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Cases could spike sharply if Canadian epidemic stays on current course, Tam warns – The Globe and Mail

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Hundreds of people wait in line at a COVID-19 assessment centre at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto on Sept. 22, 2020.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Canada is on track to log 5,000 coronavirus cases a day by late October if the country’s epidemic continues on its current course, the Public Health Agency of Canada is warning.

In its first formal projection since mid-August, the agency predicted that if Canadians keep coming into close contact with as many people as they do now, the epidemic curve will rise sharply from the current average of about 1,000 new cases a day to five times that number within a month. That is more than twice the number reported at the height of the spring wave.

individual action: canada Long-range

covid-19 forecast

Reported daily cases

Epidemic trend, if we…

Increase current rate of contacts

Maintain current rate of contacts

Decrease current rate of contacts

JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCE: public health agency of canada

individual action: canada Long-range

covid-19 forecast

Reported daily cases

Epidemic trend, if we…

Increase current rate of contacts

Maintain current rate of contacts

Decrease current rate of contacts

JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCE: public health agency of canada

individual action: canada Long-range covid-19 forecast

Reported daily cases

Epidemic trend, if we…

Increase current rate of contacts

Maintain current rate of contacts

Decrease current rate of contacts

JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: public health agency of canada

“My message today is the time is now. We’re at a bit of a crossroads,” Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said. If Canadians retreat to small social circles and avoid large get-togethers, she said, the country “can manage this without a lockdown.”

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Dr. Tam said that although the number of COVID-19 deaths and hospital admissions in Canada remain low relative to the first wave, both figures are beginning to creep up – a signal that the virus is spreading beyond the young people driving the surge.

Still, the situation in Canada remained far less dire than in the United States, where deaths surpassed 200,000 on Tuesday, and Britain, which has imposed new COVID-19 restrictions after a quadrupling of cases over the past month.

How many coronavirus cases are there in Canada, by province, and worldwide? The latest maps and charts

COVID-19 news: Updates and essential resources about the pandemic

Is my city going back into lockdown? A guide to COVID-19 rules across Canada

When it comes to what’s in store for Canada this fall, the public-health agency’s predicative modelling is not a crystal ball, said Caroline Colijn, a professor at Simon Fraser University and Canada 150 Research Chair in mathematics for evolution, infection and public health. She and her colleagues designed the model on which the agency’s latest forecast is based.

“[The models] are tools we use to help us understand the trajectory we’re on. Then we get to choose,” she said. “It’s like having a flashlight. If you see a cliff, you don’t just necessarily walk over it because the flashlight showed you it was there. You do something. You don’t walk over the cliff.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to re-emphasize the urgency of fighting COVID-19 in a television address that follows the Throne Speech on Wednesday.

The public-health agency made its latest forecast as Ontario and Quebec continued to account for the majority of new cases nationwide, and as Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health, Vera Etches, announced she would charge fines as high as $5,000 a day to anyone who breaks an order to self-isolate.

Ottawa Public Health reported a record 93 cases on Tuesday while Ontario announced 478 cases, the most since May.

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“The goals in responding to the pandemic are to keep the level of COVID-19 transmission in the community from disrupting society in a detrimental way and to limit hospitalizations and deaths,” Dr. Etches told reporters. “This level we’re seeing is too high for these purposes. We need to bend the curve down right now.”

Dr. Etches said people who are testing positive are linked to schools – 34 in Ottawa have had at least one person test positive – and long-term care homes. Eleven of the 29 long-term care homes in Ontario where a COVID-19 outbreak has been declared are in Ottawa and its surrounding suburbs, according to the Ministry of Long-Term Care.

Dr. Etches has asked the Ottawa Hospital to temporarily take over management of two homes owned by Extendicare to get major outbreaks under control. At the for-profit chain operator’s Laurier Manor, a 242-bed home in the suburb of Gloucester, 25 residents have died of the virus. At West End Villa, another 242-bed home in Ottawa, 11 residents have died since an outbreak of COVID-19 was declared on Aug. 30.

Normally, the Ministry of Long-Term Care orders hospitals to assume management of troubled homes. But Dr. Etches said her office could move more quickly than the ministry. “We all agreed using an order like this is more expedient to get the support in right away,” she said.

Quebec, meanwhile, announced 489 new cases on Tuesday, a decline from the 586 it registered on Monday, but Health and Social Services Minister Christian Dubé said it was too soon to celebrate. On Tuesday, two new regions, Outaouais and Laval, were elevated to orange status, the second-highest tier in the province’s COVID-19 alert system, after a spike in cases and outbreaks.

The current wave of the pandemic is markedly different from the first, Mr. Dubé said. This time outbreaks are spread more widely among the province’s regions, rather than concentrated in Montreal, and more likely to involve young people. Cases are also being spread in the community at large, rather than being clustered in the long-term care homes that accounted for more than 80 per cent of Quebec’s COVID-19 deaths.

