All user posts Mujaffor Hussen . Toronto , Canada

Canadians can now donate money or Aeroplan points to help Ukrainians fleeing the war with Russia get to Canada.

Immigration Minister Sean Fraser says the goal of the Aeroplan fund is to pay for flights to Canada for at least 10,000 Ukrainians and their families who have received entry permits.

This program will be in addition to the targeted charter flights to transport Ukrainians to Canada, announced earlier by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

More than 54,000 Ukrainians have already received permission to come to Canada, where they can live, work or study for three years.

Reception of donations began on April 20, but details on how Ukrainians will be able to receive money will not be known until a few weeks later.

The program will be managed by the charity Miles4Migrants, the Shapiro Foundation and Air Canada.

Miles4Migrants will help Ukrainians book commercial flights to Canada using donated funds or Aeroplan points on a first come, first served basis.

Miles4Migrants expects people to be able to use the Aeroplan program and fly to Canada for free as early as next month.

At a press conference, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said that a corporate partnership with Air Canada is “one of the most efficient and effective ways Ukrainian refugees can travel to Canada,” especially given that Ukrainians have spread across Europe after fleeing their country.

“It would be hard for me to find a more efficient or effective way to help as many people as possible,” he said.

Frazier said the system is better than directly offering cash to people who are thinking about coming to Canada, as they can change their mind and use the funds for other purposes.

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Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said that Canada and "a number" of allies withdrew from Russia's participation in Wednesday's group plenary session of the G20 finance ministers' meeting.

In a series of tweets, Freeland condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine and said that since the G20 meeting was about the global economy, Russia should not be allowed to attend.

Russia's unprovoked and bloody invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign democracy, has unleashed global economic turmoil in recent weeks, exacerbating the pressure on many areas of life already under strain amid the pandemic.

Freeland's spokesman called the Russian invasion "a serious threat to the global economy that will drive up food and fuel prices and hit the most vulnerable among us hardest."

Today Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, US Secretary of State Janet Yellen and a number of other democratic partner countries left the G20 plenary meeting when the Russian delegation tried to intervene."

Now Russian troops are concentrated in the eastern region of Ukraine, preparing for an offensive in the Donbass.

But the port city of Mariupol is also in the center of world attention as a Russian ultimatum to Ukrainian commanders, warning them to surrender or die, expires.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that there was no mass surrender, but the commander of a unit believed to be being held in the besieged city said his troops could only hold out for a few days or hours.

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Airfare prices in Canada are on the rise, new data from Statistics Canada shows, as increased travel demand prompts airlines to raise fares.

The data shows that air travel prices rose 8.3 percent between February and March.

Fare data provided by aviation data firm Cirium shows that the average price of a one-way ticket for flights within Canada rose 18 percent in January this year from pre-pandemic levels.

National Bank Financial analyst Cameron Doerksen wrote that Air Canada's fares are rising and that the fare increase is one way out for the airline as it struggles with soaring jet fuel prices.

The new chief executive of WestJet subsidiary Swoop, Bob Cummings, says that the continued rise in jet fuel prices will have to be passed on to passengers, at least in part, even as low-cost airline competition grows.

Delta Air Lines president Glen Howenstein said the airline had seen no reaction to the fare increase.

"My advice to travelers is to book early and be flexible if fares are the most important thing to you."

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The Philadelphia 66ers hosted the Toronto Raptors in their second NBA playoff game. The meeting was held in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center stadium and ended in victory for the hosts with a score of 112:97.

Joel Embiid led the way with 31 points and 11 rebounds. Tobias Harris scored a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Toronto's top scorer was Oji Anunobi with 26 points. On account of Pascal Siakam double-double (20 points and 10 rebounds).

Thus, Philadelphia strengthened its position in the NBA playoff series - 2-0. The next match between the teams will take place on April 21.

Recall that in the framework of the NBA regular season, Philadelphia took fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Toronto, in turn, finished in fifth place in the East.

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Canada must immediately supply Ukraine with heavy weapons as Russia launched a ground offensive to take control of the east of the country, says the head of an organization representing the interests of Ukrainian Canadians.

Igor Mikhalchyshyn, executive director of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) in Ottawa, said weapons are needed now to destroy Russian tanks. He said that Russia is committing war crimes against the Ukrainian people and its actions amount to genocide.

Canada provides military and humanitarian aid, but heavy weapons are needed because Ukrainians need to defend themselves. The federal budget includes another $500 million for military assistance to Ukraine.

“We are very concerned about what we are seeing. We are talking to our friends and family in Ukraine who are experiencing this live and in real time. It's a feeling of helplessness that we can't go and do more, but we, Canada, can do more,” he said.

