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B.C. to open AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for ages 55 to 65 in Lower Mainland –



The B.C. government has announced that people aged 55 to 65 who are living in the Lower Mainland can register on Wednesday to receive a dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine.

The announcement on Tuesday came as provincial health officials reported 840 new cases of COVID-19 but no additional deaths.

In a statement, Health Minister Adrian Dix said anyone in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions within that age range can call their local pharmacy to book a vaccination appointment.

Drop-in service may also be an option at more than 150 participating pharmacies. People must bring their personal health number with them.

The announcement comes one day after British Columbia health officials paused the use of AstraZeneca vaccines in people under the age of 55 in response to European reports of rare but potentially fatal blood clots.

Similar measures are being taken across Canada in response to recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).

Health officials said that pause presents an opportunity to use those doses to protect people with higher COVID-19 risks sooner.

Health-care workers provide COVID-19 Pfizer vaccines at a drive-thru clinic in Central Park in Burnaby. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“We know from the millions of doses used worldwide, and especially in the U.K., it is highly effective and the benefits to those over age 55 far outweigh the very real risks of getting COVID-19,” Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a statement.

“I encourage everyone in the Lower Mainland who is between 55 and 65 years of age to receive their safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine today.”

Active cases remain high

Henry and Dix also updated the province’s COVID-19 numbers on Tuesday, putting the number of hospitalized patients at 312, 78 of whom are in intensive care.

There are currently 7,062 active cases of coronavirus in the province — the highest number since Jan. 3 — with public health officials monitoring 11,164 people across B.C. who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure.

A total of 90,401 people who have tested positive for the virus have recovered, while 1,455 people in B.C. have died due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began early last year.

So far, 724,193 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the province, with 87,319 of those being second doses.

B.C. recorded 320 new cases associated with variants of concern on Tuesday, bringing the total number of variant cases in the province to 2,553. Of those, 313 are active cases.

New restrictions in effect

On Monday, the province recorded 2,518 new cases of COVID-19 from over the weekend, with a record high 936 on Saturday.

To interrupt the escalating transmission, Henry announced new restrictions that are in effect until at least April 19.

They include the closure of all indoor dining establishments, the suspension of indoor adult group fitness classes and the temporary closure of the Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort.

Henry also outlined new school mask guidelines on Monday for children in elementary school to help curb the rise in cases. The new guidelines now recommend masks for all students down to Grade 4 in schools across the province.

Henry was joined by Premier John Horgan, who singled out British Columbians aged 20 to 39 as the cohort not paying enough attention to COVID-19 public health orders.

Whistler case count grows

Vancouver Coastal Health reported continued case growth in Whistler on Tuesday.

In a statement, VCH said that from March 22 to 28, 218 new cases of COVID-19 were detected in Whistler.

Between Jan. 1 and March 28, 1,120 cases were recorded in the Whistler community, the health authority said, 83 per cent of which occurred among people age 20 to 39 years.

VCH said the most common transmission locations in Whistler are household settings and social gatherings.

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Canadian Business During the Pandemic



In 2019 the world was hit by the covid 19 pandemic and ever since then people have been suffering in different ways. Usually, economies and businesses have changed the way they work and do business. Most of which are going towards online and automation.

The people most effected by this are the laymen that used to work hard labors to make money for there families. But other then them it has been hard for most business to make such switch. Those of whom got on the online/ e commerce band wagon quickly were out of trouble and into the safe zone but not everyone is mace for the high-speed online world and are thus suffering.

More than 200,000 Canadian businesses could close permanently during the COVID-19 crisis, throwing millions of people out of work as the resurgence of the virus worsens across much of the country, according to new research. You can only imagine how many families these businesses were feeding, not to mention the impact the economy and the GDP is going to bear.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said one in six, or about 181,000, Canadian small business owners are now seriously contemplating shutting down. The latest figures, based on a survey of its members done between Jan. 12 and 16, come on top of 58,000 businesses that became inactive in 2020.

An estimate by the CFIB last summer said one in seven or 158,000 businesses were at risk of going under as a result of the pandemic. Based on the organization’s updated forecast, more than 2.4 million people could be out of work. A staggering 20 per cent of private sector jobs.

