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Canada to require all arriving air passengers to show negative COVID-19 test – Global News

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In an effort to curb the continuing coronavirus crisis, Canada will now require all air passengers to obtain a negative COVID-19 test three days before arriving in the country.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said the presence of Canada Border Service Agency agents will also be increased at border crossings and airports to ensure Canadians understand the newly tightened rules.

The test must be a PCR test — considered the gold-standard of COVID-19 tests. These tests need to be processed in a lab and usually take at least a day to provide results.

The new rules are expected to come into play in the next few days.

Read more:
Canada sees 6,442 new coronavirus cases as communities receive 2nd vaccine

Blair emphasized that this new rule does not replace the 14-day quarantine period.

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“We strongly advise against travel unless absolutely necessary,” Blair said at a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday.

“If you must travel, understand that upon your return, you must follow guidelines and quarantine for 14 days. It’s not just the right thing to do — it’s the law. And if you don’t, it can result in serious consequences.”

Violation of quarantine laws can result in up to six months in jail or up to $750,000 in fines, Blair said.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Ontario health official stresses importance of travel quarantine in wake of new variant'



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Coronavirus: Ontario health official stresses importance of travel quarantine in wake of new variant


Coronavirus: Ontario health official stresses importance of travel quarantine in wake of new variant

“But more importantly you will put your family, your friends, and your community at risk,” he continued.

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“We know that some Canadians have traveled out of the country for non-essential purposes, despite the clear public health guidance asking them not to do so. These Canadians, of course, have a right to return home. But when they come back they have a responsibility, both legal and moral, to quarantine.”

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Blair said it will be up to the airline to make sure travellers provide the negative test before they board a plane headed to Canada.

Read more:
Ontario finance minister to return to Canada after backlash over St. Barts holiday

Vaccine update

The additional layer of protection comes on the heels of rising case counts across the country.

The pandemic has tightened its grip on many provinces as winter has settled in, with the country’s total number of infections rising above 565,000 as of Tuesday. More than 15,000 people have died since the historic health emergency first took hold.

The climbing cases and hospitalizations come in contrast with the news of a second coronavirus vaccine landing in Canada.

The vaccine by U.S. biotechnology company Moderna has started to make its way across the country, mere weeks after the Pfizer vaccine.

However, some provinces are facing criticism over the speed of their rollout plans. Ontario has been grilled over its decision to scale down vaccination operations over the holidays. Retired general Rick Hillier, who is leading Ontario’s vaccine program, has said the decision to close clinics over Christmas Day and Boxing Day was the wrong one.

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Click to play video 'Alberta missed COVID-19 vaccination goal but is picking up the pace as Moderna doses arrive'



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Alberta missed COVID-19 vaccination goal but is picking up the pace as Moderna doses arrive


Alberta missed COVID-19 vaccination goal but is picking up the pace as Moderna doses arrive

In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney has acknowledged his government overestimated how quickly it would be able to get shots into people’s arms. The province initially expected to have 29,000 people vaccinated by the end of the year, but only about 7,000 health-care workers had received their shots as of Dec. 29.

At least 72,400 doses of the Pfizer-BioTech vaccine had been administered across Canada as of Wednesday morning, according to a vaccine tracker run by a University of Saskatchewan student based on official updates from each province.

Read more:
COVID-19 variant may not be deadlier, but we shouldn’t dismiss it, experts say

COVID-19 variant in Canada

A new variant of the illness is also drawing concern in Canada.

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The variant, which is believed to be more contagious, was first identified in the U.K. but has since spread to four provinces. In recent days, Ontario reported three cases of the variant, Alberta reported one, British Columbia reported one and Quebec one.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief health officer, said early information points to this variant being more transmissible. He said there is no data at this time to suggest it’s more lethal, or that the vaccine would be rendered ineffective against it.

Flights from the U.K. to Canada have been suspended since Dec. 21 in an effort to curb further travel-related spread. It is expected to remain in place until at least Jan. 6, 2021.

Njoo stressed the importance of the mandatory quarantine in the wake of the discovery of this new variant.

“All people identified in Canada with the variant were fortunately already in quarantine,” Njoo said.

“Quarantine has proven to be a protective measure that works.”


Click to play video 'Concerns grow over new coronavirus variant in Canada'



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Concerns grow over new coronavirus variant in Canada


Concerns grow over new coronavirus variant in Canada

— with files from Global News’ Hannah Jackson and The Canadian Press

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Canada’s M&A boom fuels hiring spree, higher pay

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Record-breaking dealmaking in Canada is encouraging investment banks to beef up staffing, but the increased demand for bankers is forcing some to pay up in unique ways to attract new hires.

