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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Tuesday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi will produce more than 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by its competitors Pfizer and BioNTech by the end of the year, CEO Paul Hudson told Le Figaro newspaper in an interview published on Tuesday.

As Sanofi and its British partner GlaxoSmithKline have delayed the launch of their shot to late 2021, the French company decided to approach Pfizer “in order to be helpful as of now,” Hudson said, adding that an agreement with the U.S. company had been reached.

The news about Sanofi comes as the European Union on Tuesday warned pharmaceutical giants that develop coronavirus vaccines to honour their contractual obligations after slow deliveries of shots from two companies hampered the bloc’s vaccine rollout in several countries.

The bloc already lashed out Monday at pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, accusing it of failing to guarantee the delivery of coronavirus vaccines without a valid explanation. It also had expressed displeasure over vaccine delivery delays from Pfizer-BioNTech last week.

“Europe invested billions to help develop the world’s first COVID-19 vaccines. To create a truly global common good,” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the World Economic Forum’s virtual event in Switzerland. “And now, the companies must deliver. They must honour their obligations.”

The statement Tuesday highlighted the level of distrust that has grown between the 27-country bloc and pharmaceutical companies over the past week.

On Monday, the EU threatened to impose strict export controls on all coronavirus vaccines produced in the bloc to make sure that companies honour their commitments to the EU.

A doctor adjusts his personal protective gear before entering a patient’s room at a COVID-19 intensive care unit at Klinikum Rechts der Isar hospital in Munich, southern Germany on Monday. (Lennart Preiss/AFP/Getty Images)

The EU said it provided €2.7 billion (more than $4.1 billion Cdn) to speed up vaccine research and production capacity and was determined to get some value for that money with hundreds of millions of vaccine shots according to a schedule the companies had committed to.

“Europe is determined to contribute to this global common good, but it also means business,” von der Leyen said Tuesday via video link.

Germany was firmly behind von der Leyen’s view. 

“With a complex process such as vaccine production, I can understand if there are production problems — but then it must affect everyone fairly and equally,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn told ZDF television. “This is not about EU first, it’s about Europe’s fair share.”

The EU, which has 450 million citizens and the economic and political clout of the world’s biggest trading bloc, is lagging badly behind countries like Israel and Britain in rolling out coronavirus vaccine shots for its health-care workers and most vulnerable people. That’s despite having over 400,000 confirmed virus deaths since the pandemic began.

The United Kingdom on Tuesday became the first country in Europe to pass 100,000 coronavirus-related deaths. With more than two million dead worldwide, people the world over are mourning loved ones, but the U.K.’s toll weighs particularly heavily: it is the smallest nation to pass the milestone.

The EU has committed to buying 300 million AstraZeneca doses with an option on 100 million extra shots. Late last week, the company said it was planning to reduce a first contingent of 80 million to 31 million.

The shortfall of planned deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is expected to get medical approval by the bloc on Friday, combined with hiccups in the distribution of Pfizer-BioNTech shots is putting EU nations under heavy pressure. Pfizer says it was delaying deliveries to Europe and Canada while it upgrades its plant in Belgium to increase production capacity.

When asked Tuesday about potential European protectionism, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he had spoken to the CEO of Moderna earlier in the day — noting that the “recent musings” out of Europe came up in their conversation.

“It was very, very clear that the Canadian contracts that have been signed and the delivery schedule laid out will be respected,” he said.

The European Medicines Agency is scheduled to review the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine Friday and its approval is hotly anticipated. The AstraZeneca vaccine is already being used in Britain and has been approved for emergency use by half a dozen countries, including India, Pakistan, Argentina and Mexico.

The delays in getting vaccines will make it harder to meet early targets in the EU’s goal of vaccinating 70 per cent of its adults by late summer.

The EU has signed six vaccine contracts for more than two billion doses, but only the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been approved for use so far.

-From The Associated Press, last updated at 12:35 p.m. ET


What’s happening in Canada

WATCH | Inside two Toronto ICUs one year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case:

A look inside two Toronto hospital ICUs one year after Canada’s first case of COVID-19, and at the doctors and nurses both exhausted and determined to keep fighting. 4:28

As Parliament resumed Monday, Trudeau faced a barrage of questions from MPs of all parties as they blasted the Liberal government for what they described as a botched approach to rolling out vaccines.

Both Trudeau and Procurement Minister Anita Anand repeated the government’s promise that by the end of September, all Canadians wishing to be vaccinated will have received their shots. The prime minister reiterated that message on Tuesday, as he faced more questions about procurement and vaccine rollouts amid growing concern about potential protectionism in the countries where the vaccines are made.

