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COVID-19 pandemic taking toll on mental health, Alberta survey says – CBC.ca

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An online survey of Albertans who reached out for help over COVID-19 suggests the pandemic is taking a toll on mental health, with increased signs of obsessive behaviour, stress and depression.

Vincent Agyapong, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Alberta, has just published results of a survey he took of people who subscribed to Text-4-Hope, a government service that provides a daily reassuring text message.

He found abut 60 per cent of respondents had become worried about dirt, germs and viruses since the COVID outbreak.

About 54 per cent had begun washing their hands “very often or in a special way,” which could be considered a symptom of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Nearly 50 per cent were considered likely candidates for anxiety disorders, and more than 40 per cent were likely clinically depressed.

And almost 85 per cent of respondents reported moderate to high stress.

Agyapong cautions the sample isn’t representative and that some level of stress and unusual behaviour is understandable in the current situation.

But he says his findings suggest the pandemic is affecting the public’s mental health.

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Cadillac Fairview covertly collected images of millions of shoppers: Privacy commissioner – Calgary Herald

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Despite the violation of Canadian privacy law, Sharon Polsky said the country’s privacy legislation could not adequately ensure Cadillac Fairview would follow regulations in the future.

“The only thing the commissioner can do is ask nicely and make a recommendation, and if the company says, ‘Thank you for your recommendation, we’ll continue doing what we want anyhow,’ that’s all (the commissioner) can do, because the law is ineffective,” said Polsky, president of the Privacy and Access Council of Canada.

The five million images of shoppers collected were not faces, and the software was not capable of recognizing people, Cadillac Fairview said.

“These are sequences of numbers the software uses to anonymously categorize the age range and gender of shoppers in the camera’s view,” the company’s statement read.

According to the investigation, Cadillac Fairview asserted they had made shoppers aware of the use of facial recognition technology through decals placed at their entrances, but the privacy commissioners deemed those measures insufficient.

Polsky said she went to see the decals in August 2018, after the investigation commenced.

She said they did not mention the use of facial recognition software at the time, but were later changed to give more privacy information.

“This was not proper consent, and it’s unfortunate that the law allows companies in Canada to be cavalier,” Polsky said.

The privacy commissioners expressed concern Cadillac Fairview had refused to commit to obtaining express, meaningful consent from shoppers if it were to use the technology again in the future.

jherring@postmedia.com

Twitter: @jasonfherring

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Shopify Drops Despite Crushing Revenue, Profit Estimates – Bloomberg

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  1. Shopify Drops Despite Crushing Revenue, Profit Estimates  Bloomberg
  2. Shopify earnings beat as more merchants use its platform for online reach  Yahoo Canada Finance
  3. Shopify Q3 revenue up 96 per cent from last year amid mass shift to e-commerce  CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News
  4. Shopify rallies after crushing revenue, profit estimates  BNN
  5. Shopify revenue beats estimates as online boom pulls in more merchants  CBC.ca
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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Bank of Canada Governor Says Digital Dollar Project Moving Past Trial Stage – CoinDesk

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The chief of Canada’s central bank has said its national digital currency initiative is progressing past the experimental phase.

In an interview with Reuters published Thursday, Bank of Canada (BoC) Governor Tiff Macklem said his institution is working with G7 member states on its plans for a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

The digital dollar project, he said, is now moving beyond the proof-of-concept stage and closer to being ready for launch. However, the governor deflated expectations, saying he thought there isn’t a need for one “right now.”

Even so, Macklem shared concerns about being outpaced by other countries, adding his institution wants to make sure it’s prepared for a CBDC launch if it chooses to head in that direction.

“If another country has [a CBDC] and we don’t, that could certainly create some problems,” Macklem said. “We certainly wouldn’t want to be surprised by some other country.”

G7 members should share information on their CBDC plans and timelines, he added.

The G7 includes some of the world’s largest developed nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K and the U.S. – as member states, which generally act in unison to address global economic issues.

Some nations outside the Group of Seven have already taken the lead when it comes to digitizing their fiat currencies.

China is already conducting public experiments with its digital yuan, signaling a launch may not be far off. The Bahamas became the first nation to take a CBDC into circulation this month, rolling out its “sand dollar” to increase financial access to underserved communities.

Macklem also said a “globally coordinated” strategy from the member states was required in order to keep digital currencies out of the hands of criminals.

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