- Coronavirus tracker: Follow the spread of COVID-19 as case numbers remain high in most of Canada.
- Quebec hospitalization rates have doctors there concerned that allowing Christmas gatherings could lead to untenable January scenario.
- Sask. corrections minister under fire because of COVID-19 outbreak at Saskatoon jail. .
- U.S. advisory panel makes near-unanimous recommendations on priority groups to first receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Read more: Neskantaga First Nation residents deal with evacuation, pandemic stressors because of water crisis; some of Canada’s biggest retailers say Ontario lockdown rules ‘might actually be making things worse.’
Vaccine public opinion polling reflects polarization seen throughout pandemic
Since attention has turned to vaccines and what appears to be the likelihood in the near future that at least one will be authorized as safe to use for most Canadians, the Conservatives in Ottawa have focused their attacks on the federal government’s plan to acquire and distribute the doses, writes CBC’s Éric Grenier.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has claimed that Canada will be “near the back of the line” for vaccines because of the country’s dependence on companies with production facilities outside the country. But this week’s Léger poll suggests a minority of Canadians share O’Toole’s concern — while 37 per cent of Canadians are worried Canada might not get the vaccine at the same time as the United States and the United Kingdom, 48 per cent said they are “not that concerned” and feel “a few months won’t make much of a difference.”
The Léger poll suggests Conservative voters are the ones most likely to be concerned about delays — and the ones least likely to say they would take the first vaccine made available to the public. According to Léger, about half of Conservative voters believe that the current federal government is withholding information about vaccines, with only 15 per cent of Liberal voters holding a similar view.
Trust in a vaccine could have an impact on Canadians’ willingness to get in line, and it appears to be taking on a partisan hue, writes Grenier.
On average, recent polls conducted by Abacus, Angus Reid and Léger suggest only 34 per cent of Canadians would get immunized as soon as possible, while 41 per cent said they would wait a little before getting the needle. Between 11 and 15 per cent of those polled said they would not get vaccinated at all.
In the Reid, Abacus and Léger surveys, an average of just 27 per cent of Conservative voters said they would get vaccinated as soon as possible, compared to 43 per cent of Liberals and 39 per cent of New Democrats.
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Quebec hospitals filling up, doctors concerned Christmas gatherings could push them over the edge
Quebec hospitals usually see a rise in visits to the emergency room in early January, but as of Wednesday morning, nearly one-third of the province’s emergency rooms are operating at full capacity or greater.
For now, the province plans to allow Quebec residents up to two gatherings between Dec. 24 and Dec. 27, with a maximum of 10 people in attendance and with no limit on the number of households those people would come from.
Dr. Vincent Bouchard-Dechêne, an internal medicine specialist at Notre-Dâme Hospital in Montreal, doesn’t see how hospitals can deal with an increase in COVID-19 patients after the holidays while still providing service to people with other ailments.
“To limit gatherings during Christmastime would be the best gift we could give ourselves,” said Bouchard-Dechêne.
Premier François Legault has said he will make a final call on holiday gathering guidelines by Dec. 11, but Dr. Matthew Oughton, a physician with the Jewish General Hospital’s infectious diseases division, is among those questioning that timeline.
The characteristics of COVID-19, including the time it takes for its symptoms to appear, make it difficult for trends to change much between now and Dec. 11, some doctors say.
“That’s really at the fine cutting edge of where anything that you would do today, you’d really see changes reflected in the numbers by Dec. 11,” said Oughton.
Sask. minister under fire over COVID-19 outbreak at jail
Some NDP members of the legislature are calling on Saskatchewan’s corrections minister to resign amid an outbreak at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre.
Corrections and Policing Minister Christine Tell says the government is doing all it can to protect the inmates and staff at the jail, but has offered little in the way of specifics. In the past 10 days, the number of staff and inmates testing positive for COVID-19 at the centre has gone from none to 142.
“Why it came into the facility with all the precautions, I can’t answer that,” said Tell.
Advocacy groups are calling for the targeted release of inmates from the centre. Earlier this year, the province’s Public Prosecutions agency moved to reduce the numbers in the province’s jails, instructing prosecutors to review all new arrests with an eye to keeping non-violent accused out of jail.
The order was a response to fears about the coronavirus getting into the jail system, which has been a problem during the pandemic in a number of North American prisons and jails. A CBC News analysis earlier in the year found infection rates among those Canadians imprisoned or jailed were up to nine times higher than in the general population.
