Canada

HSBC to RBC Part Two

This is part two of my continued write up of the purchase of HSBC Canada to RBC bank; it’s been a bit of a gong show. See part one. Please see the end of this post for day to day updates.

Communication

Lets start on a positive note, it goes downhill from here.

Unlike most of the feedback left on TrustPilot, which is not that trustworthy anyway, whenever I have called RBC I managed to get hold of someone very quickly. Staff have been friendly.

Health Care Scam

On one of the letters I received, with an RBC letterhead, they mis-printed a telephone number. I called the number several times to ensure I didn’t dial the incorrect number.

The call was actually one of those health care scams in the US, one of those “companies” that try to get people to sign up for the useless Medicare Plan B things. The call started off asking for confirmation if I was over 50, then they said I had won a health care monitoring device. Then, the call was directed to another recording about their plan details; there wasn’t a live person, all recordings.

I called RBC to advise them, of course they didn’t believe me until I read out the number on the letter where they confirmed it was incorrect. They asked me to send them the communication they sent me. I scanned the document and emailed it to them. Of course, I never heard anything back from them, didn’t even have the courtesy to send me an acknowledgement from a live person.

Fees Too Expensive

I called RBC on another occasion about non-receipt of a Credit Card, the person on the other end of the phone said there was a delay sending them out.

Apart from dealing with that I had the following conversation with them:

Me to RBC: “Your fees are a rip off”.
RBC to Me: “Oh yes I agree”.

I guess that just speaks for itself.

Didn’t Receive PIN

I called RBC to report that I hadn’t received a PIN.

They asked for the reference number on top of one of the letters I had been sent, they said it should be the same on every letter. I said there was a different reference on every single letter I had received and asked them which one they wanted, or maybe all 15+ of them.

They said they couldn’t just send me a PIN on its own and they would have to reissue the Debit Card as well.

On a positive point I did receive both through a courier fairly quickly.

Your Products Have Migrated

Incorrect Message on the HSBC Canada app.
As of today, 29th March, there is a message on the HSBC Canada app which says:

“HSBC Bank Canada has been acquired by Royal Bank of Canada. Your products and services have migrated to RBC and can be accessed on the RBC Mobile app.”

This is incorrect. Part of the migration means that the 29th is in a dead zone where customers cannot access anything online at HSBC Canada or RBC. I was quite amused two weeks ago though, as I did log into my RBC account and saw some of my accounts set up, I even managed to set alerts and update some of my details. When I was at an HSBC branch staff there said I shouldn’t have been able to do that.

Summary

I have received a mountain of papers through the post; myself and others have just become overwhelmed with it all most of it repeating the same thing time and time again. What a complete waste of paper.

As I have previously stated RBC is not good for customers who believe in climate change. Their fees are a rip off, three of our accounts would cost us CAD76.95 a month which is CAD923.40 a year, and I had NO fees at HSBC Canada; absolutely ridiculous. RBC were recently fined CAD7m for not reporting suspicious transactions [see Global News story]. RBC’s interest rates are much lower than HSBC Canada; so I would not only pay fees but lose money in interest as well.

It doesn’t make any sense to remain with RBC so I am migrating to another bank. If I have to go through it with HSBC to RBC I may as well do it to another bank. It might be easier for me to do this than other customers and moving bank is a somewhat stressful situation especially as HSBC haven’t been that cooperative or timely with what they’ve been asked to do.

Updates

30 March 2024 at 09:43PST

  • Two weeks ago I managed to access my RBC account whereas nobody else could, not even HSBC staff. I set up alerts and was able to perform other functions. Last night, 29 March, I received a text alert from my chequing account and saw some data move in there; chequing and savings. This is via the desktop, can’t see anything in the app. The balance is not correct, so we’ll see if this changes.
  • I saw a story where RBC will make profit in new weapons being sent to Israel by the US government. It doesn’t sound good that RBC is profiting from blowing up people. [Source: PBICanada]

31 March 2024 at 10:08PST

  • I was trying to figure out why some accounts were showing in the RBC app but not when signing into the desktop. I noticed that the RBC website doesn’t work well in Firefox. That is not good at all. Also, in Firefox, RBC does not display external accounts, for example, my HSBC accounts in the UK. In Vivaldi everything appears to work ok.
  • The HSBC Canada app was available internationally, however, according to comments left on the Apple app store this is not the case for the RBC one. This is not good for Canadian customers who are living or working overseas.
  • My balances are still incorrect as of this morning on my chequing and credit card accounts.
  • Investment accounts are not showing but I think this is scheduled for later today.

