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Canada's airlines say border testing could cause confusion for airlines, passengers – CTV News

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MONTREAL —
The National Airlines Council of Canada said there are still major issues that need to be addressed as Ottawa rolls out a COVID-19 testing requirement for air passengers arriving from abroad.

The group’s comments come as the federal government said Thursday that as of Jan. 7, all air passengers five years of age or older will be required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling by from another country to Canada.

Prior to boarding a flight to Canada, passengers will have to present airlines with documentation of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to their scheduled departure, the government said.

Mike McNaney, the NACC’s president and CEO, said additional clarity is needed regarding the format in which passengers must present their testing results and passengers’ options if their jurisdiction does not offer the kind of test the government accepts.

“We fully support testing and the implementation of a testing strategy and regime,” McNaney said. “But the objective is to do it in a consistent and thorough fashion, and to tie it to quarantine measures.”

The National Airlines Council of Canada is an industry group that represents the country’s major carriers, including Air Canada, Air Transat and WestJet.

McNaney added that the lack of consultation with airlines on the new measures risks creating confusion for airlines, passengers and front-line government workers trying to enforce the rules.

Yves-Francois Blanchet, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, said the testing requirement should apply to all border crossings, not just to airports. He also said the government should reimburse anyone out of the country who finds themselves with extra costs as a result of the planned rules.

Along with requests for financial assistance, industry groups representing airlines and airports have called on the government to replace the mandatory 14-day quarantine for international travellers with a program that tests airline passengers on arrival in Canada.

However, the measures announced Thursday would not replace the existing quarantine period, government officials said.

Daniel-Robert Gooch, president of the Canadian Airports Council, said that although the group approved of testing international travellers, he was concerned that the testing requirement coupled with the 14-day quarantine was overly restrictive for passengers.

On Thursday afternoon, Unifor, a trade union that represents 300,000 airline workers, renewed its call for government assistance for the airline sector in light of the new testing requirement.

“Yesterday’s announcement is important to protect the public safety of all Canadians, but at the same time, the federal government’s continued refusal to provide adequate financial support for the 300,000 airline workers puts the very future of Canada’s airline industry in jeopardy,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National president.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published December 31, 2020.

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Hundreds more unmarked graves found at erstwhile Saskatchewan residential school

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An indigenous group in Saskatchewan on Thursday said it had found the unmarked graves of an estimated 751 people at a now-defunct Catholic residential school, just weeks after a similar, smaller discovery rocked the country.

The latest discovery, the biggest to date, is a grim reminder of the years of abuse and discrimination indigenous communities have suffered in Canada even as they continue to fight for justice and better living conditions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “terribly saddened” by the discovery at Marieval Indian Residential School about 87 miles (140 km) from the provincial capital Regina. He told indigenous people that “the hurt and the trauma that you feel is Canada’s responsibility to bear.”

It is not clear how many of the remains detected belong to children, Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme told reporters, adding that oral stories mentioned adults being buried at the site.

Delorme later told Reuters some of the graves belong to non-indigenous people who may have belonged to the church. He said the First Nation hopes to find the gravestones that once marked these graves, after which they may involve police.

Delorme said the church that ran the school removed the headstones.

“We didn’t remove the headstones. Removing headstones is a crime in this country. We are treating this like a crime scene,” he said.

The residential school system, which operated between 1831 and 1996, removed about 150,000 indigenous children from their families and brought them to Christian residential schools, mostly Catholic, run on behalf of the federal government.

“Canada will be known as a nation who tried to exterminate the First Nations,” said Bobby Cameron, Chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. “This is just the beginning.”

OLD WOUNDS

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which published a report that found the residential school system amounted to cultural genocide, has said a cemetery was left on the Marieval site after the school building was demolished.

The local Catholic archdiocese gave Cowessess First Nation C$70,000 ($56,813) in 2019 to help restore the site and identify unmarked graves, said spokesperson Eric Gurash. He said the archdiocese gave Cowessess all its death records for the period Catholic parties were running the school.

In a letter to Delorme on Thursday, Archbishop Don Bolen reiterated an earlier apology for the “failures and sins of Church leaders and staff” and pledged to help identify the remains.

Heather Bear, who went to Marieval as a day student in the 1970s and is also vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, recalled a small cemetery at the school but not of the size revealed on Thursday.

“You just didn’t want to be walking around alone in (the school),” she recalled. There was a “sadness that moves. And I think every residential school has that sadness looming.”

The Cowessess First Nation began a ground-penetrating radar search on June 2, after the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia outraged the country. Radar at Marieval found 751 “hits” as of Wednesday with a 10% margin of error, meaning at least 600 graves on the site.

The Kamloops discovery reopened old wounds in Canada about the lack of information and accountability around the residential school system, which forcibly separated indigenous children from their families and subjected them to malnutrition and physical and sexual abuse.

Pope Francis said in early June that he was pained by the Kamloops revelation and called for respect for the rights and cultures of native peoples. But he stopped short of the direct apology some Canadians had demanded.

Thursday was a difficult day, Delorme told Reuters. But he wants his young children to know “we will get the reconciliation one day with action like today.”

($1 = 1.2321 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto and Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Alistair Bell, Grant McCool and Daniel Wallis)

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Teamsters votes to fund and support Amazon workers

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The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a labor union in the United States and Canada, said on Thursday it has voted to formalize a resolution to support and fund employees of Amazon.com Inc in their unionization efforts.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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Citigroup names new sales head for Treasury and Trade Solutions unit

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Citigroup Inc has named Steve Elms as the new sales head for the bank’s Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) unit effective immediately, according to an internal memo shared by a company spokesperson.

Elms, who will oversee the management of the global sales teams, has been involved with the bank’s TTS division for over 10 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

TTS is a division of the bank’s Institutional Clients group. The segment offers cash management and trade services and finance to multinational corporations, financial institutions and public sector organizations around the world.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and David Henry in New York; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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