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'A new focus for us': Canada's building code being modernized to address climate change – CBC.ca

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When storm winds howl and rivers flood, buildings take the brunt.

And as climate change makes all kinds of extreme weather more frequent and more destructive, scientists at the National Research Council are trying to figure out how to ensure Canada’s built environment is ready.

“We’re going to see change in the way we’re designing new buildings to help prevent the spread of wildfire, prevent the damage from flooding,” said Marianne Armstrong, who manages the council’s research effort.

“We want to create a culture of thinking about resiliency.”

The council is coming to the end of a five-year research program that has considered how changing weather and the new norms it brings will affect stresses on buildings, roads, wastewater, transit, bridges and other infrastructure.

More than 100 researchers have been working on the project, which has had a budget of $42.5 million. They include materials experts, ocean scientists and aerospace and transport engineers.

Another 100 organizations, such as universities, provinces and municipalities, have been involved.

Canada’s building codes are modernized every five years. The next update is due this year and is likely to see the first changes meant to address the country’s new climate reality.

New standards coming

“Climate change, the fact that we now see a rapid change of that environment, is a new focus for us,” said Frank Lohmann, the research council’s manager of code development.

The new code will upgrade building requirements for wind resistance and how buildings bear snow loads. There will be new rules for rainwater collection. Automatic backflow systems will be compulsory to reduce flooding risk.

New standards related to climate change are also on the way for windows, exterior insulation, fire tests, air barriers and asphalt shingles.

The coming changes are just the start, Lohmann said.

Members of the RCMP return from a boat patrol of a still flooded neighbourhood in High River, Alta., on July 4, 2013. The town of 12,000 just south of Calgary gained an international profile when flooding in parts of southern Alberta resulted in billions of dollars in damage. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

“The major action will come in 2025.”

The research council is building a database predicting climate stresses under different scenarios for every region of the country. Researchers are looking into how those stresses are likely to affect the durability of walls and roofs.

Some are developing new guidelines for how structures can better resist higher flood levels. Others are working on how to ensure buildings stay cool during hotter heat waves.

“Just now we’re getting the data together for those future climate conditions and coming up with how to design for it,” said Armstrong.

“That information will be finished by 2020 and in time to be considered for the next cycle of changes to the building code.”

While the council writes the national building code, it has no force until it is adopted by provinces, which write their own regulations. That means scientific advice may be reflected in a variety of ways — from outright rules to guidelines to incentive programs.

Canada is not alone in its efforts. Armstrong is recently back from a conference where Americans, New Zealanders and Australians were all asking the same questions.

“From all perspectives,” she said, “Canada is a few years ahead of the game. We have momentum in this country to adapt.”

The twisted remains of a building crane hang off a construction project in Halifax on Sept. 8, 2019. Hurricane Dorian brought wind, rain and heavy seas that knocked out power across the region, left damage to buildings and trees as well as disruption to transportation. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Still more to do

It’s a big job.

The council has to consider not only the variables of climate, but the different ways the world will respond to its challenges. It has to look at how Canada’s population could shift and how land use will be altered.

“There’s still a lot of questions, still a lot of science and work that needs to go in,” Armstrong said.

The future’s always going to be uncertain. That being said, we can tell you how uncertain, so you can make up your mind how to design for it.– Marianne Armstrong, of Canada’s National Research Council

“The future’s always going to be uncertain. That being said, we can tell you how uncertain, so you can make up your mind how to design for it.

“We do know for certain that past history does not represent the future.”

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Prince Harry and Meghan's arrival could mean 'new grounds' for Canada's privacy laws – CBC.ca

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British paparazzi may soon come face-to-face with Canada’s privacy laws as the arrival of Prince Harry and Meghan has already prompted a warning to the U.K press to back off or face legal action.

But it’s unclear what legal recourse the royal couple will have to keep news photographers away from their family.

David Fraser, a Halifax-based privacy lawyer, says, when it comes to privacy claims in Canada, he hasn’t found any related to celebrities and paparazzi.

The lawsuits here that relate to invasions of privacy, most recently, deal with large-scale business data breaches, or hidden cameras, he said.