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In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford announced the first pillar of a broad six-point plan to prepare for a second wave of COVID-19: a flu immunization campaign. Mr. Ford said the province has ordered 5.1 million doses and is working to order more. “Anyone who wants a flu shot can get one,” Mr. Ford said. “Please, please make sure you get yours.”

He said the other elements of the fall plan, which are set to include expanding testing and contact tracing as well as reducing surgery backlogs, will be released over the next several days – a timeline that had the opposition accusing the government of being wildly unprepared.

Mr. Ford said given “the size and scope” of the plan, his government needed more time to roll it out.

As governments in Central Canada grappled with surging case counts, the federal government announced Tuesday that it had secured an agreement in principle for a fifth experimental coronavirus vaccine, a protein-based candidate developed by the pharmaceutical giants Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline.

Anita Anand, the federal Minister of Public Services and Procurement, revealed for the first time that the government has committed about $1-billion in total to its five vaccine deals, some of it up-front. The remaining payouts will depend on whether any of the vaccines succeed in late-stage trials and win Health Canada approval.

Ms. Anand declined to provide specifics about deals with individual vaccine makers, citing confidentiality agreements and continuing negotiations with other companies.

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She also unveiled a deal with the maker of the antiviral drug remdesivir, the only medication officially approved to treat COVID-19, to bring 150,000 vials of the drug to Canada beginning next month.

With reports from Laura Stone and Eric Andrew-Gee

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says there will be a dramatic resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Canada unless people limit contact with others in coming days. The Canadian Press

Sign up for the Coronavirus Update newsletter to read the day’s essential coronavirus news, features and explainers written by Globe reporters and editors.

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Bank of Canada will maintain current level of policy rate until inflation objective is achieved, recalibrates its quantitative easing program – Bank of Canada

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The Bank of Canada today maintained its target for the overnight rate at the effective lower bound of ¼ percent, with the Bank Rate at ½ percent and the deposit rate at ¼ percent. The Bank is maintaining its extraordinary forward guidance, reinforced and supplemented by its quantitative easing (QE) program. The Bank is recalibrating the QE program to shift purchases towards longer-term bonds, which have more direct influence on the borrowing rates that are most important for households and businesses. At the same time, total purchases will be gradually reduced to at least $4 billion a week. The Governing Council judges that, with these combined adjustments, the QE program is providing at least as much monetary stimulus as before.

The global and Canadian economic outlooks have evolved largely as anticipated in the July Monetary Policy Report (MPR), with rapid expansions as economies reopened giving way to slower growth, despite considerable remaining excess capacity. Looking ahead, rising COVID-19 infections are likely to weigh on the economic outlook in many countries, and growth will continue to rely heavily on policy support.

In the United States, GDP growth rebounded strongly but appears to be slowing considerably. China’s economic output is back to pre-pandemic levels and its recovery continues to broaden. Emerging-market economies have been hit harder, especially those with severe outbreaks. The recovery in Europe is slowing amid mounting lockdowns. Overall, global GDP is projected to contract by about 4 percent in 2020 before growing by just over 4 ½ percent, on average, in 2021–22.

Oil prices remain about 30 percent below pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile, non-energy commodity prices, on average, have more than fully recovered. Despite continued low oil prices, the Canadian dollar has appreciated since July, largely reflecting a broad-based depreciation of the US dollar. 

In Canada, the rebound in employment and GDP was stronger than expected as the economy reopened through the summer. The economy is now transitioning to a more moderate recuperation phase. In the fourth quarter, growth is expected to slow markedly, due in part to rising COVID-19 case numbers. The economic effects of the pandemic are highly uneven across sectors and are particularly affecting low-income workers. Recognizing these challenges, governments have extended and modified business and income support programs.

After a decline of about 5 ½ percent in 2020, the Bank expects Canada’s economy to grow by almost 4 percent on average in 2021 and 2022. Growth will likely be choppy as domestic demand is influenced by the evolution of the virus and its impact on consumer and business confidence. Considering the likely long-lasting effects of the pandemic, the Bank has revised down its estimate of Canada’s potential growth over the projection horizon.

CPI inflation was at 0.5 percent in September and is expected to stay below the Bank’s target band of 1 to 3 percent until early 2021, largely due to low energy prices. Measures of core inflation are all below 2 percent, consistent with an economy where demand has fallen by more than supply. Inflation is expected to remain below target throughout the projection horizon.

As the economy recuperates, it will continue to require extraordinary monetary policy support. The Governing Council will hold the policy interest rate at the effective lower bound until economic slack is absorbed so that the 2 percent inflation target is sustainably achieved. In our current projection, this does not happen until into 2023. The Bank is continuing its QE program and recalibrating it as described above. The program will continue until the recovery is well underway. We are committed to providing the monetary policy stimulus needed to support the recovery and achieve the inflation objective.

