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The Canadian Press

Review: Ani Di Franco makes the political personal on album

Ani Di Franco, “Revolutionary Love” (Righteous Babe Records) Pioneering folkie activist Ani Di Franco is a standout instrumentalist whose guitar could kill fascists. Alas, on “Revolutionary Love,” her six-string doesn’t play a major role — or many notes. Not that Di Franco has gone mellow. With characteristic passion on her first studio album since 2017, she makes the personal universal, and the political personal. Her title cut is a seven-minute pledge to propel social movements with love and forgiveness, the message underscored by a slow-burn soul groove. Elsewhere Di Franco quotes Michelle Obama, skewers an ex-president and calls for resilience in the wake of depressing news headlines. Such topics are mixed with couplets about personal pain and bliss, sometimes within the same song. The best of “Revolutionary Love” is very good. Di Franco’s acoustic guitar is most prominent on “Metropolis,” and it’s beautiful — a love ballad with shimmering reeds that evoke her description of “fog lifting off the bay.” The equally compelling “Chloroform” laments domestic dysfunction as a string quartet creates dissonance of its own. Elsewhere Di Franco blends elements of folk, jazz and R&B, and makes music suitable for a rally. She’s at her most politically vociferous on “Do or Die,” singing about “Yankee Doodle Dandy” to a Latin beat. Di Francophiles will find it positively patriotic. Steven Wine, The Associated Press

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Fact check: How much does Ontario's COVID-19 vaccine rollout lag other provinces? – National Post



A province-by-province overview of Canada’s immunization rates

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Critics have been decrying the speed, or lack thereof, at which the Ontario government is vaccinating its people against the coronavirus. Well ahead of the game — according to per cent of population inoculated — are all three territories by a long chalk, as well as Quebec and P.E.I.

While vaccine procurement is a federal task, deployment is up to each province and territory. In December, Quebec gave long-term care residents their jabs straight from distribution centres within the facilities themselves. Upon receipt of its vaccine doses in December, British Columbia also sent them straight to long-term care homes. But Ontario held on to its inventory for three weeks before shipping it to such facilities, doing so only after vaccine-handling criteria were changed.

Ontario began with Toronto and Ottawa test sites in late December, so it could write a “playbook” on how they administered the vaccinations, how they handled the vaccine and what they learned from it.


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But former federal health minister Jane Philpott told the CBC that “There’s no point gained for doing this in a slow and steady fashion. There are no points gained for pacing ourselves or rationing out the vaccine.”

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By Feb. 26, 1.78 million doses had been administered across the country to 3.33 per cent of the total population. (Just over 2.44 million doses had been delivered to the provinces.)

Of those 1.78 million doses, 1.27 million people received just one dose and 511,975 have received two.

But are Ontario vaccination counts so far behind the others, as critics charge?

Comparison figures (from east to west) show that the province’s rate of administering doses is 10th of 13 jurisdictions.

The number of people fully vaccinated and the per cent of the total population vaccinated (at least one dose) in each province, by end of day Feb. 26, break down thus:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 7,466; 2.460
  • Prince Edward Island: 5,165; 4.390
  • Nova Scotia: 12,105; 2.034
  • New Brunswick: 11,036; 1.956
  • Quebec: n/a; 4.671
  • Ontario: 258,014; 2.618
  • Manitoba: 28,557; 3.111
  • Saskatchewan: 22,485; 3.987
  • Alberta: 82,989; 2.807
  • British Columbia: 73,808; 3.470
  • Yukon: 4,309; 25.761
  • N.W.T.: 1,934; 32.214
  • Nunavut: 4,107; 18.521

And following is the current plan for vaccine rollout across the country. Click on the headers below to go to each province’s official vaccination plans.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The province is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Those with priority include:

  • health-care workers on the front lines
  • residents, staff and essential visitors at long-term care homes
  • people 85 years and older
  • adults in remote or isolated indigenous communities.


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(Essential visitors are those considered, by the care team, to be paramount to the resident’s physical care and mental well-being, including assistance with feeding, mobility, personal care, communication or significant behavioural symptoms.)

