Category "News/Business"

Payless Shoes is going into creditor protection in the U.S. and Canada, and will likely close all its stores.

The discount shoe retailer, which has more than 2,500 stores across North America, is seeking protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, and the Canadian equivalent, the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

“Payless intends to use these proceedings to facilitate a wind-down of its approximately 2,500 store locations in North America and its e-commerce operations,” the company said in a statement.

The company has 248 locations across Canada, employing 2,400 , and court documents suggest they collectively lost $12 million US last year.

The stores “are insolvent and are unable to meet their liabilities as they become due,” court documents suggest.

They say 220 of the Canadian stores couldn’t come up with rent for the current month.

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The United States and China resume talks Tuesday aimed at ending a fight over Beijing’s technology ambitions ahead of a deadline for a massive U.S. tariff hike.

The White House said that meetings between mid-level delegations will begin in Washington following talks last week in Beijing that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said “made headway” on key issues.

On Thursday, Lighthizer will lead higher level talks, joined by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and trade adviser Peter Navarro.

Leading the Chinese team will be Vice Premier Liu He, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Business groups and economists saw Friday’s surprise announcement of further talks this week as a sign that the two counties were making progress.

Both governments have expressed optimism, but they have given no details of their talks. Economists say the time available for negotiations is too brief to resolve an array of irritants in U.S.-Chinese relations. They say Beijing’s goal is to persuade President Donald Trump they are making enough progress to push back threatened U.S. penalties.

Beijing hopes for “a mutually beneficial and win-win agreement that is acceptable to both sides,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang.

Without an agreement, a 10 per cent tariff increase imposed on $200 billion of Chinese goods is due to rise to 25 per cent on March 2.

Last Friday, Lighthizer told the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, the two sides “made headway on very, very important and difficult issues.”

Trump imposed the penalties over complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. The talks also include complaints about Beijing’s plans for government-led technology development, cyberspying and China’s trade surplus.

Beijing retaliated with higher duties on U.S. goods and told its importers to find other suppliers. That led to a 40 per cent drop in Chinese imports of American goods in January.

Washington, Europe, Japan and other trading partners complain plans such as “Made in China 2025,” which calls for government -led creation of global competitors in robotics and other technologies, violate Beijing’s market-opening obligations.

China’s leaders have offered to narrow its multibillion-dollar trade surplus with the United States by purchasing more natural gas, soybeans and other exports. But they are resisting pressure to scale back industry plans they see as a path to prosperity and global influence.

Other stumbling blocks include Chinese resistance to U.S. pressure to accept an enforcement mechanism with penalties to ensure Beijing carries out whatever commitments it makes.

Trump said last week he might be willing to push back the March 2 date if the talks go well but Washington has yet to say whether the negotiations are making enough progress.

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U.S. backsliding on climate under the administration of President Donald Trump may have dealt his Democratic Party opponents an ace card.

While the Democrats’ Green New Deal is championed by its left-leaning younger members, notably the dynamic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Trump’s climate-skeptical stance has ceded the field on an issue that has a much wider potential appeal.

And according to centre-right Canadian supporters of climate action, the popularity of environmentalism as an issue owned by the Democratic U.S. left is in many ways a creation of Trump himself.

Not only that, but by dropping the ball on climate, the U.S. administration has allowed people like Ocasio-Cortez to capture younger voters disenchanted with the economy who might not otherwise fit the traditional environmentalist profile, combining the two concerns under a single populist rallying cry.

“I am so incredibly excited that we are going to transition this economy into the future,’ said Ocasio-Cortez in a rousing speech outlining her Green New Deal plan. But clearly the young politician’s intended audience extended well beyond the issues of climate and environmentalism.

“Today is a big day for people who have been left behind,” she said.

Huge spending in the Second World War on machinery such as what was used in the D-Day landing on June 6, 1944 rebooted the U.S. economy. Spending on a Green New Deal could have a similar effect, its proponents hope. (Canadian Press)

Those left behind are not just young people. But according to Canadian millennial Katie Rae Perfitt, Ottawa-based community organizer for the climate change advocacy group, a message of “transformative change” appeals to a generation struggling with the gig economy and expensive rents. 