Information note

The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is December 9, 2020. The next full update of the Bank’s outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published in the MPR on January 20, 2021.

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Boeing to cut 20% of workforce by end of 2021 – BBC News

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Boeing to cut 20% of workforce by end of 2021

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  • .css-1sd1v8r-StyledLinkcolor:#3F3F42;border:1px solid #DB7F7F;font-weight:bold;padding:0.5rem;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;.css-1sd1v8r-StyledLink:hover,.css-1sd1v8r-StyledLink:focusbackground:#B80000;color:#FFFFFF;Coronavirus pandemic

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.css-evoj7m-Imagedisplay:block;width:100%;height:auto;A Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane is pictured outside the company's factory.

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.css-14iz86j-BoldTextfont-weight:bold;Boeing is to cut another 7,000 jobs as its losses mount in the pandemic.

The US planemaker, which had already announced deep cuts, said its staff would be down to just 130,000 by the end of next year – 20% down on the 160,000 it employed before the crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic and safety concerns about its 737 Max jet have contributed to a slump in orders.

The firm posted a loss of $466m (£354m) for the three months to 30 September, its fourth straight quarterly decline.

However, it reaffirmed its expectation that US deliveries of the 737 Max would resume before the end of the year, albeit at deeply reduced production rates.

The fleet has been grounded since March 2019 after 346 people died in two separate air crashes.

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Pressure

The pandemic added to the crisis, causing a huge drop in air travel, pushing major airlines to the brink of bankruptcy and forcing them to cut staff and drop plans for new aircraft.

As a result, Boeing has slashed production and also cut jobs. The firm announced a 10% reduction this spring and .css-yidnqd-InlineLink:linkcolor:#3F3F42;.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visitedcolor:#696969;.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visitedfont-weight:bolder;border-bottom:1px solid #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focusborder-bottom-color:currentcolor;border-bottom-width:2px;color:#B80000;@supports (text-underline-offset:0.25em).css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visitedborder-bottom:none;-webkit-text-decoration:underline #BABABA;text-decoration:underline #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-underline-offset:0.25em;.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus-webkit-text-decoration-color:currentcolor;text-decoration-color:currentcolor;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:2px;text-decoration-thickness:2px;color:#B80000;warned of the likelihood of deeper cuts through attrition, buyouts and layoffs over the summer. It does not expect travel to return to pre-crisis levels until about 2023.

It said its revenues were down 30% in the first nine months of the year, at $42bn.

Its third quarter loss, meanwhile, compares with a $1.2bn profit in the same period last year.

Boeing president and chief executive Dave Calhoun said the pandemic had “continued to add pressure” to the business .

But he added: “Our diverse portfolio, including our government services, defence and space programmes, continues to provide some stability for us as we adapt and rebuild for the other side of the pandemic.”

The planemaker said it was making “steady progress” towards the safe return to service of the 737 Max, including “rigorous certification and validation flights” conducted by the US, Canadian and EU regulators.

It said the jet had now completed around 1,400 test flights and more than 3,000 flight hours.

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Varcoe: Oilpatch workers ponder leaving sector as megamerger triggers layoffs – Calgary Herald

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With a drop in global oil prices and the fallout of the pandemic, the jobless rate in Alberta sat at 11.7 per cent in September.

The Conference Board of Canada projects Calgary’s unemployment rate will fall to 10.4 per cent next year, slowly easing to 8.6 per cent in 2024.

Yet, that is still higher than it was entering the pandemic.

The pressure for energy companies to consolidate isn’t going away, either.

“This is a global phenomenon. This is happening everywhere around the world,” Doug Schweitzer, Alberta’s minister of jobs, economy and innovation, told reporters Tuesday.

“Companies are having to reposition themselves, find efficiencies so they can survive in a very difficult time.”

Doug Schweitzer, Alberta’s minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation Photo by Jim Wells/Postmedia

We can’t underestimate the turmoil this is causing, and governments at all levels — hello, Ottawa — shouldn’t either.

In September, the oil and gas sector provided a paycheque to more than 160,000 workers across the country. That’s down 14 per cent — or nearly 26,000 jobs lost — over the past year, reports the PetroLMI Division of Energy Safety Canada.

“A lot of the service sector jobs have been impacted, certainly since February,” PetroLMI vice-president Carol Howes said Tuesday.

“Now we will see a lot of the impact on those other (corporate) roles . . . that will be certainly under scrutiny in terms of a merger.”

At Precision Drilling Corp., CEO Kevin Neveu said the company has reduced the staff at its corporate offices to about 450 from 1,000 earlier this year, with job losses spread across North America. About half of those positions were eliminated in Canada.

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