Get informed on the top stories of the day in one quick scan

November 30, 2021
Get informed on the top stories of the day in one quick scan

Good morning! This is our daily news roundup with everything you need to know in one concise read. Sign up here to get this delivered to your inbox every morning.

Hundreds have tried to enter Canada with fake COVID-19 test results, proof-of-vaccine documents: CBSA

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) says it has intercepted hundreds of suspected fake COVID-19 test results and vaccination records from people trying to enter the country.

As of Oct. 31, border officials had encountered 374 suspected falsified COVID-19 test results at ports of entry — 160 at airports and 187 at land crossings — and intercepted 92 suspected fake proof-of-vaccination credentials, a spokesperson for the agency told CBC. The agency did not provide a breakdown of the cases, the specific ports of entry or the possible countries of origin of the fraudulent documents. 

Because they have right of entry, Canadians who enter with fake COVID-19-related records are still allowed into the country, but border officials then pass on their information to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), which has the ability to investigate and issue fines. Non-Canadians could be denied entry.

A number of cases are being investigated by PHAC, which issued seven fines for suspected falsified or fraudulent COVID-19 test results between Jan. 6 and Nov. 12, that agency said. PHAC said it also issued two fines for suspected falsified or fraudulent proof-of-vaccination credentials between July 6 and Nov. 12.

WATCH | Fake COVID-19 credentials used by hundreds trying to enter Canada: 

Fake COVID-19 credentials used by hundreds trying to enter Canada

International travellers who wish to enter Canada and are not exempt from vaccine requirements must show proof of vaccination and, unless they are re-entering the country within 72 hours of leaving, a negative COVID-19 molecular test result.

Epidemiologist Cynthia Carr with Winnipeg-based EPI Research Inc., said the CBSA numbers are problematic.

“For every person that is not protected, they are creating enhanced risk for themselves, obviously,” Carr said. “But not protected and then travelling to other countries — you’re bringing that risk back and forth.” Read more on this story here.

Barbados becomes world’s newest republic

(Randy Brooks/AFP/Getty Images)

President of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason, centre, receives the new flag during the ceremony to declare Barbados a republic early Tuesday morning in Bridgetown, its capital. Fireworks filled the sky as the Caribbean island nation declared itself the world’s newest republic, lowering Queen Elizabeth’s flag as it severed colonial-era ties to the British throne to the sound of jubilant gun salutes. Read more about island’s cutting of its royal ties.

In brief

Quebec has confirmed one case of the new omicron COVID-19 variant, while two more cases have been confirmed in Ottawa, bringing the total detected in the city to four. Quebec Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda said tests revealed the variant in a woman who had recently returned from Nigeria. The case was discovered after 115 people in the province who had travelled to southern African countries were asked to take a new COVID-19 test and isolate, in accordance with new federal government rules announced Friday, Health Minister Christian Dubé said. Quebec is the second province to confirm the presence of the variant, after two cases were confirmed in Ottawa on Sunday. Those cases were found in individuals who had also recently travelled from Nigeria. Late Monday afternoon, Ottawa Public Health said two more returned travellers have tested positive for the variant. In addition, Ontario is investigating two possible cases in the Hamilton area. Read more on the cases of the new omicron variant

The third in a series of increasingly intense storms is approaching British Columbia, leaving residents bracing for more torrential rain while officials are still addressing damage done across the Lower Mainland and southern Interior from the last two storms. Communities across the province were busy preparing for the latest storm during a brief reprieve from the weather in some areas Monday. Farmers rushed again to move dozens of cattle, including calves, to higher ground while residents packed sandbags around their homes. The next storm is expected to slam into B.C. later Tuesday, with officials warning it could be the worst one in a series of three this month. Environment Canada has issued a series of special weather alerts for much of B.C.’s southwest and coast, with up to another 100 millimetres of rainfall predicted for the Fraser Valley between Tuesday and Wednesday along with winds up to 60 km/h. Areas of Vancouver Island and the Central Coast could see as much as 200 millimetres of rain. Read more on the forecast in B.C.

A Kitchener, Ont., widow is suing to get her house back after two companies and their directors allegedly duped her and her dying husband into selling their house for under market value — by telling them they could live there rent free for the rest of their lives. Cathrene and Mark Coombes sold their house for $191,000 to Municipal City Housing in January. Real estate records show a similar semi-detached house on the same street sold for $535,000 a few months later. Diagnosed in summer 2020 with terminal lung cancer that spread to his liver, bones and brain, Mark died in March. In her statement of claim, Cathrene argues that the defendants took advantage of Mark’s “diminished capacity” in the late stages of his illness and of her lack of involvement in the couple’s finances. Read the full story here.