“So this is relatively new grounds that we’re looking at, maybe because we don’t have the same sort of paparazzi culture or the same sort of celebrity culture in Canada. But so far, a claim like this has not been made or at least hasn’t gone to a published decision,” he said. 

“It’s not something that’s really been tested a whole lot in Canada. We don’t have a paparazzi culture.”

Buckingham Palace announced Saturday that the prince and his wife will give up public funding and try to become financially independent. The couple is expected to spend most of their time in Canada while maintaining a home in England near Windsor Castle in an attempt to build a more peaceful life. 

Video from Sky News showed Harry landing at Victoria’s airport late Monday. The prince, Meghan and their eight-month-old son Archie were reportedly staying at at mansion on the island. 

Lawyers for the couple sent a letter to British new outlets, accusing photographers of “harassment,” and claiming that paparazzi have permanently camped outside their Vancouver Island residence, attempting to photograph them at home using long-range lenses.

They also allege that pictures of Meghan — on a hike with Archie and her two dogs, trailed by her security detail, on Vancouver Island on Monday — were taken by photographers hiding in the bushes. 

“There are serious safety concerns about how the paparazzi are driving and the risk to life they pose,” the letter read.

When it comes to privacy issues in Canada, there are a few ways Canadians can take action, says Iain MacKinnon, a Toronto-based lawyer. 

British paparazzi may soon come face-to-face with Canada’s privacy laws as the arrival of Prince Harry and Meghan has already prompted a warning to the U.K press to back off or face legal action. (James Glossop/Reuters/Pool)

One can argue “intentional infliction of mental stress” in which the conduct of the defendant has to be proven to be flagrant and outrageous; calculated to produce harm, and results in visible and provable illness, he said.

There’s also what’s known as “intrusion upon seclusion” in which the defendant’s conduct must be intentional or reckless and have invaded the plaintiff’s private affairs “without lawful reason.” Also, a “reasonable person would regard the invasion as highly offensive causing distress, humiliation or anguish,” MacKinnon said.

And there’s public disclosure of private facts, when one publicizes an aspect of another’s private life — without consent — that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. The publication also would not be of legitimate concern to the public.

And Meghan Markle walking her dog in a public space … would not fall under any of those,” MacKinnon said.

They may seek recourse under the B.C. Privacy Act which specifically says it’s a violation for somebody to willfully and without a legal basis violate the privacy of someone else, and allows for someone to sue the alleged perpetrator.

In making that determination, a judge is required to take into account the circumstances of the situation, the relationships between the parties and other people’s rights and interests. There is an exemption, however, for journalistic publications and if the matter is of public interest. 

“Up until now, certainly when they’ve been part of the Royal Family and are highly public figures and are paid, their whole and entire lifestyle is paid for by public funds, then that’s certainly one justification for arguing that what they do is a matter of public interest,” MacKinnon said.

“As they may recede from public life and become more private citizens, that argument may be more difficult to make. But certainly today, this is headline news, them leaving England, leaving the Royal Family, moving to Canada. It’s tough to say that this is not a matter of public interest.”

Most people won’t consider it to be highly offensive that someone took a picture of Meghan in public park because there isn’t a reasonable expectation of privacy, MacKinnon said.

Prince Harry addressed the myriad emotions he and his wife, Meghan, are feeling after agreeing with Queen Elizabeth that the couple would step down from official roles. 1:33

“Now, if they’re shooting with telephoto lenses into a house where Harry and Megan are staying and they’re photographing them in their private lives inside a house, that might be a different story.”

Fraser says, under the act, an invasion of privacy can also include surveillance.

“It’s really going to depend upon the exact circumstances of what’s alleged. But it certainly sounds like a group of photographers, paparazzi following them around might fit into the category of surveillance,” he said.

Fraser said even if one is in a public place, there’s still an expectation of privacy.

Being in a public park, there’s a significantly reduced expectation of privacy. But when it comes to a photographer hiding in a bush, a court might say it’s arguable that one has an expectation of privacy if they are in a place, looking around, not seeing other observers and somebody has hidden themselves, Fraser said.

“There would also probably be an element of kind of additional intrusion based on the fact that the person has hidden themselves and is covertly trying to surveil somebody,” Fraser said.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms doesn’t give anybody a particular privacy interest among individuals — only against the state. It does, however, provide a right for freedom of expression, which would be the right that the photographers have, Fraser said.

