As of today, students in Alberta no longer need to wear masks at school


Ontario’s premier says the province is ending its vaccine certificate system on March 1, when capacity limits will lift as well. Doug Ford’s announcement came as several other provinces — including Alberta and Saskatchewan — on Monday moved ahead with previously announced lifting of public health measures.

Ontario lifting more COVID-19 restrictions

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the province can safely expand some indoor capacity limits and drop the COVID-19 vaccine passport by March 1 because key health indicators are improving. 1:26

The latest:

  • Saskatchewan premier defends plan to end COVID-19 vaccine, proof of negative test mandate
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  • Have a coronavirus question or news tip for CBC News? Email: [email protected] or join us live in the comments now.

Ontario’s premier says the province is ending its vaccine certificate system on March 1, when capacity limits will lift as well. Doug Ford’s announcement came as several other provinces — including Alberta and Saskatchewan — on Monday moved ahead with previously announced lifting of public health measures.

The province will also remove its 50 per cent capacity limit on restaurants on Thursday, four days earlier than planned. Ford gave no timetable for dropping the requirement that people wear masks in public places.

“Let me be very clear: We are moving in this direction because it is safe to do so. Today’s announcement is not because of what’s happening in Ottawa or Windsor — but despite it,” Ford said.

A vaccine mandate for staff in long-term care homes will remain, the premier said.

BREAKING: The Ontario government is removing the province’s proof of vaccination system as of March 1, while also speeding up the second phase of its COVID-19 reopening plan to Thursday — a move that was set to happen later under the province’s timeline.


Meanwhile, Alberta’s mandatory mask requirement for children under 12 in all settings and for all students in schools ended Monday, while Saskatchewan’s use of a vaccine passport program is also ending.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the decision about masks last week as part of a phased plan to eliminate all COVID-19 restrictions. The provincial government has told school boards they don’t have the power to override the directive.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced last week his province’s proof-of-vaccination mandate would come to an end Feb. 14, while indoor masking and self-isolation rules would stay in place until the end of the month.

Moe has said the policy that required proof of vaccination or a negative helped increase vaccination rates in the province, but suggested its costs now outweigh its benefits.

LISTEN | Scott Moe takes questions about how Saskatchewan is handling COVID-19 as more restrictions are eased: 

16:13Premier Scott Moe talks ending COVID-19 public health orders

The first big change to pandemic health orders is gone now. Vaccine passports are no longer supported by the provincial government. By the end of the month, masks won’t be either. Host Stefani Langenegger speaks with Premier Scott Moe. 16:13

In an interview with CBC Radio’s The Morning Edition, the premier said people in Saskatchewan have been “making the right decisions throughout this pandemic,” when asked about shifting requirements, adding that he trusts that people will continue to do that.

Saskatchewan no longer issues daily information on the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the province. Instead, it provides weekly updates, released on Thursday.

Meanwhile Manitoba’s staged lifting of restrictions will see the current 50 per cent capacity limits in places like restaurants and hockey arenas end Tuesday. Caps on gatherings in people’s homes will also end.

-From The Canadian Press, last updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

What’s happening across Canada

WATCH | Is it too early to end vaccine and mask mandates? 

COVID-19: Is it too early to end vaccine and mask mandates?

Infectious diseases specialist Dr. Zain Chagla answers questions about whether it’s too soon for provinces to end COVID-19 vaccine passports and mask mandates, as well as whether they are still effective tools. 2:31

With lab-based testing capacity deeply strained and increasingly restricted, experts say true case counts are likely far higher than reported. Hospitalization data at the regional level is also evolving, with several provinces saying they will report figures that separate the number of people in hospital because of COVID-19 from those in hospital for another medical issue who also test positive for COVID-19.

  • Track how many people have been given the COVID-19 vaccine across Canada

For more information on what is happening in your community — including details on outbreaks, testing capacity and local restrictions — click through to the regional coverage below.

You can also read more from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which provides a detailed look at every region — including seven-day average test positivity rates — in its daily epidemiological updates.

In Central Canada, Quebec on Monday reported 17 more deaths linked to the novel coronavirus. The daily COVID-19 update showed 2,095 patients in hospital with the disease, with 136 people in ICUs.

Earlier Monday, gyms and spas were allowed to reopen at half-capacity across Quebec, after they were closed in December to reduce transmission of the Omicron variant of the virus.

Indoor sports and recreation activities can also resume today, including at colleges and universities, with a maximum of 25 participants per group.

  • The pandemic exposed flaws in Quebec’s health system. Front-line workers say it’s time to fix them

In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia is easing some restrictions as of Monday, part of a three-phase process to lift public health measures. A statement from the province last week said that the first phase will allow for events, with gathering limits increased.

The province also said “all border restrictions for domestic travellers will be lifted.”

  • Newfoundland and Labrador’s top doctor talks Omicron, mental health and life after COVID-19
  • Loosened restrictions at care homes bring ‘joy and relief’ for residents and staff

Health officials across the North and in British Columbia are expected to provide updated COVID-19 information later Monday.

-From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at noon ET

What’s happening around the world

Couples take part in a mass wedding ceremony a day before Valentine’s Day in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines. The Philippines has eased COVID-19 restrictions this month as daily cases gradually drop. (Getty Images)

As of early Monday afternoon, more than 412.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 5.8 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, South Korea will begin administering a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose by the end of February and will supply millions of additional home test kits to ease shortages amid a surge in Omicron infections, authorities confirmed.

Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority said it has granted an interim authorization for Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine.

China’s National Immigration Administration said it will not be renewing passports for non-essential travel while the international COVID-19 epidemic situation is still severe and cross-border travel poses “great security risks.”

A snowman is seen wearing a face mask outside a COVID-19 testing booth in Beijing on Sunday. Heavy snowfall hit Beijing and surrounding areas on Sunday, leading to the postponement of a number of outdoor events at the Winter Olympics. (Annice Lyn/Getty Images)

In the Middle East, Kuwait’s cabinet has lifted many COVID-19 restrictions, including a ban on foreign travel. The move will also apply to those who are not vaccinated, Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah said Monday.

Meanwhile, health officials in Iran on Sunday reported 148 additional deaths and 25,812 additional cases of COVID-19.

In Europe, the Duchess of Cornwall has tested positive for COVID-19, four days after her husband, Prince Charles, was confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus. The couple’s office said Monday that Camilla is self-isolating. Charles has been isolating since he tested positive on Thursday. But Camilla had continued with public engagements while taking daily tests. The 73-year-old Charles and 74-year-old Camilla are both triple-vaccinated.

Norway will scrap nearly all its remaining COVID-19 lockdown measures as high levels of coronavirus infections are unlikely to jeopardize health services, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said.  The leader has previously said that as wealthier nations lift restrictions, they should continue to assist lower-income nations with access to vaccines, treatment and supplies as the pandemic continues to pose a risk to the world.

Sweden is recommending a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose to people over 80 and those living in nursing homes or getting home care, authorities said Monday, adding it must be administered no earlier than four months after the previous shot.

In the Americas, the busiest U.S.-Canada border crossing was open Monday after protesters demonstrating against COVID-19 measures blocked it for nearly a week

In Africa, health officials in South Africa on Sunday reported 1,649 new cases of COVID-19 and eight additional deaths.

-From Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

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