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Canadian-American couple who wed over FaceTime devastated that Canada won’t recognize marriage

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A Canadian-American couple were devastated to discover that Canada won’t recognize their marriage, performed with only the groom present at the wedding while the bride participated via FaceTime.

“It broke my heart,” said Lauren Pickrell, 35, of Windsor, Ont. She has been separated from her American partner, Mark Maksymiuk, since early March due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. 

The couple had hoped that by getting married, they could reunite in Canada, which allows American spouses to enter the country.

“I had really high expectations because I felt in my heart that we did everything right,” Pickrell said. 

She and Maksymiuk, 32, were legally married on July 6 and have a valid marriage licence from the state of Kansas. 

The catch is that only Maksymiuk was physically present at the official wedding ceremony in Kansas City, Kan. Pickrell later participated via FaceTime in an informal ceremony for the couple, held at a chapel in neighbouring Kansas City, Mo. Kansas City straddles the two states.

Maksymiuk married Pickrell over FaceTime on July 6 while he was in a wedding chapel in Kansas City, Mo., and she was near Windsor, Ont. Earlier that day, Maksymiuk attended a proxy marriage ceremony in the state of Kansas after obtaining a marriage licence there. (Submitted by Mark Maksymiuk)

U.S. immigration law will recognize marriages in which only the bride or groom was physically present at the ceremony — known as a proxy marriage — once the couple physically unite.

Canada, however, is not on board. Maksymiuk said he discovered this when he tried to enter the country and explained the details of his proxy marriage when questioned by a border officer.

“His exact words were, ‘You know, we don’t view this type of marriage as valid,'” said Maksymiuk, who was denied entry to Canada. “I was crying. I broke down.”

Proxy marriages legal in Kansas

Maksymiuk lives in Royal Oak, Mich., about 26 kilometres from Pickrell’s home in Windsor. Despite the short distance, the couple remain apart.

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, Canada has banned foreigners from entering for non-essential travel. On top of that, the U.S. land border is closed to Canadian visitors. Canadians can still fly to the U.S., but Pickrell said she can’t get enough time off work right now to travel and then self-isolate for two weeks upon her return. 

Canada recently loosened its travel restrictions to allow immediate family to enter, including spouses and common-law partners.

Committed couples who don’t meet the criteria have scrambled for solutions, including marriage — if they can get to the same location.

Henry Chang, a business immigration lawyer in Toronto, says Kansas ended up legalizing proxy marriages by neglecting to spell out in the law who must attend a wedding. Maksymiuk would likely be allowed to enter Canada if he and Pickrell redo their wedding ceremony in the U.S. — together, Chang says. (Submitted by Henry Chang)

Pickrell and Maksymiuk searched for a possible alternative and discovered a little known fact: Couples can legally marry in Kansas in a proxy ceremony. The two decided to give it a shot.

“If you really love someone, you do whatever it takes,” Pickrell said.

Henry Chang, a business immigration lawyer in Toronto, said Kansas wound up legalizing proxy marriages by neglecting to spell out in the law who must attend the wedding. 

“They just forgot to mention that both parties had to be present in order for the ceremony to be legal,” said Chang, a partner with the law firm Dentons.

“Because of that, it’s implied that you can get away with it.”

Groom denied entry into Canada

To seal the deal, Maksymiuk flew to the state of Kansas, where he obtained a marriage licence and attended a proxy ceremony in Kansas City, Kan., set up by Your Magical Day wedding chapel, which specializes in proxy marriages. Your Magical Day then held an informal ceremony for the couple at a nearby chapel in Kansas City, Mo. 

“It’s in a strip mall,” Maksymiuk said. “It almost feels like you’re walking into a doctor’s office, but there’s, like, ribbons and bows and stuff on the wall.”

Pickrell appeared via FaceTime on an iPad. At the time, she was at her job as a kitchen supervisor at a restaurant just outside Windsor. Her boss and co-workers joined her for the ceremony while her family tuned in from Montreal.

“It was perfect,” Pickrell said. “I never wanted to have a big wedding.”

Pickrell is shown on a computer screen as she takes part in her FaceTime wedding on July 6 from her workplace — a restaurant just outside Windsor, Ont. Her boss and co-workers joined her for the ceremony while her family tuned in from Montreal. (Submitted by Mark Maksymiuk)

But things fell apart five days later at the Detroit-Windsor border when Maksymiuk tried to enter Canada and was denied entry.

