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In today's Morning Brief, we look at what Canadians are expected to do with the billions of dollars that have been saved during the pandemic.

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After a year of pandemic prudence, Canadians likely eager to spend the billions saved

If there is one silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic for Grayham Havens, it was celebrating his two-year anniversary with his wife by purchasing a house last month.

All the government restrictions during the pandemic helped him drastically reduce his spending over the last year and begin socking away cash every month. After clearing leftover debt, the couple saved enough for a down payment.

"We're so fortunate, very fortunate, to get something like this," first-time homeowner Havens said about their grey bungalow in southeast Calgary, complete with a large deck, fire pit and pond in the backyard.

Havens isn't alone. Canadians have saved a record amount of money during the pandemic, resulting from the combined impact of reduced spending and collecting more money from government support programs.

WATCH |How a Calgary couple paid off debt and bought a house during the pandemic: 

How a Calgary couple paid off debt and bought a house during the pandemic

3 months ago

Not everyone has extra money in the bank — but many do.

Overall, Canadians have saved about $230 billion throughout the course of the pandemic, said Charles St-Arnaud, chief economist at Alberta Central, the central banking facility for the province's credit unions.

Some of that money has been invested and used to pay down debt. Still, he estimates, about $150 billion is sitting in bank accounts and could be accessed with the swipe of a bank card.

"In the aftermath of the pandemic, we can expect households to make more savings than they have done in the past, but the vast majority will be spent," he said. Read more on this story here.

Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard to be 1st transgender athlete to compete at Olympics

(Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will be the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics. Hubbard was among five weightlifters confirmed Monday for New Zealand's team for the Tokyo Games. Hubbard, 43, will also be the oldest weightlifter at the Games and will be ranked fourth in the women's heavyweight division. Read more on Hubbard here.

In brief

The federal government is set to announce today the loosening of some border restrictions for fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents but it says "the finish line" won't come until there are significantly increased vaccination rates in Canada. The changes to the border restrictions will be limited to a few measures, with all non-essential travel still discouraged, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in an interview that aired Sunday on Rosemary Barton Live. There would be "changes with respect to the government-assisted hotels, perhaps some implication on who would be subject to quarantine, what it means to be a fully vaccinated traveller and what changes can now be accommodated for those people who are, in fact, fully vaccinated," Blair said. Read more on the pending changes to border restrictions

WATCH | Ottawa set to ease some travel restrictions for fully vaccinated Canadians: 

Ottawa set to ease some travel restrictions for fully vaccinated Canadians

3 months ago

The Saskatchewan government says it will lift all public health measures by July 11 — including mandatory masking and gathering size limits — even though the province hasn't reached its final COVID-19 vaccination target. Currently, 70 per cent of residents over the age of 18 have received their first dose, but only 69 per cent of all residents 12 and older got their first shots. Initially the full implementation of Step 3 of the reopening roadmap wasn't supposed to be triggered until 70 per cent of residents 12 and older got their first shot of vaccine. Premier Scott Moe said Sunday in a video message on Twitter that the province will hit its vaccination target in the next couple of days. "You may wish to continue wearing your mask in certain situations," he said, "but that will be up to you." Read more on the easing health measures

The lead safety investigator for a deadly derailment in the mountains of B.C. was pulled off the case after Canadian Pacific Railway threatened to sue him and his bosses for suggesting the RCMP should look into potential criminal negligence by the railway, CBC News has learned. Don Crawford, a senior investigator with the Transportation Safety Board (TSB), says he came to suspect major safety failures by CP had led to the runaway crash of Train 301 on Feb. 4, 2019, that killed three crew members. Based on his findings, he went to his bosses in late 2019 asking to call in the RCMP to investigate. When supervisors refused to alert police, Crawford went public. CP lawyers immediately began phoning and emailing the TSB, and by the next morning, had sent an official warning of potential legal action, according to internal documents obtained by CBC News under access to information. The TSB responded by removing Crawford from the case, issuing a statement distancing itself from its own investigator, and then privately apologizing to the railway. Read more on this story here