1 April 2024 at 13:53PST

  • Some but not all investment accounts are now showing online.
  • Chequing accounts are still showing incorrect balances.
  • Global View in HSBC UK or External Accounts in RBC do not show credit cards; they did before.
  • Global View in either direction do not show investment accounts.
  • In Global View HSBC UK I have lost the ability to transfer funds from the UK to Canada. Unless this is fixed there is no point in having this facility. Even with the facility the RBC rates are not competitive with companies like OFX.
  • Even though I deleted them all in HSBC Canada some time ago all my payees have reappeared in RBC. Took some time to find out where they are stored at RBC but went ahead and deleted them.
  • When trying to book an appointment RBC do not show any venues to meet in:

RBC Appointment Venue

4 April 2024 at 21:34PST

  • RBC have an app called Launch which I installed. Even though there is the option for FaceID its actually greyed out so its not available. I noticed that other parts of the app just show error messages.
  • I have been trying to close a GBP account because RBC cannot provide the Global View/Transfer functionality as HSBC did. I spoke to someone over live chat, who said write a secure message. I wrote a secure message but no one answered. I phoned the general customer service number and after waiting on hold for 10 minutes they said closing it is not an option, she wasn’t going to give me a reason but I asked and she said 9 April is the earliest it can be done due to the migration from HSBC. I asked her why I wasn’t told this on the previous contact I had with RBC but she couldn’t answer.

5th April 2024 at 10:04PST

  • Search the RBC website to see if there were fees on Interac transfers, in the same paragraph they said its free but then went on to say its not with a $1 service charge.  I tried to complete the “Are You Satisfied With” box but just got a “technical error”. Pretty typical of RBC!

Interac

Interac

6th April 2024 at 12:43PST

  • RBC online booking system is still down. I reported this several days ago and they promised to put up a message which they never did. Screen dump of what I see today:

Appointment System Down

  • Prior to the migration HSBC said their emails would auto-redirect to their new ones at RBC. Today I wrote an email to our Premiere Manager and found out that clearly is not the case. Why RBC couldn’t have just done a domain redirect is beyond me.

Email Redirect

  • I finally got a secure message reply about closing a GBP account. Originally they told me I could close it by sending a secure message, this was by live chat. However, the person who replied by secure message said I can’t close accounts in that way. Another person told me closing the account wasn’t an option, when pressed she said I could close it on or after 9 April when the HSBC migration was out of the way. The 9 April date was not mentioned in the secure message reply.  I am receiving so much conflicting information from RBC I’m beginning to think no one there has been training or has the correct information on hand.
  • I tried to log on via the iPhone App and received a message “we’re having technical difficulties at the moment, please try again later”. Seems they are always having “technical difficulties”.

Logon Technical Error

7th April 2024 at 09:20PST

  • A group called SCAN (Seniors for Climate Action Now) protested in front of an RBC bank in Kingston, Ontario. [GlobalNews story]
  • This article, requires registration, outlines RBC’s struggle to go green but at the same time financing anti-climate change activities in a big way. [Business Week]
  • The Fossil Free RBC website details the bank’s anti-climate change activities and highlights some calls to action.

8th April 2024 at 15:25PST

  • I finally received an acknowledgement of a complaint I made a few days ago, they said they would look into it. One minute later I received a resolution message. So, not sure if they are really going to look into them. The IT issues I reported still haven’t been fixed and no messages have been placed on their website as someone said they would. It’s really bad.

9th April 2024 at 13:32PST

  • Yet another day the online booking appointment system is down. No response to my complaint about it.
  • I was previously told I couldn’t close my GBP account until the 9th April. Got a secure message today saying this is not the case and I can just phone through to close it anytime. I phoned them and they said they couldn’t close it over the phone but had to visit a branch. So many different stories by different staff, no one knows what they are doing. A total gong show.
  • When I called them I had a question about transferring my TFSA out, the rep said she would transfer me to the investment department. They put me through to a recorded message that lasted about 5 minutes then it dropped my call. Arrrggghhhh.
  • Despite the barriers put in place by RBC, I finally got in touch with my HSBC Premier Manager who was able help with some questions. I found there is no point phoning the RBC call center as their “advice” is generally incorrect.
  • The Premiere Manager sent me an email, as a courtesy I replied to it, however, it was rejected by the RBC firewall. Evidently VIP or other customers are now not allowed to send staff emails as we did with HSBC.
  • It does look as though RBC lost the TFSA “transfer out” paperwork so I will have to go through this again.

