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COVID-19 numbers and news for Dec. 17

There were 401 active COVID-19 cases in the Northern Health region as of Dec. 17 with 47 new cases reported Thursday (1,462 total). There have been 1,046 recoveries, 15 related deaths, and . . .

There were 401 active COVID-19 cases in the Northern Health region as of Dec. 17 with 47 new cases reported Thursday (1,462 total). 

There have been 1,046 recoveries, 15 related deaths, and 41,762 tests to date. Forty-seven are in hospital, 19 in critical care.

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The BC Centre for Disease Control reports 39 cases in northeast B.C. from Dec. 11 to 17, and 386 since Jan. 1.

Between January and November, 160 cases were reported in Peace River North, 102 in Peace River South, and 5 in Fort Nelson.

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Northern Health reports recent exposures at Dawson Creek Secondary (South Peace) on Dec. 8, Fort Nelson Secondary Dec. 7, and Ecole Central Elementary Dec. 2-3.

Across B.C., there were 10,009 active cases reported as of Dec. 17, with 673 new cases reported Thursday (44,776 total).

There have been 32,963 recoveries and 713 deaths to date, with 21 deaths reported Thursday.

There are 362 patients in hospital, 91 in critical care. Another 10,538 people are being monitored by public health.

In northern Alberta, there were 1,214 active cases, 4,3455 recoveries, and 57 deaths as of Dec. 17. Thirty-four are in hospital, seven in critical care.

The latest for Dec. 17:

  • The North Peace Arena won't be reopening in January as scheduled.

  • B.C.’s Ministry of Health doesn’t have to give three First Nations COVID-19 data on cases outside their communities, B.C.’s information and privacy commissioner ruled Dec. 17.

  • B.C.’s deficit is expected to grow to $13.6 billion by the end of the fiscal year next spring, almost a billion dollars higher than was forecast in September.

  • The latest on COVID at Site C: 22 cases to date, 8 workers in self-isolation.

  • Big White Ski Resort in Kelowna says it has fired "a number" of staff after a cluster of 60 cases of COVID-19 was discovered earlier this week.

  • Some stock trading platforms say usership has spiked in 2020, as a whipsawing stock market and more time at home has a growing number of Canadians trying their hand at day trading.

The latest for Dec. 16:

  • B.C. gaming investigators, conservation officers, community safety unit inspectors, as well as liquor and cannabis inspectors will be used to increase COVID-19 enforcement.

  • When five-day-old Nora Forrest was first hospitalized with COVID-19, her parents didn't know if she would survive.

  • Parliament's budget watchdog estimates the Liberals will spend more this year on a wage-subsidy program than expected, but less in 2021.

  • A restaurant industry group is asking Canadians to imagine life without local restaurants after it says the country lost more than 10,000 eateries since the introduction of pandemic lockdowns.

  • Canadians who worried about having enough food during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic this spring were more likely to perceive their mental health as poor and report anxiety symptoms than those who did not, Statistics Canada said in a new report Wednesday.

  • The latest on COVID at Site C: 22 cases to date, 11 workers in self-isolation.

The latest for Dec. 15:

  • Premier John Horgan said the province will increase enforcement of health orders in the next two weeks – the heart of the traditional holiday season - including pursuing and collecting more vigourously from those who are issued fines.

  • The Canada Revenue Agency says it is introducing a simplified process to claim up to $400 in office expenses for Canadians working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • B.C. has never had a higher number of serious COVID-19 infections than it has right now, with a record 361 patients in hospital with infections, and a record 93 of those people in intensive care units.

  • The first vaccination in B.C. was administered Tuesday.

  • The U.S. biotech firm Moderna is set to start delivering thousands of doses of its vaccine to Canada ahead of schedule this month, as long as it is approved it for use.

  • The Moderna vaccine will likely “go straight up North” to remote communities because of the latter’s more lenient temperature requirements.

  • There are 16 Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,287 workers reported at camp.

The latest for Dec. 14:

The latest for Dec. 10:

The latest for Dec. 9:

  • The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be available in B.C. next week, health officials said Wednesday, though northern B.C. will remain on the waiting list until the new year.

  • There are 20 Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,424 workers reported at camp.

  • Health Canada approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, paving the way for vaccinations to begin countrywide as early as next Tuesday.

  • Positive news about vaccine delivery won't be enough to give the economy a shot in the arm to start 2021, the Bank of Canada says as it kept its key interest rate on hold and warned rising COVID-19 cases in Canada will weigh on near-term growth.

  • Minks test positive for COVID-19 on B.C. farm where workers are sick.

  • Economic Development Minister Mélanie Joly says federal marketing strategies might need to shift away from attracting foreign visitors to Canada for the foreseeable future, as COVID-19 keeps suppressing travel.

  • B.C.’s information and privacy commissioner says his office continues to watch how a relaxing of privacy laws on sharing of COVID-19 health data is being handled by the provincial government.

The latest for Dec. 8:

  • British Columbians will be able to apply to receive a one-time COVID-19 payment from the provincial government starting Dec. 18.

  • Canada's chief public health officer says the first doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine are likely to be given only to people who can physically be at one of the 14 delivery sites identified by provincial governments for the first arrivals of the vaccine.

  • There are 22 Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,418 workers reported at camp.

  • The average Canadian family will pay up to an extra $695 for food next year, as the pandemic, wildfires and changing consumer habits drive up grocery bills to the highest increase ever predicted by an annual food price report.

The latest for Dec. 3:

The latest for Dec. 2:

The latest for Dec. 1:

  • Around 300 people gathered in downtown Fort St. John on Tuesday to protest pandemic-related lockdowns and a World Economic Forum program known as "The Great Reset."

