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Airport delays: Canadians share travel horror stories – CTV News

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After years apart, Elizabeth Taliana says she booked a flight for her daughter to fly out from Toronto to Vancouver.

Her daughter only gets one week of vacation from work during the summer.

Even though she made the reservation more than two months ago, Taliana says she only learned recently that her daughter’s flight had been cancelled, a trend Canadians are becoming all too familiar with.

“I have not seen my daughter in almost six years, so this is very distressing,” Taliana told CTVNews.ca in an email.

Her story is similar to many shared with CTVNews.ca in recent days as cancelled flights, delays and lost luggage throw a wrench in Canadians’ summer travel plans, due in part to staffing shortages at Canadian airports.

Some report sleeping at airports due to cancellations and delays. One person, flying from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island, said it took two cancelled flights and an extra day to get home, while his luggage — filled with 70 frozen lobsters — took two days to arrive.

The responses were emailed to CTVNews.ca and have not all been independently verified.

Samantha Van Noy says she lost three pieces of luggage that, at the time she wrote to CTVNews.ca, hadn’t arrived in more than eight days.

Flying to Chicago for a tradeshow, Van Noy says her booth materials were in her luggage and the amount of money lost due to her airline’s “incompetence is incalculable.”

“I tell everyone don’t fly unless you absolutely need to right now,” she said.

Kimberly Horton, a Canadian living in Austin, Texas, said she bought three tickets in February for herself, her husband and their son to fly to Toronto to visit her family, whom she hasn’t seen in three years due to COVID-19.

“What was supposed to be a joyous celebration turned into heartbreak and disappointment,” Horton said.

She says the airline placed her husband on standby because the flight was overbooked.

After calling customer service twice, and being on hold for an hour and 40 minutes, she says she was told there was nothing that could be done.

“My husband was denied boarding and my son was crying as we left,” she said.

After being asked to check her carry-on luggage due to a lack of overhead compartment space, Horton says her bag never showed up.

“It had all of my valuables, medications, contact lenses, my son’s retainers, my Invisalign, etc. Things you need and can’t replace on vacation,” she said.

She got her bag three days later. Meanwhile, her husband was able to get on another flight, only to have it evacuated due to a fuel spill.

“That was the final breaking point for my husband. He was exhausted of everything and asked for his luggage back. They returned his bags reeking of jet fuel and he headed home cancelling his vacation with us,” Horton said.

‘PEARSON AIRPORT BRINGS THE WORST OUT OF PEOPLE NOW’

Oksana Klausmann had booked a trip from Toronto to New York City for late June and says after a lengthy check-in process, she and her daughter went through customs only to discover that they were not on the flight manifest, despite having their boarding passes.

From there, she says they were taken to a small room packed with other families, children, and seniors, among others.

She described the room as not having enough seats for everyone, forcing some to sit on the floor, and one small washroom with no soap, toilet paper or paper towels. Klausmann says there were no cups for the water fountain.

Several hours later, they received an email saying their flight was cancelled. An agent then arrived with a pair of police officers confirming the situation.

“What happened next should never happen to my daughter and me. Riot, angry people, screaming, yelling, pushing, and a lot more,” she said. “It was unsafe, scary, violent, and hostile. I took my daughter and we tried to leave the room filled with more than 200 or 300 angry people.”

Having already booked a hotel and shows in New York, Klausmann says cancelling the trip wasn’t an option.

They found a flight with another airline that cost nearly as much as the entire trip. They went through another lengthy check-in process, but eventually made it to New York.

Once back at Toronto Pearson, following a long delay on their return flight, Klausmann says only 15 passengers were allowed to leave the plane at a time due to congestion at customs.

“Believe me that people were not happy about it and some of them started to come forcefully from the back of the plane to be on the front to get off the plane,” Klausmann said.

Frustrations only continued as people started waiting for their luggage.

“Pearson Airport brings the worst out of people now, not everyone can stay calm in these circumstances and they put other people at great risk,” she said.

“We, two Canadians, a daughter and a mom, going on a trip to have fun and enjoy time together, should never have such an experience. We paid for someone’s mistakes and inability to provide service with our own money that could be used for different purposes.”

