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When will you be eligible for a COVID-19 shot? Ontario lays out plan for mass vaccination campaign –



The head of Ontario’s vaccine distribution task force revealed on Tuesday the most detailed look to date at the mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign set to ramp up in 2021.

Retired general Rick Hillier said Ontario is anticipating large numbers of vaccine doses to begin arriving early next year, when the province will focus on vaccinating vulnerable seniors and health-care workers.

Ontario plans to expand those vaccinations to a wider range of the population in the late spring and summer.

Here’s what the government is planning.

Phase 1: Now to April

The province will focus on health-care workers and the residents of long-term care facilities and retirement homes, which have experienced widespread and deadly outbreaks throughout the pandemic.

The province says it will also offer vaccines to select vulnerable communities during this phase, such as First Nations in Northern Ontario.

The supply of vaccine doses is expected to gradually ramp up throughout January.

Ontario expects to receive an additional 50,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the first week of January, and approximately 80,000 per week after that for the remainder of the month.

Ontario is also expecting its first shipment of the Moderna vaccine, comprising 50,000 doses, to arrive within the next 24 hours.

A second shipment of 50,000 Moderna vaccines is scheduled to arrive during the first week of January, which Hillier says will be used for the operation to vaccinate people in remote northern communities.

Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine does not require storage at ultra-low temperatures and can therefore be more easily shipped to various parts of Ontario.

Retired general Rick Hillier is leading Ontario’s task force that will oversee the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the province. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Both vaccines are said to require two doses to be effective, though Hillier has asked Health Canada to examine if a single dose of the Moderna vaccine would provide sufficient protection.

The province says it expects to vaccinate approximately 1.1 million people by the end of March.

Phase 2: April to July

Phase 2 will mark the start of a widespread campaign to administer millions of vaccines every month to a wider range of Ontario’s population.

Hillier said the province anticipates that it will receive 15 million doses of vaccine between April and the end of June, or about five million per month. It’s not yet clear how many doses of each vaccine will be included in that supply.

The province plans to set up mass vaccination sites during this phase to administer the doses. Some hospitals will also offer vaccinations, and Hillier suggested that pharmacies could also take part.

Ontario says it has not yet decided how it will prioritize access during the start of this phase, though Hillier said essential workers and older Ontarians would likely be first in line.

He said people 75 and older might be prioritized, followed by people aged 50 to 75. Hillier also listed farm workers, police officers and teachers as examples of essential workers who could be prioritized during this phase.

Ontario hopes to vaccinate approximately 8.5 million residents by the end of phase 2, at a rate of about 150,000 residents daily. The province has a population of 14.7 million.

Phase 3: August and beyond

Hillier referred to the third and final part of the campaign as the “steady state” phase, in which the vaccine will be widely available on an ongoing basis at places like family doctor’s offices and pharmacies.

Hillier said that getting a COVID-19 vaccine during this period should be no harder than getting a shingles or flu vaccine.

If there is a need for renewals or booster shots for any of the vaccines, those will also be administered within this phase.

It’s not yet known if additional doses will be necessary.

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TD Bank CFO Ahmed to head securities unit, move seen as CEO succession play



TD Bank Group on Thursday named Chief Financial Officer Riaz Ahmed chief executive of its securities unit and head of wholesale banking, a move some investors interpreted as a sign he will succeed CEO Bharat Masrani.

For Ahmed, 58, the change marks a return to his TD roots. He began his career at the bank in 1996 as an investment banker in the securities division, following which he served as its CFO and chief administrative officer. He has been part of TD Bank‘s executive team for nine years, and CFO for over five.

“Cross-training in the capital markets role … increases the likelihood of (Ahmed) succeeding Masrani when he retires, but I doubt it would be soon, as that would create unnecessary turnover atop TD Securities,” said Brian Madden, portfolio manager at Goodreid Investment Counsel.

“Maybe Masrani announces his retirement next year (or the following) and leaves early in 2023” or 2024.

Masrani’s compensation arrangements anticipated his retirement in 2020, TD said in its 2019 shareholders meeting proxy circular. But he was granted stock options worth C$1.9 million ($1.5 million), vesting in five years, on the condition that he remain available to serve as CEO throughout that period.

Ahmed replaces Bob Dorrance, who will retire on Sept. 1 after about 16 years at the bank, Canada’s second-biggest lender by market value said in a statement.

When asked about TD’s succession plans, a spokesperson said: “Today we are celebrating Bob Dorrance’s incredible career and accomplishments, and the appointment of top executives to critical, leadership roles.”

At a time when diversity, particularly in executive and board ranks, has come under increased scrutiny, Ahmed’s appointment as CEO would mean TD, the only one of Canada’s six biggest lenders to have a non-Caucasian at its helm, would retain that aspect.

