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Flying over the holidays? Don’t pack these Christmas items

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With a report from CTV Winnipeg’s Gabrielle Marchand


Published Thursday, December 20, 2018 7:48PM EST


Last Updated Thursday, December 20, 2018 8:08PM EST

As the holiday travel season hits its peak, air travel experts are warning travellers to be careful about what they pack.

This Christmas marks the first time Canadians can fly with cannabis for the holidays. But federal rules only permit 30 grams of cannabis per person.

Toronto Pearson International Airport, which expects Friday to be its busiest day with an anticipated 135,000 travellers, said passengers carrying cannabis should be aware of the possibility of unexpected penalties if a plane needs to make “an unplanned diversion” outside of Canada.

“Taking cannabis or any product containing cannabis across Canada’s international borders is illegal and can result in serious criminal penalties both at home and abroad,” the airport said in a statement.

The majority of passengers likely aren’t flying with cannabis. But many travellers will pack gifts for loved ones – and, if you want those gifts to remain a secret, it’s best not to wrap them, according to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA).

“We might have to open it … and as much as we like unwrapping gifts, we’d much prefer not to unwrap yours,” said CATSA spokesperson Christine Langlois.

A strict ban on Christmas crackers is enforced, and travellers are not allowed to bring them in carry-on bags or checked luggage.

Snow globes and toys that contain water could also cause hold-ups at security, particularly if the items contain more than 100 milliliters of water. Authorities say you might also want to rethink packing large jars of jam or peanut butter, as they are considered liquids.

Of course, year-round rules still apply banning toys that could be mistaken as weapons, sharp objects, explosives and more than 350 milliliters of inorganic powders

Airports across the country are expected to be packed over the next few days, and travellers are advised to arrive earlier than usual in order to ensure that they arrive at their gate on time.

“A lot of the biggest stressors we see are people rushing, trying to catch a flight. Lines are a little bit longer this time of year,” said Tyler MacAfee with the Winnipeg Airports Authority.

For those travelling through Toronto, Pearson International Airport recommends that travellers reserve a parking spot in advance.

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LIFESTYLES

University of Windsor establishes first Canadian transportation cybersecurity centre

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The University of Windsor will be the site of Canada’s first organization dedicated to countering threats to the connected transportation marketplace.

The SHIELD Automotive Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence will focus on developing the skills, innovations and policy to secure connected and autonomous vehicles.

Researchers will partner with industry, government and community stakeholders.

Co-founding and heading up the centre will be Dr. Mitra Mirhassani of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Dr. Ikjot Saini of the School of Computer Science.

In the past year, the two University of Windsor professors were both recognized as being among Canada’s top talents in the automotive cybersecurity field.

“Hardware and software vulnerabilities could put personal information and vehicle safety in jeopardy,” said Mirhassani.

“Transportation systems are especially susceptible to attacks from malicious actors due to the complexity, implementation costs and lifecycles of equipment and platforms.”

The SHIELD centre is a continuation of the Windsor region’s focus on developing its cybersecurity ecosystem.

The province has already designated the area as the regional tech development centre for cybersecurity and border logistics.

The cybersecurity centre got a further boost this week with the announcement of a memorandum of understanding with the Automotive Parts Manufacturing Association (APMA).

APMA and SHIELD will collaborate to develop market-based technologies to meet the needs of producers and consumers and build academic programs to address industry’s evolving requirements.

“We hope that this partnership will help to advance a cybersecurity culture shift in the industry in Canada,” said APMA president Flavio Volpe.

“There is much work to be done to protect our collective interest in advancing this country’s globally competitive automotive sector.”

The centre will also promote the sharing of knowledge among parties to advance standards and enhance policies in the field.

Part of the plan is to offer micro credentialing through the university’s Continuing Education programs.

“We plan to offer consultation and test services to small- and medium-sized Canadian companies that will help them stay up to date,” said Dr. Saini.

“Open-access publications and public webinars will widely share the latest information.”

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Hamilton police charge ‘Hugs Over Masks’ protest organizers in two separate events

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TORONTO — Hamilton, Ont., police say they have charged two organizers of an anti-mask protest group for holding events that allegedly violated public health rules.

Police say the events were held in downtown Hamilton on Jan. 3 and Jan. 10.

The force alleges that 40 people attended first event and 60 attended the second.

Current provincial restrictions limit gatherings to a maximum of 10 people outdoors.

Police say they informed the “Hugs Over Masks” organizers that the planned Jan. 10 gathering would result in charges, but they went ahead with the event.

They say a 27-year-old man and 38-year-old woman are facing charges under the Reopening Ontario Act that carry a minimum fine of $10,000 if convicted.

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Ontario issues stay-at-home order to start Thursday as Ford declares state of emergency

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Premier Doug Ford is declaring another state of emergency, effective immediately, in response to surging COVID-19 infection rates.

In a news conference on Tuesday, Ford announced Ontario is issuing a stay-at-home order, effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

It requires people to stay home except for essential activities such as accessing health care or shopping for groceries.

The new measures also include restricting the hours of operation for non-essential retail stores such as hardware stores to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Addressing big box stores, which are allowed to remain open, Ford said an inspection blitz is coming to ensure they are following proper protocols.

“I’m going to come down on them like an 800-pound gorilla,” he said.

Schools in Hamilton, Toronto, York, Peel and Windsor-Essex will not return to in-person learning until Feb. 10.

Other public health regions, including Halton and Niagara, will find out when students can return to class by Jan. 20.

Schools will now require students in grades 1-3 to wear masks and masks will be required outside where physical distancing can’t be maintained.

Child-care centres for non-school aged children will remain open.

The premier announced the restrictions shortly after the province released new projections that show the virus is on track to overwhelm Ontario’s health-care system.

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