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‘We may not survive’: Orleans clinic under financial stress amid COVID-19

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OTTAWA —
A crucial resource in Ottawa’s east end that acts as an alternative to the emergency department has taken a huge financial hit amid COVID-19 and doctors at the Orléans Urgent Care Clinic are doing what they can to prevent it from closing.

“Right now our patient volume, which is what drives the business end of it, is down 66 per cent,” says Dr. Raymond Aubin, the president of the Orléans Urgent Care Clinic medical associates. “Normally we would see 150 to 170 patients a day, right now we’re seeing 50 patients a day.”

Aubin says the clinic, which is not seeing anyone with respiratory illnesses, is losing $30,000 to $40,000 a month.

Adding to the financial stress—doctors can’t bill the province for all the appointments they’re doing over the phone for another few months due to a glitch in the electronic billing system. With staff and operational costs that still have to be paid, Aubin says “it’s an existential threat for sure. We may not survive if we don’t have some kind of support.”

A survey by the Ontario Medical Association found 49 per cent of outpatient clinics are thinking about closing. 

“It really is a perfect storm in a bad way,” said OMA president Dr. Sohail Gandhi. “There needs to be broad infrastructure support so these clinics can continue to be solvent basically and they don’t shut down because as we come out of COVID-19 we’re going to need the services.”

The clinic has gone from five doctors to two. Aubin is hoping the government will step in financially.

“We’re looking for other, additional support to cover the deficit period during the pandemic period,” says Aubin. 

CTV News Ottawa has reached out to the Ministry of Health for comment. 

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Liberals turn over thousands of pages on WE decision

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OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government has turned over thousands of pages of documents related to the WE controversy to a House of Commons’ committee, which lawyers are now vetting for personal information and cabinet secrets.

The finance committee demanded the documents last month as it probes whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s relationship with WE Charity influenced the government’s ill-fated decision to have the organization run a $912-million student-volunteer program.

The Liberals handed more than 5,000 pages about the decision to the committee over the weekend, but it isn’t clear when they will be released to members as parliamentary lawyers are going through them to prevent the release of protected information.

Committee members are hoping the documents will shed light on the discussions that led to the decision to have WE run the Canada Student Services Grant, before the deal was cancelled in early July.

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough and Small Business Minister Mary Ng are expected to appear before the committee on Wednesday to discuss the grant program, which promised to pay students up to $5,000 for volunteering.

Trudeau has apologized for not recusing himself from cabinet discussions about the WE deal given his family’s relationship with the charity, but has denied any wrongdoing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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U.S., U.K., Canada, Others Express ‘Deep Concern’ Over Hong Kong

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(Bloomberg) —

The governments of the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada and New Zealand said they are “gravely concerned” by the Hong Kong government’s decision to postpone legislative elections and bar pro-democracy candidates from participating.

“These moves have undermined the democratic process that has been fundamental to Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity,” the U.S. secretary of state and foreign ministers from the other countries said in a joint statement.

They also expressed “deep concern” over Beijing’s imposition of the new National Security Law in Hong Kong, which will make it a crime to advocate for independence from China. The law “is eroding the Hong Kong people’s fundamental rights and liberties,” the statement said.

“We support the legitimate expectations of the people of Hong Kong to elect Legislative Council representatives via genuinely free, fair, and credible elections. We call on the Hong Kong government to reinstate the eligibility of disqualified candidates so that the elections can take place in an environment conducive to the exercise of democratic rights and freedoms.”

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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Mideast Markets Trade Mixed With Aramco, Oil Eyed: Inside EM

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(Bloomberg) —

Middle Eastern equities were mixed as investors weighed the outlook for oil and after Saudi Aramco kept its dividend unchanged even after posting a slump in profit for the second quarter.

Stock benchmarks in Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi rose, while those in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar and Israel declined. Aramco shares gained as much 0.5% after it said it will pay $18.75 billion in dividends for the second quarter, matching the payout for the first three months of the year.

The oil giant disclosed a 73% drop in profit for the second quarter. Still, it is sticking to its payout plans while major competitors such as BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell slashed dividends after the coronavirus pandemic upended the oil business.

On Friday, oil ministers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iraq, Oman and Bahrain held a conference call to discuss the oil market, according to a joint statement. They reaffirmed their commitment to the OPEC+ agreement and said they are “very encouraged by the recent signs of improvement in the global economy.”

Investors should be “shifting their orientation to value stocks, especially those stocks that have the potential to emerge stronger from the pandemic,” said Iyad Abu Hweij, the managing partner at Allied Investment Partners PJSC.

MIDDLE EASTERN MARKETS:

The Tadawul All Share Index gains 0.3% as of 10:43 a.m. in RiyadhAl Rajhi Bank +0.7%, Banque Saudi Fransi +0.9%, Makkah Construction & Development +2.1%Kuwait’s Premier Market index gains 0.7%Kuwait Finance House, Ahli United Bank and National Bank of Kuwait climb between 0.5% and 1.6%, respectivelyREAD: NBK Needs to Enhance Revenue and Cut Costs to Navigate HeadwindsMORE: Kuwait’s Shamal Az-Zour to List on Stock Exchange Aug. 16Dubai’s DFM General Index drops 1.3%, with biggest lender Emirates NBD falling 1.6%Bad loans may grow within U.A.E’s deferred books without strong recovery, Bloomberg Inteligence analyst Edmond Christou writes in a note“U.A.E. banks’ initial review of the deferred-loan book shows that real estate, hospitality including services and retail are most affected”Indexes in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Oman climb as much as 0.3%, while those in Qatar and Israel fall as much as 0.3%

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