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Canada to let vaccinated US citizens enter country on Aug. 9

Canada to let vaccinated US citizens enter country on Aug. 9

Canada will begin letting fully vaccinated U.S. citizens into Canada on Aug. 9, and those from the rest of the world on Sept. 7By ROB GILLIES Associated PressJuly 19, 2021, 7:26 PM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTORONTO — Canada announced Monday it will begin letting fully vaccinated U.S. citizens into Canada on Aug. 9, and those from the rest of the world on Sept. 7.Officials said the 14-day quarantine requirement will be waived as of Aug. 9 for eligible travelers who are currently residing in the United States and have received a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada.Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who said he spoke with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Friday, said the U.S. has not yet indicated any plan to change current restrictions at the land border. Canadians are able to fly into the United States with a negative COVID-19 test.Asked in Washington if the U.S. would reciprocate, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, “We are continuing to review our travel restrictions. Any decisions about resuming travel will be guided by our public health and medical experts. … I wouldn’t look at it through a reciprocal intention.”U.S. Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins, whose district includes Buffalo and Niagara Falls, said the U.S. has “neglected to give reopening the northern border the serious attention it deserves, and there is no excuse.”Canadian officials also announced that children who aren’t vaccinated but are travelling with vaccinated parents won’t have to quarantine, but will have to avoid group activities including schools and daycare centers.Transport Minister Omar Alghabra also said a ban on direct flights from India will be extended to Aug. 21 because of the delta variant. “The situation in India is still very serious,” he said.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that Canada could start allowing fully vaccinated Americans into the country as of mid-August for nonessential travel and should be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September.Canada leads G20 countries in vaccination rates, with approximately 80% of eligible Canadians vaccinated with their first dose and over 50% of those eligible fully vaccinated.“This weekend, we even passed the U,S. in terms of fully vaccinated people,” Trudeau said. “Thanks to the rising vaccination rates and declining COVID-19 cases, we are able to move forward with adjusted border measures.”Reopening to the U.S first is a “recognition of our unique bond, especially between border communities,” Trudeau said.In the early days of the pandemic, the U.S. and Canadian governments closed the more than 5,500-mile (8,800-kilometer) border to nonessential traffic. With increasing vaccination rates and dropping infection rates, some were annoyed the two governments hadn’t laid out plans to fully reopen the border.Canada began easing its restrictions earlier this month, allowing fully vaccinated Canadians or permanent legal residents to return Canada without quarantining. But among the requirements are a negative test for the virus before returning, and another once they get back.Pressure has been mounting on Canada to continue to ease the restrictions at the border, which have been in effect since March 2020. Providing exemptions for travel into Canada amid the pandemic is politically sensitive and Trudeau is expected to call a federal election next month.Canadian officials have said they would like 75% of eligible Canadian residents to be fully vaccinated before loosening border restrictions for tourists and business travelers. The Canadian government expects to have enough vaccine delivered for 80% of eligible Canadians to be fully vaccinated by the end of July. The U.S. only allowed for exports of vaccines into Canada in early May.Commercial traffic has gone back and forth normally between the two countries since the start of the pandemic.The U.S. Travel Association estimates that each month the border is closed costs $1.5 billion. Canadian officials say Canada had about 22 million foreign visitors in 2019 — about 15 million of them from the United States.