People sleep on a bench as they wait at Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport, in Montreal, June 29, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

‘DEFEATED AND DISCOURAGED’

Lori Veltkamp had planned a three-week trip to Greece with her two daughters. She bought her tickets in January and was scheduled to fly direct from Toronto to Athens in late June.

In anticipation of a busy scene at Pearson, she says she and her daughters arrived more than five hours before their departure time, but were placed on standby and told to wait for their seat assignments at the gate.

Veltkamp says the flight encountered further delays due to the plane’s meals arriving late.

Later, she said she was “devastated” to learn that they would not get on the plane because they booked their flights through a third party and “were basically put at the bottom of the list to get off of standby.”

“They rushed us off to a gate that was boarding heading to Venice, but it would have an eight-hour layover in Venice before we would fly to Athens,” she said.

They managed to catch the flight with the layover in Venice. But five days into their trip, Veltkamp says they still haven’t received their three suitcases.

“We are three people with basically no clothes and have had to purchase new things. We are hopeful that we will receive our luggage soon but are feeling very defeated and discouraged by this entire experience,” she said.

CANCELLED FLIGHTS AND CALLS FOR CHANGE

After his flight from Prince George, B.C., to Toronto for July was cancelled, Harmolk Brar said he was given an option of cancelling the flight online for a refund.

Opting for this, he says the airline wanted to charge him $150 plus tax in penalties.

“A cancellation penalty for flights that they have already cancelled,” he said. “This is the most preposterous thing I’ve heard of.”

Jamie Boulter and her husband had plans to fly from Moncton, N.B., to Hamilton, Ont., in July for a few days.

She received an email saying their flight had been cancelled and that they would receive a follow-up explaining how to get a refund or rebook, potentially flying to Toronto through the airline’s sister company instead, which she says would have created more problems since they booked a rental car in Hamilton.

Boulter said her only options were to rebook with the same airline for July 4, the day she was supposed to fly back to New Brunswick, or cancel.

She chose to cancel and was told her refund would be less than half of what she originally paid. Boulter said she has tried unsuccessfully to reach someone from the airline by phone, an online contact form and social media.

“I had paid for three nights at a hotel and it was non-refundable by the point I learned my flight was cancelled. I also paid for concert tickets to two shows, which were non-refundable,” she said.

“The concert was a two-night performance of my favourite band, playing their first album in its entirety on the 20th anniversary of that album, in their hometown. This experience was going to be huge for me. I’m so soured by this experience.”

While Pearson has seen some of the worst travel experiences so far this year, Richard Vanderlubbe, an Association of Canadian Travel Agencies director and president of tripcentral.ca, says delays at larger airports can cascade to smaller ones.

“It’s one of those things that’s like a tightly tuned drumhead. There’s not much slack in the system,” he told CTV News Channel on Saturday.

“If you have a pilot or a crew that calls in sick, and people are still getting sick, the airline has to scramble to find a qualified pilot for that aircraft. And by the time they get a hold of somebody, it is a matter of changing the pilots on different routes in order to make this happen and to have less impact on the connections.”

Ultimately, he says it isn’t much fun for the airlines either, who have to bear the cost of delivering lost luggage by courier to people’s homes.

In response to “customer service shortfalls,” Air Canada last month announced it would reduce flights in July and August.

A spokesperson for the company said it would reduce its schedule by 154 flights per day on average for those two months, with the most affected routes expected to be to and from Toronto and Montreal.

Prior to that, Air Canada operated approximately 1,000 flights per day.

Vanderlubbe said while reasonable, the Air Canada reductions will affect people’s future travel plans, with fares possibly going up as a result.

“I’m hopeful that as that unfolds, we’re going to see less of this and by the time we hit further into the summer and perhaps Labour Day, it’s hopefully gone,” he said.

With files from CTV News 

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‘Malicious intent’ suspected in wolf escape, Greater Vancouver Zoo says

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LANGLEY, B.C. — The Greater Vancouver Zoo said Tuesday afternoon that a number of its wolves were on the loose after the animals were believed to have been released from their enclosure as a result of “malicious intent.”

However, it said there was no danger to the public, and it was working with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service to “contain” the animals, while the Langley RCMP investigated what appeared to be a case of unlawful entry and vandalism.

