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Russia-Ukraine war: Canada sanctions oligarch Abramovich – CTV News



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau capped a weeklong European trip Friday by slapping new sanctions on the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who has become an international poster boy for the largesse that enabled President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine.

Abramovich is a major shareholder in Evraz, a British multinational manufacturing company that operates a steel mill in Regina. Britain also sanctioned Abramovich on Thursday, as pressure continued to grow on Boris Johnson’s government to bring down the hammer on the owner of its famed Chelsea Football Club. Abramovich sent his super yacht into the Mediterranean Sea this week to avoid having it seized.

Abramovich is one of five new Russian oligarchs added to the Canadian sanctions list for their close ties with Putin as Trudeau ended a four-country European trip.

Their assets will be frozen, and restrictions placed on 32 military entities in Russia, Trudeau said in Warsaw before his planned departure on Friday, as the Russian war on Ukraine appeared to be entering an ominous new phase. Airstrikes on cities in western Ukraine signalled an attempt by its forces to expand its attack beyond the country’s other regions further north and south.

Trudeau also visited London, Berlin, and Riga, Latvia, to meet with leaders to ramp up pressure on Russia to end its invasion of Ukraine. Their measures included sanctions, tightening the economic noose around the neck of Putin and his enablers, and sending new arms to Ukraine’s military and civilian fighters who have so far defied all odds in holding off the onslaught of Europe’s biggest military force.

G7 leaders issued a joint statement Friday backing Ukraine, calling for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian troops and promising further sanctions and economic policies targeting Russia’s economy.

“We are united in our determination to hold President Putin and his regime accountable for this unjustified and unprovoked war that has already isolated Russia in the world,” they said.

That includes denying Russia “most-favoured nation” status for trading, which would prevent Russia from exporting goods to the G7 at favourable tariff rates. Canada already revoked that status for Russia and Belarus on March 3 and the G7 statement said a broad coalition of World Trade Organization members will follow suit shortly.

The leaders said they’re also pushing global financial institutions including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund from giving Russia any financing.

“Russia cannot grossly violate international law and expect to benefit from being part of the international economic order,” the statement said.

The G7 includes the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada.

However, Trudeau and his allies have not been able to give the Ukrainian leadership the one thing it wants to protect its civilian population that has been pummelled by Russian bombs for more than two weeks: a no-fly zone. Western politicians, NATO leaders and the Trudeau government all say that a no-fly zone would lead to all-out air war between them and the alliance.

Canadians may soon get to hear directly from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has agreed to address Parliament March 15.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland noted this week as she stood near the Berlin’s symbol of Cold War freedom, the Brandenburg Gate: “They’re fighting for all of us. But they’re fighting alone.”

Therefore Canada and its allies have resorted to an unprecedented economic war on Russia in the hopes the rich and powerful cronies of Putin might turn against him, or the pain inflicted on its citizenry will somehow drive them to change their government.

Trudeau said the government would try to ensure that the sanctions against Abramovich don’t hurt the Canadian workers in the Saskatchewan company in which he holds a stake.

“The sanctions on Russian officials and oligarchs like Abramovich are directed at them so that they cannot profit or benefit from economic activities in Canada or the hard work of Canadians working with companies that they have investments in,” Trudeau said.

The prime minister said he believes the value of the shares Abramovich owns in Evraz is less than 30 per cent. “We are obviously going to watch carefully but we are confident that this will not impact the hardworking Canadians who are doing good work in companies across the country.”

Trudeau also said he’s considering a Canadian airlift of Ukrainian refugees who may want to leave Europe to find a safe haven in Canada as the European continent buckles under its worst migration crisis in decades. But he wouldn’t say when.

“I’m not ruling that out at all,” Trudeau said. “We’re looking at all options ΓǪ Canadians want to be there for Ukrainians.”

The prime minister came face to face with the crisis when he spent time with more than a dozen refugees in a Warsaw hostel on Thursday. While Canada has one of the world’s largest Ukrainian diaspora communities, at 1.3 million people, many of those fleeing their country would prefer to stay in Europe so they can return to their homeland when the war there ends.

Polish President Andrzej Duda told Trudeau that 100,000 people are coming from Ukraine into Poland every day, swelling his population by 1.5 million refugees. Duda said his country is warmly welcoming its Ukrainian neighbours and wants to give them sanctuary until they can return home.

But Duda did not try to hide the fact that the pressure on his country from a continuing influx of Ukrainians across its eastern border was not stopping and that help from allied countries such as Canada would be essential.