Trudeau has stressed that the delay that is currently hampering vaccination efforts is only temporary and that Canada is expected to receive four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of March. 

Earlier Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said there is “tremendous pressure” on the global supply chain for vaccines that the government has tried to mitigate.

“We are working on this every single day, because we know how important vaccines are to Canadians, to first and foremost the lives of Canadians and also to our economy,” she told a news conference in Ottawa by video.

The prime minister on Tuesday also told Canadians to expect new restrictions around travel, and once again urged people not to take non-essential trips abroad.

WATCH | More than 200 Ontario doctors demand end to ‘humanitarian crisis’ in long-term care:

Long-term care homes in Ontario are seeing the same devastation from COVID-19 in the second wave that was seen in the first wave, says Dr. Amit Arya, co-founder of Doctors for Justice in Long-Term Care. ‘We need action today,’ he said. 6:03

As of 11:20 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Canada had reported 755,917 cases of COVID-19, with 61,055 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 19,357.

Despite the vaccine delay, some provinces continued to report encouraging drops in the number of new cases and hospitalizations.

Ontario reported 1,740 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 63 additional deaths, bringing the provincial death toll to 5,909.

According to Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott, more than 30,700 tests were completed. The health minister said in a tweet that of the cases announced on Tuesday, 677 were in Toronto, 320 were in Peel Region and 144 were in York Region.

Hospitalizations in Ontario stood at 1,466, with 383 COVID-19 patients in intensive care on Tuesday, according to a provincial dashboard.

Quebec, meanwhile, reported 1,166 new cases of COVID-19 and 57 additional deaths on Tuesday.  Hospitalizations in Quebec stood at 1,324, with 217 COVID-19 patients in the province’s intensive care units, according to a provincial update published on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in Alberta on Monday, health officials reported the province’s first case of a COVID-19 variant first seen in the United Kingdom that can’t be directly traced to international travel. Health Minister Tyler Shandro said that while it is one case, the variant has the potential to spread faster than the original novel coronavirus and could quickly overwhelm hospitals if not checked.

“There’s no question that this kind of exponential growth would push our health-care system to the brink,” Shandro told a virtual news conference Monday.

Here’s a look at what’s happening across Canada:

From The Canadian Press and CBC News, last updated at 10:25 a.m. ET 


 What’s happening around the world

As of early Tuesday morning, more than 99.7 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, with more than 55.1 million of the cases considered recovered or resolved, according to a tracking tool maintained by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll stood at more than 2.1 million.

In Europe, the U.K. is set to announce changes to its quarantine rules later Tuesday that could see anyone arriving in the country having to spend ten days in a hotel at their own expense. Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said there will be an “announcement on this issue later on today,” but would not be drawn on what the changes would entail.

The British government has been reviewing its quarantine policies amid concerns over new variants of the coronavirus. Whether the changes will be universal and apply to everyone arriving, including British citizens, or just to those arriving from high-risk coronavirus countries, is unclear. Zahawi told Sky News that “as we vaccinate more of the adult population, if there are new variants like the South African or the Brazilian variants, we need to be very careful.”

Pedestrians walk past a sign pointing toward a COVID-19 testing centre in Walthamstow over the weekend in London. (Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

The U.K. has seen more than 3.6 million reported cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University, with more than 98,700 deaths.

Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s deputy prime minister and finance minister, said Monday that Canada is considering additional international travel restrictions. Speaking on CBC’s Power & Politics, Freeland said she is, “very sympathetic to the view that, with the virus raging around the world, we need to be sure our borders are really, really secure.”

In Portugal, the health minister said authorities are considering asking other European Union countries for help amid a steep surge in COVID-19 cases. Portugal has had the world’s worst rate of new daily cases and deaths per 100,000 people for the past week, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Health Minister Marta Temido said sending patients to other EU countries is not uncommon in the bloc. But, she said, Portugal has the disadvantage of being geographically remote and hospitals across the continent are under pressure from the pandemic. She said the country may instead be asking for medical workers to be sent.

Portuguese hospitals are under severe strain, Temido told public broadcaster RTP. “We have beds available,” she said. “What we’re struggling with is finding staff.”

That request may be difficult to fulfil, because all countries in the 27-nation bloc are dealing with their own pandemic strains, made more difficult now because of the emergence of virus variants.

In the Asia-Pacific region, health authorities in Taiwan are quarantining 5,000 people while looking for the source of two new coronavirus cases linked to a hospital.

Indonesia’s confirmed coronavirus infections since the pandemic began crossed one million on Tuesday and hospitals in some hard-hit areas were near capacity.

