Good evening, let’s start with today’s top coronavirus stories:
Canada has agreement with Pfizer to begin delivering early doses of vaccine, Trudeau says
Canada has contracted to receive up to 249,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine in December, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today. Pending Health Canada approval of the vaccine, the first shipment of doses is tracking for delivery next week, he said.
Shipments will continue into 2021, he said, adding that there are millions of doses on the way.
Separately, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says he disagrees with a petition before the House of Commons – sponsored by a member of his caucus – that calls into question the science behind COVID-19 vaccines. He said he has faith in Health Canada, and in the advice provided by Canada’s chief public-health officials.
Business: AbCellera Biologics, the Vancouver company that in partnership with Eli Lilly developed the antibody treatment for COVID-19 patients called bamlanivimab, more than doubled the target size of its initial public offering on the Nasdaq Stock Market today to as much as US$450-million. That would shatter the record for the largest debut public financing by a Canadian biotechnology company.
Opinion: “The biggest problem we’re going to have is demand for COVID-19 vaccines, not refusal. We don’t need to make the coronavirus vaccine mandatory for the general public.” - André Picard
In other developments, the Toronto Raptors, who opened training camp last week in their temporary home of Tampa, say three members of the organization have tested positive for COVID-19, but did not disclose the names.
- Pandemic report identifies failures across Canada in long-term care homes
- Sophisticated investors are desperate to buy Canada’s apartment buildings; values soar despite COVID-19
- Federal rent program still leaves small businesses behind, lobby group says
This is the daily Evening Update newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was sent to you as a forward, you can sign up for Evening Update and more than 20 more Globe newsletters here. If you like what you see, please share it with your friends.
Virtual care expansion moving too slow, Ontario auditor-general says
Ontario’s expansion of virtual health care services has been too slow, its retirement homes have an increasing number of residents who should be in long-term care, and its gaming, alcohol and cannabis regulator lacks transparency, provincial auditor-general Bonnie Lysyk said in a sweeping new report released today.
She issued 13 value-for-money audits in her annual report, which also looked at consumer protection in the bereavement sector, the review and implementation of school curricula.
Among the shortcomings she found: Forcing delayed GO Transit passengers to apply for a fare refund resulted in most of them not doing so, allowing the regional transit agency Metrolinx to keep more than $2-million of their money over the past five years.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Dylan sells song catalogue: Bob Dylan’s entire catalogue of more than 600 songs - including Blowin’ In The Wind, The Times They Are a-Changin’ and Like a Rolling Stone - is being acquired by Universal Music Publishing Group, in a deal that The New York Times reports is estimated to be worth more than US$300-million. Opinon: By selling his publishing catalogue, Bob Dylan serves himself right - Brad Wheeler
Michael Sabia named deputy minister of Finance: The former Quebec pension fund CEO and current chair of the Canada Infrastructure Bank will replace Paul Rochon, who announced last week that he was leaving the department.
Pornhub probe: Visa and Mastercard said they would investigate their financial links to MindGeek, parent company of adult website Pornhub, after The New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof reported that the website included videos of child abuse and nonconsensual sexual violence.
Meng back in court: Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is back in B.C.’s Supreme Court but there has been no acknowledgment before the judge of reported talks under way with the U.S. Justice Department on a plea deal that would allow her to return to China.
Van attack trial continues: The man who killed 10 people while driving a van down a Toronto sidewalk would tell his victims he committed the attack because he was lonely and angry at society, a psychiatrist retained by the defence testified today.
Accused in Alberta doctor slaying to represent himself: The man accused of killing family doctor Walter Reynolds at a medical clinic in Red Deer, Alta., has pleaded not guilty and insisting on representing himself at trial.
IKEA discontinues catalogue: One of the world’s biggest annual publications, the IKEA catalogue, is no more after a seven-decade run. The company said the shift to online shopping prompted its decision.
MVP at Toronto FC: A bright spot for Toronto FC in a season marred by a first-round playoff exit and the departure of popular coach Greg Vanney: player Alejandro Pozuelo has been named Major League Soccer’s MVP for 2020.
The Nasdaq closed at a record high today after investors moved into mega-cap growth stocks even as a new round of COVID-19 restrictions underscored the continuing economic impact of the pandemic on the United States. The other major U.S. indexes closed lower, but the TSX ended up on the day, fueled by gains in the gold sector.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index rose 61.38 points or 0.35 per cent to 17,582.35. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 148.47 points or 0.49 per cent to 30,069.79, the S&P 500 dropped 7.16 points or 0.19 per cent to 3,691.96 and the Nasdaq Composite added 55.72 points or 0.45 per cent to end at 12,519.95.
Looking for investing ideas? Check out The Globe’s weekly digest of the latest insights and analysis from the pros, stock tips, portfolio strategies and what investors need to know for the week ahead. This week’s edition includes energy sector dividend plays, bargain stock hunting and RioCan’s payout cut.
What Canadians should understand about the federal UNDRIP bill
“Recognizing the rights of Indigenous peoples is the missing component to the peaceful resolution of the challenges we have in Canada, including various protest blockades.” - Brenda Gunn, professor at the University of Manitoba’s faculty of law
The vaccines are here. Is Canada ready?
“Given how most provinces did a poor job of preventing the second wave of the virus, the slightest indication that they are not properly prepared to distribute vaccines is highly troubling.” - Globe editorial
Is intermittent fasting as good as it sounds?
Recent research has hinted that intermittent fasting – a pattern of eating that switches back and forth between eating and fasting – may have unwanted consequences. If you try time-restricted eating, or you’re already doing it, include three nutritious meals in your eating window and make sure each one includes a good source of protein. Growing kids, pregnant and nursing women, people with diabetes who take insulin or oral medications and individuals with low blood sugar should not fast.
TODAY’S LONG READ
B.C. medical group launches program to prescribe nature instead of medication
More than a decade ago, family physician Melissa Lem sat in her Toronto office and listened to a young patient talk about his struggles with attention deficit disorder.
Like her, he’d moved from small-town British Columbia to the city and felt overwhelmed by stress. She talked about conventional options with him – medication, sleep, exercise and therapy – and added a recommendation about what worked best for her: 20 minutes in nature every day.
“I thought he was going to roll his eyes,” she said.
The patient took her suggestion to heart but Lem wished she had something more formal to give him.
Today, she does. The BC Parks Foundation, working with Lem and a group of other health care providers, is launching Canada’s first formal nature-prescribing program. Read the full story here.