“They were demanding … that the Democrats in the U.S. put forward a Green New Deal that challenges the power and influence of the fossil fuel industry but also that can be the answer to some of the deepest inequities that are seen in the U.S. society but that we see also in Canada,” said Perfitt.

Despite Canada’s current court battle that pits the conservative governments of Ontario and Saskatchewan against the federal carbon tax plan, conservative supporters of climate change action insist it is not a left-right issue.

Margaret Thatcher’s worry

It’s good that the Green New Deal “puts climate change front and centre again,” said Mark Cameron, executive director of Canadians for Clean Prosperity, who was director of policy and research for former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper.

“But I think it does mix a lot of things that are not necessarily compatible and subordinates the goal of reducing carbon emissions to a lot of other things on the liberal social democratic wish list.”

And while Perfitt believes greedy corporations are the problem, Cameron contends that business can be part of the solution. He says former British Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher was the first major world leader to put climate change on the agenda.

Cameron also notes that while Trump and his administration appointees may want to burn more coal and make environmental laws toothless, there are many traditional conservatives and Republican politicians who did not want to see the U.S. withdraw from the Paris Accord, the co-ordinated global attempt to stop climate change.

Christmas dinner during the Great Depression. The Democrats’ original New Deal during that period provided relief for poor families and instituted widespread reforms to the economy. (Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum/Reuters)

While Trump’s voter base may include many climate deniers, others have witnessed the effects of drought, floods, forest fires and freak winter storms and realize something must be done. Conservatives, too, worry about the world their children will inherit.

According to David McLaughlin, a Canadian climate change specialist for the International Institute of Sustainable Development and adviser to former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney, the current version of the Green New Deal could not have come about without three factors.

One is the charismatic Ocasio-Cortez. Another is the increasingly undeniable scientific evidence that climate change is affecting our planet. But the third necessary ingredient, he says, was Trump himself.

Impossible without Trump?

“Can you imagine it having this kind of radical breadth to it in terms of trying to remake American society and economy without two years of Donald Trump?” asked McLaughlin.

“We have to recognize that the landscape for climate issues has radically shifted in the last two years.”

But in its current form, he said, the Ocasio-Cortez plan is not a viable blueprint, simply because it would never get through Congress. He called it classic Christmas tree politics.

“The tree has been decorated with so many ornaments, from health care to living wages to family farms, that the whole tree risks falling over.”

The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington honours the president behind the original New Deal. Roosevelt held office from 1933 until his death in 1945. (Reuters)

But societal transformations are not born fully formed. Debate continues within the Democratic Party over exactly what the final Green New Deal will contain. Yes or no to nuclear? What will the private sector role be ? How much could taxpayers be convinced to spend?

In the past, massive defence spending has been predicated on the idea that the threat exceeds the cost. As the impact of climate change becomes more apparent, something similar could happen.

So far, most of the Democratic presidential candidates have backed a version of the Green New Deal, perhaps seeing it as an aspirational starting point that can be moulded or cherry picked on the campaign trail. Without a climate plan of its own, the Trump administration can do nothing but oppose.

The original New Deal, introduced by Democratic Party hero and four-term president Franklin Delano Roosevelt amid the poverty of the Great Depression, is seen as part of a social revolution that redistributed opportunity and — along with massive spending on the terrible Second World War that followed — set the country up for decades of economic success.   

The Democrats will be trying to make the case that the Green New Deal, in whatever form it finally takes, will do something similar.

Follow Don on Twitter @don_pittis


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Canada’s largest airlines are awaiting details from the federal government before they follow their U.S. counterparts in allowing travellers to choose gender designations outside the traditional “male” and “female” check-in categories.

Major U.S. airlines said last week they will change their ticketing process so that passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines.

That change comes after a pair of major trade groups — the International Air Transport Association and Airlines for America — approved updated standards to allow member airlines to offer two new gender options: “unspecified” or “unidentified.”

