The latest coronavirus news in Canada and around the world Wednesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
6 o’clock in the morning The head of a trucking industry association said thousands of Canadian truckers would not be vaccinated against COVID-19 before a deadline imposed by governments on both sides of the border, throwing up a supply chain already stretched by the global pandemic into even more chaos.
“It makes a bad situation worse. It’s the perfect storm, ”said Stephen Laskowski, President of the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
A mid-January deadline for the vaccines mandate was announced by the United States in mid-October. Last week, Canada announced a January 15 deadline for truckers entering this country.
Based on reports from trucking companies, Laskowski estimates that up to 20 percent of the 120,000 Canadian truckers who regularly enter the United States may not be vaccinated by the time the deadline approaches.
Learn more about the Star’s Josh Rubin.
5h45 Conservative MPs today will oppose a government proposal to revert to a hybrid format in the House of Commons, which allowed MPs to participate virtually in deliberations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deputy Conservative Leader Candice Bergen said her party feared hybrid sessions “let the government get away with it” and give ministers an excuse not to show up to answer questions in the House of Commons.
Members will debate today whether to return to the hybrid format, Liberals and New Democrats support this decision. They argue it helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 and allows MPs who are sick or have sick family members to participate from their homes or offices.
The Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois both want to fully return to normal in-person meetings.
Bergen argued that the hybrid format is designed to protect the government from “scrutiny and accountability”, not to protect Canadians from the deadly virus.
The NDP supports the hybrid format because it allows all MPs – including those forced to self-isolate if they come into contact with someone with COVID-19 – to participate in Commons deliberations.
5:30 Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have reached a new high, reaching nearly 26,000 daily cases, the health ministry said on Wednesday.
The daily tally reached 25,864 on Tuesday, about 3,000 more than the previous record set on Friday.
The country’s infection rate has risen to 1,061 new cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days, nearly twice as many as two weeks ago.
As infections skyrocket, the government is considering compulsory vaccination for certain groups of people, including the elderly, medical and military personnel, and police officers.
Just over 58% of the Czech population has been fully vaccinated.
5h15 Two Tory MPs from the committee that imposed a COVID-19 vaccination mandate on Parliament Hill did not vote, one revealed on Tuesday as their party formally opposed the way the rule has been imposed.
Tory whip Blake Richards said he and Tory House leader Gérard Deltell abstained from voting when the Internal Economy board ruled last month that everyone working in the Parliament Buildings should be vaccinated against COVID-19 – or have a medical exemption from being vaccinated – by the start of the legislature this week.
Committee decisions are made by consensus and behind closed doors, making Richards’ admission to the House of Commons very unusual.
Read more from Stéphanie Levitz du Star.
5 a.m. COVID-19 was a contributing cause in the recent death in Alberta of a child under two, the province said Tuesday.
The news emerged the same day Alberta officials announced parents will be able to start scheduling immunization appointments for children ages 5 to 11 this week.
Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, spoke about the young child’s death at a press conference.
“While I note that this child had complex pre-existing medical issues which played a significant role, this does not diminish the tragic loss of such a young person,” Hinshaw said.
Read the full story of Kieran Leavitt from The Star.
4h45 Clinics in Regina and Saskatoon are scheduled to begin immunizing children aged five to 11 against COVID-19 today.
Other clinics are due to open in small centers on Thursday.
Premier Scott Moe said Tuesday more than 12,000 youth appointments have been booked.
He encourages all families to get vaccinated and stressed that children will need parental consent to receive an injection of Pfizer-BioNTech’s pediatric vaccine.
Saskatchewan receives 112,000 initial doses, almost enough to give a first dose to 115,000 children in the youngest age group.
Moe says making vaccines accessible to all families is the key to a successful rollout for children.
4h30 Parents who want to book more than one child for a COVID-19 injection can use the provincial hotline to make appointments together, Health Minister Christine Elliott said on Tuesday amid concerns over difficulties with the system in line.
His advice came after the NDP revealed that many parents couldn’t get back-to-back appointments for their children through the province’s online portal as bookings for the Pfizer vaccine opened for five to 11. years.
The problem has left moms and dads busy with dates for their children at different times, on different days and in different places, NDP MP Catherine Fife (Waterloo) said during the daily question period of the Legislature, calling the problem a “design flaw.”
Learn more about Rob Ferguson from The Star.
4 a.m. British Columbia is expected to release details of a paid sick leave program for workers today.
Labor Minister Harry Bains has scheduled a press conference with provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry over a permanent sick leave program, which has been pledged for January.
In May, the province granted all workers up to three days of paid sick leave to support those affected by COVID-19 until December 31.
At the time, Bains said the number of days of eligibility under a permanent program would be determined through consultation.
The government has said that about half of employees in British Columbia do not have access to paid sick leave.
On its website, the government indicates that it expects new regulations to be adopted to set out requirements for permanent paid sick leave in November and December.