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Confirmed cases of new COVID-19 variant in Canada are 'unsurprising', experts say – CTV News

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TC Energy announces plan to sell 65% stake in Coastal GasLink pipeline – CTV News

TORONTO —
A new, more contagious variant of COVID-19 that first surfaced in the U.K. has been detected in Canada, something health experts had already predicted.

Ontario’s Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, announced Saturday that there are two confirmed cases of the coronavirus variant in Durham region. The patients who tested positive are a couple, now in self-isolation.

“I’m not surprised,” Dr. Brian Conway, medical director of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre, told CTV News Channel Saturday, in the wake of the news. “Obviously, this variant has been circulating for some time before it was actually recognized.”

In a news release announcing the cases, Dr. Yaffe said this “further reinforces the need for Ontarians to stay home as much as possible and continue to follow all public health advice, including the provincewide shutdown measures beginning today.

Durham Region Health Department has conducted case and contact investigation and Ontario is working in collaboration with our federal counterparts at the Public Health Agency of Canada.”

But even before today’s confirmation that this coronavirus variant is in Canada, health experts suspected it was already here. 

“It’s spread to other countries,” Ronald St. John, the former director-general of the Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), told CTV News Channel earlier on Saturday.

“Since it’s been found since September, there’s no reason why people coming since September haven’t been able to bring that new strain to Canada.” 

The new variant that emerged from the U.K. has since been found in other countries around the world, including France, Japan, Israel and Sweden.

Only two days ago, PHAC said in a statement that there had been “no evidence of these variants in Canada to-date” and that it was enhancing screening and scrutiny of quarantine plans for inbound passengers.

Saturday’s news release thanked the “proactive work” of the PHAC in locating the two cases of the new variant.

Conway said that more measures need to be taken to understand how the variant made its way into Canada.

“We need to do much more testing, we need to understand where this couple became infected,” he said, adding that we can only interrupt the “transmission chains” if we understand them.  

On Dec. 20, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a restriction on flights from the U.K. to Canada in an effort to prevent the new variant from coming to Canada. That restriction has since been extended to Jan. 6.

St. John said these measures may have come too little, too late.

The two cases announced today have no travel history, high-risk contacts or known exposure.

“It’s a question of if the horse is out of the barn already, and are we closing the doors too late?” St. John said. 

Kirsten Fiest, an epidemiologist at the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine, also said stopping flights from the U.K. may not be enough to prevent the new variant from spreading in Canada.

“Almost certainly, it’s spread even further than we know right now,” Fiest told CTV Calgary. “If something can spread really quickly and rapidly and it increases the likelihood of infection, then our biggest concern should be long-term care facilities.” 

The new variant of the virus “may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the original version of the disease,” U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a press conference on Dec. 19, though a new study from the London School of Hygiene And Tropical Medicine suggests the virus is about 56 per cent more contagious.

Two other variants of COVID-19 have also been found in Nigeria and South Africa, leading Canada to expand screening and monitoring measures on flights inbound from South Africa.

“We need to be on the lookout for other variants,” Conway said. 

St. John said both variants need further study to understand how variations in the genes could impact the behaviour of the virus and its effects on how the disease presents itself in the people who have contracted it, adding that the variant found in South Africa also appear, “at this point,” to be more contagious than the base strain of coronavirus already in Canada.

As to whether or not the vaccines already being delivered in Canada will be effective in defending against these new variants, St. John said he doesn’t believe the virus will mutate in the same way seasonal influenza does, and that the vaccines will likely be effective.

“So far, as near as I know, the vaccine targets many different parts of the virus,” St. John said. “So it’s a good thing that it does, and that the virus probably will not escape the vaccine.”

Conway added that there is “no evidence that the vaccine works less well,” on the variant that first emerged in the U.K. 

BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin has also said he is “confident” his company’s vaccine, created with Pfizer, will be effective against the new U.K. variant of the virus.  

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The 5 Big Banks in Canada

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Banks in Canada

The Big Five Banks is a term used in Canada to describe the five largest banks: Royal Bank, The Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, The Bank of Nova Scotia, and TD Canada Trust.

Occasionally, the term “Big Six Banks” is used, with the sixth bank referring to the National Bank of Canada. As of March 2008, the Big Six Banks and Laurentian Bank of Canada are the largest banks in Canada. The Five Big Banks hold over $100 billion in assets, and they are all based in Toronto. World Atlas provides the following data on each of the Big Five Banks.

