The Canadian Press– Apr 8, 2019 / 3:31 pm| Story: 253510
Photo: The Canadian Press
Honda’s luxury brand Acura is recalling more than 360,000 SUVs worldwide because water can get into the tail lights and make them go dark.
The recall is mostly in North America and covers the MDX from the 2014 through 2019 model years.
The company says that due to a manufacturing problem, water can get into the light assemblies through some seals and cause electrical problems. That can knock out lights in the tailgate and some interior lighting. Acura says it hasn’t received any reports of crashes or injuries.
Dealers will replace the seals, and if necessary install new light assemblies and wiring.
The Canadian Press– Apr 8, 2019 / 2:07 pm| Story: 253503
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Lawyers, accountants and their associates involved with QuadrigaCX, stand outside Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax.
Less than three months after one of Canada’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges was shut down amid a swirl of controversy, a bid to restructure Vancouver-based QuadrigaCX has failed and the virtual company has officially entered bankruptcy proceedings.
The move, approved today by a Nova Scotia judge, marks a turning point for the 115,000 users who are owed more than $260 million in cash and cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The transition to the bankruptcy process means Ernst and Young, the court-ordered monitor overseeing the case, will be granted enhanced investigative powers as a trustee under the federal Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.
The insolvent company was granted protection from its creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act on Feb. 5, but it quickly became clear that the company had no real assets and no employees — and that the process of recovering the missing funds would be difficult.
The exchange was shut down Jan. 28, more than a month after its lone director — 30-year-old Gerald Cotten of Fall River, N.S. — died suddenly while travelling in Jaipur, India.
Soon after his death was announced, court documents revealed he was the only QuadrigaCX employee who knew the encrypted pass codes needed to access $190 million in cryptocurrency locked in offline digital wallets.
The Canadian Press– Apr 8, 2019 / 2:03 pm| Story: 253501
Photo: The Canadian Press
Jim Carr, Minister of International Trade Diversification
The federal government’s long-awaited announcement Monday of a watchdog to enforce responsible conduct by Canadian companies operating abroad was greeted with disappointment by human-rights advocates.
The condemnation was sparked by a decision from International Trade Minister Jim Carr to consult further on the powers of the new “Canadian ombudsperson for responsible enterprise” — a legal review that he said could extend into early June.
That means the fate of the new office will be left to the waning days of the final sitting of Parliament prior to the October federal election. The Liberals promised to create this position as part of their 2015 campaign platform.
At issue is whether the new ombudsperson Sheri Meyerhoffer, a lawyer with a long record in business and international development, can compel reluctant companies to co-operate with her investigations into whether their conduct violated the human rights of local populations and to follow recommendations she makes.
Carr said he wants independent legal advice on how best to give Meyerhoffer the power to make companies disclose documents and answer questions.
The review will include an assessment of “the appropriateness of the Inquiries Act as a tool” to give Meyerhoffer the power to “compel witnesses and documents.”
Her appointment as the new ombudsperson is intended to be a substantive upgrade to the current “corporate responsibility counsellor,” an office widely criticized as a toothless entity for dealing with misconduct complaints against Canadian companies, mainly in the mining industry.
Alex Neve, the head of Amnesty international Canada, welcomed Meyerhoffer’s appointment but said it’s disappointing the government still hasn’t defined her powers some 15 months after announcing the creation the position.
“We do not yet have clarity that she’s going to have the power that will truly make her office stronger and different from what we have had in the past,” Neve said in an interview. “It’s disappointing this has not all come together at the same time.”
The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability said the government failed Monday to appoint an ombudsperson with real powers.
“Fifteen months into this process, news of a review is outrageous. We don’t need more studies. We need action,” said Emily Dwyer of the network.
Carr said Meyerhoffer’s new office will focus on the mining, oil-and-gas and garment sectors, but that her mandate will quickly expand.
Meyerhoffer wouldn’t speculate on how her office would’ve handled the current SNC-Lavalin controversy, which involves criminal charges against the Montreal engineering company for allegedly using bribery to win work in Libya.
However, her broad view is that bribery as a business tool is simply not acceptable, regardless of the context.
“I’ve worked in jurisdictions where it’s difficult. I understand that culture. But just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean we also need to do it, and Canada’s brand is … we follow international norms,” said Meyerhoffer.
