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As gas prices spike, Montreal's bike culture seen as model for rest of the country –



Montrealer Olivia Collette sold her car in 2016 and hasn’t looked back.

Collette, a communications consultant living in central Montreal, said getting around using a bicycle, a car-sharing service or a transit pass has not only saved her money, it’s often more enjoyable.

“When it’s sunny and warm, it’s really pleasant,” Collette said of her bicycle commutes. “It’s a really pleasant way of going from A to B.”

Collette said that while getting around Montreal isn’t difficult without a personal vehicle, she’s not sure doing so would be as easy in many other Canadian cities.

And with the soaring cost of gasoline and new vehicles, urban transit experts say the rest of Canada should look to Montreal for lessons on how to boost cycling culture.

The protected bike lanes in Montreal attract a wide range of users because the infrastructure increases cyclists’ sense of safety, says Stein van Oosteren, spokesperson for a Paris-based cycling association. (Elias Abboud/CBC)

Stein van Oosteren, spokesperson for a Paris-based cycling association, says the time is right for Canadian cities to make big gains in changing the way people move around.

Van Oosteren, who grew up in the Netherlands before moving to France, said the rise of cycling in both countries was partially driven by high gas prices.

At the beginning of the 1970s, “the Netherlands was like Canada today: a car-centric country, where the car was the foundation of transport, and it was very unpleasant and dangerous to travel by bicycle,” said van Oosteren, who was in Montreal this week to speak at the Go velo bicycle festival.

That began to change due to a campaign for safer streets, launched in response to the death of a six-year-old girl who was struck by a car and to gas shortages triggered by the 1973 oil crisis.

“The government, under pressure from both citizens who wanted livable cities and the real problem of gas shortages that we had in the Netherlands, decided to promote bikes,” he said.

In France, bicycles began to gain popularity in 2018, when a tax increase pushed the price of gas to nearly $3 a litre, he said. In Paris, meanwhile, that growth continued as the local government rapidly created temporary bike paths in 2020 to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

Many of those paths have become permanent.

“This created a whole generation of cyclists who today travel by bike, and once this critical mass exists, it will attract  others,” van Oosteren said.

Montreal, he said, is a cycling leader in North America — particularly due to the city’s focus on building a contiguous network of bike lanes that are protected from the rest of the street. The protected lanes attract a wide range of users because the infrastructure increases cyclists’ sense of safety.

‘Impressive’ number of cyclists, but limited data

In North America, the majority of bike trips are taken by men who are experienced cyclists, said Owen Waygood, a professor of transportation engineering at Polytechnique Montreal. Safer infrastructure, he said, will attract more women, older people and children.

“Montreal does have some great leadership in that respect,” he said.

Bike counters — automated sensors that detect and count passing cyclists — indicate an increase in users on new routes that are part of the city’s “express” bike lane network, the Réseau express vélo, Waygood said. The city began building the REV in 2020.

Around 2,000 cyclists a day, he said, use a recently constructed bike lane on St-Denis Street, a major artery in Montreal’s urban core. “There’s some days when it’s 8,000, which is impressive.”

But hard data can be difficult to come by. The provincial government conducts a travel survey every five years, but Waygood said that survey captures a limited snapshot and is usually done in the fall season — when there are fewer cyclists compared with the spring and summer.

There’s no Canada-wide survey that would allow comparisons between different cities, he added.

Statistics Canada collects data about Canadians’ daily commutes, but the most recent public data from the federal statistics agency is from 2016. It indicates that Vancouver and Victoria have higher rates of cycling than Montreal does, which Waygood said makes sense given the milder year-round weather.

Ry Shissler, the communications manager for Cycle Toronto, a charity that promotes cycling culture, said his organization ranks Victoria, Vancouver and Montreal higher than Toronto at encouraging cycling.

While Toronto keeps its bike-sharing system operational year-round, Montreal packs up its bike system — called BIXI — for the winter. (Charles Contant/CBC)

While Toronto is flatter than Montreal and has somewhat warmer weather, Shissler said Montreal has built better biking infrastructure.

“We just don’t have the same sort of network that makes people feel comfortable riding a bike,” Shissler said.

Toronto, however, keeps its bike-sharing system operational year-round, while Montreal packs up its bike system — called BIXI — for the winter.

Stephen Miller, spokesperson with Transit, a trip-planning mobile application for public transit, said people are able to get around Montreal without a car in large part because of the city’s high-quality public transit network.

Transportation projects that have launched in Montreal have been exported internationally, he said, like car-sharing service Communauto, which can be found across Canada and in France.

We just don’t have the same sort of network that makes people feel comfortable riding a bike.– Ry Shissler of Cycle Toronto

The technology used in the BIXI system, originally developed by a company owned by the City of Montreal, has since has been exported to cities around the world, including Toronto, New York City and London.

“Montreal benefits from having a culture that is focused on innovation in transit and public transportation,” Miller said.

Collette, who said she sometimes goes months without driving a car, said there’s now a rush hour on Montreal’s bike lanes, but she said it’s much less stressful than being stuck in traffic.

“If I had a car, I would have to pay for parking; I would have to move it all the time; I would still be paying to have the car even if I wasn’t using it,” she said.

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Accounting firm EY to pay $100M US fine after auditors caught cheating on ethics exams – CBC News



Accounting firm Ernst & Young will pay $100 million US to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges that its auditors cheated on certified public accounting (CPA) exams and that it misled the agency’s investigators.

The London-based auditor admitted to the charges and agreed to pay what the SEC said is its largest fine against an auditor.

“EY acknowledges the findings determined by the SEC,” said Brendan Mullin, EY media relations director, adding that the firm’s response has been “thorough, extensive and effective.”

“At EY, nothing is more important than our integrity and our ethics.”

The CPA is the key qualification for accountants in the United States.

EY has also agreed to “undertake extensive remedial measures to fix the firm’s ethical issues,” the SEC said.

49 people got test answers ahead of time

The Wall Street watchdog found that 49 EY professionals “obtained or circulated” answer keys to CPA licence exams, while hundreds of others cheated to complete the continuing professional education components relating to CPA ethics.

“This action involves breaches of trust by gatekeepers … entrusted to audit many of our nation’s public companies. It’s simply outrageous that the very professionals responsible for catching cheating by clients cheated on ethics exams,” said Gurbir Grewal, the SEC’s enforcement director, in a statement.

“And it’s equally shocking that Ernst & Young hindered our investigation of this misconduct,” added Grewal.

EY submitted to the SEC that it did not have issues with cheating when, in fact, the firm had been informed of potential cheating on a CPA ethics exam by a member of staff, the SEC said.

It added that EY admitted it did not correct its submission even after an internal EY investigation confirmed there had been cheating, and even after its senior lawyers discussed the matter with the firm’s senior management.

The SEC’s order also finds that EY violated a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) rule requiring the firm to maintain integrity in the performance of a professional service.

The SEC has ordered EY to retain two independent consultants to help remediate its deficiencies. One will review the firm’s policies and procedures relating to ethics and integrity. The other will review EY’s conduct regarding its disclosure failures, including whether any EY employees contributed to the firm’s failure to correct its misleading submission, the SEC said.

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Canada's transport minister speaks out about 'unacceptable issues' at airports following reports of luggage chaos at Pearson – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



Canada’s transport minister is speaking out about the “unacceptable issues” that continue to result in significant delays at Canadian airports after images surfaced on social media showing hundreds of pieces of luggage piled up at Pearson International Airport.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which operates Pearson, told CP24 on Tuesday that a number of issues over the past several days have led to “challenges with baggage,” including “flight delays and cancellations, staff shortages and temporary mechanical disruptions with the baggage system.”

So far dozens of people have spoken out about losing their luggage at Pearson, including one woman who told CP24 that her bag was lost once on the way to Phoenix and then again on the way back to Toronto, resulting in a frustrating “suitcase scavenger hunt” that ultimately proved fruitless.

There have also been numerous images shared on social media showing huge piles of luggage in the baggage claim area at Pearson, which travellers have had to search through in the hopes of finding their missing bags.

“What we are seeing today is that while many of those Canadian Air Transport Security Authority and Canadian Border Security Agency issues have significantly improved we continue to see delays, cancellations and luggage issues,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told reporters at an unrelated announcement in the GTA on Wednesday. “I have had conversations with the four largest airports and the two largest airlines just on Thursday and I will be having follow up conversations with them soon. They know that they need to add more resources and they are working on that and we are offering our support to address these issues. But these are unacceptable issues.”

Pearson has been plagued by delays for months now amid increased demand and some staffing shortages.

Alghabra said that at this point the federal government has done everything in its control to address the issues at airports, including increasing staffing at customs and at security checkpoints.

He said that his government is also looking at “possibly extending the suspension” of random COVID-19 testing, which was supposed to be lifted on July 1.

That, he said, is because it is taking longer than expected to address the logistics of moving the testing off-site.

“What we are seeing is the surge of demand for air travel beyond what anybody expected and that is honestly good news. But the surge in demand is outpacing the ability for airlines and airports to enhance the resources that they need to accommodate that surge,” he said. “So we are working with airlines and airports to ensure that the resources needed, that the scheduling adjustments that are needed are addressed. Because we are also seeing extreme peaks at certain hours of the day.”

Tory says he will speak with Air Canada about issues

Many of the luggage issues at Pearson have reportedly involved Air Canada flights.

In a statement provided to CP24 on Tuesday, Air Canada said “that avoiding baggage delays is a top priority” as they are “disruptive and inconvenient” for customers and lead to added costs that the airline ultimately has to bear.

But they said that with the “well-documented issues” plaguing airports and resulting in last-minute flight cancellations there are simply more instances of delayed bags.

“I think the overall record is better today at the airport than it was a few weeks ago and I think there is every reason to believe that progress will continue,” Toronto Mayor John Tory told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday when asked about the issues at Pearson. “I am not personally familiar with the precise way baggage is handled but certainly from my limited knowledge it occurs to me that most of the responsibility rests with the airlines, so I will, undertake in light of what has happened to be in touch with Air Canada and find out from their perspective what the problem is, what they are doing to solve their part of it and if they believe that governments in the broadest sense can be helpful in making things work better so those baggage issues don’t arise.”

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Canadian Businesses Need Integrated Facility Services



Many Canadian businesses require professional facility management to streamline their operations for the smooth functioning of buildings and facilities. Hiring separate contractors for different facility responsibilities, however, can become more time consuming and convoluted. An integrated facilities management company can act as an end-to-end solution for all your facility management needs and take care of all responsibilities.

Hiring a qualified integrated facility services team allows businesses to consolidate facility management under a single discipline, which includes integrating tasks, employees, technology, and safety. This simplifies facility management by bringing together different services under a single contract.

Consider how your business operations and management can benefit from integrated facility services

Time to Focus on Core Business Tasks

An integrated facility services team will take care of all facility-related services, allowing you to better allocate your time and resources to core business tasks. When you remove the burden of facility management off your shoulders, you can focus more on other aspects of your business, such as designing or building products, communicating with clients, and marketing.

A professional facility service provider will develop a tailored solution to meet a facility’s specific requirements. An experienced team can follow regulatory standards, improve communication between employees, and create a better workplace environment.

Lower Operational Costs

According to research and analysis, 90,600 businesses disappeared between 2013 and 2017 – and this was before the impacts of the global pandemic. The costs associated with running a business continue to increase, impacting the life-expectancy of businesses across various industries.

Switching your facility management to consolidated integrated services led by a professional will reduce operational costs by allowing you to invest in one provider, rather than a handful. Having only one point of contact will also reduce the time and labor required needed to coordinate with the provider. You can leverage economies of scale by streamlining facility operations, making the process more cost-effective.

A knowledgeable integrated facility service team can audit your workplace and identify cost-saving opportunities. They can guide strategic sourcing and allow you to bundle vendor services and contracts to save you money. You may also get discounts or benefits from pre-negotiated rates when a single company handles your facility management services.

Better Response Time

Facility management includes a wide range of services that require attention for smooth business operations. If management is inefficient, you may notice delays in the work process, leading to revenue losses.

When integration is done correctly, you’ll notice that response times will improve. Most efficient integrated facility service teams use modern technology to manage multiple sites and business operations. This allows better collaboration among team members despite their location and improves response time.

Streamlined Operations

Compiling all your facility management activities with a single company can be faster, more cost-effective, and more efficient. When business operations are streamlined, your team will notice more flexibility, improving employee engagement and better relationships with stakeholders.

An integrated solution is a more comprehensive approach because it is simpler to manage a singular point of contact. This will streamline the decision-making process, improve quality, and enforce accountability.

Embracing Integrated Facility Services

The Canadian Facility Management Market stood at USD 32.17 billion in 2020 and is forecasted to grow until 2026. A singular point of contact will make business operations less overwhelming, allowing you to divert your attention to other aspects of your business.

The key to successful integration is hiring a professional company with extensive experience managing facilities. When you find the right provider, a weight will be lifted off your shoulders, allowing you to relax knowing that your management is in good hands.

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