1. Royal Bank of Canada

The Royal Bank of Canada is the largest of the Big Five with respect to net revenue (C$12.431 billion in 2018) and capitalization (C$150.35 billion as of early 2020). The Royal Bank of Canada has over 16 million clients worldwide, over 74,000 full-time employees and over 1,300 branches. Founded in 1864 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the bank financed the lumber and timber industries. It was known as the Merchants Bank of Halifax. The Royal Bank of Canada gives 1% of its income to charity.

2. Toronto-Dominion Bank

The second-largest bank in Canada, the Toronto-Dominion Bank has the most assets, which are valued at C$1.4 trillion as of July 2019. This bank has over 22 million clients worldwide, 85,000 full-time employees and over 1,100 branches. The bank was the result of a merger of the Bank of Toronto and the Dominion Bank in 1955.

3. Bank of Nova Scotia

The Bank of Nova Scotia, or Scotiabank, is the next largest bank in Canada with assets valued at C$998 billion as of late 2019, the revenue of C$28.8 billion in 2018 and capitalization of C$87.55 billion. The bank has over 23 million customers worldwide, 89,000 full-time employees and over 1,000 branches in Canada. This bank offers to trade on both the New York and Toronto Stock Exchanges.

Also founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia—this one in 1832—the bank moved its headquarters to Toronto in 1900 to improve the transAtlantic trade industry.

4. Bank of Montreal

The Bank of Montreal is the fourth largest Canadian bank with C$852.2 billion worth of assets in late 2019, the revenue of C$22.8 billion and capitalization of C$64.81 billion as of early 2020. The bank has over 7 million clients in Canada and 939 branches. The bank has over 47,000 employees. It was founded in 1817 and is the oldest bank in Canada. Throughout crises such as World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, the Bank has consistently met dividend payments.

5. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has C$597 billion in assets, the revenue of C$17.834 billion for 2018, and capitalization of C$48.01 billion. The bank has over 11 million clients worldwide, 1,100 branches in Canada and over 44,000 full-time employees worldwide. The bank was formed in 1961 when the Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada merged.

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U.S. lawmakers press GM CEO on California emissions

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U.S. lawmakers press GM CEO on California emissions

General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra faced questions from U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday on a workers’ vote at a company plant in Mexico and the company’s support for emissions reductions.

Barra met with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other senior Democrats on Capitol Hill, and touted the company’s decision announced earlier in the day to boost spending on electric and autonomous vehicles to $35 billion through 2025.

“We’re committed to an all-EV future,” Barra said in brief comments to Reuters after the meeting. “We had a lot of conversations about a lot of things that we can do to enable EV adoption.”

Until November, GM backed the Trump administration’s effort to block California from setting tougher emissions standards than the federal government.

Pelosi had expressed disappointment with GM’s support for Republican President Donald Trump’s position on the emissions rules, a source briefed on the matter said, and she urged GM to work with California and the Biden administration to reach the strongest possible vehicle emissions standards.

The administration of Democratic President Joe Biden is set to unveil revised vehicle emissions rules in July.

GM said last week it backs emissions reductions outlined in a 2019 deal struck between California and other major automakers, but wants the federal government to endorse changes to speed the adoption of electric vehicles.

Barra also faced questions about a delayed worker vote at a GM plant in Silao, Mexico.

Mexico’s Labor Ministry scrapped an initial union-led vote in April, citing “serious irregularities,” and later ordered the GM union to hold a new ballot within 30 days of its May 11 statement. No vote has been scheduled

The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office in May asked Mexico to review potential labor abuses at the Silao plant under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Last month, U.S. Representatives Dan Kildee, Bill Pascrell and Earl Blumenauer, all Democrats, pressed GM to answer questions about potential abuses in Mexico.

“We want to see some real demonstration of embracing the labor standards in Mexico — more than compliance,” Kildee told Reuters after the meeting. “The situation in Silao — I raised that with Mary — that’s a problem.”

The Democrats urged GM to commit to providing workers with physical copies of the contract, publicly posting contracts and to meet other requirements.

Kildee offered additional steps GM could take to support workers and meet USMCA requirements, and the three lawmakers followed up with a written list of suggested actions, congressional aides said.

