Connect with us

Business

Federal government approves Air Canada purchase of Transat A.T. Inc. – CBC.ca

Published

 on


The federal government has approved Air Canada’s purchase of competing airline Transat A.T. Inc. under a series of strict terms and conditions the government says “are in the interest of Canadians.”

A statement released by the transport minister’s office said the impact of COVID-19 was a key factor in the final decision to approve the purchase. 

“Given the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the air industry, the proposed purchase of Transat A.T. by Air Canada will bring greater stability to Canada’s air transport market,” said Transport Minister Omar Alghabra in a media statement.

“It will be accompanied by strict conditions which will support future international competition, connectivity and protect jobs. We are confident these measures will be beneficial to travellers and the industry as a whole.”

Those conditions include: maintaining Transat’s head office and brand in Quebec; encouraging other airlines to take up former Transat routes to Europe; ensuring aircraft maintenance contracts remain in Canada, prioritizing Quebec over other provinces; launching new routes within five years; and committing 1,500 employees to the merged company’s new travel business. 

The deal also stipulates that because Transat is now a subsidiary of Air Canada, it must provide bilingual services to customers across the country.

The federal government said it will “continue to take into account the needs of” Transat customers who are still waiting for refunds for flights cancelled due to the pandemic, and that those refunds are key to negotiations with the airlines on a bailout package.

Doubts about Transat’s ability to continue operating — a situation that was exacerbated by the pandemic — was another key factor in the decision process.

“The proposed acquisition offers the best probable outcomes for workers, for Canadians seeking service and choice in leisure travel to Europe, and for other Canadian industries that rely on air transport, particularly aerospace,” the Transport statement said.

Mixed support for deal

The Transat purchase angered rival WestJet. In a statement, the Calgary-based airline said the purchase means Canadian airline travellers will have fewer choices.

“This decision shows blatant disregard for all Canadians who believe in healthy competition,” said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO.

“When Canadians look to explore the world and reunite with family and friends once again, they will face fewer choices and higher fares.”

Flair Airlines is also against the deal. 

“This further reduction in competition in the Canadian aviation industry underlines the need for a true independent ultra low-cost carrier like Flair. We strongly oppose the merger, and we look forward to bringing competition back to the industry,” said Flair Airlines president and CEO Stephen Jones in an email to CBC News Thursday.

But last month, Stephen Hunter, chief executive officer of Sunwing, told the Globe and Mail that the merger would be good for Canada because it would help Air Canada compete with foreign airlines globally.

“Unless we want Canada completely controlled by foreign carriers, we have to allow this,” Hunter told the newspaper. “Our main fear is, and what we’ve got to watch out for, is all the European and other international carriers coming in and taking market share away from Canadian airlines. And this is one way to defend them.”

In a statement, Transat noted that Air Canada has agreed — under the terms of the purchase — to ensure a number of public benefits, namely, to maintain a Transat head office in Quebec, and to preserve jobs and the Transat brand. 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Key COVID-19 numbers in the Ottawa area today – CBC.ca

Published

 on


  • Ottawa is reporting 55 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.
  • Another 25 cases recorded in western Quebec.

Today’s Ottawa update

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recorded 55 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday but zero deaths. 

Another 39 cases have been classified as resolved.

Ottawa and communities under the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) are now in the orange alert level, with slightly more restrictive rules than the rest of eastern Ontario, which is green.

Ottawa’s medical officer of health is backing up what some key numbers and experts have suggested: that the capital is close to moving to the red zone if the spread of COVID-19 doesn’t slow.

Numbers to watch

33.8: The weekly incidence rate, a rolling seven-day total of new COVID-19 cases expressed per 100,000 residents. The red zone threshold is 40.

.98: The number of people infected by a single COVID-19 case, or R(t). Health officials consider the spread under control if it’s below one.

34: The number of outbreaks in Ottawa.

504: The number of known active COVID-19 cases in Ottawa. One month ago there were more than 1,200.

Across the region

In western Quebec, another 25 cases were reported on Sunday but no new deaths. 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

LILLEY: Trudeau makes Canada 'vaccine pirate,' stealing from poor nations – Toronto Sun

Published

 on


Article content

Canada is being described as a “vaccine pirate” after the latest announcement of COVID vaccine approvals showed we will be getting our doses from a facility funded to provide vaccines for the developing world.

On Friday, Health Canada announced that they had approved two related but distinct products, the AstraZeneca vaccine developed in collaboration with Oxford University and COVISHIELD, a version of the AstraZeneca recipe manufactured by Serum Institute of India.

The problem is that Canada will be getting its doses, starting as early as Wednesday, from the Serum Institute, an organization funded to produce vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries.

Like the announcement that the Trudeau government will take 1.9 million doses from COVAX, this makes it look like Canada is taking vaccines meant for poorer countries.

In a news release last June announcing the deal that would allow the SII to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine, the company specifically said it was “to supply 1 billion doses for low-and-middle-income countries” In September, a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation allowed the program to expand by an extra 100 million doses.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

“This is vaccine manufacturing for the Global South, by the Global South, helping us to ensure no country is left behind when it comes to the race for a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO Gavi, the alliance to ensure poor countries have access to vaccines.

Now Canada has found its way to the front of that line.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand confirmed on Friday that of the 3.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD vaccines that we will see delivered before the end of June, 2 million will come from the Serum Institute and 1.9 million from COVAX.

The move has led one former Canadian health bureaucrat who now works internationally to accuse the Trudeau government of turning Canada into a “global vaccine pirate.” It’s a view held by many people paying attention to the details of our latest vaccine announcement.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Amir Attaran, a professor with the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa, accused the Trudeau government of poaching these doses from developing countries.

“How many people in other lands will this kill? ‘Sunny ways’ it isn’t,” Attaran said on Twitter.

Dr. Srinivas Murthy, an infectious disease specialist with the B.C. Children’s Hospital, said that Canada was taking doses away from LMICs or low and middle-income countries.

“This is much more anger-inducing than the COVAX conversation weeks ago. The Serum Institute of India was funded by CEPI and GAVI to produce vaccines for LMICs. Canada, because of diplomacy and money, is skipping that line and taking doses meant for LMICs,” Dr. Murthy said.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

When the Trudeau government announced at the beginning of February that we would be taking vaccines from COVAX, the move was blasted by a broad range of organizations including Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam.

“Canada should not be taking the COVAX vaccine from poor nations to alleviate political pressures at home,” Oxfam said at the time.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Yet, that is exactly what Trudeau was doing in early February and it is what he is doing now. Canadians are upset at seeing Americans, Brits, Italians, Serbians and Barbadians vaccinated much fast than we are, and they are rightly blaming the federal government.

Even the record 643,000 doses received across the country last week is less than the Americans use before lunch each day.

Justin Trudeau campaigned on improving Canada’s reputation on the world stage, now we are taking vaccines meant for developing countries. It is nothing short of a national embarrassment.

The Trudeau government owes Canadians an explanation on his latest moves; let’s hope he faces the tough questions he should later this week.

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Experts advise Canadians to take whatever COVID-19 vaccine is offered – CBC News: The National

Published

 on


[unable to retrieve full-text content]

  1. Experts advise Canadians to take whatever COVID-19 vaccine is offered  CBC News: The National
  2. Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world on Sunday  CBC.ca
  3. AstraZeneca approval opens door to some B.C. front-line workers getting earlier vaccine  Global News
  4. Europe must get its act together with Covid vaccine rollout  Telegraph.co.uk
  5. Keep up COVID-19 protocols as vaccines roll out, experts say  CBC News: The National
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending