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There will 'absolutely' be queue jumping for Ontario COVID-19 vaccines in Phase 2, task force member says – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
A member of Ontario’s vaccine task force says that there will “absolutely” be some people jumping the line for COVID-19 vaccines in the second phase of the province’s rollout but he says the issue can be at least partly mitigated by having more family doctors administer shots.

The Doug Ford government has said that it will prioritize nearly three million people with pre-existing conditions as part of the next phase of its vaccine rollout but it has released few details on how it will identify those people and verify their medical history.

That has led to some concerns about queue-jumping, which could ultimately mean that the people most at risk of a severe outcome from COVID-19 have to wait longer for their shots.

“Listen it is not going to be perfect. Even if we have primary care expanded and in their clinics vaccinating individuals where they know their patients and they know who would be a good candidate for the first part of phase two and the second part of phase two that doesn’t fully solve this problem,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Issac Bogoch, who sits on Ontario’s vaccine task force, told CP24 on Tuesday morning. “There will be some honour system and you know what this isn’t perfect. There will be some people who jump the line, there will be, there absolutely will be. This is going to be a challenging thing to police.”

The Ford government has provided a list of 24 health conditions that would qualify residents for vaccines ahead of the general public and has broken them up into three categories – highest risk, high risk and at-risk.

Bogoch said that he doesn’t believe the issue of queue jumping will be a significant problem for the province, especially given the fact that the vaccines themselves will become a much less “limited resource” in the coming months.

But he said that the government will have to find some better ways to verify medical conditions and may have to “rely on peoples goodwill to wait their turn for vaccination” to a certain extent, as well.

“It is being billed as an 11 out of 10 problem when it probably is a two or three out of 10 problem,” he said.

Ministry says people with pre-existing conditions won’t be able to book appointments online

In a statement provided to CP24 on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott said that planning is still underway on how the province will deal with people with pre-existing conditions.

The spokesperson, however, said that “these individuals will not typically be booking their appointment through the provincial online booking portal, or receive the vaccine at mass vaccination clinics.”

Instead, the spokesperson said that most of the vaccinations administered to people with pre-existing conditions will be “administered through other channels, such as specialty clinics or through their existing health care providers who already have the individual’s health records on hand.”

That would, in theory, negate the risk of so-called queue jumping.

But it remains to be seen how far the province will go when it comes to verifying information about medical conditions, especially for those people who may not have family doctors.

“Maybe we would prefer they have some proven evidence? I would rather have people say, if you have a condition, and it is personal private information, it’s their health information,” Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams conceded during an interview with CTV News Toronto on Tuesday. “We trust them to say that and to declare that. If they want to bring some evidence of that, what would they bring?”

Williams said that he understands that some people may be included to try to “bypass the system and get around the system” but he said that they should remember that the priority list has been set up the way it has to save lives.

Of course, some people are still concerned about whether the most vulnerable people will indeed receive their shots first in the second wave, especially when you look at the sheer number of Ontarians with pre-existing conditions.

Speaking with reporters at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said that the government had “literally a year to put together something that people could have confidence in” but still seems to be “making things up on the fly.”

She said that the lack of a concrete verification system could mean that “the people who are perhaps going to have to stop people from getting vaccines inappropriately or at the wrong time is the frontline providers.”

Dr. Michael Warner, the medical director of critical care at Michael Garron Hospital, also raised some concerns in an interview with CP24 on Tuesday. He said that the issue is that the government has set up a system, where there is “is no specificity in terms of what a respiratory disease is, what heart disease means.”

That, he warned, could lead to widespread abuse, especially if family doctors are kept out of the process.

“It means that the people who need the vaccines the most will not be triaged to get them earlier than others and also family doctors have been cut out of the entire process,” he said. “They are the ones best equipped to triage their own patients assuming we have carve outs for those without family doctors to make sure they get access too.”

Ontario has said that it hopes to vaccinate an additional 7.5 million residents as part of the second phase of its vaccine rollout.

Other priority groups include older adults, essential workers and those who cannot work from home, along with residents and staff in congregate settings.

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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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