Genetic testing and hitching a ride with the British; In The News for July 10

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of July 10 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

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OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada is slated to rule this morning on the constitutionality of a federal law that forbids companies from making people undergo genetic testing before buying insurance or other services.

The Genetic Non-Discrimination Act also outlaws the practice of requiring the disclosure of existing genetic test results as a condition for obtaining such services or entering into a contract.

The act is intended to ensure Canadians can take genetic tests to help identify health risks without fear they will be penalized when seeking life or health insurance.

The law, passed three years ago, is the result of a private member's bill that was introduced in the Senate and garnered strong support from MPs despite opposition from then-justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

The Quebec government referred the new law to the provincial Court of Appeal, which ruled in 2018 that it strayed beyond the federal government's jurisdiction over criminal law.

The Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness then challenged the ruling in the Supreme Court of Canada, which heard the appeal last October.

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Also this ...

OTTAWA — Canadian troops are being forced to hitch a ride with the British military to get to and from Latvia due to a shortage of working planes.

A CC-150 Polaris was to carry about 120 Canadian soldiers to Latvia on Wednesday and fly back with a similar number of returning troops.

Yet the Defence Department says those plans changed after a problem was found with the plane's landing gear, which is when the military asked the British for help.

The Air Force has three Polaris capable of ferrying personnel to different parts of the world but the Defence Department says the other two were unavailable.

One is currently ferrying troops to and from the Middle East while the third — which normally serves as the prime minister's plane — is out of commission until at least January after a hangar accident last October.

Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande says the British plane took off with the 120 departing troops on Thursday and will return with a similar number of soldiers in the coming days.

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What we are watching in the U.S. ...

International students worried about a new immigration policy that could potentially cost them their visas say they feel stuck between being unnecessarily exposed during the coronavirus pandemic and being able to finish their studies in the United States.

The students from countries such as India, China and Brazil say they are scrambling to devise plans after federal immigration authorities notified colleges this week that international students must leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their schools operate entirely online this fall.

Some say they are considering the possibility of returning home or moving to Canada.

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What we are watching elsewhere in the world ...

SEOUL — The sudden death of the Seoul mayor is triggering an outpouring of public sympathy but also questions about his behaviour.

Park Won-sun was found dead in the South Korean capital, hours after his daughter reported him missing.

Media reports say one of his secretaries lodged a complaint with police over his alleged sexual harassment.

Many mourn Park's death, while others worry sympathy for him could lead to a criticism of the woman who filed the complaint.

Despite gradually improvements in women's rights in recent years, South Korea remains a male-centred society.

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Today in 1912...

Montreal's George Hodgson won Canada's first Olympic swimming gold medal. He set a world record of 22 minutes flat in the 1,500-metre freestyle at the Games in Stockholm. That record lasted 11 years. Four days later, Hodgson won the 400-metre freestyle. Canada did not capture another Olympic swimming title until 1984.

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The Canadian economy ...

Statistics Canada is set this morning to give a snapshot of the job market as it was last month as pandemic-related restrictions eased and reopenings widened.

Economists expect the report will show a bump in employment as a result, further recouping some of the approximately three million jobs lost over March and April.

Financial data firm Refinitiv says the average economist estimate for June is for employment to increase by 700,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to fall to 12.0 per cent.

The unemployment rate in May was a record-high 13.7 per cent, a far turn from the record low of 5.5 per cent recorded in January.

The Bank of Canada and federal government say the worst of the economic pain from the pandemic is behind the country, but Canada will face high unemployment and low growth until 2021.

The economic outlook released by the Liberal government Wednesday forecasted the unemployment rate to be 9.8 per cent for the calendar year, dropping to 7.8 per cent next year based on forecasts by 13 private sector economists.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2020.

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