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Sask to receive 2.6K fewer vaccines than initially planned this week – CTV News

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REGINA —
As Canada prepares to receive a total of 640,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, Saskatchewan is preparing to receive fewer doses than anticipated.

In an email to CTV News, the Ministry of Health said that Saskatchewan expects 4,500 doses of the Moderna product sometime this week, in addition to 15,210 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

“This is less than the 7,100 previously expected, as doses were re-allocated to the territories by the federal government,” a representative for the Ministry said, referencing the 4,500 doses of Moderna.

 The Pfizer doses will be delivered to residents and staff of long-term and personal care, in addition to Saskatchewan residents over 70 and health care workers with priority designation.

Vaccines can be expected in the areas around Swift Current and Maple Creek this week.

Moderna doses will provide second doses in the Southeast and Far Northeast regions.

The expected influx of vaccines to Canada came weeks later than expected after nearly a month of shrunken shipments, it was nonetheless seen as one of several positive signs in Canada’s immunization efforts.

Some provinces have moved to expand their vaccination offerings beyond the first priority groups in long-term care homes and front-line health workers thanks to the vaccine influx over the past two weeks.

At least three provinces, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta, confirmed plans for getting vaccines to seniors living in the community.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged provinces on Friday to get ready for the influx of vaccine doses.

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Business travel isn't expected to return to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon – CBC.ca

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Kacey Siskind recently took her first business trip to the U.S. since the pandemic began. 

The vice-president of business development at Honk Mobile, a parking app, attended an industry conference in Texas. 

“Our team was fully vaccinated and we felt that we could probably make our way and see how it went… we just wanted to take a chance and really be back out in the world,” said Siskind.

But in Dallas, you’d barely know there had ever been a global pandemic. Panel discussions and networking sessions at the conference happened indoors with no masks in sight — just lots of people eager to re-connect.

Siskind said she found the environment unnerving at first, but soon began to appreciate the experience.

“There is really nothing like being in person with somebody,” Siskind said. “There’s nothing like physically seeing them and talking to them.”

Canadian Kacey Siskind, vice-president of business development at Honk Mobile, recently travelled to Texas to attend her first in-person industry conference since the pandemic began. (Submitted by Kacey Siskind)

Only essential business travel has continued throughout the pandemic; for example, trips related to healthcare issues or critical infrastructure. Work trips related to maintaining or building relationships, making sales or attending conferences had been shut down.

In an online survey of 640 industry professionals, a June poll from the Global Business Travel Association, a U.S.-based industry group, found 91 per cent of companies say they’ve cancelled or suspended most or all international business travel — a huge hit for the industry. 

Slow return for business travel in Canada

In Canada, virtual, online gatherings are expected to be the norm at least until the end of the year, event planners said.

“Our friends down in the states are moving a little bit quicker than us,” said Anh Nguyen, an event planner in Calgary. “In Canada, we’re seeing a little bit of a more conservative approach.”

Event manager Anh Nguyen of Calgary thinks that in-person events will continue to have a virtual presence for the forseeable future as many companies seek to reach a wider audience. (Dave Rae/CBC)

Nguyen’s company, Spark Event Management, organized a number of virtual events over the past year. She believes many organizations — here and in the U.S. — won’t be willing to give up all the benefits that come with going online. 

“There’s no such thing as sold out, right? So if you’re a 300-person event you can now reach 5,000-6,000 people if you wanted it to.”

Nguyen adds that with avatars, networking and breakout room software, industry is getting close to being able to replicate much of a real-life event experience online  — though it’ll never be quite the same.

“The technology has grown and there’s a lot of money and investments being put into event technology right now,” Nguyen said.

Ontario-based TK Events is one of several event management companies replicating some aspects of real-life conferences virtually. (TK Events)

Virtual gatherings may be great in some ways, but industry insiders note that they do next-to-nothing for local economies. Business travellers are often big spenders. They’re often on expense accounts, which benefit hotels, restaurants, taxis, airlines and more. 

