'Potential anomaly' with ballot box leads to recount in Châteauguay—Lacolle riding

The Liberals have asked for a recount in a close-run riding in Quebec after a “potential anomaly” was discovered with a ballot box.

A judicial recount is to take place in Châteauguay—Lacolle where the Bloc Québécois candidate defeated his Liberal rival by 286 votes.

The Liberals confirmed they had asked for a recount in the riding, where a “potential anomaly” with a ballot box was noticed after the votes were validated.

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Elections Canada says a returning officer spotted a typo in the number of votes recorded in one of the riding’s polls, where 40 votes for a candidate was recorded as 410.

Elections Canada says the mistake, which was rectified, was due to human error and other typos were also corrected.

It is not the only recount expected to be kick-started this week — in Davenport, a Toronto riding where the Liberals beat the NDP by 76 votes, a recount is also likely.

Parties can go to court to request a recount within four days of votes being checked and validated. Most ridings have already finished validating their votes.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Trudeau says decision on Huawei's fate on Canadian 5G expected 'within coming weeks'

WATCH: Canada and China's relationship status after Meng, 2 Michaels return home: it's complicated

With Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig freed following the release of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei could be the next hurdle in Canada-China relations.

Huawei, which is the world’s largest smartphone provider, has business dealings in Canada and has for years wanted to build a 5G wireless network in the country. Yet the Canadian government has yet to decide if the Chinese telecommunication will be granted permission to work with Canadian networks to create a 5G network.

On Tuesday afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about why his government hasn’t banned Huawei, and if it plans to.

“We’ve actually seen that many Canadian telecommunications companies, if not all of them, have started to remove Huawei from their networks and are moving forward in ways that don’t involve them as a company,” Trudeau said.

“We continue to weigh and look at the different options, but we will no doubt be making announcements within the comings weeks.”

Huawei has deep connections to the ruling Chinese government, and for some, the decision to bar it should be an easy one.

“Canada should move as quickly as possible to ban Huawei,” said Margaret McCuaig-Johnson, a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

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In 2020, Rogers, Bell and Telus all tapped Ericsson to be their 5G supplier, with Telus adding Nokia to the list. Despite the carriers finding other partners to work with, McCuaig-Johnson thinks it’s important for Canada to unequivocally shut the door on Huawei.

“Our telecommunications carriers need the clarity of policy,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry wrote in an emailed statement to Global News that its goal is to ensure “Canadian networks are kept safe and secure” and that the government “will not compromise on matters of national security.”

While it did not specifically name Huawei, the spokesperson noted it “will consider technical and security factors, including advice from our security agencies and consider decisions from our Allies and partners.”

“Our Government has been clear that it will pursue an approach that takes into account important domestic and international considerations, and will make the best decision for Canadians,” read the emailed statement.

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Canada is a member of the Five Eyes, an intelligence operation between Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The other four member countries have all banned Huawei’s 5G infrastructure endeavours.

To David Welch, a professor of politics and global governance at the University of Waterloo, the timing of shutting out Huawei is not as urgent, but he noted that with the relationship being as rocky as it is already, it’s better to move on now than to wait.

“I would be shocked if it were anything other than the decision to walk away from Canada’s 5G rollout in line with our five partners,” Welch said.

With China holding the two Michaels hostage, it was clear to McCuaig-Johnson that the tenuous relationship between the two countries has led to this process being delayed.

“I worked in the government for 37 years. It does not take more than three years to make a decision on something like this,” she said.

The government has been delaying the decision since before the 2019 federal election. In November 2020, Trudeau voted against a Conservative motion calling on his government to announce a decision on the involvement of Chinese tech company Huawei’s role in Canada’s 5G network within 30 days. The motion passed with 179-146 votes.

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In 2020, following the decisions by the U.S. and the U.K. to ban Huawei, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Safety said the government was “carefully assessing the security challenges and potential threats involved in future 5G technology.”