  • BC Hydro says another three Site C workers have tested positive.

  • The number of British Columbians dying from COVID-19-related complications has started to ramp up, with 16 fatalities in the past 24 hours, and 58 deaths in the past four days.

  • Liberals defend vaccine deals and distribution plans.

  • Provinces are criticizing the federal Liberals for failing to signal more help for health-care systems.

  • A new poll suggests most Canadians aren't currently worried that people in other countries might get a COVID-19 vaccine first.

  • Public health orders have to balance science with society to be effective, former MHO says

  • Ottawa's plan to provide aid for the struggling tourism sector was greeted with relief Tuesday, while Canada's airlines awaited word on support for their industry.

The latest for Nov. 30:

The latest for Nov. 27:

The latest for Nov. 26:

The latest for Nov. 25:

The latest for Nov. 24:

The latest for Nov. 23:

The latest for Nov. 20:

  • Northern Health is warning of possible COVID-19 exposures at North Peace Secondary School over the last week.

  • Four more Site C workers have tested positive for COVID-19, BC Hydro says.

  • Volunteers needed as Northern B.C. Crisis Centre deals with jump in calls.

  • Elections BC has revised its estimated pandemic vote turnout for the provincial election in October, but the increased figure is still a historic low for the province.

  • Trudeau: "Quite frankly, a normal Christmas is right out of the question."

  • More than two-thirds of the employers in Canada's oil and gas sector imposed labour cost reduction measures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, including 37% who enacted permanent layoffs.

  • Here's how Canadian businesses can get up to 90% rent subsidy.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is warning that Canada's future hangs in the balance if people don't reduce their contacts to prevent dire new COVID-19 projections from becoming a reality.

  • Approvals for immigration applications fell by about three-quarters from the months before the country shut down to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and after.

  • A rapid rise in the number of active COVID-19 cases in First Nations communities on reserve — especially in Alberta and Saskatchewan — likely does not tell the full story due to lack of data.

The latest for Nov. 19:

The latest for Nov. 18:

  • Northern Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Peace Villa after a worker tested positive for the virus.

  • Two men living in a long-term care home in Dawson Creek were the latest in northern B.C. to die from the COVID-19 virus, Northern Health has confirmed.

  • Northern Health is warning of a COVID-19 virus exposure at Chetwynd Secondary School on Nov. 13.

  • There are 14 Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,518 workers reported at camp.

  • Canadians’ psychological distress, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms have increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new UBC study has found.

  • School trustees have approved a plan to reopen the Ma Murray school gym to community clubs on a trial basis during the ongoing pandemic.

  • B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming says he hopes the government will be able to avoid school closures under any scenario but he would defer to advice from public health officials should COVID-19 cases worsen.

  • B.C. sees record 11 COVID deaths in a day, as hospitalizations reach record high.

  • Northern British Columbians will need to bear down to avoid the restrictions now in place in the Lower Mainland, Northern Health officials warned Tuesday amid some worrying trends in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Premier John Horgan says he will lobby Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a national COVID-19 travel plan. 

  • Alberta facing 'exponential growth' of COVID-19 cases.

  • Modelling released by B.C. health officials last week indicates COVID-19 cases are doubling across the province roughly every two weeks. It’s a trajectory that puts the province on track for 4,000 cases per day by Christmas, said UBC infectious disease modeller Dan Coombs.

  • Canada expects to receive six million doses of COVID-19 vaccines early in the new year, Ontario's health minister said Wednesday.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the military could play an integral part in rolling out COVID-19 vaccines across the country, though questions remain around cost and distribution.

  •  Security, health experts to lead review of Canada's pandemic warning system.

  • Nunavut's chief public health officer says capacity to deal with an outbreak of COVID-19 is "stretched," which is why the government has shut down the territory for two weeks to try to get cases of COVID-19 under control.

The latest for Nov. 12:

The latest for Nov. 10:

The latest for Nov. 9:

The latest for Nov. 6:

The latest for Nov. 5:

  • Fort St. John will receive $3.7 million in economic recovery funding from a federal package to help cope with COVID-19.

  • Northeast B.C. has seen three straight months of job growth, but worry remains about the number of losses in full-time work and the construction and goods industries, and the impact that may have on the region's post-pandemic economic recovery.

  • There are five Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,487 workers reported at camp.

  • 2020 Remembrance Day services

  • There were 425 new COVID cases reported in B.C. today, a new daily record.

  • Employees have no constitutional Charter right to go against an employer’s mandate that staff wear masks as part of pandemic safety measures: lawyer

The latest for Oct. 30:

The latest for Oct. 29:

  • There are six Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,598 workers reported at camp.

  • The Fraser Health region had nearly three quarters of the 1,818 new COVID cases over the last week.

  • The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said Thursday its latest business barometer, which measures the outlook of entrepreneurs, fell six points in October to hit a five-month low of 53.3.

  • Fewer wells to be drilled in Alberta and Saskatchewan but more in British Columbia as PSAC updates forecast.

The latest for Oct. 28:

  • Northern Health is warning of a possible COVID-19 exposure at Fort Nelson Secondary School earlier this month, but says the risk of any new cases is "very low."

  • Canada has reversed about two-thirds of the economic decline seen in the first half of the year, says the Bank of Canada, but officials estimate the economy will still shrink by 5.7% this year.

  • There are 12 Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,624 workers reported at camp.

  • A youth soccer club in Chilliwack has hired a security firm to patrol the sidelines during games because of what the club describes as "borderline violent" confrontations over COVID-19 restrictions.

