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Child COVID-19 vaccine clinics ramping up in Ontario on Thursday – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Nicole Thompson and Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press


Published Thursday, November 25, 2021 5:18AM EST


Last Updated Thursday, November 25, 2021 4:28PM EST

TORONTO – Kids in Toronto braved the rain and focused on future plans ahead of getting their COVID-19 shots Thursday as the vaccination effort for five to 11-year-olds ramped up in Ontario, while clinics in other provinces also doled out doses to young children.

Those lining up in on-and-off drizzle outside a north Toronto walk-in clinic said they were looking forward to safely having sleepovers and birthday parties with their friends again.

“It feels very good,” said Jack Thurston, 10, an hour into his wait for the shot. “I just want to get my vaccine and have a party.”

Jack’s mom, Cathy Thurston, said his vaccination will mark a sea change in their lives after months of having to turn down invitations because of her unvaccinated children.

“We feel left out, in a way, having young kids,” she said. “It’s hard, mentally. It’s hard when all the older people in your life want to do get-togethers and things and we have to say no.”

Some families brought camping chairs to sit on while they waited outside the big-box store hosting the vaccinations. Others brought jump ropes to keep their kids occupied.

Harriet Francis Green, who said she is nine-and-three-quarters, was delighted to be at the clinic despite some car sickness on the ride over.

“I feel excited,” she said from behind a bedazzled mask. “It took forever to be vaccinated.”

Maya Polti proudly showed off the small round bandage on her upper arm on her way out of the clinic.

The nine-year-old said she had been looking forward to her COVID-19 vaccine for months, ever since her parents got their shots, and she said it lived up to the hype.

“It didn’t hurt at all,” she said. “I’m excited to feel safe.”

Doses of the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were also set to go into little arms in Wyoming, Ont., and at a clinic for Indigenous families and households in Hamilton.

A clinic hosted at a Windsor, Ont., shopping mall featured games, stickers and stuffed animals. Windsor Regional Hospital, which ran the clinic, said approximately 800 children were set to be vaccinated Thursday with “excellent turnout” reported shortly after 9:30 a.m.

More Ontario health units were planning to run child-specific clinics over the weekend and early next month.

Ontario opened bookings for pediatric vaccines on Tuesday, with a few early doses administered in Toronto later that day. Health Minister Christine Elliott said more than 100,000 appointments had been booked for kids since the provincial booking portal went live. That doesn’t include bookings made through local public health units, pharmacies and doctors’ offices.

Children elsewhere in Canada were also rolling up their sleeves as vaccine supply rolled in to more cities and towns.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, a St. John’s clinic started offering jabs to kids earlier than expected on Thursday after doses arrived ahead of schedule. The health authority covering the provincial capital and surrounding area said it was working with schools in the region to finalize school clinic dates.

Quebec’s health department said one-quarter of eligible children in the province had been registered for the shots, with 163,000 appointments made as of Thursday.

Dr. Jesse Papenburg, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, said vaccinating children could help head off a fifth wave of COVID-19, but it’s important that parents are encouraged – not pressured – to get their kids immunized.

“We want to encourage families and parents to get their child vaccinated because I think there’s enough of a benefit there that it’s worth doing,” he said. “But at the same time, I think we need to acknowledge that families need to be comfortable and confident in their decision.”

Manitoba was also giving out giving out shots to kids in earnest on Thursday.

Eight-year-old Zooey Cecilio, who was one of the first 100 kids in Manitoba to be vaccinated, said she was a little nervous about the needle at first, but it was no worse than a flu shot.

“It was good,” Zooey said after rolling up her sleeve at a downtown Winnipeg vaccine super site. “It was just like a little pinch.”

Her dad, Carlo Cecilio, said he and his wife are looking forward to the “peace of mind” that will come when Zooey is immunized, and planned on celebrating Thursday night with a buffet dinner.

So far, about one-fifth of Manitoba’s 125,000 kids in the five-to-11 age group have booked a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2021.

