#Canada; #Transportation; #HighFrequencyRail; #ConnectingTorontoToQuebecCity
Ottawa/IBNS: Canada's federal government announced today plans to build new, high-frequency rail lines connecting Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City.
Image: VIA Rail lines. Image credit: Twitter handle of Omar Alghabra
"It will increase frequency for passengers like yourself and transform the connection between these cities," Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra announced this plan to passengers on board a VIA Rail train traveling from Toronto to Montreal earlier today.
According to the project plans, trains on the proposed line would run at higher speeds than are currently possible would reduce travel times between the cities, and make trains more reliable.
The government is not describing the project as "high speed" rail, since vehicles' speed would still fall short of the high-speed rail networks in Europe and Asia.
The possibility of high-frequency rail along the Toronto-Quebec City corridor has been examined by the Liberal government since at least 2019 when it launched a special office to work on the project.
The recent 2021 budget, headlined by a pledge of $491.2 million over six years to VIA Rail Canada for infrastructure investments was announced by Ottawa for the project but the budget does not suggest a completion date for the project.
Ontario; #DiscussionPaper; #TransportationPlan; #GreaterGoldenHorseshoe
TORONTO/Canadian-Media: A discussion paper for public feedback that will inform the province's first transportation plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe was released today by the Ontario government.
Ontario Transportation. Image credit: Website
The Greater Golden Horseshoe is the urban region centred around the City of Toronto and extends from Waterloo, Wellington and Brant County from the west, Peterborough and Northumberland from the east, Simcoe County to the north, with Haldimand and Niagara to the south.
Ontario government is having a plan for better transportation system to connect communities and keep goods and people moving across the province, including in Ontario’s economic engine, the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
“We have a long-term vision for the Greater Golden Horseshoe that takes us to 2051, built on connected transportation that’s safe, seamless and accessible,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation in a news release and added that this discussion paper provides an important opportunity to gain further insights to help shape a better transportation network for Ontario's future.
Being an integrated economic region with its diverse communities, the Greater Golden Horseshoe has different transportation needs which would be discussed in this paper including economic transitions, new technologies and shifting demographics that will alter the way people use the transportation system.
Outlining initiatives and concepts that address mobility in the region, the paper is designed to meet collective goals and transportation challenges of the future, setting priority near-term actions as a foundation to achieve this vision.
A consultation posting by Ontario government on the the Environmental Registry of Ontario as well as an online feedback form, Ontario is seeking public input on ways to achieve our vision, including Collaboration, coordination and new ways of working together to align our actions; Innovative approaches to policy solutions and programs, and new ways to partner, procure and deliver infrastructure
Guidance and aligning decisions and investments over the long-term to would be provided by the proposed plan to ensure other levels of government, transportation agencies, industry, local businesses and other service providers are working collaboratively to shape the transportation system.
Feedback received over the next few months as we work would be carefully considered by the province and incorporate these towards releasing the Greater Golden Horseshoe Transportation Plan later in 2021.
The deadline for providing feedback on the Greater Golden Horseshoe Transportation Plan is August 28, 2021.
An online survey to help inform the province’s future work on developing a 2051 transportation plan for the region was completed by over 2,200 people from September 11 to October 26, 2020.
It is forecasted that by 2051, population and employment would grow from 10 million to 14.9 million people, and 4.5 million to 7 million jobs, respectively.
#LoC; #AmericanFolklifeCenter; #TravelGuide; #AfricanAmericans; #JimCrowEra
Library of Congress/Canadian-Media: Season 3, Episode 4 of the Folklife Today Podcast episode presents Stephen Winick, the writer and editor at the Library of Congress(LoC)’s American Folklife Center since 2005, interviewing Candacy Taylor, whose latest project is documenting sites associated with the Negro Motorist Green Book, a travel guide for African Americans during the Jim Crow era, LoC reports said.
Candacy Taylor with Leah Chase after their 2018 interview at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant. Image credit: LoC
The dangers faced by the black people while traveling during an era where racial discrimination was legal and open racism was common is discussed by Taylor. Sites such as Dooky Chase’s restaurant in New Orleans, where owner Leah Chase slapped the hand of President Barack Obama for adding hot sauce to her famous gumbo, and where she fed a young Michael Jackson her signature sweet potato pies were discussed. There was also a discussion about Historic Hampton House, a Jewish-owned hotel in Miami, where a young boxer named Cassius Clay met Malcolm X and changed his name to Muhammad Ali, and where Martin Luther King, Jr. practiced his most famous speech.
This photo, which hangs at the Hampton House, shows Malcolm X taking a photo of Muhammad Ali, at Ali’s victory party after he defeated Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964. Image credit: Library of Congress.
Parts of interviews with Enid Pinkney, who restored the Hampton House; Jerry Markowitz, whose parents owned the Hampton House; Leah Chase of Dooky Chase’s; and Nelson Malden, Dr. King’s barber in Montgomery, Alabama. could also be heard.
