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Boxing Day was once what Black Friday is now –



For some Canadians, Boxing Day is the time to go shopping and take advantage of post-Christmas discounts from retailers. 

As reported in November, it has more recently been pushed aside by Black Friday, a day of deals that is the traditional start of shopping season for Americans. It spread to Canada around 2005, according to reports in the CBC archives.

Back in 1984, though, the day to look for deep discounts was Dec. 26. And stores in some Canadian provinces risked a penalty by opening on the statutory holiday.

“In provinces like Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Ontario, Boxing Day sales are against the law,” said Knowlton Nash, host of CBC’s The National, that day in 1984.

Not much of a deterrent

In Montreal and in Edmonton, shoppers were out in force on Boxing Day. (The National/CBC Archives)

The potential rewards for retailers on Boxing Day were just too great to keep them from obeying the law.

“What this store is doing is illegal,” said reporter Vicki Russell, as the camera captured images of a long queue of people outside a leather-goods store on Toronto’s Yonge Street. “And under Ontario law, it could be fined up to $10,000.”

Manager Al Vancardo was unfazed by the threat.

“We feel if people want to come down, they can come down,” he said. “We don’t care about the laws.”

The store was among “a few dozen” that defied the law, allowing customers in to try, and with any luck, buy their stock of men’s leather jackets at up to 70 per cent off.

Too much business to be timid

Bay Bloor Radio, a stereo store, was open on Boxing Day for the first time in 39 years of business.

“I believe that my staff was being discriminated against,” said owner Sol Mandlsohn, whose store was buzzing with audiophiles. 

He had remained closed on Boxing Day the year before and paid the price by being closed when others were open. 

By opening, he told the Toronto Star, he was hoping to “test the law and see if it is valid.” 

“I think it’s all right. He should be open,” said shopper Ennio Sartori. “I have to work tomorrow so I can’t make it here. Today I took advantage and I came over.”

Was the law ‘useless’?

Russell reported that police had said they would investigate any store that was open on Boxing Day. They had done the same for Boxing Day 1983 and issued warnings, but laid no charges.

According to the Toronto Star, the prohibition against Boxing Day shopping had come into force in 1975. But the day after this report aired, it reported that Ontario’s solicitor general was considering a repeal.

“You never like to see a law so violated that the law is useless,” said George Taylor.  

The following year, the Toronto Star reported that 154 stores had been charged with Boxing Day violations.

But according to TVO, it wasn’t until 1996 that the province amended the Retail Business Holidays Act to drop Boxing Day.

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There’s no ‘best’ vaccine, expert says as Canada OKs AstraZeneca shots –



Vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford have now been approved in Canada.  While Canadians may not get a choice about which COVID-19 vaccine to take, all three offer protection against severe illness, according to experts.

“All of these vaccines are good,” Dr. Bradly Wouters, executive vice-president of science and research at the University Health Network told Global News Friday.

Read more:
What are the differences between Canada’s approved COVID-19 vaccines? Here’s what we know

Available data shows all these three vaccines have the “ability to impact hospitalization” and offer “protection against severe illness,” he said.

Which vaccine is the best?

There’s no “best vaccine” option.

Whichever vaccine is available first, “it’s going to protect you,” Wouters said.

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Parts of the world are already facing which-is-best challenges. Astrazeneca’s vaccine for instance, was cleared for use in Britain and Europe after data suggested that it was about 70 per cent effective.

Italy’s government recently decided to reserve Pfizer and Moderna shots for the elderly and designate the Astrazeneca vaccine for younger, at-risk workers, sparking protests.

“Right now, it’s not vaccine against vaccine, it’s vaccine against virus,” Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, recently told The Associated Press.

Wouters reiterated a similar notion.

“In a pandemic, you need fast results,” he noted and the “priority is to ensure everyone gets vaccinated” and not “debate over which vaccine is better.”

“Each trial involves different people in different places,” he said, and while many may be making comparisons between vaccines from the results of different Phase 3 trials, “such comparisons are misleading,” he said.

After Pfizer and Moderna, AstraZeneca is the third shot officially authorized in the country.

Click to play video 'Health Canada official explains how AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine works'

Health Canada official explains how AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine works

Health Canada official explains how AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine works

The two doses of the Pfizer and Moderna shots were found to be about 95 per cent effective against the virus as compared to the AstraZeneca shots that stand at 62 per cent in preventing symptomatic cases.