The suggestions “would be tangible demonstrations of GM’s commitment to lead on compliance with the new labor standards,” Kildee told Reuters.

Earlier Wednesday, some House lawmakers on a trade panel, including Kildee, had a virtual meeting with Mexico’s ambassador to the United States in which the GM labor issued was raised.

 

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Presenting Your Professional Experience: Numbers Are Your Friends

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B.C. has met its goal of hiring more than 1200 contact tracers

Numbers rule the business world—revenue, headcount, process time, value increase, number of clients, inventory count, profit margin, credit rating, customer satisfaction score. Numbers indicate and measure success or failure, whether a business activity is positive or negative to the bottom line. You’d be hard-pressed to find a business decision made without some factoring in of “the numbers,” be it stats, cost, the potential return on investment.

 

Hiring is a business decision.

 

To make a strong case for yourself (Envision your selling features.) throughout your resume use numbers, the language of business, to quantify your results and establish yourself as someone who can bring value to an employer. Using numbers shows you understand how companies operate and that they exist to make a profit. Most importantly, using results-achieved numbers displays your value.

 

Which job seeker displays better value?

 

Candidate 1: Duties included taking field measurements and maintaining records, setting up and tracking project using Microsoft Project.

 

Candidate 2: Spearheaded the Hazzard County water decontamination project, finishing $125,000 under budget due to a 25% decrease in staff allocation time.

 

Which job seeker gives a clearer picture of their responsibilities?

 

Candidate 1: Supervised team leaders.

 

Candidate 2: Supervised 3 team leaders, collectively responsible for 40 CSRs answering 1,750 – 2,500 calls daily.

 

Which job seeker shows their work ethic?

 

Candidate 1: Completed first editing pass on articles.

 

Candidate 2: Reviewed and evaluated 50 – 75 articles per week, deciding whether to reject the article, forward it to the editorial team, or send it back to the author with revision suggestions.

 

Information quantified means something. Information not quantified is just an opinion. Most resumes are just a list of opinions, thus quantifying your professional experience will set you apart from your competition.

 

TIP: Always use bullets, not paragraphs, to describe your professional experiences.

 

For each position you list on your resume, ask yourself:

 

  • Did I increase my employer’s revenue? How?
  • Did I save my employer money?
  • Did I save time?
  • Was my boss(es), colleagues, staff, customers, vendors, and leadership team members happier because of me?
  • How did I contribute to improving my employer’s business?

 

When answering these questions, quantify (percentage, range, monetary, frequency, before/after comparison, ratio). Creating a resume that WOWs requires filling it with quantified results-rich statements.

 

  • Reduced customer complaints by 47% by implementing a formal feedback system.
  • Improved product delivery time 22% after assigning clarified monthly job tasks to team members.
  • In 2020, grew revenue 33%, and improved gross margin by 22%, by standardizing business operating procedures.
  • Produced $1.75M in cost-savings after renegotiating the company’s supply and service contracts (14 vendors).
  • Built sales organization from the ground up, hiring and training 15 sales representatives within 6 months.
  • In 2019, generated over $7.25M in additional revenue by identifying, pursuing, and securing 4 new international contracts.

 

As I mentioned a few columns back, your resume must clearly and succinctly answer one question: How did you add or bring value to your employers? When it comes to answering this question, numbers are your friends.

 

Something to keep in mind: The king of numbers, the only metric in business that matters, the one that keeps a business alive and profitable, is revenue. As much as possible, throughout your resume and cover letter, demonstrate the results you’ve achieved that were added value to your employer’s financial success.

 

Don’t write on your resume what’s become a cliche, “result-oriented.” Don’t write it on your LinkedIn profile. Don’t say it during an interview. Show your results! “In 2017, I increased sales by 29% by creating upsell opportunities for my 8-member sales team to offer.”

 

Additional tips when bulleting your professional experience:

 

  • Employment dates need to be month/year. Only indicating years is a red flag you’re trying to cover up employment gaps.
  • Under 2 Lines. Your bullets shouldn’t be more than 2 lines.
  • The first 5 – 8 words are critical. When skimming a resume, the reader will likely read the first few words of a bullet then, unless their interest is piqued, move on to the next bullet. The first few words need to be captivating.

 

Next week I’ll cover presenting your education, skills, and certifications. These need to demonstrate your career path, not that you simply attended classes.

______________________________________________________________

 

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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