In 2017, Ottawa announced that travellers will at some point be able to specify their gender with an “X” on their passport, instead of “F” for female or “M” for male.” The website for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says the change is coming “soon.” Until then, passengers can request an “observation” on their passport that notes their sex should be marked as “X,” the site states.

The National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents Air Canada, WestJet Airlines Ltd. and other companies, tells The Canadian Press that members are “awaiting developments and details” on the plan before altering their check-in systems.

U.S.-based airlines American, Delta and United confirmed Friday that they are in the process of updating their booking tools to add a similar option, implementing it in the next several weeks. They are making the check-in change despite resistance to non-binary passport options from the State Department.

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Amazon, which ships millions of packages a year to shopper’s doorsteps, says it wants to be greener.

The online retail giant announced plans Monday to make half of all its shipments carbon neutral by 2030.

To reach that goal, the online retail giant says it will use more renewable energy like solar power; have more packages delivered in electric vans; and push suppliers to remake their packaging.

McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and other big companies that generate lots of waste have announced similar initiatives, hoping to appeal to customers concerned about the environment.

Amazon is calling its program “Shipment Zero,” and plans to publicly publish its carbon footprint for the first time later this year.

Seattle-based Amazon said it spent the past two years mapping its carbon footprint and figuring out ways to reduce carbon use across the company.

“It won’t be easy to achieve this goal, but it’s worth being focused and stubborn on this vision and we’re committed to seeing it through,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice-president of worldwide operations.

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Japanese carmaker Honda is set to announce the closure of its Swindon car plant putting 3,500 jobs at risk, Sky News reported on Monday.

Sky News said that the announcement by Honda could come on Tuesday, and that the plant was scheduled to close in 2022.

Spokesmen for Honda were not immediately available to comment on the report.

“That’s speculation so we wouldn’t comment on that,” a spokeswoman for Britain’s business ministry said.

Honda built just over 160,000 vehicles at its British factory last year, where it makes the Civic model, accounting for just over 10 percent of Britain’s total output of 1.52 million cars.

The firm said last month that it will shut its British operations for six days in April to help it counter any border disruption from the Britain’s departure from the European Union.

It has also said it was preparing to front-load some production at its plant to ship overseas or build up inventories.

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To read the headlines you’d think nearly every Canadian who wants a job would have one by now.

The country’s unemployment rate hit a 43-year low of 5.6 per cent in December, and in January the economy added 66,800 new jobs. That’s on top of the growth of 163,000 jobs netted over 2018, according to Statistics Canada data. 

Numbers like these paint a picture of a healthy job market where workers have plenty of choice. But as labour market experts explain, that doesn’t mean everyone who needs a job can find work that fits their skills, industry and location. 

Steven Tobin, executive director of the Labour Market Information Council in Ottawa, says the confusion stems from too much focus on national averages such as the overall unemployment rate or job growth.

Steven Tobin, executive director of the Labour Market Information Council, says economists tend to think too much about national averages when it comes to unemployment rates. Pockets within the labour market still have challenges finding work. (LMIC)

“Those are very good indicators, and they help us really articulate a temperature check on how things are going,” he says.

“The reality is that national figures do mask the differences in the labour market that are prevailing either by geography, obviously, in a large country, and also that there are pockets of workers where there may be differences.” For example, unemployment is higher among youth and older workers than it is overall, he says.

Even economists have failed in putting too much emphasis on net job numbers, losing sight of the fact that net figures entail some people gaining jobs and others losing them, says Tobin.

Here’s a look at why those numbers — and the headlines — might not reflect reality for all Canadians.

More skill shortage than labour shortage

There’s a lot of conversation about labour shortages, but in many cases what’s really at issue is high demand for workers with particular skills and expertise.

“Quite often we conflate a skill shortage with a labour shortage,” says Tobin. “They manifest themselves kind of in the same way, which is there’s a vacancy that goes unfilled. But they’re really quite different concepts.

“If you have a region which has high unemployment, you’re not likely to be experiencing a labour shortage. But if employers are having difficulty finding people, it’s not that people are not there, but that they’re missing the skill set.”

