The private and personal information of millions of medical patients living in Ontario and B.C. has been breached in a cyberattack on the computer systems of Canadian laboratory testing company LifeLabs.
The breach has affected systems containing the information of approximately 15 million LifeLabs customers, including names, addresses, email addresses, customer logins and passwords, health card numbers and lab tests, according to a statement by the company Tuesday.
The laboratory reported a potential cyberattack to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia on Nov. 1, according to the statement.
LifeLabs is Canada’s largest provider of general diagnostic and specialty laboratory testing services.
More to come
CMHC saw 'moderate' risk of overvalued markets, stands by price forecast – Yahoo Canada Finance
The Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) saw ‘moderate’ evidence of an overvalued housing market in the Spring of 2020.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The organization’s Housing Market Assessment report released Monday says real estate imbalances (whether the market skewed towards a buyer or seller’s market) in Canada had eased by the end of 2019.” data-reactid=”13″>The organization’s Housing Market Assessment report released Monday says real estate imbalances (whether the market skewed towards a buyer or seller’s market) in Canada had eased by the end of 2019.
In the second quarter, the Vancouver market sales-to-new-listings ratio (SNLR) sunk from the mid-60 per cent range to mid-40 per cent, swinging it closer to a buyer’s market. For Toronto, the ratio fell to 55 per cent in the second quarter, but only because COVID-19 lockdowns temporarily hit the brakes on transactions. At the beginning of the third quarter, the market began to rebound with pent-up demand bringing the ratio back closer to 65 per cent.
However, the pandemic led to rising unemployment and reduced hours worked, which lowered income in most regions. Prices rose more than expected in areas like eastern Canada, Ottawa, Montréal, Moncton, and Halifax, considering factors like lower population growth, rising unemployment, lower income, and lower mortgage rates.
Sales fell slightly more than new listings, which tumbled at a record pace. This tipped housing closer to a balanced market, with a drop in the sales-to-new-listing ratio to 61.9 per cent from 65.8 per cent in 2019. The shock of the pandemic shutting down open houses and stalling transactions caused the average house price to fall. However, the data do not reflect the federal government supports or the record-breaking house prices the country has seen in recent months.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="August may have set another record for house prices, though the Crown corporation stands by its nine to 18 per cent house price decline forecast in May. “We stand by our forecast in the sense that I think there remain a lot of conditions in the housing market and the economy, for that matter,” said CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan over the report’s briefing call, adding that there are risks with provinces lifting their lockdowns. “There are risks related to the different mortgages that are in place right now and for the risks to come upon them going forward. So I don’t think we’re out of the woods, yet.”” data-reactid=”17″>August may have set another record for house prices, though the Crown corporation stands by its nine to 18 per cent house price decline forecast in May. “We stand by our forecast in the sense that I think there remain a lot of conditions in the housing market and the economy, for that matter,” said CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan over the report’s briefing call, adding that there are risks with provinces lifting their lockdowns. “There are risks related to the different mortgages that are in place right now and for the risks to come upon them going forward. So I don’t think we’re out of the woods, yet.”
Overheating in Canada’s Major Markets
The company’s estimates for overvaluation in Toronto and Vancouver picked up as both cities saw a boost in house prices in the second quarter despite the economic fallout from the pandemic.
Is a paper towel shortage nigh? Major Canadian manufacturer warns inventory 'very tight' – CTV News
The head of Canada’s largest manufacturer of tissue products says he’s concerned about the industry’s supply of paper towels ahead of a potential second wave of COVID-19.
Kruger Products CEO Dino Bianco said demand for paper towels has soared as people stay at home and clean more frequently.
“Toilet paper was the highlight of the COVID stay-at-home mandates but now we’re seeing the big use of paper towels,” he said in an interview.
“COVID doesn’t make you go to the bathroom more, but it does make you clean more.”
Bianco said the industry’s paper towel inventory is “very tight” across North America, despite efforts to build up supply.
“Paper towel is the big watch out for us,” he added. “We’re trying to build our inventory but we’re very tight.”
Kruger, which makes SpongeTowels paper towels, isn’t the only tissue manufacturer seeing continued strong paper towel sales.
Geraldine Huse, president of Procter & Gamble Canada, said demand for the company’s tissue products, including Charmin toilet paper and Bounty paper towels, increased significantly in mid-March.
But while toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, she said paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels.
“Consumer demand for paper towels remains high across Canada as consumers are staying at home more and their cleaning and hygiene habits have increased,” Huse said in an emailed statement.
