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1st doses of Moderna vaccine to be sent to northern Sask. – CTV News

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REGINA —
Saskatchewan’s first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will be sent to northern Saskatchewan, the province announced Wednesday.

Health Minister Paul Merriman said the vaccine will be administered to long-term care home residents and staff and other priority health care workers.

The Moderna vaccine is easier to transport and ship, making it an easier option for northern Saskatchewan.

The province said 4,900 doses of the the vaccine arrived in Saskatchewan on Wednesday.

“Initially this will be going to the far north central and far northwest parts of the province,” Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer, said. “This is where we have had high numbers of cases and high test positive rate.”

Dr. Shahab said the prioritization for the Moderna vaccine includes both Indigenous and non-Indigenous remote communities in the north.

“There’s ongoing communications with local leadership to facilitate notification of clinic dates, locations at the community level and information about vaccine safety and efficacy, as well as radio spots in English, Cree, Dene and Michif,” Shahab said.

The government anticipates the Moderna vaccine will begin being administered in the weeks of Jan. 4 and 11.

PFIZER VACCINATIONS

As of Dec. 29, Saskatchewan has administered 2,942 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Of the initial 1,950 doses delivered to Regina, 1,834 have been administered. The province said the remaining vaccines will be given to long-term care staff at Regina Pioneer Village and Santa Maria care homes.

A COVID-19 outbreak was declared at the Santa Maria care home on Dec. 29. There are four positive cases between staff and residents.

In Saskatoon, 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were received on Dec. 21, along with an additional 975 this week. A total of 1,108 doses have been administered to date.

Prince Albert will be receiving its first doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Jan. 4.

The province said priority health care workers will start to receive the vaccine upon delivery of the doses.

Further deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine will begin in Saskatchewan in January, with 6,825 doses expected to be delivered during the weeks of Jan. 11, 18 and 25.

Merriman said the province is looking for clarity from the federal government on how many vaccines Saskatchewan will be receiving moving forward.

“We expect the federal government to begin receiving and distributing much larger numbers of the vaccines early in the new year,” Merriman said. “We are trying to get a clear indication from the federal government of the number of vaccines they will be sending us each week so we can better plan for the next steps in the distribution process.”

The province said there are currently five ultra-low temperature freezers in place in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert, which are used to store the Pfizer vaccine. Another four freezers are expected to be delivered.

VACCINATIONS FOR GENERAL PUBLIC

With an expected limited supply of vaccine doses available in early 2021, Dr. Shahab said the general public will likely not have access to the vaccine until at least the midpoint of the year.

“Supplies are very limited in January, February and March, and they are being directed to the persons who are most vulnerable,” he said.

Shahab however said he is hopeful there will be more supplies of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines starting in April and May. He added that additional options, such as the AstraZeneca vaccine that was approved in the U.K. on Wednesday, would also bring Saskatchewan closer to a wide-spread rollout of vaccines.

“We hope to see that vaccine available – as well as potentially other products available – especially starting in April, and that’s when I think there’ll be broader supply,” Shahab said.

“That’s when the vaccine will be opened up to younger age groups with underlying health conditions, and then to the general population. I would estimate June, July onward.”

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TD Bank CFO Ahmed to head securities unit, move seen as CEO succession play

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TD Bank Group on Thursday named Chief Financial Officer Riaz Ahmed chief executive of its securities unit and head of wholesale banking, a move some investors interpreted as a sign he will succeed CEO Bharat Masrani.

For Ahmed, 58, the change marks a return to his TD roots. He began his career at the bank in 1996 as an investment banker in the securities division, following which he served as its CFO and chief administrative officer. He has been part of TD Bank‘s executive team for nine years, and CFO for over five.

“Cross-training in the capital markets role … increases the likelihood of (Ahmed) succeeding Masrani when he retires, but I doubt it would be soon, as that would create unnecessary turnover atop TD Securities,” said Brian Madden, portfolio manager at Goodreid Investment Counsel.

“Maybe Masrani announces his retirement next year (or the following) and leaves early in 2023” or 2024.

Masrani’s compensation arrangements anticipated his retirement in 2020, TD said in its 2019 shareholders meeting proxy circular. But he was granted stock options worth C$1.9 million ($1.5 million), vesting in five years, on the condition that he remain available to serve as CEO throughout that period.

Ahmed replaces Bob Dorrance, who will retire on Sept. 1 after about 16 years at the bank, Canada’s second-biggest lender by market value said in a statement.

When asked about TD’s succession plans, a spokesperson said: “Today we are celebrating Bob Dorrance’s incredible career and accomplishments, and the appointment of top executives to critical, leadership roles.”