Outside of the espionage concerns linked to Huawei, McCuaig-Johnson said allowing it to gain 5G infrastructure in Canada right now would ensure that it is lined up to win all the future technology contracts, too. She added that with 5G being so new, there are concerns over how China, operating through Huawei, could manipulate the technology in the future if there was ever another dispute with Canada.

“If a country is willing to take innocent citizens as hostages and keep them for more than two years, then putting a bug into a system or shutting down the electricity grid of part of Canada is certainly something they would consider,” she said.

With respect to what happened with the Michaels, McCuaig-Johnson thinks now is the time for Canada to stand with their Five Eyes partners against a Chinese government that has tried to show its might.

“We’ve seen more malign intent towards Canada for two and a half years,” said McCuaig-Johnson, noting the trade sanctions implemented by China surrounding beef, pork and soybeans.

One of the red herrings that could show where Chinese investment in Canada is heading is the national security law implemented by the ruling Chinese Community Party in 2017. The law, in effect, allows the government to access information held by Chinese companies, if they are deemed to be in the national interest.

Read more:
2 Michaels are home — but Canada still wary of China, Garneau says

To Welch, the definition of what is in the national interest is not clearly defined, so it’s very possible that extending beyond Huawei, Canada could want less and less Chinese investment.

“I think there will be a higher level of scrutiny,” he said. “I think there will be less willingness to entertain Chinese to invest in Canadian corporations.”

Inquiries made by Global News to the Ministry Public Safety of Canada and Huawei were not answered.

 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Elizabeth May floated as potential interim leader for embattled Green Party

WATCH: What is future of federal Green Party after Annamie Paul resigns as leader?

Elizabeth May could return to the Greens as interim leader to stabilize the embattled party.

The former leader of the Greens, who is one of two Green MPs in the House of Commons, is expected to be considered by the party’s governing body as a caretaker until a full-time leader is elected.

May has previously said she would not return as leader, but she has not ruled out returning as a caretaker until a permanent leader can be found.

Annamie Paul announced her intention to resign as party leader on Monday after a disastrous showing at the polls.

Read more:
Green Party Leader Annamie Paul resigns following drop in votes and seats

She will step down formally within “the coming weeks,” the Green party confirmed, and its ruling federal council will then appoint a caretaker leader.

A leadership race kicks off six months after an interim leader is selected.

An expert says May would be the “obvious option” to take the helm during the party’s “existential” crisis.

Mark Winfield, who researches the Greens at York University, said May has the “moral authority” to keep the party, which has been beset by internal strife, afloat.

Jo-Ann Roberts, a former broadcast journalist who served as interim leader after May stood down, is another figure the ruling council is expected to consider as a caretaker.

Mike Morrice, who was elected in Kitchener Centre, has ruled himself out of the leadership race to concentrate on representing his constituents.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

'Uneven playing field': Kelowna airport still waiting to resume international flights

You can now get a rapid COVID-19 test on-site at the Kelowna International Airport. YLW is making an effort to support safe travel for departing passengers who require a negative COVID-19 test before traveling internationally.

Nine out of 10 of Canada’s busiest airports have been allowed to resume international connections, but Kelowna International Airport (YLW) has been left off the list.

Sam Samaddar, YLW’s airport director, said he’s perplexed as to why the Kelowna airport, which was the 10th busiest airport in 2019, hasn’t been allowed to re-open by the federal government.

“It’s been somewhat frustrating for us, in terms of why Kelowna has not been opened up to accept international flights,” Samaddar told Global News.

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Heading out of Canada still a slow prospect from Kelowna International Airport

Samaddar is still waiting on news from the agencies involved in the decision-making process on opening up airports to international travel: Transport Canada, the Canadian Border Services Agency, and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

“We have asked for the criteria, in terms of what are they using — what did they use for Quebec City and Toronto Island at Billy Bishop Airport? — and the government has failed to provide us any criteria.”