Workers including Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, the national union representing auto workers, gather in Windsor, Ont., on Jan. 11, protesting the planned Oshawa closure. (Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

For instance, strong demand for app developers or marketing managers does not help a line worker from the GM plant that’s set to close in Oshawa, Ont., nor does it help an out-of-work oil and gas industry veteran. 

Some provinces have fewer opportunities

“One of the main sources of a variation in the Canadian market right now is different strengths across regions,” says Brendon Bernard, economist at job platform Indeed Canada.

“In provinces like Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec — where labour shortages and hiring difficulties have picked up — we have seen nice progress in a couple of key dimensions of the labour market.” Measures such as the average length of time it takes a person to find work are improving at “a fairly decent pace,” he says.

But these job market conditions are not present everywhere.

“That’s really the case in the oil-rich provinces, where wage growth used to be the strongest and jobless spells used to be quite low. Those labour markets haven’t recovered since the downturn in oil prices a few years ago,” says Bernard. The prospects seen at the national level are not “really being felt in provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan.”

And not everyone can easily move to a province where the job market is better.

“Mid-career to older workers have established themselves in communities, invested in home ownership which either inhibits their ability to move, or they don’t have the desire to move because of families,” says Tobin.

Demand in a region may outstrip supply

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some geographic areas may be short on workers, not just because the economy is strong overall, but because housing prices have pushed those workers out of the area.

One Vancouver bakery, Solly’s Bagelry, famously closed shop for several weeks in 2017 because it didn’t have enough staff to operate.

Solly’s Bagelry in Vancouver closed for several weeks in 2017 due to a worker shortage. (CBC)

It may be hard for workers to get by on wages around $15 per hour in Vancouver, which has the highest housing costs in the country. The benchmark home price was $1,019,600 in January, according to data released by the Canadian Real Estate Association Friday, and rent for a one-bedroom apartment runs around $2,000 a month.

Some industries are struggling

The most notable exception to the overall good news stories emerging about Canada’s job market continues to be the oil and gas industry.

Workers prepare to load a tank car with oil at an Altex Energy terminal in Alberta. The oil and gas industry has still not recovered from losing more than 52,000 jobs in the 2015-2016 downturn. (Dave Rae/CBC)

“We lost about 52,500 direct jobs in 2015-2016,” says Carol Howes, vice-president of communications at Energy Safety Canada, a non-profit that advocates for workers in the oil and gas industry. “And while some of those have come back, certainly we’re not seeing the volume of activity or the requirement for the same number of workers as we lost.”

The result? Howes says the sector is seeing “a lot of discouraged workers” who may not want to come back to oil and gas “if and when things start to turn around again.”

Energy Safety Canada has been advising some of these workers on how they can transfer their skills to industries such as renewable energy and clean tech, says Howes.

As for the 2,500 workers facing unemployment with the closure of the GM plant in Oshawa, Ont., expected by December, Bernard says that, while there’s been some overall growth in auto manufacturing jobs in recent years, that comes after a long period of decline. It won’t be easy for Oshawa workers to find other jobs in the industry, he says, “given that new opportunities aren’t just springing up like they might be in other sectors of the economy.”

Not all jobs are good jobs

When we hear of job vacancies, it suggests there’s lots of choice for workers. But not all unfilled positions are ones that people can afford to take, because those jobs may not offer the salary, stability or benefits workers need.

“It’s definitely the case that jobs being plentiful doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good jobs,” says Bernard.

Over the past 10 years or so there’s been “a growing prevalence of term or contract employment and away from permanent employment. While jobs might be out there, they might not necessarily be everything that workers are looking for.”

Someone who loses a job in a decent-paying sector with low turnover could, in theory, take a lower-paying food services job, but that might not be the best decision for long-term career prospects, says Bernard.

“In that case, it might be better to hold off and look for the right fit, even if finding that match isn’t quite immediate.”

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Dozens of investors in Ontario say they were conned out of millions of dollars after fraudsters using fake names were featured as investment “experts” on their favourite radio stations — on shows they say sounded like news but were actually infomercials.

