The federal government has promised to implement a national standard on living conditions for temporary foreign workers in Canada, as hundreds of workers have contracted the coronavirus.
This commitment also follows a recent Globe investigation that exposes numerous inadequate living and labour conditions that have made temporary foreign workers more vulnerable to COVID-19. Advocate and healthcare workers have similarly raised concerns about these factors to federal and provincial governments for months.
So far, more than 600 migrant farm workers have been infected with COVID-19 in Ontario alone. Two men from Mexico – Bonifacio Eugenio Romero, 31, and Rogelio Munoz Santos, 24 – have died.
Now, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough says “nothing is off the table” in Canada’s effort to address the issue. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also acknowledged that more needs to be done to protect migrant workers.
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China charges Kovrig and Spavor with espionage
Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been formally charged by Chinese authorities with espionage, after 557 days of interrogation and incarceration in facilities where the lights are kept on day and night.
The maximum penalty for such charges, in matters considered serious, is life in prison. Less serious matters can result in prison sentences of less than five years. Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor were both arrested Dec. 10, 2018, days after the arrest in Vancouver of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
Conservative candidates face off in measured English debate
The English debate for the Conservative leadership race took place last night, following the French debate on Wednesday.
Putting less time on abortion, the English debate focused on the environment and resource development as well as systemic racism. Front-runners Erin O’Toole and Peter MacKay delivered more measured performances – with no obvious gaffes but also no zingers – in the debate last night, following some shouting matches in the French debate.
- Column (John Ibbitson): The Conservative debates were a dreary affair, devoid of energy and ideas
Ontario’s new program to help people with opioid addictions, Health Minister says
A recent Globe investigation exposes how flaws within provincial workers’ compensation boards have pushed injured workers into opioid addiction, during the ongoing overdose crisis. In particular, many had to return to work despite needing more time to health, exacerbating their reliance on substance use to cope.
In response to the investigation, Ontario’s health minister is now promising more support for injured workers and people with opioid addiction in general via a new program tackling mental health and addiction.
Here’s what you missed in coronavirus news
Ontario and Quebec, the two provinces that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, are finally seeing a slow-down in the number of new coronavirus infections reported daily. But the reversal of fortune is a bit curious, given both provinces have been easing restrictions designed to suppress the virus.
The federal government is also promoting the use of a smartphone app that can alert Canadians if they have been near someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19. The decision to use the app ended weeks of speculation over whether it was dropping the idea altogether because of concerns that such apps may compromise the privacy of those who use them.
- Opinion (Derek Ruths): Canada’s proposed contact-tracing app takes the right approach on privacy
Also read our COVID-19 business stories:
- Immigration slowdown to weigh on Canada’s economic recovery
- Canadian exports set to plunge in 2020, with rebound in store next year
- Nova Scotia municipalities facing ‘dire financial straits’ due to COVID-19 pandemic: report
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Ovintiv, formerly Encana, is cutting its work force by 25 per cent: The company said it laid off 640 staff this week as part of an effort to save US$200-million in costs this year.
Facebook pulls down Trump ads bearing a Nazi symbol: Facebook said it had removed ads and unpaid posts with an inverted red triangle – a symbol used in Nazi concentration camps to indicate prisoners deemed socialists, communists and anarchists – for violating its policies against organized hate. Earlier this week, the company also decided to allow voters to block political advertisements on its platform.
Data shows Indigenous people face greater use of force by police, Trudeau says: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to address systemic racism in policing. During his daily news briefing yesterday, he acknowledged that based on data, Indigenous people are more likely to face use of force by the police in Canada.
European shares rise ahead of EU leaders meeting: The U.S. dollar recovered overnight losses and European stocks rose on Friday, even as coronavirus cases increased in some countries, as markets reassessed expectations for an economic recovery before a key European Union meeting. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 1.35 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 rose 1.01 per cent and 1.26 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei finished up 0.55 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.73 per cent. New York futures were higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 73.61 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Germany’s learned the hard way about how to keep history alive
Elizabeth Renzetti: “The process of debate – and even better, protest – is key to this reimagining, as the Germans well know”
John Bolton’s attempt to take down Trump will fail
Konrad Yakabuski: “‘I thought the whole affair was bad policy, questionable legally, and unacceptable as presidential behavior,' Mr. Bolton writes. That’s it? No history here, folks.”
100 days into the pandemic, we’ve moved from anxiety to complacency, without much reason to do so
André Picard: “From the tsunami of COVID-19 data, a humbling message emerges. To paraphrase Albert Einstein: The more we learn, the more we realize how much we don’t know.”
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Happy Father’s Day! Here’s why Hollywood thinks you’re a buffoon
In an age of Hollywood that has been defined by its progressiveness, the depiction of dads has regressed. There are basically three varietals of on-screen fathers: the Sad Dad, the Dumb Dad and the Deadly Dad. But, to be clear, there are dad movies and there are Dad Movies. The former are movies that feature dads, focusing on the family bonds that bind us and so forth.
Here’s what some filmmakers are doing to divorce cinema from that sad-dad stereotype.
MOMENT IN TIME: June 19, 1916
Emily Murphy is appointed Canada’s first female magistrate
Emily Murphy’s first day as Canada’s (and the British Commonwealth’s) first female magistrate was unpleasant. Eardley Jackson, a criminal-defence lawyer, told her she was not a “person” – not under Canada’s founding constitution of 1867, anyway – and could not hear his client’s case. She demurred, and went on to serve the next 15 years on the bench, where she would develop sympathy for the sex workers who appeared before her. “In studying the causes which underlie this evil, the magistrate will often find it heart-breaking to learn how small a cause has brought about a girl’s downfall,” she wrote in Maclean’s magazine in 1920. “Such a tragedy occurred lately through a mistress locking the nursemaid out all night because the girl returned home late.” Eventually, Murphy led a group known as the Alberta Famous Five, seeking to establish that women are “persons” legally eligible for a seat in the Canadian Senate. In 1928, the Supreme Court rejected the claim; but in 1929, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London said the constitution is a “living tree,” growing with the times. Thanks in part to Canada’s first female magistrate, women were now legal persons. Sean Fine