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Canada among 4 countries launching effort to hold Iran accountable for shooting down Flight PS752



Canada, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom have formally triggered a process to hold Iran legally accountable for shooting down Flight PS752, nearly three years after 176 people died on board the downed passenger plane.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight shortly after takeoff in Tehran on Jan. 8, 2020. Two surface-to-air missiles hit the plane, killing all on board — including 55 Canadian citizens, 30 permanent residents and others with ties to Canada.

On Wednesday, the International Coordination and Response Group, which was formed to coordinate efforts to seek accountability and reparations over the plane’s downing, announced that ministers from Canada, Sweden, Ukraine and the U.K. had requested Iran’s regime submit to binding arbitration under an international dispute resolution process governed by the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation.

The convention requires parties to prohibit, prevent and punish certain offences involving aircraft, including the unlawful and intentional destruction of an aircraft in service. Canada, Sweden, Ukraine, the U.K. and Iran are all parties to the convention, which was signed in Montreal in 1971.


If the countries can’t agree to terms for arbitration within six months, the case can be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Previous efforts to get Iran to participate in negotiations over reparations for Flight PS752 have failed.

The families of the victims of Flight PS752 began their fight for compensation in 2020. Earlier this year, an Ontario court awarded them $107 million, but lawyers warned that actually getting Iran to pay the damages would be very difficult.

Canada among 4 countries launching effort to hold Iran accountable for shooting down Flight PS752 
People dressed in black hold signs, each with one person's face and name on them, while walking in a line down a street.
People hold placards with images of the victims of Flight PS752 during a march in Toronto on Jan. 8, 2021, marking the first anniversary of the plane’s downing. The victims’ families have been fighting for truth and justice for nearly three years. (Carlos Osorio/Reuters)

Families hope for truth, justice

Hamed Esmaeilion, who lost his wife and daughter on PS752, said he and other victims’ families are thankful the binding arbitration process has been launched, but they are not confident Iran will co-operate.

“It was a long campaign for us but we’re very happy now that we have a roadmap ahead of us, and the truth will come out one day, and I think the day that the truth is out, justice will be served, too,” Esmaeilion told CBC News, speaking on behalf of the Association of the Families of Flight PS752 Victims.

“It was a very horrific crime that they have committed … This [international legal process] is important for the community and the wounds of the community to be healed.”


Canada among 4 countries launching effort to hold Iran accountable for shooting down Flight PS752

Families of Flight PS752 victims hope for truth, justice from legal process

Hamed Esmaeilion, who lost his wife and daughter on Flight PS752, says victims’ families anticipate the International Court of Justice will eventually hold Iran accountable for shooting down the passenger plane.

Kaveh Shahrooz, a lawyer and senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute who has been providing legal advice to the victims’ families, says Iran has so far refused to provide information to the victims’ countries about the circumstances surrounding the plane’s downing.

“My expectation is that Iran will not play ball when it comes to arbitration, that it will not be forthcoming with information about responsibility and other sorts of necessary information that the parties need to analyze what happened,” he said, adding that he believed it was likely the dispute would end up before the ICJ.

CBC News has reached out to Iran’s foreign ministry for comment.

Long process ahead

The next steps will depend on whether Iran agrees to participate in arbitration. Typically, international arbitration is overseen by a three-member panel, with the claimant and respondent sides each choosing one member, and the third member acting as chair or president.

If the two sides can’t agree on panel members or other details by June 28, any of the countries involved can take the case to the ICJ. If that happens, Iran could again decide whether or not to participate, but the court could proceed with the case either way.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corp fired two surface-to-air missiles at Flight PS752, killing all 176 people on board on Jan, 8, 2020. (Social media video via Reuters)

“[In] the vast, vast majority of cases, respondent countries do show up [to the ICJ],” says Catherine Amirfar, a lawyer and co-chair of the International Dispute Resolution Group of Debevoise & Plimpton, who has appeared as counsel before the ICJ.

“It’s a very profound thing, to fail to respond in a dispute where the country has agreed, as Iran did here under the Montreal Convention, to a certain dispute resolution procedure.”

Either the arbitral panel or the ICJ could order remedies and compensation, if they found Iran responsible for downing flight PS752.

But either legal route “typically takes years” to reach a conclusion, Amirfar says.

