Today’s coronavirus news: Child vaccine clinics ramping up in Ontario; Legault under fire following explosive report on long-term care homes

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Thursday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.7:42 a.m. Crimped by the coronavirus pandemic last year, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is returning Thursday in full albeit with precautions.Balloons, floats, marching bands, clowns and performers — and, of course, Santa Claus — will once again wend though 4 km of Manhattan streets, instead of being confined to one block or sometimes pre-taped last year. Spectators, shut out in 2020, can line the route again. High school and college marching bands from around the country have been invited back to the lineup; most of last year's performers were locally based to cut down on travel. The giant balloons, tethered to vehicles last year, are getting their costumed handlers back. “Last year was obviously symbolic. It wasn’t everything we would have liked to see in a parade, but they kept it going,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news briefing Wednesday. “This year, the parade's back at full strength."7:15 a.m. The European Union's drug regulator on Thursday authorized Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for use on children from 5 to 11 years old, clearing the way for shots to be administered to millions of elementary school pupils amid a new wave of infections sweeping across the continent.It is the first time the European Medicines Agency has cleared a COVID-19 vaccine for use in young children. The agency said it “recommended granting an extension of indication for the COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty to include use in children aged 5 to 11.”6:20 a.m. Official figures released Thursday show Germany has become the latest country to surpass 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Germany’s disease control agency said it recorded 351 additional deaths in connection with the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, taking the total toll to 100,119. In Europe, Germany is the fifth country to pass that mark, after Russia, the United Kingdom, Italy and France.The Robert Koch Institute, a federal agency that collects data from some 400 regional health offices, said Germany also set a record for daily confirmed cases — 75,961 in a 24-hour period. Since the start of the outbreak, Germany has had more than 5.57 million confirmed cases of COVID-19.5:30 a.m. COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged five to 11 are ramping up in Ontario Thursday.The City of Toronto's pediatric vaccine campaign is picking up in earnest today with kid-friendly clinics and others happening in schools and communities.Public health in Windsor, Ont., says it is also taking appointments for young kids today, and the city's police force has said it will be on-site for planned protests at the sites.A clinic in Hamilton is offering shots today for Indigenous people and their household members above the age of five.Parent or guardian consent is required for kids to get the shots. Other health units are offering the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech shots on designated days this weekend and in the coming weeks. 5 a.m. As Ontario tries to keep a resurgence of COVID-19 cases under control, new data from Public Health Ontario shows only nine fully vaccinated people under 60 have ended up in the ICU.The report paints the most detailed picture yet of breakthrough cases — and who is getting very sick despite being fully vaccinated — showing that the majority of those who need hospital care are adults over the age of 60, with the highest proportion in their 80s.Experts say the findings underscore that vaccines are working well to prevent infections and hospitalizations. But they also support opening up third doses of the COVID vaccine to more older adults, and highlight why masking and other public health measures are still critical at this stage of the pandemic to protect the most vulnerable.“It’s clear that vaccines are working phenomenally well,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease expert and a former member of Ontario’s now disbanded vaccine task force.Read more from the Star’s May Warren and Megan Ogilvie.4:30 a.m. After congratulating itself for months for its management of the COVID-19 pandemic, Quebec's governing Coalition Avenir Québec party is on the defensive following an explosive report of its handling of long-term care during spring 2020.The vulnerable residents of the province's underfunded long-term care homes were largely an afterthought in the government's pandemic preparedness plans, Quebec Ombudswoman Marie Rinfret concluded in her report released Tuesday. She said 4,000 residents died between February and June 2020 — nearly 70 per cent of the COVID-19 deaths in Quebec during the first wave.Rinfret's report and an ongoing coroner's inquiry into long-term care deaths have been at the heart of testy exchanges this week at the legislature. They have also renewed the opposition's demands for a public inquiry into the government's pandemic response.4 a.m. The Liberal government on Wednesday

Today’s coronavirus news: Child vaccine clinics ramping up in Ontario; Legault under fire following explosive report on long-term care homes

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Thursday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

7:42 a.m. Crimped by the coronavirus pandemic last year, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is returning Thursday in full albeit with precautions.

Balloons, floats, marching bands, clowns and performers — and, of course, Santa Claus — will once again wend though 4 km of Manhattan streets, instead of being confined to one block or sometimes pre-taped last year.