Kelowna International Airport processed two million passengers in 2019, and is just behind Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which had a traffic count of 2.7 million passengers that year.

Quebec City’s airport has also been given the green light to welcome international connections, despite being the 12th busiest airport in Canada with 1.7 million passengers passing through.

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Samaddar said YLW follows all COVID-19 public health and safety protocols and has the capacity to test and do pandemic surveillance.

“We believe that we have everything. In March of this year, we put in a fully certified lab, and we are using it for outbound for the workforce charters, and that lab has now been used quite extensively by the travelling public, who are travelling all over the world to get their test done, before they depart,” he said.

Some airlines are already promoting international flights at Kelowna airport in December, but if YLW doesn’t get the go-ahead, passengers would be forced to arrive at their destinations via connections through approved international airports, such as Vancouver or Calgary, adding travel time.

“There is a huge pent-up demand, and so if you look at Alaska Airlines, what they have done is they have put in a placeholder starting Dec. 16 that says these flights are available in order to get something in place,” Samaddar said.

WestJet is also offering flights in December to sunny destinations like Cancun, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, and Phoenix.

Read more:
COVID-19: Kelowna International Airport seeing increase in passenger traffic

Samaddar said the lack of international connections results in a $2.5 million economic loss to the airport itself, not to mention spin-off industries like the tourism and hospitality sector.

“What we are creating by a lack of government policy here is an uneven playing field for communities and (for) a lot of communities, Kelowna included, there is a huge economic hit by not being able to accept these flights,” he said.

Re-elected Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, Tracy Gray, said she is calling on the Liberal minority government to re-open YLW for international flights.

“YLW remains closed to these flights despite being a busier airport than the re-opened Quebec City airport and having all health and safety protocols in place here,” Gray said.

“This uncertainty makes it impossible for airport operations, airlines, local businesses, and residents to plan.”

Global Okanagan has reached out to Transport Canada for comment.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Dual morning collisions on Clarke Road send 1 person to hospital

London fire and police officials say two separate collisions occurred within a short period of time Tuesday morning along a stretch of Clarke Road in the city’s northeast, including one which sent one person to hospital.

The first collision occurred just before 7 a.m. along Clarke Road just north of Kilally Road involving a tractor-trailer and another vehicle.

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“Everyone was out of the vehicle. From what I’m understanding, there was heavy damage. Crews helped initially assess any patients and Middlesex-London Paramedic Service arrived on scene and we were able to work in conjunction with them,” said London fire Platoon Chief Colin Shewell.

One person was taken from the scene by ambulance to hospital for minor injuries, police said. Investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Shewell says emergency crews closed Clarke Road between Kilally Road and Fanshawe Park Road as a result of heavy morning traffic.

As personnel were tending to the first collision, a second smaller collision occurred nearby along Clarke. “I believe it was in the times that either people were jockeying to get back out of the area, or the congestion in the area,” Shewell said.

“The second collision that took place in the same area was a short time after (the first) and involved two vehicles,” said Const. Scott Mandich, a spokesperson with London police. “There were no reported injuries for the second collision and both drivers were directed to attend the Police Reporting Centre.”

The cause of either collision was not immediately known.

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Speaking with 980 CFPL, Shewell said several vehicles tried to get around the roadblock put up by emergency crews, a frustrating but not uncommon occurrence.

“If there’s a firetruck parked across the road, or any vehicle with emergency legislation, you have to take due care and be considerate that the road’s closed and don’t try to go around those vehicles,” he said.

“There’s a reason why they’re parked sideways.”

Anyone with information about either collision is asked to contact London police or Crime Stoppers.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

SNC-Lavalin restructures business segments again as it targets growth, higher credit rating

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. says it is restructuring its business segments again as it looks to become cash-flow positive and return to an investment-grade credit rating.

The Montreal-based engineering firm, which has been working to put several corruption scandals behind it, says the reorganization will help set the stage for growth after years of de-risking the business.