Shahrooz said while the case may eventually bring reparations for the victims’ families, their main hope is that those responsible for downing the plane are identified, and that Iran will be “forced to hand over documents and other information that will get us closer to the truth.”

“If Iran loses, it will be a clear sign to the world that they have refused to provide the truth,” he said. “It will be a recognition that Iran has not held the right parties accountable for this crime. This is really what the families have been pushing for.”

A woman in a black parka stretches her right hand out to touch a large boulder with a plaque on it that reads "PS752" and "08.01.2020".
A woman attends a commemorative ceremony in Kyiv on Jan. 8, on the second anniversary of PS752’s downing. The plane was operated by Ukraine International Airlines. (Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters)

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UPEI students offered $1,500 to leave residence during Canada Games –



Some UPEI students are earning extra money during the mid-semester break this year, simply by packing up and leaving campus. 

The 2023 Canada Winter Games Host Society offered $1,500 each to students living in Andrew Hall if they give up their residence rooms to make space for arriving athletes. 

The students have to leave a few days before the break starts, on Feb. 17, and can return March 7. They also had to give up their meal plan for the duration.


Many athletes are staying at UPEI’s new 260-bed residence, built to meet accommodation requirements for the Games’ temporary athlete village.

But Wayne Carew, chair of the Games, said there are 120 more athletes coming than originally planned. 

A portrait of a man standing outside, wearing a jacket with the Canada Winter Games logo.
Organizers want the athletes all to stay on the UPEI campus so they can have ‘the experience of a lifetime,’ says Wayne Carew, chair of the 2023 Canada Winter Games Host Society. (Tony Davis/CBC)

“We ended up getting 44 rooms [in Andrew Hall] and that’s great,” said Carew.

He said the athletes staying at UPEI “are going to have a wild experience on the campus of the beautiful University of Prince Edward Island.” 

Carew said the costs of doing this are a “lot cheaper” than arranging accommodations elsewhere. But he said the main reason is to provide all athletes the same, “once-in-a-lifetime” experience.

“Where they live, the food and the camaraderie and the experience of a lifetime: that’s what they’ll remember in 20 years’ time about P.E.I.,” he said.

‘Pretty good deal’

Some students were eager to take the organizers up on their offer.

“I’m going away to Florida during the two-week break anyways. So I was like, ‘May as well let them use my room then,'” said Hannah Somers. 

Portrait of a man in a toque and a grey sweater standing in front of a residence hall.
UPEI student Benji Dueck is moving in with a friend during the Canada Games so he can get the $1,500 offer. (Tony Davis/CBC)

“It’s $1,500. Pretty nice,” said Benji Dueck, who agreed to vacate the room with his roommate.  “We’re moving out, living with a friend in the city. So, sounds like a pretty good deal to me.”

As part of the agreement, the students had to clear out their rooms. Canada Games organizers made arrangements so students could store their belongings.

But not all students thought it was a good deal.

Portrait of a woman in a black down jacket standing in front of a residence hall.
UPEI student Maria de Torres won’t be leaving residence during the Canada Games. ‘It’s just too hard to pack up. It’s just too hectic,’ she says. (Tony Davis/CBC)

“I’m not giving up my spot in Andrew Hall for $1,500,” said Maria de Torres. “It’s just too hard to pack up. It’s just too hectic. And since I’m an international student, I got a lot [of things] right now.”

Shelby Dyment is also staying in Andrew Hall. Dyment said she and her roommate are working as residence life assistants during the mid-semester break and she’s also doing directed study, so she has to stay on campus.

“There’s a lot of people doing it. It’s just for our situation it just wasn’t working for what we were doing,” she said.

In a statement, UPEI said that enough students had accepted the offer to host all the athletes. 

It said the host society made all the arrangements with the students, including paying for their incentives and arranging for storage.

Organizers expect about 3,600 athletes, coaches and officials to participate in the Games. The event will run from Feb. 18 to March 5.

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Germany won't be a 'party to the war' amid tanks exports to Ukraine: Ambassador – CTV News



The German ambassador to Canada says Germany will not become “a party to the conflict” in Ukraine, despite it and several other countries announcing they’ll answer President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s pleas for tanks, possibly increasing the risk of Russian escalation.

Sabine Sparwasser said it’s a “real priority” for Germany to support Ukraine, but that it’s important to be in “lockstep” coordination with other allied countries.

