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Can Air Canada donate lost luggage?

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A newlywed couple from Cambridge, Ont. waited months to get their lost luggage back. After a Toronto police investigation recently discovered a charity organization “lawfully obtained” the suitcase, some wonder how it was within Air Canada’s right to allegedly give away the missing bag.

Nakita Rees and her husband had travelled to Italy and Greece for their honeymoon in September. But when they returned home, one of their three suitcases didn’t make it back from Montreal to Toronto.

Thanks to an AirTag that was inside, Rees tracked the missing luggage to still be in Montreal. A month later, the couple saw its location move, down a highway, and end up at a storage facility in Etobicoke, where it stayed for the last three months.

Rees told CTV News Kitchener they reported the incident to Toronto police, who, over the weekend, informed her a charity organization contracted by Air Canada had lawfully obtained the bag after it wasn’t claimed.

“The luggage was transported to a storage facility in Etobicoke,” police said in a statement to CTV News.

After it was discovered Air Canada had allegedly donated it to a local charity, some wondered how it was legal for the airline to do so.

“What gives Air Canada the right to donate that luggage? I would say they don’t have it, they don’t have it contractually, and certainly, they don’t have it under the criminal law,” Marcus Bornfreund, a criminal defence lawyer based in Toronto, told CTV News Toronto Monday.

“In fact, it could be a criminal offence in the sense that the theft or the unlawful possession of another person’s property is a criminal law matter.”

Bornfreund said it sounds to him like “there’s no lawful excuse” as to why the bag ended up in Etobicoke.

“The airline has a responsibility once it’s aware of its location. I would argue to make sure that it ends up in the lawful hands of the owner and not collecting dust in a storage facility without explanation,” he said.

In an emailed statement to CTV News, Air Canada apologized for the delay in getting Rees’ bag back, and noted the couple travelled at a period of time when air carriers were still recovering from pandemic-related disruptions.

“In this particular case, the situation was compounded by the disconnection of the baggage tag at some point on the journey. Despite our best efforts, it was not possible for us to identify the bag’s owner, it was designated as unclaimed, and we moved to compensate the customer,” the statement reads.

In line with International Air Transport Association’s policy, the airline said customers whose bags cannot be located after 21 days are eligible for compensation. Meanwhile, Air Canada adds that bags whose ownership cannot be determined after 90 days will be disposed of – “something we do through a third-party company, which does make donations to charity.”

But Gabor Lukacs, president of Air Passenger Rights, argues the policy doesn’t trump travellers’ ownership of their bags.

“If you abandon your baggage waiting to arrive on a belt, there’s something to be said about what will happen with it. But, it is still your property if you report it as missing when you leave the airport,” Lukacs told CTV News Toronto Monday.

He adds airlines have a significant responsibility to reunite passengers with their luggage, and that it’s up to the airline to track passengers’ bags.

“They made a contract to transport the baggage, and that contract includes the obligation to hand you back the baggage unless they can show somehow you proactively abandoned your baggage,” Lukacs said.

With files from CTV Kitchener’s Carmen Wong and Alison Sandstrom 

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Court Ruling on CRA Audit Condones Government Overreach, Says Leading Muslim Charity

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The Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) has expressed strong disapproval of a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision, claiming it allows the federal government to violate Charter rights with impunity. The court’s decision upheld a ruling that permits the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to continue its audit of MAC, a process the charity alleges is tainted by systemic bias and Islamophobia.

MAC, an organization that promotes community service, education, and youth empowerment, serves over 150,000 Canadians through its mosques, schools, and community centers. The association argues that the CRA’s audit infringes on their Charter rights, specifically the guarantees of equality, freedom of religion, expression, and association.

The association initially sought to halt the audit through the Ontario Superior Court, arguing that the audit process was fundamentally biased. However, Superior Court Justice Markus Koehnen rejected their request last year, stating it was premature to intervene in the ongoing federal review. Koehnen acknowledged the validity of many of MAC’s arguments but emphasized that court involvement was inappropriate while the audit process was still active.

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently upheld Justice Koehnen’s decision, agreeing that the challenge was premature. The panel of judges found no error in the previous ruling, emphasizing the necessity of allowing the CRA’s internal processes to conclude before judicial intervention.

MAC’s representative, Sharaf Sharafeldin, criticized the decision, stating that the “prematurity principle” imposes significant legal and administrative burdens on charities. These costs, according to Sharafeldin, lead to financial hardship, reduced programs, and compromised charitable work, preventing effective challenges to Charter violations by the time the audit is completed.