Medical workers visit COVID-19 patients at a general hospital in Indonesia on Monday. (Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images)

Indonesia’s Health Ministry announced that new daily infections rose by 13,094 on Tuesday to bring the country’s total to 1,012,350, the most in Southeast Asia. The total number of deaths reached 28,468.

The milestone comes just weeks after Indonesia launched a massive campaign to inoculate two-thirds of the country’s 270 million people, with President Joko Widodo receiving the first shot of a Chinese-made vaccine. Health-care workers, military, police, teachers and other at-risk populations are being prioritized for the vaccine in the world’s fourth-most populous country.

Chinese airlines are offering refunded tickets as the coronavirus continues to spread in the country’s northeast. The offer Tuesday from the government’s aviation authority comes amid a push to prevent people travelling during the Lunar New Year holiday next month.

In the Americas, Mexico’s death toll passed 150,000 on Monday following a surge in infections in recent weeks.

The Current13:47In Brazil, hospitals fighting COVID-19 face oxygen shortage

Some hospitals fighting COVID-19 in Manaus, Brazil are facing an oxygen shortage, which could lead to dire consequences if they run out. We talk to Pierre Van Heddegem, head of the Doctors Without Borders mission in Brazil; and discuss the global extent of the problem with Leith Greenslade, a health activist and lead co-ordinator of the Every Breath Counts Coalition. 13:47

In Africa, Russia and China have approached Zimbabwe about supplying vaccines to tackle its escalating COVID-19 outbreak amid concern about Harare’s ability to afford the shots.

In the Middle East, Oman said earlier this week it will extend the closure of its land borders for another week until Feb. 1.

Have questions about the COVID-19 pandemic? We’re answering as many as we can in the comments.

-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 7:10 a.m. ET

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Calling the passionate, the curious, and the creative: Staples Canada launches National Hiring Campaign

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More than 1,000 associates to be hired across Canada in seasonal, part-time and full-time positions to help make Back to School simply amazing

 

Richmond Hill, ON, May 17, 2022 – Staples Canada, The Working and Learning Company, has launched a national hiring campaign to fill more than 1,000 positions in stores, supply chain, contact centres, sales teams, print and tech hubs, as well as corporate roles. All open roles are posted at careers.staples.ca with in-person and virtual interviews available at the different locations.

 

“The back to school season is the most exciting time of year for Staples associates – it’s a time where we get to connect with our customers to enable their success, and inspire them for months to come,” said Wanda Walkden, Chief Human Resources and Communications Officer, Staples Canada. “We’re invested in bringing in the best and brightest talent to inspire our customers and our communities, while also helping our associates further their own development and growth.”

 

Staples currently employs more than 11,000 associates across Canada within a variety of roles and locations. The company has presence in every province and the Northwest and Yukon territories. All locations are looking to fill a variety of roles.

 

Joining Staples comes with a number of benefits, which include:

 

·       Associate support: Staples offers extensive wellness benefits that are designed to support the physical, mental and financial well-being of associates. These include an employee and family assistance program, retirement savings plans with an employer match, performance bonuses, associate discounts, and more.

·       Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Staples is committed to creating an inclusive and diverse work environment where each associate can bring their whole authentic self to work. Staples associates can join Business Resources Groups; groups that are by associates for associates and focus on various DE&I initiatives through partnerships, awareness and education.

·       Learning and development opportunities: At Staples, learning and development is a priority for all associates, with many opportunities for cross-department training, and leadership development programs in place to aid professional growth.

  • Educational support:  Each year, scholarships are awarded through the Staples Canada Annual Academic Scholarship Program to associates or children of associates attending post-secondary education. The company also offers tuition reimbursement for full-time associates to further their education.
  • Ability to make an impact: Each year, Staples associates partner with organizations like MAP, and take on local charitable giving initiatives including the School Supply Drive during back to school, as a continued commitment to communities across Canada.

 

All 300+ stores and Supply Chain, Contact Centres, Sales Teams, Print and Tech Hubs and, Corporate locations across Canada are participating in the national hiring campaign; visit careers.staples.ca to learn more and find the perfect job near you.

 

About Staples Canada

Staples Canada is The Working and Learning Company. With a focus on community, inspiration and services, the privately-owned company is committed to being a dynamic, inspiring partner to customers who visit its 300+ locations and staples.ca. The company has two brands that support business customers, Staples Preferred for small businesses and Staples Professional for medium to large-sized enterprises, as well as six co-working facilities in Toronto, Kelowna, Oakville and Ottawa under the banner Staples Studio. Staples Canada is a proud partner of MAP through its Even the Odds campaign, which aims to tackle inequities in communities across Canada and helps make a future that’s fair for everyone. Visit staples.ca for more information or get social with @StaplesCanada on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

 

– 30 –

 

Media information:

Kathleen Stelmach, Staples Canada, 905-737-1147 Ext. 578, kathleen.stelmach@staples.ca

Noah Gomberg, Golin, 647-475-4721, NGomberg@golin.com

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Gas prices set to drop in the GTA – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Drivers are set to get some relief at the pumps as gas prices are set to drop 13 cents per litre by Friday.

