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Amid ‘extreme wait times’ at Toronto Pearson, airport operator calls on feds to make changes – Global News

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The operator of Toronto Pearson airport is calling on the federal government to make changes amid “extreme wait times” being faced by passengers.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) said in a statement that it is “extremely proud” of the way employees have “shown up” throughout the pandemic, but is aware of delays that both departing and arriving passengers are facing.

The GTAA suggested there are different factors contributing to longer than normal wait times, namely staffing shortages and ongoing COVID-19-related public health requirements.

Read more:

Pearson airport passengers asked to ‘pack their patience’ as long security lines reported

The statement noted that there are three government checkpoints within Pearson itself: pre-departure screening, which is conducted by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA); pre-clearance for U.S.-bound passengers, which is done by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (US-CBP); and customs clearance for passengers arriving from an international destination, which is done by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and has additional requirements established by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

“Wait times for departing passengers at security screening points are being negatively impacted by staffing challenges at CATSA,” the statement said.

“U.S.-bound travellers are impacted both by CATSA and USCBP staffing shortages. Moreover, international arriving passengers are facing bottlenecks and very lengthy delays in border processing—a direct result of legacy public health requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To prevent severe passenger congestion, airport and airline staff are forced to hold passengers on planes and deliberately meter the flow of arriving travellers into the customs hall for processing by CBSA, a process that we know and appreciate is incredibly frustrating for passengers.”

Read more:

Toronto Pearson Airport starts construction on 2nd busiest runway for repairs

The GTAA said airports have been “ringing the proverbial alarm bells” about layoffs and the resulting labour shortage, comparative lack of investment in the sector, projects that have been deferred, and financial challenges faced as a result of the pandemic.

The GTAA wants to see the federal government make various changes to improve the situation.

The operator said it wants public health requirements at airports to either be streamlined or eliminated — including random testing upon arrival.

The statement also called on the feds to “invest in the necessary government agency staffing and technology to achieve globally competitive service level standards,” and work with the U.S. to ensure USCBP staffing returns to pre-pandemic levels.

“Recognizing aviation’s importance to the national economy and global perceptions of Canada, we need government’s immediate help to support air sector recovery so we can once again proudly welcome the world,” the GTAA said.

Government ‘has and will continue to support’ air sector: Transport Minister’s office

Global News contacted the CATSA, PHAC, and Transport Canada to see if they would provide a response to the GTAA statement.

In a statement sent to Global News, the Office of the Minister of Transport said the government “has and will continue to support” the air sector.

“We know that Canadians have been experiencing long lines and delays at airports across the country,” the statement said.

“As the air sector continues to recover, staffing remains an issue that the industry is working as quickly as possible to resolve….

“We are in touch with airports, and Transport Canada has been closely engaged with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to ensure actions are taken to resolve the delays as quickly as possible.”

The statement said Transport Minister Omar Alghabra is meeting with the CEO of CATSA next week to “further discuss” the issue.


Click to play video: 'Why travellers are facing major delays at Canada’s biggest airports'



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Why travellers are facing major delays at Canada’s biggest airports


Why travellers are facing major delays at Canada’s biggest airports

“The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority is well aware of this issue, and have put in place additional measures to increase staffing levels in the coming weeks. We understand Canadians may be frustrated by this situation, and ask that they remain patient as we work hard with CATSA to resolve this issue,” the statement concluded.

COVID health requirements ‘continuously reviewed’: PHAC

Mark Johnson, a spokesperson for the PHAC, told Global News in an email that COVID-19-related restrictions and health requirements are “continuously reviewed.”

“In recent months, we have slowly and carefully started to reopen and restart activities as the virus changes, we are adjusting our strategy,” Johnson said.

Johnson said there are “various reasons” for delays at Pearson.

“As traveller volume increases, the Government of Canada has worked to build efficiencies and additional capacity at the border. However, travellers should still be prepared for potentially face longer wait times and delay,” the email said.

Johnson said international passengers are encouraged to complete ArriveCAN and pre-register for COVID-19 testing providers prior to their arrival in the country in order to speed up the process.

Read more:

Airport delays in Canada could ease by summer, industry official says

“Pre-registering for the test has no impact on selection for mandatory randomized testing,” Johnson said.

