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An open letter from top Canadian business executives: Leaders need one focus, to help stop the spread of coronavirus

The heads of 30 of Canada’s largest companies are urging other top executives to take immediate steps to escalate the fight in the workplace against the novel coronavirus.

In an open letter, the executives say other companies need to adopt stringent measures to limit the spread of the virus, while acknowledging there will be a “significant economic impact.”

The signatories include the chief executives of some of the biggest corporations in Canada, including Power Corp., Maple Leaf Foods Inc., Teck Resources Ltd. – and all of Canada’s six big banks.

Read the full letter here.

Here are other updates on coronavirus

  • Canada’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Theresa Tam says that as of Sunday, there were 313 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and all 10 provinces reported cases for the first time
  • The U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates in another emergency move to help shore up the U.S. economy amid the rapidly escalating global coronavirus pandemic
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who will address the country today at 1pm ET, says additional screening measures are being put in place
  • The federal prison system is shutting down all visits to inmates indefinitely, saying that contact can be maintained by video or telephone
  • The Alberta government has announced it will be closing K-12 schools and daycare centres effective immediately

The Globe and Mail

Have you had to self-quarantine because of the coronavirus? We want to hear your story. Email:

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More Canadian news

Canadian travellers around the world are struggling to figure out how to swiftly return home, and whether they can afford to do so.

Back at home, top Canadian public-health officials stressed that the window is closing to limit the exponential spread of COVID-19 as they escalated warnings and broad closings and identified new cases of community spread. Across the country, provinces and cities have announced varying measures – some more stringent than others – to combat the spread of the new coronavirus.

Meanwhile, poverty advocates, housing providers and politicians across Canada are scrambling to figure out what to do to protect vulnerable people who are homeless, in shelters or in certain high-risk social-housing buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more stories from The Globe and Mail staff

  • Oliver Moore: Stories of caremongering in the pandemic
  • Adrian Morrow: Biden and Sanders tackle pandemic response in first head-to-head Democratic debate, with no live audience
  • Clare O’Hara: Canadian retirees told to return home before new coronavirus coverage expires
  • Eric Reguly: More than 100 million Europeans in lockdown as Spain announces emergency quarantine and Italian virus cases surge

People applaud from a balcony during a flash mob called through social media and messaging platforms, aimed to thank workers in the fight against coronavirus on March 15, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.David Ramos/Getty Images

Business and economics:

More companies are asking employees to work from home, in an attempt to help stop the spread of the virus, but now need to address problems around confidential information, and helping employees deal with the potential mental-health issues that may result from working at home for long periods.

In response, Canadian internet providers are preparing for a surge in usage. Several companies announced Friday that they will stop charging overage fees on internet plans to assist people who are working remotely.

As Canadian businesses begin to deal with the fallout of the virus, many are evaluating whether their commercial contracts could be broken by force majeure, or ‘act of God’ clauses that cover events outside the parties’ control.

  • Opinion (Tim Kiladze): Crucial financial lessons for the coronavirus crash, learned from past collapses
  • Opinion (David Parkinson): Three moves Poloz can still make to stimulate the economy

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Trump considering ‘full’ pardon for ex-adviser Michael Flynn: Flynn attempted to withdraw the guilty plea in January, after he had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about dealings with Russia’s ambassador before Trump took office.

Turkey-Russia patrols start amid protests on Syrian highway: Patrols on the highway known as the M4, which runs east-west through Idlib province, are part of a ceasefire agreement between Turkey and Russia signed earlier this month.

Saudi Arabia arrests 298 public officials in new corruption probes: An anti-corruption body known as Nazaha tweeted on Sunday that it had arrested and would indict 298 people on crimes such as bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power involving a total of 379 million riyals ($140-million).

Town of Asbestos ready to change name and move beyond proud but toxic legacy: Founded in the late 19th century around the Jeffrey mine, the town helped make Canada one of the world’s leading asbestos exporters.


Global stocks dive as Fed fails to calm panicky markets: Stock markets sank and the dollar stumbled on Monday after the Federal Reserve slashed U.S. interest rates in an emergency move and its major peers offered cheap U.S. dollars in a bid to prevent global lending markets seizing up. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 fell more than 7 per cent just after 5:30 a.m. ET. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 were down 7.61 per cent and 8.95 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei closed down 2.46 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended down 4.03 per cent. Wall Street futures were deep in the red. The Canadian dollar was trading at 71.96 US cents.


Canada, here’s how we are going to survive this pandemic together

André Picard: “In these pandemic times, where each new headline is more frightening than the last, when life as we know it seems to be crumbling beneath our feet, when anxiety levels seem to be reaching Xanax-proof levels, we need a lot more Mr. Rogers.”

During this pandemic, Canadians are feeling real financial stress. Here’s how governments can help

William Robson: “We need flexibility and imagination. A seizing up of the Canada-U.S. border is a threat. What if we temporarily suspended collections of duty and taxes to free resources for protection against disease while easing entry for shipments of goods and returning travellers?”


David ParkinsonDavid Parkins/The Globe and Mail


Travellers pass a YYZ airport code sign in the international arrivals lounge amid a growing global number of coronavirus cases at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 13, 2020.CHRIS HELGREN/Reuters

If you are returning to Canada from anywhere, you need to self-isolate: Here’s how

The government’s call for returning travellers to self-isolate was made this weekend, as Ottawa also encouraged Canadians currently abroad to swiftly make arrangements to return home, due to the prospect of coming flight cancellations. By the federal government’s description, self-isolation involves not leaving home unless “absolutely necessary,” such as seeking medical care. Adam Radwanski writes about what you should do when you get home.


Tonya Harding talks with her coach Diane Raulinson at an early morning practice January 18, 1994 in Portland. Harding took a week off from practice while accusations were brought against her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, of being involved in the planning of the January 6 attack on rival skater Nancy Kerrigan.Tom Treick /REUTER

Tonya Harding pleads guilty to covering up attack on Kerrigan

March 16, 1994: Tonya Harding won her second U.S. figure skating championship on Jan. 8, 1994. Two months later, on March 16, she accepted a plea bargain that saw her admit to hindering the investigation into a comically crude attempt to rig the event. In a plot engineered by Harding’s ex-husband, a man had smashed a police baton across the shins of Nancy Kerrigan, one of the favourites to win, the day before the championship began. Kerrigan was forced to drop out. The attack, and the quick unravelling of the plan behind it, turned the world of American figure skating into a circus. At the Norway Winter Olympics in February, more than 400 reporters attended a practice session at which Harding and Kerrigan were present. Harding never admitted to conspiring to kneecap her rival. She was protected from further prosecution by her plea deal, but was stripped of her 1994 championship, banned from figure skating and fined US$100,000, among other punishments. After skating, Harding had a short-lived boxing career and appeared in reality TV shows. Last summer, she was the winner on Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Version. “This time, I’ll say it was me, I did it,” she said on the finale. Peter Scowen

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