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Canada wants to be at 'front of line' for coronavirus vaccines, signs deals with Novavax and Johnson & Johnson – Reuters

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OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada reached an agreement in principle on Monday with both Novavax Inc (NVAX.O) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) for millions of doses of their experimental coronavirus vaccines, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to reporters after visiting the National Research Council of Canada in Montreal, Quebec, Canada August 31, 2020. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Canada’s two agreements follow separate deals with Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) announced weeks ago, and are the latest example of countries rushing to secure access to vaccines.

Canada is also in “the final stages of negotiations” to secure AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) potential vaccine and is in talks to secure more doses of the Pfizer vaccine candidate, Procurement Minister Anita Anand said.

“What we are trying to do is make sure that when a vaccine is developed, we are at the front of the line,” Anand told reporters.

Canada has a population of about 38 million, and the four vaccine agreements signed so far “give Canada at least 88 million doses with options to obtain tens of millions more,” Trudeau said when he announced the deals in Montreal.

All four agreements announced so far have options to purchase further doses if needed, officials said.

Trudeau also said the government will invest C$126 million ($96.7 million) over two years to build a biomanufacturing facility at the Human Health Therapeutics Research Centre in Montreal capable of producing up to 2 million doses of a vaccine per month by next year.

Last week, Canada’s National Research Council said it had ended its partnership on a coronavirus vaccine with China’s CanSino Biologics (6185.HK) because the company lacked the authority to ship the vaccine.

Separately, Canada extended to the end of October a program to provide loans of up to C$40,000, a quarter of which is forgivable, to small businesses struggling amid the pandemic. It had been due to expire on Monday.

Novavax said it expects to finalize an advance purchase agreement to supply doses of the vaccine, beginning as early as the second quarter of next year.

Novavax has agreed to supply up to 76 million doses of its experimental vaccine, while Johnson & Johnson will supply up to 38 million doses of its vaccine candidate.

Both agreements are subject to the vaccines obtaining licenses from Health Canada.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Shares of Novavax were up 1.7% at $109.59 and Johnson & Johnson shares were little changed at $153.72 on Monday afternoon.

Reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa and Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Matthew Lewis

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Disney to lay off 28000 at its parks in California, Florida – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Mike Schneider, The Associated Press


Published Tuesday, September 29, 2020 5:06PM EDT


Last Updated Tuesday, September 29, 2020 8:39PM EDT

ORLANDO, Fla. – Squeezed by limits on attendance at its theme parks and other restrictions due to the pandemic, The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday it planned to lay off 28,000 workers in its parks division in California and Florida.

Two-thirds of the planned layoffs involve part-time workers but they ranged from salaried employees to hourly workers, Disney officials said.

Disney’s parks closed last spring as the pandemic started spreading in the U.S. The Florida parks reopened this summer, but the California parks have yet to reopen as the company awaits guidance from the state of California.

In a letter to employees, Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experience and Product, said California’s “unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen” exacerbated the situation for the company.

D’Amaro said his management team had worked hard to try to avoid layoffs. They had cut expenses, suspended projects and modified operations but it wasn’t enough given limits on the number of people allowed into the park because of social distancing restrictions and other pandemic-related measures, he said.

“As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic,” he said.

California’s health secretary on Tuesday said the state was close to working out a way to have the theme parks reopen in a responsible way.

“We know that a number of Californians are eager and wondering when that is coming, and we’re working with those industries to put out something that’s thoughtful, allows us to maintain the rest of our framework in a strong way, and really following those principles of slow and stringent to ensure those large activities are done responsibly,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of California Health and Human Services.

Disney officials said the company would provide severance packages for the employees, where appropriate, and also offer other services to help workers with job placement.

Officials with the union that represents the actors who play Disney characters at the theme parks said they were having conversations with Disney officials about how they would be impacted, according to Actors’ Equity Association.

Officials with the Service Trades Council Union, which represents 43,000 workers at Disney World in Florida, said they were having similar conversations.

“We were disappointed to learn that the Covid-19 crisis has led Disney to make the decision to layoff Cast Members,” the coalition of six unions said in a statement.

About 950 workers from Unite Here Local 11 in California will be laid off starting Nov. 1, union leaders said.

Disney officials didn’t offer a breakdown of the layoffs between the Florida and California operations. Walt Disney World in Florida has around 77,000 employees, while the Disneyland Resort in California has more than 30,000 workers.

