COVID, pandemics

Anything related to the COVID or other pandemics.

CRA clawing back millions

The assistant commissioner of compliance at the Canada Revenue Agency says that there has been “a high level of compliance overall by the majority of employers” who received pandemic-related wage subsidies, but an ongoing audit has resulted in the CRA denying or adjusting $485 billion in subsidies. [node:read-more:link]

Anti-vaccine campaigner fined

A retired Army Warrant Officer and reservist has been fined $4,000 and reprimanded by a military court for his high-profile campaign against mandatory coronavirus vaccinations. The sentence was handed down November 16, two days after James Topp pled guilty to charges of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline for posting videos while in uniform. [node:read-more:link]

Health agency lost $150 million

The Public Health Agency of Canada is refusing to explain how it lost $150 million due to an unfulfilled contract last year. The loss was disclosed in the latest Public Accounts but when asked, a PHAC spokesperson said only that no information could be shared because of “a confidentiality agreement with the contractor.” [node:read-more:link]

Anti-vaxx bill defeated

A Conservative private-member’s bill designed to prevent the government from reimposing vaccine mandates was defeated in the House of Commons. C-278 was first introduced last year by Pierre Poilievre when he was running for the party leadership but was subsequently picked up by Ontario MP Dean Allison. Before it was voted down October 25, Poilievre said the “unreasonable” policy had “maliciously divided” Canadians. [node:read-more:link]

B.C. restoring some masking

With a new coronavirus variant spreading, the B.C. government plans to restore mandatory masking for staff at all health-care facilities and long-term care residencies October 3. While masks would not be mandatory for patients and residents, a health ministry note states that they “will mask when directed by a health-care worker or based on personal choice.” [node:read-more:link]

What to expect at UN

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with the challenges of climate change, sustainable development, poverty, the coronavirus pandemic aftermath and even the UN’s fundamental roles are casting a gloomy shadow over New York this week. There is particular focus on a potential September 20 face-off between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. [node:read-more:link]

CRA fires 120 employees

The Canada Revenue Agency said September 1 that “120 individuals are no longer with the CRA” because they had “inappropriately” received federal support payments during the pandemic. Six hundred other are under investigation. [node:read-more:link]

First new Covid in Canada

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control has confirmed a case of the BA.2.86 strain of SARS-Cov-2, the first in Canada. While it has been added to the World Health Organization’s watchlist, officials say “there does not seem to be increased severity” and that the infected individual is not hospitalized. [node:read-more:link]

Alberta anti-vaxxers acquitted

More than two years after he was accused of breaking pandemic-related public health restrictions, an Alberta judge acquitted a restaurant owner August 28. The Crown prosecutor had invited the ruling in light of a recent court decision finding the orders were invalid because they breached provincial public health law. [node:read-more:link]

Coronavirus bouncing back

Wastewater sampling indicates that there is an upward trend in Covid-19 diagnoses and hospitalizations across Canada and in the U.S. Public health officials expect the uptick to continue into the fall. [node:read-more:link]

New Covid-19 variant monitored

Health Canada is monitoring a new coronavirus variant which has been detected in the U.S. and elsewhere. The World Health Organization added Covid-19 BA.2.86 to its watchlist last week but no cases have been confirmed in Canada. [node:read-more:link]

Covid-19 legal saga ends

The Supreme Court of Canada announced today (Case No. 40622) that it would not hear an appeal by some B.C. religious leaders who challenged limits on indoor services during the pandemic. The province’s appeal court had ruled last December that the restrictions were justified on health grounds even if they did infringe on constitutional freedoms. [node:read-more:link]

New coronavirus subvariant

The Public Health Agency of Canada expects that a new coronavirus subvariant, EG.5, could be a factor in more than a third of Covid-19 cases. The incidence has been rising in some parts of the world, including in Canada since at least May. [node:read-more:link]

Preparing for the next pandemic

An independent inquiry into Canada’s Covid-19 response is being recommended in a series of papers published in the British Medical Journal. Written by its international editor, they are based on input from Canadian healthcare providers and researchers as well as legal and humanitarian specialists. One contributor in Toronto called it “the start of preparing for the next emergency.” [node:read-more:link]


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