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Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:

The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday it is in talks with Ontario to find a way to provide paid time off for sick workers.

The Prime Minister – who also said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is Ottawa’s point person on the file – favours an approach where leave would be provided directly through businesses. Trudeau said his government implemented a sick-leave program for federally regulated workers, and suggests Ontario should do the same via businesses regulated by the province.

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Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government is facing mounting criticism for not establishing a provincial sick-leave program during the pandemic.

Freeland backed up the Prime Minister on Tuesday by saying Ottawa is prepared to help when Ontario is ready to offer a sick-leave program for businesses.

The Globe was first to report that Ontario has offered to double a federal sick-leave benefit if Ottawa agrees to deliver the payment to workers in the province. Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy proposed the change in a letter to Ottawa, saying the move would give $1,000 a week to eligible workers.

Read more:

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Ottawa eyes change that may unlock billions for charities

Just a few words in last week’s federal budget have the potential to free up nearly $4-billion in extra annual funding for Canada’s charities at a time when the need for their help is soaring but donations have plunged.

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The budget said the government is considering an increase to its disbursement quota (DQ) for charitable foundations. That’s the minimum percentage of their holdings they must spend each year on their own activities and in grants to other charities. The DQ has been fixed at 3.5 per cent of foundation assets since 2004, when it was lowered from 4.5 per cent. By contrast, the quota in the United States has been at 5 per cent for years.

The budget document indicated that hiking the DQ to 5 per cent would increase support for charities by between $1-billion and $2-billion annually, but many advocates say the DQ should move to 10 per cent.

The pandemic has added some urgency to the debate, with donations to charities plummeting by as much as 40 per cent, while demand for their services has surged. Many organizations have laid off staff, closed offices and suspended operations. The government plans to hold consultations with charities to determine a new quota that would take effect in 2022.

ALSO ON OUR RADAR

Ottawa tables back-to-work bill to end strike at Port of Montreal: The move by federal Labour Minister Filomena Tassi to put an end to the strike involving 1,150 dockworkers drew a strong reaction from the Quebec branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which called the bill an affront to all workers in the country. Operations at the Port of Montreal came to a halt after the dockworkers began a strike Monday morning.

Tax filers say CRA should grant extension because of pandemic: Many Canadian tax preparers say they are struggling with strained resources and technical challenges posed by the pandemic as the April 30 deadline to file approaches. Last year, the deadlines to file and pay were extended to June 1 and Sept. 30, respectively, but the Canada Revenue Agency is offering no such extensions this time around.

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Alberta to impose $90 access fee for Kananaskis because of ‘environmental strain’ on region: The pass, which takes effect June 1, is part of a broader set of measures the province will take to protect the area, after a record five million visitors descended on the region last year. Calgarians and others fled the city in 2020, but along with the crowds came graffiti, excessive speeding by some drivers, illegal parking, helicopter rescues and garbage.

Egyptian archeologists unearth 110 burial tombs at site in Nile Delta: The graves, some of which have human remains inside, were found at the Koum el-Khulgan archeological site in Dakahlia province, around 150 kilometres northeast of Cairo. The site includes 68 oval-shaped tombs dating back to the Predynastic Period that spanned from 6000-3150 B.C.

MARKET WATCH

Copper rose to a 10-year high as a gain in commodity prices aside from gold helped to lift Canada’s main stock index on a flat day for North American markets.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 4.53 points to 19,175.09.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 3.36 points at 33,984.93. The S&P 500 index was down 0.9 of a point at 4,186.72, while the Nasdaq composite was down 48.56 points at 14,090.22.

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The Canadian dollar traded for 80.63 cents US compared with 80.57 cents US on Monday.

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TALKING POINTS

Canada can’t stand by while India’s medical system collapses

“COVID-19 variants of concern have emerged mostly in countries that have experienced uncontrolled outbreaks, including Brazil, South Africa, the United Kingdom and now India. This should tell us that we cannot end the pandemic by vaccinating only our country.” - Ananya Tina Banerjee, Amanpreet Brar, Veena Sriram and Madhukar Pai

To improve funding for female entrepreneurs, start at the very front end of the investment pipeline

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“Most people don’t set out to discriminate. Members of the funding ecosystem inherit processes with built-in biases that perpetuate themselves. The systemic nature of discrimination makes it both more challenging and more crucial to identify unequal treatment, change behaviour and redesign processes that have become embedded in organizations.” - Kim de Laat

LIVING BETTER

Globe Craft Club: Get your paints and brushes ready to learn watercolour

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to paint with watercolours, join Globe Craft Club host Jana G. Pruden on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. ET for a livestream lesson. Ashley Gayle, an artist, art teacher and co-creator of artistsonline.ca, will offer beginner tips for painting a flower arrangement design. Watch the event free on our website at tgam.ca/craftclub, where you’ll also find a list of supplies needed, a template and links to all our previous classes. If you try any of our Craft Club projects, show us on social media with #GlobeCraftClub.

Hot Docs 2021: Your 10 best bets, from a Canadian cryptocurrency mystery to a long-lost summer of soul

Last year’s Hot Docs was one of the first film festivals in the world forced to go the all-virtual route. The lineup was cut back to 135 offerings instead of the 238 films first announced. On the upside, film goers no longer had to visit Toronto to enjoy the world’s best new documentaries.

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Hot Docs is going virtual again, and there will be 219 films from 66 countries to choose from. The Globe’s Barry Hertz helps you focus your list with his 10 top Hot Doc bets.

TODAY’S LONG READ

Biden pushes ahead on election promises, but obstacles loom

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks speaks during a brief appearance at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

KEVIN LAMARQUE/Reuters

To remind himself of the crisis he inherited, Joe Biden had a portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt placed in the Oval Office. It was a signal that he intended to channel FDR’s leadership skills – as a man willing to use the might of government to confront a once-in-a-century pandemic and other challenges facing the country.

As the U.S. President completes his first 100 days in office, Biden can point to at least three successes: A US$1.9-trillion pandemic relief bill was signed into legislation; he unveiled a US$2.25-trillion infrastructure plan; and the COVID-19 curve is bending after a massive surge in vaccinations.

Now, the hard work begins, and Biden is about to run into the first major obstacles to his newfound ambitions as activist politician, chief among them a deadlocked Senate.

The Globe’s Adrian Morrow looks at the challenges ahead – from gun rights, to voting legislation to strengthening the U.S. social safety net.

Evening Update is presented by Rob Gilroy. If you’d like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday evening, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.

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