#Canada, #TravelRestrictions, #EmergenciesAct, #MarcGarneau
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Canadian Prime Minister said today that he had a detailed discussion last night with the premiers about different options to further limit travel the wake of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
Travel restrictions. Image credit: Unsplash
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau hoped that the federal government would consider invoking the Emergencies Act to limit travel to keep Canadians safe.
In a Sunday interview on Rosemary Barton Live, Garneau said, "We are looking at all potential actions to make sure that we can achieve our aims. The Emergencies Act is something you don't consider lightly. But we are first and foremost concerned about the health and safety of Canadians. And if we can do that in a way that we have the regulatory power to do it, we will do it."
Garneau added that the Emergencies Act would empower the cabinet to regulate or prohibit travel "to, from or within any specified area, where necessary for the protection of the health or safety of individuals."
#Canada; #TravelAbroad;#Covid19Crisis; #Covid19Testing
Canada/Canadian-Media: Not heeding the government advice to stay home even during the worsening of the COVID 19 crisis, thousands of Canadians are boarding international flights to sunny destinations, media reports said.
Canadians on International flights. Image credit: Unsplash
More than 1,500 flights between Canada and 18 popular vacation destinations since Oct. 1 have been operated by Canadian air carriers in spite of the repeated warnings by federal government to avoid all "non-essential travel" outside the country.
"I try not to judge people. Everyone's got their reasons," he said. "Maybe they need, you know, some kind of stress relief," said Raywat Deonandan, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Ottawa, CBC News reported.
Last week a new requirement was imposed by Canada asking all inbound travelers to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Those tests are not 100 percent reliable, say the experts and that people should not assume their exposure abroad is uncontrollable.
"You cannot control who is in the airplane with you. You can't control the nature and the environment of the airport when you arrive. You can't control the hygienic quality of the taxi that you take from the airport to your destination," said Deonandan, who implored Canadians to think of the common good before travelling abroad.
"It is a steep, steep gamble that I don't think is worth taking," he said.
#BritishColumbia; #EmergencyDoctor; #SurgeInTravelers; #Ontario; #Quebec; #TravelBan
British Columbia/Canadian-Media: Dr. Annie Gareau, an emergency physician at Whistler Health Care Centre in B.C. told Radio-Canada about her concern after seeing a surge in the number of patients from Ontario and Quebec with surging COVID-19 transmission under control, over the holidays, and is calling on the B.C. government to contain travel from other provinces.
Travel ban. Image credit: Unsplash
"We have a limited capacity. Our waiting room is small, so definitely at one point in time between Christmas and New Year's it was unsettling the amount of patients that were in the clinic," she said.
"I think we need to do like the Atlantic provinces did and I think we need to restrict inter-provincial travel until the numbers are going down."
This was in spite of a public health advisory that was put in place across B.C. since Nov. 19 cautioning against all non-essential travel.
"I would say the majority of patients that came to the clinic between Christmas and New Year were not Whistlerites. The majority were from the Lower Mainland," Gareau said and added,
"And then — surprising and worrying — was a lot of people from out of province, mainly Ontario and Quebec."
Following the advice of the Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry that skiers should stick to their local slopes, some ski resorts have canceled reservations from non-local visitors.
As of Tuesday, a total of 162 cases of COVID-19 were reported by Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna, according to Interior Health.
Representatives of the B.C. health ministry have not yet responded to calls for stricter travel regulations.
#Canada; #CanadaTravelAgencies; #TavelCommission; #RefundTravelers
Canada/Canadian-Media: Travel agents across Canada have been asked by travel companies to repay earned commissions in order to refund their customers to for trips cancelled due to COVID-19, media reports said.
Association of Canadian Travel Agencies. Image credit: acta.ca
Some agents are being asked to repay as much as $50,000 to airlines and tour companies, said Ontario-based Judith Coates, one of the travel adviser and founders of the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors (ACITA) said.
"It is impossible for us to pay back money that we do not have because we're not even earning a living, not to mention the fact that it was money that was earned and has been taxed in some cases — because it was paid in 2019 and it's been spent," said Coates.
Canada's the federal government is being called by the ACITA for a bailout, as Coates said that larger commissions are usually earned on trip packages, like destination weddings and not individual flights.
Coates said about 200 travel agencies in Ontario have closed their doors for good, and there's fear more will be gone forever if the federal government doesn't step in with a bailout.
Coates agents are reluctant to withdraw money from their earned commissions, which are placed in trust accounts.
Coates added if there isn't enough cash in the trust account, the company will take the money out of future bookings, which leaves the agents with little incentive to do any more business with companies.
Cordy said she's paid back $6,000 so far so her clients can get refunds, but she stands to lose as much as $20,000 if all her commissions on her other bookings are recalled.
#Canada; #EnhancedScreeings; #UKTravellersArrivingInCanada; #CoronavirusNewStrain
Canada/Canadian-Media: Canada’s Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Dec 22 during a press briefing that increased steps are being taken by Canada to screen travelers from the United Kingdom, and from other countries over coronavirus concerns.
Canada Border Service Agency. Image credit: Twitter handle
“Enhanced screening has been put in place at all Canadian airports at all points of entrance for travelers who may be arriving from the UK indirectly,” Blair said during press briefing.