12th April 2024 at 14:27PST

  • The RBC online appointment booking system is still down. Customers have to phone their customer service department to get book a meeting.
  • I phoned the RBC Investment Department today and I was gobsmacked that I actually spoke to someone who was helpful and knowledgeable. I did have to sit through a 4 minute recorded lecture first though, which was tedious.

27th April 2024 at 15:04PST

  • As of today their “book a meeting online” is still broken.
  • I received a call from their “resolution” team about the complaints I had submitted. Regarding the conflicting information I had been given by RBC staff they said there has been some staff training issues. I asked about the IT issues but there was no comment, but it seemed the HSBC onboarding process had overwhelmed them. I told them paperwork had been lost and there was no comment on that either. The rep was polite but the call didn’t really achieve anything.
  • Since they had lost my TFSA Transfer Out paperwork another one was sent to them on 16th April. I don’t have much hope of them processing this to be honest.

1st May 2024 at 14:46PST

  • Since my TFSA account has vanished I suspect the “transfer out” request may have been processed. However, so far they haven’t sent me a notification or receipt. Nothing has appeared in my other bank account yet although may be a little early for that. We’ll see.
  • I received, through post, a statement for a “Line of Credit”. When I called them they said this was transferred from HSBC but I didn’t have such a facility there. Even though having the account is free they charge 9% interest for the pleasure of using it, another way of them to make money.
  • Couldn’t log in via the app, message popped up saying they had “technical difficulties”.

8th May 2024 at 14:00PST

  • Finally the TFSA transfer out was finalized and RBC sent out the last statement to me.
  • I tried to book an appointment online to visit a branch to close my accounts, however, as usual that system was down. I contacted their call center, the appointment booking system was down for them too. They transferred me to someone else who was surprised to get my call. All in all it took 15 minutes to book the meeting.

9th May 2024 at 09:30PST

  • At the branch I was supposed to have an appointment there was no front desk person available so I had to line up with others.
  • The person I was due to see at the branch had been off work for weeks. So, whomever booked the appointment made a mistake. However, someone else started the process in closing accounts.
  • I had two pages of feedback to give to them and I was able to speak to the branch manager. He said he would forward it to senior management. Regarding the appointment for today he said the call center keep making this mistake, 8 in the past couple of months. He said RBC was having teething problems regarding the migration but it would improve, this is what the resolution center also said to me. I said the IT infrastructure outside of the migration was still pretty awful. Reading between the lines it appears there must have been a data dump from HSBC to RBC without proper project management, parallel runs, testing or training – everyone done on a “seat of their pants” methodology.
  • The people at the branch were friendly. The manager said the right words. I think everyone in RBC is decent people but they are dealing with an unfortunate circumstances that decision makers have put them in.
2024-05-09T22:51:48+00:0029 March 2024|Canada|

HSBC to RBC

HSBC is closing down in Canada and sold its company to RBC, I will reflect on my experiences with the move here.

Communication

Keeping customers up to date is of course important in any transition like this.

  • Documentation by snail mail appears to be working out ok however customers are receiving this at different times, not all at once. I guess they must be sending them out in batches.
  • Emails are not working at all. I haven’t been receiving their email updates at all. I reached out to HSBC, who are still the main point of contact, and they are investigating. So far, I am missing out of three different emails. The important information in these emails I have more or less stumbled across by accident when logging into my account.  Since I know other HSBC customers I have been forwarded these emails, obviously they should come to me directly.

Client Cards

These were due to go out, according to their own timetable, on 8th February but we didn’t receive them until much later on. When I spoke to HSBC about another matter they hadn’t received their ones either and I would have thought they should get them first so the know the workflow the customers would have to go through.

Statements and Payees

It looks as though there won’t be any access to accounts between 28 thru 30 March. RBC are recommending to download all statements, tax documents and payees before that date.  They said they would be migrated over to RBC but maybe there is a chance that they won’t be.

From my experience to date I wouldn’t be surprised if there were hiccups so it is best to extract everything from there as possible.

Customer Service

There have been hiccups at HSBC but I’ve never had too many complaints regarding customer service especially as I have a rep I can call directly. The rep doesn’t always get things right or followed up with queries which hasn’t been very good.

Looking at reviews of RBC not many people have a good word to say about them which is very worrying.

Fees

I’ve never paid any annual credit fee or monthly charge to have a checking account in my life.  So the most shocking thing about RBC is how much they charge for their services, they are very expensive. I’m not even sure what I am paying for.

They will not be charging these fees in the first 12 months of being with RBC but after that they will kick in.

I am totally not impressed with this at all.

RBC Advantages and Disadvantages

There are some advantages of being with RBC over HSBC, but not many.