Spectators, shut out in 2020, can line the route again. High school and college marching bands from around the country have been invited back to the lineup; most of last year's performers were locally based to cut down on travel. The giant balloons, tethered to vehicles last year, are getting their costumed handlers back.

“Last year was obviously symbolic. It wasn’t everything we would have liked to see in a parade, but they kept it going,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news briefing Wednesday. “This year, the parade's back at full strength."

7:15 a.m. The European Union's drug regulator on Thursday authorized Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for use on children from 5 to 11 years old, clearing the way for shots to be administered to millions of elementary school pupils amid a new wave of infections sweeping across the continent.

It is the first time the European Medicines Agency has cleared a COVID-19 vaccine for use in young children.

The agency said it “recommended granting an extension of indication for the COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty to include use in children aged 5 to 11.”

6:20 a.m. Official figures released Thursday show Germany has become the latest country to surpass 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Germany’s disease control agency said it recorded 351 additional deaths in connection with the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, taking the total toll to 100,119.

In Europe, Germany is the fifth country to pass that mark, after Russia, the United Kingdom, Italy and France.

The Robert Koch Institute, a federal agency that collects data from some 400 regional health offices, said Germany also set a record for daily confirmed cases — 75,961 in a 24-hour period. Since the start of the outbreak, Germany has had more than 5.57 million confirmed cases of COVID-19.

5:30 a.m. COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged five to 11 are ramping up in Ontario Thursday.

The City of Toronto's pediatric vaccine campaign is picking up in earnest today with kid-friendly clinics and others happening in schools and communities.

Public health in Windsor, Ont., says it is also taking appointments for young kids today, and the city's police force has said it will be on-site for planned protests at the sites.

A clinic in Hamilton is offering shots today for Indigenous people and their household members above the age of five.

Parent or guardian consent is required for kids to get the shots.

Other health units are offering the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech shots on designated days this weekend and in the coming weeks.

5 a.m. As Ontario tries to keep a resurgence of COVID-19 cases under control, new data from Public Health Ontario shows only nine fully vaccinated people under 60 have ended up in the ICU.

The report paints the most detailed picture yet of breakthrough cases — and who is getting very sick despite being fully vaccinated — showing that the majority of those who need hospital care are adults over the age of 60, with the highest proportion in their 80s.

Experts say the findings underscore that vaccines are working well to prevent infections and hospitalizations. But they also support opening up third doses of the COVID vaccine to more older adults, and highlight why masking and other public health measures are still critical at this stage of the pandemic to protect the most vulnerable.

“It’s clear that vaccines are working phenomenally well,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease expert and a former member of Ontario’s now disbanded vaccine task force.

Read more from the Star’s May Warren and Megan Ogilvie.

4:30 a.m. After congratulating itself for months for its management of the COVID-19 pandemic, Quebec's governing Coalition Avenir Québec party is on the defensive following an explosive report of its handling of long-term care during spring 2020.

The vulnerable residents of the province's underfunded long-term care homes were largely an afterthought in the government's pandemic preparedness plans, Quebec Ombudswoman Marie Rinfret concluded in her report released Tuesday.

She said 4,000 residents died between February and June 2020 — nearly 70 per cent of the COVID-19 deaths in Quebec during the first wave.

Rinfret's report and an ongoing coroner's inquiry into long-term care deaths have been at the heart of testy exchanges this week at the legislature. They have also renewed the opposition's demands for a public inquiry into the government's pandemic response.

4 a.m. The Liberal government on Wednesday introduced its newest — and what it hopes to be its last — pandemic aid legislation, proposing a scaled-back suite of financial supports for Canadians still bruised by the public health crisis.

“Bill C-2 is designed with an understanding that our economic recovery is still uneven, and that the public health measures that are saving lives continue to restrict some economic activity,” Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters.

“I see this legislation as very much the last step in our COVID support programs,” she added. “It is what I really hope and truly believe is the final pivot.”

Freeland introduced the aid bill one month after she first announced that the Canada Response Benefit, as well as the emergency wage and rent subsidy programs, would wind down on Oct. 23. At the time, she said those programs would be swapped out and revamped into $7.4 billion worth of targeted supports for workers facing local lockdowns, those in the tourism and hospitality sectors and other hard-hit businesses.