Canadian mergers and acquisitions (M&A) year to date surged to a record $206.5 billion and IPOs hit an all-time high of $5.6 billion, according to Refinitiv, after the pandemic crushed dealmaking in the first three quarters of 2020.

HSBC, JPMorgan Chase & Co and National Bank of Canada are expanding their M&A teams.

“It continues to be an active market with lots of active discussions with clients going on as well, and so that has absolutely spurred on a need to fortify the ranks within the teams,” said Scott Lampard, head of global banking for HSBC Bank Canada.

HSBC plans to boost overall investment banking headcount by 20%-25%, mainly at the analyst level to support pitching and executing deals, Lampard said.

PENT-UP DEMAND

With the pace of transaction expected to continue at pace, banks are paying more to hire and retain existing teams, offering a range of new services, like sending in a consultant to create the ideal home office, recruiters say.

“We’ve been doing this for nearly 20 years and we’ve never seen a market like this,” said Bill Vlaad, CEO at recruitment firm Vlaad and Company. “Everybody is scrambling,”

“Many of the banks have increased base salaries quite dramatically, mostly in 2021,” he said, adding salaries had increased 20%-40% across M&A roles.

“Now if you want to attract, you have to put something else on the table.”

To poach talent, banks are adding signing bonuses, extra vacation days, healthcare increases, special programs for mental wellness and home office perks, all tailored to individual requests, Vlaad said.

TD Securities, Barclays, CIBC World Markets are the top M&A advisers year to date. All three declined to comment on hiring plans.

Of the top deals announced this year, Rogers Communications Inc’s C$20 billion ($16.2 billion) bid for Shaw Communications Inc and Canadian National’s bid $33.6 billion offer for Kansas City Southern are the two biggest.

Despite the pandemic, five of the top six Canadian banks paid an average of C$3.1 billion ($2.50 billion) in total bonuses last year, up from C$2.9 billion ($2.34 billion) in 2019, an analysis of filings by Reuters showed.

Headcount at National Bank Finance will be up by four or five people in M&A versus the same time last year, David Savard, head of M&A at the bank, told Reuters.

That put the team at 28 for the large-cap M&A team and 10 for the mid-market team, he said, adding both areas were “booming”.

“There seems to be some pent-up demand for entrepreneurial-led companies and private companies doing M&A coming out of COVID,” he said.

David Rawlings, CEO for JPMorgan Canada, agreed headcount would be likely higher in the near future.

“We think activity will continue to be strong and are currently looking to selectively hire with a particular focus on senior diverse candidates,” said Rawlings.

($1 = 1.2453 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Maiya Keidan; Editing by Denny Thomas and Lisa Shumaker)

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French court overturns ruling saying sale of cannabidiol is illegal

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France’s highest appeals court on Wednesday overturned a ruling that stores in the country can’t legally sell cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotic compound related to cannabis that is being researched for a variety of medical applications.

Based on the free trade of goods within the European Union, the Cour de cassation ruled that judges could not find the sale of CBD in France illegal if it had been legally produced in a member state of the bloc.

The Court of Justice of the EU ruled last year that no national law can prohibit the sale of CBD legally produced in a member state, the French court also said.

“Without considering whether the substances seized had not been legally produced in another member state of the European Union, the court failed to provide a basis for its decision,” it said, referring to a ruling of a lower appeals court.

The Cour de cassation did not rule whether selling CBD in France was legal or not, and ordered a lower court to rule again on a case involving the owner of a shop selling CBD.

“We are happy”, CBD shop owner Mathieu Bensa, who was not involved in the case, told Reuters after the ruling.

“We did not understand why France was the last country in the European Union that had not given access to the sale of hemp plants”, he said.

Derived mainly from the hemp plant, CBD is increasingly used as a relaxant.

Cannabis stocks have attracted growing interest on world stock markets, particularly on the Toronto stock exchange after Canada became one of the first major economies to legalise the recreational use of marijuana.

Cannabis use is outlawed in France but the country has one of Europe’s highest consumption rates.

(Reporting by Matthieu Protard, Benoit Van Overstraeten and Ardee Napolitano; Editing by Mark Potter)

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Canada Energy Regulator allows resumption of Trans Mountain oil project

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The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) has issued a notice https://bit.ly/35Sm87H allowing Trans Mountain Corp to resume work on its Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) oil pipeline project.

The company was ordered in April to halt work on a section of the project in Burnaby, British Columbia, for four months to protect hummingbird nests.

The C$12.6 billion ($10.17 billion) TMX project will nearly triple capacity of the pipeline, which runs from Edmonton in Alberta to the coast of British Columbia, to ship 890,000 barrels per day of crude and refined products when completed late 2022.

(Reporting by Arpan Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman)

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