7:24 a.m. In the pitched battle over Ontario’s back-to-school plan, advocates say a glaring issue is being largely ignored, one that is critical for tens of thousands of families and increases the potential COVID-19 risk for elementary schools, even if class sizes shrink: Before- and after-school programs. 

With September just weeks away, child-care advocates say there has been an “abdication of responsibility” by the province to ensure these programs are safe and viable, further fuelling parental anxiety and leaving child-care providers and school boards scrambling. 

Before- and after-school care is a lifeline for many parents whose working hours don’t align with the school day but they can also see up to 30 kids mixing in a single space, often from different classrooms or even schools — meaning they could be part of two “cohorts” or even three, if they take the bus.

Read the full story from the Star’s Rachel Mendleson and Jennifer Yang

7:20 a.m. After spending hundreds of billions to prevent a major depression, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make critical decisions in coming weeks on the next steps to support Canada’s economic recovery. That will include whether to keep or drop the only finance minister he has ever had.

The strains between Trudeau and Bill Morneau, the two most powerful men in the government, burst into public view last week. Bloomberg News reported Aug. 10 that the prime minister has been taking advice on an economic recovery plan from Mark Carney, the ambitious former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor. The following afternoon, Trudeau was forced to issue an extraordinary statement expressing “full confidence” in Morneau, to quiet the drumbeat of speculation about the minister’s future.

A face-to-face meeting between the two men is scheduled for Monday, according to a person familiar with their calendars who spoke on condition of anonymity.

6:25 a.m.: Staff at two more long-term-care homes in Metro Vancouver have tested positive for COVID-19.

A release from Fraser Health says a rapid response team is at the Czorny Alzheimer Centre in Surrey and communication with residents and their families is underway.

The centre is owned and operated by the health authority, which says enhanced infection control measures are in place, including twice daily screenings of staff and residents.

A staff member at Arbutus Care Centre in Vancouver has also tested positive for the illness.

6:22 a.m.: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has delayed New Zealand’s elections due to the coronavirus outbreak in Auckland. They’ll now be held on Oct. 17. The virus outbreak prompted a two-week lockdown in Auckland and halted election campaigning, and as of Monday, has infected 58 people.

Health authorities believe all the cases are connected and there’s no evidence of a wider outbreak. Authorities have been testing people at record levels since the outbreak was discovered last Tuesday.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield says the latest outbreak has given authorities pause for thought and New Zealand might not return to quite the same levels of freedom it had enjoyed until last week.

“I think we should aim to get back to life as normal as possible,” Bloomfield said. “But the new norm I think will include perhaps a little more physical distancing, more frequent and available use of hand gels, possibly even use of masks in some settings.”

6:21 a.m.: Australia’s hard-hit Victoria state on Monday recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic with 25 coronavirus fatalities. The death toll surpasses the previous 24-hour record of 21 set last week. Victoria’s Health Department recorded 282 new cases, slightly more than 279 new infections on Sunday but maintaining a downward trend. “We just can’t allow any sense of complacency to creep in here. This is an ultra-marathon and we just have to keep pushing forward each and every day,” Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said.

6:20 a.m.: India has now counted more than 50,000 deaths from COVID-19 with 941 deaths reported in the past 24 hours. With a total of 50,921 deaths, India has the fourth-most in the world, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico. It has now counted more than 2.6 million cases of infection with 57,982 new cases reported by the Health Ministry on Monday. August has seen a big spike in fatalities with more than a quarter of the country’s total deaths coming in the past 17 days.

6:18 a.m.: South Korea counted its fourth straight day of triple-digit increases in new coronavirus cases Monday as the government urged people to stay home and curb travel.

The government had drawn up a special holiday on Monday with hopes of spurring domestic consumption. But as infections in the capital region increase, Health Minister Park Neung-hoo urged people to stay home and for residents in Seoul and nearby Gyeonggi province to avoid visiting other parts of the country for two weeks.

The 197 new cases announced by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought the nation’s total to 15,515, including 305 deaths. The 279 new cases reported Sunday was South Korea’s biggest single-day jump since early May amid concerns about an outbreak in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area.

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The KCDC said 167 of the new cases came from the greater capital region, where about half of South Korea’s 51 million people live. Health workers have been struggling to track infections, but churches have emerged as a major source.

More than 300 have been linked to a northern Seoul church led by a conservative pastor who has frequently led anti-government protests against liberal President Moon Jae-in, including a rally attended by thousands of demonstrators in downtown Seoul on Saturday despite official pleas for them to stay home.

6:15 a.m.: Premier Doug Ford is set to speak at this year’s Association of Municipalities Ontario conference Monday morning.

The event is being held entirely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will feature discussions and workshops about how municipalities can begin to recover from the outbreak’s economic ravages.

Also today, 10 cabinet ministers will participate in a forum on “supporting community well-being.”

They include Health Minister Christine Elliott and Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

The AMO has at times clashed with the provincial government during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying last month that emergency funds haven’t flowed to municipalities quickly enough.

They pointed the finger at “federal-provincial wrangling about how to share the costs.”

Sunday 10:45 p.m.: The CFL’s board of governors will meet Monday to determine the fate of the 2020 season after the league was unable to secure financial assistance from the federal government.

The CFL presented Ottawa with a $30-million, interest-free loan request Aug. 3 to stage an abbreviated 2020 season during the COVID-19 pandemic. But two sources familiar with the situation said Sunday night the plan fell through when the assistance couldn’t be provided to the league under the terms it sought.

The sources were granted anonymity because neither the CFL nor the federal government had divulged details of the loan request.

It wasn’t the first time the CFL had been unable to reach a deal for government assistance. Last month, the league ruled out a loan from the Business Development Bank of Canada because it felt the interest rate was too high.

Sunday 5:30 p.m.: Toronto reports five new cases today for a total of 15,590 infections overall. Twelve more patients have recovered for 14,180 overall. There were no new deaths so the number remains at 1,164.

Read Sunday’s rolling file



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