Mastercard to open $510M cyber-security centre in Vancouver

The excerpted article was written by Tyler Orton Business in Vancouver

Ottawa is putting up nearly $50 million to boost the presence of Mastercard Inc. in Vancouver with the launch of a $510 million cyber security centre.

The credit card company announced Thursday (January 23) that the West Coast city would be the home of its sixth global technology centre — one focused on developing technologies to thwart cyber attacks in the payments arena.

In a bid to entice the financial giant to B.C., the federal government dipped into its Strategic Innovation Fund to the tune of $49 million.

A February 2019 analysis from The Logic revealed just over half the fund’s recipients were foreign firms, at the time the story was published.

Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga said in a statement, “The Vancouver centre will help us meet the growing demand for technology solutions to reduce the cost of cyber-attacks, enable today’s connected devices to become tomorrow’s secure payment devices and address the growing vulnerabilities associated with the Internet of Things.”

Mastercard’s new Intelligence and Cyber Centre will be based at The Exchange office tower on Howe Street, which counts Inc. among its tenants.

The Mastercard office houses Vancouver-founded cyber security firm NuData Security Inc., which Mastercard acquired in 2017.

Mastercard said in a statement the new centre will be “creating and maintaining” a total of 380 jobs, while the federal government estimated the new sit would create 100 new co-op positions.

NuData already employs about 100 workers in its downtown office, leaving Mastercard to hire about 300 more workers to meet the needs of the cyber centre.

Jill Tipping, CEO of the B.C. Tech Association, told Business in Vancouver Mastercard was clearly enticed by access to talent and the city’s connections with key markets around the world.

“I’m thrilled that they’re recognizing Vancouver as a great place to launch, but it makes it even more important that we put the investment into supporting our local homegrown companies,” she said.

Mastercard is the most recent international company to show an interest in Vancouver.

Earlier this week, Silicon Valley-based fintech company Tipalti Inc. announced it was opening an office in the city next month, while fellow California tech firm Grammarly Inc. opened a 3,000-square-foot site in Gastown last fall.


Does private insurance fit with Canada’s health system?

The excerpted article was written by DIANA DUONG | The Province

Is paying out-of-pocket for medical care the answer to long wait times?

In Canada, private medical insurance does not exist. Our health care system does not allow paying with private health insurance for any hospital services that are “medically necessary.” It’s illegal for patients to pay out of pocket to skip a long waitlist for a surgery and physicians cannot accept payment from patients who want to see them sooner.

To be clear, we’re not talking about the private insurance that covers dental care, vision, or prescription drugs. Private medical insurance in Canada would aim to provide an alternative option to waitlists and providing faster and better options for currently covered elective procedures. In England, 10.5 percent of the population have private medical insurance while 44 percent of the population in Australia have purchased complementary coverage on top of their public system.

Canada’s model is designed to protect affordability. Healthcare is provided on the basis of need, rather than the ability to pay, states the Canada Health Care System website. A major concern is that if private insurance were introduced, high-income people will receive faster and better care than lower-income people. But with a growing aging population, not enough facilities to manage the elderly, and painfully lengthy waitlists, many wonder if it’s time to consider how private medical insurance could fit into our system.

Healthcare is provided on the basis of need, rather than the ability to pay

Conservative policy think tank Fraser Institute released a new study this week criticizing these objections. It compares the healthcare systems in several developed nations with universal health care coverage. But when Healthing spoke with study author Steven Globerman, he says this study doesn’t offer a prescription or proposal of how exactly Canada could introduce private insurance to our current model.

“It’s hard to say ‘here’s a specific model,’ because it varies from country to country,” he says. “Each country has its own differences and its own idiosyncrasies. If Canada is going to move along the path towards allowing private insurance, Canada needs to go slowly and carefully and adopt the changes and see which seem to work and which don’t. What works in Switzerland might not work in Canada.”

Indeed, if done wrong, it may have unintended consequences. A report from the Grattan Institute states that private hospitals in Australia are “less efficient than public hospitals.” The report found that “a handful of greedy doctors charging more than twice the Medicare Benefit Schedule fee account for the vast majority of out-of-pocket costs private patients pay.”

It also found that private hospital patients stay 9 per cent longer than public hospital patients with similar conditions, which it estimates costs about $1 billion each year.

When asked if services provided by private institutions should be subjected to the same rules and regulations as public institutions — and importantly, the same price or cheaper in order to protect affordability, Globerman said, “it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.”