“GVZoo staff continue to actively search for a small number of remaining wolves un-accounted for,” the zoo said in a posting. It highlighted the posting with a Facebook message at 3.25 p.m.

Earlier, British Columbia’s Environment Ministry had said that only one wolf was still missing at the zoo, located about 55 kilometres east of Vancouver in the community of Aldergrove.

It did not say how many had escaped at the facility, which says it has nine adult grey wolves and six cubs.

The zoo said on its website that a number of wolves were discovered outside their enclosure Tuesday morning, triggering what it said was an “ongoing investigation and is suspicious, and believed to be due to malicious intent.”

It said most of the wolves were back in the care of its animal health and welfare team.

The zoo had announced that it was closed on Tuesday morning via its Instagram and Facebook accounts.

The Environment Ministry said anyone who sees a wolf should keep their distance and report it by calling 1-877-952-7277.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 16, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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Ageism: Does it Exist or Is It a Form of ‘I’m a Victim!’ Mentality? [ Part 3 ]

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Your age is irrelevant.

This is the third column of a 4-part series dealing with ageism while job hunting.

Career coaches and job search experts claim you can fool employers about your age and beat ageism. The truth is, regardless of your age, nobody can “beat” ageism.

Say you land an interview by concealing your age using experts’ tips and tricks. When you meet the hiring manager, will your age not become evident? Deflecting your age until an in-person or Zoom interview is pointless. At some point during the hiring process, your age will be revealed.

Then there’s the Internet, which “experts” never mention. Employers Google candidates to determine if they’re interview-worthy, which’ll turn up many ways to assess the candidate’s age:

  • Your graduating years.
  • The years you played minor league baseball.
  • The picture your son, who tagged you, posted on Facebook, in August 2004, of you dropping him off at university.
  • The whitepaper, Advancing Asian Markets Are Undermining Globalization, you wrote back in 1994 for the brokerage firm you were working at.
  • Last March, you tweeted you were celebrating your 25th wedding anniversary.

There’s plenty of information on the Internet, either placed by you or not, that employers can use to determine your age. The Internet has made attempting to hide one’s age from employers futile. Employers can easily determine, even find, your age outside of your resume and LinkedIn profile. Hence, the advice to leave off dates, etc., seems illogical to me. It’s actually telling that you’re trying to hide your age when you leave off dates.

Employers can find almost anything about potential candidates thanks to the Internet. (e.g., age, place of birth, your social media posts). Consequently, employers won’t schedule an interview if they see something they don’t like about a candidate. The Internet allows employers to exercise their biases, right or wrong, before contacting a candidate. When you apply and don’t hear anything, the reason(s) is unknown to you. It’s a guess—a pacifying belief—to say you’re not getting interviews because of your age.

An employer invites you to an interview because you have the skills, experience, and qualifications they’re looking for, and your digital footprint has passed their scrutiny. If you’re not hired, it’s not because of your age. Assuming you didn’t arrive late, dressed professionally, built rapport with your interviewer, and didn’t knock over the picture of their dog, you weren’t hired because (the two most common reasons):

  • You didn’t sell yourself as the solution to the problem the position was created to solve, or (brace yourself)
  • There were better candidates.

Obviously, candidates get rejected for various reasons, not just the ones I mentioned. However, rejected candidates often use excuses, such as ageism, to justify why they weren’t selected rather than evaluating their interviewing skills.

You’re not owed friendship, love, respect, health, or making a living. Everything in life—everything worthwhile—must be earned. No matter how old you are, you need to earn (READ: prove) why you deserve to be on an employer’s payroll.

Now that you know you can’t beat ageism, what can you do? As regular readers of my columns know, my first advice to jobseekers is to find their tribe. Look for where you belong and will be welcomed. Pursue the right employers! My advice to “find your tribe” applies not just to ageism but to overcoming all perceived “isms.” An undeniable fact: As humans, we prefer to be around people we feel comfortable with.

When you focus on where you belong, your job search will be much more successful.

I’m confident there are just as many employers who value the experience a seasoned candidate will bring to their company as there are employers who prefer less seasoned candidates for what they’ll not bring to their company. (I know, this is a bit of a mind pretzel. Flip it around in your head for a few minutes. Slowly it’ll make sense.)

