Students, staff, and faculty at SFU will walk out of classes at 11 a.m. today to demand a delay to a full return to in-person learning. It’s the first day students are going back to classes in person since the beginning of the winter break. Walkout participants are also demanding access to a safe learning environment during the Omicron COVID-19 spike. The plans came together after SFU announced on Jan. 11 it would be restarting in-person learning. By comparison, UBC has extended online learning until at least Feb. 7. Everyone walking out will gather at Convocation Mall and travel to the SFU upper bus loop.
Trucks are bound for Ottawa as part of the “Freedom Convoy” demonstration protesting vaccine mandates in place for truckers. A cross-border mandate came into effect on January 15 requiring unvaccinated Canadian truck drivers entering Canada to meet requirements for pre-entry, arrival, and Day 8 testing, as well as quarantine requirements. Foreign national truck drivers entering Canada from the US by land will now be directed back to the US. The Canadian Trucking Alliance denounced drivers engaged in protests, saying that actions that interfere with public safety are not how disagreement with government policies should be expressed. A Go-Fund-Me has raised just over 3 million dollars to help cover the costs of the truckers’ journey to Ottawa.
A young man has hopefully learned his lesson and the dangers of speeding. Abbotsford Police say the 20-year-old driver was clocked by an unmarked police vehicle doing speeds in excess of over 200-kilometers per-hour along Highway 1 at Sumas Way in the early hours of Sunday morning. He was going so fast, in fact, that his engine blew. The driver was cooperative, unimpaired, and had no previous interactions with the police. “When asked why he was going so fast? he says he wanted to see how fast the car could go,” “Of note, the vehicle he was operating was his mother’s.” He was fined $483 for excessive speed, $196 for driving without consideration, and $109 for failing to displace his N. He will also receive nine points on his license.
Quebec is set to expand its vaccine passport program today –making it mandatory for shoppers to show their proof of vaccination to get into big-box stores and grocery stores with areas of 15-hundred square metres or more. That’s a little less than a week after the province made it mandatory for people to show proof of vaccination to enter the province’s liquor and cannabis stores. Over the weekend, COVID-19 hospitalizations declined in both Quebec and Ontario. But officials in Ontario say not all hospitals report their data on weekends.
The level of scam calls in Canada is higher than ever before, according to a new poll. 60 per cent of cellphone users receive scam calls pretending to be part of a government agency. Metro Vancouver is the main target off the calls, and although the calls are not necessarily targeting a specific ethnicity, most calls are in Mandarin. In 2019, only 31% of cell phone users said that they received calls in Cantonese or Mandarin now it’s up to 51%.
British Columbia health officials announced on Monday that there have been 4,997 new test-positive COVID-19 cases since Friday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 313,076. There were 2,163 cases discovered between Friday and Saturday, 1,489 between Saturday and Sunday, and 1,345 between Sunday and Monday. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that there are 31,822 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 987 (+63) individuals are currently hospitalized and 129 (-1) are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.
New cases and total active cases are broken down by health region as follows:
- Fraser Health: 1,702 new cases, 14,431 total active cases
- Vancouver Coastal Health: 862 new cases, 7,256 total active cases
- Interior Health: 1,251 new cases, 7,021 total active cases
- Northern Health: 555 new cases, 1,566 total active cases
- Island Health: 626 new cases, 1,544 total active cases
- Outside of Canada: One new cases, four total active cases
There have been 24 new COVID-19-related deaths in British Columbia, for a total of 2,553 deaths in the province.
New figures from StatsCan illustrate the human toll of the pandemic. Preliminary numbers show national life expectancy fell by more than half-a-year in 2020. It was the largest drop since 1921 when the vital statistics registration system was introduced. The federal agency says national life expectancy, which is estimated on an annual basis, was 81.7 years for those born in 2020. It was a decline from 82.3 the year before.
The B-C government says the re-opening of Highway 1 through the Fraser Canyon today marks another milestone in the recovery from November’s devastating floods and mudslides. But the Transportation Ministry is warning motorists they could face delays of up to two hours or more due to ongoing repairs. It also says truckers using the route are limited to loads of 25 metres in length until the rehabilitation of the highway bridge at Nicomen River is complete. An 80-metre-long, single-lane temporary bridge is in place until that work is finished.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending the vaccine mandate for cross-border truck drivers. But a convoy of hundreds of truckers is heading to Ottawa in protest for January 29th. Trudeau says getting vaccinated is the most important way to keep Canada’s economy going. But Tory Leader Erin O’Toole repeated his call for Trudeau to lift the mandate, saying it will hamper supply chains. The Canadian Trucking Alliance says 90 per cent of truck drivers are already vaccinated and has denounced the convoy now making its way to Ottawa. However the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition both urge Trudeau to back down.
Experts say wildfires, sweltering heat and extensive flooding throughout southern B-C last year have underscored the importance of building resilience against the effects of climate change in the agriculture sector. Sean Smukler, the chair of agriculture and environment at the University of B-C, says the province is ahead of the curve thanks to a government-funded Climate and Agriculture Initiative launched in 2013. But Smukler says B-C’s efforts to adapt have been incremental when they should be urgent, and more funding is needed to match the scale of the challenge. Emily MacNair, the director of the Climate and Agriculture Initiative, says it’s tempting to focus on extreme events, but other issues — such as the need to ensure there’s enough water for food production as droughts worsen — are critically important.
“Jeopardy!” fans will be tuning in this evening to see if champion Amy Schneider will take sole possession of the quiz show’s second-longest winning streak. She’s currently tied with Matt Amodio. Schneider is now the winningest woman in the show’s history and says that as a transgender woman, she is pleased to be on T-V as her true self and representing the entire community of trans people.
Vancouver police have released video of what they say is a random stabbing at a downtown coffee shop. Sergeant Steve Addison says the “disturbing incident” on Saturday put a 25-year-old man in hospital with life-threaten wounds. Police say the man was waiting in line at the Tim Hortons in Vancouver’s Harbour Centre mall when a stranger wearing a black-hooded coat and facemask approached him from behind and attacked. Police say they released the video of the attack with the hope the six-foot-two man in his 20s will be identified.
For the first time in Vancouver Canucks history, the team has hired a female assistant general manager. Emilie Castonguay (CAST’-ON’-gay) joins the Canucks from the player management agency Momentum Hockey, where she broke another barrier in 2016 when she was named the first female N-H-L-P-A certified agent in Canada. Canucks interim G-M Jim Rutherford says Castonguay will play a lead role in player contracts and negotiations, as well as managing the collective bargaining agreement. Castonguay has a bachelor’s degree in finance, a law degree from the University of Montreal and played four years of N-C-A-A- Division 1 hockey while earning her undergraduate degree.