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Good evening, here are the COVID-19 updates you need to know tonight.

Top headlines:

  1. The federal government has agreed to slightly broaden its COVID wage and rent subsidy with new legislation
  2. Tens of thousands of parents have already rushed to book pediatric vaccine appointments in provinces across Canada
  3. Italy announced new restrictions and vaccine mandates as Europe grapples with a new wave of infections

In the past seven days, 18,130 cases were reported, up 8 per cent from the previous seven days. There were 149 deaths announced, down 19 per cent over the same period. At least 1,607 people are being treated in hospitals.

Canada’s inoculation rate is 15th among 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.

Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and chartsTracking vaccine dosesLockdown rules and reopening

Photo of the day

Medical personnel gather ahead of a protest march against measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Les Abymes, on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, today.CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images

Coronavirus in Canada

In Ottawa, the Liberal government introduced new legislation today aimed at revising and extending federal wage and rent supports for businesses that have been the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • With Bill C-2, the federal government has added clear references to Canada’s cultural sector and other industries. A large number of business categories will qualify under the more generous Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, provided they meet the criteria of having revenue losses of at least 40 per cent. The program offers a subsidy rate of up to 75 per cent.
  • The Liberals have estimated that creating new, targeted benefits through to May 7 would cost roughly $7.4-billion. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Tuesday his party couldn’t support a bill that would cut help for workers, adding that he wants the government to reverse drops in income-tested benefits for low-income seniors and families who received aid last year.

Pandemic funding: Quebec’s Auditor-General says the Legault government provided emergency pandemic financial aid to several businesses that did not strictly qualify to receive help, including some that were already on shaky financial ground before the health crisis.

Vaccines for kids: The first pediatric vaccines in Canada were given out yesterday in Toronto, to 10 young people from the Hospital for Sick Children.

Coronavirus around the world

Coronavirus and business

Along the same lines as “the Great Resignation,” 30 per cent of traditionally employed professionals plan to transition to self-employment over the next two years, according to the Canadian Self-Employment Report.

  • Due to mass layoffs and job insecurity during this uncertain time, “people realized that the jobs that they were in were not safe,” says Karla Briones, a business coach who specializes in working with under-represented entrepreneurs.

Also today: When it comes to vaccine mandates, how do unionized workers differ from non-unionized?

More reporting

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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.

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