Jays get approval from Canada health; July 30 return likely

Jays get approval from Canada health; July 30 return likely

The Toronto Blue Jays have received approval by top Canadian health officials with one last sign-off required by the the country’s immigration minister for an exemption that would allow them to play in Canada starting July 30By ROB GILLIES Associated PressJuly 16, 2021, 10:05 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays have received approval from top Canadian health officials with one last sign-off required by the country’s immigration minister for an exemption on border restrictions that would allow them to play in Canada later this month, an official familiar with the talks told The Associated Press on Friday.The Blue Jays asked the federal government to allow them to play at Rogers Centre starting July 30 and wanted a response by Friday.An official confirmed the minister of immigration has the file and planned to make an announcement soon. The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly. The Blue Jays were expecting to get an answer on Friday.The Blue Jays played home games during the shortened 2020 season in Buffalo, New York, and started this season in Dunedin, Florida, before moving to Buffalo. The Canadian government didn’t allow the team to play in Toronto because of the risk of spreading COVID-19, citing frequent travel required in the U.S. during a baseball season.The U.S.-Canada border remains closed to nonessential travel, though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week those restrictions could end in mid-August.Major League Baseball requires an exemption for unvaccinated players and team staff to play games in Canada. As of this month, fully vaccinated players who have valid work permits are no longer required to complete a 14-day quarantine upon entry into Canada, but some teams have players who are not vaccinated. A quarantine exemption and protocols around that need to be approved.Talks between the Blue Jays and federal government accelerated over the last day.The team described Friday as a breaking point, noting the club has a long homestand starting July 30 that represents over 25% of the remaining games at a crucial juncture competitively. The Blue Jays entered Friday tied for third in the AL East.They require lead time in order to move what they need from Buffalo and to prepare for Toronto operations, including ticket sales, although the team has already begun preparations at Rogers Centre, according to two team officials who spoke the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.Toronto last played at 49,000-capacity Rogers Centre on Sept. 29, 2019, an 8-3 win over Tampa Bay.Blue Jays ace Hyun-Jin Ryu signed with the team before the 2020 season and has yet to pitch a game in Toronto.The club noted in a news release this week that MLB has high vaccination rates, with more than 85% of players and personnel fully vaccinated. The club said vaccinated players and staff on the home and visiting teams will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, with no quarantine requirement, and that fully vaccinated individuals will undergo weekly testing.The team said unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people on the home and visiting teams will adhere to a modified quarantine for their first 14 days in Canada. They will be permitted to leave their residence only to participate in baseball activities at Rogers Centre.———More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Fully vaccinated Americans may enter Canada as of mid-August

Fully vaccinated Americans may enter Canada as of mid-August

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada could start allowing fully vaccinated Americans into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel and should be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early SeptemberBy ROB GILLIES Associated PressJuly 16, 2021, 3:31 AM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday Canada could start allowing fully vaccinated Americans into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel and should be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September.Trudeau spoke with leaders of Canada’s provinces and his office released a readout of the call. He noted that if Canada’s current positive path of vaccination rate and public health conditions continue the border can open.“Canada would be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September,” the readout said. “He noted the ongoing discussions with the United States on reopening plans, and indicated that we could expect to start allowing fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel.”Trudeau noted Canada continues to lead G20 countries in vaccination rates with approximately 80% of eligible Canadians vaccinated with their first dose and over 50% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated. He said case numbers and severe illness continue to decline across the country as vaccination rates continue to increase.In the early days of the pandemic, the U.S. and Canadian governments closed the more than 5,500-mile (8,800-kilometer) border to nonessential traffic. With increasing vaccination rates and dropping infection rates, some were annoyed the two governments hadn’t laid out detailed plans to fully reopen the border.Canada began easing its restrictions earlier this month, allowing fully vaccinated Canadians or permanent legal residents to return Canada without quarantining. But among the requirements are a negative test for the virus before returning, and another once they get back.Pressure has been mounting on Canada to continue to ease the restrictions at the border, which have been in effect since March of last year.Providing exemptions for travel into Canada amid the pandemic is politically sensitive and Trudeau is expected to call a federal election next month.Trudeau said his ministers would share more details on the border early next week.Commercial traffic has gone back and forth normally between the two countries since the start of the pandemic. Canadians are able to fly into the United States with a negative COVID-19 test.The U.S. Travel Association estimates that each month the border is closed costs $1.5 billion. Canadian officials say Canada had about 22 million foreign visitors in 2019 — about 15 million of them from the United States.Tom Webb, a 63-year-old retired US navy pilot from Orchard Park, New York, said he’s seriously thinking of selling his cottage in Georgian Bay, Ontario after not being to access it for almost two years. He is vaccinated. “I am beyond frustrated,” he said.Canadian officials have said they would like 75% of eligible Canadian residents to be fully vaccinated before loosening border restrictions for tourists and business travelers. The Canadian government expects to have enough vaccine delivered for 80% of eligible Canadians to be fully vaccinated by the end of July. The U.S. only allowed for exports of vaccines into Canada in early May.Major League Baseball and the Toronto Blue Jays are hoping to win an exemption to allow for home games to be played in Toronto starting July 30. Allowing unvaccinated players into the country remains a sticking point but protocols will be put in place. The Blue Jays played home games during the shortened 2020 season in Buffalo, New York and started this season in Dunedin, Florida, before moving to Buffalo.The Canadian government didn’t allow the team to play at home in Toronto because of the risk of spreading COVID-19, citing frequent travel required in the U.S. during a baseball season.