The company is rolling its mining and infrastructure segments into its general engineering services business, while engineering as a whole and several other segments are now grouped under its SNCL services business.

SNC says it is targeting organic revenue growth of four to six per cent annually for the next three years in the services segment, which excludes only some legacy transit projects in Canada and the company’s capital segment.

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Speaking at an investor day Tuesday, company chief executive Ian Edwards said the company has sold its oil and gas business and is winding down its lump-sum turnkey contracts for transit projects that have been a drain on cash flow as it looks to simplify the business.

He says the company will be focused on its core markets of Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., while also maintaining more targeted operations in other global markets.

“What we’re about here is permanently de-risking this business,” said Edwards. “Reducing the business down to countries and geographies where we know we can succeed, we can get paid, and we can produce predictable results and predictable cashflows.”

While the company moves on, its name continues to come up related to past scandals. Just last week, SNC and two former executives were charged in relation to a bridge contract in Quebec from around 20 years ago, while earlier this year the World Bank removed the company from a blacklist it had been added to because of its ties to corruption in contracts in Bangladesh and Cambodia.

In 2019, the company settled criminal charges related to the work the company did in Libya.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

COVID-19: Alberta MLA under fire for comments on AHS' handling of pandemic

WATCH ABOVE: A UCP MLA is pointing the finger at Alberta Health Services and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu. Shane Getson says AHS dropped the ball on ICU capacity this fall. As Tom Vernon explains, that has drawn sharp criticism.

The MLA for Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland has come under fire for comments he made on Facebook over the weekend.

As Alberta hospitals continue to grapple with the fourth wave of COVID-19, Shane Getson wrote Saturday that someone had tagged him in a 2016 news article detailing the salaries of high-profile Alberta Health Services employees.

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“For this kind of money, and the amount we pour into the system, I think we need to be getting more bang for our buck when it comes to resource planning,” the post read.

“ICU bed levels that were available for the public dropped unacceptably low coming into cold and flu season and a prediction of the fourth wave. Hence the ‘crunch, and strain’ on the system. The wave hit, but AHS didn’t staff the beds adequately to meet their own predictions?”

Many health-care workers took to social media, frustrated with the UCP MLA’s comments at a time when, in some regions, the health-care system is on the verge of collapsing due to the influx of ICU patients.

“It is with great dismay, disappointment and indignation that we feel we must respond to the statements made on Facebook by MLA Getson,” a Monday letter from the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association stated.

“These statements, directed at Alberta Health Services CEO Dr. Verna Yiu cannot be left uncontested, for they demonstrate an abysmal lack of understanding about our health system and public health.”

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The three-page letter also described the post as a “personal attack” on the president and CEO of AHS, and pointed to the “complete lack of understanding” about ICU capacity and how Alberta Health directs AHS operations.

Also adding their voice to the mix was Opposition Leader Rachel Notley.

“Those comments were absolutely disgusting,” Notley said at a Monday afternoon news conference.

“I will say that AHS has not let down Albertans — the UCP government has let down Albertans through their 18-month long attack on AHS.

“That they would actually now try to shift blame to AHS is jaw-dropping to me.”

Questions around ICU bed numbers

In another Facebook post on Saturday, Getson claimed AHS was looking at how to make 1,000 ICU beds available earlier in the pandemic.

In his post, he said it’s a “good thing we have the public all up in arms fighting with each other over passports… otherwise they might be asking what the heck has our $20-billion-plus-per-year AHS group been doing for ICU capacity when the public that pays for the system may need it!”

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In a statement to Global News, AHS said the “very preliminary” estimate that Alberta may need 1,000 ICU spaces was made at the start of the pandemic, in spring 2020, and was “based on worst-case estimates of potential case numbers and disruption of the health-care system.”

The health authority said it has increased hospital and ICU capacity throughout the pandemic, well above its baseline number of beds. To date, 197 additional ICU surge spaces have been added for a total of 370 — that’s more than double the typical 173 beds, and more than the second or third wave totals of 291 and 295 ICU spaces respectively.