“So any court considering these issues would have to balance those interests which includes the rights of journalists to collect information, to disseminate that information, against a particular privacy interest.”

Still, Fraser believes Harry and Meghan could find a “level of sympathy” in the courts 

“Given that, it seems that they’re moving from the United Kingdom to Canada, least part time, in order to get away from this glare and get away from these invasions of privacy,” he said. 

It’s unlikely that the royals would see a big cash windfall in the event their legal claims were successful. Privacy damages are relatively low or modest in Canada, Fraser said. 

“But I would expect that an injunction so a court order requiring the paparazzi to stay away might be something that they would seek as well.”

And as MacKinnon noted, Harry and Meghan, through their lawyers, are probably attempting to set new ground rules.

“My guess is that they’re trying to draw a new line in the sand here with both the Canadian media [and], more likely, the Fleet Street tabloids.”

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Iran at odds with Canada’s demands after asking U.S., France to help analyze black boxes – Global News

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Iran said it had asked the U.S. and French authorities for equipment to download information from black boxes on a downed Ukrainian airliner, potentially angering countries which want the recorders analyzed abroad.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Iran did not have the ability to read the data and he demanded the cockpit and flight recorders should be sent to France. Kiev wants the recorders sent to Ukraine. Canadian citizens totalled 57 of the 176 people killed in the crash,

The U.S.-built Boeing 737 flown by Ukraine International Airlines was shot down in error by Iranian forces on Jan. 8 during a period of tit-for-tat military strikes that included the killing by the United States of a senior Iranian general on Jan. 3.


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Tehran, already embroiled in a long-running standoff with the United States over its nuclear program, has given mixed signals about whether it would hand over the recorders.

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An Iranian aviation official had said on Saturday the black boxes would be sent to Ukraine, only to backtrack in comments reported a day later, saying they would be analyzed at home.

A further delay in sending them abroad is likely to increase international pressure on Iran, whose military has said it shot the plane down by mistake while on high alert in the tense hours after Iran fired missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq.

“If the appropriate supplies and equipment are provided, the information can be taken out and reconstructed in a short period of time,” Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization said in its second preliminary report on the disaster released late on Monday.






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1 person repatriated to Canada following Iran plane crash: Champagne


1 person repatriated to Canada following Iran plane crash: Champagne

A list of equipment Iran needs has been sent to French accident agency BEA and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, the Iranian aviation body said.

“Until now, these countries have not given a positive response to sending the equipment to (Iran),” it said. It said two surface-to-air TOR-M1 missiles had been launched minutes after the Ukrainian plane took off from Tehran.

‘MAXIMUM PRESSURE’

Iran’s aviation body says it does not have equipment needed to download information from the model of recorders on the three-year-old Boeing 737.

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General Electric Co has received a license from the U.S. Treasury Department to help in the investigation of the crash, a GE spokesman told Reuters on Tuesday.


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Under U.S. sanctions law, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) must grant approval for U.S. investigators to participate in the probe and potentially travel to Iran.

GE co-owns with France’s Safran SA the French-U.S. firm CFM that made the plane’s engines.

Trudeau said the data should be downloaded immediately.

“There need to be qualified experts doing that but it’s also a question of technology and equipment and that is not available in Iran,” he told a news conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

“There has been broad consensus in the international community that France would be the right place to send those boxes (and) we continue to pressure Iran to do just that.”






2:05
Question of black boxes hangs over Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 investigation


Question of black boxes hangs over Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 investigation

Trudeau also said Tehran’s refusal to acknowledge dual citizenship was posing a challenge when it came to helping support the families of the Canadian victims, many of whom had close ties to Iran.

Iran, which took several days to acknowledge its role in bringing down the plane and faced street protests at home as a result, fired its missiles at U.S. targets in response to a U.S. drone strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq on Jan. 3.

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Iran has for years faced U.S. sanctions that limited its ability to purchase modern planes and buy products with U.S. technology. Many passenger planes used in Iran are decades old.

Under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, Iran received sanctions relief in return for curbing its nuclear work. But Washington reimposed U.S. sanctions after withdrawing from the pact in 2018, a move that led to the steady escalation of tension in recent months between the United States and Iran.


