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Des maires canadiens et américains réclament une action immédiate contre la carpe asiatique

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La centaine de maires de villes canadiennes et américaines ont déposé vendredi, devant l’USACE, un mémoire qui approuve le plan d’action de cette institution « pour renforcer les mesures de protection contre la carpe asiatique ».

Mais tout en donnant son appui, l’Alliance des villes des Grands Lacs et du Saint-Laurent réclame que ce plan de protection soit déployé de toute urgence au barrage et à l’écluse de Brandon Roads, qui se trouve au sud-ouest de Chicago, à 460 kilomètres en amont du confluent de la rivière Illinois et du fleuve Mississippi.

« La menace que pose la carpe asiatique est connue depuis des décennies dans la région, affirme Michelle Morin-Doyle, mairesse suppléante de Québec, qui préside l’Alliance des villes des Grands Lacs et du Saint-Laurent et Mike Vandersteen, vice-président de l’Alliance et maire de Sheboygan, dans le Wisconsin.

« Diverses espèces de carpe asiatique se rapprochent du lac Michigan et il faut implanter des politiques et des actions de manière plus urgente que ce qui est fait actuellement », disent-ils encore dans leur mémoire.

La carpe asiatique est un poisson vorace qui ravage l’écosystème et se reproduit à grande vitesse, nuisant aux espèces indigènes. Elle se nourrit de plancton et de plantes aquatiques, ce qui endommage les habitats des autres espèces de poissons.

Des échantillons de différentes carpes asiatiques au Centre canadien des eaux intérieures.Des échantillons de différentes carpes asiatiques au Centre canadien des eaux intérieures. Photo : CBC / Kelly Bennett

Au Québec, la carpe asiatique est présente dans certains lacs en Estrie. En juin 2016, des pêcheurs commerciaux ont retrouvé une carpe de 29 kilogrammes dans leurs filets dans le fleuve Saint-Laurent.

En janvier 2018, le gouvernement fédéral avait annoncé un investissement de 20 millions de dollars, sur 5 ans, pour lutter contre la présence de la carpe asiatique dans les Grands Lacs. Le Programme canadien de lutte contre la carpe asiatique a identifié à ce jour 54 emplacements à risque élevé du côté canadien des Grands Lacs pour la présence de l’espèce.

Un pas dans la bonne direction, mais…

Aux États-Unis, les mesures envisagées au barrage et à l’écluse de Brandon Roads sont temporaires, mais elles représentent « un pas dans la bonne direction », disent les maires de l’Alliance. Nous pressons la USACE, l’État de l’Illinois et le Congrès de procéder avec célérité pour que les travaux soient entrepris, affirment en substance les maires canadiens et américains.

L’Alliance souhaite au final qu’une barrière physique soit érigée entre le fleuve Mississippi et les Grands Lacs. « Mais nous reconnaissons que nous n’en sommes qu’aux stades préliminaires dans nos discussions et notre recherche d’une solution », disent les maires.

L’USACE, à qui l’Alliance a soumis son mémoire, est une institution de génie civil et de logistique militaire qui emploie environ 34 600 civils et 650 militaires. L’USACE relève du département de la Défense américain.

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Record one million job losses in March: StatCan

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OTTAWA — More than one million Canadians lost their jobs in the month of March, Statistics Canada is reporting. The unemployment rate has also climbed to 7.8 per cent, up from 2.2 percentage points since February.

Canada’s national statistics agency released its monthly Labour Force Survey on Thursday, using March 15 to 21 as the sample week – a time when the government began enforcing strict guidelines around social gatherings and called on non-essential businesses to close up shop.

The first snapshot of job loss since COVID-19 began taking a toll on the Canadian economy shows 1.1 million out of work since the prior sample period and a consequent decrease in the employment rate – the lowest since April 1997. The most job losses occurred in the private sector and among people aged 15-24.

The number of people who were unemployed increased by 413,000, resulting in the largest one-month increase in Canada’s unemployment rate on record and takes the economy back to a state last seen in October, 2010.

“Almost all of the increase in unemployment was due to temporary layoffs, meaning that workers expected to return to their job within six months,” reads the findings.

The agency included three new indicators, on top of the usual criteria, to better reflect the impact of COVID-19 on employment across the country.

The survey, for example, excludes the more commonly observed reasons for absent workers — such as vacation, weather, parental leave or a strike or lockout — to better isolate the pandemic’s effect.

They looked at: people who are employed but were out of a job during the reference week, people who are employed but worked less than half their usual hours, and people who are unemployed but would like a job.

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Employee at Ottawa’s Amazon Fulfillment Centre tests positive for COVID-19

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OTTAWA — An employee who works at Amazon’s fulfillment centre on Boundary Road in Ottawa’s east-end has tested positive for COVID-19.

Amazon says it learned on April 3 that an associate tested positive for novel coronavirus and is currently in isolation. The employee last worked at the fulfillment centre on March 19.

Two employees told CTV News Ottawa that management informed all employees about the positive test in a text message over the weekend.

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Amazon spokesperson Jen Crowcroft wrote “we are supporting the individual who is recovering. We are following guidelines from health officials and medical experts, and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site.”

The statement also says that Amazon has taken steps to further protect their employees.

“We have also implemented proactive measures at our facilities to protect employees including increased cleaning at all facilities, maintaining social distance in the FC.”

CTV News Ottawa asked Amazon about the timeline between when the company found out about the positive COVID-19 case and when employees were notified.

In a separate email to CTV News Ottawa, Crowcroft said “all associates of our Boundary Road fulfillment centre in Ottawa were notified within 24 hours of learning of the positive COVID-19 case.”

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Ottawa facing silent spring as festivals, events cancelled

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This is shaping up to be Ottawa’s silent spring — and summer’s sounding pretty bleak, too — as more and more concerts, festivals and other annual events are cancelled in the wake of measures meant to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The province has already banned gatherings of more than five people, and on Monday officials announced city parks, facilities and services will remain shut down until the end of June, nor will any event permits be issued until at least that time.

“This leaves us with no choice but to cancel the festival this year,” Ottawa Jazz Festival artistic director Petr Cancura confirmed Monday.

This was to be the festival’s 40th anniversary, and organizers announced the lineup for the June 19-July 1 event the day after Ottawa’s first confirmed case of COVID-19. 

The Toronto and Montreal jazz festivals had already pulled the plug because of similar restrictions in their cities, so Cancura said the writing was on the wall.

“We have a few contingency plans to keep connecting with our audience and working with our artists,” Cancura said.

People holding tickets to the 2020 festival can ask for a refund or exchange for a 2021 pass.

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