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CN rail closures from Wet’suwet’en protests affecting industry, farmers say – Calgary Herald

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A man walks dogs across train tracks as First Nations members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory block the route servicing Via Rail, as part of a protest against British Columbia’s Coastal GasLink pipeline, in Tyendinaga, Ontario, Canada February 13, 2020. REUTERS/Chris Helgren ORG XMIT: GGGTYE104


CHRIS HELGREN / REUTERS

Farmers who rely on rail for shipping their harvest say blockades that have forced the stoppage of all Canadian National Railway Co. transcontinental trains could have a significant economic effect on Alberta’s agricultural industry.

“We’re seeing immediate effects already from the closures,” said Todd Hames, a grain farmer near Marwayne, about 250 kilometres east of Edmonton, who is also the chair of the Alberta Wheat Commission.

“There’s been a significant stoppage of grain movement already and if this were to continue for very many days, it will be lost capacity that’s really hard to regain. It’s like a lost day of work for the industry.”

Blockades set up by demonstrators have halted the movement of more than 300 freight trains since Feb. 6. The protesters are forming the blockades in solidarity with northwestern British Columbia’s Wet’suwet’en First Nation, whose hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project that crosses through their traditional territory.

The barricades, set up in Ontario and British Columbia, led CN Rail to start a “progressive and orderly shutdown of its Eastern Canadian network,” according to a statement posted to the railway operator’s website Thursday.


A “Stop Colonization” sign is taped to a camper as First Nations members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory block train tracks servicing Via Rail, as part of a protest against British Columbia’s Coastal GasLink pipeline, in Tyendinaga, Ontario, Canada February 13, 2020.

CHRIS HELGREN /

REUTERS

For farmers, the news compounds a difficult few months that saw an eight-day CN Rail strike in November, an extended January cold spell and recent heavy rain that delayed rail movement and the loading of grain vessels in Vancouver. In all, it’s led to a backlog that has dozens of ships waiting to be loaded in Vancouver, with another eight sitting idle in Prince Rupert.

“That early strike was certainly a factor, and they’ve had to catch up on supply. It seemed like they were catching up on it, but cold weather has had an effect, especially with the amount of snow on the mountains,” said Lynn Jacobson, president of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture. “Saying (the backlog) is all on the protesters isn’t telling the whole story, but it will have an effect on us.”

If the interruptions continue for an extended period of time, the economic effect could be dramatic, Hames said, arguing that those effects could be felt internationally if Canada fails to ship its product to other markets.

“It causes a loss of confidence in Canada and our competitive environment in Canada because we’re exporting a lot of grain around the world,” he said. “Our customers really like the quality of our product but they need to be assured that they’ll get it when they ask for it.

“Any sort of blip in the system causes our international customers to be concerned about purchasing Canadian grain.”

The concerns extend beyond Alberta’s agricultural industry and to manufacturers across the province, says Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters president and CEO Dennis Darby.

“It has an effect everywhere, and Alberta will be affected as well, because manufacturers in Eastern Canada are often building equipment and parts they need out West,” Darby said. “I think it’s an economic imperative that we get this resolved. We sometimes take for granted that our integrated supply chain in Canada, and also north-to-south, relies on rail.”


First Nations members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory block train tracks servicing Via Rail, as part of a protest against British Columbia’s Coastal GasLink pipeline, in Tyendinaga, Ontario, Canada February 13, 2020.

CHRIS HELGREN /

REUTERS

In addition to the CN Rail closures, Via Rail is putting a temporary halt on its passenger services nationwide. The passenger train service runs mostly on CN Rail track.

The railway operator also said the shutdowns could lead to temporary layoffs, with Teamsters Canada, the union representing CN Rail workers, saying 6,000 employees at CN and other rail companies could be left without a job.

“These blockades are having a catastrophic impact on ordinary, working-class Canadians who have nothing to do with the Coastal GasLink pipeline,”  Teamsters Canada president François Laporte said Thursday.

“Hundreds of our members have been out of work close to week. Now up to 6,000 of our members risk not being able to support their families or make ends meet this month, and they are powerless to do anything about it.”

A blockade in Manitoba was taken down Thursday, but ones in Belleville, Ont., and New Hazelton, B.C., remain.

Federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller offered Thursday to meet with three Indigenous leaders in Ontario as the federal government seeks a solution to the rail blockades.

Tyendinaga Mohawk Chief Donald Maracle says he expects the meeting will take place but he can’t comment on the blockade because it wasn’t initiated by council.

A meeting is also expected to take place between the B.C. government and Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

Data from the Angus Reid Institute shows that roughly two in five Canadians support Wet’suwet’en solidarity protesters, while 51 per cent support the $6.6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline.

