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What you need to know about the Omicron wave today

Check here for the latest news and stories on the Omicron outbreak as it occurs

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The rapid spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant across Canada is driving more restrictions, service cuts and concerns about shortages on a daily basis.

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Check out the latest news and stories about the Omicron outbreak here as it occurs.

9:35 am

Quebec’s unprecedented plan to tax adult residents who have refused to be vaccinated has been criticized.

Calling it a “constitutionally vulnerable proposition,” the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said the penalty tax would be a divisive measure, punishing and alienating those who may be most in need of public health support and services.

He notes that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms recognizes individual autonomy over our bodies and medical decisions.

– Canadian Press

9:31

Inflation in the United States jumped seven percent in December from the same month in 2020, the highest figure since June 1982 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague supply chains.

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Although energy prices have fallen, purchases of food and cars have increased south of the border. Growing wage pressures as businesses face the Great Resignation and the slowing labor market recovery will only stoke the fire in 2022, said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at the Bank of Montreal.

Yesterday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned during his confirmation hearing in the US Senate that inflation would become a “serious threat” and that the Fed will have to prevent it from “taking hold”.

“He really didn’t need to remind anyone that the economy doesn’t need ‘aggressive stimulus’ anymore, and today’s report will only reinforce the view that the Fed could being very late and may need to catch up quickly, “Guatieri wrote in a note to clients.

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Even though COVID-19 is at record highs in the United States, demand has not declined. The seven-day average for hospital admissions reached 140,576, the most patients hospitals have ever treated, the Wall Street Journal reported.

– Bianca Bharti

09h00

Royal Bank of Canada Managing Director David McKay has said inflation needs to be brought under “quick action” from the country’s central bank, Bloomberg reports.

McKay told Bloomberg on Tuesday that the recent rise in inflation was not temporary, but part of a cycle of wage costs that has taken hold.

“We never really backed down as a company and cut wages because inflation was temporary,” he said. “This is permanent, sustained inflation that needs to be addressed through monetary policy, so we need swift action this spring in the form of a series of rate hikes to address it.”

The rate of inflation in Canada remains at around 5%, the highest since 2003.

McKay said in the fall that Canadians are prepared to spend their savings in the event of a pandemic instead of using them to pay off debts and invest like the Bank of Canada expects. Kevin Carmichael of the Financial Post discussed how these choices affect the path of interest rates in an October column. Click here to read it.

With additional reporting from the Canadian Press, Bloomberg and Reuters