  • Will be able to put Debit Card on ApplePay, something that HSBC Canada won’t allow.
  • Use verification services.
  • More branches to visit.

Disadvantages

  • Potentially poor customer service.
  • Very high fees so we will be much worse off with them.

However, other banks or credit unions offer the same service with no fees so it makes little sense paying for a service at RBC when its free at other places.

Stay or Leave?

Everybody we have spoken to that is with RBC do not recommend them at all.  They say all they care about is making money. However, others say that about the bigger banks on Canada as well.

According to the Banking on Climate Chaos website, RBC is the 5th worst bank in financing fossil fuel globally between 2016 and 2022. I find this very scary and part of me doesn’t want my fees or profit they make from us to be spent on making the world a worse place than it is already.

I already have some plans in place and will share those experiences later.

2024-03-04T22:07:02+00:004 March 2024|Canada|

Canada Election Time: Surrey Newton

The Canadian Election has been announced to take place on 20th September 2021, this is a quick review of who is running in my own local area.

During A Pandemic?

There has been a great deal of talk about why the election is being held now, according to some Mr Trudeau promised there wouldn’t be held now and is only holding it since he is sure to win. Not sure whether that is true or not. Either way, it does appear this was unexpected and prospective candidates do appear to be slightly unprepared for this eventuality, so I do feel for them in a way. They are doing the best they can under the circumstances.

Our Area

We live in the Surrey-Newton area of British Columbia. It is a diverse district but has many issues from crime to empty stores. At the time the election was announced there were no candidates in the area listed aside from the incumbent from the Liberal Party. As a Brit, I find this a little odd that each party didn’t have representation here already.

Liberal Party

My neighbours talk about Sukh Dhaliwal as being heavily supported by the local community but wasn’t sure what he’s achieved for the area.

Looking through his Twitter account:

  • He has only mentioned climate change 3 times in 2021.
  • The last time he mentioned wildfires was back in 2016.
  • He mentioned homeless once in 2021.
  • He has mentioned health many times in 2021.
  • He has mentioned COVID 9 times, the pandemic sixteen times, and the vaccine seventeen times, in 2021 (Note: some crossover where all phrases intermingled in one tweet)
  • He has only mentioned LGBTQ once in 2021 and throughout his time on Twitter.

A good percentage of his tweets or retweets are from the federal rather than local perspective. Now and again, I am given a little insight into what he is doing locally but not a great deal. This is the case in the US too.

Let’s have a look at his entry on the Liberal Party website:

Liberal Blog

Well, that’s not good! No platform for the local area but you can see a very brief resume about him.

On the web: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Liberal Party Website

Conservative Party

The Conservative Party candidate for this area is Syed Mohsin. So, let’s see what we can find out about him.

First, I went to the Conservative Party website and saw their list of candidates [looks like this link is now broken but replaced with some kind of childish graphic [as of 31 Jan 2023]. In the little container they have for him there are no links to any social media accounts. Not a good start. However, when I click on the “Learn More” link [as of 29 Jan 2023 the link is broken and goes nowhere] the site just times out, also, there is no security certificate on the domain either.

There is a Conservative Party website for our area, but it doesn’t list the candidate’s name.

So, I have nothing to go on to assess what this part will do for this area.

NDP

This one is looking more hopeful.  The NDP candidate is Avneet Johal.

Avneet has two sub-domains at the NDP website, so https://surreynewton.ndp.ca just redirects to https://avneetjohal.ndp.ca.

His resume looks good, and hits some of the keywords I like such as “mental health”, “diversity”, “climate” & “jobs” etc.

When I go to the websites News section, it’s a little disappointing as the entries are from a federal rather than local perspective. There is nothing there which outlines his platform/manifesto for this area.  The Events page is empty at the time I visited it. The Volunteer page has a picture of Jagmeet Singh, which is lovely, but it would be better to have Avneet’s picture there. He needs to fast track his campaign to beat the Liberal Party candidate.

Avneet doesn’t have a Twitter account, I can’t find one and none is listed on his NDP website. He appears more active on Facebook and Instagram but not everyone has those platforms, and he needs to be everywhere given that this might be a more social media/digital election.

On the web: Facebook | Instagram | NDP Website

Green Party

I cannot find a candidate listed for this area. Again, I have no idea what the party would do for Surrey-Newton.

People’s Party of Canada

Pamela Singh is this party’s candidate.

Pamela has an entry on the PPC website with a short bio, but right now that’s about it. So, I can’t comment on this candidate right now.

On the web: PPC Website

Independent

Parveer Hundal is an Independent candidate running in this area.