According to the government, decisions about releasing inmates at the Saskatoon facility who don’t pose a community risk would be made by Public Prosecutions.
Tell said the jail has been taking precautions to slow the spread, including mandatory masking, no longer charging inmates for soap and banning visitors.
NDP MLA Nicole Sarauer said the province’s handling and response should cost Tell her position.
“This is a minister who shouldn’t be a minister anymore,” Sarauer said.
U.S advisory panel sets out priority groups for 1st vaccinations
Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line when the first coronavirus vaccine shots become available in the U.S., an influential government advisory panel said this week in a near-unanimous verdict.
The U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 13-1 to recommend to the Centers for Disease Control those groups — which comprise about 24 million Americans — get priority in the first days of any coming vaccination program, when doses are expected to be limited.
About three million people in the U.S. live in nursing homes, long-term chronic care hospitals and other long-term care facilities. Those patients and the staff members who care for them have accounted for six per cent of U.S. coronavirus cases and a staggering 39 per cent of deaths, CDC officials say.
The recommendations are not binding, but the panel dates back to 1964 and for decades its advice has been widely heeded by doctors. But one potential complication is that it will be governors and state officials who ultimately have final say on the prioritization of specific populations in their jurisdictions.
The panel will meet again at some point to recommend who should be next in line. Among the possibilities: teachers, police, firefighters and workers in other essential fields, such as food production and transportation, could be among those under consideration then.
In Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, or NACI, has released preliminary recommendations that prioritize the elderly and others at severe risk of illness, including health-care workers, front-line staff and those with lower access to health care, such as Indigenous populations.
Stay informed with the latest COVID-19 data.
U.K. approves Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for emergency use
Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which licenses drugs in the United Kingdom, approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on Wednesday.
While the U.K. has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine — enough for 20 million people — Conservative Health Minister Matt Hancock said the first shipment will be 800,000 doses and will arrive “within days” to the National Health Service.
China and Russia have offered different vaccinations to their citizens ahead of late-stage testing, but Britain is the first to sign off on a COVID-19 vaccine through a Western-style regulatory process.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is set to meet on Dec. 10 to review the Pfizer product. Pfizer’s vaccine is among seven that Canada has pre-ordered, and Health Canada’s chief medical adviser, Supriya Sharma, has said regulators here are expected to make decisions on timelines similar to those followed by the U.S.
Final testing must still be completed for the shots made by U.S.-based Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, but results appear to be effective at preventing mild to severe COVID-19 disease, with no known serious side-effects so far.
The vaccine itself does come with challenges in terms of deployment. It must be stored and shipped at ultra-cold temperatures of around -70 C, unlike some of the other vaccine candidates, and it will be delivered with a saline solution for dilution purposes.
Nova Scotia study to examine COVID-19 shaming
A Dalhousie University professor hopes that a study of shaming during the COVID-19 pandemic can be a start to breaking the historical cycle. International development studies professor Robert Huish is looking for people who have been the targets of pandemic shaming to tell their stories.
Huish is starting his study in Nova Scotia, but hopes to expand it across Atlantic Canada and eventually across the country.
“There is always someone who is shunned, someone who is shamed, someone who is made to feel marginalized, and that’s been an unfortunate consequence of quarantine for thousands of years, Huish told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier.
The expected arrival of a vaccine, presented as a “light at the end of the tunnel” scenario, could paradoxically be a difficult time, Huish said. In the beginning there will not be enough vaccine for everyone, and the federal and provincial governments will prioritize groups to first be vaccinated. Many Canadians will have to physically distance and wear masks well into 2021.
“Allowing people to be vaccinated and then suddenly free of any of the ordinances that the rest of society is following, that could build huge resentment, stigmatization and all sorts of weird social complexities that we may not see coming,” he said.
Find out more about COVID-19
Still looking for more information on the pandemic? Read more about COVID-19’s impact on life in Canada, or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
If you have symptoms of the illness caused by the coronavirus, here’s what to do in your part of the country.
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7 Reasons Why America Loves Doing Business with Canada
Canada is one of the United States’ most important trading partners. According to the United States Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, the US exports over $300B worth of goods and services to Canada annually. It also imports over $300B worth of goods and services from the country every year.
In fact, the trade relationship between the two North American countries is the biggest in the world. The two nations have traded for over 100 years. And a strong trade relationship is prosperous for both countries.