The latest for Oct. 27:

  • Fort St. John city council offered no solutions Monday to trim an estimated $2.8 million deficit and steer away from five years of predicted tax increases, but some had plenty to say about media headlines and taxpayers talking online about city spending.

  • There are 13 Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,622 workers reported at camp.

  • As of the end of August, the four big energy megaprojects in B.C. employed roughly 12,500 workers. That includes 4,600 at Site C dam, 2,849 for the Coastal GasLink pipeline and 3,000 with LNG Canada.

  • Health officials monitor record 5,101 people.

  • Financial columnist Brad Brain, on investing: "A lot of people fear bear markets, but there is nothing inherently evil about things coming down in price. In fact, bear markets can be a phenomenal opportunity to acquire more shares in great investments at cheap prices."

  • he federal government is asking senators to conduct a "dispassionate" review of its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic — as partisan combat over the issue continues among elected members of the House of Commons.

  • The country's top public servant is offering to testify about controversial redactions to some 5,000 pages of documents the government released on the WE Charity affair.

  • Monday's re-election of another incumbent premier in Canada's third recent provincial election shows Canadians don't want to "rock the boat" during a global pandemic, say political experts.

The latest for Oct. 26:

The latest for Oct. 23:

The latest for Oct. 22:

The latest for Oct. 20:

The latest for Oct. 13:

  • BC Hydro is reporting a third COVID-19 case at the Site C work camp.

  • There are six Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,607 workers reported at camp.

  • The Fort St. John Huskies and Dawson Creek Junior Canucks will begin their five-game exhibition series this Friday — no fans allowed.

  • Recreation vehicle, boat sales revved up in July, while booze sales were up 14.3%.

  • B.C. health officials identified 549 new COVID-19 cases in the past four days as a backlog in testing was cleared by BC Centre for Disease Control staff.

  • Operators of Canada's conference centres, airports and stadiums are joining a global rush to be certified as pandemic-resistant while they compete for events and visitors that will bring billions of dollars in economic benefits for their cities.

  • Canadian universities could lose as much as $3.4 billion this year, Statistics Canada has projected, in large part due to a decrease in the number of foreign students.

  • Many households reported being just hundreds of dollars away from bankruptcy, a sign they're living paycheque to paycheque.

The latest for Oct. 9:

The latest for Oct. 8:

  • Nunavut's chief public health officer says an outbreak of COVID-19 at a gold mine has been contained.

  • Health Canada is in talks with all of the vaccine developers that signed supply deals with the federal government to kickstart the approval process and get COVID-19 vaccines to Canadians as soon as possible.

  • There are three Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,646 workers reported at camp.

  • Dr. Bonnie Henry is urging businesses to ensure they are in compliance with health and safety standards to protect employees from COVID-19.

  • Canada's privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien warns the pandemic is fuelling rapid societal and economic changes at a time when outdated laws provide inadequate protection — he cites the heated debates about contact-tracing applications and their effect on privacy, and the fact many have been asked to provide details about their health at the airport, or before entering workplaces and stores.

  • As payment deferrals offered during the height of the pandemic come to an end and many Canadians remain out of work or underemployed, experts say if you think you need financial help, the sooner you seek it the better.

  • Ottawa doubles COVID fund for abused women to $100 million.

The latest for Oct. 7:

  • Canada's chief electoral officer is asking Parliament to quickly pass a temporary new law to give Elections Canada the tools it needs to conduct a federal election safely in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • North Peace Secondary is running three sports programs right now — all four volleyball teams, boys soccer, and cross country. Official competition has been ruled out, there are no team scrimmages, and physical distancing and masks are part of the practice norm.

  • There are six Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,667 workers reported at camp.

  • A new study says many Canadian entrepreneurs are focused on shoring up their balance sheets after recording a drastic drop in revenues and mounting debt during the first wave of COVID-19.

  • The pandemic may serve as an opportunity for the restaurant industry to innovate in order to avoid closures as public health measures limit the sale of booze and erode already thin profit margins, say addiction and business experts.

  • Parliament's spending watchdog says relatively little of the government's new sickness benefit will go to people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

  • The number of daily COVID-19 cases reported in Canada increased 40 per cent in the last week compared to the previous one, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says.

The latest for Oct. 6:

The latest for Oct. 5:

  • There are four Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,596 workers reported at camp.

  • Dawson Creek Secondary School's South Peace campus is the latest school with an exposure alert.

  • The Northeast B.C. Community Foundation began accepting applications for round two of the Emergency Community Support Fund on Oct. 1, for charities affected by COVID-19.

  • BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson and BC NDP leader John Horgan both announced their seniors plan for this election.

  • Wilkinson announced a $7,000 tax credit for seniors and home support services, and plan to invest $1 billion over the next five years to fast track construction for long term care facilities across the province.

  • Horgan says he'll spend $1.4 billion over 10 years to revamp elder care facilities and their administration.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he was tested for COVID-19 last month after developing a "tickle" in his throat but it came back negative.

  • A $35-million program first announced at the end of July will subsidize farms' purchases of personal protective equipment and sanitary stations and it will help to cover extra costs in cases of COVID-19 outbreaks.

The latest for Oct. 2:

  • There are three Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,639 workers reported at camp.

  • Crown corporations have handed out an estimated $422 billion in loans, guarantees and deferrals to businesses since the start of the pandemic, the parliamentary budget officer says in a report that warns about a lack of details around the measures.

  •  A bill authorizing new benefits for workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic received royal assent Friday, assuring continued financial support now that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit has come to an end.

  • The lead-up to Remembrance Day will look a little different this year as the Royal Canadian Legion adapts its poppy campaign to the pandemic.

  • Suncor Energy says it will eliminate as many as 1,930 jobs over the next 18 months as a result of cost-cutting to deal with low oil prices and market volatility.

