Ottawa looks to introduce vaccine passports for Canadians going abroad

OTTAWA—It took three cabinet ministers and a late-day news conference on the eve of an expected election to announce that maybe by early fall Canada will introduce its version of an international to allow Canadians to prove their vaccination status when they travel abroad. Marco Mendicino, Dominic LeBlanc and Omar Alghabra, the ministers of immigration, intergovernmental affairs and transport, took to Zoom to repeat much the same thing that they told reporters in mid-June: they’re working on it. At this point there are few details. Mendicino told the Star in an interview later what’s in the works: provincially-issued vaccination documents would be made accessible to the federal government in a “safe” (meaning privacy-protected) way. That will allow Ottawa to issue a QR code (basically, a machine-readable matrix code like those ones you see when you touchlessly check out a restaurant menu these days) and display the federal certification that a traveller going abroad from Canada is vaccinated. Available to Canadian citizens, permanent residents or temporary residents of Canada, the Canadian-government approved “proof of vaccination credential” is expected to indicate the individual’s vaccination history: the type of vaccine, along with when and where it was received. Except that the ministers could offer no assurance that any foreign country would necessarily accept it; no assurance that any country would necessarily allow entry […]

Read More

Website to register for city-run mass vaccination clinics in Toronto launches

Toronto residents 80 years or over can now register to be vaccinated at one of three city-run mass immunization clinics opening Wednesday. People born in 1941 or earlier (people who are turning 80 in 2021 or who are 80 or older now) will be able to attend the three mass vaccination clinics, which will be operating from March 17 to April 11, seven days a week between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Registration is available at , appearing as a dark blue “Register” button in a grey box at the top of the webpage. Booking by phone will start Monday. The phone number has yet to be released. The clinics are located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre at 255 Front St. W., Scarborough Town Centre at 300 Borough Dr., and the Toronto Congress Centre, 650 Dixon Rd. There will be 133,000 vaccination appointments available for first doses. The city estimates there are 136,000 people aged 80 and over living in the city, including 10,000 in long-term-care homes who have already been vaccinated. The city asked that all ineligible people not use the registration portal and that double-booking be avoided. with files from Francine Kopun Ben Cohen is a Toronto-based staff reporter for the Star. Follow him on Twitter:

Read More

West Orillia property sells for more than $5 million

One of Orillia’s largest employers is expanding its footprint with the purchase of a city-owned building that formerly housed a call centre. Polyethics Industries bought the 44,000 square-foot-building, situated on 5.75 acres of industrial land at 2 Hunter Valley Road, for $5.1 million. The building previously housed a call centre operated by Nordia. “Anything the city can do to strengthen and grow an existing business and help them to become more deeply rooted in the community is not only good for the business, it’s also extremely important for our local economy,” Dan Landry, Orillia’s manager of business retention and expansion and industrial development told Simcoe.com. Landry said the city fielded strong interest in the property, with Polyethics’ offer representing the highest and best value and use. A global manufacturer of environmentally-friendly plastic film and bags, Polyethics currently operates out of two other plants on Harvie Settlement Road and Atherley Road. The former call centre building provides Polyethics with much-needed warehouse and distribution space, and increases the company’s presence in Orillia to three locations totalling more than 320,000 square feet. Polyethics’ three buildings currently house approximately 300 employees. Purchasing the site allows the company to further expand its global business and solidify its footprint in Orillia, the municipality said. “This is a great opportunity for a […]

Read More

‘Twofold or more’: Simcoe Muskoka health unit expects significant bump in COVID-19 vaccine supply

It’s coming. Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit medical officer of health Dr. Charles Gardner confirmed March 9 the agency expects its supply of vaccine to increase substantially within about two weeks. That could bump up the inoculation schedule for the general public “quite a bit,” though details are light right now. The vaccine supply will also be broadened to include doses of Moderna this week and AstraZeneca soon. Both are easier to handle than the Pfizer-BioNTech version. “It’s very much coming together,” Gardner said during a teleconference with reporters Tuesday. “We’re going to be getting about the same quantity of Pfizer over the next two weeks, then it will increase greatly to twofold or more. We’ll be in a really good position to administer it well.” The province is giving additional vaccine to designated ‘hot spots’ and Simcoe-Muskoka’s considered one of those, possibly due to our experience with variants. “The province is extending out the intervals between doses … as far out into the future as four months. It would be very helpful to everybody if we were able to get the first dose to more people sooner … we’re all much better off and (it) potentially leads to the kind of herd immunity where even people who aren’t vaccinated are protected.” The Johnson & Johnson vaccine could arrive here in April. Today, the health unit reported an additi […]

Read More

Midland’s Georgian Bay General Hospital declares C. difficile outbreak

An C. difficile outbreak has been declared on one inpatient unit at (GBGH) in Midland.  There have been three hospital-acquired cases on the unit within the past seven days, states C. difficile outbreaks are declared based on an increase in cases from each hospital’s regular case counts, states the hospital. Regular cases can differ among organizations and thus, the threshold can differ between hospitals. GBGH consistently has a very low case count and has not experienced a C. difficile outbreak in more than six years, it said.  To reduce possible transmission, patients connected to the outbreak are in private rooms and enhanced housekeeping is taking place using specific cleaning agents that target C. difficile bacterial spores, the hospital noted. The products used for C. difficile differ from cleaning products used to eliminate viruses such as COVID-19.  GBGH is closely looking into possible factors which may have contributed to the outbreak.  “There are many factors which can contribute to C. difficile infections,” said Angie Saini, vice president of clinical services and chief nursing executive, GBGH. “Most commonly, patients who have a history of C. difficile or who have been taking certain antibiotics for prolonged periods tend to be more susceptible. We have been proactive in identifying and testing the affected patients as soon as they presented with symptoms.”  Admissions to the unit and discharges from the unit […]