So, what makes Canada such an excellent trading partner for the United States? Here are a few good reasons:
1. Geographical Location
Canada shares a large border with the United States. Trading with Canada is easy by road, boat, or air. Most of the economic hotspots in Canada like Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary are just a short flight away from an American city.
2. Manufacturing Strengths
Canada has some exceptional exports thanks to its vast manufacturing strengths. Here are a few of its two products:
- Non-renewable Energy: Canada’s non-renewable energy exports like oil and gas are a significant part of its economy. Although falling gas prices have impacted this sector, Canada continues to depend on its gas and oil exports.
- Composite Manufacturing: You’ll find plenty of world-class options if you’re looking for advanced composite manufacturing in Canada regardless of your industry. The Canadian composite manufacturing industry serves many national and international clients in sectors such as defence, transportation, marine, aerospace, medical, industrial, energy, home appliances, construction, and more.
- Vehicle: Canada has a renowned automotive sector, producing light trucks, crossovers, SUVs, etc., with its technologically advanced factories. 95% of Canada’s automotive exports go to the United States.
- Aluminum: The Great White North produces some of the best quality aluminum in the world. The United States happens to be Canada’s biggest importer of aluminum.
- Meat and Dairy: Canada produces meat, beef, poultry, and dairy known for its quality. Unlike some countries, Canada doesn’t use harmful hormones in its meat industry.
3. Good Tax Treaties
Canada has many provisions that make business favourable for American companies. For example, a non-resident corporation that does not otherwise have a permanent establishment (PE) in Canada may do business without paying income tax on its profits. Canada also offers favourable corporate taxes, especially compared to the United States.
Aside from federal incentives, many provinces offer provincial incentives to do business in Canada. For example, many American films and TV shows are shot in Toronto because of lucrative tax enticements.
4. Favourable Exchange Rates
Not only is the Canadian dollar stable, but it usually hovers 20% lower than the United States. The favourable exchange rate makes it cost-effective for the United States to import goods and services from Canada.
However, the exchange rate isn’t so low that it discourages Canadians from travelling to the United States or buying American products. Many economists consider the exchange rate to be in the sweet spot.
5. Similar Culture
Canada speaks the same language, eats the same food, plays the same sports, and consumes the same entertainment. A similar coculture without language barriers makes it easier for Americans to do business with Canada.
Of course, there are some parts of Canada where French is the most popular language. Likewise, Spanish is more prevalent in certain places in the United States. However, these issues are easily overcome with business cards, translators, and technology.
6. Prominent Tech Industry
Many American technology companies are doing business with Canada because of the country’s prominence on the tech stage. For example, Toronto produces more tech occupations than the Bay Area, New York, and even Silicon Valley.
Toronto also has over 2,000 startups and over 14,000 tech companies. In the MaRS Center, Canada also has one of the world’s largest innovation hubs. Canada is also the first nation in the world to develop a national AI strategy. There are over 500 international AI firms in the country. The world’s biggest concentration of AI startups is in Canada.
Besides the national AI strategy, there is plenty of other support for tech development in the country that’s attractive to the United States. Canada invested $900m in high-tech innovation and funded startup incubators in 2015.
Additionally, Canada offers many tax breaks to companies for research and development. It also provides special visa programs for investors and entrepreneurs in the tech industry.
7. Qualified Labour Pool
Canada has the second-highest tertiary education levels worldwide for people between the ages of 25 and 34, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Canada’s highly skilled workforce stands at nearly 1.5 million people. Canada’s tech talent is also ranked highly for diversity.
These are just some of the many reasons why the United States enjoys doing business with Canada. Even with the economic climate changing, you can expect the partnership between the two countries to stand the test of time.
10 Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out in 2021 – Part 2
Last week I provided 5 suggestions on how you can make your LinkedIn profile, which in 2021 is a non-negotiable must-have for job seekers, to stand out. The suggestions were:
- Add a headshot
- Create an eye-catching headline
- Craft an interesting summary
- Highlight your experience
- Use visual media
I’ll continue with my next 5 suggestions:
- Customize your URL
Your LinkedIn URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the web address for your profile. The default URL will have your name and some random numbers and letters (https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-kossovan-647e3b49). Customizing your profile URL (https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickkossovan/) makes your profile search engine friendly; therefore, you’re easier to find. As well a customized URL invites the person searching to make some positive assumptions about you:
- You’re detail oriented.
- You’re technologically savvy.
- You understand the power of perception (Image is everything!).