-with files by Brittany Hobson in Winnipeg and Morgan Lowrie in Montreal.

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Canadian employers, facing labor shortage, accommodate the unvaccinated

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Canada’s tight labor market is forcing many companies to offer regular COVID-19 testing over vaccine mandates, while others are reversing previously announced inoculation requirements even as Omicron variant cases rise.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government adopted one of the strictest inoculation policies in the world for civil servants and has already put more than 1,000 workers on unpaid leave, with thousands more at risk.

Airlines, police forces, school boards and even Canada’s Big Five banks https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-major-banks-require-employees-entering-premises-be-vaccinated-2021-08-20 have also pledged strict mandatory vaccine policies. But following through has proven less straightforward, especially as employers grapple with staffing shortages and workers demand exemptions.

Job vacancies in Canada have doubled so far this year, official data shows, and vaccine mandates can make filling those jobs harder, potentially putting upward pressure on wages. That could fuel inflation https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-annual-inflation-rate-hits-47-oct-highest-since-feb-2003-2021-11-17, already running at a near two-decade high.

“It’s already difficult to find staff, let alone putting in a vaccine mandate. You’d cut out potentially another 20%” of potential workers, said Dan Kelly, chief executive of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

There are pitfalls to employing the unvaccinated. Companies run a higher risk of COVID-19 outbreaks and many vaccinated employees are uncomfortable working with those who have not had the jab, said industry groups and marketing experts.

At Luda Foods, a Montreal-based soup and sauce maker, president Robert Eiser said he has 14 open jobs, no vaccine mandate and no plans to restrict new hires to the vaccinated.

“I don’t know that I want to reduce the (labor) pool, which is already quite low,” said Eiser. “We need to attract people to meet the demand. If we don’t, our competitors will.”

Data released on Friday underpinned Canada’s tight labor market, with a hefty 153,700 jobs https://www.reuters.com/markets/us/canada-posts-hefty-job-gains-outlook-clouded-by-omicron-variant-2021-12-03 added in November. It also showed a growing mismatch between available workers and unfilled jobs. And job postings are far above pre-pandemic levels. (Graphic: Canada job postings surge above pre-pandemic level Canada job postings surge above pre-pandemic level, https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/CANADA2/klvyknzklvg/chart.png)

WALKING BACK

The province of Quebec backtracked on a vaccine mandates for healthcare workers last month, saying they could not afford to lose thousands of unvaccinated staff. Ontario, which was also eyeing a mandate, said it would not go ahead.

Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Montreal have both softened their vaccine policy to allow regular testing for workers who missed their Oct. 31 inoculation deadline.

In Canada, 86% of adults are fully inoculated, though that drops under 80% among 18-40 year olds. At least 15 cases of the new Omicron https://www.reuters.com/markets/rates-bonds/canada-has-reported-total-11-cases-omicron-variant-health-official-2021-12-03 variant in Canada have been reported in the past week.

John Cappelli, vice president of onsite managed services in Canada for global recruitment firm Adecco, said half of his clients are mandating vaccines with the other half allowing regular testing for the unvaccinated.

But he expects the Omicron variant will prompt more workplaces to get strict on vaccination, even as they grapple with the tightest job market he’s seen in his 25-year career.

“We are now starting to see our first workplace (COVID-19) cases in five months,” he said.

The number of Canadian job postings on search website Indeed mentioning vaccine requirements has quadrupled since August. (Graphic: Canada job postings and vaccine mandates, https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/CANADA3/byvrjqrlmve/chart.png)

In the hard-hit manufacturing sector, where 77% of firms say their top concern is attracting and retaining workers, vaccine mandates are more rare.

Dennis Darby, CEO of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, said most of Canada’s factories have operated safely throughout the pandemic. While CME encourages vaccination, “some companies are still using rapid testing if somebody doesn’t want to get vaccinated,” he added.