Ahmed’s appointment comes after TD’s wholesale banking unit recorded an 8% revenue decline in the second quarter from a year ago, contributing to the bank’s overall underperformance versus some rivals.

Kelvin Tran, currently executive vice president for enterprise finance, will replace Ahmed as finance chief.

Dorrance, who has headed TD Securities since 2005, will stay on as chairman of TD Securities and serve as special adviser to Masrani.

TD shares were flat at C$87.12 on Thursday afternoon, compared with a 0.2% gain in the Toronto stock index. The shares are up 21% this year, versus a 15% gain in the benchmark.

($1 = 1.2303 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Nichola Saminather in Toronto; Additional reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in BengaluruEditing by Nick Zieminski and Matthew Lewis)

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AIB agrees to life and pensions joint-venture with Canada Life



Allied Irish Banks on Wednesday said it would form a joint venture with Canada life as it seeks to plug gaps in its life, savings and wealth products.

The joint venture will be equally owned by Canada Life, a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc.

“The move to create this joint venture is aligned with AIB’s stated ambition to complete its customerproduct suite and diversify income,” AIB said in a statement.

“Through this strategic initiative AIB intends to offer customers a range of life protection, pensions, savings and investment options enhanced by integrated digital solutions withcontinued access to our qualified financial advisors.”

The Irish lender highlighted Canada Life’s “deep experience” of the Irish bancassurance market through Irish Life Assurance, which is also a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco.

AIB currently operates under a tied agency distribution agreement with Irish Life, and will enter into a new distribution agreement with the new joint venture company.

Chief Executive Colin Hunt highlighted the need to plug gaps in AIB’s life, savings and wealth products when he set out the bank’s medium-term targets last December.

AIB expects its equity investment in the joint venture will be around 90 million euros ($107.51 million), equating to around 10bps of CET1.($1 = 0.8372 euros)

(Reporting by Graham Fahy;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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Interac: Canada’s Latest Payment Solution Phenomenon



Few can argue that digital payment methods aren’t central to modern-day society. In recent times, increasing numbers of payment solutions have come to the forefront, offering consumers more choice regarding their transaction preferences. Canada, in particular, has embraced a wide-ranging selection of secure, forward-thinking options. Of those available throughout the country, Interac has piqued the interests of local consumers the most. So, let’s look at why this payment solution is an especially popular option throughout Canada. 

Usable Across Various Markets 

It speaks volumes about Interac’s versatility in that it’s usable across a variety of different industries. Since being founded in 1984, the Canadian interbank network has become integral to numerous markets, including local air travel. Air Canada, which has been operating since 1937, has expanded their accepted payment methods, and now passengers can pay for their flights using Interac. According to the airline’s official website, the Interac Online service lets consumers pay for their tickets via the internet directly from their bank account. 

Not only that, but Interac is also available at Walmart. In November 2020, the two organizations partnered together to expand in-store and online payment options. Walmart has adapted well to the digital trend, with American Banker reporting that they’ve opened Interac Flash sale points throughout their stores. 

Source: Unsplash

Aside from the above, Interac has also taken the digital world by storm. Following its rapid rise to prominence, the solution has also altered the online casino industry, with platforms like Genesis Casino now accepting the transaction type. The provider, which features Interac Canadian casino options, uses the popular payment method to enhance transaction speeds of deposits and withdrawals, as well as security. Players can use Interac Online and Interac e-Transfer to make deposits or withdrawals from their desktops or mobiles as the platform is fully optimized. 

A Reflection of Modern-Day Society 

In recent times, Interac recorded a 55 percent increase in transactions between April and August 2020 compared to the same period the previous year, as per BNN Bloomberg. These figures somewhat reflect the current state of e-Commerce and modern consumerism. Following the rise of Interac and other payment methods, it’s now less troublesome for consumers to complete in-store and online purchases. 

Source: PxHere

There’s an ever-growing perception that land-based businesses need to adapt within the digital era and accept forward-thinking payment methods. According to Cision, Interac is of utmost importance to the Canadian economy, and a year-on-year increase in Interac Debit payments of 333 percent reflects that. Not only that, but Interac e-Transfer payments are growing at 52 percent each year. This Interac-oriented trend appears unlikely to fade over the coming years, with the network being selected as the country’s provider for a new real-time payment system, as per Lexology. 

Consumer Habits are Changing 

There can be no doubt that consumerism has changed drastically over the past decade. The popularity of Interac suggests that a cashless future may be on the horizon, with increasing numbers of shoppers enjoying the security of online payment methods. While it’s currently unclear if that will happen, Interac appears to be prevalent for the long run.

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