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January 12, 2022 – Updates by the federal and provincial governments on the COVID-19 pandemic

The following is an update on recent decisions and actions by the federal and provincial governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Booster dose recommended for a new group

Following a recommendation by Public Health, the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux announced that people who have contracted COVID-19 will be able to obtain the booster dose “as soon as the disease is resolved,” i.e., when symptoms cease.

Note that there should be a three-month interval between the second dose and the booster dose, which provides better protection against the Omicron variant.

It should also be noted that once the entire population has had the opportunity to receive the booster dose, the “adequately protected” status for the vaccine passport will increase to three doses. Currently, two doses are sufficient to obtain this status.

Change in the schedule for the third dose

Booking of appointments will open for all adults in the coming days:

  • January 12: age 35 and over
  • January 13: age 25 and over
  • January 14: age 18 and over

Appointments can be booked on the Clic Santé portal.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program

The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Filomena Tassi, and Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development Mary Ng, provided an update on the COVID-19 situation in Canada.

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program a has provided interest-free loans with partial repayment forgiveness to nearly 900,000 small businesses and non-profit organizations.

The Government of Canada announced that the deadline for repayment of these loans, offering partial forgiveness, has been extended from December 31, 2022, to December 31, 2023, for all eligible businesses.

Repayment of a loan on or before the new deadline of December 31, 2023, will result in partial forgiveness of up to one-third of the value of the loan (i.e., up to $20,000).

The outstanding loans will be converted into two-year loans with an interest rate of 5% per annum starting January 1, 2024, and must be fully repaid by December 31, 2025.

The federal government also announced that the deadline for repayments offering partial forgiveness of loans similar to those issued under the CEBA through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund is extended to December 31, 2023.

“Almost 900,000 small businesses accessed CEBA loans to help maintain operations through this difficult time,” Ms. Ng stated. “By extending the repayment deadline, we are ensuring that these hard-working business owners are able to focus on their operations and building back from this pandemic stronger than ever.”

Update on vaccines

Mr. Trudeau said that the Government of Canada has enough vaccine to inoculate all Canadians with a possible fourth dose, if necessary.

In addition, the delivery of 1.8 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been moved up, which will result in a total of 6.8 million doses being received in January 2022.

Over 10 million booster doses have already been administered across Canada.

Notably, 45% of children aged 5-11 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to date.