Around 40 countries have banned travel to and from the United Kingdom in recent days over the discovery of a new, potentially more transmissible strain of the coronavirus concentrated in capital city London and England’s south east.
Identification of a new strain of coronavirus as VUI-202012/01 a week ago, believed to be more easily transmitted than previously identified strains was found in roughly 1,000 individuals in southeast England, said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
All the travelers who have been in the UK in the past 14 days are being referred to Public Health Agency of Canada at both land and airports of entry, said Blair.
Border to all flights from the UK had recently been closed by Canada, which has also been advised by Bill to take enhanced measures to screen all international travelers entering Canada.
#AviationRecovery; #Africa; #ICAO-COVID19Response
Montréal/Canadian-Media: Speaking at a special online event organized by the African Union (AU) to commemorate the Yamoussoukro Decision, ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu declared that the recovery of African air services should be encouraged through further liberalization and intra-regional resilience, aided by ICAO’s COVID-19 response resources.
“Prior to the onset of the pandemic, African aviation was poised to become one of the fastest growing air transport markets in the world. The overall sector supported some seven million jobs, and generated over 72 billion dollars each year in gross domestic product (GDP) on this continent,” Dr. Liu said.
“To help restore these significant and positive benefits to African prosperity, current priorities should focus on the establishment of effective contingency policies and regulations.”
The Secretary General highlighted the work of the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART), and its aviation response and recover “Take-Off Guidelines” which were fully endorsed by the AU Commission High Level Task Force on the Restart and Recovery of Aviation in Africa earlier this year.
Reflecting the rapid progression of science and understanding, Dr. Liu highlighted that new CART Phase II revisions were endorsed by the ICAO Council earlier this week.
Drawing reference to the event’s focus, and the significance of the Yamoussoukro Decision and improved intra-regional and international liberalization, Dr. Liu emphasized that “ICAO traffic data is revealing that regions which feature higher levels of intra-regional traffic are recovering more quickly. We are seeing this playing out now in the Asia-Pacific, and it goes without saying that the more comprehensive realization of the Yamoussoukro Decision, notably through increased participation by African States in the Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM), will accelerate these dynamics here.”
This SAATM is a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063, and is designed to advance the liberalization of air transport and act as an impetus to the continent’s economic integration agenda. It seeks to ensure that aviation can fulfil its potential in connecting Africa by promoting improved socio-economic integration and enhanced tourism and trade.
“I would encourage African countries’ proactive pursuit of Public Health Corridors and other near-term travel bubble solutions, as these can also increase public confidence in air travel when prudently and effectively established,” the Secretary General remarked.
“ICAO has provided extensive information to States on how to establish these corridors, and important advice for countries on how to promote the mutual recognition of public health measures through bilateral and multilateral agreements.”
Stressing that Africa’s commitments to a Single African Sky “connect this continent and assure the growth and prosperity of its countries and communities,” Dr. Liu highlighted the significance of the Project Implementation Agreement (PIA) between ICAO and AFCAC, which will be formalized in the near future.
This agreement sets out provisions of the Institutional Support Project financed by the African Development Fund (ADF), and will help accelerate SAATM implementation by providing targeted and measurable assistance to applicable States.
Concluding her remarks, the Secretary General expressed her confidence in the future of aviation in Africa.
The AU virtual event address was attended by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Togo, Her Excellency Victoire Tomegah Dogbe. Also in attendance were the Commissioner of Infrastructure, Energy and Transport, Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid; and the leadership of the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), and ACI Africa.
#Ottawa; #PublicTransit; #FreeWiFiOnGoTransit; #FreeWiFiPlus
Ottawa, Sep 28 (Canadian-Media): With its commitment to improving public transit across the province, Ontario government is offering free Wi-Fi, beginning Sep 28 for passengers on all GO buses and approximately 50 percent of GO trains, media reports said.
GO Transit. Image credit: Wikipedia
Once connected to GO Wi-Fi Plus, a user-friendly portal offering free Wi-Fi, GO Transit riders will get 10MB of data per trip, for a four-hour period, to access free Wi-Fi as well as a variety of unlimited entertainment content such as TV shows, audiobooks, e-books, music, podcasts, etc.
Even more data of 50 MB per trip would be provided to riders signing in with registered PRESTO accounts.
"More than 80 per cent of GO customers named Wi-Fi as their most desired amenity, and our government is committed to make life easier for the people of Ontario by keeping commuters connected throughout their journey," Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation said Sept 28 in a press release.
"This initiative will make an important difference as it will help people work more efficiently, finish school projects or get important news and updates from family and friends."
Metrolinx has partnered with Icomera Canada Inc., a global leader in providing wireless Internet connectivity for public transit, to connect all 1,399 GO buses and trains to Wi-Fi.
GO trains' full rollout of GO Wi-Fi Plus is expected to be completed in early 2021.
"With hundreds of entertainment options to choose from, GO Wi-Fi Plus is more than just Wi-Fi, and will make the onboard experience even more convenient and enjoyable for customers," Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster said Sep 28 in a news release. "We are so excited to bring GO Wi-Fi Plus to our customers on our buses and trains."