Trudeau said Friday the government will be providing extra resources to support its expedited refugee application process for Ukrainians that eliminates many of the normal visa requirements.

Trudeau has not spoken directly to Putin as some of his allies have, such as Germany’s Olaf Scholz and France’s Emmanuel Macron, but he was asked Friday whether he has gained any insights in the Russian leader’s state of mind.

Trudeau said a central theme in the conversations of the allies with Putin was “what he wants, what the endgame is” rather than focusing on “his deeper motivations and justifications.”

He said the leaders are trying to make Putin understand that “what he is doing is not going to lead to benefits for him or for the Russian people. On the contrary, it has set back Russia’s path forward.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 11, 2022.


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Aeroplan-funded flights bringing Ukrainians to Canada expected to begin in June



OTTAWA — The first free commercial flights to Canada for Ukrainian refugees offered through a fundraising drive involving Aeroplan points won’t be available until June.

On April 20, U.S.-based organization Miles4Migrants said it had expected flights to begin as early as May using the new fund, a partnership between the charity, the Shapiro Foundation and Air Canada, which owns the Aeroplan loyalty program.

The program will now be up and running next month.

Andy Freedman, co-founder and board member of Miles4Migrants, said the charity wanted to ensure everything is in order before the program begins.

“We are on track to launch the program in early June, which is only a very slight delay,” Freedman said. “We’re doing that to ensure that the operations of the process in place is set up for success.”

The organization will help Ukrainians book commercial flights to Canada using donated funds or Aeroplan points on a first-come-first-served basis.

The goal was to cover flights to bring at least 10,000 people fleeing from Russia’s invasion in Ukraine who were approved to come to Canada, and the free travel initiative was announced a month ago by Ottawa, in partnership with Air Canada and two charities.

The spots are in addition to targeted chartered flights to bring Ukrainians to Canada, announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this year.

While the funds already raised are ready to be used to book flights, there are still details to be finalized on providing direct support to Ukrainians with Miles4Migrants’ partners.

That means ongoing co-ordination with other non-profits and the government to ensure people registered for flights are eligible, that they have somewhere to turn if the flight is cancelled and adequate support upon arrival.

“We don’t want to launch a program where those pieces are not set up in place,” said Freedman, whose organization has worked previously with Canadian non-profits and collaborated with resettlement efforts for Afghans with the U.S. government.

The Aeroplan points collection launched in collaboration with the Canadian government has collected more than 144 million points so far, according to Air Canada. The airline said that total includes its 100 million points donation announced on April 20.

The Shapiro Foundation, which is also part of the partnership, has pledged to match Aeroplan point donations up to 50 million points. Cash donations are also being collected by the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto.

The role of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in this initiative is to ensure that Ukrainian nationals have the necessary documentation, such as approval for the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel program.

The program provides access to three-year temporary residency for Ukrainians and their immediate family. According to the latest data, 104,553 people have been approved.

A spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said many are requesting the program without knowing for sure whether they’ll come to Canada or stay somewhere closer to Ukraine. The Miles4Migrants-led program is “complementary” to Canadian government charter flights to some of those who qualify for the program, she said, calling it a “two-pronged approach.”

Thus far, three chartered flights with about 300 people each have been announced, due to arrive on May 23, May 29 and June 2.

Opposition parties have said the two-pronged approach is ineffective and Ottawa should arrange more charter flights quickly.

“Already, Canada is not the most effective on the ground and they have found a kind of public-private solution where … there are still many questions and we do not have time to ask,” said NDP deputy leader Alexandre Boulerice.

The Bloc Québécois also called for additional charter flights, with immigration critic Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe saying he felt the government tried to “buy time” by announcing the deal with the charities while doing “absolutely nothing” to ease the logistical burden.

“They’re taking credit for a program that they have no role in and on top of that the program is still not in place,” he said.

Fraser’s spokeswoman replied that “sometimes, things on the back end take longer to sort out, but it shouldn’t prevent us from being clear with the public about the kind of initiatives that we are undertaking.”

The NDP, Bloc and Conservatives have reiterated their demand that all visa requirements for Ukrainians be lifted.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2022.


Émilie Bergeron, The Canadian Press

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The Canadian Congress on Inclusive Diversity & Workplace Equity presents the 2nd Annual George Floyd Memorial Lecture



canadian congress

TORONTO, May 18, 2022 – The Canadian Congress on Inclusive Diversity and Workplace Equity (Canadian Congress) brings you the 2nd annual George Floyd Memorial Lecture on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM EDT. Canadian Congress supports & empowers people by the exchange of ideas & strategic training on progressive ways of eliminating systemic racism in the country & transforming the culture of their organizations. May 25th will mark the second anniversary of the killing of George Floyd.

