The Ontario government voted against a series of Opposition motions aimed at supporting essential workers on Monday, including one that sought to create a provincial paid sick-leave program.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath presented the motions — which required unanimous consent of the legislature to pass — during a session on Monday. She called on Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives to pass the sick-leave motion, but the government voted against the measure.
Government House Leader Paul Calandra said he anticipates the federal government will announce further enhancements to its sick-day program today. The province has thus far rejected calls for a provincial program, saying it would be needless overlap with federal supports.
Advocates have been calling on the Ford government to bring in paid sick leave for months, saying it would help support essential workers during the pandemic. The provincial COVID-19 science advisory table and other health experts have repeatedly called on Ford and his cabinet to institute a provincially run paid sick-leave program.
The federal counterpart, the Canada recovery sickness benefit (CRSB), is “too complicated, not enough and the help comes too late,” Dr. Peter Jüni, the science table’s director, told CBC News Network on Monday
Ontario reported 4,447 new cases of COVID-19 and 19 related deaths on Monday. Meanwhile, students across the province returned to the virtual classroom as school buildings remain shuttered following the spring break.
Faced with surging cases and a strained health-care system, checkpoints are also now posted at interprovincial border crossings in Ontario. Ford announced restrictions on travelling between provinces on Friday as part of a bid to curb transmission and ease some of the pressure on the health-care system.
WATCH | Forget politics. Support essential workers now, expert tells Ontario government:
What’s happening across Canada
As of 1:30 p.m. ET on Monday, Canada had reported 1,127,187 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 88,631 considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 23,656.
Canada has now administered more than 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to the latest figures from CBC’s vaccine tracker.
In Quebec on Monday, health officials reported 1,092 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 additional deaths. According to a provincial dashboard, hospitalizations stood at 686, with 183 in intensive care.
Across the North, Nunavut on Monday reported six new cases, bringing the number of active cases in the territory to 28. Premier Joe Savikataaq said all of the cases were in Iqaluit.
In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia reported 15 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, while New Brunswick reported nine new cases. Both Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island reported three new cases in their respective provinces.
P.E.I. is also increasing travel restrictions in an effort to control the number of COVID-19 cases in the province. All non-resident travel to the island from outside Atlantic Canada is on hold until at least May 17, while rotational workers and truck drivers who arrive in the province will need to isolate until they receive a negative COVID-19 test, even if they are vaccinated.
Manitoba reported 108 new COVID-19 cases on Monday and became the latest province to lower the age eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines. Anyone 40 and over can now get the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine — a change that follows similar moves by Ontario and Alberta over the weekend.
The province is also tightening some of its COVID-19 restrictions due to rising case numbers. Starting Tuesday, weddings, funerals and outdoor public gatherings will be capped at 10 people — down from 25 — and capacity at retail stores will drop to 33 per cent from 50 per cent as of Wednesday.
Premier Brian Pallister said the measures are needed to contain the spread of the coronavirus while the effort to vaccinate people continues.
In Saskatchewan, the drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Saskatoon is temporarily closing after using up its available COVID-19 vaccines on Sunday. Regina’s drive-thru COVID-19 vaccine clinic was also shut down over the weekend after it ran out of vaccines.
In British Columbia, health officials will provide updated COVID-19 data later on Monday.
What’s happening around the world
WATCH | Joy, tears, hugs as Australia, N.Z. begin travel bubble:
As of early Monday afternoon, more than 141.5 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than three million.
The World Health Organization’s emergency committee recommended on Monday that proof of vaccination not be required as a condition of international travel, maintaining its stance on the issue under growing debate.
In the Americas, the White House said that “it has never been easier” to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot as all people 16 and older are eligible for vaccines nationwide as of Monday. President Joe Biden encouraged people to book appointments immediately and to encourage family and friends to do the same.
On Sunday the country reached the milestone of having 50 per cent of adults at least partially vaccinated.
Schools in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires will open after all on Monday after a court overruled a federal order requiring classes to go online for two weeks amid a surge in cases that has brought hospitals to near collapse.
In the Middle East, vaccination against COVID-19 is a requirement to perform the Umra pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi state TV said on Sunday, citing a government official.
In the Asia-Pacific region, New Delhi imposed a week-long lockdown on Monday night to prevent the collapse of the Indian capital’s health system, which authorities said had been pushed to its limit amid an explosive surge in coronavirus cases.
In scenes familiar from surges elsewhere, ambulances catapulted from one hospital to another, trying to find an empty bed over the weekend, while patients lined up outside of medical facilities waiting to be let in.
“People keep arriving, in an almost collapsing situation,” said Dr. Suresh Kumar, who heads Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, one of New Delhi’s largest hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients.
Pakistan’s minister for planning and development said Monday that authorities are struggling to maintain the much-needed supply of oxygen to hospitals for COVID-19 patients. Asad Umar, who also oversees Pakistan’s response to the coronavirus, said on Twitter that hospitals were continuously receiving coronavirus patients amid a surge in new cases.
In Africa, Tunisia announced the closure of all schools until April 30, as well as restrictions on movement, to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In Europe, Austria will only use Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine once the European Medicines Agency has approved it, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said, amid growing public frustration with the pace of vaccinations.
The European Union has exercised an option to acquire an additional 100 million doses of BioNTech and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, the two companies said.