“You can have private insurance cost more than the tax dollar value of public insurance if people are willing to pay for it. That’s going to be determined by the marketplace,” he says. “If the government thinks that’s a monopoly price and it’s too high, then they can invoke some kind of regulation that might lower price.”

Globerman suggests adding private insurance can help get faster service, but it may result in a two-tier system.

“In a narrow sense, there would probably be a two-tier system,” he says. “Some people might get faster care or a wider selection of providers but everyone will have shorter wait times, including people who are strictly on the public insurance system and they’ll better off.”

But without a clear model ahead or a health system similar to Canada’s, it’s hard to definitively say that all parts of the population will be better off.

State of emergency, not a reason to deny auto insurance

Out on the roads when you shouldn’t have been? You might still be covered in an accident

CBC News

Some good news for travellers during the state of emergency — if you were out on the roads when you weren’t supposed to be and got in an accident, you might still have a shot at being covered by your insurance company.

Erin Norwood, Atlantic Canada’s manager of government relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said while companies don’t condone driving when it is prohibited by a municipality, it doesn’t necessarily violate your policy.

“Driving during a state of emergency in and of itself would not typically invalidate auto insurance coverage,” she said.

Amanda Dean, vice-president of IBC Atlantic, said other considerations still apply, such as who is at fault and whether your vehicle was in a fit condition to drive.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has ticketed drivers during the state of emergency for driving with windshields covered in ice and snow.

Dean said it’s essential to prove you took every safety precaution, including clearing snow from your vehicle.

Some people have run into trouble while starting their vehicles when the engine block is covered in snow. One person posted on Facebook about a family member’s vehicle catching fire because it wasn’t cleaned out under the hood.

File your claims ASAP

With the city digging out and people assessing their properties, Norwood said it’s important to let your insurance company know as soon as possible.

While insurance adjusters are not included in the professions exempt from the state of emergency, she said now is a good time for policy holders to gather photos and find old receipts.

Some houses suffered damage to shingles and siding during the hurricane-force winds last Friday.

Others had leaks from snow blowing into attics and melting down through the ceiling.

Dean said people should check their insurance policy to see if it covers alternate accommodations, so they can stay in hotels, motels or with relatives before their homes can be repaired.

Source: CBC News

Manitoba offering disaster aid to those affected by severe October snowstorm

WINNIPEG _ The Manitoba government is offering disaster assistance to municipalities, homeowners, farms and small businesses pummelled by a vicious snowstorm in October.

More than 250,000 electricity customers lost power at some point as thick, heavy snow brought down tree limbs and power lines.

The early blast of winter just before the Thanksgiving weekend moved Premier Brian Pallister to declare a state of emergency.

Pallister says the storm resulted in widespread damage and the financial aid will help with costs not covered by insurance.

The snow covered crops that farmers were still trying to harvest and also resulted in the Red River Floodway being used for the first time in the fall.

The province has already announced compensation related specifically to the floodway’s impact.

“The (disaster financial assistance) program will help cover the costs of response and recovery from the overall weather event,” Pallister said Thursday.

Manitoba Hydro said during the height of the storm that it had caused unprecedented damage to transmission lines and towers.

Among the hardest-hit areas was Portage la Prairie, a city of 13,000. Many people there were still without power three days after the storm first hit. City officials warned that sewage lift stations were operating on backup power and residents should not flush their toilets.

Several First Nations had to move seniors and other vulnerable people into a Red Cross emergency shelter in Winnipeg.

The provincial government asked all residents to avoid non-essential travel.

Black History Month stamp celebrates little-known hockey history

The Colored Hockey Championship stamp tells the story of overcoming adversity

HALIFAXJan. 23, 2020 /CNW/ – Canada Post today unveiled a stamp honouring the Colored Hockey Championship and the all-Black hockey teams in the Maritimes that competed for it between 1895 and the early 1930s.

In this little-known chapter in Canadian hockey history, determined organizers and players arranged their own challenge matches, dispelling hurtful misconceptions and changing the game in small but important ways.

In the late 19th century, Baptist Church leaders believed all-Black hockey would be a great way to attract young Black men to the Church to strengthen their religious path. Games became community events that brought mixed audiences together in the stands; and post-game meals united Black players from different communities.

There was no predetermined game schedule. Rather, teams challenged each other to matches by telegraph or by placing ads in local newspapers. Organizers, players and newspapers of the day called the ultimate prize the Colored Hockey Championship, a term not in use today, but which the stamp issue retains because it is historically accurate.

The stamp acknowledges some of the game’s early developments, including some of the earliest recorded uses of down-to-the-ice goaltending, which was later adopted by players in “white-only” leagues, including professional leagues. At that time, hockey goalies in other leagues stood upright.

