Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.
- The Trudeau government said the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would be a lifeline to struggling employers in the pandemic. But, it turns out many of the businesses that received it weren’t struggling, data show
- Experts in national security, public health and medicine told a parliamentary committee many of the problems with Canada’s pandemic response were avoidable
- University of British Columbia, University of Alberta and McGill University decide against vaccination passports
There have been 1,286,669 cases of COVID-19 reported in Canada. 24,626 people have died and another 1,181,257 have recovered. There are currently 3,659 patients in hospitals due to COVID-19, 1,376 of whom are in the ICU.
Canada’s inoculation rate is 15th among 84 countries with a population of one million or more people.
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.
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Coronavirus in Canada
- Beginning at midnight, bars and restaurants in Alberta must shut their patios to in-person dining, and personal wellness services such as hair salons and tattoo parlours have to close, as the latest round of restrictions goes into effect. And, RCMP ticketed protesters leaving an anti-lockdown rally outside a central Alberta café Saturday.
- As of today, Manitoba has also banned in-person restaurant dining, closed churches and some businesses and dropped capacity at retail stores to 10 per cent. Schools in Winnipeg and Brandon were also ordered to go online starting Wednesday until May 30.
- Nearly 150 pharmacies in Ontario started offering COVID-19 vaccines to all adults in virus hot spots this weekend. And the province reported 3,216 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday.
The Globe and Mail compiled a database showing that 389 publicly traded companies (or their wholly owned subsidiaries) received more than $3.6-billion in Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy payments as of late January.
- Some of the biggest names in Corporate Canada were the recipients of the CEWS, including Air Canada, BCE Inc., Canadian National Railway Co., Onex Corp., Power Corp., SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. and Suncor Energy.
- Citing privacy restrictions protecting tax filers, Ottawa has refused to release a full accounting of subsidies paid. Despite that very limited disclosure, this Globe database is the most comprehensive picture of how large companies have accessed the program.
Pandemic response: Poor intelligence gathering, faulty risk assessments, and a Public Health Agency of Canada that lacked enough scientific expertise all helped make the pandemic worse in the country, a committee heard.
Vaccine efficacy: Canada’s top doctor, Theresa Tam, reminded Canadians that even those who are fully vaccinated remain susceptible to COVID-19.
Coronavirus around the world
- India is recruiting hundreds of former army medics to support its overwhelmed health care system, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday.
Coronavirus and business
The CEWS, the costliest, most expansive federal assistance program in Canadian history, is shrouded in secrecy more than a year after its rollout.
- The extraordinary lack of transparency around the subsidy has stymied experts, stifled media efforts to hold the government and receiving companies accountable, and kept shareholders and economists in the dark about the program’s efficacy.
Also today: In what appears to be a new trend, businesses in Canada are giving discounts and giveaways for customers who show proof they’ve received their first dose.
- Marcus Gee: Why I’m still glad I got my AZ shot
- David Goldbloom: The sudden shift to online psychiatry has brought unexpected benefits
- Kelly Cryderman: Kenney’s shift could be a turning point, not just on COVID-19, but in Alberta politics
- The mothers’ days: Two friends comfort each other through pandemic parenthood
- I got my first shot of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. How do I know if I’m at risk of developing a rare blood clot?
- How well do vaccines work? Here’s what you need to know.
- 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.
- Find answers to your coronavirus and employment questions.
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.