Simon Gaudreault, CFIB’s senior director of national research, said it was an alarming increase in the number of businesses that are considering closing.

We are not headed in the right direction, and each week that passes without improvement on the business front pushes more owners to make that final decision,”

He said in a statement.

The more businesses that disappear, the more jobs we will lose, and the harder it will be for the economy to recover.

In total, one in five businesses are at risk of permanent closure by the end of the pandemic, the organization said.

The new sad research shows that this year has been horrible for the Canadian businesses.


The beginning of 2021 feels more like the fifth quarter of 2020 than a new year,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the CFIB, in a statement.

She called on governments to help small businesses “replace subsidies with sales” by introducing safe pathways to reopen to businesses.

There’s a lot at stake now from jobs, to tax revenue to support for local soccer teams,”

Jones said.

Let’s make 2021 the year we help small business survive and then get back to thriving.”

The whole world has suffered a lot from the pandemic and the Canadian economy has been no stranger to it. We can only pray that the world gets rid of this pandemic quickly and everything become as it used to be. Although I think it is about time, we start setting new norms.

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Shopify shares edge up after falling on executive departures



By Chavi Mehta

(Reuters) -Shopify Inc shares edged higher on Thursday, recovering partially from the previous day’s fall, with analysts saying the news of planned senior executive departures may have limited impact due to the company’s deep talent pool.

Chief Executive Officer Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday the company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all leave their roles.

“We remain confident it (Shopify) can continue to execute at a high level, despite the departures,” Tom Forte, analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co said, pointing to the company’s “deep bench of talented executives.”

Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the past year as many businesses went virtual during the COVID-19 lockdowns, turning it into Canada‘s most valuable company.

Shopify declined to comment further on Lutke’s statement suggesting current company leaders would step in to fill the three roles. After chief product officer Craig Miller left in September, Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.

The Ottawa-based company is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.

Jonathan Kees, analyst at Summit Insights Group, called the timing of the departures “a little alarming” but said the specific roles make it less concerning, given that the executives leaving are “more back-office roles.”

Lutke said each one of them had their individual reasons to leave, without giving details.

“I am willing to give Tobi’s explanation the benefit of the doubt,” Kees added.

Toronto-listed shares of Shopify were up 3.5% at C$1526.41 on Thursday, giving it a market value of C$188 billion ($150 billion). It ended down 5.1% on Wednesday.

“While we would refer to the departure of three high-level executives as ‘significant,’ we would not refer to it as a ‘brain drain,'” Forte added.

($1 = 1.2541 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Dan Grebler)

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Almost half of Shopify’s top execs to depart company: CEO



By Moira Warburton

(Reuters) – Three of e-commerce platform Shopify’s seven top executives will be leaving the company in the coming months, chief executive officer and founder of Canada‘s most valuable company Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday.

The company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all transition out of their roles, Lutke said, adding that they have been “spectacular and deserve to take a bow.”

“Each one of them has their individual reasons but what was unanimous with all three was that this was the best for them and the best for Shopify,” he said.

The trio follow the departure of Craig Miller, chief product officer, in September. Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.

Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the last year as many businesses went virtual during COVID-19 lockdowns. It has a market cap valuation of C$182.7 billion ($146 billion), above Canada‘s top lender Royal Bank of Canada.

It is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.

“We have a phenomenally strong bench of leaders who will now step up into larger roles,” Lutke said, but did not name replacements.

Shopify said in February revenue growth would slow this year as vaccine rollouts encourage people to return to stores and warned it does not expect 2020’s near doubling of gross merchandise volume, an industry metric to measure transaction volumes, to repeat this year.

Chief talent officer, Brittany Forsyth, was the 22nd employee hired at Shopify and has been with the company for 11 years. She said on Twitter that post-Shopify she would be focusing on Backbone Angels, an all-female collective of angel investors she co-founded in March.

Shopify shares fell 5.1% while the benchmark Canadian share index ended marginally down.

($1 = 1.2515 Canadian dollars)


(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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