AP source: No word by weekend on Blue Jays' return

AP source: No word by weekend on Blue Jays' return

The Toronto Blue Jays won’t find out by this weekend whether they will get permission from the federal government to play in Canada soon, a government official familiar with the talks told The Associated PressBy ROB GILLIES Associated PressJuly 15, 2021, 4:15 AM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays won’t find out by this weekend whether they will get permission from the federal government to play in Canada soon, a government official familiar with the talks told The Associated Press on Wednesday.A team spokeswoman said the club continues to work with the federal government toward playing games at Rogers Centre starting July 30, and expected to receive a response by Friday.But the government official familiar with the talks said the Blue Jays will not learn whether they will get to play in Toronto by the weekend. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because no one has been authorized to discuss the talks publicly.The U.S.-Canada border remains closed to nonessential travel. Major League Baseball will require an exemption for non vaccinated players and team staff to play games in Canada. As of last week, fully vaccinated athletes in MLB who have valid work permits are no longer required to a 14-day quarantine upon entry into Canada, but teams have players that are not vaccinated. A quarantine exemption and the protocols around that need to be worked out.Another official familiar with the talks reiterated the team is expecting an answer Friday based on conversations with the government and said that is the club’s breaking point time wise. The official noted the team has a long homestand starting July 30 that represents over 25% of the remaining games at a crucial juncture competitively. The Blue Jays are tied for third in American League East standings.A third official, who spoke on background as they were also not authorized to speak publicly, said it would be preferable to have lead time in order to move what the club needs from Buffalo and prepare for Toronto operations, including ticket sales, although they’ve begun preparations at Rogers Centre in Toronto already.If the Blue Jays are not given an exemption for the 10 game homestand that begins July 30 the next homestand begins August 20. Approval could come amid a federal election that’s widely expected to be called next month. Providing exemptions for travel into Canada is politically sensitive. Non essential fully vaccinated Americans and foreigners remain barred from entering Canada as the government works to get a high percentage of Canadians fully vaccinated by the end of July.The Blue Jays played home games during the shortened 2020 season in Buffalo and started this season in Dunedin, Florida, before moving to Buffalo. The Canadian government didn’t allow the team to play at home in Toronto because of the risk of spreading COVID-19, citing frequent travel required in the U.S. during a baseball seasonToronto last played at 49,000-capacity Rogers Centre on Sept. 29, 2019, an 8-3 win over Tampa Bay.Blue Jays ace Hyun-Jin Ryu signed with the team before the 2020 season and has yet to pitch a game in Toronto.The team noted in a release this week that Major League Baseball has high vaccination rates, with more than 85% of players and personnel fully vaccinated. The club said vaccinated players and staff on the home and visiting teams will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test with no quarantine requirement; and that fully vaccinated individuals will also undergo weekly testing.The team said unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals on the home and visiting teams will adhere to a modified quarantine for their first 14 days in Canada. They will be permitted to leave their residence only to participate in baseball activities at Rogers Centre.In Major League Soccer, Toronto FC and Montreal have been given the green light to play at home this weekend, with a limited number of fans in the stands.Toronto will host Orlando City on Saturday and the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday at BMO Field, while Montreal will entertain FC Cincinnati on Saturday at Saputo Stadium. The Vancouver Whitecaps will play “home” matches on July 17 and July 20 in Sandy, Utah, as conversations continue with the Canadian government.

