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As planes slide off runways, Transport Canada accused of dragging its heels –



Planes skidding off the end of runways and barrelling toward roads or other public spaces is a frightening scenario that happens an average of nine times a year in Canada.

But the country is lagging behind other nations in adopting new regulations to help keep passengers safe when a plane rolls off a runway, according to the Transportation Safety Board. 

For 12 years, the independent agency has urged Transport Canada to introduce new rules to force airports to expand the flat, empty spaces at the end of runways that give pilots extra room to stop if a plane can’t be halted in time.

“It has a safe place to decelerate and that would reduce the risk of injury or death,” Kathy Fox, chair of the Transportation Safety Board, said in an interview last year.

The risk of overruns has become clear in Nova Scotia, where in the last 14 months two planes have gone off the runway at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

A WestJet flight earlier this month slid 50 metres off the end of a runway. In November 2018, a Boeing 747 cargo jet went 210 metres and came to a stop dangerously close to a road. The cause of both incidents is still being investigated.

Kathy Fox, the chair of Transportation Safety Board of Canada, argues regulations should be put in place to force airports to expand their runway end safety areas. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Fox notes the “very vivid image” of an Air France flight in 2005 that went off the end of a Toronto runway and crashed into a ravine, injuring dozens of people. It shows, she said, why it’s important to expand what are known as “runway end safety areas.”

Currently, the government requires airports to have a 60-metre strip at the end of runways for overruns and recommends an additional 90 metres, for a total of 150 metres. The same is expected at the start of runways in case planes undershoot landings.

The TSB wants a 300-metre space at the end of runways that are 1,200 metres or longer. Those runways are large enough to accept big cargo planes and passenger planes that can carry hundreds of people.

The Halifax airport said all of its runway end safety areas are 150 metres in length. If Transport Canada should require a larger area, the airport will make the changes to keep up with the regulations, an airport spokesperson said in an email.

Some airports have gone further and adopted the full recommendation from the TSB. The Ottawa International Airport, the Montréal-Trudeau International Airport and the Vancouver International Airport all extended their runway end safety areas to 300 metres.

An emergency evacuation slide hangs from the wreckage of the Air France Airbus A340 at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport in August 2005, one day after it skidded off the runway and burst into flames. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty)

The 300-metre area best reduces the hazards involved in runway overruns, according to the TSB. It’s also the length recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency that helps develop international rules for aviation.

Major airports in the United States have also adopted 300-metre runway end safety areas. 

Runway overruns generally occur during landings or rejected takeoffs, according to the TSB. It also says the terrain beyond the end of many runways in Canada could contribute to aircraft damage and injuries to passengers and crew.

Transport Canada refused a CBC News request for an interview, but in an email said it is looking at changing its regulations.

“Transport Canada is developing a regulatory change proposal that will improve safety for Canadians and establish Runway End Safety Area regulations that are in line with international standards,” said Frederica Dupuis, a spokesperson for Transport Canada.   

Transport Canada would not say what size it will require runway end safety areas to be, but the TSB says the government is expected to introduce rules for a 150-metre area, not the recommended 300 metres.

The cargo jet that left the Halifax airport runway in 2018 had been scheduled to be loaded with lobster destined for China. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

Dupuis expects the proposed amendments to the Canadian Aviation Regulations will be published some time this year. But the federal institution has made promises like that before.

“If you look back at the history of this, Transport Canada has told us year over year that they were going to be enacting new regulations and every year it gets pushed to the right, so we’ll have to see what actually happens,” said Fox.   

In 2018, Transport Canada told CBC News that amending the regulations takes time and is a complicated process. The regulator has to consider associated costs, possible risks, other impacts and document all of those factors. 

As the years of waiting for new rules tick by, planes continue to go off runways — an average of nine a year across Canada, according to the TSB’s website. 

“In the case of runway overruns, we believe there is systemic issue across the country,” said Fox.  