Liberal MP John McKay welcomed the forward momentum on an issue he has championed in Parliament for a decade. McKay described how his past attempt to pass his private member’s bill on corporate social responsibility for Canadian resource and energy firms was thwarted by fellow Liberals who voted against Bill C-300 in 2010.
“We fought it all the way through various stages of Parliament, and ultimately lost on the floor of the House by six votes,” McKay recalled. “Apparently there was a outbreak of diplomatic flu at the time, or a urgent call to the washroom, not yet quite determined which.”
The Canadian Press– Apr 8, 2019 / 11:21 am| Story: 253488
Photo: Imperial Oil
A new report says direct employment in Canada’s oil and gas sector is expected to fall by more than 12,000 jobs this year.
PetroLMI says the workforce is forecast to drop to about 173,300 in 2019, a decline of 23 per cent from 226,500 in 2014.
It says the oil and gas labour market shrank quickly in 2015 and 2016 following a commodity price collapse and remained relatively flat through 2017 and 2018.
In its 2019 labour market update, PetroLMI says about 12,500 jobs are at risk this year due to factors including low commodity prices, a decline in capital spending and uncertainty about getting oil and gas to market.
It says workers in oil and gas services will be face the highest employment risk in 2019, while the pipeline sub-sector is the only category that is expected to register slight growth.
Provincially, it says British Columbia is poised to lose the fewest jobs while Alberta is expected to lose the most.
“Until such time as additional export capacity becomes available, the employment outlook for Canada’s oil and gas sector will continue to be impacted,” said Carol Howes, PetroLMI vice-president.
The Canadian Press– Apr 8, 2019 / 10:10 am| Story: 253473
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Ontario’s realtors say the province should ban so-called “bully” offers that they say give some home buyers an unfair advantage.
Ontario Real Estate Association President Karen Cox says the government should use its current review of the act that governs realtors in the province to bar the practice.
So-called “bully” offers are submitted by a buyer ahead of a seller’s established offer date, a move usually made to avoid competing with other buyers and pressure the seller into accepting the bid.
Cox says banning the practice will ensure all interested buyers are able to make a fair offer on a home and allow sellers to carefully consider all bids.
The recommendation is one of 28 submitted by the association — which represents 78,000 brokers and salespeople — to the government as it reviews the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act.
Last fall, realtors asked the province to review the act — which was put in place in 2002 — saying the legislation needed to be updated to allow for more transparency for buyers and sellers.
Cox says eager buyers have been using bully offers to crowd out other buyers in the market and that should change.
“It creates an unfairness in the home-buying process,” she said. “It doesn’t give all buyers a fair shot to make an offer and a seller a chance to consider all the offers.”
The association is also asking the government to ban escalation clauses in offers, which are aimed at defeating any competing bid by automatically increasing a purchase price over the next highest offer.
The practice opens the door for sellers to fill in an offer that may not reflect the next highest bid and can expose the seller to litigation, the association says.
“This makes it a very uneven playing field,” Cox says.
Realtors are also asking the government for education programs that require more in-class training to help raise professional standards.
“It would allow for more specialization so you can be recognized as an expert in that area,” Cox said, adding that the sale of condominiums, industrial and rural, or waterfront properties all require different expertise.
The recommendations also ask the government to give the body that regulates realtors — the Real Estate Council of Ontario — greater powers to proactively investigate agents who break industry rules.
“Our regulator should have the authority to investigate and kick out of our profession the worst offenders, the people who are unethical,” Cox said.
The Canadian Press– Apr 8, 2019 / 10:08 am| Story: 253472
Photo: The Canadian Press
Nissan’s shareholders ousted the automaker’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn from its board on Monday, seeking to shut the door on an era capped by scandal.
More than 4,000 people gathered at a Tokyo hotel for a three-hour extraordinary shareholders’ meeting and signalled their approval for dismissing Ghosn with applause. They also approved the appointment of French alliance partner Renault SA’s Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard to replace Ghosn. Renault owns 43 per cent of Nissan.
“I will dedicate my energy to enhance the future of Nissan,” said Senard, who was introduced to the shareholders at the meeting’s end. He promised to do his best to keep the automaker’s performance on track.
