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City says it's ready to open 3 mass vaccination sites early as more doses secured – CBC.ca

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Toronto has received enough COVID-19 vaccines to open three of its mass immunization clinics two weeks earlier than scheduled, officials said Monday.

At a news conference on Monday, Toronto Mayor John Tory said the clinics will open early to vaccinate residents who are over the age of 80 starting on March 17. Smaller vaccination clinics have already been ramping up efforts across the city, but the mass sites will speed up the rollout.

“This vaccine news is great news — it’s fantastic news,” Tory said. 

The three city-run clinics to open on March 17 are: 
• Metro Toronto Convention Centre
• Scarborough Town Centre
• Toronto Congress Centre

The clinics will operate seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

The city said it plans to have the remaining six city-run clinics open in the coming weeks, contingent upon vaccine supply being available.

When fully operational, more than 1,400 staff will run all nine city clinics, including vaccinators, nurses, screening staff, clerical and administrative staff and cleaners, Toronto Public Health said. 

“These are exciting and promising times,” Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said about vaccine supply increasing, but she urged Torontonians to keep their guards up and continue following public health measures. 

The city continues to ramp up vaccination efforts, with Toronto hospitals and community healthcare centres operating 17 clinics Monday, including mobile teams and in-site vaccinations, to vaccinate priority groups in their communities. 

Over the weekend, 15 clinics were in operation, which brought the cumulative number of vaccine doses administered across the city to over 203,000, Toronto Public Health said in a news release Monday. 

When vaccine supply increases and priority groups are vaccinated, the city will move on to vaccinating the general population at more than 350 clinics, including pharmacies and mobile clinics across Toronto.

The city’s vaccination efforts will follow the priority framework established by the province. 

City launches interim vaccination booking site

Meanwhile, Toronto hospitals have launched an interim website where eligible residents can register and book an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine as the city awaits the province’s centralized registration system to get up and running. 

Toronto’s Board of Health chair Joe Cressy tweeted the news on Monday, saying this is “not an ideal situation”, but a necessary step. 

Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg said the timing of this online portal is important and was implemented “to bridge a very small gap” between this week and March 15, which is when the province is expected to launch their centralized site. 

The people who are currently eligible to pre-register or book appointments at hospital and health sector clinics include:

  • People who are 80 years of age and older
  • Priority health care workers
  • Indigenous adults (16 and up)
  • Adults receiving ongoing home care

Vaccinations at hospital and health sector clinics are by appointment only. Walk-ins or stand-by appointments are not available. 

“People who are eligible under the above priority groups must only sign up at one vaccination clinic. If you book appointments at multiple clinics, all bookings may be cancelled,” Cressy tweeted. 

Appointments can be made online or by phone via the call centre, which can be reached at 1-888-385-1910. 

On Monday, Toronto Fire Chief Matthew Pegg announced “much larger” supplies of both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will be delivered to city operated and partner health clinics.

Clinics will receive vaccine doses as followed: 
• Week of March 15 – 17,500 doses
• Week of March 22 – 98,920 doses
• Week of March 29 – 174,200 doses
• Week of April 5 – 80,730 doses
• Week of April 12 – 80,730 doses.

The city said it plans to increase the number of vaccines that can be administered monthly from 500,000 to approximately 975,000 as vaccine availability permits.

Pegg also said the possibility of 24-hour vaccination clinics — something city councillors have asked for — relies heavily on vaccine supply. 

40% of city’s cases screened as variant of concern

Dr. Eileen de Villa said that almost 40 per cent the city’s reported COVID-19 cases are now being screened positive as a variant of concern. 

To date, 2,004 cases have screened positive for variants of concern. A week ago, de Villa said that number was 1,179. 

“We have come perilously close to doubling this count in a week,” she said, adding that she’s also worried about potential effects of variants on vaccines. 

“Vaccines are powerful, but not beyond challenge.” 

De Villa said the city of Toronto saw 636 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, (though the province has flagged there may be a data issue at play.)

“There were some challenges experienced by our provincial counterparts today on the data system. This is unfortunate but I know they have worked very hard…to correct things as quickly as possible.” 

The city also saw four more people with COVID-19 die. 

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 sits at 257, with 53 of those in intensive care. 