Trudeau says Pope Francis should apologize on Canadian soil

Trudeau says Pope Francis should apologize on Canadian soil

TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday he has urged Pope Francis to come to Canada to apologize for church-run boarding schools where hundreds of unmarked graves have been found, and he said Canadians are “horrified and ashamed” by their government’s longtime policy of forcing Indigenous children to attend such schools.Indigenous leaders said this week that 600 or more remains were discovered at the Marieval Indian Residential School, which operated from 1899 to 1997 in the province of Saskatchewan. Last month, some 215 remains were reported at a similar school in British Columbia.From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend state-funded Christian schools, most run by Roman Catholic missionary congregations, in a campaign to assimilate them into Canadian society.Indigenous leaders have called for Pope Francis to apologize — a demand echoed again Friday by Trudeau, who said the pope should visit Canada to do it.“I have spoken personally directly with His Holiness, Pope Francis, to impress upon him how important it is not just that he makes an apology but that he makes an apology to indigenous Canadians on Canadian soil” Trudeau said.“I know that the Catholic church leadership is looking and very actively engaged in what next steps can be taken.”Following that discovery of the British Colombia remains, Francis expressed his pain and pressed religious and political authorities to shed light on “this sad affair.” But he stopped short of a formal apology.Don Bolen, archbishop of Regina, Saskatchewan, posted a letter to the Cowessess First Nation on the archdiocese’s website this week in which he repeated an apology he said he made two years ago.Nearly three-quarters of the 130 residential schools were run by Catholic missionary congregations, with others operated by the United, Presbyterian and Anglican churches, which earlier apologized for their roles in the abuse.Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a formal apology in Parliament in 2008 and Canada offered billions of dollars in compensation as part of a lawsuit settlement between the government, churches and the approximately 90,000 surviving students.The government has admitted that physical and sexual abuse was rampant in the schools, with students beaten for speaking their native languages. Thousands of children died there of disease and other causes, many never returned to their families.“This was an incredibly harmful government policy that was Canada’s reality for many, many decades and Canadians today are horrified and ashamed of how our country behaved,” Trudeau said. “It was a policy that ripped kids from their homes, from their communities, from their culture and their language and forced assimilation upon them.”Trudeau said many Canadians won’t be able to celebrate as the country marks its birthday on July 1.“Canadians across the country are waking up to something that quite frankly that Indigenous communities have long known,” Trudeau said.“The trauma of the past echoes very much today.”Indigenous leaders have called the residential schools a system of “cultural genocide.”A search with ground-penetrating radar at the Marieval school resulted in 751 ″hits,″ indicating that at least 600 bodies were buried in the area after accounting for a margin of error in the search technique, said Chief Cadmus Delorme of the Cowessess First Nation, whose lands today include the school.Delorme said the search continues and the numbers will be verified in coming weeks.He said the gravesite is believed to hold both children and adults, and perhaps people from outside the community who attended church there.Delorme said that the individual graves had once been marked, but that the church at some point removed the markers.Last month the remains of 215 children, some as young as 3, were found buried on the site of what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school near Kamloops, British Columbia.On Friday, the MIssionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, which operated 48 residential schools in Saskatchewan and British Columbia, including those where the bodies were recently found, said it will disclose all historical documents it has.It said in a statement that it already has worked to make the documents available through universities, archives and a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but that the work is not complete because of provincial and national privacy laws.A National Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued a report in 2015 that identified about 3,200 confirmed deaths at schools, but noted the schools did not record the cause of death in almost half of them. Many died of tuberculosis, an illness symptomatic of the deplorable living conditions.In the United States, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced this week that the federal government is launching an investigation into its past oversight of Native American boarding schools there. She said it will review records to identify past schools, locate burial sites and uncover the names and tribal affiliations of students.

EXPLAINER: Why some schools in Canada have unmarked graves

EXPLAINER: Why some schools in Canada have unmarked graves

TORONTO — Leaders of Indigenous groups in Canada say investigators have found more than 600 unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school for Indigenous children, which follows the discovery of 215 bodies at another school last month.The new discovery was at the Marieval Indian Residential School, which operated from 1899 to 1997 where the Cowessess First Nation is now located, about 85 miles (135 kilometers) east of Regina, the capital of the province of Saskatchewan.Ground-penetrating radar registered 751 ’’hits,″ indicating at least 600 bodies were buried, said Chief Cadmus Delorme of the Cowessess. Some and perhaps most are from over a century ago. The gravesite is believed to hold the bodies of children and adults, and even people from outside the community who attended church there.Perry Bellegarde, chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said it is not unusual to find such graves at former residential schools but is always a devastating discovery that reopens old wounds about the forced assimilation of native children at those often-abusive institutions.Many non-Indigenous Canadians were not aware of the extent of the problems at the schools until the remains of 215 children were found last month at what was once the country’s largest such school in British Columbia.WHAT ARE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS?From the 19th century until the 1970s, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend state-funded Christian boarding schools in an effort to assimilate them into Canadian society. Thousands of children died there of disease and other causes, with many never returned to their families.Nearly three-quarters of the 130 residential schools were run by Roman Catholic missionary congregations, with others operated by the Presbyterian, Anglican and the United Church of Canada, which today is the largest Protestant denomination in the country.The Canadian government has admitted its role in a century of isolating native children from their homes, families and cultures, and that physical and sexual abuse was rampant in the schools, where students were beaten for speaking their native language. That legacy of abuse and isolation has been cited by native leaders as a cause of alcoholism and drug addiction widely seen on reservations today.Indigenous leaders have called it a form of cultural genocide.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday called it “an incredibly harmful government policy that was Canada’s reality for many, many decades and Canadians today are horrified and ashamed of how our country behaved.”He said the policy “forced assimilation” on the children.WHAT’S BEHIND THE DISCOVERY OF THE REMAINS?A National Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was set up as part of a government apology and settlement, issued a report in 2015 that identified about 3,200 confirmed deaths at schools. While some died of diseases like tuberculosis amid the often- deplorable conditions, it noted that a cause of death for about half of them often was not recorded.The government wanted to keep costs down at the schools, so adequate regulations were never established, the reconciliation commission said..It said the practice at the schools was to not send the bodies home to their communities. Delorme said the graves at the Saskatchewan school were marked at one time, but that the Catholic operators of the facility had removed them.WHAT APOLOGIES HAVE BEEN MADE?Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized in Parliament in 2008 for the government’s role. Among the Christian denominations, the Presbyterian, Anglican and United churches also apologized for their roles in the abuse.A papal apology was one of 94 recommendations from the reconciliation commission, but the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said in 2018 that the pope could not personally apologize for the residential schools.Former Pope Benedict XVI met with some former students and victims in 2009 and told them of his “personal anguish” over their suffering.After last month’s discovery, Pope Francis expressed his pain and pressed religious and political authorities to shed light on “this sad affair,” but didn’t offer an apology.Trudeau said Friday he has spoken to Francis personally “to impress upon him how important it is not just that he makes an apology but that he makes an apology to indigenous Canadians on Canadian soil.”Archbishop Don Bolen of the Regina Archdiocese posted a letter on its website this week to the Cowessess First Nation in which he repeated an apology he said he made two years ago.WHAT COMPENSATION HAS BEEN OFFERED?The reconciliation commission was created as part of a $5 billion Canadian ($4 billion U.S.) class action settlement in 2005, the largest in Canadian history.Under the settlement, students who attended the schools were eligible to receive $10,000 Canadian ($8,143 U.S.) for the first school year and $3,000 Canadian ($2,443 U.S.) for every year thereafter. Victims of physical and sexual abuse were eligible for further compensation.Trudeau has said the government will help preserve gravesites and search for unmarked burial grounds at other schools, but he and his ministers have stressed the need for indigenous communities to decide for themselves how they want to proceed.The government previously announced $27 million Canadian ($22 million U.S.) for the effort in what it called a first step.