“It was absolutely devastating,” he said. 

In 2015, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) stopped recognizing proxy marriages unless the bride or groom is a member of the Canadian military.

IRCC told CBC News that it made the change due to concerns that proxy marriages could involve an unwilling spouse who never consented. 

Maksymiuk said the government’s position is frustrating, as he and Pickrell have been in a committed relationship for almost five years.

“It doesn’t seem right or fair.”

What are the options?

Chang, the Toronto lawyer, said Maksymiuk would likely be allowed to enter Canada if he and Pickrell redo their wedding ceremony in the U.S. — together. 

“Unfortunately, that’s the only way to save it.”

Because that’s currently not an option, the couple hopes the federal government will broaden its immediate family exemptions to allow more couples to reunite. 

“It’s a difficult time to be alone, and they need to recognize that,” Pickrell said. “Love is essential and love is not tourism.”

Ever since the government introduced its immediate family exemptions in June, it has faced pressure from separated families and couples who don’t meet the criteria. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada told CBC News last week that it’s reviewing its definition of immediate family while still keeping in mind the risks posed by international travel during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Pickrell and Maksymiuk say they have no regrets about their proxy marriage, which allowed them to celebrate their love — albeit remotely.

“It made me really happy,” Pickrell said. “Mark is my husband. No one can tell me different.”

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EDB Postgres Advanced Server Achieves Good Software Certification

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BEDFORD, Mass.–()–EDB, a leading contributor to PostgreSQL, today announced that the Korea Telecommunications Technology Association’s (TTA) has granted EDB PostgresTM Advanced Server (EPAS) v12 Good Software (GS) level 1 certification. A strict test of software quality, The TTA certification is further validation that EDB provides the PostgreSQL expertise and technology to support mission-critical applications anywhere, including the cloud. Agencies can purchase EPAS through the Korea ON-line E-Procurement System (KONEPS).

PostgreSQL drives modernization

For federal agencies, the ability to accelerate innovation is critical. As more and more public-sector groups adopt open source solutions, they’re finding that technologies like PostgreSQL are more agile, more economical, highly performant, and feature rich.

The Good Software evaluation model is developed according to ISO standards and authorized by the Korean government. The rigorous 50-day certification process underscores the quality of EPAS in the areas of security, performance, productivity, and Oracle-compatibility. By attaining certification, EDB can now more easily support Korean government agencies that want to migrate away from costly legacy database solutions, drive new application development, and adopt cloud-first and multi-cloud strategies.

Through our extensive experience and market-leading technology, we help government agencies worldwide make Postgres an essential part of their modernization strategies,” said Lee Kang Il, Country Head of EDB Korea. “The TTA certification makes it clear that Korea’s public sector can be confident that EDB can accelerate their transformation in any environment, including the public cloud.”

EDB customers include top public-sector entities. In the United States for example, EDB supports the Department of Justice, Department of Treasury, Department of Energy, U.S. Navy, Missile Defense Agency, and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). EDB has also been implemented as part of many government projects in India, such as the Smart City initiatives, the Food and Public Distribution System, and the Health Management Information System, which includes 15 hospitals throughout the country.

Learn more

  • For details about EDB Postgres Advanced Server, visit the EDB website.

About EDB

PostgreSQL is increasingly the database of choice for organizations looking to boost innovation and accelerate business. EDB’s enterprise-class software extends PostgreSQL, helping our customers get the most out of it both on premises and in the cloud. And our 24×7 global support, professional services, and training help our customers control risk, manage costs, and scale efficiently. With 16 offices worldwide, EDB serves over 4,000 customers, including leading financial services, government, media and communications, and information technology organizations. To learn about PostgreSQL for people, teams, and enterprises, visit EDBpostgres.com.

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EnterpriseDB and Postgres Enterprise Manager are registered trademarks of EnterpriseDB Corporation. EDB and EDB Postgres are trademarks of EnterpriseDB Corporation. Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle, Inc. Other trademarks may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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8 businesses potentially exposed to COVID-19 in Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Waskesiu Lake: SHA

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The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) says eight businesses in Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Rosthern, and Waskesiu Lake were potentially exposed to COVID-19.