The Memorial Lecture, which is also the call for a National Social Justice Day, presents leaders in organizations, institutions, and the government to learn and discuss the strategic actions they have been taking since the video that changed the world two years ago; or has it? Join the conversation, Wednesday, May 25th, as prominent social justice advocates, community activists, diversity consultants, community, corporate, religious, academic, and political leaders equip thousands of people with tips, tools, techniques, training, and technology to eliminate racism and discrimination.

This year’s theme is The Quest for Black Representation, Empowerment & Brilliance, while enlightening delegates on the UN’s Resolution 68/237 proclaiming 2015 to 2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent. The 2nd George Floyd Memorial Lecture will bring together a lineup of exceptional speakers, which includes the following:

Alex Ihama, Executive Director of the Canadian Congress on Inclusive Diversity, President, International School of Greatness and a global strategist, executive coach, professional speaker & author of The Mystique of Leadership.

Isaac Olowolafe Jr., an award-winning entrepreneur, philanthropist, board member at the Sick Kids Hospital, Founder/CEO, of The Dream Maker Realty and Olowolafe Family Scholarship Award at the University of Toronto, the largest endowment for African Studies in any Canadian university.

Patricia DeGuire, Chief Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission, and a mediator, adjudicator, and arbitrator in human rights and equity for more than 25 years.

Rosemary Sadlier, OOnt (Order of Ontario), a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant; past President of the Ontario Black History Society & author of seven books on African Canadian history.

Farley Flex, a Partner at Urban Rez Solutions – Social Enterprise, a former Canadian Idol judge, an inductee into the Scarborough Walk of Fame, recipient of the Harry Jerome Award for Entertainment and Community Service, the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award for Protecting the World’s Most Vulnerable Children and two Juno Awards as Manager of Maestro Fresh-Wes.

Dr. Helen Ofosu, an Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Carleton University.

Dr. Pat Francis, global transformation speaker, author, business consultant, pastor of the Kingdom Covenant Ministries & Founder of the Canadian Black Directorate and For a Better Canada.

Pauline Christian, award-winning entrepreneur and community advocate, immediate Past- President of the Black Business & Professional Association (BBPA) & Founder/CEO of Best Lifestyle Residence.

Dr. Ardavan Eizadirad, Assistant Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University & author, Decolonizing Educational Assessment: Ontario Elementary Students and the EQAO.

Dr. Wesley Crichlow, a Critical Race Intersectional Theorist at the Ontario Tech University and co-author of Diversity Issues in Policing.

Ray Williams, ICD.D, Managing Director & Vice Chairman of Financial Markets at National Bank Financial & Co-Founder of the Black Opportunity Fund which is committed to dismantling the impacts of systemic racism by providing funding and helping to build the capacity of Canadian Black led businesses.

Tiffany Callender, CEO of the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE), a coalition of Canadian Black business support organizations that worked with the federal government to co-develop and administer the $291.3 million Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund.

Kevin Junor, retired Deputy Superintendent from the Ministry of the Solicitor General & Regimental Sergeant Major; an awardee of the Order of Military Merit & Harry Jerome Professional Excellence

Dr. Delores Mullings, the inaugural Vice-Provost for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at the Memorial University in Newfoundland, and Labrador; author of Confronting Anti-Black Racism.

Tonya Williams, the Canadian actress, producer, director, and activist who is globally known for her role as Dr. Olivia Barber Winters on the American daytime drama The Young and the Restless; also, the Founder & Executive Director of Reelworld Screen Institute & Festival.

Neville Wright, a 3x Olympian who spent almost two decades as an athlete representing Canada on the World Stage in Track and Field and Bobsleigh; a performance therapist and resilience coach.

Dr. Francis Mpindu, York Region Police Chaplain for almost two decades, Community & Police Relations facilitator, Workplace Fairness Analyst, and the Founder of Niigon Abin Resolutions Services.

Fareed Khan; human rights advocate, a regular journalist on CBC, CTV, Global, Canadian Press, Toronto Star, OMNI, and Founder/CEO of the anti-racism group, Canadian United Against Hate.

In addition to other executives at the Canadian Congress, Chrissy BenzHenry LuyombyaMoy Fung and Roberto Hausman & a series of entertainers which include the globally renowned Dwayne Morgan, two-time Canadian National Poetry Slam Champion, there is a segment for a group of mayors to share their municipal strategy to dismantle colonialism, embrace diversity & build cohesive cities and towns.