Regardless of whether you consider yourself young or old, you can make your age irrelevant by:

  • Demonstrating your ability to generate revenue, save money, improve processes, improve safety, etc. (Share your expertise and track record of delivering results.)
  • Adopt a consulting mindset. (Treat interviews as consulting conversations. Show curiosity and a learning mindset.)
  • Communicating your confidence in your ability to hit the ground running. (This isn’t your first rodeo.)
  • Show you’re energetic and enthusiastic.

Look at that; I provided ways to negate your age over which “older candidates” have more leverage.

Whatever your age, remember, an interview isn’t about you. It’s about convincing your interviewer you’re the best solution to their problems. Remember, you were vetted before getting the interview; your age isn’t an issue.

Next week, in my final column of this series, I’ll discuss having the right mindset to cope with ageism during job searches.

______________________________________________________________

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send Nick your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

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Canada eyes cash for critical minerals in Biden's big new climate bill – CBC News

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A historic climate bill just passed by the U.S. Congress could have implications in entrenching Canada’s role in the shift toward clean transportation.

The legislation that passed last week established preferential tax treatment for electric vehicles assembled anywhere in North America.

That made-in-North-America approach generated some news headlines by bringing an amicable resolution to a months-long Canada-U.S. irritant.

Less noticed in the bill was a pot of money containing hundreds of millions of dollars to jump-start a new domestic industry in components for electric-vehicle batteries.

The ripple-effects could eventually be felt across the border, up into remote Canadian mining communities.

At issue is growing U.S. concern about becoming dependent on its great geopolitical rival, China, for the critical minerals powering future vehicles. 

President Joe Biden invoked the U.S. Defense Production Act earlier this year allowing him to fund projects that would lessen dependence on U.S. rivals.

He’s now getting the funds to do it: $500 million US set aside in this incoming law, after another $600 million was tucked into a recent Ukraine assistance bill, atop an older multibillion-dollar loans program.

Those funds are now at Biden’s disposal to enact his stated plan to develop new suppliers for lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite and manganese, as well as heat pumps.

An ‘opportunity’ for Canada

Could some of that money create new battery-component projects in Canada? Canadian officials are hopeful it will.

They point to a document recently posted on the White House website, from a binational panel: It explicitly mentions Canada being included as a domestic source under the U.S. Defense Production Act and says that creates potential co-operation opportunities on critical minerals.

“There is an opportunity the way [the bill is] structured — to take advantage of some of that,” Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to Washington, told CBC News in an interview. 

“This will spur domestic production [in the U.S.]. It also includes Canada as a domestic source. So we look forward to shared opportunities.”

Princeton University’s Zero Lab estimates the incoming budget bill will result in U.S. emissions falling by 42 per cent. That’s not quite as ambitious as an earlier unpassed version of the bill known as Build Back Better, or at the level scientists say would halt global warming, but it’s a big jump from the current emissions trajectory. (CBC News)

The broader story of the new bill, which Biden will soon sign, is that it’s by far the most significant U.S. federal action ever against climate change.

It passed with relatively little media coverage last Friday, with the country’s politics distracted by the FBI search of former president Donald Trump’s home.

What’s in that big climate bill

But analysts who’ve studied the bill have predicted a major impact on carbon emissions through its more than $400 billion Cdn in tax credits and subsidies for a wide range of energy projects.

Those estimates project U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions will fall faster now to anywhere between 31 per cent and 42 per cent from 2005 levels, which would take the U.S. significantly closer to achieving its 2030 target under the Paris accord.

The so-called Inflation Reduction Act would remove one billion tons of greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere, says Princeton University’s Zero Lab — that’s equivalent to reducing two per cent of all current global emissions.

But there’s uncertainty in the projections: One reason the estimates vary so widely is it’s far from clear how quickly new energy projects will get started.

WATCH | U.S. EV tax credit changes a relief for Canada’s auto sector: 

U.S. EV tax credit changes a relief for Canada’s auto sector

19 days ago

Duration 2:06

Canadian automakers breathed a sigh of relief after a U.S. climate bill that would have seen consumer tax credits for American-made electric vehicles expanded to include North American-produced EVs, batteries and critical minerals.

Here’s an example of that uncertainty: The much-discussed electric vehicle credit.