“ICU patients require highly-skilled, specialized physicians and nurses, and the level of care is extremely complex,” AHS said.

“Our ability to add ICU capacity has changed throughout the pandemic, as we have learned more about treating COVID-19 patients, and as we have faced increasingly difficult staffing challenges.”

 

Global News reached out to Getson for an interview on his Facebook posts and the claims made in it, however, did not receive a response.

— With files from Global News’ Tom Vernon

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Manitoba woman learns she was a part of the '60s Scoop, decades later

Fifty-one-year-old Lori-Ann Lucas made a discovery that filled a void she says she’d long looked to fill in her life.

“I always felt a little different and I could never put my finger on it. I knew there was just something — I  belonged, but I didn’t belong.”

Lucas is adopted. Three months ago she began searching for her birth family.

She discovered her adoption papers, including her birth mother’s name. Using social media, she posted the papers online and asked for help connecting her with relatives.

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“When the first one came in and they told me about how we’re related, I literally dropped to my knees and just started crying and I went, ‘These are the pieces that I’m missing.’”

She discovered she is Ojibway and from Ebb and Flow First Nation with dozens of family members across the prairies.

But her biggest discovery: she was a part of the ’60s Scoop.

Lucas says she eventually connected with an older sister, who shared the last memory she had of her when she was nearly a year old.

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“She remembers us kids hiding in a closet and her holding me. We’re kind of guessing about six months. And she was holding me, trying to keep me quiet,” Lucas said.

“Then she remembers grandma yelling and shouting and her opening the door a crack. And grandma had a baseball bat and was trying to fight them off. She doesn’t understand what’s going on, fight off from whoever was trying to get in the house. And unfortunately, that was the day that they got us.”

Lucas was fostered in to a white family and later adopted by her current family. She’s since learned she also has two older brothers, one who has died, another she cannot find.

It’s estimated that around 20,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families in the 1960s to assimilate them into Western culture.

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During her time discovering her birth family’s history, she connected with a distant cousin, Rose Laquette, who she says has been guiding her in rediscovering her culture.

Lori and Rose meet for the first time.

Lori and Rose meet for the first time.

“It’s healing. I was so nervous of meeting her. And when you get that first hug, it’s healing. It’s exciting. It’s … it’s love,” Lucas says of the first time the two met.

“We just hugged and she cried and cried. It was a mutual feeling. She finally has that connection, she knew who she was now,” Laquette says.

Laquette, Lucas and her daughter travelled to Bacon Ridge and Ebb and Flow First Nation to visit her late parents’ homestead and learn more about her culture.

Read more:
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It’s a  decision Laquette says Lucas was hesitant about.

“She kept asking me, ‘Will they accept me?'” Laquette said. “I had to keep reassuring her to find her identity, which was really important to her.”

When they arrived at Ebb and Flow First Nation, Lucas says it was a surreal moment.

“The first words a lot of them said is, ‘Welcome home,’ and I know it doesn’t mean a lot to others, but it was so nice to hear that,” said Lucas.

After touring the community, she says she found an old rusted handwashing basin — a gift she believes was there for her to bring back home and keep as a small memory of her biological family.

Photo of the basin Lucas found while visiting her late parents homestead.

Photo of the basin Lucas found while visiting her late parents homestead.

Submitted.

Lucas says the hardest part of her journey to reclaim her heritage has been forgiveness.

“I am lucky and I I’m not going to waste that luck,” she says, speaking about her adoptive parents, and noting that many children did not have similar experiences.

She says this is just the start of the journey to reclaim her heritage.

“I think part of my calling now, start talking, start speaking, start taking a stand, educating, encouraging. We’re all here for a purpose, and I think that’s one of my purposes.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Stranger bear sprays couple inside vehicle; Penticton RCMP investigating

Penticton RCMP say they’re investigating an alleged incident of two people having been deliberately assaulted with bear spray.