“There is a clear line for Germany,” she told CTV’s Question Period host Vassy Kapelos, in an interview airing Sunday. “We do want not want to be a party to the conflict.”


“We want to support, we want to do everything we can, but we, and NATO, do not want to be a party to the war,” she also said. “That’s I think, the line we’re trying to follow.”

Defence Minister Anita Anand announced this week Canada will send four Leopard 2 battle tanks — with the possibility of more in the future — to Ukraine, along with Canadian Armed Forces members to train Ukrainian soldiers on how to use them.

Canada first needed permission from Berlin to re-export any of its 82 German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. After a meeting of 50 defence leaders in Germany earlier this month, it was unclear whether Germany would give the green light.

But following what German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called “intensive consultations,” Germany announced on Jan. 25 it would send tanks to Ukraine, and the following day, Canada followed suit. It is now joining several other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Poland, which are sending several dozen tanks to Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this week the tanks would allow Ukraine to “significantly strengthen their combat capabilities.”

“It demonstrates also the unit and the resolve of NATO allies in partners in providing support to Ukraine,” he said.

Meanwhile Sparwasser said Germany is “walking that fine line” of avoiding steps that could prompt escalation from Russia, while supporting Ukraine, and staying out of the war themselves.

“I think it’s very important to see that Germany is very determined and has a real priority in supporting Ukraine in its struggle for freedom and sovereignty,” Sparwasser said. “But we also put a high priority on going it together with our friends and allies.”

Sparwasser said despite warnings from Russia that sending tanks to Ukraine will cause an escalation, Germany is within international law — specifically Article 51 of the United Nations Charter — to provide support to Ukraine.

“Ukraine is under attack has the right to self defence, and other nations can come in and provide Ukraine with the means to defend itself,” Sparwasser said. “So in international law terms, this is a very clear cut case.”

She added that considering “Russia doesn’t respect international law,” it’s a more impactful deterrent to Russia, ahead of an expected spring offensive, to see several countries come together in support of Ukraine.

With files from the Associated Press

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COVID: Canada retaining Evusheld – CTV News



While Health Canada says it is “aware” of the U.S. decision to withdraw the emergency use of Evusheld, a drug by AstraZeneca used to help prevent COVID-19 infection— the agency is maintaining its approval, citing the differences in variant circulation between Canada and the U.S.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Jan. 26 that its emergency use authorization of the drug was pulled due to its inefficacy in treating “certain” COVID-19 variants.

The FDA stated in a release on its website that as the XBB.1.5. variant, nicknamed “Kraken”, is making up the majority of cases in the country, the use of Evusheld is “not expected to provide protection” and therefore not worth exposing the public to possible side effects of the drug, like allergic reactions.


In an email to, Health Canada said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pulled the drug as the main variant of concern in the U.S. is XBB.1.5.

“Dominant variants in the [U.S.] may be different from those circulating in Canada,” the federal agency said in an email. “The most recent epidemiological data in Canada (as of January 1, 2023) indicate that BA.5 (Omicron) subvariants continue to account for more than 89 per cent of reported cases.”

On Jan. 6 the FDA said in press release that certain variants are not neutralized by Evusheld and cautioned people who are exposed to XBB.1.5. On Jan. 26, the FDA then updated its website by saying it would be limiting the use of Evusheld.

“Evusheld is not currently authorized for use in the U.S. until further notice by the Agency,” the FDA website states.

On Jan. 17, Health Canada issued a “risk communication” on Evusheld, explaining how it may not be effective against certain Omicron subvariants when used as a preventative measure or treatment for COVID-19.

“Decisions regarding the use of EVUSHELD should take into consideration what is known about the characteristics of the circulating COVID-19 variants, including geographical prevalence and individual exposure,” Health Canada said in an email.

Health Canada says Evusheld does neutralize against Omicron subvariant BA.2, which according to the agency, is the dominant variant in many communities in Canada.

The drug was introduced for prevention measures specifically for people who have weaker immune systems and are unlikely to be protected by a COVID-19 vaccine. It can only be given to people 12 years and older.

“EVUSHELD is not a substitute for vaccination in individuals for whom COVID-19 vaccination is recommended,” the agency’s website reads.

Health Canada says no drug, including Evusheld, is a substitute for vaccination.

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