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In today's Morning Brief, we have the story of the 247 Canadians who endured n a cruise that saw a coronavirus outbreak and four deaths, only to find out they've now been the victims of a privacy breach by the federal government. We also look at pharmacists who say they're being called on to fill gaps in the health-care systems amid the pandemic.

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Canadian passengers from virus-stricken Zaandam cruise ship hit by federal gov't privacy breach

After enduring a cruise with a COVID-19 outbreak and four deaths, Canadians on the trip now face a new problem: a privacy breach by the federal government. 

In a detailed email sent over the Easter weekend to the 247 Canadians who had been on the Holland America Line ship, the MS Zaandam, Global Affairs Canada explained that "due to an administrative error," it had mistakenly sent them an email on April 1 with an attachment containing personal data on each passenger. The information included their address, date of birth, email, phone number and passport number.

The Global Affairs notice about the breach advised passengers to monitor their financial accounts and request periodic credit reports from a national credit bureau to limit the risk of identity theft. 

The breach happened the day before the ship docked in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on April 2 so passengers could disembark and return home. 

Global Affairs says that after the breach happened it "promptly" sent a follow-up email that same day, apologizing to passengers and informing them they could contact the department if they had questions. 

"Didn't we go through enough? Now we have to have a breach too?" said passenger Margaret Tilley of Nanaimo, B.C. "I'm just very angry that they would allow something like this to happen." Read more on this story here.

Follow the road sign

(P. Ravikumar/Reuters)

A man selling coconuts rides his trishaw yesterday over some road graffiti depicting the coronavirus in Chennai, India. The painting is an attempt to raise awareness about the importance of staying at home during a 21-day nationwide lockdown in India that's meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In brief

A woman living in a Toronto long-term care home that houses 200 seniors, including the premier's mother-in-law, has confirmed what loved ones of residents fear most: basic care needs are not being met amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The West Park Long-Term Care home in Toronto has seen at least five COVID-19 deaths, while ten other residents and 14 staff members have tested positive for the virus. Family members of residents say they feel left in the dark and helpless being unable to visit or assist with their loved ones' care. Read more about what the resident says is happening inside the facility.

Watch | Resident speaks out about conditions at Toronto long-term care home

Resident speaks out about conditions at Toronto long-term care home


8 months agoVideo

Some Canadian pharmacists say they are struggling to fill gaps in a strained health-care system, leaving them to deal with patients anxious to avoid medical clinics and the ER. The patients, they say, are calling or coming to pharmacies looking for easily accessible or face-to-face medical advice at a time when many medical clinics aren't allowing walk-ins and physicians are doing some assessments over the phone or online. "[I'm] having to do everything from bandaging up a patient that opened up his head and started bleeding and didn't want to go to emerg — all the way to talking someone down from committing suicide," said Toronto pharmacist Kyrollos Maseh. Read more about what pharmacists say they're dealing with during the pandemic.

Watch | Pharmacists filling health-care gap

Pharmacists filling health-care gap


8 months agoVideo

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is calling out Canada's top doctor for advice she gave Canadians at the start of the pandemic and said he will not wait for Health Canada to approve medications, vaccines or tests before rolling them out if other "peer" countries have already approved them. "We're not going to wait for Health Canada to play catch-up with, for example, the European Union's drug regulator or the Food and Drug Administration in the United States," Kenney said yesterday on CBC News Network's Power & Politics. Read more on the premier's comments here.

Imams, religious scholars and Muslim medical professionals in Canada are divided over whether to suspend the funeral rituals for a Muslim who has died from COVID-19. Under normal circumstances, a deceased Muslim is to be washed, shrouded and a communal prayer performed before a body is interred in a grave in the shortest possible time after death. Muslims are also forbidden to cremate or embalm their deceased. But what happens when a Muslim dies from an infectious disease such as COVID-19? Across Canada, approaches to burying victims of the pandemic vary. Read more about how the pandemic is affecting Muslim burials.

Whether it is tourism, retail or other industries, Alberta's economy is stalled as non-essential businesses and services are shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19. The province is also facing another financial blow because of the oil price crash. Business owners are expressing concern whether this year's Calgary Stampede will be cancelled. At this point, the Stampede has yet to make a decision about its annual 10-day event in July, as the organization assesses "what may be probable, possible and not possible with respect to all programming." Read more about the concerns about the Stampede.

Now for some good news to start your Tuesday: A group of medical students in Montreal has raised about $30,000 to deliver hot meals to health-care workers — in turn helping to support the local restaurants preparing them. Melissa Vitagliano co-founded MerciMeals MTL after asking front-line workers what she and fellow founders Jordana Serero and Olivier Del Corpo could do to help. "A lot of them simply said: 'We could really use a good, decent meal,'" said Vitagliano. With their clinical rotations cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the students reached out to local restaurants to gauge interest, then started fundraising. MerciMeals MTL started delivering meals last week and Vitagliano said they've averaged about 60 per day. Read more about the medical students helping out health-care workers and restaurants.

Front Burner: Government played catch-up as COVID-19 threat mounted: internal files

As Canada's fight against COVID-19 continues, questions are being raised about whether the federal government acted fast enough to prevent the spread of the virus. Now, documents show Canada was two steps behind as the pandemic spread across the country. CBC parliamentary bureau senior writer J.P. Tasker joins us to talk about what he found in those documents — and what they reveal about the situation Canada finds itself in now.

Today in history: April 14

1912: The Titanic strikes an iceberg south of Newfoundland's Grand Banks during its maiden voyage from England. The luxury liner sank overnight with the loss of more than 1,500 lives. The wreckage was found on the ocean floor in 1985.

1945: The Canadian Army completes its liberation of the Netherlands during the Second World War by occupying the city of Arnhem.

1960: The Montreal Canadiens become the only team to win five consecutive Stanley Cups. The Canadiens blanked the host Toronto Maple Leafs 4-0 to take the NHL final in four straight games. It was the last game for legendary Habs winger Maurice "The Rocket" Richard.

1992: The Supreme Court of Canada quashes David Milgaard's 1970 conviction for murdering Saskatoon nursing aide Gail Miller. Milgaard left a Manitoba prison two days later, after the Saskatchewan government decided not to re-try him. The province later compensated Milgaard for his two decades behind bars. 

2013: Justin Trudeau is elected leader of the federal Liberal party in a landslide, first-ballot win.

2016: The Supreme Court of Canada, in a landmark decision 15 years in the making, unanimously rules that 600,000 Métis and off-reserve Indigenous people across the country are "Indians" under the Constitution and are the federal government's fiduciary responsibility.

With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Reuters

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