“I trusted what I was hearing on the radio,” said Tracey Conrad, who lost $15,000 after listening to the so-called financial experts on a popular Global News radio show in her hometown of London, Ont.

The supposed foreign exchange experts were regularly featured on at least five local radio stations — owned by Corus Entertainment and Bell Media — that ran in southern Ontario between 2016 and part of 2017.

During the segments, the “experts” would often call into the radio shows from locations like London, U.K., to give financial advice, encouraging listeners to invest in what they claimed was a reputable foreign exchange investment company: Trans-Atlantic Direct. 

Conrad said she “couldn’t breathe” after getting a letter in August from her provincial securities regulator, notifying her that the men she’d listened to on the radio — regularly being interviewed by her favourite on-air personalities — are being investigated for operating what’s believed to be a “fraudulent enterprise” that was “promoted on local radio programs.”

The whole area of paid content is an ethical quagmire.– Media ethicist Stephen Ward 

“At first, I didn’t even believe the letter,” said Conrad.

The case highlights the increasingly blurred line between programs that sound like news but are actually paid advertising, and how disclaimers often do little to inform audiences of the difference, says media ethicist Stephen Ward.

Media ethicist Stephen Ward says media organizations have an even greater obligation to vet who they’re putting on air when it involves financial matters. (Joe McDonald/CBC)

“The whole area of paid content is an ethical quagmire … Cases where it’s blurred cause false stories,” he said.

By the time the so-called experts were pulled off the air, Canadian investors were out more than $6 million, according to a class-action lawsuit filed against the fraudsters, their companies and Corus Entertainment. Corus owns the Global News radio stations that featured the so-called experts on segments titled “Ask the Experts” and “The Global Market.” 

Corus says it pulled the programs as soon as it heard about the concerns.

The class action was filed on Jan. 22. The allegations haven’t been proven.

‘All they had to do was make a phone call’

The so-called experts weren’t registered with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), so they weren’t allowed to operate in the province. The OSC believes they used fake names and had a fake company. 

Conrad and about 30 other investors who are part of the lawsuit believe the radio stations are partly to blame for their financial losses, according to court documents.

“All they had to do was make a phone call to the security commission to find out if they [Trans-Atlantic Direct] were legally able to operate in Ontario. And if they had done that, they would have been told no and I would have all my money,” Conrad said. 

The programs sounded factual, she said, and the hosts interviewing the “experts” were the same people who covered the news. 

“I trust the people that are my local news reporters, that when they’re talking to somebody every single week and they’re making claims like that, that they are legitimate.” 

Fraudsters disappear with money

According to the lawsuit, the radio shows aired throughout 2016 and into part of 2017. Listeners were told there was minimal risk to investing and were urged to call Trans-Atlantic Direct with investment questions.

While on air, the so-called investment experts called themselves Stewart Price and Martin Schwartz. The OSC alleges they are actually Mark Lee Singer and Bernard Justin Sevilla. According to the allegations set out in OSC documents, the men never invested the money, as promised, instead keeping it for themselves.

A web archive shows Trans-Atlantic Direct’s website in July 2017. The site is now down and emails to the company are undeliverable. (Wayback Machine)

Trans-Atlantic’s phone number is now disconnected and its website has been taken down. Go Public reached out to Singer and Sevilla through multiple email addresses and phone numbers associated with the men, but neither returned the requests for comment.

Other investors tell Go Public they haven’t recovered any of their money and haven’t been able to reach anyone at Trans-Atlantic in over a year.

Corus calls shows ‘infomercials’

Corus declined an on-camera interview with Go Public and instead issued a statement.

Trans-Atlantic Direct purchased an hour of weekly airtime on two Corus radio stations in Ontario — AM900 CHML in Hamilton and AM980 CFPL in London — “for the purposes of airing a regular infomercial,” the company said. The program began airing in January 2016.

“The program was paid advertising,” said Corus spokesperson Rishma Govani, “and was clearly identified as such.”

