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Most Canadians approve of a vaccine passport

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A majority of Canadians say they are willing to embrace a vaccine passport to enable a return to travel but are less open to using them for things like restaurant reservations, according to polls.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said a vaccine certification aligned with other countries makes sense, and two government officials said talks with international partners about standards are ongoing, particularly among G7 countries.

The European Union is working on a certificate with a digital Quick Response (QR) code and has agreed to welcome fully vaccinated tourists, while Britain plans to use a phone app and other countries may rely on a paper document.

In Canada, the mainly French-speaking province of Quebec is sending a QR code to those who get vaccinated, though so far it has not been activated to reveal anyone’s vaccination status when scanned.

About three-quarters of Canadians are in favor of some sort of proof of vaccination when it comes to travel, according to an EKOS poll conducted between April and May, but only about 40% supported being screened to get a table for indoor dining.

“The vast majority of the public believe that this is a good idea for accelerating the path to safety and for keeping everybody safe who wants to go on a plane or wants to go to a ball game,” said Frank Graves, president of polling company EKOS Research and a member of the federal vaccine confidence task force.More than 46% of almost 38 million Canadians have been administered a first shot, but less than 4% are fully vaccinated, as Canada has extended the gap between shots to give more people a first jab. More than 85% of Canadians are willing to get vaccinated , according to the EKOS poll.

Canada is receiving some 4.5 million doses of vaccine this week, and expects 9 million Pfizer/BioNTech doses in July, Trudeau said on Tuesday. He has said Canada will have enough doses to fully inoculate all who want a shot by September.

The possible day-to-day uses of a vaccine passport remain unclear because of privacy and ethical concerns.

“We do protect the health information of Canadian citizens, so this step to make that publicly available is not one that we should take lightly,” said Patrick Saunders-Hastings, an epidemiologist who teaches global health governance at Ottawa’s Carleton University.

Canada‘s privacy commissioners weighed in on Wednesday, outlining strict guidelines for the introduction of passports because they would be “an encroachment on civil liberties that should be taken only after careful consideration.”

The government has not mandated vaccination.

 

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Additional reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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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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