Parveer is very articulate and sounds like she would be a great representative for Newton. She appears to be focused on crime, which is high in the Surrey, British Columbia, area.  Looking through some keywords/subject specialities on her resume/outline I see “crime”. “youth”, “housing”, “mental health”, “overdose”, “health care reform”, “affordable education”, and “diversity”. I don’t see mention of climate change or LGBTQ issues.

On her website she needs to link to any social media account she has and keep pushing the message out. She also needs to write a platform/manifesto and keep plugging away with more blog/news items.

On the web: Instagram | Elect Parveer Hundal Website (the website for Parveer Hundal is no longer available – updated 31st January 2023)

Summary

Likability

While nothing to do with their policies the two most approachable candidates for me are Parveer Hundal and Avneet Johal. We need some young forward-thinking candidates who are great for the community and represent the youth who will be most affected by issues like climate change.

Policies

I would like to compare all the parties but there is little or no presence from the Conservatives, Green Party and PPC. I just don’t know what the Liberal Party candidate has achieved here or what his manifesto is. The candidate who has outlined their policies/vision the most is Parveer Hundal.

When I speak to neighbours they say the Liberal candidate will surely get back in, no one knows what he has done but since he has the support of the community, he’s bound to get the most votes. The Labour Party in the UK was overconfident, and they were slaughtered at the last election, this could be the case here. Trudeau is extremely unpopular here in my community, I suspect they’ll be looking for someone else. Either way, I wish all the candidates my best.

When I become a citizen I look forward to voting in the next election.

2023-01-31T23:51:40+00:004 September 2021|Canada|

Fire in our Neighbourhood

FireOn 3rd August there was a major fire in the apartment block right opposite to our community here in Surrey, British Columbia.

We were having dinner at around 17:45 in the evening and started to hear a lot of commotion outside. Our apartment doesn’t face the street so we couldn’t tell exactly what was happening and kind of just went about our business as usual. Living surrounded by seniors it wasn’t unusual to hear emergency services coming and going anyhow.

It wasn’t until slightly later we realised the gravity of the situation. A major fire had started in the apartments across the street. The facade of the apartment affected looked just as it usually does. However, we did see water being sprayed on the back of it by a fire engine, the one of many emergency services that had arrived in the area. If there is anything going on I tend to stay away as I don’t want to be in the emergency services way and I felt incredibly sick for most of the day.

Later in the evening, the wind must have changed direction and blew the smoke over our community. It was a sweltering day but had to close all the windows because of the overwhelming smell. So, not only did I feel sick, but also hot and overwhelmed by the smell of the smoke. All these were minor issues compared with how events unfolded for the victims of the fire.

Although pending an investigation by the authorities the fire was reportedly started by an unattended BBQ. The structure of the building, especially the roof, made it difficult for the fire brigade to put out, who were on-site for two whole days. They left by Thursday morning when the area has been gated off and a 24/7 security guard posted to ensure looters, and such don’t attempt to enter the now abandoned property.

The local paper, The Surrey Now-Leader, has a good summary of what happened. On day 2 of the fire a YouTuber flew over our area with a drone to record what was happening at that point:

On the event of the fire the evacuees were led into our community by a team of volunteers including the Emergency Preparedness team. They were able to provide them with water, shade, toilets, comforting them and so on. One person was in distress after losing a pet in the fire. The media and other observers were also able to set up using our facilities. It’s great that all these people came together.

It’s very unfortunate that many of those will be unable to return to their home for some time to come. With the extent of the damage, it will take an exceptionally long time to fix what has been destroyed, I’m not even sure if the building must be torn down and rebuilt. I guess the coming weeks will have answers for those affected.

It’s tough to plan for such events but with potential flooding, wildfires, earthquakes, and other effects of climate change one must do what one can to ensure you can get back on your feet quickly after a disaster.

2021-09-12T03:55:32+00:006 August 2021|Canada|

British Columbia Heatwave

BC HeatwaveWe’ve had hot spells in British Columbia before but nothing like this and it has been totally miserable for many people.

Breaking Records

The small community in Lytton, British Columbia, is now on the international map for breaking the Canadian record for heat. On Monday 28 June 2021 the temperature went up to 47.5c, that is 117.5f. Even in our neighbourhood, we had a “feel like” temperature of 117f. [Source: Global BC]

It was reported that 25 people have died in a 24 hour period in the City of Burnaby due to the heat. [Source: CBC]

Emergency services have been affected as they can’t keep up with the demand of people falling sick due to the heat.

Schools and other services closed down, as a result, I am very pleased because it’s not right to put children or staff under such torture.