Confirmed mayors are Kassim Doumbia of Shippagan, New Brunswick and the only Black mayor in Canada, and Amarjeet Sohi of Edmonton, Alberta. Others are Philip Brown of Charlottetown, Edward Macaulay of the town of Three Rivers and Basil Stewart of Summerside, all on Prince Edwards Island.

According to Nosakhare Alex Ihama, the Executive Director of the Canadian Congress on Inclusive Diversity & Workplace Equity and Executive Producer of the George Floyd Memorial Lecture:

No call for social justice can be louder than the graphic live transmission of the modern-day lynching of George Floyd, with no mercy on the part of the law, law enforcers and inequitable justice of our days, even as the dying man cried repeatedly for his long-dead mom to come to his rescue. Two years after over a billion people watched the gruesome murder of George Floyd live on social media, the unjust killings of Black men and women by the police are still on the rise. When coupled with mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, only about a week before Floyd’s second death anniversary, it is clear we need more allies to help reduce these atrocities towards people of African descent.”

Tickets are free and available at


The Canadian Congress is a national organization with over 100 academic and experiential experts, researchers, and facilitators in Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) that offers an end-to-end strategic framework for organizations, institutions, and the government to eliminate systemic racism from their brand, culture, systems, policies, and management.

To enable organizations to foster a cohesive, inclusive, and progressive corporate culture, we facilitate customized training programs, audit policies and processes from an EDI lens, engage their staff and coach their executives to maximize Inclusive Diversity & Workplace Equity.

While we organize some of the largest and most impactful events in the country, empowering thousands of Canadians each year to stand up for social justice, we also help organizations to develop and implement short & long-term corporate EDI strategies, specialized EDI initiatives, content for Learning Management Systems (LMS), and a three-to-five-year corporate strategy and strategic roadmap to facilitate the transformation of their corporate culture.

For more information about this or other programs by the Canadian Congress, sponsorship packages, strategic partnerships and opportunities to develop corporate EDI strategies, audit policies from an EDI lens and facilitate corporate workshops and other EDI services for your organization, contact Henry Luyombya at +1-416-854-8935 or email

Keep up with Canadian Congress on Inclusive Diversity & Workplace Equity: 







Media Inquiries:  

For more media inquiries and interviews, kindly contact Sasha Stoltz Publicity, Sasha Stoltz |  | 416.579.4804

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China has lifted a 3-year ban on Canadian canola, Ottawa says – CBC News



A three-year Chinese ban on Canadian canola has come to an end, according to the federal government.

In a joint statement released Wednesday afternoon, Trade Minister Mary Ng and Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said China has reinstated market access for two Canadian grain trading companies that have been prevented from exporting canola seed to China since March 2019.

“We welcome this decision to remove the restrictions and immediately reinstate the two companies to allow them to export Canadian canola seeds,” the statement said.

“Canada will always firmly uphold the international rules-based trade system and related dispute settlement mechanisms, as well as a science-based approach to resolving such issues.”

In March 2019, the Chinese government blocked canola shipments from Canadian companies Richardson International Ltd. and Viterra Inc. by suspending their licences, alleging the detection of pests in canola shipments.

The move followed the arrest of Chinese tech giant Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver a few months earlier.

In September of 2019, Canada took the canola dispute to the World Trade Organization. A WTO dispute resolution panel was composed in November 2021.

Costly dispute

Before the trade tensions, the Chinese market made up 40 per cent of Canada’s canola exports.

According to the Canola Council of Canada, seed exports to China have fallen from $2.8 billion in 2018 before the restrictions, to $800 million in 2019, $1.4 billion in 2020 and $1.8 billion in 2021.

The industry organization estimates the dispute cost the industry between $1.54 billion and $2.35 billion from lost sales and lower prices between March 2019 and August 2020 alone.

“This is a positive step forward, restoring full trade in canola with China and ensuring that all Canadian exporters are treated equally by the Chinese administration,” said Canola Council of Canada President Jim Everson in a news release.

“We will continue efforts to nurture and maintain a predictable, rules-based trade environment.”

Canada is the world’s largest producer of canola. It is one of the most widely grown crops in Canada, and is currently trading at all-time record highs as the war in Ukraine drives up prices for agricultural commodities.

Canola is primarily used to make cooking oil, but can also be used as livestock feed and to make biodiesel.

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