Average gas prices hit $209.9 per litre on Wednesday in southern Ontario, marking a new record high and a whopping 12-cent rise since last Friday.

However, President of Canadians for Affordable Energy Dan McTeague says prices are set to drop three cents to 206.9 per litre as of midnight and then 10 another 10 cents to 196.9 per litre by Friday.

McTeague said that the drop in prices is being driven by the unease of global markets over a potential recession.

Prices at the pumps have been elevated since late February due to fuel supply shortages amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the international sanctions that have been imposed as a result of the war.

Natural Resources Canada said the average price for regular gasoline in Canada hit $2.06 per litre on Monday, with the most expensive price in Vancouver at $2.34 a litre.

On Wednesday, Statistics Canada reported that the annual inflation rate rose 6.8 per cent year-over year in April. The national agency added that Canadian drivers paid 36.3 per cent more for gas in April compared to a year ago.

-With files from The Canadian Press

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Stock markets sell off as inflation fears settle in – CBC News

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Stock markets were a sea of red on Wednesday as financial results from major retailers suggested they’re having a hard time dealing with stubbornly high inflation.

The S&P 500 was down by more than four per cent, its worst one-day showing since June 2020 as investors reacted to troubling signs that consumers are slowing their spending in the face of high prices.

Shares in Target shed more than 25 per cent of their value after the retailer said its profit was cut in half because of higher costs and supply chain problems. It was the worst day for Target’s shares since Black Monday in 1987, and it came a day after rival Walmart painted a similar picture the day before.

Walmart’s shares fell by more than 11 per cent on Tuesday and another seven per cent on Wednesday, after the retailer warned of lower profits to come due to higher costs for transportation and wages, as well as supply chain issues. Tuesday’s sell-off was also the biggest one-day plunge in Walmart shares since 1987.

That gloom coming from two cost-conscious retailers sparked investor fears that if they are having problems navigating high inflation, many others must be, too.

“The strength of the consumer will be tested as both Walmart and Target signal rising pricing pressures are not easing,” analyst Edward Moya with foreign exchange firm Oanda said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed almost 1,200 points or more than three per cent and the technology focused Nasdaq lost more than 500 points or more than four per cent.

Since the start of the year, the Dow is down by 14 per cent, the S&P by 18 per cent and the Nasdaq by 28 per cent, data from Bloomberg shows.

“Stocks are crumbling after Wall Street worries about economic growth after hearing a chorus of concerns of higher prices that won’t be easing anytime soon,” Moya said.

Statistics Canada reported on Wednesday that the country’s inflation rate ticked upwards again last month, to a new 31-year high of 6.8 per cent.

While the Toronto Stock Exchange fared better than its U.S. counterparts, it wasn’t immune to the sell-off, losing 389  points, or about two per cent, to close as just over 20,100 points late in the trading day. The benchmark Canadian index has lost about seven per cent of its value since the start of the year, and has been mostly lower of late since topping out at over 22,000 points in April.

“It’s a really rough day out there for stock markets,” Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management, said in an interview with CBC News.

“The retailers in particular are starting to get squeezed between rising costs and softening demand,” he said. “We’ve just been seeing a stampede for the exits across stock markets today.”

Tech shares hit hard

Technology shares, which soared earlier in the pandemic as the world went increasingly digital and online due to COVID-19 lockdowns, continue to get hammered.

Apple shares lost six per cent to trade at their lowest level since October. Amazon shares lost seven per cent and the shares are now trading where they were in April 2020. Netflix lost another seven per cent and now trade at their lowest level since 2018.

Canadian tech companies also sold off, with shares in e-commerce firm Shopify, payment processing company Lightspeed and BlackBerry all off by about three per cent.

Cieszynski said the sell-off in technology shares makes sense, because the sector “tends to benefit … when investors are feeling confident and when investors are willing to take on risk.”

“At a time when investors are are retrenching, turning away from risk and going more defensive, [technology] tends to underperform,” he said.

Bitcoin dips below $30,000

Bitcoin was no exception as the world’s largest cryptocurrency continued its plunge, losing another five per cent to trade below $30,000 US for the first time since 2021.

“The speculative cryptocurrency excesses of 2021 may mark a similar fate for risk assets, as when the internet bubble burst in 2000,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mike McGlone said.

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