However, despite the protests, few Canadians expect the project to be stopped, with 57 per cent believing the pipeline will be built with some delays and another 34 per cent saying they’re confident construction will push forward as planned despite the demonstrations.

— With files from The Canadian Press

jherring@postmedia.com

Twitter: @jasonfherring

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Canada's top growing companies: 2020 – The Globe and Mail

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W

Welcome to our second annual ranking of Canada’s Top Growing Companies. The 400 businesses on this list sprawl
across sectors, from fashion to finance, and manufacture everything from medical testing devices to organic
pasta.

Much of the success celebrated in these pages occurred before a global pandemic changed how most
companies operate. But as you will read, many of these businesses were able to adapt, innovate and even expand
despite the challenges posed by these past few months.

As individual companies, and the entire country, work to
rebuild, there’s more need than ever to share the stories of entrepreneurial success—and the innovations and
strategies that made it possible.

OUR METHODOLOGY

Launched in 2019 by The Globe and Mail, the program ranks participating private and public Canadian businesses on three- year revenue growth. Canada’s Top Growing Companies is a voluntary program. We accepted entries from businesses through May 31, 2020.

Applicant companies had to submit a ballot, complete a full application survey and supply supporting financial documentation to our research team for both 2016 and 2019. We evaluated companies based on the most recent fiscal year for which financial statements were available, with a latest possible year-end date of April 30, 2020. In some unique cases, companies were evaluated on calendar years instead of fiscal.

In order to qualify, a company had to have at least $2 million in annual sales in its most recent fiscal year. Companies had to be for-profit, Canadian-run, headquartered in Canada and independent. In rare cases in which applicant companies were recently acquired, they were admitted only if the acquisition occurred following the close of the companies most recent fiscal year.

Franchisors were ranked on corporate revenue only, not systemwide sales. All revenue figures are in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise indicated.

Research was conducted by Deborah Aarts and Stefanie Marotta. To learn more about the program or to apply for the 2021 ranking, please visit tgam.ca/TopGrowing.

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Shoppers Drug Mart Surrey staff member tests positive for COVID-19 – Vancouver Is Awesome

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The parent company of Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaw Companies International, confirmed Wednesday that another one of its Surrey employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The employee, who tested positive on a presumptive COVID-19 test, last worked at the 8962 152 St. store location on Friday.

Loblaw regularly updates its COVID-19 page with all positive COVID-19 cases in its stores, by province, in the last 15 days

However, it does not release any personal information about employees.

Last month, multiple Shoppers Drug Mart locations issued notices that team members tested positive for COVID-19.

On Tuesday, health officials announced 96 new coronavirus cases in the province.

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How close are we to a coronavirus vaccine? – National Post

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AstraZeneca has had to pause trials twice after participants fell seriously ill and while work has resumed in the UK and elsewhere, the research remains on hold in the US.

Vials of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate, a recombinant adenovirus vaccine named Ad5-nCoV, co-developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical firm CanSino Biologics Inc and a team led by Chinese military infectious disease expert, are pictured in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, March 24, 2020. Photo by China Daily via REUTERS

Which countries have bought doses so far?

Despite global appeals from the WHO for countries to pursue multilateral deals that provide for the equitable distribution of doses, the trials have sparked a multibillion-dollar flurry of vaccine dealmaking by national governments.

The US government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is the biggest spender so far, having distributed more than $10bn in funding for vaccine candidates, either via direct financing or through vaccine procurement agreements.

Bar chart showing amount spent on COVID-19 vaccine candidates in billions of dollars
On a per-capita basis, the UK has built the largest and most diversified vaccine portfolio, according to data from Deutsche Bank, having pre-ordered more than five doses per citizen spread across six leading vaccine candidates. The UK is followed closely by the US, Canada and Japan.

A laboratory technician supervises capped vials during filling and packaging tests for the large-scale production and supply of University of Oxfords COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, conducted on a high-performance aseptic vial filling line on September 11, 2020 at the Italian biologics manufacturing facility of multinational corporation Catalent in Anagni, southeast of Rome, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images

In total, dealmaking by the US, UK, EU, Japan and other rich nations has meant wealthy countries representing just 13 per cent of the world’s population have bought more than half of the leading vaccine candidates’ promised doses, according to Oxfam, the charity.

Covax, the global vaccine procurement facility, designed to ensure the equitable distribution of doses, only this week secured the participation of 64 higher income countries. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, one of the founders of the facility, has invested up to $895m in nine COVID-19 vaccine candidates that will be distributed under the programme.

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