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However, Wouters said they will all work “as effectively as possible as long as combined with mask-wearing, handwashing and social distancing.”

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“We must continue to follow public health guidelines, being cautious until positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths are significantly reduced nationwide,” he said.

Following Canada’s approval of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine Friday, Procurement Minister Anita Anand cautioned against deliberation over “the sort of good or bad” vaccines.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Canada secures 2M doses of CoviShield vaccine, to arrive in weeks'

Coronavirus: Canada secures 2M doses of CoviShield vaccine, to arrive in weeks

Coronavirus: Canada secures 2M doses of CoviShield vaccine, to arrive in weeks

“If there is a vaccine and it’s been authorized by Health Canada, it means that it’s met standards,” Anand said during a press conference Friday.

AstraZeneca shots may not seem equal to its opponents at first glance but “these vaccines do have a use,” she said.

“We have real-world evidence from Scotland and the U.K. for people that have been dosed that have been over 80, and that has shown a significant drop in hospitalizations, to the tune of 84 per cent,” she said.

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“The idea is to have a suite of vaccines that are available. I think Canada is hungry for vaccines, we’re putting more on the buffet table to be used.”

Standards of efficacy

Speaking of the “standards of effectiveness,” Anand said vaccines “should meet at least 50 per cent.”

“If we compare that to the influenza viruses that we authorize every year, if you look back, for example, just to last year, the effectiveness of the flu vaccine against the most common strain was about 64 per cent, across to the next common strain was about 54 per cent,” she said.

As more information becomes available from real-world use, “the efficacy” of the AstraZeneca vaccine might prove to “be much higher,” Anand added.

Read more:
Canada approves AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

Considering all the five vaccines that are currently under review, including the Novavax and Johnson & Johnson shots, Anand emphasized that nobody has died so far from “adverse effects” of these vaccines.

“If you look across all the clinical trials of the tens of thousands of people that were involved, the number of cases of people that died from COVID-19 that got vaccine was zero. The number of people that were hospitalized because their COVID-19 disease was so severe was zero. The number of people that died because of an adverse event or an effect of the vaccine was zero,” she said.

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The idea is “to prevent” serious illness, hospitalizations and “of course prevent death,” Anand said.

Storage and distribution

Compared to the other vaccines, the AstraZeneca shot is also easier to administer.

The vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (2 to 8 C/36 to 46 F) for at least six months and administered within existing health-care settings.

Click to play video 'Cold storage of COVID-19 vaccine complicates rollout'

Cold storage of COVID-19 vaccine complicates rollout

Cold storage of COVID-19 vaccine complicates rollout – Dec 8, 2020

The Moderna and Pfizer options, meanwhile, must be stored at subzero temperatures until they’re ready to be used, at -4 F and -94 F, respectively.

This is “something we need to take into account,” Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said during a press conference Friday.

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He said the onboarding of the AstraZeneca vaccine is “another tool in our toolbox.”

“Following the approval of Health Canada, the efficacy stands at 62 per cent, but we have to look at the entire profile of each vaccine because this vaccine is easier to administer than Pfizer and Moderna, so this is something we need to take into account,” he said.

— With files from The Associated Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Fact check: How much does Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine rollout lag other provinces? – National Post



A province-by-province overview of Canada’s immunization rates

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Critics have been decrying the speed, or lack thereof, at which the Ontario government is vaccinating its people against the coronavirus. Well ahead of the game — according to per cent of population inoculated — are all three territories by a long chalk, as well as Quebec and P.E.I.

While vaccine procurement is a federal task, deployment is up to each province and territory. In December, Quebec gave long-term care residents their jabs straight from distribution centres within the facilities themselves. Upon receipt of its vaccine doses in December, British Columbia also sent them straight to long-term care homes. But Ontario held on to its inventory for three weeks before shipping it to such facilities, doing so only after vaccine-handling criteria were changed.

Ontario began with Toronto and Ottawa test sites in late December, so it could write a “playbook” on how they administered the vaccinations, how they handled the vaccine and what they learned from it.


