in the province. Eighty-eight percent of eligible Ontarians have received at least one vaccine shot. 

    --- 

   Facts and figures: 

   Canada’s dollar is lower at 79 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.25 in Canadian funds, before exchange fees. 

   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 0.25 percent while the prime lending rate is 2.45 percent. 

   Canadian stock markets are higher, with the Toronto index at 21,691 points and the TSX Venture index 1,011 points. 

   The average price for gas in Canada is steady at $1.46 a liter (Canadian) or $5.54 for a U.S. gallon. 

   Lotto Max: (Nov. 9) 2, 8, 16, 17, 19, 26 and 42; bonus 41. (Nov. 5) 2, 10, 11, 17, 19, 32 and 42; bonus 41. 

   Lotto 6/49: (Nov. 10) 2, 7, 18, 19, 23 and 25; bonus 43. (Nov. 6) 14, 16, 28, 39, 41 and 47; bonus 37. 

    --- 

   Regional briefs: 

   - Valerie Plante has won a second term as mayor in Montreal, easily defeating main competitor Denis Coderre. She campaigned on the need for more social housing, the battle against climate change and improving public security. 

   - Scavengers are on a treasure hunt, picking through the debris on beaches in northern Vancouver Island. That’s where only four of the 109 cargo containers that fell off a container ship last month have washed ashore. As well, the Canadian Coast Guards says clean-up crews removed 44 refrigerators and other debris from a beach near Shuttleworth Bight in Cape Scott Provincial Park. It’s believed that most of the containers that fell from the MV Zim Kingston during a storm have sunk. 

-30- 

Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com 

Canadian provinces worry avout loss of hospital staff for refusing to vaccinate

   Canada column for Sunday, Nov7/21

    THE CANADIAN REPORT

   By Jim Fox

    Ontario and Quebec governments – worried about a huge loss of workers in hospitals and health care – have dropped their vaccine mandate rules.

   As well, the rule still imposed on public transportation services has resulted in Air Canada suspending without pay 800 unvaccinated workers.

   Most of the airline’s 27,000 cabin crew, customer service agents and others have received both shots, said chief executive Michael Rousseau.

   “Our employees have done their part, with now over 96 percent fully vaccinated,” he said.

      Ontario Premier Doug Ford said his government won’t require hospital workers to get vaccinated while most health-care groups believe the shots are necessary.

   Hospitals could continue allowing workers to be regularly tested for COVID-19 instead.

   Continuing to force the 22,000 unvaccinated Quebec health-care workers to get the shots or lose their jobs would have “devastating consequences,” said Health Minister Christian Dube.

   Nationally, almost 90 percent or 30 million of Canada’s 33.6-million people have received their first dose while 85 percent have had two doses, with provinces starting to offer third booster shots.

    ---

   Canada’s economy added 31,000 jobs last month with the unemployment rate at a pandemic low. Statistics Canada said the unemployment dropped to 6.7 percent from 6.9 percent in September. The statistics agency of the federal government said this was the fifth consecutive monthly decline in the rate. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce said there are about 900,000 job vacancies that still need to be filled, while three-million jobs lost at the onset of the pandemic were recovered in September.

    ---

    News in brief:

   - Incumbent Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante has a six-point lead over Denis Coderre in advance of Sunday’s election. A Mainstreet Research poll said 49 percent of decided voters favor Plante, leader of the Project Montreal party with 43 percent for Coderre, former mayor and Ensemble Montreal party leader. In third place is Balarma Holness and his Movement Montreal party with six percent support.

    ---

    Facts and figures:

   Canada’s dollar is lower at 80 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.245 in Canadian funds, before exchange fees.

   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 0.25 percent while the prime lending rate is 2.45 percent.

   Canadian stock markets are higher, with the Toronto index at 21,454 points and the TSX Venture index 979 points.

   The average price for gas in Canada is lower at $1.46 a liter (Canadian) or $5.54 for a U.S. gallon.