“Each broadcast included clear disclaimers before, after and during the program, advising listeners that it was paid-advertising programming and that the opinions expressed during the program were TAD’s alone, and not those of Corus or its affiliates.”

However, Govani admits Price or Schwartz appeared on other radio programs, “providing opinion or commentary.” In those cases, she says, “it is likely that no disclaimer would have been provided.”

Two investors Go Public spoke with say they never heard the disclaimers on any of the programs they heard.

Some of the investors who gave money to Trans-Atlantic Direct heard about the company through local radio shows, which gave the infomercials names like ‘Ask the Experts.’ (Twitter)

Corus also said Trans-Atlantic Direct was obligated to “ensure that the scripts, recordings or instructions submitted to [the stations] are in accordance with commercial and trade ethics, applicable codes and laws or bylaws in force at the time of broadcast,” and that the stations “relied on the company to comply with those obligations.”

The shows were pulled in 2017 after Corus received “certain information” and a small number of listener complaints, Govani said. Corus wouldn’t elaborate on what information it received, or provide details about the complaints.

It said it wasn’t aware of any investigation into Trans-Atlantic until several months after it pulled the program. 

Corus also said it intends to defend itself against the lawsuit, saying it “is confident it acted diligently and responsibly in removing the program from the air when it did, based on the information available to it at the time.”

‘Fake experts allowed to create fake’ show

Trans-Atlantic Direct also aired on three Bell Media radio stations in southern Ontario from late May 2017 until November 2017 as part of a one-hour paid program, according to Scott Henderson, vice-president of communications for Bell Media.

Cheryl Hanstke first heard about what she thought sounded like promising investment opportunities with Trans-Atlantic on one of those stations, NewsTalk 610 CKTB.

Cheryl Hanstke, of St. Catharines, Ont., said she often listened to so-called expert ‘Martin Schwartz’ while driving in her car. She invested $20,000 with Trans-Atlantic Direct. (Tina Mackenzie/CBC)

“They were presented as foreign exchange investment specialists,” Hanstke said.

By December 2017, she’d invested $20,000. She didn’t get a cent of it back, she says.

“I never once believed it was an ad. I always believed it was a gentleman who was being interviewed by the host,” said Hanstke, noting she had been listening to the the same radio host ever since moving to St. Catharines, Ont., in 2013. 

“I have said again and again that the ‘fake’ experts allowed to create this ‘fake’ investment show through the various radio stations … failed to do their due diligence,” Hanstke said.

Bell Media didn’t respond to Go Public’s questions about how it vets the people on its shows, but in an email, Henderson wrote: “The program had aired on other non-Bell Media-owned radio stations, with no indication of concerns about the individuals involved with the program. When we became aware of legitimate concerns regarding TAD’s activities, we removed the program from our stations and terminated our relationship with TAD.”

Bell Media’s policies and practices related to advertising and paid programming are continually reviewed and updated, he said.

Lawyer Michael Ellis is representing investors in the class-action lawsuit. He says the radio stations that aired the paid segments should have called the OSC to check if Schwartz and Price were licensed to trade in Ontario. (Tina Mackenzie/CBC)

Michael Ellis, the lawyer representing investors in the class action against Corus, told Go Public he’s also preparing a lawsuit against Bell Media. 

“This all gets back to the fact that these media companies were putting people on the air that were not licensed, that had no ability to do what they said they were going to do,” he said. “If they had just done a small degree of research, they would have been able to find that … and they could have kept them off the airwaves.”

Prison sentence, history of fraud

Go Public’s investigation found that the men alleged to be behind Trans-Atlantic Direct, Singer and Sevilla, have a history of theft and investment fraud in the U.S. — long before allegedly targeting Canadian investors. 

In 2000, the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) found that Singer committed fraud while part-owner of another Florida-based investment company, Lexus Financial Group. In that case, 90 per cent of investors lost money, according to public documents. 

In the early 2000s, Sevilla was sentenced to four years in a Florida prison for eight grand theft convictions. During that period, he was also ordered to stop running an investment scam in that state after the CFTC took him to court. Sevilla is currently wanted in Florida after failing to report to his probation officer.