He said the government continues to look for possible efficiencies, “such as alternative locations for on-arrival testing of fully vaccinated travellers.”

The CATSA and has not yet responded to Global News’ request for comment.

On Monday, amid reports of long security lines at Pearson, CATSA suggested that several factors are to blame for the delays.

In a statement, the Crown corporation said that they are “not immune” to recruitment and retention challenges being experienced by the broader aviation industry.

“CATSA has been actively supporting its screening contractors … as they take additional measures to ensure effective recruitment and candidate development,” the agency said.

“Also, increasingly passengers are opting to travel with more carry on bags resulting in additional time required to process these bags at pre-board screening.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Calling the passionate, the curious, and the creative: Staples Canada launches National Hiring Campaign

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More than 1,000 associates to be hired across Canada in seasonal, part-time and full-time positions to help make Back to School simply amazing

 

Richmond Hill, ON, May 17, 2022 – Staples Canada, The Working and Learning Company, has launched a national hiring campaign to fill more than 1,000 positions in stores, supply chain, contact centres, sales teams, print and tech hubs, as well as corporate roles. All open roles are posted at careers.staples.ca with in-person and virtual interviews available at the different locations.

 

“The back to school season is the most exciting time of year for Staples associates – it’s a time where we get to connect with our customers to enable their success, and inspire them for months to come,” said Wanda Walkden, Chief Human Resources and Communications Officer, Staples Canada. “We’re invested in bringing in the best and brightest talent to inspire our customers and our communities, while also helping our associates further their own development and growth.”

 

Staples currently employs more than 11,000 associates across Canada within a variety of roles and locations. The company has presence in every province and the Northwest and Yukon territories. All locations are looking to fill a variety of roles.

 

Joining Staples comes with a number of benefits, which include:

 

·       Associate support: Staples offers extensive wellness benefits that are designed to support the physical, mental and financial well-being of associates. These include an employee and family assistance program, retirement savings plans with an employer match, performance bonuses, associate discounts, and more.

·       Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Staples is committed to creating an inclusive and diverse work environment where each associate can bring their whole authentic self to work. Staples associates can join Business Resources Groups; groups that are by associates for associates and focus on various DE&I initiatives through partnerships, awareness and education.

·       Learning and development opportunities: At Staples, learning and development is a priority for all associates, with many opportunities for cross-department training, and leadership development programs in place to aid professional growth.

  • Educational support:  Each year, scholarships are awarded through the Staples Canada Annual Academic Scholarship Program to associates or children of associates attending post-secondary education. The company also offers tuition reimbursement for full-time associates to further their education.
  • Ability to make an impact: Each year, Staples associates partner with organizations like MAP, and take on local charitable giving initiatives including the School Supply Drive during back to school, as a continued commitment to communities across Canada.

 

All 300+ stores and Supply Chain, Contact Centres, Sales Teams, Print and Tech Hubs and, Corporate locations across Canada are participating in the national hiring campaign; visit careers.staples.ca to learn more and find the perfect job near you.

 

About Staples Canada

Staples Canada is The Working and Learning Company. With a focus on community, inspiration and services, the privately-owned company is committed to being a dynamic, inspiring partner to customers who visit its 300+ locations and staples.ca. The company has two brands that support business customers, Staples Preferred for small businesses and Staples Professional for medium to large-sized enterprises, as well as six co-working facilities in Toronto, Kelowna, Oakville and Ottawa under the banner Staples Studio. Staples Canada is a proud partner of MAP through its Even the Odds campaign, which aims to tackle inequities in communities across Canada and helps make a future that’s fair for everyone. Visit staples.ca for more information or get social with @StaplesCanada on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

 

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Media information:

Kathleen Stelmach, Staples Canada, 905-737-1147 Ext. 578, kathleen.stelmach@staples.ca

Noah Gomberg, Golin, 647-475-4721, NGomberg@golin.com

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Gas prices set to drop in the GTA – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Drivers are set to get some relief at the pumps as gas prices are set to drop 13 cents per litre by Friday.

Average gas prices hit $209.9 per litre on Wednesday in southern Ontario, marking a new record high and a whopping 12-cent rise since last Friday.

