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Air Canada suspends flights between Canada, U.K. after warning about new virus strain – CTV News

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MONTREAL —
Air Canada says it has temporarily suspended flights between Canada and the U.K. in keeping with a government directive issued Sunday.

Air Canada says it is notifying affected passengers and offering them other travel options, including flights with other carriers or to other locations that permit travel with Canada.

Air Canada says it is monitoring the situation and plans to adjust its flight schedule as appropriate.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Dec. 20 that Canada would restrict travel from the U.K. to Canada for 72 hours, after officials raised concerns about a new, more infectious strain of COVID-19 spreading in Britain.

The new travel restrictions went into effect Monday.

Canada follows other nations including India, Sweden and Germany in restricting travel with the U.K. for different periods of time.

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What do you do with an old cellphone? Company hopes to reduce Canada's e-waste – CTV News

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TORONTO —
As more Canadians replace their old electronics with new technology, one Ontario-based company hopes its initiative will combat the country’s electronic waste problem, one smartphone at a time.

Tony Perrotta, president and CEO of Greentec, says he sees his company as being a small part of the solution.

“Part of the problem we’re dealing with in Canada is that e-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in Canada,” Perrotta told CTV News Channel on Saturday.

According to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, which represents wireless companies and analyzes cellphone recycling patterns, two in three Canadians say they have a cellphone that they are not using. The organization says that the majority of Canadians also reported that they are aware that their mobile devices can be recycled.

One of the problems is that people don’t always know how or where to dispose of them.

Greentec is one of the few Canadian companies tackling Canada’s e-waste problems through its repurposing and recycling initiative. The company is partnered with the Alberta Recycling Management Authority to help give Canadians greater access to cellphone collections and promote electronic recycling.

The company’s goal is to dispose of electronics safely and securely, all while limiting the number of mobile devices that end up in landfills.

According to the recycling council of B.C., almost 40,000 cellphones are thrown out each day. Instead of being recycled or repurposed, Perrotta says these phones have valuable data and are going to waste.

“Part of the problem with these devices is that they hold confidential information and private data, and if it gets into the wrong hands, you know what could happen there,” said Perrotta.

While in Canada there is no legislation directed specifically at e-waste management, the federal government does have an indirect impact on e-waste regulation thought its toxic substance control legislation.

Perrotta says recycling mobile phones through companies like Greentec could not only help protect personal security, but it will also protect the environment.

“If they go into the landfill these materials can leech and get into the water supply and leech through the earth,” said Perrotta.

The disposal process requires consumers to find drop-off locations for their old phones. He says the Alberta Recycling Authority has a list of locations online.

“The solution we’re going to provide is the ability to wipe these phones clean and also either repurpose them or recycle them for precious metals and rare metals,” said Perrotta.

The devices often have metals such as copper, silver and gold in them that can be used for new phones.

Perrotta stressed the importance of safely disposing old cellphones because of the some of the dangers associated with throwing them away.

“When you think about it, the amount of minerals that are mined to produce a cellphone, there’s a lot of components some are hazardous such as lithium-ion batteries, flame retardant plastics and lead,” said Perrotta.

A record 53.6 million metric tonnes of electronic waste was generated worldwide in 2019, an increase of 21 per cent in five years, according the United Nation’s global e-waste monitor.

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Canada reports 146 more COVID-19 deaths as feds approve rapid PCR test – Global News

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Another 5,124 cases of COVID-19 were identified in Canada Saturday as the federal government approved its first domestically-produced rapid PCR coronavirus test.

Saturday’s data pushed the national caseload to 742,531, of which over 658,000 patients have since recovered. Another 146 deaths were reported by provincial health jurisdictions as well, with the country’s death toll standing at 18,974.

The new cases paint a limited snapshot of the virus’ spread across the country however, as provinces like B.C. and P.E.I., as well as all the territories do not report new COVID-19 data on the weekend.

Read more:
Health Canada approves 1st rapid PCR coronavirus test, Spartan Bioscience says

The rapid test, according to its developer Spartan Bioscience, is an on-site “point-of-care” kit made to be administered by health-care professionals.

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A press release Saturday from the the company said that it was the first “truly mobile, rapid PCR test for COVID-19 for the Canadian market.”

Health Canada’s approval of the test also comes amid further warnings from the country’s top doctor, who said that the virus continued to strain health-care systems despite a decline in average daily case counts from several hard-hit areas.

“As severe outcomes lag behind increased disease activity, we can expect to see ongoing heavy impacts on our healthcare system and health workforce for weeks to come,” said Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam in her Saturday statement.

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“This situation continues to burden local healthcare resources, particularly in areas where infection rates are highest.”

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Coronavirus: Toronto police make arrest at large gathering downtown despite COVID-19 measures


Coronavirus: Toronto police make arrest at large gathering downtown despite COVID-19 measures

Tam also made a plea to Canadians to continue to follow more stringent and consistent efforts to “sustain a downward trend” in new case counts, as well as to potentially prevent the creation of new virus variants.

“Unless we continue the hard work to suppress COVID-19 activity across Canada, there is a risk that more transmissible virus variants could take hold or even replace less transmissible variants, which could result in a significant and difficult to control acceleration of spread,” wrote Tam.