With its parks closed due to the pandemic in April, Disney furloughed up to 43,000 workers while still paying for their health insurance at its Florida resort. It brought many of them back after it reopened in July. Furloughed workers in California also received health benefits.

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Val Demings, a Democrat from Orlando, said the layoffs showed the need for more coronavirus-related relief from Congress.

“These layoffs show yet again how desperately that assistance is needed by American households and businesses,” Demings said.

Associated Press writers Adam Beam in Sacramento, California, and Amy Taxin in Orange County, California, contributed to this report.

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Disney to lay off 28000 at its parks in California, Florida – CTV News

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ORLANDO, FLA. —
Squeezed by limits on attendance at its theme parks and other restrictions due to the pandemic, The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday it planned to lay off 28,000 workers in its parks division in California and Florida.

Two-thirds of the planned layoffs involve part-time workers but they ranged from salaried employees to hourly workers, Disney officials said.

Disney’s parks closed last spring as the pandemic started spreading in the U.S. The Florida parks reopened this summer, but the California parks have yet to reopen as the company awaits guidance from the state of California.

In a letter to employees, Josh DAmaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experience and Product, said California’s “unwillingness to lift restrictions that would allow Disneyland to reopen” exacerbated the situation for the company.

DAmaro said his management team had worked hard to try to avoid layoffs. They had cut expenses, suspended projects and modified operations but it wasn’t enough given limits on the number of people allowed into the park because of social distancing restrictions and other pandemic-related measures, he said.

“As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business, including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic,” he said.

California’s health secretary on Tuesday said the state was close to working out a way to have the theme parks reopen in a responsible way.

“We know that a number of Californians are eager and wondering when that is coming, and we’re working with those industries to put out something that’s thoughtful, allows us to maintain the rest of our framework in a strong way, and really following those principles of slow and stringent to ensure those large activities are done responsibly,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of California Health and Human Services.

Disney officials said the company would provide severance packages for the employees, where appropriate, and also offer other services to help workers with job placement.

Officials with the union that represents the actors who play Disney characters at the theme parks said they were having conversations with Disney officials about how they would be impacted, according to Actors’ Equity Association.

Officials with the Service Trades Council Union, which represents 43,000 workers at Disney World in Florida, said they were having similar conversations.

“We were disappointed to learn that the Covid-19 crisis has led Disney to make the decision to layoff Cast Members,” the coalition of six unions said in a statement.

About 950 workers from Unite Here Local 11 in California will be laid off starting Nov. 1, union leaders said.

Disney officials didn’t offer a breakdown of the layoffs between the Florida and California operations. Walt Disney World in Florida has around 77,000 employees, while the Disneyland Resort in California has more than 30,000 workers.

With its parks closed due to the pandemic in April, Disney furloughed up to 43,000 workers while still paying for their health insurance at its Florida resort. It brought many of them back after it reopened in July. Furloughed workers in California also received health benefits.

In a statement, U.S. Rep. Val Demings, a Democrat from Orlando, said the layoffs showed the need for more coronavirus-related relief from Congress.

“These layoffs show yet again how desperately that assistance is needed by American households and businesses,” Demings said.

Associated Press writers Adam Beam in Sacramento, California, and Amy Taxin in Orange County, California, contributed to this report.

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Disney will lay off 28,000 theme parks workers due to coronavirus pandemic – CBC.ca

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Squeezed by attendance limits at its theme parks and other restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday it planned to lay off 28,000 workers in its parks division in California and Florida.

Two-thirds of the planned layoffs involve part-time workers but they ranged from salaried employees to non-union hourly workers, Disney officials said.

Disney’s parks closed last spring as the pandemic started spreading in the U.S. The Florida parks reopened this summer, but the California parks have yet to reopen as the company awaits guidance from the state of California.

In a letter to employees, Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experience and Product, said his management team had worked hard to try to avoid layoffs.

He said they had cut expenses, suspended projects and modified operations, but it wasn’t enough given limits on the number of people allowed into the park because of pandemic-related measures.

“As heartbreaking as it is to take this action, this is the only feasible option we have in light of the prolonged impact of COVID-19 on our business,” he said, “including limited capacity due to physical distancing requirements and the continued uncertainty regarding the duration of the pandemic.”

Disney officials said the company would provide severance packages for the employees where appropriate, and also offer other services to help workers with job placement.

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