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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world Sunday –



The latest:

A group representing teachers is expressing frustration at the patchwork approach to the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations across Canada.

Shelley Morse, head of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, says the federal and provincial governments need to work together to draw up a national list of who should get priority.

She says the federation’s 300,000 members who work in classrooms across the country are at risk and should all be included in the second phase of vaccination. Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories are including teachers in that phase, but not other jurisdictions.

Ian Culbert, executive director of the Canadian Public Health Association, says the current system has created an uneven approach across the country. He says it’s unlikely a federal-provincial agreement can be worked out, but that concerns will lessen once more vaccines become available.

A teacher sprays sanitizer into a student’s hands at an elementary school in Hamilton, Ont., in September 2020. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has recommended several immediate priority groups, including long-term care home residents and staffers, front-line health-care workersseniors, and Indigenous people in rural or remote communities.

But health care is a provincial responsibility, and vaccination phases vary from province to province.

Meanwhile, the federal government says it’s accepting more hotels to accommodate returning travellers as they await results of a mandatory COVID-19 test taken after they land at major airports in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

There are now 47 hotels serving as government-authorized accommodations, but the Public Health Agency of Canada is adding more to the list.

Since the introduction of the new quarantine policy last month, travellers have reported problems with the booking system. Many have complained of being unable to get through on the phone to the booking service, or of reaching an agent only to learn that no rooms are available.

What’s happening across Canada

As of 1:45 p.m. ET on Sunday, Canada had reported 908,676 cases of COVID-19, with 31,639 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 22,455.

Manitoba announced 44 new COVID-19 cases and an additional death on Sunday.

Ontario registered 1,747 new cases — the most since Feb. 7 — and 15 more deaths. However, Health Minister Christine Elliott said today’s number was inflated due to a data error in the provincial system.

The province’s vaccine booking system and support desk are set to go live on Monday. People who are aged 80 and older will be eligible to book appointments.

WATCH | Northern Ontario hit with surge in COVID-19 cases:

Sudbury and Thunder Bay in northern Ontario were relatively unscathed earlier in the pandemic, but a spike in cases has put them into lockdown, closing schools and businesses. 2:02

Quebec confirmed 674 new cases five more deaths. Starting next week, those 70 and older will be able to book vaccine appointments in more than 350 pharmacies in the province..

New Brunswick reported five new cases. Residents 85 and older are now eligible to book appointments with pharmacies to get vaccinated.

Nova Scotia added one new infection.

Newfoundland and Labrador has no new cases for the second consecutive day, closing out a quiet weekend that saw the province settle into lower alert levels and eased restrictions

What’s happening around the world

As of Sunday, more than 119.5 million people around the world had been reported to having COVID-19, according to a tracking tool maintained by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. Of those, more than 67.7 million were listed as recovered. The global death toll stood at more than 2.6 million.

In Africa, the United Nations says more than 14 million vaccine doses have been delivered to the continent in the past three weeks through COVAX, a UN-backed initiative aimed at ensuring equal access to vaccines.

A critical care nurse is administered a dose of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in Addias Ababa, Ethiopia, on Saturday. (Samuel Habitat/The Associated Press)

In Asia, Pakistani health and administrative authorities have imposed a partial lockdown in the country’s largest province, Punjab, and the northern part of the country amid a third wave.

In Europe, officials say the Paris region may be headed toward a new lockdown as new variants of the virus fill up intensive care units and limited vaccine supplies drag down inoculation efforts in the French capital.

In the Americas, hospitalizations in Los Angeles County have slipped below 1,000 for the first in four months as cases continue to decline. Much California, the largest state in the U.S., is preparing for some restrictions to be lifted in the coming days.

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Canada’s manufacturers ask for federal help as Montreal dockworkers stage partial-strike



MONTREAL (Reuters) – Canada‘s manufacturers on Monday asked the federal government to curb a brewing labor dispute after dockworkers at the country’s second largest port said they will work less this week.