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Iran acknowledges missiles made by Russia targeted Ukrainian passenger jet

European governments say they want to save the deal but have also suggested it may be time for a broader pact, in line with Trump’s call for a deal that would go beyond Iran’s nuclear work and include its missile program and activities in the region.

Iran says it will not negotiate with sanctions in place.

Since the plane disaster, Iran’s judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi has said compensation should be paid to families of the victims, many of whom were Iranians or dual nationals.

Canada, Ukraine, Britain, Afghanistan and Sweden, which all lost citizens, have demanded Iran make the payouts

© 2020 Reuters

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Canada’s prison watchdog disturbed by ‘Indigenization’ of correctional system – Global News

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The proportion of Indigenous people in federal custody has hit a record high of more than 30 per cent due to disturbing and entrenched imbalances, Canada’s prison ombudsman warned Tuesday.

The numbers are even more troubling for Indigenous women, who account for 42 per cent of the female prison population, correctional investigator Ivan Zinger said.

The system seems unresponsive to the needs, histories and social realities behind high rates of Indigenous offending, Zinger said in a statement calling for the Correctional Service of Canada to do more to resolve the spiralling problem.


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At the current pace, within three years one in every three federal inmates will be Indigenous, even though Indigenous people comprise only five per cent of the Canadian population, Zinger said.

“The Indigenization of Canada’s prison population is nothing short of a national travesty.”

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Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, the cabinet member responsible for federal corrections, said he was “very concerned” about the numbers and stressed the Liberal government was “absolutely committed” to dealing with the underlying causes.






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Prison watchdog issues scathing report into deadly riot at Saskatchewan Penitentiary


Prison watchdog issues scathing report into deadly riot at Saskatchewan Penitentiary

The federal prison service says decisions with respect to sentencing of offenders are beyond its control.

The service does, however, try to influence the time Indigenous inmates spend in custody by providing culturally responsive programs and other efforts aimed at rehabilitation and a successful return to society.

It says effective and culturally appropriate correctional and reintegration support for Indigenous offenders has been a priority for more than a decade.

Zinger said that’s not good enough.


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The federal prison service needs to accept its share of responsibility, recognizing that tweaks around the edges of the system simply won’t do, he said.

Indigenous inmates are disproportionately classified and placed in maximum-security institutions, overrepresented in incidents involving use of force and self-harm, and historically have been more likely to be placed in solitary-confinement units, he noted.

Compared to others in the system, Indigenous offenders serve a higher proportion of their sentences behind bars before they are granted parole, Zinger said. Finally, a recent study showed that Indigenous people reoffend, or are returned to custody, at much higher levels.

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Jails to provide clean needles for drug users in prison


Jails to provide clean needles for drug users in prison

The ombudsman says the Correctional Service needs to make dramatic changes to stop the revolving door, better prepare Indigenous offenders to meet the earliest parole eligibility dates and more safely return them to their home communities.

“Reforms of this nature will require a significant and proportional realignment of CSC priorities and resources. The government of Canada needs to lead and direct these efforts,” he said.

No government of any stripe has managed to reverse the trend of Indigenous overrepresentation in Canadian jails and prisons despite many inquiries, judicial interventions, and political promises and commitments, Zinger said.

The correctional investigator, federal commissions and parliamentary committees have called on the government to take steps including:

— Transfer of resources and responsibility to Indigenous groups and communities for the care and supervision of Indigenous offenders;

— Appointment of a deputy commissioner for Indigenous corrections;

— More readily available, culturally relevant correctional programming;

— A clearer and more robust role for Indigenous elders.

Marie-Claude Landry, chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, called Indigenous incarceration rates a national disgrace.


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Canadian prisons ill-equipped to meet needs of older inmates, report says

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“We strongly agree with the correctional investigator that bold and urgent action is required to address this persistent and pressing human rights issue,” she said in a statement Tuesday.

At the conclusion of a Liberal caucus retreat in Winnipeg, Blair said the correctional system, police, courts and society in general all have roles to play in helping reduce the proportion of Indigenous offenders in prison.

The “well-known and challenging” social conditions that give rise to the problem, including generational trauma, substance abuse and lack of access to services must be addressed, he said.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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