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Canadian couple accused of vaccine queue jumping in Yukon


Canadian couple accused of vaccine queue jumping in Yukon

Tam’s warning comes as health officials in Ontario confirmed Saturday that the new U.K. coronavirus variant, which is believed to be more contagious, was found at an outbreak in a long-term care home in Barrie.

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Ontario registered another 2,359 coronavirus infections on Saturday, as well as 52 more deaths. The province has now overtaken Quebec with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with a total caseload of 252,585.

Quebec reported another 1,685 cases on Saturday, raising its total caseload to 252,176. The province, which announced another 76 fatalities, still maintains the highest number of COVID-19-related deaths with a total of 9,437.

Read more:
COMMENTARY: Should Olympic athletes get vaccinated ahead of the public?

Alberta added another 573 cases on Saturday, pushing its total infections to 120,330. Another 13 deaths were recorded in the province.

Saskatchewan added another 274 cases and three more deaths, while Manitoba recorded 216 more cases and three deaths as well.

In Atlantic Canada, only New Brunswick reported new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, with an additional 17.

Worldwide, cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise with a total of 98,529,000 infections so far, according to Johns Hopkins University. A total of 2,115,124 people have since died from contracting the virus, with the U.S., Brazil and India continuing to lead in both cases and deaths.

— with files from Global News’ Hannah Jackson

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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MPs clash over pandemic response as Parliament resumes Monday – CBC.ca

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Members of Parliament continue to clash over the federal government’s COVID-19 response as the House of Commons is set to reconvene on Monday for the first time this year.

In a panel interview on CBC Radio’s The House, Conservative MP Michael Chong and Liberal MP Arif Virani offered duelling analogies to describe Canada’s pandemic response, days before deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are expected to drop dramatically over the next four weeks.

“It’s like saying that I have negotiated a contract with six fire departments to respond to my fire, but they won’t respond for six hours when I do have a fire. And my neighbour has negotiated one contract with a single fire department to respond in five minutes,” Chong told host Chris Hall.

“Personally, I’ll take the single contract with the fire department that responds in five minutes because that is going to save my house. We are the country that’s negotiated the contract with six fire departments … that’s the problem here.”

Canada has signed agreements to receive the vaccine from seven companies, including Pfizer and Moderna. Candidates from the remaining suppliers have yet to receive the regulatory green light from Health Canada, though Virani said the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson products are “on the precipice of hopeful approvals.”

“A different analogy would be, with respect to firefighting, about … how much water do you use on the fire? And we’ve been criticized, including by [Chong’s] party, for putting too much water on the fires in terms of the spending that we’ve been doing,” Virani said.

“But our position is clear. We will remain constant in having Canadians’ backs for as long as it takes to weather this pandemic, including running deficits to do so.”

CBC News: The House12:33The pandemic, Parliament and a possible election

MPs Heather McPherson, Arif Virani and Michael Chong discuss what they hope to see unfold in the months ahead after the House of Commons returns Monday. 12:33

Looking ahead to federal budget

In December, the House of Commons rose for a six-week break without deciding how Parliament should safely resume in the new year. It remains to be seen whether MPs will meet virtually with no members physically present in the Commons or whether they’ll continue to follow the hybrid model put in place last year.

“We have been having discussions with the other parties about the return of Parliament on Monday. Those discussions have been constructive,” read a statement from the office of Government House Leader Pablo Rodriguez.

But when Parliament does resume — amid soaring COVID-19 caseloads in parts of the country — it also comes as Ottawa prepares for its first federal budget in two years. 

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has criticized the Liberal government for not making paid leave accessible for workers who are helping to stop the spread of COVID-19. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

“We need to see some action from this government,” NDP deputy House leader Heather McPherson told The House in the same interview. “I mean, we have seen things like child care, we have seen things like pharmacare, over and over and over again in these Liberal throne speeches. But we haven’t seen the action taken.”

McPherson said a child-care strategy will be critical for economic recovery from the pandemic, on top of additional support for small businesses. When Parliament returns, she said the NDP will also be pushing the Liberal government on ending clawbacks of the Canada emergency response benefit and calling for expanded access to paid sick leave.

“If [the Liberals] continue to help deliver for Canadians, then we’ll continue to work with them,” she said.

Conservatives, Liberals lay out priorities 

Chong said that the Opposition will be zeroing in on vaccine procurement and improving the pace of Canada’s rollout, among other priorities. 

“We’re looking for two measures in the upcoming budget that we believe are really important, one of which the government has indicated it’s supportive of, and that is the changes to the Canada Child Benefit that would help Canadian families, particularly working women and single mothers,” the Conservative foreign affairs critic said.

The party is also looking for additional measures to help small businesses buffeted by a second wave of pandemic restrictions.

Virani said he was “keen” to hear the ideas proposed by his colleagues and laid out some priorities of his own, including immediately working to close a loophole in the federal sickness benefit that allows Canadians quarantining after personal travel to claim sick pay.

Virani, who is also the parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice, said the new Biden administration in the United States also changes what’s on the government’s to-do list. 

“We’ve now got a co-operative administration that understands the importance of greening the planet,” Virani said, “as well as working on issues that are germane to both of our nations.”

That includes a rise in systemic discrimination and online hate — the latter of which Virani says he’s been tackling with Justice Minister David Lametti. 

“We’re looking for progress on a number of files, but it starts with the pandemic and addressing the pandemic,” he said.

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