   Lotto Max: (Nov. 2) 7, 13, 18, 30, 33, 37 and 41; bonus 6. (Oct.29) 1, 5, 17, 18, 38, 41 and 48; bonus 13.

   Lotto 6/49: (Nov. 3) 9, 20, 27, 35, 37 and 43; bonus 3. (Oct. 30) 3, 5, 7, 23 42 and 46; bonus 15.

    ---

   Regional briefs:

   - Take a “staycation” in Ontario and receive a tax credit from the provincial government. The program was announced by Premier Doug Ford as part of the Fall Economic Statement to give a boost to the tourism industry. Ontario residents can apply for the refundable credit on their 2022 personal income-tax return. They will receive a 20-percent credit on accommodation between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 to a maximum of $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a family, with a maximum credit of $200 or $400, respectively.

   - They’re getting ready for winter on the ski slopes in Alberta. With plenty of snow in the mountains, Norquay and Lake Louise have opened for the season. Norquay’s Cascade Chair is also open along with the Glacier Chair at Lake Louise, providing skiers and snowboarders their first runs of the fall. The resorts are enforcing the mandatory wearing of face masks and checking for proof of vaccination against COVID-19. World Cup alpine skiing returns to Lake Louise this year after being postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic.

 -30-

 Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

Thursday, November 4, 2021

As land border crossings easied, Canada still requires virus tests showing negative results

    Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 31/21

   THE CANADIAN REPORT

   By Jim Fox

   The Canadian government isn’t budging on its COVID-19 test requirement for air travelers despite mounting pressure.

   The rule began at the height of the pandemic last January and was expanded to land travelers a month later.

   It calls for non-essential travelers entering Canada to show proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours of their departing flight or planned arrival at a land border. 

   This is a major irritant for “snowbirds” and other travelers heading to Florida and other winter hot spots as the test requirement even for fully vaccinated travelers can be costly – from $150 and $300for a test.

   This fee can be “higher than the cost of the travel itself,” said Jana Ray of the seniors’ advocacy group CanAge.

   “Travel is becoming cost-prohibitive for our members, many of whom are retirees on fixed or limited incomes,” said Michael MacKenzie of the Canadian Snowbird Association.

   With Canada having the fourth wave of the pandemic in many areas, this “additional layer of protection is deemed important at this time,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam.

   ---

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a new cabinet with different ministers in key portfolios such as defense, health, foreign affairs and environment along with some rookies heading into his Liberal government’s third mandate.

   It’s a 39-member cabinet that was sworn in, with Trudeau calling it a “refreshed and reinvigorated team.”

   “I’m really excited about what we're going to be able to accomplish for Canadians and I know that this team is raring to go,.” he said.

   Three ministers were dropped: Marc Garneau, Bardish Chagger and Jim Carr, who is ill

    ---

    News in brief:

   - COVID-19 booster shots are being recommended by Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization for those 80 and older. This could also include other groups from 70 who may be at increased risk of lowered protection over time since their two initial vaccinations. Booster shots should be given at least six months after the second dose of vaccine, NACI said. It is up to the provincial and territorial governments to decide who is eligible.

   - Canada’s central bank has again left its trendsetting interest rate unchanged at 0.25 percent as economists suggest interest rates would start rising next year. That’s because the Bank of Canada is trying to tackle inflation by ending stimulus to the economy by buying bonds. Bank Governor Tiff Macklem said the bank is committed to actively drive inflation down with cuts to stimulus.

    ---

    Facts and figures:

   Canada’s dollar is steady at 81 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.24 in Canadian funds, before exchange fees.

   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is 0.25 percent while the prime lending rate is 2.45 percent.

   Canadian stock markets are higher, with the Toronto index at 21,124 points and the TSX Venture index 952 points.

   The average price for gas in Canada is lower at $1.47 a liter (Canadian) or $5.58 for a U.S. gallon.

   Lotto Max: (Oct. 26) 2, 8, 10, 14, 21, 36 and 40; bonus 17. (Oct. 22) 2, 11, 19, 33, 44, 45 and 47; bonus 42.