Mikhalchyshyn said that Canadians are showing support for Ukraine, with people holding fundraisers and flying Ukrainian flags in their homes and businesses. The federal government must also act.

“Mere words are not enough. We need words to be quickly followed by action as the situation continues to deteriorate,” he said.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces need tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, multiple rocket launchers, anti-aircraft systems and fighter jets, as well as maritime defense and anti-ship missiles for coastal defense, according to a press release from the Ukrainian Congress of Canada dated April 14.

On Monday, April 18, the President of Ukraine, in a video message, said that Russia had launched an offensive to take control of eastern Ukraine.

“Now we can already state that Russian troops have begun the battle for Donbass,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

He said that "a significant part of the entire Russian army is now focused on this direction."

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Canada plans to deploy a military hospital in Europe in the near future to provide medical care to Ukrainians.

Canadian Minister for International Development Harjit Sajan said:

"We are talking with the Red Cross about what is needed. We were ready to deploy a large field hospital. It turned out that there is no need for the entire hospital, so its individual elements will be deployed," he said on the air of the SVS TV channel.

The Minister stressed that such projects require significant coordination among numerous partners.

"The question is not only to have the necessary equipment, it is important to ensure that people are needed," Sadzhan specified.

He noted that the exact location of the future hospital is currently being determined, and added that a team from Canada's Department for International Development is already working in Eastern Europe, which is looking for ways to further humanitarian support.

"A lot of work is being done, but the needs are huge, given the massive crimes committed in Ukraine," summed up Harjit Sajjan.

Recall that earlier Canada decided to send about 150 military personnel to Poland to help Polish colleagues accept refugees from Ukraine; Ukrainian-speaking Canadians will be included in the mission.

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Canada's Housing Minister faces a daunting task as the Canadian government tries to double the pace of housing construction in the country within 10 years.

Ahmed Hussen, appointed to the position after last year's election, says Canada has no choice if it wants to continue to grow its economy and attract skilled immigrants: "The issue of housing supply is critical to our future success as a country," said Hussen in Bloomberg interview.

Avery Shenfield, chief economist at CIBC World Markets, doubts the plan's feasibility given the labor shortage: supply increase to allow more Canadians to own their own home,” he wrote on Thursday.

Hussen said he is aware of such skepticism but says his government has already shown that it can implement ambitious programs. The largest new housing measure in the budget is the $4 billion Housing Acceleration Fund, which municipal governments can use to take action to increase housing supply.

Regarding labor shortages, Hussen believes that investing in vocational training and immigration can help: “Immigration is one of the tools to solve the lack of housing supply, because many skilled immigrants come to the country due to our reasonable immigration policy, to help us build, literally help us build our country,” he said.

The budget also promised other measures to increase supply, such as an additional $1.5 billion in a fund for affordable housing projects.

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Health Canada says nearly 1.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines held in national stocks have expired since January.

The government claims that this is a relatively new problem, as until the end of last year the supply of doses was in line with demand. However, the use of vaccines has slowed despite the government and health authorities urging people to get a booster shot.

More than 80 percent of Canadians are fully vaccinated, and 57 percent of adults and 15 percent of teens have received their third dose of the vaccine.

However, coverage is significantly lower than before, from a peak of 600,000 doses per day in June to 250,000 in January and about 30,000 daily for the last month.

To date, less than two percent of Canada's stock of COVID-19 vaccines has expired.

University of British Columbia infectious disease expert Dr Srinivas Murthy says losing some doses due to expiration dates is normal in vaccine distribution campaigns.

Murthy said Canada should have done more sooner to make vaccination easier in low-income countries by supporting changes to licensing and manufacturing laws so vaccines can be made in more places.

There are currently 18 million doses of the vaccine available in Canada, and the vast majority of them will expire within the next four months.

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Canada is working to prepare for the World Youth Championships in 2023. At the moment, it is necessary to decide on the cities where the tournament will be held, according to Sportsnet.

Canada and the International Ice Hockey Federation are considering five options: Saskatoon and Regina, London and Kitchener, Halifax and Moncton, Quebec and Trois Rivières, and two arenas in Ottawa.

Initially, the MFM-2023 was supposed to be held in Novosibirsk and Omsk, but on February 28, the IIHF Council deprived Russia of the right to host the tournament. It was planned that the competition will be held from December 26, 2022 to January 5, 2023.

Recall that Canada was supposed to host the MFM-2022 last winter, but the tournament was postponed to the summer due to the outbreak of coronavirus in several teams. The competition will take place from 9 to 20 August in Edmonton.

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