US-Canada border restrictions extended until July 21

US-Canada border restrictions extended until July 21

Canada’s public safety minister says border restrictions on nonessential travel with the United States will be extended until July 21By ROB GILLIES Associated PressJune 18, 2021, 8:23 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleTORONTO — Border restrictions on nonessential travel with the United States will be extended until July 21, officials said Friday, as Canada works to get a higher percentage of Canadians fully vaccinated.Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said the move has been made in coordination with the U.S. There are growing calls in the U.S. to open the Canada-U.S. border for nonessential travel like tourism, but less than 20% of Canadians are fully vaccinated.“We’re still seeing cases across the country and we want to get them down,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “At the same time we also know we have to hit our targets of 75% vaccinated with the first dose and at least 20% vaccinated with the second dose before we can start loosening things up because even a fully vaccinated individual can pass on COVID-19 to someone who is not vaccinated.”Trudeau said they need to ensure communities to which fully vaccinated travelers return to are not at risk“Even though they are protected from hospitalization the people around them might not be,” Trudeau said.The ban on nonessential travel across the Canada-U.S. border was announced in March 2020 and has been extended every month since.Even some provinces in Canada remain closed to each other. Ontario and Quebec only this week allowed nonessential travel between the two provinces. And Atlantic Canada will be closed to Canadians from elsewhere well into July.The government expects to have enough vaccine delivered for 80% of eligible Canadians to be fully vaccinated by the end of July.About 70% of eligible Canadians have had at least one dose of vaccine and second doses are ramping up this month and next. Canada delayed administering a second dose to get more people a level of protection with the first dose faster and as the country waited for more supply to arrive.Canada only started getting U.S. manufactured vaccines in May as the U.S. didn’t allow exports until then. Canada had largely been getting vaccines from Europe until then.Blair noted the government plans to release details on Monday about fully vaccinated Canadians who return to the country. The Trudeau government has said it anticipates fully vaccinated Canadian citizens who test negative for COVID-19 will be exempt from two weeks of quarantine when returning to the country in early July.Trudeau said the government plans to have Canadians upload proof of vaccination pictures to an app so border agents can verify someone is fully vaccinated when travelling this summer.Two U.S. members of Congress who co-chair the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group, criticized the extension. Western New York Democrat Brian Higgins and Michigan Republican Bill Huizenga decried the lack of transparency around the border talks between Canada and the U.S. as a disservice to residents on both sides of the border who are waiting to see loved ones and renew business ties.Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said the policy should be based on whether a traveler is vaccinated, not on nationality. He noted France now allows Canadians and Americans to visit, which makes it easier to travel abroad than within this country and to our closest neighbor. “What the government is doing flies in the face of science, of economics and good public policy,” Beatty said.