Ghosn was first arrested in November for allegedly underreporting his compensation and for breach of trust. He was released on bail in early March and then re-arrested for a fourth time last week. The latest arrest involves new allegations that $5 million from a Nissan Motor Co. subsidiary meant for an Oman dealership was diverted to a company effectively controlled by Ghosn.
Ghosn says he is innocent. He has suggested the accusations were made by some at Nissan hoping to remove him from power.
Nissan’s Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa and other top managers bowed low in apology to shareholders.
“I deeply, deeply apologize for all the worries and troubles we have caused,” Saikawa said. “This is an unprecedented and unbelievable misconduct by a top executive.”
At the meeting, which was closed except to stockholders but livestreamed, angry shareholders demanded an explanation for how wrongdoing on an allegedly massive scale had gone unchecked for years.
One shareholder said Nissan’s entire management should resign immediately. Saikawa said he felt his responsibility lay in fixing the shoddy corporate governance at Nissan first, and continuing to lead its operations. Another shareholder asked if Nissan was prepared for a damage lawsuit from shareholders since its stock price has plunged.
Nissan shareholder Ken Miyamoto said he was disappointed.
“It is really such a pity as he was a brilliant manager,” Miyamoto said of Ghosn before heading into the meeting. “I guess he became complacent as people kept praising him too much.”
Yokohama-based Nissan, which makes the Leaf electric car, March subcompact and Infiniti luxury models, was on the brink of bankruptcy when Renault sent Ghosn to turn it around two decades ago.
The alliance, which now includes smaller Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp., rivals auto giants Volkswagen AG of Germany and Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp. in global sales. But like other Japanese manufacturers it has been dogged by scandals over bogus inspections and other misconduct.
The allegations of breach of trust involved having Nissan shoulder investment losses that Ghosn say caused the company no losses. He says payments to a Saudi businessman that prosecutors are questioning were for legitimate services. He says the compensation he allegedly underreported was never decided on or paid.
During Monday’s meeting, Saikawa, the CEO, outlined the findings of an internal investigation, such as 13 years’ worth of consulting fee payments to Ghosn’s sister. He told shareholders the company will stick by the alliance, fix its governance problems and make Ghosn’s ouster “a turning point.”
“We had allowed a system in which wrongdoing could be carried out without detection,” he said.
The shareholders also gave a green light Monday to removing from the board a former executive director, Greg Kelly, who has been charged with collaborating with Ghosn in the alleged misconduct.
Ghosn’s detention following his arrest on April 4 has been approved through April 14 but could be extended. The date of his trial has not been set.
His lawyers in Japan said they plan to show a videotape of Ghosn’s comments on Tuesday and take questions afterward. The comments were recorded before his arrest.
Ghosn’s wife Carole Ghosn, who was with her husband in Tokyo when he was arrested last week, appealed to French President Emmanuel Macron for help.
“I’m asking that we allow him the presumption of innocence like all French citizens, and France must do something,” she told France’s RTL radio.
Carole Ghosn, who left Japan for France on Friday, described his arrest as humiliating. Japanese investigators confiscated her Lebanese passport, but she said she used her American passport to leave the country.
“I’d never been so proud of him because he remained dignified. He held his head high and he was calm,” she said.
The Canadian Press– Apr 8, 2019 / 6:30 am| Story: 253452
Construction workers build new homes in a development in Ottawa
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the pace of housing starts picked up in March.
The national housing agency says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts climbed to 192,527 units in March, compared with 166,290 units in February.
Economists on average had expected an annual pace of 196,500, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.
The reading came as starts of urban multiple-unit projects such as condominiums, apartments and townhouses increased 18.6 per cent to 135,894 units in March. The rate of single-detached urban starts rose 12.1 per cent to 42,139 units.
Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14,494 units.
The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 202,279 in March compared with 202,039 in February.
The Canadian Press– Apr 7, 2019 / 8:45 am| Story: 253419
Photo: The Canadian Press
Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week:
CMHC releases its latest read on the Canadian housing market on Monday when it publishes its preliminary data on housing starts for March. The annual pace of housing starts cooled in February as higher mortgage rates and less stimulative economic conditions helped soften demand.
Cogeco and Cogeco Communications issue second-quarter results on Tuesday. The Montreal-based cable and internet company signed a deal in February to sell struggling Cogeco Peer 1 Inc. six years after purchasing it.
