Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- For millions of Canadians who will lose their CERB payments next weekend, transitioning to EI brings forth uncertainty
- A pandemic election? New Brunswick wrote the guidebook for B.C.
- Small businesses trail medium-sized and large enterprises in pandemic wage subsidies despite easing eligibility rules
In Canada, there have been at least 153,125 cases reported. In the last week 9,017 new cases were announced, 32% more than the previous week.
There have also been at least 131,098 recoveries and 9,268 deaths. Today, six new deaths were reported, compared to seven yesterday.
Worldwide, there have been at least 32,840,012 cases confirmed and 994,143 deaths reported.
Sources: Canada data is compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data is from Johns Hopkins University.
Photo of the day
Coronavirus in Canada
- Ontario is reporting 491 new cases and two more deaths from COVID-19, the province’s highest daily amount since May. Meanwhile, hundreds of people flocked to a car rally in Wasaga Beach from Friday to early Sunday, prompting the Ontario Provincial Police to close most accesses to the town Saturday night.
- A staff member at a private long-term care home in suburban Montreal where dozens of residents died during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has tested positive, as Quebec reported 896 new cases, its highest daily tally since May.
Millions of Canadians who have become unemployed during the pandemic will lose their Canada Emergency Response Benefit payments when the program winds down on Oct. 3.
In its place is Employment Insurance, which the government says the majority of people will go on, and a new suite of benefits that won’t exist unless approved by Parliament.
- As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3-billion to 8.8 million people, or roughly two in every five members of the nearly 20.2 million-strong labour force in August.
- Benefits were paid up-front, which won’t be the case the first wave of those being transferred to the new EI system: The government says the first payment will come the week of Oct. 11. About 80 per cent are expected to receive payments by Oct. 14; a further 10 per cent within the first two weeks.
Some CERB recipients aren’t sure if they’ll be automatically transferred to EI, have to apply anew, or have to wait for the new benefits. The Liberals introduced a bill Thursday in the House of Commons that includes the CERB replacement, called the Canada Recovery Benefit, for everyone who doesn’t qualify for EI.
With the bill just being introduced, and changes coming Monday after the New Democrats pushed the Liberals to expand access to the sick-leave benefit, those advising recipients are also left scrambling as they face questions.
And: Locked-up computer systems only part of ‘terrifying’ ransomware scourge
Coronavirus around the world
- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged at the U.N. General Assembly to help the world produce and deliver potential coronavirus vaccines while making no mention Saturday of the heavy toll the pandemic has taken on his own country, where the enormous population has suffered among the highest numbers of cases and deaths in the world.
- Amazon has been one of the biggest winners in the pandemic as people in its most established markets – the United States, Germany and Britain – have flocked to it to buy everything from toilet paper to board games.
- The solemn Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which annually sees Israeli life grind to a halt, began Sunday in Israel, a nation already under a sweeping coronavirus lockdown.
Coronavirus and business
Small businesses still lag far behind medium and large enterprises in the amount of pandemic-related wage subsidies they are receiving, despite changes over the summer that eased eligibility rules and increased payments for the hardest hit companies.
That is part of a larger pattern of payments under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program running well behind the government’s cost projections, amid complaints from businesses that the application process is overly complex and that its slow start meant that many companies had already laid off workers by the time it came into force.
- The government announced during this week’s Throne Speech that it will extend the CEWS through to the summer, but it is so far not spelling out what other changes it may introduce to boost participation. Outside observers have lots of suggestions.
- Data released by the Canada Revenue Agency on Wednesday show that small businesses, defined as having 25 or fewer employees, received 28 per cent of $2.3-billion in subsidies for the period of Aug. 2 to Aug. 29.
- Medium businesses with 26 to 250 employees received 52 per cent of the total, while large companies with more than 250 employees received 19 per cent. (A small amount was also paid to companies whose size was not categorized.)
Overall, the dollar amount of subsidies is running well below the government’s $82.3-billion projection in its limited fiscal update in July. As of Aug. 29, less than half of that amount, $37.4-billion, had been disbursed. But there is an important caveat: Businesses can apply for subsidies retroactively, so the amounts claimed for spring and summer months will most likely rise.
Also today: COVID-19 pandemic opens doors for Great-West growth
- William A. Macdonald: “Canada faces multiple daunting challenges – more than ever before. Two come from nature: the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change and their fallout. The Throne Speech addresses both, as well as issues such as Indigenous reconciliation, Alberta and national unity, and greater equality. But the speech glaringly does not address what to do about Canada’s third great postwar economic challenge.”
- Linda Nazareth: “With remote work now going mainstream, the bar is being raised internationally as Spain has introduced a new decree saying that there must be equality between those who go in to work and those who work from home. Will North American companies follow?”
- A pandemic election? New Brunswick wrote the guidebook for B.C.
For the health-conscious homebody🏋️♀️: How to stay in shape if you never leave the house
If heading back to the gym in the middle of a global pandemic doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, Toronto-based personal trainer and health educator Paul Landini has some great news.
“What follows are the most powerful lessons I learned during these months of introspection and research. Take notes and your health may just survive the next lockdown,” he writes. (Hint: Volume ≠ gains; stretching ≠ mobility)
- Rob Carrick’s 10-point checklist of things you should have done by now to protect or improve your money situation. Tips for minimizing damage to your credit score; how to manage retirement anxiety during difficult times; and things to think about if you’re considering home delivery.
- Here are the expectations for self-isolation; tips for managing anxiety and protecting your mental health; and what to do if you think you have the virus. Wash your hands. How to break a bad habit (like touching your face). Is flying safe?
- The best foods to eat to maintain an immune system-friendly diet; and how to keep a healthy diet while working from home; four eating tips when working from home; and five mistakes that might cause you to gain unwanted weight. Here are the essentials to stock up on and how to shop safely for groceries; the best pantry staples and how to stop stress-eating. What to cook with rhubarb (aside from pie).
- Here’s what you should do if you are newly laid off; how to apply for CERB, EI, and other financial benefits; how the CRA might identify CERB fraud; and other coronavirus and employment questions answered. What to do if your employees don’t return to work because they want to collect CERB.
Sources: Canada data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins University and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins.