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5 out of 6 winter boots fail slip test on ice, Marketplace finds –



Winter boots equipped with fibre-embedded soles may be the answer to fewer slips and falls on ice this winter, a CBC Marketplace investigation has found. 

Marketplace looked at popular brands for sale in Canada — Merrell, Sorel, Kamik, Ugg, Timberland and WindRiver — to see how some of these companies’ winter boots would fare on a wet, icy surface. 

The investigation of the boots selected by Marketplace found that the WindRiver Backwoods Waterproof Hyper Dri 3 hiking boots, which include embedded fibres in the sole for extra traction, had the best grip on a wet, icy surface compared to the boots with outsoles made of different materials. WindRiver is a brand owned by Mark’s (formerly Mark’s Work Wearhouse).

Marketplace went to the KITE Research Institute in Toronto, which is part of the University Health Network’s Rehabilitation Institute, where biomedical engineers conducted a footwear slip test assessing the Maximum Achievable Angle (MAA) for each pair of boots. An MMA is the highest degree of elevation at which a boot is able to be worn before slipping on the ice.

Marketplace chose boot models that were warm and good for walking, and based on recommendations from customer service staff from each company.  

Marketplace took several pairs of men’s winter boots to be tested by the KITE Research Institute in Toronto. (CBC)

Test included floor angle up to 15 degrees

While wearing each of the boots, CBC host David Common walked up and down an ice-covered floor in a chamber where hydraulics changed the angle from zero to 15 degrees of elevation. To ensure maximum safety, Common was strapped into a harness attached to the ceiling of the climate-controlled room. Guidewires were at his sides and a mattress was mounted on the downhill slope to cushion any slips.

The angle of the floor was incrementally increased until the boot treads lost traction on the ice.

In general, accessibility ramps and curb ramps shouldn’t exceed a slope of about seven degrees in Ontario.

“If a pair of footwear does not enable you to walk on that gentle slope both ways then it’s not safe footwear [for walking on ice],” said Sophia Li Yue, lead for the project, and staff scientist and manager of strategic projects and partnerships at the KITE Research Institute.

WATCH | Marketplace’s full investigation:

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According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), there were 67,418 hospital emergency department visits in Canada due to unintentional falls on ice in 2019.

While wearing the WindRiver boots, Common was able to walk uphill at an angle of 15 degrees without slipping. While walking downhill, he was able to reach an angle of 14 degrees without slipping on the wet, icy surface. 

Li said the key difference is in how the soles are made. The tread of the WindRiver boot had features the other models did not. According to Mark’s, which is owned by Canadian Tire, the sole has “abrasive materials mixed with the soft rubber compound to provide traction on wet ice.” 

The WindRiver Backwoods Waterproof Hyper Dri 3 hiking boot is made with a sole that has ‘abrasive materials mixed with the soft rubber compound to provide traction on wet ice,’ according to Mark’s. (John Lesavage/CBC)

According to Li, these microfibres “grab on the ice and that enables you to walk up all the way to 15 degrees and 14 degrees.”

On its website, Mark’s says these boots are “engineered to help prevent slips and falls,” and the company has conducted its own testing in Li’s lab to determine what works. 

Lab tests hundreds of winter boots and posts results online

Li is the brains behind the Rate My Treads website, and her lab tests hundreds of winter boots. For that protocol, every set of boots is tested with four different participants, who walk inside the chamber on both wet and cold, dry ice. The lab looks at the results of all four rounds of testing and gives an overall rating based on the lowest score achieved for a particular boot. 

The lab awards a “one snowflake” rating to boots that make it up at least seven degrees of elevation on both wet and dry ice. If boots don’t make it to that angle, they fail the test. 

For the Marketplace test, Common tested the boots on ice with a slick layer of water on top, which is considered more dangerous for slips and falls than colder, dry ice, according to Li. 

The WindRiver boots were the best in the Marketplace test. However, Li said there’s still room for improvement in the overall boot market as about 90 per cent of winter boots available for sale in Canada won’t pass the slip-resistance test. 

“The challenge here is, by just simply looking at the tread, you have no idea whether it’s good on ice or not,” she said. 

Marketplace tested how these winter boots would fare on a wet, icy surface. The boot brands from left to right are: Merrell, Timberland, Sorel, Ugg, Kamik and WindRiver. (John Lesavage/CBC)

Varied results for other brands

Marketplace also tested Merrell’s Thermo Kiruna Mid Shell Waterproof boot, which, according to the company’s website, has an outsole that provides “durable traction that grips when and where you need it.” While wearing these boots, Common was able to walk at an angle of three degrees without slipping. 

In an email statement, Merrell said the Thermo Kiruna Mid Shell Waterproof boot is a “fantastic” boot, but that the company offers other models for customers specifically looking for traction on wet ice conditions, with soles specifically engineered to perform on wet ice. 

Yue stands in front of the exterior of the lab that moves on hydraulic lifts to test boots on an icy surface at different angles. (Stephanie Matteis/CBC)

The Ugg Butte boot had a similar outcome in the Marketplace test, where Common was able to walk up the wet icy slope at three degrees, but on the downhill he only made it to two degrees before slipping.

According to its website, that product is “crafted to handle the harshest winter elements.” In a statement, the company said while the boot is a customer favourite, it would never recommend walking on an icy surface while wearing the Butte boot. 

“They’re available in the Canadian marketplace, then I would expect them to live up to Canada’s ‘harshest winter elements,'” said Ela Veresiu, an associate professor of marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business. 

“Any boot that is meant to be used in the winter in Canada … where winter can start early, can go late and can be extremely icy, you would expect [those boots] to keep you warm, keep you dry and make sure that you don’t slip and fall.”  

Sorel’s pull-on Buxton boot was also put to the test. The boot has an “injection-moulded, waterproof thermal-rubber shell,” according to its website. Common made it to an angle of one degree for both the uphill and downhill slopes. The company did not respond to multiple requests for comment. 

Ela Veresiu is an associate professor of marketing at the Schulich School of Business in Toronto (Submitted)

While wearing Timberland’s Chillberg Mid Sport Waterproof boot, Common was able to walk on a flat surface, but once the floor was tilted to one degree of elevation, he was not able to walk without slipping. On its website, Timberland claims the boot’s outsole “offers durability and traction on any surface.” 

Timberland said that it tests its boots using international standards and that the Chillberg boot performed above average for traction compared to its competitors in the hiking category, but that wet ice is an extreme condition that requires specialized outsoles. 

Kamik Griffon 2 fails on flat ice 

Finally, Common tested Kamik’s Griffon 2 winter boot, which is marketed as having a “synthetic rubber outsole with multi-directional lug design to offer better traction.” Common could not walk on a flat surface without slipping. In a statement, the company said that this particular boot is no longer in production and that the Canadian company is proud to offer boots for every type of weather condition.

While the WindRiver boot offered the best traction, Li said the other brands offer similar treads, just not on the boots Marketplace tested. 

When out shopping for winter boots with better traction, Li said to look for ones with embedded fibres that “act as tiny spikes that can bite into the ice.” 

She recommended soles made with ICEFX, Green Diamond technology or Vibram Arctic Grip. Several of the boot companies in the Marketplace test sell other boot models with this technology in the soles. 

“We do see more and more, this different, special material being developed and researched,” said Li. “Our hope is we will see more of those types of footwear on the market.” 

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GTA gas prices may fall 11 cents on Sunday – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press

Published Saturday, November 27, 2021 3:38PM EST

Canadians should experience the fastest drop in gasoline prices in nearly 13 years on Sunday as fears about a virulent new COVID-19 variant are expected to provide a break of 11 cents per litre at the pumps.

Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, said the national average price could drop to about $1.32 per litre but begin to rise again midweek.

“(Sunday) represents the single largest decrease at the pumps we’ve seen going back to 2009,” he said in an interview.

Global crude oil prices plunged Friday over fears about a new COVID-19 variant called Omicron that prompted Canada to ban entry for foreign nationals who travelled through southern Africa.

The January crude oil contract fell 13.1 per cent or US$10.24 on Friday and currently stands at US$68.15 per barrel.

The decrease came as U.S. stock markets closed early Friday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Sunday and Monday are going to be the best days for Canadians to fill up, including British Columbia,” McTeague said

Even residents of flood-ravaged B.C. will save on the province’s high gasoline prices despite facing rationing because severe flooding has shut both the Trans Mountain pipeline and the province’s lone refinery.

Drivers of non-essential vehicles can only purchase up to 30 litres per visit to a gas station in the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky area, Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island.

East Coast residents won’t reap the immediate benefits of Sunday’s price drop because its regulated regional system averages price movements. That provides price predictability but blunts price discounts.

Despite the upcoming decrease, national gasoline prices have surged nearly 43 per cent in the past year as the reopening of the global economy from pandemic lockdowns prompted a recovery in crude prices.

McTeague suggested Canadians shouldn’t get too comfortable with the energy savings. He said prices are expectd to increase as OPEC and its allies, who are meeting on Monday, will likely refuse to increase production any further. Energy traders realize that Friday’s decrease was overdone and “flies in the face of fundamentals,” he added.

“My sense is that the decreases that we saw were a little exaggerated and overbought, and for that reason I think we might see a little bit more balance come back to the markets and fundamentals by Wednesday,” McTeague said.

“Unless there’s further unsettling news of greater and further lockdowns, I would expect that oil prices are probably going to recover US$3 to US$4 a barrel by Monday or Tuesday, which means by Wednesday or Thursday we could be looking at increases in the order of four or five cents a litre.”

McTeague said some gasoline savings will continue for a couple of weeks, but he foresees crude climbing back to about US$90 a barrel, which would translate into prices in Canada exceeding $1.50 per litre.

Impending carbon tax increases will further boost prices.

A tax of 2.5 cents per litre, including HST, will take effect on April 1, 2022. It will be followed in December by the clear fuel standard that will add another 18.1 cents per litre including HST, said McTeague.

Adding to the inflation pressure is the Canadian dollar which is less valuable than when it was at par the last time crude prices were around US$80. That reduces the purchasing power for all kinds of products, including energy and food.

The Canadian Automobile Association said that as of early Saturday morning, Manitoba had the lowest average pump price of $1.35/L, followed closely by Alberta at $1.377, while Newfoundland and Labrador was the highest at $1.583 with British Columbia at $1.558.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2021.

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Oil crashes more than US$10 as new COVID variant roils markets – BNN



Oil prices suffered one of the largest ever one-day plunges, crashing more than 11 per cent on Black Friday as a new coronavirus strain sparked fears that renewed lockdowns will hurt global demand.

The crash, the 7th largest ever for Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, may prompt the OPEC+ cartel to re-consider its policy when it meets next week, with the group increasingly leaning toward pausing its output hikes.

The sell-off was amplified by low liquidity on a festive day in the U.S., the breach of several technical supports and Wall Street banks rushing to dump oil futures to protect themselves against positions in the options market.

The development apparently wrong-footed many in the oil market who had been comforted by low inventory levels and demand that had rebounded to 2019 levels, said Rebecca Babin, senior energy trader at CIBC Private Wealth Management.

“It was a lack of downside that had us continuing to think nothing bad could happen,” she said. “No one was thinking we could get a variant that we’re not familiar with and it could have meaningful impact.”

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The price drop capped a dramatic week for the oil market, which started when U.S. President Joe Biden challenged OPEC+ by tapping the country’s strategic petroleum reserve in an effort to bring gasoline prices down. China, India, Japan and South Korea all joined the American effort.

Oil traders and analysts were divided about whether the flash crash was an excessive reaction to the COVID news. Damien Courvalin, oil analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York, called the drop an “excessive repricing” and ventured OPEC+ will respond pausing its production increases by three months.

High gasoline retail prices prompted U.S. President Joe Biden to seek ways to ease the pressure on consumers, leading to Tuesday’s announcement that the U.S. will release 50 million barrels of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with China, Japan, India, South Korea and the U.K. also set to tap inventories. Still, oil rose on the day that the move was confirmed, suggesting traders had already priced in the new supply, or that they were underwhelmed by the supply response.

OPEC+ had warned previously it would reconsider a potential output increase if other nations went ahead with a reserve release. UBS Group AG said Friday that OPEC+ could choose to pause its current planned output hike of 400,000 barrels a day, or even cut production.


  • West Texas Intermediate for January fell US$10.24, or 13.1 per cent, from Wednesday’s close to settle at US$68.15 a barrel in New York. The decline was the largest since April 2020.
  • There was no settlement Thursday due to the Thanksgiving holiday and all transactions will be booked Friday
  • Brent for January settlement tumbled US$9.50 to settle at US$72.72 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange

Friday’s oil selloff was likely exacerbated by a lack of trading activity during the U.S. holiday period, coming a day after Thanksgiving, and as the New York market closed early. 

“It’s a sign the market got carried away from itself and that we still remain very vulnerable to COVID-19,” said John Kilduff, founding partner at Again Capital LLC. 

Aside from the headline prices, crude traders also watched several other notable shifts in the market. WTI crude futures closed below its 200-day and 100-day moving averages, signs of technical weakness. The extreme pressure on the U.S. benchmark meant its discount to Brent expanded, reaching the widest since May 2020. 

The picture wasn’t much brighter in oil-product markets, the part of the oil complex most directly affected by end-user demand. Diesel plunged, particularly in Asia, as the market began to price in a potential renewed hit to economic growth.

“This is a huge overreaction in terms of the market,” Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. said in a Bloomberg Television interview. “This is the market pricing in the worst possible scenarios.”

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Shoppers taking advantage of Black Friday deals in Ottawa – CTV Edmonton



Shoppers rushed to the stores in Ottawa on Black Friday, hoping to get the best deals of the year heading into Christmas. 

Some have even come from other countries for these sales like Elizabeth Elnakla, who is here from Scotland visiting her daughter Reem Almaqla. 

Elnakla is what you might call, a Black Friday newbie. 

“This is my first Black Friday. I’m super excited, it is so busy,” says Elnakla. 

She’s looking to snag all the deals she can before she heads back home in three days.

“Shopping back home, I live in a small town called Dundee and it’s not very large,” says Elnakla. “So the shopping is never crazy. It’s quite quiet.”

Last year, many were stuck doing their Black Friday and Boxing Day shopping online. This year, back to the in-person busyness.

Tanger Outlets

“We missed Black Friday last year,” says Almaqla, who wanted to show her mom what Black Friday was all about. “I just want her to go through this experience. To see what Black Friday is like here.”

Tanger Outlets in Kanata was packed for Black Friday sales all week, but nothing like today. 

“There’s nothing like a good sale, right? We all love the deal,” says shopper Josie Mousseau. “It’s just nice being outside in the fresh air. At least you get a little bit of an escape with your mask. You can take it off occasionally whereas when you’re confined to a mall, you really can’t.”

Monika Mehl describes the amazing deal she got on a Michael Kors purse. 

“I got it for 70 per cent off, and then an additional 15 per cent off. And because everything totalled over $300, I got another 10 per cent off.”

Stores at Tanger opened at 7 a.m. Friday. Maria Argyriou left Montreal at 5 a.m. to make sure she got here on time. 

“We went to all the sports stores and they’re all basically 50 per cent off,” says Argyriou.

Montreal is known for its shopping, but she wanted to try her luck in Ottawa.  

“There’s a lot of people [in Montreal]. Here there’s less people, and we can get better deals,” says Argyriou.

With lineups at dozens of stores, shoppers stood in line for up to 30 minutes, braving the rain and cold to get deals only available once a year.

All day, bags of items flew off the shelves. And with supply chain issues this year, many of these shoppers know that once it’s gone, it’s gone.

“So you better get your shopping done honey,” laughs Mousseau.

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