(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

Town of Ponoka logo
Town council approves 2021 capital and operating budgets

Ponoka town council approved the 2021 capital and operating budgets at its… Continue reading

(Advocate file photo)
Lacombe man to apply to withdraw manslaughter guilty plea

Tyler John Campbell wants to change plea after judge rejected seven-year sentence

Supporters gather during a rally against measures taken by government and health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 at the Whistle Stop cafe in Mirror Alta, on Saturday May 8, 2021. The Whistle Stop was shut down by AHS for not complying with COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Police hand out tickets to dozens leaving anti-lockdown protest in Alberta

Hundreds gathered outside the Whistle Stop Café in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta.

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. Alberta leads the Prairie provinces in being the first to take COVID-19 vaccine bookings for pre-teens. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta leads Prairie provinces in accepting COVID vaccine bookings for pre-teens

The province begins accepting appointments for kids as young as 12 starting today

File photo
Arrest made for armed robbery in Millet, Wetaskiwin RCMP continue to investigate

Wetaskiwin RCMP are investigating an armed robbery took place May 4, 2021 in Millet, Alta.

Dr. Karina Pillay, former mayor of Slave Lake, Alta., is shown at her medical clinic in Calgary on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
10 years later: Former Slave Lake mayor remembers wildfire that burned through town

Alberta announced in 2011 that an unknown arsonist had recklessly or deliberately ignited the forest fire

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman travelling from Alberta found dead in B.C. park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel’s approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

Wolf density in Jasper is low enough that the animals would not be expected to be a major threat

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

Most Read