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Hajdu talks vaccine certificates as Tam looks to 'optimism' of inoculation rollout – CBC.ca

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As the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic approaches, Canada’s health minister says requiring a vaccine passport to travel internationally is a “very live” issue as more Canadians receive shots and countries consider loosening border restrictions. 

“It’s being discussed around the world. I’m a member of the G7 health ministers, we meet every couple weeks. This has been on our agenda,” Patty Hajdu said Sunday on Rosemary Barton Live.

She said Transport Minister Omar Alghabra is also discussing the concept with international partners.

Some jurisdictions are looking to use proof of immunization against COVID-19 as a way to allow travel within and between countries. 

Last month, the World Health Organization ruled that national authorities should not require such certificates for travel because it’s still unclear how well vaccines minimize transmission of the virus, a point Hajdu herself acknowledged.

The concept has also drawn criticism for privacy and equity concerns.

“The intent is to co-ordinate,” Hajdu said. “You can imagine the confusion in international travel if there’s different certifications that are required.”

Tam ‘optimistic’ about pandemic’s future

Providing proof of immunity is one of several issues under consideration as countries turn to mapping out the next steps of their pandemic response. 

In a separate interview, Canada’s chief public health officer said Sunday she’s increasingly optimistic about the future of the global health crisis — but cautions that some measures may stick around for months to come. 

“I think we can be buoyant by that more optimistic outlook because it is a pretty tremendous thing that we have, which is several, not just one, but several, really great vaccines,” Dr. Theresa Tam told CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton. 

WATCH | What still worries Dr. Theresa Tam one year into the COVID-19 pandemic:

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live that the government is closely monitoring the new coronavirus variants and how vaccines respond to them. She says public health measures need to be in place to bring cases down. 9:33

“But with that sense of optimism comes … the need to just hang on in there for a bit longer, because I do think that if these vaccines are provided to as many people as possible, we can break the most severe consequences, the crisis phase of this pandemic.”

Canada has now approved four COVID-19 vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines are two-dose shots, while the newly authorized Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only a single dose. 

Masks, distancing not going away soon

When asked how long Canadians should expect to keep up with mask wearing and physical distancing amid the country’s vaccine rollout, Tam said such guidelines won’t disappear any time soon. 

“These viruses come in invisible ways, and so we need to keep up those measures,” Tam said, adding that while approved vaccines are effective at staving off the most serious outcomes of COVID-19, there are still those who may not be fully protected.

“With that in mind, I think these habits are going to continue for some time. But we want to stop the more restrictive measures as soon as possible.”

A woman wears a face mask as she walks along a street in Montreal in February. Tam says mask wearing and other public health measures will likely continue in the months to come. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Avoid comparing vaccines

The country’s inoculation campaign has picked up steam in recent weeks. On Friday, the federal government announced that manufacturer Pfizer had agreed to accelerate the delivery of 3.5 million doses of its vaccine.

Some provinces have also moved to delay the second dose of two-shot vaccines after new national recommendations were issued earlier this week. 

While the delay would allow more Canadians to receive their first jab, differing efficacy percentages between shots has led to a degree of public hesitancy over which inoculation is best.

Like other public health experts, Tam cautioned against comparing the efficacy of different vaccines head-to-head.

“What is the fundamental fact about these vaccines is that they are all very effective when it comes to preventing serious outcomes, such as hospitalizations … really serious illness and many deaths as well,” she said, adding that the millions of people who have been vaccinated worldwide is evidence of that.

“I think people should feel very confident as they go in, to get whatever vaccine is being offered to them, that they are really great for that purpose.”

That’s advice Hajdu also backed on Sunday.

“Take the first vaccine that you’re offered,” she said. “It’s really, really important that you get protected from a really terrible case of COVID that could lead to your death.”

Hajdu says she could have done many things differently

The health minister was also asked about comments she made just over one year ago, in which she said banning travel between Canada and China would do little to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“The long-term implication of shutting down borders is one, they’re not very effective in controlling disease … in fact, they’re not effective at all,” Hajdu said in February of last year.

Hajdu said those statements came from international health regulations, which she said still indicate that border measures are not entirely effective at halting transmission. 

“When I look back — as a new health minister following the advice of my department — of course, I think, there are many things I think I could have done differently,” Hajdu said.

“The story is not done yet. The research will be done for decades. I just hope I am alive when we get a full analysis of what worked well and what didn’t globally around the COVID-19 pandemic response.

For Tam, part of the story will end when she sees hospitalizations and deaths from the illness decline.

“That is really important. We have to monitor to make sure … that the vaccine’s effectiveness continues,” she told Barton. “So I think that is where we will arrive at a good place, and we need the world to be around us there as well.”

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Canadian Business During the Pandemic

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In 2019 the world was hit by the covid 19 pandemic and ever since then people have been suffering in different ways. Usually, economies and businesses have changed the way they work and do business. Most of which are going towards online and automation.

The people most effected by this are the laymen that used to work hard labors to make money for there families. But other then them it has been hard for most business to make such switch. Those of whom got on the online/ e commerce band wagon quickly were out of trouble and into the safe zone but not everyone is mace for the high-speed online world and are thus suffering.

