Today’s coronavirus news: Ontario to table legislation making PSW wage increase permanent, government source


5:40a.m. The Ontario government is planning to soon make permanent an hourly wage increase for personal support workers that was brought in during the pandemic.

A senior government source confirmed to The Canadian Press that the government intends to introduce legislation on the matter this month.

The wage increase for health workers has been repeatedly extended for months at a time since COVID-19 hit the province two years ago.

It is currently set to expire on March 31.

Read more from The Canadian Press.

5:30 a.m. Manitoba is lifting all remaining public health orders that were put in place to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Health Minister Audrey Gordon says the path forward as of today will be different for each person and some may choose to continue wearing masks despite it no longer being required.

Masks will still have to be worn by anyone going to a health-care facility.

Gordon says people should be patient with each other.

Read more from The Canadian Press.

5:25 a.m. Attention international travellers. The cost of your long-awaited vacation is set to soar. Travel experts say the best bet is to book it now.

Just as COVID induced travel restrictions are lifting, the price of fuel is skyrocketing, and that means Canadians clamouring to getaway are going to feel the brunt of increasing travel costs.

“There was unbelievable interest in March break travel,” said Martin Firestone, president of the travel insurance brokerage Travel Secure Inc. That increased demand, coupled with oil sanctions against Russia, will increase the cost of air travel, said Firestone.

Read more from the Star’s Clarrie Feinstein.

5:10 a.m. Conservative leadership candidate Jean Charest has tested positive for COVID-19.

Charest announced the news late Monday on Twitter, saying his symptoms are mild, and his wife, Michele, has tested negative.

Charest says he will be campaigning from home for the next few days, and notes he will remain in his home as per public health guidelines until he tests negative.

5 a.m. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are set to return this week, but festival organizers and student unions say people should party with caution.

Canada’s largest celebrations of the holiday were cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of pandemic-related health risks. Vaccine and masking mandates are slowly being lifted across the country and many parades and festivals are going ahead, with Montreal’s event leading the charge in rejuvenating festivities.

Vancouver and Montreal are home to some of Canada’s largest Irish populations, and with COVID-19 protocols being lifted in many jurisdictions, festival organizers are confident that celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day can return to an adjusted normal.

Read more from The Canadian Press.


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