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Maple Leaf workers frustrated, want plant to be closed for 2 weeks – CTV News Winnipeg



Maple Leafs workers in Brandon are demanding action as there continues to be connections to COVID-19 at the plant.

Workers sent an open letter to Migrante Manitoba on Monday voicing their frustrations and what they want management and the provincial government to do.

Diwa Marcelino, who is an organizer with Migrante Manitoba, said workers feel like their concerns aren’t being heard.

“They’re concerned that physically distancing in the washrooms areas and other communal areas like the cafeteria is impossible,” said Marcelino. “They’re also concerned about access to hand washing and also sanitizers.”

As of Monday, Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief provincial health officer, said there are 52 cases of COVID-19 linked to the Maple Leaf plant and 34 of those cases are active.

With these numbers and the recent rise in cases in the Brandon area as well as the Prairie Mountain Health Region, workers are demanding changes to keep them safe.

As part of the demands, workers are calling for the facility to be closed for two weeks and that the entire plant is deep cleaned.

The workers are also calling for COVID-19 testing for every employee as well as job security and wage protection for each and every employee while the plant is closed.

“The claim from the Maple Leaf President and CEO as well as the provincial government that the employees’ cases are linked to community gatherings and interactions, and are not linked to the plant is unacceptable,” the workers said in the letter.

“Many of our co-workers have limited interactions with the community outside of the facility, while seeing confirmed cases rising. It is clear that the spread of COVID among workers at Maple Leaf is a direct result of our employment at Maple Leaf, and the working and living conditions we endure while working for this company.

“It is not acceptable that the repeated calls to shut down the plant, and the concerns raised multiple times from UFCW which represents staff at the facility are being dismissed or ignored by the government. It is clear to us that the COVID cases are related to the facility’s inability to ensure safe working conditions or take workers’ voices seriously.”

Marcelino said one worker has also given an invitation to health officials and government officials to come to the plant.

“(They want them to) come join them for lunch and to use their use their washroom facilities to see how it is,” said Marcelino.

Other meat processing plants in Canada have been hit hard by COVID-19.

An outbreak at a Cargill meat processing plant in High River, Alta., saw 950 workers infected, and resulted in two deaths.

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Canada’s deficit to hit $330B as coronavirus lands ‘permanent’ economic impact – Global News



Alberta’s auditor general says the province does a poor job of anticipating and preparing for disasters.

In a report released this morning, Doug Wylie says Alberta doesn’t have a consistent plan for evaluating the risk the province faces from disasters such as floods or wildfires.

Read more:
Southern Alberta storm caused almost $1.2B in damage, 4th most costly Canadian natural disaster

He says the government began preparing one in 2014.

But the effort floundered after different ministries couldn’t agree on the severity of the risks posed by different hazards.

Wylie also found that many local municipalities have large gaps in their hazard assessments and many don’t have a risk assessment at all.

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Northwestern Alberta communities support each other through fires and floods

Northwestern Alberta communities support each other through fires and floods

Read more:
Alberta’s auditor general confirms review of province’s COVID-19 response

Wylie points out that factors such as climate change are increasing disaster risks in Alberta.

More to come…

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Oil Prices Stuck In Limbo As Uncertainty Mounts –



Oil Prices Stuck In Limbo As Uncertainty Mounts |

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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    Oil prices are unlikely to move much higher from the current levels in the low $40s, at least not for the rest of the year, a growing number of analysts and industry professionals say.  Oil has been stuck in a narrow trading range in the low $40s more or less since July after the market began to worry that even with large supply cuts from OPEC+ and curtailments in the U.S., demand will not recover fast and strong enough to draw down the record-high inventories that had built in the second quarter.   

    This year has been a year of uncertainties on all markets, including the oil market, but it looks as if uncertainties have grown since we entered the second half of 2020, instead of abating as analysts had predicted earlier this year. 

    Uncertainties about a second wave of COVID-19 and renewed restrictions on social gatherings in several major European economies are weighing on oil market sentiment. China’s ability to continue propping up oil demand with record-high crude oil purchases is also called into question. The U.S. election is another major uncertainty and whatever the result, the markets, including the energy market, will be impacted.