   Lotto 6/49: (Oct. 27) 3, 9, 14, 36, 40 and 46; bonus 41. (Oct. 23)1, 3, 9, 40 ,42 and 44; bonus 46.

    ---

    Regional briefs:

   - Debris including refrigerators, toys, hair products and food are washing up from a stricken cargo ship at Palmerston Beach on Vancouver Island’s northwest coast. The Canadian Coast Guard said containers from the MV Zim Kingston were among 109 that fell overboard during a storm. The crew members were rescued from the ship when a fire broke out on board. Mariners, pilots and the public are asked to report any sightings of containers and cautioned that two contain hazardous chemicals.

   - The Ontario government has a new strategy to improve long-term care homes where COVID-19 outbreaks killed more than 3,800 people during the pandemic. Premier Doug Ford said a bill will increase accountability, enforcement and transparency to the nursing home sector and enshrine residents’ rights at the province’s 626 homes.

 -30-

 Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

Canadians warned of possible interest-rate increases to fight inflation

    Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 24/21

    THE CANADIAN REPORT

   By Jim Fox

    Canadians are paying more for most things as the inflation rate hits a near two-decade high, prompting suggestions of a pending interest-rate hike.

   Statistics Canada said inflation has jumped by 4.4 percent, the highest since February 2003, with big jumps in the price of fuel, transportation, food and housing.

   The Bank of Canada is reviewing its trendsetting interest rate that has been stalled at an artificial low of 0.25 percent while the prime lending rate is 2.45 percent.

   Bank of Canada Governor Tim Macklem said global supply-chain bottlenecks have driven up transport costs while high inflation rates are a temporary issue.

   Similar to what’s happening in the United States and elsewhere, there are supply issues of getting goods to market as the pandemic eases and consumer demand surges.

   This has led to shortages as oil prices have risen to a national average of almost $1.50 a liter (Canadian) or $5.70 for a U.S. gallon, up almost 35 percent from a year ago.

   Housing and food prices are up about five percent as the central bank is considering an interest-rate increase next week or later to help control inflation.

    ---

    The Canadian government has ended its advisory against non-essential international travel as the U.S. is set to reopen its border to fully vaccinated Canadians and others on Nov. 8.

   The land border has been closed for more than 18 months while the government website now cautions travelers to be fully vaccinated.

   It also urges people to continue avoiding “non-essential travel to all destinations” as well as international cruises.

   Air travelers will still need to show proof of vaccination on arrival in the U.S. and have a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of boarding their flight.

   Non-essential travelers crossing at a land border will be required to show proof of vaccination upon request but are not required to produce a negative COVID-19 test. Details: travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories

    ---

    News in brief:

   - Canadians will be receiving a “standardized” vaccine passport for use when traveling and obtaining entrance to businesses requiring proof. These will be issued by each province and territory instead of a national COVID-19 vaccine passport. The vaccine credentials will continue to be the primary way to show someone’s vaccination status. The passports are said to have a “common” look and feel and are available now in Ontario and elsewhere by next month.

    ---

    Facts and figures:

   Canada’s dollar is steady at 81 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.24 in Canadian funds, before exchange fees.

   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is 0.25 percent while the prime lending rate is 2.45 percent.

   Canadian stock markets are higher, with the Toronto index at 21,140 points and the TSX Venture index 942 points.

   The average price for gas in Canada is higher at $1.48 a liter (Canadian) or $5.62 for a U.S. gallon.

   Lotto Max: (Oct. 19) 12, 26, 28, 32, 41, 43 and 50; bonus 49. (Oct. 15) 14, 17, 20, 24, 25, 38 and 48; bonus 11.

   Lotto 6/49: (Oct. 20) 6, 9, 34, 35, 48 and 49; bonus 41. (Oct. 16) 5, 10, 11, 33, 44 and 47; bonus 20.