Read more:
COVID-19 possibly exposed to 4 Regina businesses, including Costco: SHA

The SHA says a person who tested positive for the novel coronavirus visited the following businesses when they were likely infectious:

  • Sept. 10 – Carver’s Steak House (Saskatoon) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Sept. 11 – Garden Café, Saskatoon Inn (Saskatoon) from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Sept. 11 – Grainfields on Eight Street (Saskatoon) from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Sept. 11 –Valley Regional Park Golf Course (Rosthern) from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 12 – Garden Café, Saskatoon Inn (Saskatoon) from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Sept. 16 – Garden Café, Saskatoon Inn (Saskatoon) from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Sept. 16 – Willows Golf and Country Club (Saskatoon) from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 16 – Cut Casual Steak and Tap Restaurant (Saskatoon) from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m
  • Sept. 17. Garden Café, Saskatoon Inn (Saskatoon) from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • Sept. 17 – Tim Hortons at 3223 Second Ave. W (Prince Albert) from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 17 to Sept. 18 – Hawood Inn (Waskesiu Lake) from 5:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. the next day, in the hotel and dining area.

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The SHA said anyone who was at the businesses on those dates and times should immediately self-isolate if they have COVID-19 symptoms and to contact the health line at 811 to arrange for testing.

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Read more:
This is why some may be against mask use, according to a Regina psychology professor

Those without symptoms should self-monitor for 14 days, the SHA said, adding that people may develop symptoms from two to 14 days following exposure to the novel coronavirus.

The SHA says alerts may be issued to notify the community if an individual tests positive for the coronavirus and health officials are uncertain they have identified all known close contacts.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.



© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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What are the challenges in making business more sustainable?

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  • COVID-19 makes the principles of stakeholder capitalism even more important.
  • Businesses and investors have made substantial and relevant changes to how they finance and fund new initiatives and report on sustainability initiatives.
  • The Great Reset provides an opportunity for businesses to build on progress on sustainability and inclusion.

At the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos in January, the Forum launched a new “Davos Manifesto” in support of stakeholder capitalism, which says companies should “pay their fair share of taxes, show zero tolerance for corruption, uphold human rights throughout their global supply chains and advocate for a competitive level playing field,” as Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab explained.

Little could we have known just how relevant this new manifesto would be for the year ahead.

In the midst of a global pandemic, a global economic crisis, a global climate crisis and a global movement to end systemic racism, stakeholder capitalism is more important than ever – and business needs to play a role in building a more inclusive and sustainable world.

Klaus Schwab - Stakeholder Capitalism

There are a lot of challenges to getting there. Rising emissions and use of the world’s natural resources. The gender pay gap, which the World Economic Forum predicted would take 257 years to close – and that was before the pandemic-induced economic crisis, which has shown to have a greater impact on women. Systemic racism, which is not only unjust, but also hurts productivity, creativity, employee health and the bottom line. Ensuring data is used safely and ethically, and ensuring new technologies don’t displace workers.

The workplace gap

The gender gap was bad enough before COVID-19.

Image: World Economic Forum

Without a doubt, COVID-19 makes these goals more difficult to reach – but it also makes them more urgent, given all that we know about the links between the environment and the pandemic, and climate change and human health.

As we embark on the Great Reset after the pandemic, we have a chance to “build entirely new foundations for our economic and social systems,” said Schwab.

“The COVID-19 crisis is affecting every facet of people’s lives in every corner of the world. But tragedy need not be its only legacy,” he continued. “On the contrary, the pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world to create a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous future.”

Sustainable Development Goals to make business better

While corporations committed to stakeholder capitalism should pay attention to all 17 SDGs, meeting the targets of two in particular will help make business better:

SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. Targets related to stakeholder capitalism include promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raising industry’s share of employment and GDP and doubling its share in LDCs. Other targets include increasing access to financial services for small enterprises, upgrading infrastructure and retrofitting industries to make them sustainable.

SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. Targets include achieving sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources and reducing waste generation (especially in food supply chains), and by 2020, achieving environmentally sound management of chemicals and reducing their release. The goal also encourages companies (especially large ones) to adopt sustainable practices and integrate sustainability information into reporting cycles.

How much progress has been made?

“Capitalism as we have known it is dead,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce, in Davos in January 2020. “This obsession we have with maximizing profits for shareholders alone has led to incredible inequality and a planetary emergency.”

So, how far have we come? Is the business community becoming more inclusive and sustainable?

It’s hard to say exactly how much impact has been achieved, but businesses and investors have made substantial and relevant changes to how they finance and fund new initiatives.

“Environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations are at the forefront of financial decisions, supported by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and increased awareness of the climate emergency,” wrote Cécile André Leruste, Managing Director of Banking, Europe, at Accenture, a Forum Strategic Partner.

At Davos 2020, 140 CEOs expressed support for a set of core ESG metrics and disclosures for companies, Toward Common Metrics and Consistent Reporting of Sustainable Value Creation. Developed by the Forum’s International Business Council (IBC) in collaboration with Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC, the proposal intends for the metrics to be reflected in the mainstream annual reports of companies on a consistent basis across industry sectors and countries.

More companies are reporting their sustainability activities and demonstrating their commitment to the SDGs, says the UN SDG Progress Report 2020. “Since 2017, the overall quality of sustainability reports has improved around the world. The share of reporting in the environmental, social, and institutional and governance dimensions that is aligned with the minimum requirements outlined in SDG indicator 12.6.1 (the number of companies publishing sustainability reports) has almost doubled.”

The International Business Council (IBC) of the World Economic Forum identified four pillars – Principles of Governance, Planet, People and Prosperity – which are aligned with the essential elements of the SDGs

These four pillars can guide companies’ ESG reporting metrics.

Image: World Economic Forum

And many companies are taking tangible action on environmental and social issues, like systemic racism, carbon emissions and climate change, while giving back to stakeholders in their local communities, to name just a few.

The fact that so many companies have stepped up to respond to the pandemic is a sign that we can achieve these goals, said the Schwab.

“Clearly, the will to build a better society does exist,” he continued. “We must use it to secure the Great Reset that we so badly need. That will require stronger and more effective governments, though this does not imply an ideological push for bigger ones. And it will demand private-sector engagement every step of the way.”

What are the World Economic Forum and its partners doing to create better business?

  • Developed by the Forum’s International Business Council (IBC) in collaboration with Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC and supported by 140 CEOs, Toward Common Metrics and Consistent Reporting of Sustainable Value Creation is a proposal recommending a set of core ESG metrics and disclosures for companies. The consultation process closed in June 2020, and technical teams are currently synthesizing and refining the final set of recommendations.
  • Financing the Transition to a Net-Zero Future coordinates businesses and the financial sector to support carbon-neutral financing opportunities. Phase I commenced in April and will conclude 30 June 2021.
  • Forum initiatives like the Global Water Initiative and Alliance for Clean Air are bringing together stakeholders to share best practices and forge public-private partnerships to drive cleaner water and cleaner air.
  • The Forum’s Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators are public-private platforms to develop national-level action plans and share knowledge and tools to increase workforce opportunities and work towards gender parity. The goal is to have accelerators in 15 countries by the end of 2020.
  • The Forum’s COVID Action Platform – the first platform of its kind – to galvanize the global business community to take collective action, protect livelihoods and facilitate business continuity, and mobilize cooperation and business support for the COVID-19 response.

The world’s economies are already absorbing the costs of climate change and a “business as usual” approach that is obsolete. Both scientific evidence and the dislocation of people are highlighting the urgent need to create a sustainable, inclusive and climate-resilient future.

This will require no less than a transformation of our current economic model into one that generates long-term value by balancing natural, social, human and financial conditions. Cooperation between different stakeholders will be vital to developing the innovative strategies, partnerships and markets that will drive this transformation and allow us to raise the trillions of dollars in investments that are needed.

To tackle these challenges, Financing Sustainable Development is one of the four focus areas at the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Sustainable Development Impact summit. A range of sessions will spotlight the innovative financial models, pioneering solutions and scalable best practices that can mobilize capital for the the world’s sustainable development goals. It will focus on the conditions that both public and private institutions should create to enable large-scale financing of sustainable development. It will also explore the role that governments, corporations, investors, philanthropists and consumers could play to deliver new ways of financing sustainable development.

What can I do to make business better?

  • Encourage companies (including my own) to adhere to the principles of stakeholder capitalism – and support and recognize companies making progress on the issues I care about.
  • Encourage recycling and environmental stewardship in the workplace – from paper, plastic and e-waste in the office, to larger initiatives to eliminate emissions or harmful chemicals in the supply chain.
  • Work to close gender and diversity gaps in my company by hiring, promoting or mentoring women and minority colleagues.
  • Encourage my company to engage in public-private partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and fulfill a vision for a more sustainable and inclusive world.

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