Read More

Springwater man charged after police find vehicle in Lake Simcoe this morning

A Springwater man, 23, has been charged with dangerous and impaired driving after allegedly driving a vehicle into Lake Simcoe in Innisfil early this morning (Aug. 19), said  in a According to police, around 2:30 a.m., South Simcoe Police Service officers were called to the end of  because a vehicle was in the lake.  The driver was not injured. He was arrested for impaired driving, police said.  A 23-year-old Springwater man has been charged with dangerous operation, operation while impaired, and operation while impaired – excess blood alcohol. His licence was suspended for 90 days and his vehicle impounded for seven days. He was released with a future court date. 

Read More

Ontario to mandate vaccines for hospital workers, give booster shots to the vulnerable, and halt further reopening

Ontario will mandate vaccines for hospital and long-term-care workers and begin targeted booster shots while keeping current pandemic restrictions indefinitely, the Star has learned. Against the backdrop of the pandemic’s fourth wave, Dr. Kieran Moore, the chief medical officer of health, will announce the sweeping measures next Tuesday, including a pause on any further reopening of the economy. “The watchword is caution,” said a senior Progressive Conservative government official, speaking confidentially in order to discuss internal deliberations “We’re trying to be cautious. Nobody wants to lock down the economy again,” the official said as Ontario recorded 510 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the vast majority of which were among unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people. To that end, Moore will use his authority to issue a “ mandate directive” for doctors, nurses, and “anyone patient-facing” working in hospitals, long-term-care homes, and in home-care. “You will be asked to get your shots and if you haven’t, you will be asked why not. If you don’t have it, you will need a medical exemption,” said a second high-ranking government official. “There will be a requirement for an education session (on the merits of vaccines) if you refuse to be vaccinated,” the official added. “If you still continue to refuse, you will be required to get regularly tested (for COVID-19) twice […]

Read More

Pedestrian taken to hospital after collision in Essa Township

One person was taken to hospital after being struck by a vehicle in Essa Township on Saturday morning (Aug. 7), according to a tweet from Central Region OPP. currently on scene for an early morning collision investigation. One pedestrian was struck and transported to hospital. Road closed at this time on 5th Line of between 5th SDRD and Marshall Cres. More to follow when available ^cj — OPP Central Region (@OPP_CR) Nottawasaga OPP closed down 5th Line between 5th Side Road and Marshall Crescent from approximately 7:45 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Police are still investigation the incident. No other details have been released.

Read More

Why won’t Joe Biden reopen the border with Canada? An email from Donald Trump holds a clue

WASHINGTON—This morning, as thousands of fully vaccinated Americans were crossing the Canadian border for the first time since the pandemic began, I was talking with Americans about why the U.S. hasn’t opened its land border to Canadians yet. Just then, I got a statement about the U.S.-Mexican border in my inbox from former president Donald Trump. That the two topics might be related may not strike you as obvious. Many Canadians are familiar with the often explosive politics in the U.S. regarding the Mexican border — Trump’s longtime cries of “build a wall,” for example, were loud enough to be heard up north. But Canadians considering whether they can vacation in Florida or shop at a Target in Buffalo may not think that has anything to do with them. Yet in conversations with those inside and outside the U.S. government who follow Canadian border issues closely, the subject of the Mexican border frequently comes up. “The issue is always that the U.S. has two borders,” trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said recently. He works on Canada-U.S. trade issues, and previously worked in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and on border issues in the Canadian government. “We can’t do something for Canada that we’re not going to do for Mexico, and the situation in Mexico is awful right now.” He was referring to the pandemic in Mexico, where the government recently put the capital city on COVID “red alert,” as d […]

Read More

War, plague, and natural disaster: A preview of what’s to come?

WASHINGTON—The news these days seems positively biblical: floods and droughts, conquest and pestilence. Only half of those are actual signs of the apocalypse from the book of Ezekiel, but the flashing, bright-red warnings this week about all four certainly added a sense of horrifying prophecy to the headlines. Monday, the carried a whiff of fire and brimstone: more than one degree of temperature change “baked in” to the future of our existing environment, meaning still more of the fires and floods and droughts that have become commonplace. And the seas shall rise and the arctic shall melt and the flames shall come upon thee — that is a best-case scenario. Avoiding the worst depends on drastic global action. In response, , “There is no credible way to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuel energy anytime in the foreseeable future.” And the U.S. Senate to prohibit any implementation of a proposed progressive “Green New Deal.” By the end of the week, the news in Washington was dominated by the seemingly inevitable takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban ahead of the final U.S. military withdrawal next month. Kandahar, the country’s second-largest city and the one-time centre of Canada’s combat mission there, ; by Friday two-thirds of the country was in its control. A takeover of the entire country seems imminent, bringing a human rights disaster “all but eliminating women’s rights and conducting public amput […]

Read More