For almost a year, it was a festering irritant in Canada-U.S. relations. An earlier version of the bill, previously known as Build Back Better, allowed only U.S.-assembled vehicles to access certain tax credits.

What happened to that EV tax irritant?

That triggered threats of trade retaliation. Ottawa warned that the bill violated the new North American trade deal and would wipe out auto jobs and investment in Canada.

Two electric vehicles are parked on the South Lawn of the White House, Aug. 5, 2021, at an event on clean cars and trucks. (Susan Walsh/The Associated Press)

The head of Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, Flavio Volpe, called the friendlier language in the new, final, bill a relief for Canadian jobs: “It’s a bullet dodged,” he said.

“Probably more of a missile dodged.”

But wait. There’s an important caveat in the new, friendlier language. U.S. auto-makers are now calling the new credit practically useless, under current conditions. 

For an electric car to qualify for the maximum $7,500 US in the new version of the credit, the car’s battery will increasingly need North American components: from 50 per cent of the battery in 2024, to 100 per cent in 2028.

The problem? North America doesn’t make that many battery components. 

“[No vehicles] would qualify for the full credit when additional sourcing requirements go into effect. Zero,” said a letter from a U.S. auto industry lobby group.

Biden speaks about climate change and clean energy at Brayton Power Station on July 20 in Somerset, Mass. (Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)

An analysis for the non-partisan U.S. Congressional Budget Office projected that only a tiny percentage of vehicles will wind up receiving the tax credit. 

In a 10-year fiscal forecast for the bill, the CBO estimated the U.S. treasury will wind up paying out just enough to deliver the full credit to slightly over 1 million vehicles over a decade.

That amounts to less than one per cent of an estimated 150 million total vehicle sales in the U.S. over those 10 years. During that period, an increasing percentage of vehicles sold will be electric.

The bottom line: Very few cars are expected to have enough North American components to qualify.

That’s where Canadian mining comes in.

A key architect of the final version of the bill, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, has repeatedly stated his skepticism about the original plan.

He said it made no sense to rush into the electric-vehicle age while America’s chief adversary still has a stranglehold on vital inputs.

This map shows the locations of early exploration projects currently underway in Ontario for critical minerals. It appears in the provincial government’s new strategy document for the sector published earlier this year. (Government of Ontario)

But after Manchin visited Canada earlier this year, he opined that the two countries should be working more closely together on minerals.

This new bill appears designed to do just that, through the tax credits for North American vehicles, and the cash for critical-minerals projects.

If U.S. mining companies want access to some of that money, they can submit proposals to the American government.

Quebec mining project

One company eyeing U.S. public funds happens to have an important investment in Quebec.

Keith Phillips, president of North Carolina-headquartered Piedmont Lithium, said he’s not yet clear on what conditions the U.S. government will set and what projects it’s looking to fund.

More details about the administration of the bill will be revealed in regulations to be drafted in the coming months. 

Governments in North America are working to build more charging stations for electric vehicles. (Doug Ives/The Canadian Press)

“I’m not sure anyone’s entirely clear on what the priorities are,” Phillips said in an interview.

His company is a minority investor in a Quebec lithium mine that’s now forecast to begin producing next year. 

The next goal is to build a plant in Quebec for value-added processing with the majority partner, Australia’s Sayona Mining. 

The project is in its infancy and there’s no site picked out yet. 

Phillips said a similar plant would cost $600 million US to build in the U.S. and he said public money is a lifeline for projects that banks have little history of supporting. 

“Of course it would be a priority,” he said of figuring out the potential for U.S. federal loans. 

“If government assistance could be involved, it’s very helpful.”

Building a North American battery industry

The Canadian government also recently budgeted $4 billion to develop the country’s critical minerals sector.

Yet North America is starting way behind. 

Canada, for instance, has a minute share of the world’s discovered deposits of lithium, cobalt and manganese.

Brian Kingston, head of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, said he’s relieved by some of the changes in the U.S. bill.

But he’s still concerned — that auto-makers can’t meet the zero-emissions sales targets set by Ottawa without major improvements, in charging capacity, energy infrastructure and sales incentives.

As for a North American battery supply chain, he said: “[It] won’t emerge overnight.”

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