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WestJet expects 'very high demand' for flights coming back in June, may add more – CBC.ca

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The return of suspended WestJet flights in June could be just the beginning of a beefed-up flight schedule to New Brunswick and other Atlantic provinces — and reopening to the rest of Canada.

WestJet announced early Wednesday that service is set to resume to the five airports it suspended service from in November, including Fredericton and Moncton, beginning June 24 through to June 30, 2021.

“We committed to return to the communities we left as a result of the pandemic, and we will be restoring flights to these regions in the coming months, of our own volition,” WestJet president and CEO Ed Sims said in a news release.

At a news conference later Wednesday, WestJet officials said that the region’s accelerated vaccine rollout and the planned reopening of the Atlantic bubble fuelled plans to restore flight service, and that the airline expects demand will be “very high.” 

“Once travel restrictions are lifted, and we believe firmly that that will happen, our expectation is that demand will be very high this summer,” WestJet vice-president and chief commercial officer John Weatherill said.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand from families who haven’t been able to see each other for more than a year.”

If that demand is strong enough, he said, WestJet will “absolutely consider adding more flights” to the single daily flights currently announced for the Fredericton and Moncton airports.

WestJet flights to Fredericton will resume on June 26, and flights to Moncton will resume on June 30.

Premier Blaine Higgs said he sees WestJet’s June flight restart dates as a target date to opening to the rest of Canada. (Ed Hunter/CBC )

Saint John Airport could be next, Higgs says

In Fredericton, Premier Blaine Higgs welcomed the announcement and said he sees the stated end-of-June start dates as a target date for opening to the rest of Canada. 

“I would say their interest in doing so would be predicated on our ability to open up to the rest of the country,” Higgs told reporters.

“Getting the Atlantic bubble back in businesses on April 19, having the vaccine rollout effectively managed throughout all of the provinces,” lifting travel restrictions — all of this will get the provinces aligned to open Canada at the same time, he said.

Higgs also suggested Saint John Airport could be next in line for a recovery bump, perhaps within weeks.

“It’s good news that they want to get back in the province and that they’re picking another airport to open up to, not just Moncton,” he said.

“I’d like to think it’s just a matter of a week or two or three and we’ll get Saint John included as well.” 

Monette Pasher, executive director of the Atlantic Canada Airports Association, said airports are vital to a community’s economic recovery and viability. (Atlantic Canada Airports Association)

3-month delay explained

Monette Pasher, executive director of the Atlantic Canada Airports Association, echoed that sentiment.

In an interview with Shift on Wednesday afternoon, Pasher said communities’ airports are intricately linked to their economic recovery.

“Our airports provide such important economic development roles in our communities, I just can’t imagine a time when we would see a community not have their airport,” she said.

“It has been challenging, but we’re all working together to get back on a better footing and kickstart travel.”

Asked why the airline’s restart date is three months off, Pasher stressed that amount of lead time is crucial.

“This window of the time frame shows that’s the amount of time they need to plan, to gauge if there’s demand, to put these contracts back in place, rehire furloughed employees and pilots,” she said.

“There’s so much work that goes into restarting air travel.”

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Google to give additional staff bonus this year

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Alphabet Inc‘s Google said on Wednesday it will give an additional bonus to its employees globally this year, as the tech giant pushes back its return-to-office plan.

Google will give all employees, including the company’s extended workforce and interns, a one-time cash bonus of $1,600 or equivalent value in their country this month, a company spokesperson told Reuters.

The latest benefit is in addition to Google’s work-from-home allowance and wellbeing bonus, to support its employees during the coronavirus pandemic, the spokesperson said, without giving details on how much the company has set aside in total for the purpose.

Earlier in March, Google’s internal survey showed a drop in its employee wellbeing over the past year, after which the company announced a series of benefits, including a $500 wellbeing cash bonus.

Last week, Google delayed its return-to-office plan indefinitely amid Omicron variant fears and some resistance from its employees to company-mandated vaccinations. It earlier expected staff to return to office from Jan. 10.

(This story corrects to say bonus will be distributed in December 2021 and not next year in headline, first and second paragraphs).

 

(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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Instagram Unveils New Features to Show Everyone It Really Cares About Teens’ Mental Health – Gizmodo

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Image for article titled Instagram Unveils New Features to Show Everyone It Really Cares About Teens’ Mental Health
Illustration: Olivier Douliery / AFP (Getty Images)

Instagram wants you to know it really cares about teens’ mental health and safety, despite everything you may have heard. In fact, it’s rolling out a slew of new tools and features it says will protect teens that use its app.

Company head Adam Mosseri unveiled the new features for teens and parents in a blog post on Tuesday, one day before he’s set to testify before Congress, and also included measures the app will take to promote safety. Instagram’s announcement around teens comes amidst a public reckoning over its failure to protect its youngest users, even though it knew the app affected their mental health.