The first record of an all-Black hockey game in the Halifax area dates back to March 1895 and involved the Dartmouth Jubilees and the Halifax Stanleys. Six more teams would soon form, including one from Prince Edward Island. There were the Halifax Eurekas, Africville Sea-Sides, Truro Victorias, Hammonds Plains Moss Backs, Amherst Royals and Charlottetown West End Rangers.

The golden era of all-Black hockey was between 1900 and 1905, when games often outdrew those of “white-only” leagues, but teams continued to play for the Colored Hockey Championship until the 1930s.

Designed by Lara Minja of Lime Design, the stamp features an illustration of the Halifax Eurekas, the Colored Hockey Champions in 1904. The illustration by Ron Dollekamp is based on a historical photograph. The stamp is available in booklets of 10; the Official First Day Cover is cancelled in Halifax.

Canada Post is proud to honour the courage of those who organized and played all-Black hockey and helped to make this little-known story part of Canada’s national discussion.

Click here for stamp images and Details magazine and

SOURCE Canada Post

For further information: Media Relations, 613-734-8888,

Related Links

How Canadian researchers are using data to track the spread of the coronavirus

TORONTO _ Canadian researchers are making advances in tracking the trajectory of viral illnesses, like the emergent coronavirus, as they try to stay ahead of any potential threat to Canada.

From global flight patterns to learning the names of individual patients, scientists say they have more ways to monitor infectious diseases than ever.

These insights are drawn from new data-driven technologies, improved communication across public- health agencies and increased transparency in reporting infections.

But as our interconnected world has made it easier to share information, it has also multiplied the opportunities for viruses to spread, said Kamran Khan, a Toronto doctor who specializes in infectious disease.

“On one hand, the world is rapidly changing, where diseases are emerging and spreading faster,” said Khan, a scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital.

“On the other hand, we happen to have growing access to data we can use … to generate insights and spread them faster than the diseases spread themselves.”

The newly identified coronavirus has so far sickened close to 600 people in China and killed at least 17. Other cases have been reported in the United States, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Thursday that several people in Canada are under observation for signs they may have contracted the pneumonia-like illness, but that the risk to Canadians remains low.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization determined Thursday that it was “too early” to declare the outbreak a global health emergency, but cautioned that “it may yet become one.”

Khan, the founder and CEO of BlueDot, said his medical analytics company has been monitoring the virus since first detecting signs of an outbreak on Dec. 31 in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where most of the early cases are concentrated.

Since the rise of commercial air travel, Khan said humans have become the key vectors, or virus carriers, driving the dispersion of diseases around the world.

BlueDot’s AI-powered system analyzes billions of data points, including airline ticket sales and online news reports, to map how viruses spread through the global transportation network and predict regions that are at the highest risk of an outbreak.

Khan said about 80 per cent of travellers from Wuhan to Canada are headed for Toronto and Vancouver, but he noted that there are no non-stop flights from the Chinese city, which means the volume of travel is relatively low.

BlueDot shares such insights with its clients across the private and public sector to keep them posted on the latest developments as an epidemic evolves, so they can co-ordinate their response, said Khan.

However, he admits that every prediction comes with some degree of uncertainty. For example, researchers are still piecing together the scale of the coronavirus outbreak, and how efficiently the virus is transmitted from person to person.

Meanwhile, laboratory networks across the country are working to make sure tests are available wherever cases may crop up, said Yoav Keynan, the scientific lead at the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases.

The coronavirus comes from same family that caused the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which killed at least 774 people worldwide, including 44 people in Canada.

Since then, Canada has taken steps to improve communication between provincial, federal and global public-health agencies, Keynan said.

“I think there’s a greater degree of knowledge-sharing across jurisdictions that allows us to track epidemics,” said Keynan, an associate professor in University of Manitoba’s medical microbiology department.

“Canadians should be encouraged by how much better the public-health infrastructure is compared to what it was 17 years ago.”

David Fisman, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, who was part of Ontario’s response to the SARS outbreak, said the new coronavirus could serve as a  “stress test” for the protocols that have been implemented since.

For example, the virus appears to be highly transmissible in health-care settings, but not outside of them.

That means overcrowded hospitals and emergency rooms could potentially become petri dishes for the infectious disease.

“We’ve seen this movie before,” said Fisman.

“Our infection-control game is better than it was. But we still have this problem with the physical plant of our hospitals, with our emergency rooms, where people are stuck together cheek-by-jowl, and that creates vulnerability.”

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest