Approval from Public Health Agency of Canada crucial for CFL quest for fed money

Approval from Public Health Agency of Canada crucial for CFL quest for fed money

Approval from Public Health Agency of Canada crucial for CFL quest for fed money

TORONTO — The CFL’s quest for federal funding in order to stage an abbreviated season received a huge boost Friday.

The league’s health-and-safety protocols remain the biggest requirement in its request earlier this week for a $30-million, interest-free loan from Ottawa. Currently, the Public Health Agency of Canada is evaluating the plans the CFL would implement during a shortened campaign that would played be in Winnipeg, its tentative hub city.

On Friday, Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, was very positive about the CFL’s proposed measures.

“What has been submitted to us, I think, is encouraging,” Njoo said. “Obviously there’s still details to be worked out … I think it’s something we can work with.”

That’s important, because acceptance from the Public Health Agency of Canada is a must. Without it, there’s no federal money for the CFL, and, essentially, no season.

If games are held, players would be required to isolate for 14 days at home before coming to Winnipeg. Upon their arrival in the Manitoba capital, players would self-isolate for another seven days.

Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, has said players will be tested for COVID-19 in their own jurisdictions. Then they’ll be tested on their first day, sixth day, and 13th day in Winnipeg.

The general public will not be allowed inside dedicated CFL host hotels or IG Field. Only players, staff, league officials and media can enter the stadium.

Violations will result in strict penalties, including players being sent home for the remainder of the season.

“In principle, I’d say that so far I think it’s the same as we had for the NHL,” Njoo said. “My understanding is they’ve also had discussions, and we also have had discussions, with Manitoba health officials.

“From the Manitoba health perspective I think they’re comfortable with what has been put forward so far but there are still some details and some other aspects we need to discuss. Obviously there’s still details to be worked out.”

The NHL has resumed play with Edmonton and Toronto as their hub cities.

Last month, the Canadian government rejected the Toronto Blue Jays’ plan to play home games at Rogers Centre over fears of spreading the novel coronavirus. The Jays ultimately settled upon playing their home contests in nearby Buffalo, N.Y.

The CFL sent the federal government a request earlier this week for a $30-million, interest-free loan. That’s a reduction from the $44-million amended requisition it presented last month.

In April, the CFL approached the federal government for up to $150 million in assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But a source with knowledge of the situation told The Canadian Press on Friday if the Public Health Agency of Canada rejects the CFL’s protocols, the league can continue to amend them until they meet standards established by the national agency. That, in turn, would keep the CFL in line for financial assistance from the federal government.

The league has maintained it requires government funding in order to stage an abbreviated season.

The CFL source spoke on the condition of anonymity as neither the league nor federal government have divulged details of the loan request.

Earlier this week, the source revealed the CFL’s newest plan calls for approximately $28 million of the loan going towards an abbreviated campaign.

CFL governors held a videoconference Thursday and presumably received an update on the situation with Ottawa. But word came down following the meeting that no decisions had been made and the league and government continue to talk.

Surprisingly, though, league sources said the board was set to reconvene Friday _ a rarity that it would meet on consecutive days. But there was no confirmation of the videoconference from the CFL.

One question, though, is how Manitoba can enforce the 14-day self-isolation period, especially since many CFL players live in the U.S. and would be coming from there to participate in a shortened season.

The Manitoba government also established a volunteer committee to oversee CFL hub city plans. It will focus on economic return on investment, creating community engagement, and providing oversight and support for the league.

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie has stated the earliest an abbreviated season could begin is early next month. But he’s also said a cancelled campaign remains a possibility.

This is essentially the league’s last-ditch effort to secure financial support from the federal government for an abbreviated ‘20 season.

Ottawa definitely requires cost certainty from the CFL as well as a specified repayment plan. But, first and foremost, it needs the Public Health Agency of Canada’s approval of the league’s health-and-safety protocols.

The CFL continues to meet with the CFL Players’ Association about amending the current collective bargaining agreement to allow for an abbreviated season. The league also must finalize a deal with broadcast partner TSN.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 7, 2020.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the CFL’s plans are being reviewed by Health Canada, instead of the Public Health Agency of Canada.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

Collin Orthner, manager at McBain Camera in downtown Red Deer, stands behind the store’s counter on Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
A few Red Deer businesses happy with Black Friday results

While this year’s Black Friday wasn’t as successful as it was in… Continue reading

Le Chateau Inc. is the latest Canadian firm to start producing personal protective equipment for health care workers, in a July 3, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Hundreds of millions of dollars for frontline workers yet to be released, says Alberta Federation of Labour

Information recently released by the Alberta Federation of Labour suggests more than… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP say a 30-year-old man faces sexual charges against a teen. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Man killed in two-vehicle collision near Penhold, says Blackfalds RCMP

A 46-year-old man is dead following a two-vehicle collision on Highway 42… Continue reading

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Banff National Park. (The Canadian Press)
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

EDMONTON — A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths on railway tracks… Continue reading

Cows on pasture at the University of Vermont dairy farm eat hay Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. Canadian dairy farmers are demanding compensation from the government because of losses to their industry they say have been caused by a series of international trade deals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lisa Rathke
Feds unveil more funding for dairy, poultry and egg farmers hurt by free trade deals

OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Canada's top doctor says the country is still on a troubling track for new COVID-19 infections as case counts continue mounting in much of the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
COVID-19 cases in Canada remain on troubling course, Tam says, amid rising numbers

Canada’s top doctor says the country is still on a troubling track… Continue reading

Hay’s Daze: Giraffe knows filling wishes can sometimes be a tall order

Last weekend, I had a lovely breakfast. “So what?” you may say.… Continue reading

A person enters a building as snow falls in Ottawa, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. Ottawa has been successful in limiting the spread of COVID-19 during its second wave thanks to the city’s residents who have been wearing masks and staying home, said Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
People to thank for Ottawa’s success with curbing COVID-19: health officer

The city’s chief medical officer said much of the credit goes to the people who live in Ottawa

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says tonight's public video gaming session with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is about reaching young people where they hang. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP leader stoked over ‘epic crossover’ in video gaming sesh with AOC

Singh and AOC discussed importance of universal pharmacare, political civility, a living wage

A south view of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf breaking apart is seen from Ward Hunt Island, Nunavut, in an Aug. 20, 2011, handout photo. The remote area in the northern reach of the Nunavut Territory, has seen ice cover shrink from over 4 metres thick in the 1950s to complete loss, according to scientists, during recent years of record warming. Scientists are urging the federal government to permanently protect a vast stretch of Canada's remotest High Arctic called the Last Ice Area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CEN/Laval University, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Scientists urge permanent protection of Last Ice Area in Canada’s High Arctic

Tuvaijuittuq has the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s $55 million Lotto Max jackpot

No winning ticket was sold for the $55 million jackpot in Friday… Continue reading

Most Read