The latest for Oct. 1:

  • The first-ever assembly at Anne Roberts Young Elementary School was missing one important thing — its students. Staff, community dignitaries and invited guests celebrated the grand opening of the brand new school on Sept. 28 as students and teachers watched via video from their classrooms. 

  • The federal government is promising to finally spend $10 billion that has sat in the accounts of its infrastructure financing agency for years, hoping to create thousands of post-pandemic jobs.

  •  The RCMP has eased restrictions that sidelined bearded officers, including some Sikh and Muslim members, from front-line policing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The government's representative in the Senate is promising to introduce a motion Friday to hold hybrid sittings of the upper house during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest for Sept. 30:

The latest for Sept. 29:

  • Government House leader Pablo Rodriguez says proposed legislation for new COVID-19 aid programs will be a matter of confidence in the minority Liberal government.

  • The federal deficit for the year is on track to hit $328.5 billion as a result of COVID-19.

  • Trudeau pledges extra $400 million in humanitarian aid to fight COVID-19

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 1,606 workers reported at camp.

  • B.C. has now reported more than 9,000 cases — of those, 7,485 people have recovered.

  • There 69 British Columbians in hospital, 20 in intensive care. There has not been more people in hospital with COVID-19 in B.C. since May 8.

  • Ottawa unveils guidelines and deal for rapid COVID-19 tests as calls for approval mount.

  • Montreal restaurateurs say they don't understand why the provincial government is ordering their businesses to close even though there have been no COVID-19 outbreaks tied to the city's famed restaurant industry.

  • Figures from the Canada Border Services Agency show international air travel remains severely depressed.

The latest for Sept. 14:

  • Dr. Bonnie Henry says the public will be informed if there are any COVID-19 outbreaks in schools.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending his government against accusations it didn't act fast enough to warn Canadians about the danger COVID-19 posed to health and the economy.

  • Trudeau warned Canadians against relaxing their guard against COVID-19 as he and his cabinet kicked off two days of closed-door meetings to discuss the pandemic and how to lead the country through a second wave.

  • Air passengers will be asked to provide contact information at check-in so local public health officials can get in touch if needed.

  • There are three Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,539 workers reported at camp.

  • The Fort St. John Senior Flyers hockey club is optimistic about icing a team this season, but remains unsure of when on-ice activities will begin.

  • When the 2020-21 Inconnu Swim Club season begins Sept. 21, it will be under the direction of new head coach Josh Sorensen.

  • A trio of federal cabinet ministers is warning COVID-19 researchers to take additional precautions to protect their efforts from thieves and vandals.

The latest for Sept. 10:

The latest for Sept. 9:

  • B.C. is spending $1.6 billion on flu immunization, health care staffing, testing, and contact tracing.

  • Increasing case counts in B.C. are partly the result of increased testing.

  • The Site C workforce continued its approach back to 5,000 in July as construction nears pre-pandemic levels and record-high employment set earlier this year.

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 1,553 workers reported at camp.

  •  WE Charity says it is closing its Canadian operations, blaming COVID-19 and the political fallout with the Liberal government.

  • The federal government is extending by one month the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program for small businesses.

  • The federal government and eight banks have launched a $221-million program for Black Canadian entrepreneurs, more than half of it for cash loans.

  • The annual Terry Fox Run is going virtual throughout the Peace region this year to mark its 40th anniversary.

  • The Northeast B.C. Predators wrapped training camp in Tumbler Ridge last week, and are ready and cleared to begin play in the Northern B.C. Female A League in October.

  • The Fivestar Boxing Academy kept things rolling throughout the summer, and is ready to resume full training for the fall.

The latest for Sept. 8:

  • The average daily number of Canadians testing positive over the last week is 545 — a 25% increase over the previous week

  • There are two Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,519 workers reported at camp.

  • The level of satisfaction with how the federal government has dealt with the pandemic fell by six points to 64%, a rating identical to the one posted by municipal administrations.

  • For those who have chosen to send their kids back to school, mornings are soon about to get a little more complicated.

The latest for Sept. 4:

The latest for Sept. 3:

  • The B.C. Teachers Federation wants $242 million in federal funding earmarked for B.C.’s return to in-class instruction to decrease class sizes and promote physical distancing.

  • Education Minister Rob Fleming says school districts will decide where best to devote the $242 million in federal funding.

  • The B.C. government says temporary pandemic pay that was promised to essential workers in mid-May should be coming in October.

  • 61% of Canadians who took part in the Pew Research Center survey released Thursday described the country's current economic situation as bad.

  • Premier John Horgan says the province will continue to use a "carrot and stick" approach to encouraging people to follow COVID-19 safety measures.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,480 workers reported at camp.

  • The Liberal and Conservative parties say they'll no longer use the federal government's wage-subsidy program.

  • The commander of the Canadian Armed Forces is encouraging his troops to download the federal government's app for tracking potential exposure to COVID-19, saying he has no privacy or security concerns about the program.

  • The head of Canada’s public health agency has offered some tips for safe sex in a pandemic, suggesting that in-person contact doesn’t have to mean face-to-face.

  • The 2021 world luge championship will not be held in Whistler because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • International travellers arriving at Toronto's Pearson airport can now be tested for COVID-19 as part of a voluntary study to explore the effectiveness of quarantines.

The latest for Sept. 2:

The latest for Sept. 1:

  • A passenger with COVID-19 was aboard a flight out of Fort St. John on Aug. 26, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

  • An employee at the Rolla Ag has been confirmed for COVID-19.

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 1,477 workers reported at camp.

  •  An outbreak in the Nass Valley has prompted an alert from the Northern and First Nations health authorities.