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But former federal health minister Jane Philpott told the CBC that “There’s no point gained for doing this in a slow and steady fashion. There are no points gained for pacing ourselves or rationing out the vaccine.”

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By Feb. 26, 1.78 million doses had been administered across the country to 3.33 per cent of the total population. (Just over 2.44 million doses had been delivered to the provinces.)

Of those 1.78 million doses, 1.27 million people received just one dose and 511,975 have received two.

But are Ontario vaccination counts so far behind the others, as critics charge?

Comparison figures (from east to west) show that the province’s rate of administering doses is 10th of 13 jurisdictions.

The number of people fully vaccinated and the per cent of the total population vaccinated (at least one dose) in each province, by end of day Feb. 26, break down thus:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 7,466; 2.460
  • Prince Edward Island: 5,165; 4.390
  • Nova Scotia: 12,105; 2.034
  • New Brunswick: 11,036; 1.956
  • Quebec: n/a; 4.671
  • Ontario: 258,014; 2.618
  • Manitoba: 28,557; 3.111
  • Saskatchewan: 22,485; 3.987
  • Alberta: 82,989; 2.807
  • British Columbia: 73,808; 3.470
  • Yukon: 4,309; 25.761
  • N.W.T.: 1,934; 32.214
  • Nunavut: 4,107; 18.521

And following is the current plan for vaccine rollout across the country. Click on the headers below to go to each province’s official vaccination plans.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The province is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Those with priority include:

  • health-care workers on the front lines
  • residents, staff and essential visitors at long-term care homes
  • people 85 years and older
  • adults in remote or isolated indigenous communities.


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(Essential visitors are those considered, by the care team, to be paramount to the resident’s physical care and mental well-being, including assistance with feeding, mobility, personal care, communication or significant behavioural symptoms.)

The province had received 26,800 doses, and by Feb. 23 had administered a total of 20,285 inoculations (60 per cent of doses administered). Total inoculations counts both the number of single-dose and two-dose vaccinations.

Prince Edward Island

The first phase of the province’s rollout is underway. This targets:

  • residents and staff of long-term and community care
  • health-care workers with direct patient contact
  • those 80 and older
  • adults in Indigenous communities
  • truck drivers and other rotational workers.

The next phase, scheduled to begin in April, will target those older than 70 and essential workers.

The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall.

P.E.I. has received 14,715 doses and has given 12,176 inoculations in total (83 per cent).

Nova Scotia

The first phase of vaccines will be given to long-term care residents, patient-facing health-care workers, those 80 and older, and at-risk groups including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities.

Though no dates are given for moves to the next phases, the second will include:

  • anyone who works in a hospital and may come into contact with a patient
  • community health-care providers such as dental and pharmacy workers
  • correctional facilities, shelters, temporary foreign worker quarters
  • those working in food security industries
  • the general population in the 75 and older age cohort.


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The third phase will include all Nova Scotians, in five-year age ranges.

Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021.

The province has given 32,019 doses of the 61,980 received (52 per cent).

New Brunswick

The focus now is on vaccinating those in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, those 16 and older in First Nations communities and New Brunswickers aged 85 and up.

The next phase, to begin in April, includes:

  • residents and staff of communal settings
  • pharmacists and dentists
  • first responders
  • critical infrastructure employees
  • individuals aged 70 and up
  • workers who regularly cross the provincial border.

From June onward, vaccinations will go to school staff, students aged 16 to 24, health-care workers with indirect patient contact, and those with two or more chronic health conditions.

Availability of the vaccine will be limited until mid- to late summer, the government says, but once the supply is continuous, the entire population will be offered the shots.

So far, 26,317 doses have been administered of  35,105 doses received (56 per cent).

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Throughout the province, those aged 85 and older can make an appointment to get vaccinated. Anyone accompanying such a person can also book a vaccination for that same time, if they are over 70 and care for the person three or more days a week.

The province plans to vaccinate those in:

  • residential and long-term care centres
  • health- and social services workers
  • isolated and remote communities
  • people 80 years or older.

Access for other ages will roll out in 10-year age increments.

Quebec has administered 400,540 injections of 537,825 doses received (75 per cent).


Phase 1 of three phases reserves inoculations for those in long-term care, high-risk retirement-home residents, certain classes of health-care workers, and people who live in congregate care settings.