City moves into grey-level lockdown

The province’s final stay-at-home orders were lifted in three regions Monday, including Toronto, shifting it back into the grey-level lockdown.

Under the grey lockdown tier of the framework, non-essential stores can open at 25 per cent capacity while indoor dining, gyms and hair salons remain closed.

When asked how important it is for Toronto’s economy to have non-essential retail stores reopen today, he said it is “very, very important” both in the context of the state of businesses and of the public’s well being. 

Tory said the last thing he wants to do is re-open now and then close again.

“That would be the worst nightmare scenario for most businesses.” 

In response to a question about the Centres for Disease and Control Prevention’s announcement Monday saying vaccinated adults can gather indoors without a mask in the U.S., de Villa said she expects guidance on this front to be provided shortly from the provincial level. 

But she said as it stands, remaining distanced from others is the best course of action. 

“There’s reason for optimism and hope and all the more reason for us to push through the last little bit.”

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AIB agrees to life and pensions joint-venture with Canada Life

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Allied Irish Banks on Wednesday said it would form a joint venture with Canada life as it seeks to plug gaps in its life, savings and wealth products.

The joint venture will be equally owned by Canada Life, a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc.

“The move to create this joint venture is aligned with AIB’s stated ambition to complete its customerproduct suite and diversify income,” AIB said in a statement.

“Through this strategic initiative AIB intends to offer customers a range of life protection, pensions, savings and investment options enhanced by integrated digital solutions withcontinued access to our qualified financial advisors.”

The Irish lender highlighted Canada Life’s “deep experience” of the Irish bancassurance market through Irish Life Assurance, which is also a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco.

AIB currently operates under a tied agency distribution agreement with Irish Life, and will enter into a new distribution agreement with the new joint venture company.

Chief Executive Colin Hunt highlighted the need to plug gaps in AIB’s life, savings and wealth products when he set out the bank’s medium-term targets last December.

AIB expects its equity investment in the joint venture will be around 90 million euros ($107.51 million), equating to around 10bps of CET1.($1 = 0.8372 euros)

(Reporting by Graham Fahy;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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Interac: Canada’s Latest Payment Solution Phenomenon

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Few can argue that digital payment methods aren’t central to modern-day society. In recent times, increasing numbers of payment solutions have come to the forefront, offering consumers more choice regarding their transaction preferences. Canada, in particular, has embraced a wide-ranging selection of secure, forward-thinking options. Of those available throughout the country, Interac has piqued the interests of local consumers the most. So, let’s look at why this payment solution is an especially popular option throughout Canada. 

Usable Across Various Markets 

It speaks volumes about Interac’s versatility in that it’s usable across a variety of different industries. Since being founded in 1984, the Canadian interbank network has become integral to numerous markets, including local air travel. Air Canada, which has been operating since 1937, has expanded their accepted payment methods, and now passengers can pay for their flights using Interac. According to the airline’s official website, the Interac Online service lets consumers pay for their tickets via the internet directly from their bank account. 

Not only that, but Interac is also available at Walmart. In November 2020, the two organizations partnered together to expand in-store and online payment options. Walmart has adapted well to the digital trend, with American Banker reporting that they’ve opened Interac Flash sale points throughout their stores. 


Source: Unsplash

Aside from the above, Interac has also taken the digital world by storm. Following its rapid rise to prominence, the solution has also altered the online casino industry, with platforms like Genesis Casino now accepting the transaction type. The provider, which features Interac Canadian casino options, uses the popular payment method to enhance transaction speeds of deposits and withdrawals, as well as security. Players can use Interac Online and Interac e-Transfer to make deposits or withdrawals from their desktops or mobiles as the platform is fully optimized. 

A Reflection of Modern-Day Society 

In recent times, Interac recorded a 55 percent increase in transactions between April and August 2020 compared to the same period the previous year, as per BNN Bloomberg. These figures somewhat reflect the current state of e-Commerce and modern consumerism. Following the rise of Interac and other payment methods, it’s now less troublesome for consumers to complete in-store and online purchases. 


Source: PxHere

There’s an ever-growing perception that land-based businesses need to adapt within the digital era and accept forward-thinking payment methods. According to Cision, Interac is of utmost importance to the Canadian economy, and a year-on-year increase in Interac Debit payments of 333 percent reflects that. Not only that, but Interac e-Transfer payments are growing at 52 percent each year. This Interac-oriented trend appears unlikely to fade over the coming years, with the network being selected as the country’s provider for a new real-time payment system, as per Lexology. 