At a time when diversity, particularly in executive and board ranks, has come under increased scrutiny, Ahmed’s appointment as CEO would mean TD, the only one of Canada’s six biggest lenders to have a non-Caucasian at its helm, would retain that aspect.

Ahmed’s appointment comes after TD’s wholesale banking unit recorded an 8% revenue decline in the second quarter from a year ago, contributing to the bank’s overall underperformance versus some rivals.

Kelvin Tran, currently executive vice president for enterprise finance, will replace Ahmed as finance chief.

Dorrance, who has headed TD Securities since 2005, will stay on as chairman of TD Securities and serve as special adviser to Masrani.

TD shares were flat at C$87.12 on Thursday afternoon, compared with a 0.2% gain in the Toronto stock index. The shares are up 21% this year, versus a 15% gain in the benchmark.

($1 = 1.2303 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Nichola Saminather in Toronto; Additional reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in BengaluruEditing by Nick Zieminski and Matthew Lewis)

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AIB agrees to life and pensions joint-venture with Canada Life

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Allied Irish Banks on Wednesday said it would form a joint venture with Canada life as it seeks to plug gaps in its life, savings and wealth products.

The joint venture will be equally owned by Canada Life, a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc.

“The move to create this joint venture is aligned with AIB’s stated ambition to complete its customerproduct suite and diversify income,” AIB said in a statement.

“Through this strategic initiative AIB intends to offer customers a range of life protection, pensions, savings and investment options enhanced by integrated digital solutions withcontinued access to our qualified financial advisors.”

The Irish lender highlighted Canada Life’s “deep experience” of the Irish bancassurance market through Irish Life Assurance, which is also a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco.

AIB currently operates under a tied agency distribution agreement with Irish Life, and will enter into a new distribution agreement with the new joint venture company.

Chief Executive Colin Hunt highlighted the need to plug gaps in AIB’s life, savings and wealth products when he set out the bank’s medium-term targets last December.

AIB expects its equity investment in the joint venture will be around 90 million euros ($107.51 million), equating to around 10bps of CET1.($1 = 0.8372 euros)

(Reporting by Graham Fahy;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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Interac: Canada’s Latest Payment Solution Phenomenon

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Few can argue that digital payment methods aren’t central to modern-day society. In recent times, increasing numbers of payment solutions have come to the forefront, offering consumers more choice regarding their transaction preferences. Canada, in particular, has embraced a wide-ranging selection of secure, forward-thinking options. Of those available throughout the country, Interac has piqued the interests of local consumers the most. So, let’s look at why this payment solution is an especially popular option throughout Canada. 

Usable Across Various Markets 

It speaks volumes about Interac’s versatility in that it’s usable across a variety of different industries. Since being founded in 1984, the Canadian interbank network has become integral to numerous markets, including local air travel. Air Canada, which has been operating since 1937, has expanded their accepted payment methods, and now passengers can pay for their flights using Interac. According to the airline’s official website, the Interac Online service lets consumers pay for their tickets via the internet directly from their bank account. 

Not only that, but Interac is also available at Walmart. In November 2020, the two organizations partnered together to expand in-store and online payment options. Walmart has adapted well to the digital trend, with American Banker reporting that they’ve opened Interac Flash sale points throughout their stores. 


Source: Unsplash

Aside from the above, Interac has also taken the digital world by storm. Following its rapid rise to prominence, the solution has also altered the online casino industry, with platforms like Genesis Casino now accepting the transaction type. The provider, which features Interac Canadian casino options, uses the popular payment method to enhance transaction speeds of deposits and withdrawals, as well as security. Players can use Interac Online and Interac e-Transfer to make deposits or withdrawals from their desktops or mobiles as the platform is fully optimized. 

A Reflection of Modern-Day Society 

In recent times, Interac recorded a 55 percent increase in transactions between April and August 2020 compared to the same period the previous year, as per BNN Bloomberg. These figures somewhat reflect the current state of e-Commerce and modern consumerism. Following the rise of Interac and other payment methods, it’s now less troublesome for consumers to complete in-store and online purchases. 


Source: PxHere

There’s an ever-growing perception that land-based businesses need to adapt within the digital era and accept forward-thinking payment methods. According to Cision, Interac is of utmost importance to the Canadian economy, and a year-on-year increase in Interac Debit payments of 333 percent reflects that. Not only that, but Interac e-Transfer payments are growing at 52 percent each year. This Interac-oriented trend appears unlikely to fade over the coming years, with the network being selected as the country’s provider for a new real-time payment system, as per Lexology. 

Consumer Habits are Changing 

There can be no doubt that consumerism has changed drastically over the past decade. The popularity of Interac suggests that a cashless future may be on the horizon, with increasing numbers of shoppers enjoying the security of online payment methods. While it’s currently unclear if that will happen, Interac appears to be prevalent for the long run.

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