Moderate British Columbia

We are not used to the heat here in BC, we have a moderate climate and many complain when the temperature reaches 23c. It’s very difficult to manage temperatures into the 40s.

The majority of larger stores are set up with air conditioning. This is good otherwise their products will spoil and they won’t have any customers. Customers have to be comfortable while shopping. Smaller outlets are not equipped to handle the heat and even if restaurants have air conditioning it still creates an impossible kitchen environment for staff.

Very few homes are equipped with air conditioning so they survive on fans.

How Have We Coped?

It’s been an extremely tough couple of days. Every room in our place is about 30c and no air, it’s been impossible to deal with, I’ve felt very sick. The coolest parts of our place are our bathrooms, I actually tried to sleep on the toilet floor I was that desperate.

We can go down to the garage which is quite cool and have sat in the car to cool off. However, it is dark with no wifi/cell signal so there is little you can do to be productive. However, it is a moment of respite from the sickening heat.

Some neighbours have experienced hotter temperatures in their homes, I don’t know how they have coped, it’s very difficult to escape it. I’ve heard of acquaintances toothpaste and butter turn to liquid due to the heat.

We could go out to shopping malls but that means going out in the heat, having to wear masks that are uncomfortable during the heat, leaving the car to blister outside and difficult to return to.

Yesterday I couldn’t even turn my computer on, I was fearful that it would die in the heat. It’s a large desktop so there is nowhere I can move it to.

When Will It Get Better?

Today, Tuesday 29 June, the high is 34c, still very uncomfortably hot. There is no wind or air coming throughout the home to cool it down.

Tomorrow, Wednesday 30 June, the high is supposed to be slightly cooler at 28c. Not much lower but hopefully we can do things in the early morning/late evening. Hopefully, the days to come will mean lower temperatures so we can start to function as normal human beings.

Is this a one-off or can we expect more of the same during the year? Is this the shape of things to come for the future? I’ve heard different commentary from different resources, that it’s partly or wholly related to climate change. Clearly, this is a lesson learned and we can’t go through this discomfort again, everyone should review what they need to do to make life more comfortable for them in the future. We cannot have people die due to the heat. It’s too expensive for many people to have air conditioning installed so I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a requirement when people are buying properties in the future.

2021-10-29T23:31:50+00:0029 June 2021|Canada|

COVID Update 4 March 2021

I have to say I’m not very happy about the direction in which the COVID pandemic is going here in British Columbia and Canada overall.

NOTE: This is an opinion piece and everyone should clarify COVID pandemic and vaccine facts/figures for themselves from their own sources.

So, the latest figures for yesterday weren’t very good. Since there is quite a large number of new infections I do question why this is happening. Is the province failing to tighten up to prevent these new cases or are people now just fed up and ignoring the rules? Maybe a mix of both? There was a downward trend in cases but in the past few days it’s going up again, stats for yesterday (3rd March):

  • New Cases = 542
  • New Deaths = 7
  • Hospitalized patients = 246 people, 64 in intensive care

I am troubled that the highest number of new cases always seems to be in my own area suggesting more work needs to be done here, but will it? Probably not.

I am also concerned by the mess of the vaccine rollout. Most of our friends and family in the US and UK have had their 1st dose and on the way for the 2nd one, some have had their 2nd dose already.  It’s been tough to interpret what really is happening in Canada but this is the information I have gathered:

  1. British Columbia has decided to increase the gap between the 1st and 2nd dose of the vaccine against the recommendation of the manufacturers. The UK gap is up to 12 weeks, BC has increased that to 17 weeks. Many freaked out. The Chief Science Officer of BC got concerned, the health department said she can’t comment because she wasn’t included in the decision-making process, but I want to why she wasn’t included as I think you would want buy-in from everyone especially the Science person.  BC Health has been criticized before for not including others in the decision-making process, including teachers.
  2. Canada failed to build facilities to produce the vaccine here, unlike the UK. It is building them now but this is useless for current needs, it will only be good for the next pandemic.
  3. Canada procured its vaccines way too late.
  4. Canada is a member of a vaccine pool, really meant for developing countries. Canada was the first to order from it.
  5. 500,000 vaccines arrived from India yesterday, however, that is controversial since India has only vaccinated 1% of its population.
  6. Trudeau has ordered enough vaccines for 5 times the population which means it eats up the supply that may have gone to developing countries.
  7. Canada is at the bottom of the league table among developed countries to roll out the vaccine.
  8. There is likely to be diplomatic rifts later on due to its greed in procuring too many vaccines.
  9. Regarding the 4 months/17 weeks gaps there have been some studies suggesting it is possible, one of those studies it quotes hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet. So, it appears that they are making these decisions based on Canada’s failure to procure enough vaccine for 1st and 2nd dosage inline with the manufacturers’ recommendation so it has no choice to go in this direction.
  10. Most likely, vaccinating the whole BC population with dose 1 first is not a bad idea but leaving 17 weeks for the 2nd dose I think is a risk, I hope they know what they are doing, I have lost some faith in them somewhat.