In a statement, MAC highlighted that the decision disproportionately harms visible minorities and disadvantaged communities, who already suffer from systemic discrimination by government agencies.

The federal government has argued that the CRA’s selection of MAC for audit and subsequent review did not infringe upon Charter rights. The audit process includes potential internal appeals within the CRA, appeals to the Tax Court of Canada in the event of financial penalties, and to the Federal Court of Appeal if charitable status is revoked.

This ruling underscores the tension between government oversight and the protection of Charter rights, particularly for minority and disadvantaged communities. The outcome of this case could set a significant precedent for how charitable organizations can challenge perceived systemic bias and government overreach in Canada.

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Canada Post to honour acclaimed director Norman Jewison with commemorative stamp

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Canada Post is set to honour the legacy of Toronto-born filmmaker Norman Jewison with a commemorative stamp.

Jewison, best known for directing Academy Award-winning films “In the Heat of The Night,” “Moonstruck” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” is considered one of Hollywood’s most prolific filmmakers.

Throughout his career, Jewison has worked on more than 40 television and film productions.

He was nominated for the Academy Award for best director three times and received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for his body of work in 1999.

Jewison died at the age of 97 at his home in Malibu, Calif., in January.

Canada Post will unveil Jewison’s stamp at an event in Toronto on July 24.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 18, 2024

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Ryan Reynolds BLEEDS for Deadpool! Sacrificed Salary to Keep Franchise Alive!

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Marvel fans, rejoice! After a whirlwind journey filled with setbacks and triumphs, Deadpool & Wolverine is finally clawing its way onto the silver screen. This highly anticipated pairing of Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman has had its fair share of challenges, from production delays due to Hollywood strikes to struggling to solidify a cohesive storyline. But through it all, Reynolds’ unwavering dedication to the project has shone through, proving that sometimes, the biggest victories come from the most unexpected sacrifices.

The road to Deadpool & Wolverine began in May 2023 with a triumphant start to filming. However, that momentum was abruptly halted by a wave of strikes that swept through Hollywood, forcing a hiatus until late winter. This wasn’t the only obstacle the project faced. The creative team, including Reynolds himself, wrestled with crafting a narrative that lived up to the outrageous charm of the Deadpool character while seamlessly integrating Wolverine into the fold. There were even whispers of the entire project being shelved altogether, leaving fans anxious about the fate of this dream team.

 

Reynolds’ Pockets Take a Hit, But His Vision Persists

But amidst these uncertainties, a heartwarming detail recently emerged, shedding light on Reynolds’ incredible commitment to the Deadpool franchise. In a revealing interview with The New York Times, Reynolds opened up about the financial sacrifices he made to ensure the success of the original Deadpool film.

“Deadpool wasn’t just a movie; it was a decade-long passion project,” Reynolds confessed. “Honestly, when they finally greenlit it, I wasn’t thinking about box office numbers. I just wanted to see this crazy character come to life on screen. I even gave up my acting salary for the project just to get it off the ground.”

 

However, Reynolds’ generosity didn’t stop there. The studio, it seemed, wasn’t convinced of the importance of having the film’s screenwriters, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, readily available on set. “They wouldn’t allow my co-writers on set, which was a huge blow,” Reynolds continued. “So, I took what little money I had left after forgoing my salary and paid them myself to be there. We basically formed a makeshift writer’s room right there on set.”

This wasn’t the first instance of Reynolds’ financial commitment to the Deadpool universe. Writers Reese and Wernick had previously shared on the AMC show Geeking Out that Reynolds also personally financed aspects of Deadpool (2016) to ensure the film achieved the level of quality he envisioned.

 

A Commitment That Reaps Rewards

 

Looking back on the original film’s scrappy beginnings, Reynolds described it as a labor of love fueled by limited resources and boundless creativity. “There wasn’t a lot of money, but I poured my heart and soul into every detail,” he said. “That experience taught me a valuable lesson: the importance of having a strong creative team by your side, no matter the project.”

Reynolds’ unwavering dedication wasn’t just about financial backing; it was about safeguarding the film’s creative vision. His actions ensured that the core team behind Deadpool’s success – the writers, the director, and himself – remained on board to bring their vision to life. This commitment is sure to translate into Deadpool & Wolverine, a film that promises to be a landmark achievement in the wacky world of Deadpool. Mark your calendars, fans – Deadpool & Wolverine slashes into theaters on July 26th!

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