However, President of Canadians for Affordable Energy Dan McTeague says prices are set to drop three cents to 206.9 per litre as of midnight and then 10 another 10 cents to 196.9 per litre by Friday.

McTeague said that the drop in prices is being driven by the unease of global markets over a potential recession.

Prices at the pumps have been elevated since late February due to fuel supply shortages amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the international sanctions that have been imposed as a result of the war.

Natural Resources Canada said the average price for regular gasoline in Canada hit $2.06 per litre on Monday, with the most expensive price in Vancouver at $2.34 a litre.

On Wednesday, Statistics Canada reported that the annual inflation rate rose 6.8 per cent year-over year in April. The national agency added that Canadian drivers paid 36.3 per cent more for gas in April compared to a year ago.

-With files from The Canadian Press

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Stock markets sell off as inflation fears settle in – CBC News

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Stock markets were a sea of red on Wednesday as financial results from major retailers suggested they’re having a hard time dealing with stubbornly high inflation.

The S&P 500 was down by more than four per cent, its worst one-day showing since June 2020 as investors reacted to troubling signs that consumers are slowing their spending in the face of high prices.

Shares in Target shed more than 25 per cent of their value after the retailer said its profit was cut in half because of higher costs and supply chain problems. It was the worst day for Target’s shares since Black Monday in 1987, and it came a day after rival Walmart painted a similar picture the day before.

Walmart’s shares fell by more than 11 per cent on Tuesday and another seven per cent on Wednesday, after the retailer warned of lower profits to come due to higher costs for transportation and wages, as well as supply chain issues. Tuesday’s sell-off was also the biggest one-day plunge in Walmart shares since 1987.

That gloom coming from two cost-conscious retailers sparked investor fears that if they are having problems navigating high inflation, many others must be, too.

“The strength of the consumer will be tested as both Walmart and Target signal rising pricing pressures are not easing,” analyst Edward Moya with foreign exchange firm Oanda said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed almost 1,200 points or more than three per cent and the technology focused Nasdaq lost more than 500 points or more than four per cent.

Since the start of the year, the Dow is down by 14 per cent, the S&P by 18 per cent and the Nasdaq by 28 per cent, data from Bloomberg shows.

“Stocks are crumbling after Wall Street worries about economic growth after hearing a chorus of concerns of higher prices that won’t be easing anytime soon,” Moya said.

Statistics Canada reported on Wednesday that the country’s inflation rate ticked upwards again last month, to a new 31-year high of 6.8 per cent.

While the Toronto Stock Exchange fared better than its U.S. counterparts, it wasn’t immune to the sell-off, losing 389  points, or about two per cent, to close as just over 20,100 points late in the trading day. The benchmark Canadian index has lost about seven per cent of its value since the start of the year, and has been mostly lower of late since topping out at over 22,000 points in April.

“It’s a really rough day out there for stock markets,” Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management, said in an interview with CBC News.

“The retailers in particular are starting to get squeezed between rising costs and softening demand,” he said. “We’ve just been seeing a stampede for the exits across stock markets today.”

Tech shares hit hard

Technology shares, which soared earlier in the pandemic as the world went increasingly digital and online due to COVID-19 lockdowns, continue to get hammered.

Apple shares lost six per cent to trade at their lowest level since October. Amazon shares lost seven per cent and the shares are now trading where they were in April 2020. Netflix lost another seven per cent and now trade at their lowest level since 2018.

Canadian tech companies also sold off, with shares in e-commerce firm Shopify, payment processing company Lightspeed and BlackBerry all off by about three per cent.

Cieszynski said the sell-off in technology shares makes sense, because the sector “tends to benefit … when investors are feeling confident and when investors are willing to take on risk.”

“At a time when investors are are retrenching, turning away from risk and going more defensive, [technology] tends to underperform,” he said.

Bitcoin dips below $30,000

Bitcoin was no exception as the world’s largest cryptocurrency continued its plunge, losing another five per cent to trade below $30,000 US for the first time since 2021.

“The speculative cryptocurrency excesses of 2021 may mark a similar fate for risk assets, as when the internet bubble burst in 2000,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mike McGlone said.

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