    ---

    Regional briefs:

   - In the fourth wave of the pandemic that has hit western Canada hard, more Canadian hospitals nationally are implementing mandatory vaccine policies for employees. A new trend involves hospital care givers, relatives and occasional staff having to show proof of vaccination before being allowed to enter hospital facilities. The requirement now includes the Greater Toronto Area health centers, including the University Health Network, and hospitals in Quebec. British Columbia has adopted the rule in long-term care homes and acute care and community care visitors.

   - Calgary’s newly elected  mayor, Jyoti Gondek, says her priority is to declare a “climate emergency” in the Alberta city. “Now is the time to get serious and declare an emergency,” she said in the major oil producing province. It’s a “bold move” and the city has to “move past” an end product of energy production being oil and gas,” she added.

 -30-

 Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com


Friday, October 15, 2021

Car travel to Florida eased, as U.S. land border with Canada to reopen in Novemer

   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 17/21

    THE CANADIAN REPORT

   By Jim Fox

    The decision to reopen the U.S.-Canada land border to non-essential travel will make it easier for Canadians to get to Florida and their Sun Belt winter destinations.

   Details are still being worked out but the plan is for the U.S. to reopen its land borders to vaccinated non-essential visitors on Nov. 8 after being closed for 20 months.

   Travelers will need to show proof of COVID-19vaccinations to Customs and Border Protection officials upon request.

   What it means is that Canadians can drive to the U.S. on day trips and family visits and beyond as Canada has allowed fully vaccinated Americans to do since Aug. 9.

   The Public Health Agency of Canada is still advising against non-essential international travel during the pandemic.

   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working on the operational details, such as what will constitute acceptable proof.

   Canadians have been getting around the land-border crossing ban by flying but they face quarantines and negative testing to return.

   It’s still not clear whether people who received doses of two different vaccines, estimated to be four-million Canadians, will be considered fully vaccinated for travel purposes.

   Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, speaking in Washington, said no decision has been made to end the need for a negative test to return home.

    ---

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recently re-elected Liberal minority government will get down to business on Oct. 26.

   That’s the day he will unveil his new cabinet and prepare for this government’s third mandate.

   The challenges will be focused on finishing the fight against COVID-19 and rebuilding the pandemic-ravaged economy, he said.

   That work will prepare for the recall of Parliament on Nov. 22 after the election win on Sept. 20.

   The Prime Minister has also spoken by phone to the opposition leaders about Canadian priorities during the pandemic’s fourth wave.

    ---

    News in brief:

   - Canada's Big Six banks will join the Net-Zero Banking Alliance ahead of the UN climate summit in Glasgow later month. The global alliance commits members to aligning their lending and investment portfolios with net-zero emissions by 2050. They will also set intermediate targets for 2030 or sooner. The industry-led alliance is the banking component of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, chaired by UN special envoy and former Bank of Canada Gov. Mark Carney.

    ---

    Facts and figures:

   Canada’s dollar is higher at 81 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.24 in Canadian funds, before exchange fees.

   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is unchanged at 0.25 percent while the prime lending rate is 2.45 percent.

   Canadian stock markets are higher, with the Toronto index at 20,929 points and the TSX Venture index 933 points.

   The average price for gas in Canada is higher at $1.45 a liter (Canadian) or $5.55 for a U.S. gallon.

   Lotto Max: (Oct. 12) 7, 11, 13, 30, 38, 40 and 43; bonus 45. (Oct. 8) 5, 16, 19, 21, 23, 31 and 36; bonus 46.

   Lotto 6/49: (Oct. 13)   2, 7, 8, 11, 19 and 27; bonus 24. (Oct. 9) 1, 11, 19, 27, 28 and 38; bonus 8.

    ---

    Regional briefs:

   - Ontario’s controversial vaccine passport has started a phased rollout to provincial residents to confirm their COVID-19 status. The enhanced certificate can be downloaded or mailed on paper with its scan able QR code for businesses using the Verify Ontario app. It confirms vaccinations required for access to higher-risk settings in Canada’s most-populous province including indoor restaurant dining, movie theaters, gyms, sporting events and concerts. covid-19.ontario.ca/proof-covid-19-vaccination 1-(833) 943-3900.