  • The Pomeroy Sport Centre and Kids Arena Fieldhouse will open Tuesday, Sept. 8. The opening of the North Peace Leisure Pool has been pushed to Saturday, Sept. 19. 

  • The federal government does not plan to make getting a COVID-19 vaccine mandatory.

  • Legislature columnist Les Leyne, on the pandemic eating B.C.'s last surplus, and current one too: "The ongoing countermeasures all rely on billions of dollars of new debt."

  • Dr. Bonnie Henry's says her back-to-school ad being criticized as unrealistic wasn't meant to be a commercial about what classrooms would look like.

The latest for Aug. 31:

  • With the coming of fall and flu season, British Columbians need to go back to shrinking their social bubbles and interactions, says provincial health officer Bonnie Henry.

  • The pandemic turned B.C.'s 2019-20 budget forecast from black to red in less than three months, with the government's final budget numbers for the fiscal year ended March 31 showing a deficit of $321 million. This year's budget numbers are pointing to a 2020-21 deficit of $12.5 billion,

  • The federal government has signed agreements with two more American suppliers to reserve millions of doses of their experimental COVID-19 vaccines for Canadians.

  • As the Liberal government toils away on a throne speech and post-pandemic recovery plan, newly elected Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole is equally at work on his own response.

  • A passenger suffering a case of COVID-19 was aboard a flight out of Prince George on Aug. 21. 

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 1,443 workers reported at camp.

  • Canada's federal banking regulator is phasing out requirements around mortgage deferrals for homeowners hard-hit financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Capital spending in the country's oil and gas sector fell by 54 per cent in the quarter ended June 30 as numerous producers chopped budgets amid sliding global oil prices.

The latest for Aug. 28:

The latest for Aug. 27:

  • The majority of cases in northeast B.C. from January to July were in Peace River North, according to new data published by the BC Centre for Disease Control.

  • All indications are B.C. politicians will continue to avoid the B.C. Legislature by conducting meetings remotely, while also sending children and teachers into classrooms with no physical distancing among cohorts.

  • The double blow of collapsing oil prices and the COVID-19 crisis have pushed Alberta into a historic deficit of $24.2 billion.

  • Warnings of possible COVID-19 exposure have been issued for eight more flights.

  • There are four Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,511 workers reported at camp.

The latest for Aug. 26:

  • Band will continue, inter-school sports are cancelled, and mandatory masks on the bus — click here for highlights from School District 60's restart plan.

  • The federal government is promising to deliver “up to” $2 billion to provinces and territories to bolster safety plans to bring students back into the classroom.

  • The North West Junior Hockey Leage season won't begin on time, though teams could begin a modified season, or "pod play", on Oct. 26.

  • B.C. seniors in long-term care and their family members are being asked to participate in a survey to chronicle their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest for Aug. 25:

  • A 20-year-old Victoria man who had two parties broken up over the weekend says he plans to fight the $2,300 ticket he received for breaching the COVID-19 Related Measures Act.

  • MP Bob Zimmer, on PM Trudeau shutting down Parliament: "Earlier this year, the Prime Minister shamefully suspended regular sittings of the House of Commons to try to avoid accountability. Now he has locked out Opposition MPs who were working hard to fix his government’s pandemic programs, help Canadians, and get to the bottom of the WE scandal.

  • MLA Dan Davies, on the NDP's school plan: "I know there will be a lot of challenges ahead, but I cannot thank parents, teachers and school districts enough for everything they have done to help support our children’s learning and for reaching out and engaging with my colleagues and me as much as they have these past few months — and I hope you will all continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead."

  • The BC Centre for Disease Control has added several more flights to its list of possible COVID-19 exposures.

  • The federal government is pledging $82.5 million to improve access and address growing demand for mental health services in Indigenous communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Canada's chief public health officer is warning against the spread of online untruths about vaccines, as a new survey suggests some Canadians are worried about getting inoculated against COVID-19.

The latest for Aug. 24:

  • More than 260 new cases have been confirmed since Friday, but B.C. is still doing a good job of limiting the virus’ spread through contact tracing, says Dr. Bonnie Henry.

  • Enbridge recently made a donation of $10,000 to the Fort St. John Hospital Foundation's COVID-19 Greatest Need Campaign.

  • British Columbians have never bought so much legal weed. The province’s legal cannabis retailers sold $29,393,000 worth of recreational marijuana products in June – almost seven times the $4,230,000 in revenue that they generated in June 2019.

  • Health experts don’t know exactly what it will look like having two viruses – the flu and COVID-19 – circulating at the same time this fall, but it could be “dangerous.”

  • Use glitter to teach kids about COVID spread, paramedics say.

  • When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, trucker Dave Wye had to think long and hard about whether he was willing to stay on the front lines. The 54-year-old, a second-generation long-haul driver from Windsor, Ont., worried his exposure while transporting whiskey and wine between Quebec and Kentucky would risk his own health as well as his family's.

  • Victoria police have handed out tickets to partiers breaching provincial health orders two nights in a row — both times at the same residence.

The latest for Aug. 21:

  • Property owners and organizers can be fined $2,000 for hosting events in violation of public health orders in B.C. under stronger penalties announced today.

  • Police and the likes of liquor, gaming and conservation inspectors and officers can now fine site owners, such as businesses, or organizers of gatherings and events who contravene the provincial health officer's order on gatherings and events, which are limited to under 50 people and must provide for physical distancing and other safety measures.

  • But facing media questions, it is not clear, in some instances, what constitutes a violation, nor is it clear the body of evidence that supports these new enforcement measures. Farnworth was not able to provide data on how many cases of COVID-19 have occurred as a result of explicit violations of public health orders.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,466 workers reported at camp.