The most recent runway overrun in Halifax happened on Jan. 5. The WestJet aircraft had 172 passengers and seven crew members on board. The company said there were no injuries. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Fox said some airports may worry they don’t have the room to expand. They could be in urban areas surrounded by buildings or near terrain like mountains that make it difficult to create large, flat spaces.

But she said there are ways around that problem. 

An engineered arresting system can be installed to slow an aircraft down in a shorter distance, she said. A series of blocks made with crushable concrete, or a mixture of concrete and foam, are placed at the end of a runway and break apart as a plane rolls over them. The friction on the wheels brings it gradually to a stop.

The system has been used in a number of airports in the United States and is credited with helping save several aircraft, according to Fox. 

The Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the November 2018 incident involving the cargo plane in Halifax. (Robert Short/CBC)

Fox said air transportation in Canada is, overall, very safe, but there’s still room for improvement. 

“The area of runway overruns is certainly one where we think more can be done by the regulator and by the airport authorities to make sure that if somebody runs off the end that there’s no significant damage and certainly no injuries or worse.”


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Canada's top doctors reveal flip side to public praise: 'I've had death threats' – CTV News



The top health officials co-ordinating Canada’s COVID-19 response say the majority of public reaction to their work has been positive — but they’ve also received some abusive feedback that ranges from “well-thought-out insults” to “death threats.”

“I’ve got a lot of positive responses, but there are many people who don’t like what I do, or don’t like the way I say it or don’t like my shoes and feel quite able to send me nasty notes, to leave phone calls, to harass my office staff,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s top doctor, speaking Tuesday.

“I’ve had to have security in my house, I’ve had death threats,” she added.

Her comment made headlines after she revealed the death threats she’d been facing — and it prompted reporters to quiz other health officials about how they’ve been treated by the public.

While the other public health officers did not report death threats, they said they had been on the receiving end of some abuse.

Dr. Heather Morrison, who serves as the top doctor in P.E.I., said she’s received a small amount of feedback that’s been frightening.

“Overwhelmingly, it’s been so wonderful,” Morrison told CTV News in an interview.

However, she conceded that “there have been threats, at times.”

“It makes me concerned for my family, and my children, and my staff,” Morrison said.

While some doctors, such as Henry and Morrison, reported outright threats, others said that while they hadn’t faced any threats, there had been a heaping of criticism levelled towards them.

“Dr. Hinshaw has received a wide range of correspondence from Albertans,” said a spokesperson for Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

“While this includes strong personal and professional criticisms, she has not received death threats or hate mail to date.”

Newfoundland and Labrador’s top doctor, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, said in her Wednesday press conference that it’s “unfortunate” people feel public servants “deserve to be the target of such harassment.”

“In the Public Health Division we’ve had our share of emails that aren’t necessarily in agreement with some of the things that we have done, but you know, we have to accept that as part of the job I guess,” she added.

Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, said in her own Wednesday press conference that she has also been on the receiving end of insults — but no threats.

“I haven’t had any threats. I’ve had some very-well-thought-out insults sent my way, but for the most part, no, no threats,” she said.


At least one study indicates that the numbers reflect what these doctors are describing — and may point to a gender divide in the negative feedback they face.

Erin Kelly is the CEO of Advanced Symbolics Inc., which uses Artificial Intelligence for human behaviour research. She studied the feedback these public health officer face using a randomized, controlled sample of 270,000 Canadians taken from Twitter.

Kelly said the randomized, controlled sample she studied was taken from Twitter between October 1, 2019 to September 22, 2020. She said her results had a margin of error of +/- 1 per cent, with a 95-per-cent confidence interval 19 times out of 20.

She said they found, overall, discussion about Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam and Bonnie Henry was “well in excess of 80 per cent positive, so overall Canadians feel they’re doing a good job.”

“However, we have seen for some of them like Bonnie Henry, feelings about her have been on the decline since about April, and especially since July, that contestations questioning her competence have been increasing,” Kelly said.

She added that roughly a quarter of the discussions about Tam were what she would “classify as racist.”

“But the bigger picture that we see is a gender bias in how public health officials are being perceived,” Kelley said.