The province had received 26,800 doses, and by Feb. 23 had administered a total of 20,285 inoculations (60 per cent of doses administered). Total inoculations counts both the number of single-dose and two-dose vaccinations.

Prince Edward Island

The first phase of the province’s rollout is underway. This targets:

  • residents and staff of long-term and community care
  • health-care workers with direct patient contact
  • those 80 and older
  • adults in Indigenous communities
  • truck drivers and other rotational workers.

The next phase, scheduled to begin in April, will target those older than 70 and essential workers.

The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall.

P.E.I. has received 14,715 doses and has given 12,176 inoculations in total (83 per cent).

Nova Scotia

The first phase of vaccines will be given to long-term care residents, patient-facing health-care workers, those 80 and older, and at-risk groups including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities.

Though no dates are given for moves to the next phases, the second will include:

  • anyone who works in a hospital and may come into contact with a patient
  • community health-care providers such as dental and pharmacy workers
  • correctional facilities, shelters, temporary foreign worker quarters
  • those working in food security industries
  • the general population in the 75 and older age cohort.


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The third phase will include all Nova Scotians, in five-year age ranges.

Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021.

The province has given 32,019 doses of the 61,980 received (52 per cent).

New Brunswick

The focus now is on vaccinating those in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, those 16 and older in First Nations communities and New Brunswickers aged 85 and up.

The next phase, to begin in April, includes:

  • residents and staff of communal settings
  • pharmacists and dentists
  • first responders
  • critical infrastructure employees
  • individuals aged 70 and up
  • workers who regularly cross the provincial border.

From June onward, vaccinations will go to school staff, students aged 16 to 24, health-care workers with indirect patient contact, and those with two or more chronic health conditions.

Availability of the vaccine will be limited until mid- to late summer, the government says, but once the supply is continuous, the entire population will be offered the shots.

So far, 26,317 doses have been administered of  35,105 doses received (56 per cent).

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Throughout the province, those aged 85 and older can make an appointment to get vaccinated. Anyone accompanying such a person can also book a vaccination for that same time, if they are over 70 and care for the person three or more days a week.

The province plans to vaccinate those in:

  • residential and long-term care centres
  • health- and social services workers
  • isolated and remote communities
  • people 80 years or older.

Access for other ages will roll out in 10-year age increments.

Quebec has administered 400,540 injections of 537,825 doses received (75 per cent).


Phase 1 of three phases reserves inoculations for those in long-term care, high-risk retirement-home residents, certain classes of health-care workers, and people who live in congregate care settings.

Currently, the start dates for vaccinations in Ontario are as follows:

  • 80 and older, and adults receiving chronic home care: starting March 15
  • 75 and older: April 15
  • 70 and older: May 1
  • 65 and older: June 1
  • 60 and older: July 1
  • anyone who wants to be immunized: Aug. 1.

To date, 643,765 doses have been administered of 903,285 received (71 per cent).


Most people aged 95 and up, or 75 and up for First Nations people, health-care workers, laboratory workers handling COVID specimens, people working at testing sites or outpatient care are being vaccinated in Phase 1. All personal-care-home residents should have received their two doses by the end of February.


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In early March, eligibility expands to:

  • most people over 80
  • First Nations individuals over 60
  • eligible age ranges will be lowered over the coming months
  • at this time, the plan does not include a separate category for essential workers but will be considered as vaccine supplies increase.

The province has received 102,360 doses and has administered 71,469 (66 per cent).


Long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area are in the current Phase 1 category. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. Eligible residents will be contacted by phone or letter.

Mass vaccinations by age group should begin by April, depending on supply. It will roll out into the general population:

  • in 10-year increments
  • starting with those aged 60 to 69
  • for those living in emergency shelters
  • for individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes
  • for people who are medically vulnerable.

Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce.

Saskatchewan has administered 69,451 doses of 74,605 received (93 per cent).