The latest for Aug. 20:

  • The federal Liberals are rolling out a $37-billion income-support plan for workers whose earnings have crashed during the pandemic.

  • An independent Senator is advocating for an experimental basic income program at the provincial level, citing the complications to the employment insurance program after the end of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,459 workers reported at camp.

The latest for Aug. 19:

  • For the third day in a row, a record number of people are fighting COVID-19 infections in B.C. — the count rose to 798 on August 19, up from 775 on August 18, and 743 on August 17.

  • Canada’s natural resource and manufacturing sectors can provide up to 2.6 million jobs and a 17% jump in GDP to guide the nation’s economic recovery through the COVID-19 pandemic, says a new report issued Wednesday.

  • The B.C. Teachers' Federation wants the province to reduce class sizes and make the use of masks mandatory wherever physical distancing isn't possible as part of its back-to-school plan.

  • The Northeast Regional Community Foundation says it has awarded $75,000 in emergency grants to eight Peace region groups responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,474 workers reported at camp.

  • Some four million workers will move onto EI next month when a key COVID-19 benefit for workers, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, begins to wind down.

The latest for Aug. 18:

  • The province has again extended its provincial state of emergency.

  • A third and final regional business liaison has been hired to help area businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,444 workers reported at camp.

  • Stricter penalties are on the way for those who ignore public health guidelines, after the province reported a record-breaking jump in COVID-19 cases.

  • How COVID-19 is changing back-to-school shopping and budgets.

  • MLA Dan Davies, on the NDP's back to school plans: "At a time when B.C. is recording more daily cases of COVID than we have seen since April, households with immune-compromised children or multi-generational families are seeking other learning options for their children. Troublingly, the NDP isn’t offering the same hybrid learning options that were available in June and most of the distance learning programs that are available are already being overwhelmed with applications."

  • Financial columnist Brad Brain, on how to create wealth: "The most profitable businesses are difficult to live without, difficult to compete with, difficult to replicate. I will use some examples to illustrate. Let’s say that you have a choice between investing in a Canadian bank, or a marijuana company."

  • Taking on more credit card debt has not been part of the pandemic plan for many Canadians — credit card balances fell 12.3 per cent in the second quarter compared with the same period a year ago.

  • The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has added more domestic flights to its list of possible COVID-19 exposures.

  • B.C. will continue to offer a $300 COVID-19 crisis supplement for low-income seniors, as well as financial support for provincial disability and income clients.

The latest for Aug. 17:

The latest for Aug. 14:

  • B.C. has identified 247 cases of COVID-19 in the past three days – more than in any other three-day period since cases started appearing in late January.

  • The Fort St. John Public Library will be open to the public for browsing starting Aug. 18.

  • There are two Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,447 workers reported at camp.

  • The Canada-US border will remain closed to non-essential traffic for another 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • While some people can develop severe illness from COVID-19, others may have impacts lasting weeks or months – even if they were never hospitalized, and had a “relatively mild illness,” says Dr. Bonnie Henry.

  • Health officials are warning of possible COVID-19 exposure on four more flights through Vancouver.

The latest for Aug. 13:

The latest for Aug. 12

The latest for Aug. 11:

The latest for Aug. 10:

The latest for Aug. 7:

The latest for Aug. 6:

The latest for Aug. 5:

The latest for Aug. 4:

  • Eighty-two B.C. doctors have signed a document urging the provincial government to mandate the wearing of face masks on transit, in crowds and for all indoor spaces outside of people’s homes.
  • The federal government says it is rolling out stricter conditions for Americans entering Canada and heading to Alaska. While Americans are a concern for towns along the Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson Mayor Gary Foster says incidents remain low in his gateway community.

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 1,471 workers reported at camp.

  • Dr. Theresa Tam says that vaccines in development for COVID-19 provide hope but will not mean an immediate end to the pandemic. She says the Public Health Agency of Canada is planning to be responding to the pandemic for at least a year and more likely two or three.

  • The federal Liberals have given companies more than $5.8 billion in pandemic-related contracts for personal protective gear and medical supplies. But many details of the companies involved and the amounts of their contracts are being kept from public view.

  • The federal government's COVID-19 contact tracing app is facing criticism for its download requirements, which restrict some Canadians from accessing and using the app.

  • Newly released figures show the two biggest federal political parties are seeing a drop in donations this year.

The latest for July 31: 

  • The B.C. government has appointed a new special advisor to provide “fresh eyes” on Site C after BC Hydro expressed serious concerns with the dam project’s schedule, budget, and geotechnical challenges. Company president Chris O'Riley blamed delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and said construction crews are also experiencing “geological challenges" at the site.

  • Dawson Creek Hospital's 'no visitors' rule has daughter worried: "It makes no sense at all. I’ve been told I can’t see my own mother, but her roommate who is in the hospital room, comes down in her own wheelchair, and I chat with all the time."

  • The BC Teachers' Federation is calling for a delay in the start of the new school year to address its concerns with the government’s plan for a full-time return for students.

  • Ottawa is developing plans to transition CERB recipients to Employment Insurance, but further details aren’t expected for at least a few more weeks.

  • Financial columnist Brad Brain, on the importance of perspective: "Given all this – the wars, the politics, the economic hard times, even the pandemics – as I write this the Dow Jones Industrial Average is sitting at 26,652. Recall that it was at 8235 in September 2001."

The latest for July 30:

The latest for July 29:

The latest for July 28:

The latest for July 27:

The latest for July 24:

The latest for July 23:

The latest for July 22:

  • There are 13 Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,411 workers reported at camp.

