COVID-19 pandemic and its effects killed far more people than originally thought. Ontario scientists have charted the real numbers

There has been a nearly 13 per cent increase in deaths in Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with a significant proportion of those excess deaths due to causes other than the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to cremation data obtained and analyzed by Ontario’s Science Advisory Table. Nearly 81,000 people were cremated in 2020 compared to a yearly average of 71,625 from 2017 to 2019. The pandemic “has influenced so many aspects of our (lives),” that it’s difficult to pinpoint one factor causing the excess deaths, said Gemma Postill, the study’s lead author. Ontario began categorizing cremation records electronically in 2017, allowing Postill to search the database for any deaths mentioning COVID-19. When researchers removed deaths caused by the virus,

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Ontario schools could reopen in June with a ‘manageable’ increase in new COVID-19 cases, experts say

Ontario schools could reopen in June and although doing so would increase COVID-19 cases, such a move may be “manageable in some regions,” says the province’s science advisory table. Premier Doug Ford wants consensus from doctors and teachers’ unions on students returning for in-person instruction for the last month of school, but also said “we can’t afford an 11 per cent increase” in COVID-19 cases. “We just have to get around the table and make sure we have an agreement,” he said Thursday. “I know a lot of parents are anxious but there’s also the fact … that it could possibly increase cases by 11 per cent. That’s concerning, because it compounds so quickly.” However, the premier added that while

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Everything you need to know about Quebec’s controversial plan to change the Constitution

OTTAWA—Quebec Premier François Legault has proposed a new law he says will increase protections for the French language inside Quebec only. It includes a small but important clause that seeks to amend the Canadian Constitution by describing Quebecers as a nation that has French as its sole official and common language. Wait. What? Haven’t we seen this movie before? Is the Meech Lake Monster rising again? Not if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Legault can help it. Questions about a constitutional crisis make them stick their fingers in their ears and go, “La la la la la.” Here’s a primer to help you understand how we got back to language la-la land. What is the proposed law? Bill 96 is

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There are ‘many things’ military needs to work on, says new head of Canada’s COVID vaccine rollout

Not yet a week after being given the command chair of Canada’s vaccine rollout after its previous occupant became the subject of a military investigation, Brig.-Gen. Krista Brodie says she is excited, but she’s also acknowledging the murky circumstances surrounding her appointment. “I’m feeling many things,” she said Thursday at her first appearance at the weekly vaccine briefing for media. “I’m feeling excited for the opportunity to be able to lead a logistics organization that is involved in such a monumental effort,” she said, before appearing to nod to the current controversies that have caused members of senior military leadership to step down. “There are many, many things that we need to be doing within the Canadian Armed Forces and

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Ontario has a new reopening plan. Here’s what that means for Toronto

Outdoor sports and recreational amenities can resume for the long weekend in Toronto and beyond, Premier Doug Ford announced on Thursday. The province also announced a three-step plan for further reopening, based on what percentage of people are vaccinated in the province, regardless of what the vaccination rate is in Toronto. Here’s what that means for Toronto residents: Previously closed outdoor facilities permitted as of this Saturday include: Baseball diamonds and batting cages Basketball courts Bike trails, BMX and skate parks Boat launches and marinas Golf courses and Frisbee golf Horse riding Lawn bowling Playgrounds and outdoor fitness equipment Soccer, football and other sports fields Tennis and table tennis No team sports will be permitted and people must still properly

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Keep strong public health measures in place when Ontario’s stay-at-home order ends, expert advisers say

As Premier Doug Ford prepares to unveil a plan to start reopening Ontario after an extended stay-at-home order is set to expire on June 2, his science table of advisers recommends keeping strong public health measures in place two weeks longer to “help ensure a good summer.” Ford is expected to announce later Thursday that golf, tennis, basketball and other outdoor sports will be allowed in time for the Victoria Day long weekend, as many health experts and opposition parties have been urging with the third wave of COVID-19 easing. But further easing of restrictions will be firmly tied to vaccination rates and declining cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population as part of a three-phase reopening that will extend into

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An $80 Gua Sha? Capitalizing on cultural traditions without recognizing discrimination leads to further erasure

Growing up, my mom and her sisters would ease muscle pain by carving a heated soup spoon against hardened tissue. Known as Gua Sha, this ancient practice found among many East Asian countries is believed to help improve circulation and ease tension by manually applying pressure with a tool such as a spoon or coin wrapped in a towel. I can recall them sitting one behind the other and applying even and deliberate strokes to the back and neck, leaving behind faint red streaks on the skin like new earth after a forest fire. Nowadays, Gua Sha stones have become a top beauty trend retailing anywhere between $18 to $80. The jade, amethyst or rose quartz stones are marketed as

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Judge overturns $2,000 fine on Ontario sex assault victim for breaching publication ban on her own identity

A Superior Court judge has overturned the conviction of a Waterloo sexual assault victim fined $2,000 for breaching the publication ban on her own identity by emailing a transcript of the court decision in her case to a small group of supporters. The case, first reported in March by the Waterloo Region Record, sparked immediate outrage across the province over the questionable legal basis for the breach and the further victimization of a sexual assault survivor by the man who sexually assaulted her. In a brief appeal court hearing Thursday morning, Crown prosecutor Julia Forward said the Crown was conceding the appeal based on a legal technicality — that the woman entered a guilty plea under the wrong section of

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Today’s coronavirus news: Maintaining some restrictions, vaccine progress will help Ontario have good summer, science table says; Ford to make an announcement about the reopening plan

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Thursday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available. 1:50 p.m. Canada’s Olympic swim trials can proceed next month in Toronto, Swimming Canada announced Thursday. The organization said in a release that Toronto Public Health has confirmed that the June 19-23 event can take place at the Pan Am Sports Centre under the exemption for high-performance sport in Ontario’s stay-at-home order. The trials are the primary means of selection for Canada’s swim team for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. They were originally scheduled for May 24-28 but were pushed back due to restrictions around the COIVD-19 pandemic. 1:44 p.m. Alberta Health Services says it

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Shareholders, including a group of nuns, demanding changes from Chartwell — including the ouster of Mike Harris

One of Canada’s largest private retirement and long-term-care home operators is facing calls from activist investors — including a group of nuns following their religious conscience — to monitor and improve working conditions for its staff, pay a living wage and to vote against the re-election of chair and former Ontario premier Mike Harris as a member of the board. Thursday, after a year marked by lawsuits, deaths and a worldwide pandemic, the annual general meeting of Chartwell Retirement Residences promises to be anything but routine. Anthony Schein is director of shareholder advocacy at the Shareholder Association for Research and Education, a research organization devoted to environmental, social and governance investing. SHARE has been working with an order of Catholic

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