But companies risk a hit to their reputation if they are overt in efforts to tap into the unvaccinated as a labor pool, said Wojtek Dabrowski, managing partner at Provident Communications.

“If you go out and say, ‘We are intentionally seeking to hire unvaccinated people,’ many customers are equating that with you being anti-science and anti-safety,” said Dabrowski.

 

(Reporting by Julie Gordon and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, additional reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg and Nichola Saminather in Toronto; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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OLG confirms where in Ontario winning $8.8-million Lotto 6/49 ticket was sold – CTV News Toronto

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The OLG has revealed where in Ontario the winning ticket for Saturday’s $8.8 million Lotto 6/49 jackpot was purchased.

According to the OLG, the winning ticket was sold somewhere in Mississauga, but the exact location within the city can’t be publicly announced for security reasons. 

The second price in Saturday’s draw of $207,248.90 was sold in Lambton County.

A $1-million ticket was also sold in Niagara Region.

“It was a clean sweep for Ontario for this Lotto 6/49 draw in terms of the big prices,” OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti told CTV News Toronto on Sunday.

Another three tickets purchased in Ontario won a $100,000 Encore prize. 

Those tickets were sold in Ottawa, Simcoe County, and Grey County, the OLG said.

The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Dec. 8 will be an estimated $5 million.

According to the OLG, Lotto 6/49 players in Ontario have won more than $13.5 billion in prices since 1982.

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High River Cargill beef processing plant workers vote 71 per cent in favour of new deal – CTV Edmonton

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Cargill workers approved a new contract with 71 per cent support, avoiding a strike or lockout.

After two days of voting, employees at the beef-processing plant in High River, Alta., embraced the new labour contract.

In a statement, the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Local 401, representing workers at the plant, said on Saturday that it was a “bittersweet victory.”

The site, employing about 2,000 people, experienced a COVID-19 outbreak last year that affected more than 900 people and forced Cargill to close the plant temporarily. Three deaths have been linked to the outbreak, including two workers and one family member.

Workers will receive $4,200 in retroactive pay, a $1,000 signing bonus, a 21 per cent wage increase over the life of the contract, and improved health benefits. The company also agreed to provisions to facilitate a new culture of health, safety, dignity, and respect in the workplace.

“Our employees in High River are important to Cargill’s work to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way,” said Jarrod Gillig, Cargill North America’s business operations and supply chain president, in a statement to CTV News.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that is comprehensive, fair, and reflective of their commitment to excellence at Cargill and the critical role they play in feeding families across Canada.”

STRIKE AVERTED

According to UFCW Local 401, the union and workers were ready for a potential strike, erecting tents in front of the plant, installing floodlights and propane heaters, levelling nearby fields to act as parking lots, and finalizing a picketing payroll system.

UFCW Local 401 president Thomas Hesse previously told CTV News that the deal was “fair” but would support workers on the picket line if they decided to reject the offer.

“Tomorrow, work will begin to enforce and apply the new provisions of the Cargill union contract,” Hesse said in a statement Saturday. “Local 401 congratulates and thanks Cargill union members and our Cargill Bargaining Committee.”

Hesse added that the past few months were trying for many employees at the plant.

MORE WORK TO DO

While the decision was not an easy one and a cause for celebration, UFCW Local 401 says there is further work.

The union says workers at the JBS Plant in Brooks, Alta., observed the Cargill proceedings as they head into bargaining for a new contract next year. Additionally, the UFCW Local 401 says it plans to continue pushing for meatpacking industry reforms and restructuring.

As prices for meat continue to soar at the grocery store, Hesse said more needs to be done to better support workers and ranchers.

“Workers have been ripped off. Ranchers have been ripped off. And we’ve all been ripped off at the supermarket counter,” he said. “Government failed to protect these workers, as well as failing to protect Alberta ranchers and consumers. Change must occur.”

With files from CTV News Calgary’s Michael Franklin

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