Why Canada canceled a $222 million PPE deal; 1,700 travelers broke mask rules in 2021: CBC Marketplace cheat sheet


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Canada terminates $222m PPE deal following forced labor investigation

Do you know where your personal protective equipment comes from?

Canada is revoking two supply contracts with Supermax Healthcare Canada worth more than $222 million, following allegations that nitrile gloves it manufactured in Malaysia for use by workers in Canadian health care products were made with forced labor.

Marlet has been on the case for more than a year, following a 2021 investigation that found “appalling” conditions at a Malaysian PPE factory supplying Canadian hospitals.

At that time, documents we reviewed showed that millions of disposable gloves, made under conditions that experts say are characteristic of forced labor, entered our ports. Read more

UK lawyer says corporate working conditions equate PPE with ‘modern slavery’

UK lawyer Nusrat Uddin has said working conditions at Supermax facilities, which make personal protective equipment, amount to ‘modern slavery’ and wants the UK to follow the UK’s lead. Canada and cancels its contracts with the company. 1:39

He survived open-heart surgery. But now he faces an even greater threat

When Paul Johnson was diagnosed with an aortic valve defect at age 15, he was told that one day he would probably need heart surgery.

But after it finally happened, at the age of 62 in 2015, he soon had to face an even greater challenge: complications from a slow-growing bacterium, called M. chimaera, ravaging his body.

Johnson was exposed to the virus during his open-heart surgery after a contaminated medical device produced by a company called LifeNova was used in the operating room.

Now 68, he sits in constant pain, unable to move freely around his home on his own. He takes a cocktail of antibiotics and painkillers every day, and his wife, Cathy Johnson, has become his full-time carer.

Johnson is now part of a class action lawsuit against LifeNova that has at least a dozen other patients with confirmed infections among the members. Read more

Paul Johnson, shown with his wife, Cathy Johnson, has undergone two spinal surgeries to clear up the M. chimaera infection since he was exposed to the bacteria from a heating-cooling device during a open heart surgery in 2015. The infection has since spread to his blood, brain, spleen and spine. (Submitted by Cathy Johnson)

Some travelers question allowing travelers from the US to skip quarantine

If you’ve ever spent time in quarantine, you probably know how long the days can feel while you’re isolating at home.

But some Canadian travelers from countries around the world wonder why they have to quarantine, especially when travelers from the United States don’t have to.

“There is something fishy,” said Kevin McNally of Gatineau, Que., who flew from Panama to Montreal on January 7. He spent six days in quarantine before receiving his negative PCR test result.

“I felt like a prisoner in my own country and yet an American can come here and not be quarantined,” McNally said. “It does not mean anything.” Read more

Some Canadian travelers sentenced to spend several days in quarantine while awaiting their COVID-19 test results are wondering why Ottawa is allowing tested travelers from the United States to skip quarantine. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

No masks, big problem. More than 1,700 air travelers broke the rules last year

There are rules. But they still did not follow them. And while the spotlight was on a group of revelers on a Sunwing flight from Montreal to Mexico City in December, they weren’t alone.

More than 1,700 passengers refused to wear masks while flying on Canadian air carriers last year – a problem that the union representing many Canadian flight attendants says is getting worse.

The head of the airlines division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees says many Canadians who seem fed up with pandemic rules and regulations are lashing out at them

“We had incidents that escalated into a physical nature,” Wesley Lesosky said. “We had problems obviously being sworn in, we had problems being spit on. We had problems with people upset. We had people [who] are just checked with the mask policy.”

Passengers are increasingly unaware of the requirement to wear masks on flights when not eating or drinking, Lesosky said. Read more

Passengers were seen in videos vaping, dancing, drinking and surfing on a December 30 Sunwing flight from Montreal to Cancun. (The Journal of Montreal)

What else is going on?

Canada’s inflation rate hits a new 30-year high of 4.8%
Food prices are rising at the fastest rate in more than a decade

Is it time for a shorter work week?
Some proponents say shorter weeks boost productivity and prioritize worker health.

Mahruse brand Black Seed Halva recalled due to Salmonella
The recalled product should be discarded.

Kattnakken Junior Rain Jacket recalled due to strangulation hazard
Consumers should immediately remove the drawstring from children’s outerwear to eliminate the hazard.

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