COVID-19 Updates

Follow along on the latest on COVID-19 news, as it concerns the environment, climate and health. If you come across something you'd like for us to fact-check for you, or if you want to provide us with a submission to share, please send us an email at

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Latest News

Back to school: Quebec daycares and elementary schools outside of the Montreal Area reopen

May 11th, 2020: The province has stated that attendance is not mandatory, although staff and students will be practicing sanitation and physical distancing measures while at school. Libraries, gyms, and cafeterias remain closed and students are to be separated in the classroom at most schools.

Federal Government to support Canada’s agriculture and food industry with a $252-million aid package

May 5th, 2020: The Canadian Federation of Agriculture had reached out for financial aid last month, and the government has recent announced an initial investment of $252-million. Specifically, $77-million will be allocated to expand domestic processing capacity through protective equipment and supporting physical distancing measures.

"A Framework for Reopening our Province": Ontario Government releases a 3-stage framework for recovery

April 27th, 2020: The Ontario Government has released a plan to reopen the province in 3-phases. Although timing cannot be determined, the plan progresses through 3 phases: protect and support, restart, and recover. See the full report for more details.

The Ontario government announces reopening of certain workplaces for May 4th

May 1st, 2020: The Ontario government has decided to allow the reopening of a small list of specific businesses and workplaces amidst the pandemic, given they adhere to strict public health measures. These businesses can plan to open for May 4th, including garden centres, lawn care, essential construction projects, automatic car washes, auto dealerships, and golf courses and marinas for preparation only.

Projections of record setting emission reductions in 2020 may not be the best news

April 30th, 2020: Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, new research projects that global emissions will drop by nearly 8 percent. This drop is the largest global greenhouse gas emission decline ever recorded. Although this research sounds like good news, experts caution that this drop in emissions is not sustainable to combat the effects of climate change. As the pandemic subsides, there may be significantly increased emissions in the coming years due to rebuilding economies. Unless systems change is implemented and climate policy created, the decline in emissions throughout COVID-19 will likely not lead to long-lasting benefits.

Ontario study reports evidence of COVID-19 origin using unique methods

April 28th, 2020: A study conducted at Western University finds evidence that the virus had originated in bats, duplicating the findings of other global research efforts. However, the leaders of the study claim that although they are not the first research team to link the virus to bats, they may be the fastest. Using programming developed by their team, they believe that this may help expedite the processes of researching treatments.

Government of Canada invests in emissions management and cleaning orphaned oil wells amidst COVID-19

April 17th, 2020: On April 17th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $1.7 billion to clean up orphan oil wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia,. Notably, this investment expects maintain 5,200 jobs in Alberta, which will receive approximately $1 billion. Secondly, a $750 million emission reduction fund was also announced, aiming to create jobs through environmental protection efforts, specifically methane emission reductions.

Farms in the US forced to dispose of mass amounts of fresh goods amidst restaurant and school closures

April 11th, 2020: Following the closure of restaurants, schools, and hotels, farms are struggling with a huge decrease in buyers during the pandemic. Although there has been a spike in food sales as people eat at home, this was not enough to compensate for the mass amounts of food that was prepared for larger industries. The Dairy Farmers of America estimate that farmers have been dumping as many as 3.7 million gallons of milk in one single day.

Federal government is spending $130 million to help resiliency of communities up North during COVID-19 pandemic

April 14th, 2020: Reports from Indigenous communities illustrate how systemic factors can contribute to disproportionate health outcomes. Due to barriers in health care accessibility, many Indigenous people must leave the community to receive care. The government hopes to help to resilience of Northern communities through investments in health care and supply chains throughout the pandemic.

Government of Ontario suspends oversight over environment, attributed to COVID-19 concerns

April 8th, 2020: The Progressive Conservative government will have the ability to approve of projects or laws that have potential environmental consequences without public consultation. Currently, the regulation does not specify that those decisions must be related to COVID-19. Without this stipulation, some worry this may allow for projects unrelated to the pandemic to avoid the usual environmental oversight.

United Nations' Chief of Biodiversity calls for permanent ban on wildlife markets

April 7th, 2020: The acting executive secretary of the UN Convention of Biological Diversity urges countries to consider banning "wet markets" that sell live and dead animals for human consumption. Although Mrema cautions the potential of unintended consequences, they hope that this recommendation will help to prevent future pandemics.

COVID-19 was not China’s first temporary drop in CO2 emissions

February 19th, 2020: Throughout the month of February, China’s carbon emissions fell by around 25% amidst COVID-19. More recent analysis at the end of March show that emissions slowly returned to normal levels over a seven-week period of time. This short-term reduction is not new in China, as the country will regularly shut down for one-week during Chinese new year. Due to the circumstances of 2020, the usual fall in emissions was prolonged by 10 days so far (See image). Putting these figures into perspective, since the 25% decrease in emissions is temporary, this would only cut annual emissions by around 1%.


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 Shake Up The Establishment is a non-partisan organization that wants to help make Canada a leader in addressing the climate crisis by providing Canadians with scientifically-backed information on the issue to inform advocacy and political action. Given the emergent nature of the issue, we demand that political parties provide feasible plans for climate action, and are held responsible for executing these promises.

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