(The Canadian Press)

(The Canadian Press)

Ontario unveils paid sick-leave program as Nova Scotia shuts down schools, businesses

Ontario reported 3,480 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 24 more deaths linked to the virus

Ontario took steps to combat workplace COVID-19 outbreaks Wednesday as it unveiled a new paid sick-leave program for workers, while efforts to curb community spread in Nova Scotia saw the province enter a full lockdown.

The Ontario government announced it will give all workers who need to self-isolate three days of paid sick leave, and reimburse employers up to $200 a day for what they pay out through the program.

The announcement comes after months of pressure from health experts and advocates to provide paid sick leave to help curb workplace infections, which remain a major source of outbreaks in hot spot areas.

Toronto and nearby Peel Region, the two main hot spots in the province, last week began to temporarily shut down businesses with recent outbreaks. On Wednesday, a Canada Post facility in Mississauga, Ont., was ordered to have some 80 employees self-isolate after 12 tested positive for the virus over a week.

The province also issued an emergency order Wednesday meant to free up capacity in its overburdened hospitals. The measure allows hospitals to transfer patients waiting for a long-term care bed to any nursing home without their consent.

Ontario’s health minister, Christine Elliott, said transfers without consent will only take place in the most urgent situations, and only if doctors are confident the move won’t compromise the patient’s condition.

Ontario reported 3,480 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and 24 more deaths linked to the virus.

Out east, a full shutdown took effect in Nova Scotia Wednesday in an effort to rein in surging COVID-19 cases, closing schools and non-essential businesses.

The lockdown is set to last two weeks and comes as the provinces grapples with nearly 500 active infections – including 75 new cases reported Wednesday.

Premier Iain Rankin said the province will also start offering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to residents 40 to 54 years old as early as Friday.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported four new cases Wednesday, as well as its first case of a COVID-19 variant first identified in Brazil.

In Quebec, which logged 1,094 new infections and 12 additional deaths Wednesday, relatives of a woman who developed blood clots and died after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine urged people to watch closely for symptoms following immunization.

Francine Boyer received the shot alongside her husband on April 9 and began to experience headaches and severe fatigue in the following days, according to a statement issued by her family.

She was treated in hospital and at the Montreal Neurological Institute, but died of a cerebral thrombosis on April 23.

“Ms. Boyer’s family would like to encourage people who receive a vaccine to stay alert for symptoms or unusual reactions and to contact Info-Sante (811) if in doubt,” the statement said.

Public health officials in Quebec have said they believe Boyer is the first person in Canada whose death can be potentially linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Experts have repeatedly stated that blood clots related to the AstraZeneca shot are very rare and the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks.

In Alberta, health officials were looking into whether the death of a 17-year-old girl was caused by a COVID-19 variant, the teen’s father said Wednesday.

Ron Strate said his daughter Sarah’s health deteriorated Monday and she died soon after arriving at the hospital. He said her death demonstrates that the pandemic should be taken seriously.

Alberta moved Wednesday to send more vaccine doses to two of its hot spots – Banff and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes the oilsands hub city of Fort McMurray.

The province is also broadening the age eligibility for immunization in those areas, offering AstraZeneca shots to those 30 or older. Indigenous people in Wood Buffalo will also be able to receive the Moderna vaccine if they are 30 or older.

Meanwhile, Canada was to receive its first 300,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, according to a federal source. The doses are expected to be distributed to provinces next week.

Canada’s panel of vaccine experts, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, hasn’t issued any guidance yet on how the vaccine – the fourth approved for use in Canada – should be used.

Another 650,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine also arrived at Toronto’s Pearson airport, the Canada Border Services Agency said.

The shipment contains only half of what Canada initially expected to receive, however, due to production issues. It was also delayed from last week.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

CoronavirusNova ScotiaOntario

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Winnie Peters, centre, spoke about the loss of two husbands over the years, both of who were murdered. The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls event in Hope on May 5, 2021 included prayers for men who have been killed as well. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard)
Red dresses hang in Hope’s Memorial Park in remembrance

Group gathers for National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin checking drivers on BC highways

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

UBC Sports Hall of Famer Carrie (Watson) Watts (far right, front row) helped lead the UBC Thunderbirds to the 2004 national championship, their first since 1974. She served as assistant coach a few years after graduation. (Photo/UBC)
Agassiz-born basketball star inducted into UBC Sports Hall of Fame

Carrie (Watson) Watts helped lead the team to their first championship in decades

The Aquilini Investment Group has agreed to a proposed contract of five years to run the Abbotsford Centre. (File photo)
Proposal to run Abbotsford Centre offered to Canucks ownership group

Planned five-year contract to cost city $750K annually, starting Jan. 1, 2022

JANGO the police dog helped track down a suspect on Luckakuck Way in Chilliwack. (RCMP photo)
Alleged thief in Chilliwack can’t fool the nose of JANGO the police dog

An Edmonton man who allegedly broke into a storage container on Luckakuck Way was arrested

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Serious crash in Surrey sends 1 to hospital

Surrey RCMP say one of the drivers fled on foot, but was later found at an area hospital

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. (Screen shot)
Salmon farmers warn Surrey jobs on line as feds end Discovery Islands operations

344 full-time jobs at risk in Surrey and 1,189 B.C.-wide

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read