I feel as fed up as other people about the whole situation.

2021-03-04T18:23:47+00:004 March 2021|Canada, Coronavirus|

COVID19 Update May 9

In The News

There is good news for British Columbia, slowly but surely, with some possibility of lockdown rules being loosened up in the near future.

The statistics to date show:

  • Total Cases: 2,330
  • Total Recoveries: 1,659
  • Active Cases: 542
  • Total Deaths: 129

The number of new cases per day continues to decrease. 71% of people who caught the virus have recovered.

During the week we tuned in to hear British Columbia’s Restart Plan and it looked pretty impresive despite receiving the news that complete re-opening seems a long way off, understandable really. These are the slides they presented during the Press Conference:

I kind of feel stressed when I think of the other things happening in the world, such as:

  • Continuing failures by the Trump administration
  • The ping pong of insult throwing between the US and China
  • People in the US and UK ignoring physical distancing rules

We are currently celebrating the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE Day) where we think about the struggles people had during World War 1 and 2 then compare society’s reaction to a little bit of discomfort in the 2020’s.

Her Majesty The Queen delivered this speech for VE Day 75, many look to her during times like these:

My Diary

MasksI don’t really have much news, life has pretty much been going on as normal.

The weather has heated up a bit, today was 25c with tomorrow reaching 26c. Quite uncomfortable going for a long walk but nice to sit outside under the shade when having lunch.

Don made some masks for us and they look pretty fantastic. Picture to the right.

As usual we went out shopping on Friday, it does appear to be getting more crowded out there. Since we only needed a little we only went to T&T. We managed to pick up some medical masks, made in China, which we were very pleased about even though they were quite expensive at 50 for CAD$30.00. Store like T&T are requiring customers to wear masks and have their temperature checked at the door, which we thought was very good, just like they do in China. Very wise indeed.

All the talk of VE Day 75 made me feel homesick but I guess no one else can enjoy it much apart from indoors or in their gardens.

A neighbour made and posted a video of other members in our communities work on their gardens, it’s pretty nice around here, we are very lucky.

2020-05-11T04:23:52+00:0010 May 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|

Review Shreddies Granola

Shreddies GranolaSince I enjoy Shreddies I thought I would pick up their new product called Shreddies Granola, here in Canada, to see what it was like.

In Canada, the Shreddies family has 4 different products; original, honey, banana bread and now granola. The honey and banana bread products don’t appeal to me at all so I was intrigued by the Granola one to see if I liked it. I didn’t.

The Shreddies in the box looked like the original we all know and love. Within the box were clusters, of varying sizes, of Granola chunks. The flavour of the granola tasted a little bit over the top, a little bit too false, and that had transferred onto the Shreddies themselves. I prefer my Shreddies with warm milk so maybe that spoiled the product, but I don’t think I was to eat any more. It was a good try though as the combination does sound interesting.

As long as they don’t mess with the original it’s no big deal as I will still continue to go along and enjoy that.

It looks as though the UK has a similar product to Shreddies Granola, they call it Shreddies Max as in much more protein, that is how they are marketing it.  There are two “Max” products, one with and one without Canberries. They have released a video advert for it, below. Shreddies in the UK also has Frosted Shreddies which is my favourite, I’m sad they don’t have this in Canada.

UPDATE 18 May 2020

Since opening the box we had problems getting rid of the smell of this product, must be the sugar content.  Very powerful.

2020-05-18T23:47:40+00:0030 April 2020|Canada, Food|

COVID19 Update April 22

My Diary

Since I wrote the last time I’ve been mainly doing bits and pieces of work relating to a new client and a couple of existing ones.  It’s kept me busy and I don’t think much of what is going on in the world.

This past Friday’s shopping trip seemed a little bit more stressful than usual. People seem to forget the social distancing so avoiding people coming any closer is becoming more troublesome, especially with seniors who may not understand what’s going on. We had to go to 2 stores with the Asian supermarket being the best and we ended up with everything we needed.

We noticed the gas/petrol prices are very low at the moment, this is the price per litre in our neighbourhood, see picture right. However, the prices in Calgary are almost half that since they don’t have to pay taxes on it, I believe.