For teens, Mosseri said Instagram will be launching tools to help them “better manage” their experience on the app. This includes rolling out the previously announced “Take a Break” feature, which encourages young users to close Instagram if they’ve spent too much time on it, to the U.S., UK, Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. The feature was available to users in these countries on Tuesday.

Teens will also be able to delete content they’ve posted in bulk, including photos, videos, likes, and comments. Mosseri said this tool, which will roll out in January for all users, will allow teens to “manage their digital footprint” and help them understand what information others can see about them. I will give Instagram credit on this one. Everyone says and does stupid things when they’re young (or not so young), and they should be able to take quick action to rectify and learn from those mistakes.

In addition to features for teens, Instagram will unveil its first features and tools for parents and guardians in March that will let them “guide and support their teens” on the app. This mainly seems to consist of reports on how much time individual teens spend on Instagram and the option to limit their time on the app, according to the blog post. Teens will also have the option to have the app notify their parents when they report someone.

Finally, Mosseri laid out what Instagram would do on its end to create a safer experience for teens on the app. He said it will prevent people from tagging or mentioning teens on the platform if the teens don’t follow them and “be stricter” about what it recommends to teens in various parts of the app, such as Explore, Hashtags, and Suggested Accounts.

Instagram is also looking into expanding its “Limit Even More” content control feature for teens, Mosseri said, which allows users to reduce the amount of sensitive content they see in the Explore part of the app. The company is considering expanding this limitation to beyond Explore. In addition, it’s building a feature that will “nudge” users to different topics if they’ve been dwelling on one for too long.

“I’m proud that our platform is a place where teens can spend time with the people they care about, explore their interests, and explore who they are,” Mosseri wrote. “I want to make sure that it stays that way, which means above all keeping them safe on Instagram.”

The Instagram head added that the company would continue doing research, consulting with experts, and testing out new concepts “to better serve teens.”

Well, to clarify, the company was basically forced into better serving teens due to public pressure. And it’s still got a long way to go. On Tuesday, new research by the Tech Transparency Project found that Instagram is encouraging teens to buy drugs and connecting them with dealers.

Mosseri is scheduled to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection on Wednesday about Instagram’s impact on teens’ mental health and wellbeing. You can watch the livestream here beginning at 2:30 ET.

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Thinking of Buying Equipment for Your Business? Here’s What You Need to Know

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Many business owners in Canada rely on professional-grade equipment to keep the operations of their business running, but there are plenty of variables to consider before making a commitment this significant.

No matter the size of your business, if you’re tasked with acquiring equipment for your operations, there are certain factors to keep in mind as you begin the process. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering purchasing equipment for your business:

Assessing Your Financing Options

Unless you’re a wildly successful, multi-million dollar corporation, there is a higher chance that you don’t have enough free-floating capital to purchase expensive equipment without any outside assistance. The upside is that there are plenty of financing options available for business owners across every major industry, from heavy equipment financing in Canada to agriculture, manufacturing, start-ups and more.

Before you commit to any major purchases, research the financing options available to your business so you can make the smartest purchases going forward without compromising your current equity and capital.

Make a List

Now that you have your financing options in order, it’s important to make a list of your needs and wants. This list will act as a way to organize your thoughts, so you’re spending your newly earned capital wisely. It may be helpful to divide your list into two categories, your needs and your wants.

Your needs will include essential pieces of inventory that contribute to the basic operations of your company. Once you’ve purchased the essentials, you can assess which items under the wants category will be best for your company, with your remaining capital.

Choosing Quality over Flash

It may be easy to become tempted over the latest, flashiest pieces of equipment on the market, but have you done the research to assess its quality? No matter what you purchase in business or in your personal life, quality will always serve you better than aesthetics.

This is especially important when it comes to purchasing expensive equipment for your company. The more you prioritize quality, the more money you’ll save in the long run since you won’t have to worry about replacements.

Maintenance Requirements

Maintaining your equipment is a crucial component of its longevity and durability. Without proper maintenance, you’ll likely end up spending significant costs to repair or replace your inventory. Once you’ve begun to shop around for professional equipment, ensure you’ve taken the time to research the type of maintenance each piece requires. This will help you decide if you have the time and resources to handle the task.

If the equipment you’ve had your eye on requires too much manpower or capital to maintain, you may need to consider a lower price point with more attainable maintenance.

Safety & Certifications

Like anything connected to your business, safety is key. When it comes to purchasing expensive and often heavy equipment, ensure each item has the safety certifications you need — otherwise, your business could become liable if the equipment malfunctions. Prioritizing safely ensures your company, employees, and customers are out of harm’s way.

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