    - Randy Bachman of the iconic Canadian rock band the Guess Who has “taken care of business” as one of his song titles was called. After 45 years, he has finally found his cherished 1957 Gretsch guitar in Tokyo. The rare 6120 Chet Atkins’ model was stolen from a Toronto-area hotel in 1976. It was finally found through a fan's creative use of facial recognition software. The current owner, Japanese musician Takeshi, said she would trade the guitar for another one from Bachman.

 -30-

 Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Canada Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole's job at risk after election defeat

    Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 10/21

    THE CANADIAN REPORT

   By Jim Fox   

    Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said he expects to stay on in the job even as members of his party are reviewing their options.

   This follows a crushing election defeat last month when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were returned to office with a minority government.

   There were 159 Liberals elected while the Conservatives ended up with 119 members, two fewer than under former leader Andrew Scheer.

   O’Toole said he is confident he will remain the leader and said the party increased its share of the vote in Ontario and new members in Atlantic Canada.

   Within the party there’s a petition with several thousand signatures to review O’Toole’s leadership earlier than scheduled in 2023.

   “We must learn the lessons of the election, share constructive feedback and remain united,” said.

   The election loss was due to Trudeau “using the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to divide Canadians,” he added.

    ---

    Taking a family vacation at an expensive resort in Tofino, British Columbia “was a mistake and I regret it,” Prime Minister Trudeau said.

   He apologized for snubbing invitations to be at events on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

   The new national holiday is “an important moment for all of us – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – to reflect and to remember,” he said, noting abuses of native people from years ago.

   His office said that he earlier spoke at a sombre ceremony on Parliament Hill as residential school survivors shared stories and by phone.

    ---

    News in brief:

   - Health officials are advising Canadians to be cautious around events to mark our Thanksgiving on Monday due to the pandemic.

   This includes limiting the number of people gathering and being aware of those who are not fully vaccinated .

   It is also best to do as much as possible outdoors and to wear masks while inside and keep your distance from each other, they advise.

   Children are urged not to crowd around doors and wearing masks for Halloween.

   - A wave of terminations is expected due to mandatory workplace vaccine policies nationally.

   The number of employers requiring workers to be fully inoculated against COVID or risk losing their jobs continues to grow.

   This includes governments, institutions and companies with deadlines to be fully vaccinated or face firings and unpaid leave.

   Public service workers, air travel and rail employees must be fully vaccinated by the end of this month.

   The mandate mirrors provincial policies, such as in Nova Scotia where school and health-care workers are required to have two doses of a vaccine by the end of November.

    ---

    Facts and figures:

   Canada’s dollar is higher at 80 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.25 in Canadian funds, before exchange fees.

   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is unchanged at 0.25 percent while the prime lending rate is 2.45 percent.

   Canadian stock markets are higher, with the Toronto index at 20,460 points and the TSX Venture index 877 points.

   The average price for gas in Canada is higher at $1.43 a liter (Canadian) or $5.40 for a U.S. gallon.

   Lotto Max: (Oct. 5) 2, 10, 18, 19, 25, 42 and 48; bonus 21. (Oct. 1) 4, 8, 15, 39, 40, 42 and 48; bonus 5.

   Lotto 6/49: (Oct. 6) 7, 18, 19, 38, 42 and 46; bonus 31. (Oct. 2) 8, 17, 18, 19, 48 and 49; bonus 26.

    ---

    Regional briefs:

   - The British Columbia government  will proceed with construction of an eight-lane tunnel under the Fraser River between Richmond and Delta. Costing $4.15 billion, it will replace the George Massey Tunnel that has frustrated drivers for decades and will connect the cities on Highway 99 by 2030.

   - A lost camera mounted on a seal has been recovered after three years on the Nova Scotia ocean floor. The “trove of research data ” includes hours of video and was recently dragged up in fishing gear. It shows its lifestyle along with ocean conditions around Sable Island.

 -30-

 Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com