  • About 1,000 people are in self-isolation after being in close contact with those who tested positive in the outbreak in Kelowna.

  • The province says it is matching $1 billion in federal government money to address the impacts of COVID-19 and help restart the economy.

  • While the average number of new COVID-19 infections in B.C. has risen to be in the 30s, the good news is that the province has not announced a death from that virus since July 13 – nine days ago – and the death toll in B.C. has stayed at 189.

  • A long-term care home in North Vancouver that was the site of Canada's first confirmed COVID-19 death says it received a hoax call as the outbreak began that created "needless fear" and compromised health and safety.

  • With an uptick in new cases of COVID-19 in Canada sparking concerns about a second wave of the illness, advocates for seniors in long-term care say more federal support must start flowing immediately to ensure elders do not again become the primary casualties.

  • Special report: Systemic failures in B.C. seniors' care left facilities unprepared for pandemic

  • Special report: Protecting seniors’ homes from the pandemic's next wave

  • Special report: ‘Financialization’ of seniors’ care has failed B.C. families, critics say

  • Inflatable pools are driving a deluge of toy sales during the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers try to enhance at-home leisure for their children, their pets and their feet.

  • There's no doubt the 2020-21 North West Junior Hockey League season will be a strange one, if there's a season at all. The Fort St. John Huskies' motto is to control what it can control and put in the work all the same.

  • Canadian exports of crude oil by rail plunged by 63 per cent in May compared with April as North American fuel demand dropped due to measures taken to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • A group of finance and policy experts says Ottawa needs to invest heavily in green infrastructure projects, including energy-efficient buildings, to secure an economic recovery with staying power.

The latest for July 21:

The latest for July 20:

  • Dr. Bonnie Henry says there are no new COVID-19 cases at Site C, and there are now 15 Site C workers who are self-isolating at the work camp outside Fort St. John. 

  • B.C. has seen a worrisome uptick in new COVID-19 cases in recent days, prompting provincial health officer Bonnie Henry to warn that “we do risk a rebound.” B.C. had 51 cases confirmed in a single day, between Friday and Saturday, and 102 between Friday and today.

  • A coalition of business groups is calling for "urgent action" from all levels of government to save the food service industry amid the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • A Bank of Canada economist says the current economic recovery could be different than the recovery from the financial crisis of 2008.

  •  Canadian consumers are more upbeat about their personal debt than they have been for three years, despite the recession brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll has found.

The latest for July 17:

The latest for July 16:

The latest for July 15:

The latest for July 14:

  • The B.C. government is expecting $6.3 billion less revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and an operating deficit of $12.5 billion for the 2020 budget.

  • Scheduled visits began this week at the Peace Villa and Rotary Manor care homes in Fort St. John and Dawson Creek.

  • Results from the pandemic-friendly Oilmen's Trapshoot: Dave Wallace won the high overall for the event, hitting 97 of 100 targets. Rapid Wireline won the team event, hitting 461 of 500 clays.

  • MLA Dan Davies, on the back to school plan due July 29: "B.C. parents — myself included — are very much looking forward to seeing what this plan will look like, hoping that it will offer the flexibility and guidelines that teachers will need to prepare learning plans and for families to safely send their kids back to school."

  • The province is fast-tracking legislation to handle situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic so workers can access benefits more easily.

  • How will employers and employees need to embrace the new conditions of the workplace? Click here for HR in the time of COVID-19, a podcast conversation with Jennifer Lee of Deloitte.

  • Canada and the United States are now widely expected to extend their mutual ban on non-essential cross-border travel.

  • Canadian trials have just begun for a prospective COVID-19 vaccine but its Quebec-based manufacturer is already tempering expectations.

  • A new poll suggests Canadians are torn on whether the federal government should tighten the taps on COVID-19 spending to keep the deficit from flooding the nation's future.

  • A survey by Statistics Canada suggests that almost one in five businesses will look to further staffing cuts, bankruptcy or closing their doors if present COVID-19 conditions last for six months or more.

The latest for July 13:

  • New daily cases of COVID-19 in B.C. have been ticking up in recent days, and there have been a number of potential community exposure events.

  • Several COVID-19 exposures in Kelowna at a restaurant, spin studio, bed and breakfast and resort are believed to stem from "private parties" at hotels.

  • Indigenous bands along the west coast say their borders will remain closed to tourists and non-residents, despite the economic impact, as they work to raise awareness about the threat COVID-19 poses to their communities.

  • WestJet plans to resume direct flights between Fort St. John and Vancouver starting Aug. 3.

  • Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman has joined a new, independent task force developing policy recommendations to support Canada's economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • There were no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,332 workers reported at camp.

  • The first golf tournament of the year in the Peace region — fittingly named the Peace Country Open — has come and gone, with Travis Eggers winning the championship once again.

  • B.C. restaurants and bars will be able to continue to sell liquor to-go until October 31.

  • Ottawa will extend its wage subsidy program until the end of the year.

  • Medical researchers and supercomputers are turning genetics labs into virus detective agencies, looking first to find the novel coronavirus itself within blood samples from thousands of infected patients, and then comparing all of those isolated viruses to each other looking for places they differ.

  • The NHL says 30 players tested positive for COVID-19 in testing during Phase 2 of the league's return-to-play plan, with another 13 testing positive outside of the league's protocol.

The latest for July 9:

The latest for July 8:

The latest for July 7:

The latest for July 6:

The latest for July 3:

The latest for July 2:

The latest for June 30:

  • Residents in long-term care and assisted living facilities will now be allowed one designated visitor to come to the home and visit in a designated visiting space.

  • Alberta is allowing up to 200 people to gather outside — this applies to festivals, fireworks displays, rodeos and sporting events, and other outdoor performances.