She said the company expects strong sales of cleaning products, including its paper towel, home cleaners and dishwashing liquid, to continue in the coming months and that P&G is “producing and shipping 24/7 to meet demands.”
Tim Baade, senior vice-president and general manager of Irving Consumer Products, agreed that demand for toilet paper has started to level off while paper towel usage remains strong.
“Demand for our towel has remained high,” he said in an emailed statement. “Bath demand is still up from pre-COVID-19 levels, but lower than its peak earlier this year.”
Baade said the company, which makes Royale paper towel and other brands under store “house brands” and private labels, continues to maximize its production to help mitigate any supply gaps.
Meanwhile, Kruger is pushing to open its new plant in Sherbrooke, Que., to add more capacity in Canada, Bianco said.
Initially slated to open in February 2021, he said the company is trying to get the factory up and running faster. Some machines started over the summer, while more are set to come online next month.
Bianco said the plant will increase the company’s paper towel and toilet paper manufacturing capacity by 20 per cent.
For now, Kruger has cut back on its stock keeping units — or SKUs — to maximize its production of key products.
At the height of the pandemic, the company slashed the number of products it makes in half to about 90, down from 180 key products. The company is back up to about 110 items, Bianco said.
There will be plenty of the company’s Cashmere brand toilet paper, for example, but the recycled sub-brand EnviroCare will be harder to come by.
That’s in part because it’s less popular, he said, but also because of issues with the supply of the raw product — recycled paper.
“We use recycled paper that comes from white paper used in offices,” Bianco said. “That market has dried up because people aren’t in offices printing, so it’s hard to get the recycled fibers used to produced recycled tissue.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 21, 2020.
Vancouver Coastal Health shirks B.C.'s policy to publish COVID-19 school exposure events – CBC.ca
Now that class is back in session, new cases of COVID-19 have begun to pop up at schools across the province.
To find out which schools have reported exposure events, all you have to do is go to your region’s public health website, where a list is regularly updated.
Unless you live in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
That’s because Vancouver Coastal Health has not been following the same policy for notifying the public when there’s a COVID-19 exposure event within a school. Vancouver Coastal Health covers Vancouver, Richmond, the North Shore and Coast Garibaldi, Sea-to-Sky, Sunshine Coast, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.
The other health authorities — Interior Health, Island Health, Fraser Health and Northern Health — have all stated they will update their online school exposures list with information on possible exposures within schools.
“We are providing this information so school staff, students and parents can be assured that public health is following up in their community and exposure risks are being mitigated to the best of our ability,” the four authorities say on their individual websites.
Vancouver Coastal Health has the same information written on its school exposures page, but it is currently showing no exposure events, even though it confirmed to CBC News it has seen cases in schools.
“We are aware of and will continue to see cases of COVID-19 occurring in staff and students,” the authority wrote Sunday in an email.
At her Monday COVID-19 health update, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there is one provincewide publication approach for COVID-19 exposures in the province. However, she believes there has been a miscommunication with her colleagues at Vancouver Coastal Health.
“We expect that Vancouver Coastal would adhere to what everyone else is doing, as well as our provincial standard,” she said.
Cases in schools
Since students returned to classrooms about two weeks ago, there have been at least 20 COVID-19 exposures reported by health authorities and schools.
There have also been unconfirmed reports of cases at two West Vancouver schools, one Vancouver school and one Richmond school, all within the Vancouver Coastal Health region — but you won’t find that information listed on their website.
Vancouver Coastal Health said in a statement that when it comes to confirmed cases in schools or other settings, it notifies all people exposed in the most direct manner.
“This is more effective than public notifications and respects patient confidentiality,” it wrote in a statement.
“When we aren’t able to directly reach all people who may have been exposed in a timely manner, we use other means, including a letter or public notification.”
Vancouver district PAC calls for transparency
But that’s not sitting right with all families in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
“I want to see it posted, sooner rather than later,” said Gordon Lau, chair of the Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council.
Lau, who has two children in Vancouver’s public education system, says he has no doubt that VCH is properly notifying everyone directly exposed. But he says it’s important that the information is posted to help build public trust in the health authority.
As well, he says it allows parents to stay informed.
“By allowing parents to see what is happening at the district level, we can better see what’s happening in the big picture and assess for our own families what the level of risk is in our community,” he said.
“When we see the absence of information on VCH’s website it is honestly disappointing and we are unable to do that assessment and understand exactly what is happening in our schools and we’re unable to make the choices we need to make for our families.”
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