Read more from the Star’s Raisa Patel.

Source : Toronto Star More   

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Want to own a home but don’t have the money? This Toronto tech firm let’s you become an ‘owner-resident’ for 2.5 per cent down

Toronto entrepreneur Jordan Taylor was renting a nice two-bedroom condo for $3,000 a month while trying to figure out how to pull enough of his savings together to buy into the real estate market.Then Taylor, 30, saw an ad on Instagram for Toronto “real estate tech” company Key, which aims to help people get a foothold onto the local real estate ladder “decades faster” by only having to pay a 2.5 per cent down payment — rather than saving the typical 20 per cent that delays building up equity.The company operates what it calls an “innovative co-ownership model” where people can become part-owners of a condo — and live there — thus getting the opportunity to build equity over time.Key is the latest in a trend toward fractional ownership, a way for people whose buying power has diminished given the city’s skyrocketing real estate prices to get into the market.But unlike other companies such as Addy Invest, BuyProperly and RealtyShares, where investors purchase shares in buildings and collect profits from the rental income, Key requires people live in the units and become what the company calls “owner-residents,” essentially purchasing a share in a condo owned by another investor.However, like with any real estate, there are still inherent risks if the market under performs, one expert notes.Taylor toured his condo this spring and on April 12 decided he wanted to become an owner-resident. He officially moved in to his two-bedroom in the West Queen West area June 1.“I was years away from being able to move into any kind of ownership and Key kind of helped me hack that whole timeline for myself,” he says.Owner-residents pay monthly costs — fees that are a bit less than market rent. The more you invest, the less your monthly fees. Those monthly amounts go towards expenses such as utilities, building maintenance, property taxes and financing costs. The owner-resident also pays a proportionate amount of the repairs and maintenance. The “owner-resident” also pays $50 a month toward their equity in the condo. They can increase their monthly payments and opt after three years to try to take over the mortgage and ultimately be on title. For Taylor, that all means he pays just about the same amount as he did to rent his former condo, including his monthly equity amount.“I’m beyond thrilled this has gone so well for me. The timing was perfect. The setup was easy and the stars really kind of aligned,” Taylor says.Daniel Dubois, who with Rob Richards co-founded Key, says the company’s mission “is to create a world where real estate is a source of freedom and prosperity” for everyone.“We address the two biggest challenges associated with Canadians being able to own a home: the first one is a large down payment and the second is being able to qualify for and service a conventional mortgage,” Dubois goes on to say in an interview.There is no bank involvement in terms of securing a mortgage approval, but residents have to show, among other things, that they are receiving a steady income and have the means to make their monthly payments. Richards says in Toronto there are now 800,000 condo units mostly owned by investors and rented to people who are “aspiring owners” — the latter for whom the dream of ownership is getting further and further out of reach due to increasingly escalating housing prices that are rising faster than wages.Key works by partnering with property owners — people who already own the condos — to secure units. Key says it aligns this real estate investor capital with the owner-resident’s capital to “supplement the cost” of home ownership.Key says it makes money in large part by being the property manager for the suites.There’s an owner-resident agreement that is outside the Residential Tenancies Act. Key allows its residents to give short notice to leave — 75 days — and they can take their accumulated equity with them, only having to pay a 1 per cent transaction fee to Key on that invested equity.The asset owner can’t sell the condo in the first three years and after that they must give six months notice to the owner-resident. The latter would have the first right of refusal — they can apply to purchase the unit at fair market value.The company is planning to broaden its scope soon to single-family homes, semis and townhouses.Richards and Dubois declined in an interview to discuss the specifics of Key’s finances, but according to one report from an online real estate magazine, Key has raised hundreds of millions from insurance companies, banks and pension funds.The company recently completed a beta test involving 20 people in 14 condo suites in downtown Toronto.Key predicts that, based on how the real estate market has performed in the last five years, the owner-resident’s equity will appreciate by 30 per cent over the next five years. But Key does caution that new resident-owners are taking on the risk of their real estate depreciating. Matti Siemiatycki, professor of geography and planning and director of

Want to own a home but don’t have the money? This Toronto tech firm let’s you become an ‘owner-resident’ for 2.5 per cent down

Toronto entrepreneur Jordan Taylor was renting a nice two-bedroom condo for $3,000 a month while trying to figure out how to pull enough of his savings together to buy into the real estate market.

