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COVID-19 blamed as work on military port first promised in 2007 sees new delay

OTTAWA — The construction of a new military refuelling station in the Arctic is facing yet another delay more than 13 years after it was first promised by the federal government.

Stephen Harper first announced plans to build the Nansivik deep-water port in Nunavut along with up to eight armed Arctic patrol vessels in 2007.

The long-standing expectation was that the port located on Baffin Island about 20 kilometes from Arctic Bay would be ready when the first of those ships was finally delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy.

Yet while the first Arctic patrol vessel was handed over to the navy on Friday after numerous delays and cost overruns, the Department of National Defence says the Nansivik facility won’t be ready until 2022.

Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande blamed travel difficulties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic for the latest delay, which follows numerous environmental and structural problems over the years.

The port was originally supposed to include an airstrip and staffed year-round, but both plans were dropped after the project’s $116-million budget was found to have more than doubled to $258 million in 2013.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 2, 2020.

 

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Using reserve funds to cut class size a financial risk: TDSB

TORONTO — The interim director of Canada’s largest school board says a plan to “unlock” reserve funds to lower class sizes to address COVID-19 concerns is a financial risk.

Charlene Jackson says the Toronto District School Board has already set the millions in reserve funding aside for future obligations.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Thursday that boards will be allowed to access $500 million of their own reserve funds to achieve physical distancing in classrooms.

In a memo to trustees, she says it would not be “prudent or good financial management” to use the funds to cover the entire cost of smaller class sizes.

The government will also spend $50 million to update school ventilation systems, and another $18 million to hire principals and support staff to administer online learning.

Meanwhile, Ontario is reporting 92 new cases of COVID-19 today with one new death due to the virus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 14, 2020.

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Toronto FC loans young defender Rocco Romeo to Danish second division side

Toronto FC has loaned Canadian youth international defender Rocco Romeo to Danish second division team HB Koge through June 2021.

Romeo, 20, signed with Toronto FC as a homegrown player in January. He spent the past four seasons with Toronto FC 2, where he made 25 appearances with one goal.

Romeo had a short loan spell with the Danish side in January 2019, making eight appearances.

Earlier this month, Toronto loaned Canadian youth international defenders Julian Dunn and Dante Campbell to Winnipeg’s Valour FC of the Canadian Premier League for the 2020 season.

The eight CPL teams are currently in Charlottetown for the Island Games, which marks the start of the league’s pandemic-delayed second season.

Toronto FC 2 also loaned 22-year-old defender Nyal Higgins to Nykopings BIS, a Swedish club third-division club.

 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 14, 2020.

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Competition Bureau launches probe of Amazon, seeks input from businesses

OTTAWA — The Competition Bureau has launched a new probe into Amazon’s conduct to determine whether the online retailer is harming competition.

The investigation, which is seeking confidential information from Canadian businesses, will include a particular focus on “potential abuse of dominance.”

The competition watchdog is reviewing whether Amazon policies impact sellers’ willingness to offer their products at a lower price on other retail channels, such as their own websites or other online marketplaces.

It is also looking into any efforts by Amazon to tilt consumers toward products it sells over those offered by third-party vendors, as well as potential obstacles that sellers confront when opting out of Amazon’s shipping and advertising services.

The bureau’s request for public input comes amid rising concerns of monopoly power in the tech world and questions around the use of sellers’ data to create rival products.

Amazon says it is co-operating with the bureau’s probe and will continue working to support small businesses who sell products on Amazon.ca.

The Competition Bureau says its investigation is ongoing and there is no conclusion of wrongdoing at this point.

The bureau’s request for public input comes amid rising concerns of monopoly power in the tech world and questions around the use of sellers’ data to create rival products.

In July 2019, the European Commission launched a formal antitrust investigation into Amazon to examine whether its data use violates competition rules, while the U.S. Department of Justice has opened one into major online platforms including Google, Facebook and Apple.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 14, 2020.

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