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde says Canada has made significant progress in the past seven years on its relationship with Indigenous people, but he warns there is still much work to do as he prepares to step down next month. He points to the creation of a national day of truth and reconciliation, recognition of treaty rights in citizenship oaths, and development on child welfare and language rights as signs of progress. "We've moved the yardsticks, but progress doesn't mean parity. We still have to keep investing in housing and water and infrastructure and education and health care so that gap keeps closing," Bellegarde said in interview that aired Sunday, the day before Canada marks National Indigenous Peoples Day. "It's going to take five, 10, 15, 20 years for that gap to eventually close because progress does not mean parity. And we've got to get to the same starting line." Read more from Bellegarde's interview

WATCH | Understanding hard truths of history key to shared future, says outgoing AFN chief: 

Understanding hard truths of history key to shared future, says outgoing AFN chief

3 months ago

Many Indigenous people are in a race against time to keep the languages of their ancestors alive. In some communities in British Columbia, only a few fluent speakers remain. In some cases, those people are "silent speakers" — elders who have knowledge of the language but have not actually spoken it since they were punished for using it as children in residential schools. Now, many young people, even those in their 40s and 50s, are learning and teaching their languages at the same time. Their hope is that children who are just starting school now will grow up into a new generation of fluent speakers. Read the stories of some of the people working to revitalize Indigenous languages on Vancouver Island. You can read more Indigenous stories here.

Nicolas Roy scored 1:18 into overtime to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens last night, leaving their Stanley Cup semifinal series knotted at 2-2. Robin Lehner stopped 27 shots after he got the start in place of Marc-Andre Fleury. Paul Byron opened the scoring for the Habs late in the second period, before Brayden McNabb tied it midway through the third period. The teams head back to Las Vegas for Game 5 on Tuesday night. Read more from last night's game.

WATCH | Canadiens fans confident as series with Golden Knights continues:

Canadiens fans confident as series with Golden Knights continues

3 months ago

Now for some good news to start your Monday: Saint John residents Asrar Aldekas and Kevin Standing may not seem like two people destined to be best friends. Standing, 57, is a born-and-raised New Brunswicker who recently retired due to medical reasons. Aldekas, 29, fled Syria several years ago during the country's civil war. She eventually landed in Saint John in 2019. They met by chance at a local pizza shop. Standing and his wife, Tina Jane, soon saw that Aldekas took an interest in their odd jobs and building projects around their house. Aldekas had done some carpentry and was interested in learning more, but she'd never used power tools. Standing, a hobby carpenter with an extensive collection of tools, decided to teach her. The learning turned out to be a two-way street. Aldekas has introduced Kevin and Tina Jane to Syrian food and shared with them her passion for vegetable gardening. Read more on the unlikely friends.

Front Burner: Infighting, allegations of racism plague Green Party

Federal Green Party Leader Annamie Paul had a tumultuous week after the loss of one of three Green members of Parliament to the Liberals, followed by her surviving an emergency leadership meeting that could have kick-started the process of removing her as leader.

In a series of press statements, Paul, the first Black person and Jewish woman to lead a federal party, addressed the infighting and made allegations of racism and sexism against some inside her own party.

CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton and political reporter David Thurton join us today to explain where Paul goes from here and what all this conflict means for the future of the federal Green Party — especially with a possible election looming.

Today in history: June 21

1919: In what became known as Bloody Saturday, gunfire breaks out after police charge a group of participants in the five-week-old Winnipeg General Strike. Two strikers are killed and 20 wounded. The strike ended five days later.

1948: The world's first stored-program computer — which used cathode-ray tubes — works successfully for the first time at the University of Manchester in England. The Baby, as it was nicknamed, was six metres long, weighed half a tonne and could store only 32 words.

1957: John Diefenbaker is sworn in as Canada's first Conservative prime minister in 22 years. Ellen Fairclough becomes Canada's first female cabinet minister when she was sworn in as secretary of state for Canada.

1999: American forest giant Weyerhaeuser announces it will buy British Columbia-based MacMillan Bloedel for $3.6 billion.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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