    In recent weeks, uncertainties over when (if ever) oil demand will return to the pre-crisis levels have increased with demand recovery basically stalled and China appearing to slow down its oil imports.

    A lot of the major players on the oil market, including some of the largest independent oil traders such as Trafigura and Mercuria, have been bearish on oil near term, expecting global stocks to build in the fourth quarter – due to weak demand – before starting to decline. The biggest independent oil trader in the world, Vitol Group, however, was quite bullish two weeks ago. The world’s stockpiles of oil have diminished by around 300 million barrels since peaking at 1.2 billion barrels early this summer, and are expected to decline by another 250 million-300 million barrels between September and December, Vitol’s chief executive Russell Hardy told Bloomberg in mid-September.  

    Related: China’s Crude Oil Imports Are Slowing Down But another executive at Vitol, executive committee member Chris Bake, said on Gulf Intelligence’s weekly energy podcast on Sunday that demand is looking more uncertain amid a “huge amount of uncertainty” about COVID-19, economies, monetary stimulus, and oil demand. 

    “The conventional wisdom going into the fourth quarter was that things were going to improve,” Bake said, noting that “it doesn’t feel like we have a huge catalyst” for the rest of the year. 

    According to Bake, there is a “big push-pull between the demand and supply side, and the demand side right now looks very uncertain; the supply side probably will need to adjust to that.”

    The deteriorating demand outlook comes just as OPEC+ is preparing to further ease – as of January – the current production cuts, leading to speculation that the group is set for a turbulent dialogue in the fourth quarter about its supply-fixing decisions. 

    There is uncertainty about OPEC+ “holding the line without making another move,” Vitol’s Bake said on the Gulf Intelligence podcast. 

    Related: Oil Bulls Return As OPEC+ Reassures Markets

    Many economies in Europe also face increased uncertainty with surging COVID-19 cases. The City of London’s biggest employers, banks, had just started slowly returning staff to offices, encouraging employees to drive to work with cash incentives or paying their taxi fares, when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said last week that everyone who can, should work from home. Banks reversed plans for employees returning to the office, stricter local restrictions are imposed in some areas in the UK, and London faces a local lockdown with a possible ban on household mixing if it wants to avoid a full lockdown. France also announced stricter restrictions last week, while the Spanish capital Madrid is also tightening restrictions but stopping short of a city-wide lockdown. 

    No government in Europe is inclined to repeat a nationwide lockdown, looking to avoid another devastating economic hit, but local restrictions are already happening. 

    The uncertainty isn’t helping either consumer confidence or the economy and is stalling oil demand recovery. At the same time, supply is set to grow from Libya after a tentative truce and the re-opening of some of the ports.    

    If the huge amount of uncertainty in demand persists in the fourth quarter, the OPEC+ group may be forced to review its supply-fixing policy, potentially fracturing the alliance, again. 

    By Tsvetana Paraskova for

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      Ford To Produce New Electric Cars In Canada – InsideEVs



      Ford of Canada announced today that it will invest C$1.8 billion ($1.35 billion) in its Oakville Assembly Complex in Oakville, Ontario, to improve the plant and produce new battery electric vehicles.

      The company didn’t provide any more details besides that the site will start manufacturing all-electric cars in 2024. That’s some four years from now.

      “Based on the collective agreement ratified by employees today, Ford is committing to transform its Oakville Assembly Complex from an internal combustion engine (ICE) site to also become a BEV manufacturing facility, starting in 2024, as well as introducing a new engine program at its Windsor operations.”

      Maybe a quick look at the Oakville Assembly Complex’s current products will give us a glimpse of what to expect? Currently, the factory is making Ford Edge mid-size crossover SUV and Lincoln Nautilus (MKX) Mid-size luxury SUV.

      Well, it would be great to see an all-electric Ford Edge or BEV of a similar type, but the timing is very far away.

      Anyway, Ford intends to be the first all-electric car manufacturer in Canada.

      The official press release is also about other non-EV related topics concerning the Oakville Assembly Complex, like operational improvements to maximize production flexibility and agreement on employee wages, bonuses and other benefits.

      Previously, there were worries about the future of the Oakville Assembly Complex:

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