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Air quality in Toronto’s subway is worst than outdoor air and contains high levels of metals

A study of the air quality of Toronto’s subway system, conduced by the Toronto Public Health, has found levels of air pollutants on the subway are higher than those in outdoor air and contain “high levels of some metals.”

CBC News »

“Air quality data collected in the Toronto subway system shows that, as is the case for other similar subway systems, levels of fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5) are elevated,” De Villa wrote.

PM2.5, or particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter, are associated with cardiovascular and respiratory health issues.

Canada is one of the world’s top 10 economies

Ryan Flanagan, »

The latest edition of the World Economic League Table places Canada as the world’s 10th-largest economy based on its GDP of US$1.731 trillion (CAD$2.251 trillion) in 2019.


The U.K.-based Centre for Economics and Business Research, which publishes the annual table, predicted years ago that Canada would drop out of the top 10, but did not foresee its return.

In fact, as of 2016, the centre was expecting Canada’s economy to continue to slip down the ranking. Its newest projection, released Dec. 26, paints a different picture, with Canada’s economy projected to rise to the ninth-largest in the world by 2024 and No. 8 by 2029.

The centre says population growth brought on by immigration has contributed to Canada’s economic strength.

Vancouver’s Harbour Air becomes first to commercially fly an electric airplane

Vancouver’s Harbour Air, and CEO Greg McDougall made aviation history earlier this month, on December 10, 2019.

Paul A. Eisenstei, The Detroit Bureau »

With McDougall in the pilot’s seat, the Vancouver-based airline became the first to commercially fly an electric-powered aircraft – in this case, a 63-year-old De Vavilland Beaver seaplane.

“I was an early adopter of the Tesla car and so impressed by their innovation,” McDougall said. “When I got the car five years ago, I wondered if we could transfer similar electric engine technology to our planes. Someone was going to do it someday, so it may as well be us.”


The initial flight of the Harbour Air electric plane drew crowds of onlookers lining the waterfront. For now, the aircraft is in certification stage, a process that will take between two to three years, according to the New York Times.

If and when regulators give it a go, the aircraft will be able to handle a 30-minute flight – with a requisite 30-minute reserve – while being able to recharge in about an hour.

More » CBC, CNBC, Engadget, TechSpot, The Verge, Vox

U.S. Customs are searching Canadian mail for Canadian legalized cannabis bound for Canadians

Greg Mercer, Globe and Mail »

The U.S. agency’s apparent concern over legalized cannabis has prompted an increased effort to search and seize mail bound for the New Brunswick island, and it’s got islanders saying it’s finally time they had a year-round transportation link to their own country.


For most of the year, there’s only one way on or off Campobello Island, and that’s across the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge that connects to Maine. A private ferry through Canadian waters only runs in the summer months, which means domestic mail is driven about an hour through the United States by a bonded mail truck to reach the island with a population of fewer than 900.

69 ‘highly trained’ Canadians are helping fight record wildfires in Australia

Crews lending assistance are from Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Yukon, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

The Canadian Press via CBC News »

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre says 21 highly trained staff from a variety of agencies left Canada on Dec. 3 for a 38-day deployment in New South Wales after the centre received an official request for assistance.

On Thursday, a second group of 30 Canadians was sent in for a 38-day deployment in the fire zone and 18 more are leaving on Dec. 30 for about a month.

Kim Connors, executive director of the Winnipeg-based CIFFC, says Canada has called on Australian firefighters four times since 2015, and the “agreements are reciprocal in nature, so it was the first time that Australia has needed help from Canada.”

Read the whole story at CBC News »

Related » No relief in sight from Australian bushfire crisis as toll from catastrophic blazes rises » The Guardian

Meanwhile, thousands of volunteers fighting the flames » BBC

Canada’s top 10 weather stories of 2019

  • Another record-setting Ottawa River flood
  • Active hurricane season as predicted
  • Snowy Prairie fall
  • A brutal February
  • Record heat continues in Arctic
  • On the Prairies…Too dry early, too wet later
  • Weather witch stole Halloween
  • Spring missing in the East
  • Saint John River floods again
  • Fewer fires, more burning

More from Environment Canada

Number of Canadians banned from entering USA has almost doubled

The number of Canadians who have been restricted from entering the U.S.A. has has almost doubled, according to new data.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection offered no explanation for the surge of 5-year bans and told CBC News there have been no recent policy changes.

Sophia Harris, writing for CBC News »

Between October 2018 and September 2019, U.S. border officers issued expedited removals — which “generally” result in a minimum five-year ban — to 616 travellers attempting to enter the U.S. by land from Canada. That’s an almost 100 per cent increase compared with 312 in the previous 12-month period. The statistics were provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The spike in expedited removals — which are issued without a hearing — comes as no surprise to some immigration lawyers, who say that in their experience, suspect cases that used to result in a simple denied entry can now lead to a five-year ban.

“If they just think you’re being sneaky, that’s all it takes,” said Vancouver-based immigration lawyer Andrew Hayes. “The benefit of the doubt is not being afforded to people.”

Read the whole article at CBC News »

Yukon passes bill to create first university in Canada’s North

Bob Weber, writing for the Canadian Press »

Once the college is transformed, it will become the first institution in the territories to grant a degree under its own name. Diplomas the first graduates of the governance program get next spring will read “Yukon University.”


Research is to centre on issues around environmental conservation and sustainable resource development. It will be conducted in a new, $26-million science building funded by Ottawa and currently being designed.

Read the Canadian Press article via The Winnipeg Free Press »

The Inuvik–Tuktoyaktuk Highway » A new road in the north

Crystal Gail Fraser, writing in The Walrus »

Our truck wasn’t the only vehicle bouncing up the road. We passed several RVs, likely those of tourists from down south. The government of the NWT markets the highway as a “milestone” and “the first road in history to reach the polar shore of North America.” The federal government, for its part, has linked the road’s opening with persistent and troublesome narratives of nation building, heralding it as connecting all Canadians “from coast to coast to coast.” I wondered how many of those tourists saw the highway that way—as simply an avenue to the Arctic Ocean, a handy bucket-list adventure. To me, and to those who live on either end of the highway, the new road is about connecting with ourselves.


Our first stop in Tuktuyaaqtuuq was the beach at the end of Beaufort Road, also known as The Point, where the landmark Arctic Ocean sign stands. There were a dozen or more rented vehicles and tourist buses parked and a long lineup at the latrine. Megan and I hoisted ourselves out of the truck, still stiff from driving 3,300-plus kilometres. Quinn, now untethered, sprang from her car seat and sprinted toward the water—an act to get any parent’s heart pounding. I chased her down the beach, fighting through a thick cloud of mosquitoes that dissipated once I reached the water’s edge.

Read the whole article in The Walrus »

Angus Reid poll » 68 percent of Canadians would support electoral reform

Levon Sevunts »

Seven-in-ten (69 per cent) Canadians who voted for the CPC in October say they would change the electoral system, compared to just 28 per cent of Tory supporters who supported the idea in 2016.

There is an even higher level of support for the electoral system reform among left-of-centre voters.

Eighty-six per cent of New Democratic Party voters and 83 per cent of Green Party supporters want to change the electoral system.

Fifty-five per cent of Liberal voters also support the idea.

“Increasing approval across all parties has transformed this – at least for now – from a divisive to a consensus issue,” said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the institute.

Read the whole article at RCI »


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