Currently, the start dates for vaccinations in Ontario are as follows:

  • 80 and older, and adults receiving chronic home care: starting March 15
  • 75 and older: April 15
  • 70 and older: May 1
  • 65 and older: June 1
  • 60 and older: July 1
  • anyone who wants to be immunized: Aug. 1.

To date, 643,765 doses have been administered of 903,285 received (71 per cent).


Most people aged 95 and up, or 75 and up for First Nations people, health-care workers, laboratory workers handling COVID specimens, people working at testing sites or outpatient care are being vaccinated in Phase 1. All personal-care-home residents should have received their two doses by the end of February.


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In early March, eligibility expands to:

  • most people over 80
  • First Nations individuals over 60
  • eligible age ranges will be lowered over the coming months
  • at this time, the plan does not include a separate category for essential workers but will be considered as vaccine supplies increase.

The province has received 102,360 doses and has administered 71,469 (66 per cent).


Long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area are in the current Phase 1 category. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. Eligible residents will be contacted by phone or letter.

Mass vaccinations by age group should begin by April, depending on supply. It will roll out into the general population:

  • in 10-year increments
  • starting with those aged 60 to 69
  • for those living in emergency shelters
  • for individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes
  • for people who are medically vulnerable.

Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce.

Saskatchewan has administered 69,451 doses of 74,605 received (93 per cent).

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People born in 1946 or earlier are now being immunized. First shots are expected to have been given by the end of March for:

  • all eligible First Nations and Metis seniors and others 65 and older living in a First Nations community
  • those aged 75 and older can get inoculations as of the first week of March at select pharmacies in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer. Pharmacies will contact eligible people.
  • second shots will be administered within 42 days after initial doses.

The province is working on categorizing target populations for future phases.

Alberta has received 274,965 doses and has administered 207,300 (75 per cent).

British Columbia

The province’s first phase launched in December, targeting health-care workers in hospitals, paramedics, residents and staff at long-term care homes, and remote indigenous communities. Some mobile clinics are being offered.

The second phase, running February and March, includes:

  • people aged 80 and more
  • indigenous elders 65 and up
  • indigenous communities that didn’t receive vaccine in the first phase
  • health-care workers and vulnerable populations in certain congregate settings.

The third phase, to start in April and last until June, will reach people aged 60 to 79, and those 16 and older who are clinically vulnerable, such as cancer patients.

B.C. has given 252,373 injections of 323,340 doses received (78 per cent).

Northwest Territories

N.W.T. has vaccinated 42 per cent of its adult population, and expects enough vaccine to offer inoculations to 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March.


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  • clinics are underway or completed in all 33 of the territory’s communities
  • Yellowknife is prioritizing residents and staff in long-term care homes
  • vaccination of the general population will begin in late March.

N.W.T. has given 16,454 injections of 19,100 doses received (86 per cent).


The government has vaccinated:

  • high-risk health-care workers
  • adults 70 and older
  • people who are marginalized
  • people living in group settings.

Uncertainty about supply has delayed immunization for the general public in Whitehorse.

Yukon has administered 15,174 doses of 18,900 received (80 per cent).


Vaccine clinics for the general population have been scheduled for all communities, dependent on vaccine supply. The territory expects to immunize 75 per cent of its residents over the age of 18 by early April.

Currently, in Iqaluit, Nunavut’s capital first-dose immunization is going on for:

  • staff and residents of shelters
  • people aged 45 years and up
  • staff and inmates in correctional facilities
  • first responders and frontline health-care staff.

Nunavut has administered 11,383 doses of 23,900 received (48 per cent).

— with files from The Canadian Press


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Ae you satisfied with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in BC? –



Canada’s vaccine rollout received a significant boost Friday with the approval of a third COVID-19 inoculation, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced another partnership with an India-based institute that will deliver two million additional doses of the newly authorized jab to Canadians by the spring.

Trudeau spoke on Friday hours after Health Canada announced it had approved a COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca.

The new partnership also means Canada will receive two million doses of the CoviShield vaccine, which is the same as AstraZeneca’s product, through an agreement with Mississauga, Ont.’s Verity Pharmaceuticals and the Serum Institute of India.

Trudeau says the first shipment of half a million of CoviShield doses will arrive by March.

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