An undated Florida prison photo of Bernard Justin Sevilla is shown. The Ontario Securities Commission believes Sevilla is one of two fraudsters who were featured as investment experts on at least five radio shows. (Florida Department of Corrections)

‘Moral obligation’ to be reliable 

According to Ward, what’s now happening in Canada may have been avoided if the media organizations that aired the segments had done a better job of vetting who they put on air, and had been clear with listeners about which programs are paid advertising and which are news.

Disclaimers are often confusing, he said, especially if the tone of the programs are newsy.

“There’s great responsibility when you’re dealing especially with financial information,” Ward said. “There is a moral obligation to do as much as you possibly can to make sure the information is reliable and truthful.”

He said he’d like to see media companies clearly disclosing online their relationships with the people and businesses appearing on their programming.

Radio stations silent with listeners 

Conrad said her favourite radio programs ultimately went silent on the topic of Trans-Atlantic Direct, without ever explaining why Price and Schwartz were no longer on air.

“I’m really disappointed. They have an obligation, even just to be a good human being. Why has nobody over there done something? And that’s where I think they need to be held accountable,” she said.

Hanstke tried to get answers from her local station and said she was told that someone from Bell Media’s legal department would call her back — but that call never came.

It’s been more than two years since each woman invested their money, and both say they’re still working to dig themselves out from under the loss.

NOTE: According to CBC’s journalistic standards and practices, those appearing on CBC News programs are not allowed to promote a specific financial product or solicit business either for themselves or a financial company.

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Miss something this week? Don’t panic. CBC’s Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday.

‘Duped’ by oversold flights?

It’s no secret many airlines overbook flights, but industry insiders told our colleagues at Go Public passengers are deliberately “duped” into thinking they’ll get a seat. Agents said they are told to send passengers to the gate knowing they may not have a seat. Air Canada has said overselling affects less than one per cent of passengers.

Re-examining the safety of breast implants

Health Canada has reopened a safety review of textured breast implants after CBC’s Implant Files investigation raised awareness of possible risks. Since the stories were published, Health Canada said there have been 44 confirmed or suspected cases of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma.

Our investigation looked at how breast implants are marketed by plastic surgeons, and followed a woman getting her implants removed because she believes they made her sick.


Health Canada said there have been 44 confirmed or suspected cases of breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma since the Implant Files stories were published. (Terri McGregor)

Self-checkouts: convenient of infuriating?

Self-checkouts have become increasingly popular, but some retailers are pulling the plug. Several Toronto Canadian Tire locations have replaced the self-checkout with a more “efficient” single-line system. But one business consultant said shoppers shouldn’t expect the end of self-checkout anytime soon.


Some Canadian Tires removing their self-checkouts and using a single-line system instead. (Canadian Tire/Facebook)

Diabetes Canada makes changes after volunteer notices missing donations

When Garth Mallett noticed his cheque to Diabetes Canada hadn’t been cashed, he found out a donation kit containing $325 had gone missing. Two years later, the money hasn’t been found. But Diabetes Canada now has volunteers take donation kits directly to a bank instead of a local businesses.


Garth Mallett still doesn’t know where the money he collected for Diabetes Canada went. (Dave Laughlin/CBC)

What else is going on?

Problems with labelling mean you may not be eating the fish you think you purchased. Research from the University of Guelph found mislabelling compounded at each stage of the supply chain.

The latest in recalls

These Ford pickup trucks could suddenly downshift into first gear because of a glitch sending a signal from the transmission speed sensor. The recall affects 1.26 million vehicles in the U.S. and 221,000 in Canada.

Plus: These bakery products could be affected by a mice infestation; This pool gate could be a drowning hazard and this heater could be a fire hazard if it tips over.

This week on Marketplace

We’re on a break this week, but will be back Feb. 22 with a new episode.

This week we’re re-airing Filthy Flights: When you board a flight, do you ever wonder how clean it really is? From the seatbelts and tray tables, to bathrooms, and blankets, we swabbed and tested three major airlines — Air Canada, WestJet and Porter.

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