She explained that where there are negative comments directed at public health officials, “it comes overwhelmingly from men.”

She said that when this was compared to the comments Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams faces, “the comments from men were overwhelmingly positive.”

“So it’s not as though they’re always negative about public health officials generally, it seems to be splitting along gender lines,” Kelly said.

When asked about this gender difference, Alberta’s top doctor said it would be “difficult” to compare what she’s experienced with the feelings among her colleagues.

“It’s not something I’ve discussed with my male colleagues across the country so that might be something of interest to find out if they’re experiencing some similar frustrations,” Hinshaw said.

“I think it is quite understandable that people do feel angry, it’s just really important that, if people are feeling angry, that they frame their concerns in a respectful way…whether people in leadership are women or men.”

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Coronavirus: Canada adds 1,329 cases, 5 deaths Thursday – Global News



Canada added 1,329 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday and five deaths.

That brings the national total to 148,941 cases and 9,249 deaths, with two deaths added from earlier in the week.

Read more:
Ontario reports 409 new coronavirus cases with most in Toronto-area, Ottawa

Ontario reported 409 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing its case total to 48,496 and count back into the 400s after 335 cases were reported Wednesday.

Currently there are 88 people in hospital with the virus in the province, with 27 of them in intensive care and 11 on a ventilator.

Quebec, meanwhile, reported 582 new cases on Thursday, bringing the province’s total to 69,670. Hospitalizations increased by six to 184, with 31 in intensive care.

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Coronavirus: Quebec health minister asks Quebecers to limit social interactions

One additional death was announced that occurred between Sept. 17 and 22. The province has the most deaths in the country at 5,810.

Out west, British Columbia reported 148 new cases on Thursday, with 61 currently in hospital, 20 of them in intensive care. The province has seen 8,543 cases total.

Two new deaths were reported as well.

Alberta announced 158 new cases, with 58 people currently in hospital, 14 in intensive care. There are 1,462 active cases total.

Read more:
Coronavirus: Alberta has 1.02% positivity rate; 4% of schools have active cases

The province also announced one new death — a man in his 80s from Calgary.

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Manitoba reported 37 new cases of COVID-19. The province currently has 449 active cases, with 11 in hospital and six in intensive care.

The province also confirmed the death of a woman in her 90s in a long-term care home in Winnipeg, which was first reported on Tuesday.

Saskatchewan added five new cases to its tally of 1,835 total cases on Thursday, and currently has 130 active cases with eight people hospitalized. No new deaths were reported.

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Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada can ‘bend the curve’ together again

In the Maritimes, New Brunswick reported one new case of an individual from Fredericton but who is currently in Ontario.

Nova Scotia added no new cases to its sole active case. The province currently has one person in ICU and has had 1,087 cases total.

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No cases were reported in Newfoundland and Labrador, PEI or any of the territories.

There have been 32,091,257 cases reported worldwide and 980,299 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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CP Holiday Train won't roll across Canada this year due to pandemic –



Since 1999, the annual Canadian Pacific Railway Holiday Train has pulled into communities across Canada and the United States to raise money for local food banks.

But like so many events deemed unworkable amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the festive train won’t be leaving its station this holiday season.

Keith Creel, the railway’s president and CEO, said CP will instead donate to food banks across the railway network this year and host virtual concerts in lieu of the annual event.

“COVID-19 has created many challenges for communities across our network and has only increased the need at local food banks and food shelves,” he said in a release.

“It is our honour to continue to donate to communities across our network this year, even if the train itself will not run.”

Over its 21 years of operation, the holiday train has raised $17.8 million while collecting 4.8 million pounds of food for local food banks.

Calgary Food Bank president and CEO James McAra said that support would be especially needed amidst rising demand during the pandemic.

“The need for food bank services has risen substantially over the course of this year and heading into the high-demand winter months. We hope CP’s concert will prompt the train’s supporters to give as generously as they’re able,” McAra said in a release.

Details about the virtual concerts will be released at a later date. CP said it plans to resume the holiday train in 2021.

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