Consumer Habits are Changing 

There can be no doubt that consumerism has changed drastically over the past decade. The popularity of Interac suggests that a cashless future may be on the horizon, with increasing numbers of shoppers enjoying the security of online payment methods. While it’s currently unclear if that will happen, Interac appears to be prevalent for the long run.

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Your Education and Certificates Need to Align the Job Requirements

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After your professional experience, your education/certifications (verified skills) will be the next section on your resume the reader will use to judge whether you go into the “to be interviewed” pile. 

Many job seekers apply to job postings knowing they don’t have the education/certification requirements. They believe their “experience” will compensate. With so many highly qualified job seekers now on the job market this is rarely the case. If your education/certifications align with the job requirements, the education section of your resume will play a critical part in setting you apart from all the “spray and pray” job seekers.

Suppose a job posting for a Director of Finance lists as a qualification “Canadian Accounting Designation (CPA).” You have a university degree and 15 years of experience managing a mid-size company’s finances, but no CPA—don’t bother applying. Job postings generate an influx of applicants. Undoubtedly there’ll be many applicants who possess a CPA applying. There’s also the employer’s ATS to consider, which likely has been programmed to scan for “CPA.”  

Education background information you should provide:

  • Degree/certification obtained 
  • School’s name
  • Location of school
  • Period of attendance
  • Relevant coursework
  • Honors, academic recognition, extracurricular activities, or organizations participation worth mentioning

When it comes to presenting your educational background keep your ego in check. You may have impressive education background; however, it may not be impressive for the job you’re vying for. Prioritize relevancy over perceived prestige.

Here’s my suggestion how to present your education/certificates (there’s no hard formatting rule):

BS Biomedical Science

University of Calgary, Calgary, AB — 09/1992 – 06/1996

Courses:

  • Principles of Human Genetics
  • Organismal Biology
  • Principles and Mechanisms of Pharmacology
  • Advanced Bioinformatics

PMP® Certification

Ryerson University Continuing Education, Toronto, ON — 10/2001 – 04/2003

Courses:

  • Planning and Scheduling
  • Leadership in Project Management
  • Project Cost and Procurement Management
  • Project Risk and Quality Management

As I’ve pointed out in previous columns— there’s no universal hiring methodology. No two hiring managers assess candidates the same way. Depending on the job requirements respective employers search for different things when it comes to a candidate’s education. Read the qualifications in the job posting carefully. Then present your education/credentials accordingly. Don’t hesitate to add/remove courses to better tie in your education towards the job. It’s for this reason I suggest you list courses, not just your degree/certification. Listing of courses is rarely done, doing so will give your resume a competitive advantage.

You’ll have noticed my examples indicated start and end dates. Many “career experts” advise against this. The thinking being dates, even just the graduation year, will give employer’s a sense of your age, which if your over 45 can hinder and prolong your job search. This advice is supposed to be a workaround to ageism. However, these same “career experts” unanimously agree employment dates (month/year) need to be indicated. To me, this is a mixed message.    

I believe in complete transparency from both sides of the hiring process. Full transparency ensures the likelihood of there being a solid fit for both parties. At some point, whether when the employer checks your digital footprint or interviews you, your interviewer will have a good indication of your age. Besides, not mentioning dates, which I call “obvious” information, is a red flag. 

If your age is a deal-breaker with an employer, they aren’t the employer for you. The job search advice I give most often: Seek employers who’ll most likely accept you, where you’ll feel you belong—look for your tribe.

Some professions, such as finance or healthcare, require specific certifications or degrees. In such cases, show you have the necessary “must-have” (a deal-breaker if you don’t) credentials by placing your education at the top of the page just below your contact information before your professional experience.

One last note: Often overlooked is education in progress. If relevant, this should be included in your resume. In this case, list pertinent courses and the month/year you intend to graduate.

Using suggestions in this and previous columns you are now able to create a resume that “WOWs.” Next week, I’m going to begin discussing cover letters. Yes, many hiring managers, like myself, do read cover letters, which have one purpose—to give the reader a reason to read your resume.

______________________________________________________________

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

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