WATCH | Ontario widow wants her ‘dream house’ back: 

Ontario widow wants her ‘dream house’ back

Canada’s defence minister will join the country’s top soldier in delivering a formal apology to survivors of sexual misconduct in the Armed Forces on Dec. 13. “All Defence Team members should be treated fairly in a workplace that is safe and free of any kind of harassment and discrimination,” says a joint statement from the federal government. “We know there is much more work to do to create lasting and positive culture change, and we will continue to listen to and learn from those affected to ensure we are taking the necessary action to make that change.” Defence Minister Anita Anand will apologize on behalf of the Government of Canada. Her deputy, Jody Thomas, will apologize on behalf of the Department of National Defence. Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre will apologize on behalf of the Armed Forces. Read more about the pending apology.

Hundreds of women may have been victimized as teens by a Calgary teacher who died by suicide after he was charged with sexual offences against former students, according to lawyers who launched a $40-million lawsuit. Filed in Calgary, the lawsuit is a proposed class action against the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) and Michael Gregory’s estate. He was a teacher from 1986 to 2006 at John Ware Junior High, where he was known as “the cool teacher,” according to Eryn MacKenzie. She is one of three named complainants in the lawsuit, which seeks to hold the CBE accountable, alleging teachers knew about Gregory’s behaviour, yet did nothing to protect students. In February, Gregory was charged with 17 counts of sexual assault and sexual exploitation involving six students. He took his own life five days later. Despite his death, the police investigation continued and 10 more complainants were identified, and 35 new witnesses, according to Calgary police. Lawyer Jonathan Denis, who filed the suit on behalf of the plaintiffs, alleges the school board failed to protect students. Read more on this story here.

WATCH | Calgary school board sued for not stopping sexual abuse by teacher: 

Calgary school board sued for not stopping sexual abuse by teacher

Amid a fireworks display of breaking stories that include warnings of a new and potentially worse COVID-19 variant of concern, Friday’s stock market tumble, worrying inflation updates and a new round of supply chain problems caused by B.C.’s flooding, data out this week on the Canadian economy is expected to be reassuringly bland. And after a weekend of hand-wringing, there are increasing signs — at least in financial circles — that despite a name that sounds like a Marvel Comics villain, the omicron variant is just more of the same. There remains plenty to learn about the latest coronavirus variant and its impact on the Canadian economy, but a stream of business news out this week will include Canada’s economic growth rate, unemployment figures and the state of our banks. While Canadian inflation hovering near five per cent remains a worry, new data for gross domestic product, out later this morning, is not expected to show the kind of economic growth that would set inflation soaring. Read more analysis from CBC business columnist Don Pittis.

Now for some good news to start your Tuesday: When heavy fog forced a Canadian Armed Forces helicopter crew from Quebec to make an emergency landing last week on the banks of the Fraser River near Yale, B.C., they were not expecting the series of generous events that followed. The crew, which included a B.C. doctor, had been on a medical mission, helping flood-impacted patients in the region. Some local residents responded by cutting down trees for a landing site, others made grilled cheese sandwiches and soup, and a member of the Hope, B.C., fire department offered up his cabin in Yale for the grounded crew to use. “In any hard times, a helping hand comes from anyone, anywhere,” said Yale’s Randall Gardner. “Thanks to every Canadian that has helped during the floods.” Read more about people who assisted the helicopter crew.

First Person: Kyle Beach’s openness about his sexual assault empowers male survivors like me

Women deserve safe spaces away from men who are perpetrators in the majority of sexual assault cases. But there are not a lot of resources for male sexual assault survivors who also need help, writes Chris Middleton. Read the column here.

Front Burner: B.C., climate change and what’s coming for Canada

British Columbia is still struggling with the fallout from record-breaking rains that caused floods and mudslides that killed six people and displaced thousands more. This, after the fatal heat dome of the summer, and the third-worst fire season on record. 

While experts say it’s impossible to determine whether this year’s extreme weather resulted directly from climate change, they will say climate change made these events worse. 

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan agreed to strike a joint provincial-federal committee to address disaster response and climate resilience. 

Today, environmental journalist Arno Kopecky on how B.C. is experiencing so many of the big climate change issues of our time. 

Front Burner30:00B.C., climate change and what’s coming for Canada

Today in history: November 30

1872: Lt.-Col. John McCrae, physician, poet and author of the famous war poem In Flanders Fields,  is born in Guelph, Ont. The poem was first published in Punch magazine in December 1915.

1874: Lucy Maud Montgomery is born in Clifton, P.E.I. Her first novel, Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908, put her on the literary map. She wrote eight more Anne stories, as well as the autobiographical Emily trilogy and about 500 short stories and 450 poems. 

1957: The Grey Cup between Hamilton and Winnipeg is the first to be covered on coast-to-coast television. The game is known for Hamilton defensive back Ray Bawel’s interception. As Bawel ran the ball toward the end zone, a spectator on the Winnipeg sideline stuck out his leg and tripped him. Hamilton would go on to win the game handily.

1988: The Ontario government introduces a bill to restrict smoking in the workplace, the first legislation of any Canadian province to control smoking in private offices.

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