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People born in 1946 or earlier are now being immunized. First shots are expected to have been given by the end of March for:

  • all eligible First Nations and Metis seniors and others 65 and older living in a First Nations community
  • those aged 75 and older can get inoculations as of the first week of March at select pharmacies in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer. Pharmacies will contact eligible people.
  • second shots will be administered within 42 days after initial doses.

The province is working on categorizing target populations for future phases.

Alberta has received 274,965 doses and has administered 207,300 (75 per cent).

British Columbia

The province’s first phase launched in December, targeting health-care workers in hospitals, paramedics, residents and staff at long-term care homes, and remote indigenous communities. Some mobile clinics are being offered.

The second phase, running February and March, includes:

  • people aged 80 and more
  • indigenous elders 65 and up
  • indigenous communities that didn’t receive vaccine in the first phase
  • health-care workers and vulnerable populations in certain congregate settings.

The third phase, to start in April and last until June, will reach people aged 60 to 79, and those 16 and older who are clinically vulnerable, such as cancer patients.

B.C. has given 252,373 injections of 323,340 doses received (78 per cent).

Northwest Territories

N.W.T. has vaccinated 42 per cent of its adult population, and expects enough vaccine to offer inoculations to 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March.


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  • clinics are underway or completed in all 33 of the territory’s communities
  • Yellowknife is prioritizing residents and staff in long-term care homes
  • vaccination of the general population will begin in late March.

N.W.T. has given 16,454 injections of 19,100 doses received (86 per cent).


The government has vaccinated:

  • high-risk health-care workers
  • adults 70 and older
  • people who are marginalized
  • people living in group settings.

Uncertainty about supply has delayed immunization for the general public in Whitehorse.

Yukon has administered 15,174 doses of 18,900 received (80 per cent).


Vaccine clinics for the general population have been scheduled for all communities, dependent on vaccine supply. The territory expects to immunize 75 per cent of its residents over the age of 18 by early April.

Currently, in Iqaluit, Nunavut’s capital first-dose immunization is going on for:

  • staff and residents of shelters
  • people aged 45 years and up
  • staff and inmates in correctional facilities
  • first responders and frontline health-care staff.

Nunavut has administered 11,383 doses of 23,900 received (48 per cent).

— with files from The Canadian Press


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Ae you satisfied with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in BC? –



Canada’s vaccine rollout received a significant boost Friday with the approval of a third COVID-19 inoculation, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced another partnership with an India-based institute that will deliver two million additional doses of the newly authorized jab to Canadians by the spring.

Trudeau spoke on Friday hours after Health Canada announced it had approved a COVID-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca.

The new partnership also means Canada will receive two million doses of the CoviShield vaccine, which is the same as AstraZeneca’s product, through an agreement with Mississauga, Ont.’s Verity Pharmaceuticals and the Serum Institute of India.

Trudeau says the first shipment of half a million of CoviShield doses will arrive by March.

Read more.

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There are new rules this tax season, courtesy of COVID-19. Here's what you need to know –



Heads up, Canadians: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is going to be a tax season like no other.

If you collected COVID-19-related benefit payments last year, you might end up owing more money than in previous years. However, if you spent part of 2020 working from home, you could wind up with a bigger tax refund than usual.

Here’s what you need to know about filing your taxes this season, including important deadlines.

Has the deadline been extended?

Despite this being a more complex tax season, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has not extended the tax filing deadline. The due date is still April 30 for most Canadians, and June 15 for self-employed people. 

To avoid interest charges, Canadians need to pay any taxes owed by April 30. However, not everyone has to comply with that rule this year.

Those who had a total taxable income of $75,000 or less and received one or more of the COVID-19 benefits listed below don’t have to pay their taxes until April 30, 2022. 

Eligible benefits:

  • Canada emergency response benefit (CERB).

  • Canada emergency student benefit (CESB). 

  • Canada recovery benefit (CRB).

  • Canada recovery caregiving benefit (CRCB).

  • Canada recovery sickness benefit (CRSB).

  • Employment Insurance benefits.

  • Similar provincial emergency benefits.

