Today's Evening Brief is brought to you by Accenture. The case
for cloud in public service is undeniable: more cost savings, speed and
flexibility, with less risk. Read our latest thinking about the cloud imperative for public service.
Good evening to you.
We begin with Canada's auditor general, who in a new report today found that the Public Health Agency of Canada was not as prepared as it could have been -- or should have been -- for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Auditor General Karen Hogan pointed to internal audits that found
serious gaps in the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS), which
were ignored. As CBC News reports, she said the health agency's
management failed to address "long-standing issues" in how personal
protective equipment (PPE) and other medical devices were managed in the
NESS, which was created in part to supply provinces and territories
with crucial goods during a crisis. She also said given the inadequate
inventory control, the agency had little sense of just how much PPE
would be needed in a pandemic.
found that information needed to govern, oversee and manage the federal
stockpile was missing, outdated or lacked clarity. This had a negative
impact on the operation of the federal stockpile," the review said.
with PHAC, its latest survey of the provinces’ and territories’
capacity to administer shots shows that if Ottawa and the provinces hold
up their ends of the bargain, Canada’s vaccine rollout could be completed by August.
As of today, just under 22 million COVID vaccine doses had been
injected into Canadian arms, including about 1.7 million second shots.
More than half the country’s population of 38 million have received one
shot. Of the approximately 33 million Canadians who are older than 12,
almost two-thirds have gotten one dose.
the past three weeks, the proportion of Canadians vaccinated each day
has approached one per cent. From May 18 to 24 — the fastest seven-day
rate of vaccinations — around 0.97 per cent of Canadians a day were
getting a shot. Yet, at that rate, the provinces and territories are
still more than 1.5 million doses short the number of weekly doses they
say they’ll be able to administer starting next month. The provinces and
territories have told the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) that in
June, they’ll be capable of giving 4.25 million shots per week. That
story from Charlie Pinkerton.
In a new report today, Canada’s
spending watchdog said a proposed extension of employment insurance
sickness benefits from 15 to 50 weeks would cost over $1 billion in its
first year, with costs rising to over $2 billion thereafter, and
would likely benefit over 150,000 claimants. Currently, EI sickness
benefits are capped at 15 weeks. The government proposed extending the
sickness benefits to 26 weeks in the 2021 budget which has not yet been
passed by Parliament. Parliament passed Bill C-24 in March as a
temporary pandemic measure that provides up to 50 weeks of benefits for
those who establish regular EI claims between Sept. 27, 2020 and Sept.
25, 2021. More from Aidan Chamandy.
Most Canadians are in favour of government subsidizing the creation of Canadian content,
according to a new poll commissioned by the Canadian Internet
Registration Authority. The findings come as the government works to
update the Broadcasting Act for the first time in 30 years by passing
Bill C-10, which would force online streaming networks like Netflix,
Crave, and Disney Plus to make contribution payments to Canadian content
(Cancon). Fifty-nine per cent of poll respondents said they support
government action that stimulates the creation of Cancon. Rachel
(Richard Lautens/Toronto Star)
Ontario, there's not at all surprising news that the province is once
again failing in the long term care sector. A new report from the
Financial Accountability Office of Ontario projects that the province
will fall short of its goal to build 15,000 new long-term care beds over
the next four years, casting uncertainty on the timeline set by
Premier Doug Ford’s government to improve seniors’ care in the province.
The report examines the Ministry of Long-Term Care’s 2021-22 spending
the first wave of COVID cases devastated long-term care homes last
spring, the Ford government promised to build 30,000 new long-term care
beds over the next decade, expanding on its existing commitment to open
15,000 new beds in five years. However, it seems the province is on
track to open only 8,251 beds by 2023-24, a shortfall of 6,749 beds.
Hitting the 15,000 bed goal won't come until 2025-26. Meanwhile, more
than 40,000 people are on a wait list for a bed. That backlog is a
“significant contributor” to capacity problems in the province’s
health-care system, the report says. Iain Sherriff-Scott has that story.