More than 200,000 Canadian businesses could close permanently during the COVID-19 crisis, throwing millions of people out of work as the resurgence of the virus worsens across much of the country, according to new research. You can only imagine how many families these businesses were feeding, not to mention the impact the economy and the GDP is going to bear.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said one in six, or about 181,000, Canadian small business owners are now seriously contemplating shutting down. The latest figures, based on a survey of its members done between Jan. 12 and 16, come on top of 58,000 businesses that became inactive in 2020.

An estimate by the CFIB last summer said one in seven or 158,000 businesses were at risk of going under as a result of the pandemic. Based on the organization’s updated forecast, more than 2.4 million people could be out of work. A staggering 20 per cent of private sector jobs.

Simon Gaudreault, CFIB’s senior director of national research, said it was an alarming increase in the number of businesses that are considering closing.

We are not headed in the right direction, and each week that passes without improvement on the business front pushes more owners to make that final decision,”

He said in a statement.

The more businesses that disappear, the more jobs we will lose, and the harder it will be for the economy to recover.

In total, one in five businesses are at risk of permanent closure by the end of the pandemic, the organization said.

The new sad research shows that this year has been horrible for the Canadian businesses.

 

The beginning of 2021 feels more like the fifth quarter of 2020 than a new year,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the CFIB, in a statement.

She called on governments to help small businesses “replace subsidies with sales” by introducing safe pathways to reopen to businesses.

There’s a lot at stake now from jobs, to tax revenue to support for local soccer teams,”

Jones said.

Let’s make 2021 the year we help small business survive and then get back to thriving.”

The whole world has suffered a lot from the pandemic and the Canadian economy has been no stranger to it. We can only pray that the world gets rid of this pandemic quickly and everything become as it used to be. Although I think it is about time, we start setting new norms.

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Shopify shares edge up after falling on executive departures

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By Chavi Mehta

(Reuters) -Shopify Inc shares edged higher on Thursday, recovering partially from the previous day’s fall, with analysts saying the news of planned senior executive departures may have limited impact due to the company’s deep talent pool.

Chief Executive Officer Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday the company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all leave their roles.

“We remain confident it (Shopify) can continue to execute at a high level, despite the departures,” Tom Forte, analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co said, pointing to the company’s “deep bench of talented executives.”

Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the past year as many businesses went virtual during the COVID-19 lockdowns, turning it into Canada‘s most valuable company.

Shopify declined to comment further on Lutke’s statement suggesting current company leaders would step in to fill the three roles. After chief product officer Craig Miller left in September, Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.

The Ottawa-based company is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.

Jonathan Kees, analyst at Summit Insights Group, called the timing of the departures “a little alarming” but said the specific roles make it less concerning, given that the executives leaving are “more back-office roles.”

Lutke said each one of them had their individual reasons to leave, without giving details.

“I am willing to give Tobi’s explanation the benefit of the doubt,” Kees added.

Toronto-listed shares of Shopify were up 3.5% at C$1526.41 on Thursday, giving it a market value of C$188 billion ($150 billion). It ended down 5.1% on Wednesday.

“While we would refer to the departure of three high-level executives as ‘significant,’ we would not refer to it as a ‘brain drain,'” Forte added.

($1 = 1.2541 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Dan Grebler)

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Almost half of Shopify’s top execs to depart company: CEO

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By Moira Warburton

(Reuters) – Three of e-commerce platform Shopify’s seven top executives will be leaving the company in the coming months, chief executive officer and founder of Canada‘s most valuable company Tobi Lutke said in a blog post on Wednesday.

The company’s chief talent officer, chief legal officer and chief technology officer will all transition out of their roles, Lutke said, adding that they have been “spectacular and deserve to take a bow.”

“Each one of them has their individual reasons but what was unanimous with all three was that this was the best for them and the best for Shopify,” he said.

The trio follow the departure of Craig Miller, chief product officer, in September. Lutke took on the role in addition to CEO.

Shopify, which provides infrastructure for online stores, has seen its valuation soar in the last year as many businesses went virtual during COVID-19 lockdowns. It has a market cap valuation of C$182.7 billion ($146 billion), above Canada‘s top lender Royal Bank of Canada.

It is Canada‘s biggest homegrown tech success story, founded in 2006 and supporting over 1 million businesses globally, according to the company.

“We have a phenomenally strong bench of leaders who will now step up into larger roles,” Lutke said, but did not name replacements.

Shopify said in February revenue growth would slow this year as vaccine rollouts encourage people to return to stores and warned it does not expect 2020’s near doubling of gross merchandise volume, an industry metric to measure transaction volumes, to repeat this year.

Chief talent officer, Brittany Forsyth, was the 22nd employee hired at Shopify and has been with the company for 11 years. She said on Twitter that post-Shopify she would be focusing on Backbone Angels, an all-female collective of angel investors she co-founded in March.

Shopify shares fell 5.1% while the benchmark Canadian share index ended marginally down.

($1 = 1.2515 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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