The Bank of Nova Scotia will hold its annual meeting of shareholders on Tuesday in Toronto. The CEOs of three of Scotiabank’s rivals said last week that they expect muted economic growth, a slower spring housing market and have concerns about the country’s future prosperity, but expressed confidence in their ability to navigate any rough patches ahead.
Shaw Communications will release second-quarter results on Tuesday. Shaw’s subsidiary Freedom Mobile drew the fifth-highest number of consumer complaints, after Bell, Rogers, Cogeco and Telus, according to a recent report by Canada’s telecommunications and television service.
Statistics Canada releases its StatsCannabis data availability on Wednesday. The agency said that the average price of a legal gram of medical or non-medical weed during the fourth quarter last year was $9.70, compared to the black market price of $6.51.
The Canadian Press– Apr 7, 2019 / 8:42 am| Story: 253418
Stick out your smartphone and say AHHHHH.
Although it’s early days for a new wave of telemedicine, some Canadians can now avoid trips to the doctor’s office by using their mobile phone’s video camera.
In March, Telus Health launched a new video link between patients and select doctors in British Columbia, the only province with a billing code to pay doctors for such visits.
Other companies are experimenting with similar services, but Telus has hopes of becoming the main player in Canada’s burgeoning market for consumer-oriented medical technology.
“I think we are far ahead of any competitors in this space in Canada,” Telus vice-president Juggy Sihota said in an interview from Vancouver.
Over the past decade, the owner of the Telus and Koodo wireless networks has spent $2.5 billion to build a national medical records business.
Telus Health estimates that more than 50 per cent of general practice doctors offices in Canada use the electronic medical records software at their office; more than 60 per cent of pharmacies use its pharmacy management software.
It’s now adding Babylon by Telus Health, which including video visits by smartphone, to its lineup.
“This is a key strategic priority for our organization and a key personal priority for (Telus CEO Darren Entwistle),” said Sihota, Telus’s vice-president of consumer health.
Telus is the Canadian partner of London-based Babylon Health — one of many companies that have developed smartphone apps that aim to help consumers diagnose their own symptoms.
What’s distinctive about the new Babylon by Telus service is its ability to connect by interactive video with doctors covered by B.C.’s health services payment system.
“It is as though you went into a walk-in clinic and see the doctor that’s there,” according to Sihota.
Patients aren’t required to use a Telus wireless phone and they won’t be charged for video doctor visits.
Eventually, Telus hopes to generate revenue by selling a technology platform to general practice doctors and other health professionals.
Dr. Ed Brown, who is chief executive officer of the Ontario Telemedicine Network, said forms of video doctor visits have been around for many years.
“For example, a patient living in a small town could go into a hospital and see a specialist that’s many, many miles away without having the make the trip.”
But Brown agrees that what Telus is doing “is a little bit different.”
For one thing, it’s using widely available mobile technology that patients can use anywhere there’s a fast enough wireless service. Babylon by Telus also connects with general practitioners, rather than specialists.
Brown said that Ontario’s health system doesn’t have a billing code to pay doctors for their telemedicine services, but OTN is working to overcome that barrier.
“We want to really make this part of mainstream health care,” Brown said
OTN is funding a pilot program with 277 physicians and 30,000 patients in five of Ontario’s 14 health care regions.
He said that seeing a new doctor each visit “is OK for some things but, for the most part, we also like people to have direct access to their own doctor.”
OTN — a provincially funded not-for-profit organization — is working with Novari Health and Think Research on a mobile phone connection between Ontario doctors and their patients.
“Patients are able to text their own doctor, and that can be escalated to a video or audio call if that’s required,” Brown said.
He said only a small percentage of patients in the pilot project use the video feature, relying mostly on text messages.
“Babylon may have some differentiating features that may give them an edge, here and there, but I think there’s a lot of competition in this space.” Brown said.
From Sihota’s point of view, video consultations offer big advantages over traditional visits to the doctor’s office.
For example, she said, patients can replay the virtual consultations with the Babylon doctor either for themselves, a trusted family member or personal doctor.
And if a general practice doctor refers a patient to a specialist, the service provides notifications along each step of the process and gives the patient opportunities to ask questions along the way.