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No running water on Air Canada flight from China during worsening coronavirus outbreak –



An Air Canada flight took off from Beijing to Toronto with no running water on board last week amid the worsening novel coronavirus outbreak, a move that has angered the union representing flight attendants.

The flight lasted 13 hours and a passenger on board told CBC News the washrooms ran out of antiseptic wipes, meant to replace traditional handwashing, after about four hours.

CUPE, which represents Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge flight attendants, said it would not comment on the matter.  But an internal memo sent Friday to its membership and obtained by CBC News speaks to concerns about the safety of flight attendants.

“Faced with a public health situation in which thorough handwashing with soap and water have [sic] been repeatedly cited as the most important and effective way to protect oneself and others from contracting the 2019-nCov (Coronavirus), it is categorically unacceptable for any aircraft to be dispatched without a fully functional water system.”

Memo to CUPE members (CUPE)

“It is the union’s position that any aircraft without a fully functional water system ought to be immediately removed and not positioned for operations until such a time as the issue can be corrected — regardless of aircraft type,” the memo said.

The union also strongly discouraged members from accepting shifts on flights experiencing water issues in exchange for supplemental compensation, such as a bump in pay.

Air Canada to increase supplies for flights to Asia

In an email to CBC News Saturday afternoon, Air Canada said “the aircraft developed an issue with its water system in Beijing and it could not be repaired quickly locally.

“After careful consideration the decision was made to still operate the flight based on our understanding that customers would rather return to Canada than stay longer in Beijing. The flight was operated in compliance with protocols for such situations.”

It noted that the outbreak is an extremely rare situation.

Earlier Saturday, Air Canada sent out a note to staff saying it would no longer operate widebody aircraft with “broad water system issues” on its international routes and that its international flights would carry “ample additional bottled water” for handwashing in case a water system issue occurs in flight.

However, it said it would continue to operate widebody and narrow body aircraft experiencing “limited” water system issues and would ensure there was “ample additional bottled water boarded to facilitate handwashing.”

Air Canada also said it would increase the number of masks, gloves, and hand-sanitizing supplies on all Asia flights.

On its website, the Public Health Agency of Canada advises that all travellers protect themselves from novel coronavirus by washing their hands often “with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds.”  It says travellers could use alcohol-based sanitizer “only if soap and water are not available.”

The agency maintains the risk of coronavirus to Canadians remains low. 

Passenger says flight ran out of wipes

A man who was a passenger on the flight who did not want his named used, told CBC News that he was informed at the gate there would be no water available in the washrooms.  He said while the crew did put antiseptic wipes in the washrooms, they ran out roughly four hours into the flight.

He said he found it “disturbing that Air Canada would allow passengers to fly on a [sic] airplane with no water to wash our hands for over 13 hours, run out of sanitary wipes that were dried out and basically useless.”

The flight in question departed Beijing on the evening of Jan. 23, the same day the World Health Organization declared the outbreak to be an emergency in China. It arrived in Toronto at 8 p.m. ET.  The Boeing 777-300 has 10 bathrooms on board. There were three meal services during the flight.

At the time the flight was operating there were about 650 reported cases of coronavirus and 18 reported deaths in China. The next day the number of reported infections jumped to 830 with 25 deaths.  

The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on Jan. 30.  That same day Air Canada suspended all flights to Beijing and Shanghai.  

If you have a confidential tip you think we should investigate, contact us through CBC secure drop. 

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Hundreds more unmarked graves found at erstwhile Saskatchewan residential school



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.”


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



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 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



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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