“Business travel contributes over $40 billion towards our Canadian economy in pre-pandemic numbers,” said Nancy Tudorach, who works with the Global Business Travel Association. “It’s about 2.5 to 3 per cent of our typical pre-pandemic GDP.”

Airlines are hurting

Vik Krishnan, a consultant with McKinsey & Company, said airlines in particular depend on expensive business class tickets.

“The business traveler tends to book late, they tend to travel with higher frequency, and they tend to also buy some of the more expensive fares,” he said. “Business travel for some airlines comprises 50 to 75 per cent of profits.”

A recent report from McKinsey noted that it took six years for airlines to recover from the impact of the Sept. 11 attacks, and that the industry still hadn’t fully recovered from the 2008 global financial crisis when the pandemic hit.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has been larger in scale and deeper than any of those prior crises, Krisnan said. But if corporate travel remains curtailed, he said airlines probably won’t make up the difference by charging regular consumers more.

“This is an industry that has faced a lot of competition, has faced fairly relentless pricing pressure and cost pressure, and therefore, it’s no stranger to having to deal with an environment where you don’t have a lot of leeway and flexibility to raise prices.”

The recent emergence of new discount airlines in Canada, such as Flair and Canada Jetlines, could make it difficult for WestJet or Air Canada to charge more. 

Business travel may stay depressed

Many of the companies that depend heavily on business travellers are expected to continue to struggle. McKinsey’s report on the airline industry forecasts pre-pandemic travel levels won’t be reached until 2024, and even then will only be at 80 per cent.

Others say the pandemic may have changed the approach to corporate travel forever. 

Kacey Siskind suspects all business trips will now be evaluated differently.

“Is it efficient for us to go to a conference? Yes, if we’re going to see hundreds of people, it’s going to make sense for us to be there,” she said. “Is it smart for me to go off to New York for a night to have one meeting? Maybe not so much.”

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Union ratifies deal with Bombardier at Downsview; talks with De Havilland continue – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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TORONTO – Unifor says members of two of its locals have ratified an agreement with Bombardier Aviation at its Downsview plant in north Toronto.

Unifor National President Jerry Dias says in a statement that the three-year collective agreement approved by members of Local 112 and 673 makes “significant progress” on key issues such as pensions, as well as on job protection against outsourcing and the use of contractors.

Workers will see raises of 0.5 per cent in Year 1, 0.75 per cent in Year 2 and one per cent in Year 3.

The workers launched a strike late last month against the business jet manufacturer and De Havilland, which it says had made Dash 8 turboprops at the facility.

Unifor says the ratified deal covers approximately 1,500 Bombardier Aviation workers, and runs from June 23, 2021 to June 23, 2024.

But it says 700 De Havilland workers remain on strike as negotiations between it and the company continue, with a dedicated picket line in operation at the De Havilland area of the facility.

“As the industry recovers from this once-in-a-century pandemic and Bombardier prepares to move production to a new facility at Pearson Airport, these collective agreements will ensure our highly skilled members will maintain wages, pension, benefits and other working conditions that are among the best in the industry,” Dias said in the statement.

The union has said the future of the Dash 8 program is the focus of talks with De Havilland.

De Havilland announced earlier this year that it would no longer produce new Dash 8s at the facility beyond currently confirmed orders. De Havilland indicated two years ago that work will end at Downsview once lease agreements for the land expire.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 31, 2021.

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Ontario reports 258 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday – CBC.ca

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Ontario reported another 258 cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. The latest case count includes 53 cases in Toronto, 33 in York Region, 28 in the Region of Waterloo, 27 in Hamilton and 26 in Peel Region.

Here are some other key pandemic indicators and figures from the Ministry of Health’s daily provincial update:

Seven-day average of daily cases: 183

Tests completed: 19,112

Provincewide test positivity rate: 1.2 per cent

Active cases: 1,606

Patients in ICU with COVID-related illnesses: 112; 83 needed a ventilator to breathe

Deaths: Six, pushing the official toll to 9,345

Vaccinations: 81,590 doses administered for a total of 19,459,198 as of 8 p.m. on Friday.

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