Then Taylor, 30, saw an ad on Instagram for Toronto “real estate tech” company Key, which aims to help people get a foothold onto the local real estate ladder “decades faster” by only having to pay a 2.5 per cent down payment — rather than saving the typical 20 per cent that delays building up equity.

The company operates what it calls an “innovative co-ownership model” where people can become part-owners of a condo — and live there — thus getting the opportunity to build equity over time.

Key is the latest in a trend toward fractional ownership, a way for people whose buying power has diminished given the city’s skyrocketing real estate prices to get into the market.

But unlike other companies such as Addy Invest, BuyProperly and RealtyShares, where investors purchase shares in buildings and collect profits from the rental income, Key requires people live in the units and become what the company calls “owner-residents,” essentially purchasing a share in a condo owned by another investor.

However, like with any real estate, there are still inherent risks if the market under performs, one expert notes.

Taylor toured his condo this spring and on April 12 decided he wanted to become an owner-resident. He officially moved in to his two-bedroom in the West Queen West area June 1.

“I was years away from being able to move into any kind of ownership and Key kind of helped me hack that whole timeline for myself,” he says.

Owner-residents pay monthly costs — fees that are a bit less than market rent. The more you invest, the less your monthly fees.

Those monthly amounts go towards expenses such as utilities, building maintenance, property taxes and financing costs. The owner-resident also pays a proportionate amount of the repairs and maintenance.

The “owner-resident” also pays $50 a month toward their equity in the condo. They can increase their monthly payments and opt after three years to try to take over the mortgage and ultimately be on title.

For Taylor, that all means he pays just about the same amount as he did to rent his former condo, including his monthly equity amount.

“I’m beyond thrilled this has gone so well for me. The timing was perfect. The setup was easy and the stars really kind of aligned,” Taylor says.

Daniel Dubois, who with Rob Richards co-founded Key, says the company’s mission “is to create a world where real estate is a source of freedom and prosperity” for everyone.

“We address the two biggest challenges associated with Canadians being able to own a home: the first one is a large down payment and the second is being able to qualify for and service a conventional mortgage,” Dubois goes on to say in an interview.

There is no bank involvement in terms of securing a mortgage approval, but residents have to show, among other things, that they are receiving a steady income and have the means to make their monthly payments.

Richards says in Toronto there are now 800,000 condo units mostly owned by investors and rented to people who are “aspiring owners” — the latter for whom the dream of ownership is getting further and further out of reach due to increasingly escalating housing prices that are rising faster than wages.

Key works by partnering with property owners — people who already own the condos to secure units. Key says it aligns this real estate investor capital with the owner-resident’s capital to “supplement the cost” of home ownership.

Key says it makes money in large part by being the property manager for the suites.

There’s an owner-resident agreement that is outside the Residential Tenancies Act. Key allows its residents to give short notice to leave — 75 days — and they can take their accumulated equity with them, only having to pay a 1 per cent transaction fee to Key on that invested equity.

The asset owner can’t sell the condo in the first three years and after that they must give six months notice to the owner-resident. The latter would have the first right of refusal — they can apply to purchase the unit at fair market value.

The company is planning to broaden its scope soon to single-family homes, semis and townhouses.

Richards and Dubois declined in an interview to discuss the specifics of Key’s finances, but according to one report from an online real estate magazine, Key has raised hundreds of millions from insurance companies, banks and pension funds.

The company recently completed a beta test involving 20 people in 14 condo suites in downtown Toronto.

Key predicts that, based on how the real estate market has performed in the last five years, the owner-resident’s equity will appreciate by 30 per cent over the next five years. But Key does caution that new resident-owners are taking on the risk of their real estate depreciating.

Matti Siemiatycki, professor of geography and planning and director of the Infrastructure Institute at U of T, says Key’s model “still requires a lot of scrutiny.”

“(Key) has some pretty big players in venture capital and private equity involved in this. Those folks are going to want a return on their investment too. Is it that their long-term hold is on the appreciation of these (condo) units?

“Is that the profit-making play here? How is the (investment) return generated, especially if the units are rented at below market or at market rates? I’d want to know a bit more about how that part works,” the professor says.

Donovan Vincent is a housing reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @donovanvincent

Source : Toronto Star More   

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