Qualifying Canadians “will have that full year after the filing deadline of April 30th [2021]” to pay any tax debt without facing interest charges, said Francesco Sorbara, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue.

Those who qualify for the payment deferral still need to file on time if they owe taxes — or they’ll face a late-filing penalty.

Will I owe taxes on my government benefits?

The benefits listed above are considered taxable income, so the federal government introduced the tax-payment deferral to help out the many Canadians who will have to pay taxes on their benefit payments. 

“[Many] lost jobs and collected benefits, and they may have some amounts owing,” said Sorbara. “We’re giving some flexibility there.” 

WATCH | CRA prepares for a complicated tax season:

From job losses to recovery benefits, this tax season is expected to be complicated and the Canada Revenue Agency is hiring 2,000 people to help field questions. 1:53

The government didn’t withhold any taxes on CERB and CESB benefit payments Canadians received in 2020.

It did withhold a 10 per cent tax for people who received CRB, CRCB and CRSB benefits, but tax expert Jamie Golombek said many of those individuals will still owe the government money, as most Canadians’ income is taxed at a much higher rate than 10 per cent.

“For many people, [10 per cent is] not going to be enough, particularly for those who had other sources of income throughout the year,” said Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning at CIBC.

“You may actually find out for the first time ever in your life that you actually owe some taxes.”

Working from home? Claim your cash

Due to the pandemic, many Canadians worked from home for part of 2020, which means they may be eligible for a home office expenses tax deduction.

To qualify, you must have worked from home more than 50 per cent of the time for at least four consecutive weeks last year.

There are two options for Canadians claiming home office expenses. The first is the detailed method, which involves calculating what percentage of your household costs — such as hydro, rent and internet — can be applied to your home office space. Also, you’re required to save all relevant receipts. 

If that sounds like too much work, don’t fret. To simplify the process for people who worked from home for the first time in 2020, the CRA has introduced a new, temporary flat rate method. It allows employees to claim a tax deduction of $2 for each day they worked from home, up to a maximum of $400.

“We’ve kept it simple. They can file it without filing any documentation, any forms,” said Sorbara.

Software designer Pat Suwalski is seen working from his desk at home in Nepean, Ont. (Pat Suwalski)

Software developer Pat Suwalski of Nepean, Ont., has been mainly working from home since April 2020. He filed his taxes on Wednesday using the flat rate method and said it took him just minutes to calculate his deduction.

“I’m a pretty honest guy, so I took a calendar and I started counting [work] days,” he said.

Suwalski counted 188 work-from-home days last year. Multiply that by $2 a day and he gets a tax deduction of $376.

“I’ll take it,” he said. “It’s great that they made [the process] simpler.”

Which method should you choose if you worked from home this year? Golombek said the flat rate method may be the best option if you’re a homeowner, because it’s easier and chances are you’ll come out ahead.

That’s because mortgage payments — typically a homeowner’s biggest monthly bill — can’t be claimed as a home office expense.

“Our experience is that homeowners, typically speaking, don’t have enough expenses … to beat the $2-a-day method,” Golombek said.

While homeowners can’t claim their mortgage payments, renters can claim a portion of their rent based on the size of their home office space compared to their entire home. As a result, Golombek says they may reap bigger rewards by choosing the detailed method.

“Depending on [what] percentage of their home they’re using, [renters] typically would probably come out ahead on the detailed method.”

Digital tax credit

Golombek also points out one of the new wrinkles this tax season, which is that the government is offering a tax credit to people who subscribed to digital news services in 2020.

Canadians can claim up to $500 for subscriptions to qualifying Canadian media, such as newspapers, magazines, websites and podcasts, that don’t have a broadcast licence and offer primarily original news content.

“I call it a bit of a fun new credit,” Golombek said. 

The CRA told CBC News it will post a list of eligible subscriptions on its website in March and that it will only include organizations that wish to have the information publicly posted. 

If you still have questions about your taxes, you can call the CRA tax information line at 1-800-959-8281. The agency said it has beefed up resources at its call centre, as it anticipates higher than normal call volumes this tax season.

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