Today is the first day we had wet and cold weather, however, we’ve been out every day for a walk to try and keep active.

We went for a drive down to White Rock, mainly to recharge our cars batteries. The traffic was busy on the way down there, like there was no outbreak, mainly around Surrey, British Columbia. However, down by the waterfront it was fairly quiet. Most of the shops were closed, the promenade was closed as was the pier. People were jogging in the middle of the road as though there hadn’t been any traffice for quite a few days.

In The News

Well, as I said I hadn’t been paying too much attention to it, it has been pretty miserable out there.

Not sure what is going on in the US, it seems madness with a minority wanting to go back to normal despite it being too early to do that. But, I guess that is what the US has always been like, needs of the few lunatics outweigh the health and safety of the many. I am just pleased I’m not down there. Some American’s are blaming China, making racist remarks, and even Missouri taking legal action against them. China is still providing aid to the US in the way of protective gear.

Sad to hear the passing of Tim Brooke-Taylor and Eddie Large, two British celebrities who died due to COVID-19 complications. There has been so many deaths, all equally sad, I hope they all continue to be honoured and their stories shared.

I like looking at data, as grim as it can be, and this is a snapshop I find particularly interest. I compare British Columbia (BC) and Colorado (CO) as the population sizes are very similar, unforunately the latter has it worse than we do. The data for the US keeps going up and up by the minute so it’s difficult to be accurate, but for a developed country they really aren’t doing well at all. Whereas Taiwan, has far few cases than either BC or CO and have a much larger population, they are a country not a State or province. Then, there is the UK, so many issues, especially with the supply of protective equipment, and such are large number of deaths.

BCCanadaCOUSATaiwanUKChina
Cases1,79541,32710,8782,633,064426133,49582,788
Recoveries1,079N/AN/A717,284236N/A77,151
Total Deaths902,072508183,883618,1004,632

So, it’s all very grim, but luckily I have plenty of distractions to keep me sane.

2020-04-22T23:53:31+00:0022 April 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|

COVID19 Update April 10

My Diary

I’ve kept away from the news of late for a couple of reasons, there is way too much information out there with never ending opnions, everybody wants to tell each other what to do or their advice is the best, and I have too much work to do.

I’m currently involved in a website redesign project and in discussions with a new potential client, both great news for me. Also, I have tons of other projects, like many training training courses to start or finish, my own website redesign, and a book I want to complete as well.

As advised by health care professionals we are still stuck at home not able to go out so far. I guess that’s ok, everybody is in the same boat. Every Friday we go to the supermarket and we are finding Asian stores are more stocked up than others. Today, we went to T&T and bought a ton of goodies plus so to-go meals for tonight and another day or two.  T&T are starting to do voluntary temperature checks, I like that idea very much so I partcipated, it’s important to protect store staff and other customers.

It’s good to see our neighbours make some noise in support of health care workers. I don’t think there are many in the profession in the area and no hospitals nearby but maybe they will put it online. This is the video I took:

In The News

Internationally it’s not good news at all. As I write this there are now 1,699,632 cases worldwide with 102,734 deaths, very sad news. The US reached over half a million cases today, bringing it to a total of 502,876, the highest in the world. The UK has a total of 73,758 cases with 8,958 deaths but their recovering figures appear to be non-existent or incorrect at 355; I really would have thought they would want to share some glimmer of good news. In total Canada has 22,148 cases and 569 deaths, obviously we have a lower population than US or UK but I would like to believe we are doing better than them. I think Canadians obey instructions given by health care officials and the government more than other countries. The US is in such a mess with such dreadful leadership and I really wouldn’t know where to begin in dissecting what is happening there.

British Columbia

  • I’ve done a comparison between the last data I displayed on this blog against today’s figures. We do seem to be in a better position than anyone else.
  • Obviously, there is no chance of any “stay at home” being lifted anytime soon. It’s coming up to the Easter weekend so they are warning people not to be tempted to go out. Seems some smaller communities in BC are seeing arrivals as they go on “holiday” and potentially bringing the virus to them.
  • As of today there 128 COVID-19 patients in hospital, including 65 in intensive care. I hope they will recover soon.
  • Health care officials says masks are a personal choice but the medical variety should be reserved for those in the profession.
  • Justin Trudeau said normality wouldn’t return until a vaccine is developed, who knows when that will be, if at all.
31 Mar 2010 Apr 20
Population5,110,9175,110,917
Total Cases1,0131,410
Recoveries507879
New Cases Today4340
Total Deaths2455
2020-04-11T05:13:40+00:0011 April 2020|Canada, Coronavirus, Health Care|