According to police, the incident happened earlier this month, on Sept. 10, along the 900 block of Lakeshore Drive West.

RCMP say that just before 7:30 p.m., an unknown man exited a black, four-door sedan and approached another vehicle that had a couple sitting inside it.

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“The suspect sprayed bear spray through the couple’s open passenger window,” police said. “The man then immediately returned to his own vehicle and departed.”

The suspect is described as having a heavy build with a beard and balding. He was last seen wearing an orange-reddish T-shirt and black pants.

If you witnessed this incident, or have any other information, you are asked to call the Penticton RCMP at 250-492-4300.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

N.B. reports two COVID-related deaths, cases at 52 schools in past three weeks

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says the data supported reopening the province in the summer. One expert says that may be true – but the numbers also supported bringing back restrictions sooner than this. Travis Fortnum reports.

New Brunswick is reporting two more deaths linked to COVID-19, marking eight deaths in under a week.

Public Health confirms both people are in their 80s. One person was in Zone 3 (Fredericton region) and the other was in Zone 4 (Edmundston region).

This brings the total number of COVID-related deaths in the province to 56.

Read more:
New Brunswick reports a record active COVID-19 case count

Meanwhile, New Brunswick reported 68 new cases and 84 recoveries on Tuesday. According to the province, 58 of them — or 87 per cent — involve people who are not fully vaccinated.

There are now 632 active cases and 40 people in hospital, including 16 in an ICU.

Public Health also said 79.5 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are now fully vaccinated, and 88.4 per cent have received their first dose of a vaccine.

More school cases reported

Since Sept. 7 when the new school year began, 52 schools and 24 early learning and child-care facilities have had confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Anglophone School District South said two elementary schools in the Sussex area dismissed classes at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday for “Operational Response.”

District spokesperson Jessica Hanlon confirmed to Global News that Sussex Elementary and Apohaqui Elementary closed early due to a positive case of COVID-19.

“Letters were sent to the families of those two schools informing them of a positive case in their school community, with next steps,” Hanlon wrote in an email.

“Closing the school allows time to work with Public Health for contact tracing. The schools should expect to reopen tomorrow.”

Here is a complete list of schools and child-care centres with positive cases on Tuesday:

Zone 1 (Moncton region)

  • École Champlain in Moncton
  • Polyvalente Louis-J.-Robichaud in Shediac

Zone 2 (Saint John region)

  • Sussex Elementary School and Apohaqui Elementary School

Zone 3 (Fredericton region)

  • Liverpool Street Elementary School in Fredericton
  • Skyline Acres Recreation After School Program in Fredericton

Zone 5 (Campbellton region)

  • Dalhousie Regional High School

Breakdown of new cases

Zone 1 (Moncton region) — 22 cases

  • nine people 19 and under
  • two people 20-29
  • two people 30-39
  • five people 40-49
  • three people 50-59
  • one person 70-79

Eleven cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases, eight cases are under investigation and three cases are travel related.

Zone 2 (Saint John region) — two cases

  • a person 20-29
  • a person 50-59

Both cases are under investigation.

Zone 3 (Fredericton region)  — 25 cases

  • seven people 19 and under
  • four people 20-29
  • five people 30-39
  • a person 40-49
  • five people 50-59
  • two people 70-79
  • a person 80-89

Nineteen cases are under investigation and six are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Read more:
Lifting COVID-19 restrictions in New Brunswick was ‘not the right decision’: doctor

Zone 4 (Edmundston region) — 15 cases

  • four people 19 and under
  • six people 30-39
  • four people 50-59
  • a person 60-69

Eleven cases are under investigation and four are contacts of previously confirmed cases.

Zone 5 (Campbellton region) — three cases

  • a person 19 and under
  • two people 20-29

Two cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases and one is under investigation.

Zone 6 (Bathurst region) — one case

  • individual 20-29

This case is under investigation.

— With a file from Tim Roszell.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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