COVID-19 Update for January 15 – 2:20PM

This afternoon, the federal ministers spoke on Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provided more information on the reduced Pfizer vaccine shipments. Additionally, the Ontario government issued a news release announcing that applications for Ontario’s Small Business Support Grant were now open.

Further Details on Vaccine Shipments

Major-General Dany Fortin, Vice President Logistics and Operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, provided more information on the reduction in vaccine delivery from Pfizer. For the next four weeks, Canada will see an average reduction in expected deliveries by 50 per cent. Next week’s shipment is “minimally impacted”, though the shipment for the week of January 25 will be affected. Shipments will then begin to scale back up in the first two weeks of February before returning to the expected shipment volume at the end of February and going forward.

Echoing what Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said this morning, Fortin was clear in saying that the delay “does not impact our goal to have sufficient vaccines available by the end of September to all Canadians who want one” and also affirmed that Q2 goals would not be changed. Fortin also reiterated that Pfizer has said they intend to “offset the impact of their production dip”.

Federal Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, spoke to the strength of Canada’s vaccine portfolio as having been curated to accommodate for difficulties faced by any of the vaccine candidates and urged Canadians to continue following public health guidelines and reach out to vulnerable members of Canadians’ communities. “One thing that we’ve learned about this virus is that it preys on individualism, and that it is collective action that protects us all.”

Ontario’s Small Business Grant

The provincial grant, first announced in December, provides $10,000 – $20,000 to eligible small business that have had to restrict their operations due to COVID-19. According to the news release, eligible small businesses include those that:

  • Were required to close or significantly restrict services due to the Provincewide Shutdown being imposed across the province effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26.
  • Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level.
  • Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019. New businesses established since April 2019 will also be eligible if they meet the other eligibility criteria.

The applications and other supports for businesses can be found online here.

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