Unionized dockworkers, who are in talks for a new contract since 2018, will hold a partial strike starting Tuesday, by refusing all overtime outside of their normal day shifts, along with weekend work, they said in a statement on Monday.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Quebec’s 1,125 longshore workers at the Port of Montreal rejected a March offer from the Maritime Employers Association.

The uncertainty caused by the labour dispute has led to an 11% drop in March container volume at the Montreal port on an annual basis, even as other eastern ports in North America made gains, the Maritime Employers Association said.

The move will cause delays in a 24-hour industry, the association said.

“Some manufacturers have had to redirect their containers to the Port of Halifax, incurring millions in additional costs every week,” said Dennis Darby, chief executive of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME).

While the government strongly believes a negotiated agreement is the best option for all parties, “we are actively examining all options as the situation evolves,” a spokesman for Federal Labor Minister Filomena Tassi said.

Last summer’s stoppage of work cost wholesalers C$600 million ($478 million) in sales over a two-month period, Statistics Canada estimates.

($1 = 1.2563 Canadian dollars)


(Reporting By Allison Lampert in Montreal. Additional reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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Canada scraps export permits for drone technology to Turkey, complains to Ankara



OTTAWA (Reuters) –Canada on Monday scrapped export permits for drone technology to Turkey after concluding that the equipment had been used by Azeri forces fighting Armenia in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said.

Turkey, which like Canada is a member of NATO, is a key ally of Azerbaijan, whose forces gained territory in the enclave after six weeks of fighting.

“This use was not consistent with Canadian foreign policy, nor end-use assurances given by Turkey,” Garneau said in a statement, adding he had raised his concerns with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier in the day.

Ottawa suspended the permits last October so it could review allegations that Azeri drones used in the conflict had been equipped with imaging and targeting systems made by L3Harris Wescam, the Canada-based unit of L3Harris Technologies Inc.

In a statement, the Turkish Embassy in Ottawa said: “We expect our NATO allies to avoid unconstructive steps that will negatively affect our bilateral relations and undermine alliance solidarity.”

Earlier on Monday, Turkey said Cavusoglu had urged Canada to review the defense industry restrictions.

The parts under embargo include camera systems for Baykar armed drones. Export licenses were suspended in 2019 during Turkish military activities in Syria. Restrictions were then eased, but reimposed during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Turkey’s military exports to Azerbaijan jumped sixfold last year. Sales of drones and other military equipment rose to $77 million in September alone before fighting broke out in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, data showed.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Gareth Jones and Peter Cooney)

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Investigation finds Suncor’s Colorado refinery meets environmental permits



By Liz Hampton

DENVER (Reuters) – A Colorado refinery owned by Canadian firm Suncor Energy Inc meets required environmental permits and is adequately funded, according to an investigation released on Monday into a series of emissions violations at the facility between 2017 and 2019.

The 98,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery in the Denver suburb of Commerce City, Colorado, reached a $9-million settlement with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) March 2020 to resolve air pollution violations that occurred since 2017. That settlement also addressed an incident in December 2019 that released refinery materials onto a nearby school.

As part of the settlement, Suncor was required to use a third party to conduct an independent investigation into the violations and spend up to $5 million to implement recommendations from the investigation.

Consulting firm Kearney’s investigation found the facility met environmental permit requirements, but also pinpointed areas for improvement, including personnel training and systems upgrades, some of which was already underway.

“We need to improve our performance and improve the trust people have in us,” Donald Austin, vice president of the Commerce City refinery said in an interview, adding that the refinery had already undertaken some of the recommendations from the investigation.

In mid-April, Suncor will begin a turnaround at the facility that includes an upgrade to a gasoline-producing fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) at Plant 1 of the facility. That turnaround is anticipated to be complete in June 2021.

Suncor last year completed a similar upgrade of an automatic shutdown system for the FCCU at the refinery’s Plant 2.

By 2023, the company will also install an additional control unit, upgraded instrumentation, automated shutdown valves and new hydraulic pressure units in Plant 2.

Together, those upgrades will cost approximately $12 million, of which roughly $10 million is dedicated to Plant 2 upgrades, Suncor said on Monday.


(Reporting by Liz Hampton; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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