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 1,322 workers reported at camp.

  • Going into Canada Day, there have been a total of 8,130 COVID-19 tests conducted in Northern Health – or less than 3% of the population.

  • On Wednesday, residents of Yukon, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut can enter the Yukon without having to self-isolate, provided they can confirm they have not travelled elsewhere in the past 14 days.

  • The federal government has extended tight rules barring most foreign travellers from entering Canada until the end of July.

The latest for June 29:

  • Health Minister Adrian Dix says he wants to see the evidence that it's safe for the country's two largest airlines to drop their in-flight distancing policies during the pandemic.

  • More than 300 bags were put on brief display in Fort St. John Saturday night to honour loved ones lost to cancer. The annual Arnie Isberg softball tournament was cancelled this year due to COVID-19, but the popular luminary ceremony that closes the event saw more bags than normal.

  • There have been no new deaths from COVID-19 since Friday, and though daily case counts remain low, Dr Bonnie Henry warned that anyone who was at a Vancouver strip club in recent days may have been infected.

  • There is one Site C worker in self-isolation, and 1,281 workers reported at camp.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says an ongoing review of the federal response to COVID-19 will feed into plans for responding to a potential second wave of the novel coronavirus.

  • Figures released Monday by the Public Health Agency of Canada showed Quebec and Ontario still remain the most heavily affected regions of the country. Multiple distinct peaks in the curve for Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick should also serve as reminders that a resurgence of COVID-19 can happen in any place at any time, even in areas with low levels of community transmission.

The latest for June 26:

The latest for June 25:

The latest for June 24:

The latest for June 23:

  • B.C. is approaching the threshold for renewed growth in COVID-19 cases as the economy reopens and residents increase their contacts with fellow British Columbians.

  • Hudson's Hope says it plans to open its outdoor pool with restrictions on Monday, July 6.

  • MLA Dan Davies, on delayed economic recovery spending: "Why are British Columbians only now getting a forum to discuss how they would like to see their taxes support them? We are not dealing with a small stimulus package here, we are talking about a billion-dollar relief fund."

  • B.C. business groups are asking the province to extend the temporary layoff time period until August 31, to prevent COVID-19-affected companies from closing permanently should paying severance to employees exceed their fiscal capacity.

  • A physically distanced B.C. legislature opened Monday to the announcement that the BC NDP government will seek to extend emergency orders for up to a year.

The latest for June 22:

The latest for June 19:

  • North Peace Secondary’s Class of 2020 made history Friday, celebrating a graduation unlike any other. Hundreds tuned in to a virtual ceremony celebrating some 300 graduates, as traditional ceremonies that fill the rafters of the North Peace Arena were cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • B.C is handing COVID-19 border screening work over to Ottawa effective June 20.

  • B.C. is extending the temporary rental supplement until the end of August to continue to support renters and landlords as well as maintaining the moratorium on rent increases and evictions for non-payment of rent.

  • Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is scaling back the government's planned Clean Fuel Standard in the short term to give the fossil fuel industry a bit more time to recover from the pandemic-induced economic collapse.

  • Canadian exports of crude oil by rail dropped by more than half in April compared to March as North American fuel demand plunged due to measures taken to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

The latest for June 18:

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,279 workers reported at camp.

  • There were no active cases of COVID-19 in Northern Health as of Thursday, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

  • Indoor recreation facilities in Fort St. John will remain closed to the public until September, though some outdoor programming is expected to resume in July.

  • After months of anticipation, the Fort St. John Mixed Slow Pitch Society said Thursday they will be able to hold a 2020 season as of July 6.

  • Months after B.C.'s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry ordered all workers at seniors' care homes and other healthcare sites work solely at one location, the order is finally being fully adhered to, according to Health Minister Adrian Dix.

  • Canada is prepared to launch a contact-tracing app to better track the spread of COVID-19.

The latest for June 17:

  • More COVID-19 restrictions could ease next week, John Horgan says.

  • The province plans to spend an additional six weeks consulting the public on how to spend $1.5 billion that has been set aside to help with "stimulus and recovery" from the COVID-19 pandemic, Premier John Horgan says.

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promises an economic and fiscal ‘snapshot’ by July 8. He says a full economic update — one that would include forecasts of what will happen in the next three to five years — at this time would be unrealistic.

  • Northern Health board chair Colleen Nyce, on surgery renewal for northerners: "Between May 18 and June 14th, we called 2,639 patients to ask if they wished to continue with their surgery and we completed 1,083 scheduled and unscheduled surgeries."

  • There are no Site C workers in self-isolation, and 1,267 workers reported at camp.

  • The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says if bridge loans for smaller oil and gas companies aren't ready to flow soon some companies will have to turn to less-safe options to survive the COVID-19 slowdown.

The latest for June 16:

  • B.C.'s COVID-19 restrictions are under further review this week, but the limit on gatherings to a maximum of 50 people will not change.

  • The federal government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit another eight weeks. The extension means the $2,000 monthly payments are now set to conclude after the last full week of August.

  • The province says it will cut retail liquor markups to help the hospitality sector recover from lockdown. Restaurants, bars and pubs currently pay for liquor purchases at full retail price, which is the wholesale price, plus a retail markup set by the ministry's liquor distribution branch.

The latest for June 15:

The latest for June 12:

The latest for June 11:

The latest for June 10:

  • There have been no deaths from COVID-19 in the last few days, but two clusters have been identified as the result of "large" family connections.

  • The NPSS Class of 2020 graduation ceremony won't be normal, though it will certainly be memorable. A parade is planned for June 19.

  • The North Peace Fall Fai

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