James Wooden, one of the most revered coaches in the history of sports, is to have said, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
To change your profile URL, go to the right side of your profile. There you’ll find an option to edit your URL. Use this option to make your URL concise and neat.
- Make connections
The more connections you have increases the likelihood of being found when hiring managers and recruiters, looking for potential candidates with your background, search on LinkedIn. Envision your number of connections as ‘the amount of gas in your tank.’
At the very least, you should aim to get over 500 connections. Anything below 500 LinkedIn will indicate your number of connections as an exact number (ex. 368). Above 500 connections, LinkedIn simply shows you have 500+ connections. Getting to 500 implies you’re a player on LinkedIn.
As much as possible, connect with individuals you know personally, have worked with, met in a professional capacity (tradeshow, conference), is in your city/region and industry/profession. If you’d like to connect with someone you haven’t met, send a note with your request explaining who you are and why you’d like to connect. (This’ll be my topic in next week’s column.)
- Ask for recommendations and skill endorsements
This is vital to making your profile stand out! Employers want to know that others think of your work.
When asking for a recommendation, or skill endorsements, think of all the people you’ve worked the past. Don’t just think of your past bosses; also think of colleagues, vendors, customers — anyone who can vouch for your work and professionalism.
Instructions on how to ask for, and give, a recommendation, can be found by going to the LinkedIn ‘Help’ field (Located by clicking on the drop-down arrow below the ‘Me’ icon in the upper right-hand corner.) and typing ‘Requesting a recommendation.’ Do the same for skill endorsements.
TIP: It’s good karma to write recommendations, and endorse skills, in return and to give unsolicited.
- Keep your profile active
LinkedIn is not simply an online resume — it’s a networking social media site. To get the most out of LinkedIn, you need to be constantly active (at least 3 times per week). Write posts and articles. Check out what is being posted, especially by your connections. Like and share posts that resonate with you. Engage with thoughtful comments that’ll put forward your expertise.
Join groups that align with your industry and professional interests. Groups are an excellent way to meet like-minded professionals with whom to network and share ideas and best practices.
- Check your LinkedIn profile strength
It’s in LinkedIn’s interest that you’re successful using their platform. Therefore, they’ve created a ‘Profile Strength Meter’ to gauge how robust your profile is. Basically, this gauge tells you completion level of your profile. Using the tips, you’ll be given, keep adding to your profile until your gauge rates you “All-Star.” For instructions on how to access your ‘Profile Strength Meter,’ use the LinkedIn’ Help’ field.
The 10 tips I offered is a starting point for building a LinkedIn profile that WOWs! Jobseekers need to make the most of their profile to stand out in a sea of candidates, sell their skills, and validate their accomplishments. Make it easy for the reader to get a feel for who you are professionally.
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at email@example.com.
Canadian National beats Canadian Pacific with $33.6 billion Kansas City bid
U.S. railway operator Kansas City Southern said on Thursday that it had accepted Canadian National Railway Co’s $33.6 billion acquisition offer, upending a $29 billion deal with its competitor Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.
The development, first reported by Reuters, gives Canadian Pacific five business days to make a new offer for Kansas City Southern. Were Canadian Pacific to table a new offer, a bidding war could ensue.
Canadian Pacific had previously announced a deal to buy Kansas City Southern on March 21, before Canadian National said it had submitted a higher bid on April 20. The headline price in Canadian National’s cash-and-stock bid remains $325 per share as originally announced, though the company offered more of its shares to compensate for a decline in its stock price.
Canadian National has offered to cover the $700 million break-up fee Kansas City Southern will owe Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. It will also pay Kansas City Southern $1 billion if the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) rejects a voting trust structure it has put forward to complete the deal.
“We believe that Canadian Pacific’s negotiated agreement with Kansas City is the only true end-to-end Class I combination that is in the best interests of North American shippers and communities,” a Canadian Pacific spokeswoman said.
Canadian Pacific and larger rival Canadian National are in a race to take over the U.S. railroad operator, which would create the first direct railway linking Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
Either of them acquiring Kansas City Southern would create a North American railway spanning the United States, Mexico and Canada, as supply chains recover from COVID-19 pandemic-led disruptions.
The acquisition interest in Kansas City Southern also follows the ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement last year that removed the threat of trade tensions, which had escalated under former U.S. President Donald Trump.
The STB last week approved the voting trust for Canadian Pacific’s proposed acquisition. Canadian National has offered an identical arrangement.
(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber, Aurora Ellis and Richard Chang)
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