Looking north, the
prospect of methane and carbon dioxide emissions from thawing
permafrost is not being factored into current targets for reducing
emissions and averting a full-blown climate crisis, according to a
study published in May in the Proceedings of the National Academy of
Science of the United States of America. And yet Arctic permafrost
stores roughly twice the amount of carbon that’s currently in the
Earth’s atmosphere, and is already fuelling climate change. The Arctic
is warming twice as fast as global average temperatures increase, a
trend that’s threatening the fragile Northern ecosystem.
scientists are warning that the accelerating loss of permafrost could
shave five years off the schedule for reaching global net-zero
emissions, if we have a hope of limiting the average temperature
increase to 1.5 degrees. That story from Shawn McCarthy.
Process Nerd: Current crop of backbench bills may be on a road to nowhere
The Sprout: U.S. seeks trade-dispute panel with Canada over dairy
Net Zero: Alberta breathes new life into ‘turn-off-the-taps’ legislation
In Other Headlines:
Alberta could lift almost all COVID restrictions by late June under reopening plan (Edmonton Journal)
Climate ambition, push for electric vehicles driving down need for oil: report (CP)
Mike Duffy has parting shot for Senate as he reaches mandatory retirement age (Post)
Atlantic airports brace for an uncertain summer as vaccination rates, restrictions, determine fate (CTV)
Fringe theory no more? Fifteen months in, President
Joe Biden has asked U.S. intelligence officials to “redouble” their
efforts to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including any possibility the trail might lead to a Chinese laboratory.
the Associated Press reports, after months of minimizing that
possibility as a fringe theory, his administration is joining worldwide
pressure for China to be more open about the outbreak, aiming to head
off GOP complaints the president has not been tough enough as well as to
use the opportunity to press China on alleged obstruction.
has ordered a closer intelligence review of what he said were two
equally plausible scenarios of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year he tasked the intelligence community with preparing “a
report on their most up-to-date analysis of the origins of COVI-19,
including whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal
or from a laboratory accident.”
of today, the U.S. Intelligence Community has ‘coalesced around two
likely scenarios’ but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this
question,” he said in a statement.
In a long rambling speech in Belarus today, President
Alexander Lukashenko blasted Europe for trying to “strangle” his
country with sanctions over the diversion of a passenger jet on the
weekend, and accused a dissident journalist arrested after the flight
landed of plotting a “bloody rebellion.” He also doubled down on his
contention there was a bomb threat against the plane and that it posed a
security threat, insisting it was an “absolute lie” that a fighter jet
he scrambled forced the plane to the ground.
colleagues of Roman Protasevich, the journalist who was arrested after
being taken off the diverted flight on Sunday, say they are receiving death threats and they fear for their lives. Protasevich's lawyer told the BBC she has not been allowed to speak with him yet.
In Other International Headlines:
Biden orders more Intel investigation of COVID-19 origin (AP)
Prosecutors investigating Trump tell witness to prepare for grand jury testimony (CNN)
Netherlands court orders oil giant to cut emissions (BBC)
Russian court hears Navalny complaints on prison conditions (Al Jazeera)
Ex-Johnson aide lambasts UK government over COVID failures (AP)
Exxon investor scores historic climate win with two board seats (Bloomberg)
Blinken visits Egypt, Jordan to support Israel-Hamas ceasefire (Al Jazeera)
Qatar pledges $500 mln for Gaza reconstruction (Reuters)
Jeff Bezos will step down as Amazon CEO on July 5 (CNN)
Transit employees among 9 dead in shooting at San Jose rail yard (NBC News)
Jean-Pierre makes history in taking podium at White House press briefing (The Hill)
In Featured Opinion:
Merran Smith and Pierre Gratton: To become a major player on the global battery stage, Canada must act fast
Graham Thomson: Kenney’s political survival depends on delivering ‘best summer ever’
Finally, we leave you with priorities, and why Quebec needs its own emoji "as soon as possible."
And while it's obviously not as pressing as an emoji, word today that Canada wants to put a rover on the moon in the next five years is far more exciting in our books. Blame our inner astronaut.
Have a good night.