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Cheap but unregulated: Why illegal carpooling is a growing problem – CBC.ca

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Samantha Feder just wanted to get to Toronto.

In September, the Ottawa woman booked a trip with Amigo Express, a company that connects drivers with passengers looking to share the costs of long-distance trips, in what she expected would be a four-seat sedan.

But when she showed up on her day of departure, a shuttle-style van with an unfamiliar licence plate and more than a dozen random strangers inside was waiting for her.

“It was clear to me that there were people who maybe had booked from other services [like] Kijiji or Craigslist,” Feder said.

“I decided I was not going to get into the car.”

‘I decided I was not going to get into the car,’ Feder said. (Yasmine Mehdi/Radio-Canada)

Kijiji, Craigslist and other such sites are filled with requests from drivers seeking passengers to share the cost of one-off trips, such as chipping in for gas, a practice that’s completely above board.

But there are also posts offering multiple trips a day in state-of-the-art vans equipped with the internet and other amenities — and that sort of unlicensed carpooling is prohibited in both Ontario and Quebec.

Strict rules

In Ontario, transportation services that take passengers across municipal boundaries for a fee — aside from taxis and personal carpools — must have a proper operating licence through the Ontario Highway Transport Board.

Under the Public Vehicles Act, carpooling vehicles cannot carry more than 10 people. 

They can only make a single, one-way or round trip per day, drivers can only charge to cover the costs of operating the vehicle, and the presence of passengers must be “incidental” to the driver’s purpose for the trip, according to transportation ministry spokesperson Kristine Bunker.

“Drivers offering intercity rideshare services for compensation above and beyond reimbursement for expenses incurred to operate the vehicle are in contravention of these requirements,” wrote Bunker in an email.

The regulations are also clear in Quebec: According to a statement on the transportation’s ministry website, there is “no such thing as commercial carpooling.”

A quick scan of sites like Kijiji and Craigslist turns up a number of drivers offering passengers rides for a fee. There are strict rules around paying for an intercity carpool, and a Radio-Canada investigation has found a number of drivers are willing to skirt them. (Radio-Canada)

As part of an investigation into the scope of illegal carpooling, Radio-Canada reserved a trip from Ottawa to Montreal with a driver who was offering six trips — three there and three back — each day. 

Using hidden cameras, Radio-Canada reporters showed up at the meeting point twice to find the same driver in the same vehicle.

When asked if he had a special Ontario permit for this type of trip, the driver said he didn’t and then told the reporters to “take a Greyhound” instead. 

Contacted by Radio-Canada a few days later, the driver said he had ended this sort of activity. As of Friday, however, his advertisement was still online.

No licensing, no oversight

Radio-Canada also spoke to a group of people waiting for a similar carpooling pickup in the ByWard Market. Many said they weren’t worried about safety risks, calling it a more affordable option than taking either the bus or the train.

“It is a problem,” said Kristine D’Arbelles, a spokesperson with the CAA.

D’Arbelles said the internet has made illegal carpooling much easier, with risks to passengers. There’s no way of knowing if the driver has a valid driver’s licence, if they’re insured, or what condition their vehicle is in, she said.

“There is no licensing and there is no oversight,” she said.

CAA spokesperson Kristine D’Arbelles says illegal carpooling is concerning because drivers may be unlicensed and therefore not subject to oversight. (Yasmine Mehdi/Radio-Canada)

Amigo Express, also known as Kangaride, declined an interview with Radio-Canada.

The company’s director, Marc-Olivier Vachon, wrote in an email the company was taking all steps to stem the improper use of sites like Kijiji.

A spokesperson with Kijiji said the site is taking measures to counter illegal carpooling, and has a “dedicated commitment” to comply with the law.

“We commit significant resources toward the detection and prevention of activities that infringe our policies — this includes industry-leading technology and a dedicated community support team, in addition to help from our community of Kijiji users who flag inappropriate postings,” wrote Marie-Philippe Busque in an email.

As for Feder, while she was able to get her booking refunded, she ended up having to take an expensive last-minute train to Toronto.

“Although they did give me credits, I haven’t used the service since,” she said.

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Americans fleeing Trump's presidency faced Canada's stiff immigration process – CBC.ca

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After Donald Trump was elected president of the United States in 2016, many Americans considered moving to Canada, but some have realized it’s not that easy leaving their country behind.

Heather Vargas was one American who actually made the move after Trump’s inauguration in early 2017.

She moved to Halifax that same year, a plan that started as a joke the night Trump was elected.

But she has since moved back to her home state of Arkansas.

“America is my home,” she said. “Yes, America is currently a dumpster fire, but it’s my dumpster fire and I love it.”

After Donald Trump won the presidency back in 2016, hoards of Americans planned to escape to Nova Scotia, but four years later, some have realized it’s not so easy to leave their own country and culture behind. CBC’s Shaina Luck has that story. 2:13

Vargas lived in Halifax for a year and a half.

Rob Calabrese would consider Vargas one of the lucky few.

The radio announcer started the website Cape Breton if Trump Wins in early 2016 as a way to attract Americans to rural areas of Nova Scotia.

During Trump’s campaign and his eventual election, Calabrese had thousands of inquiries from Americans wanting to move to Atlantic Canada.

But only a handful of people followed through.

“People who contacted me about moving to Canada, who had means or professions that likely made them a good candidate for immigration, found that our countries are alike, but there is a culture shock even for Canada and the United States,” he said. 

“So I found that people would rarely make that move even if they were able.”

Rob Calabrese started the website ‘Cape Breton if Trump Wins’ in 2016 as a way to attract Americans to the rural area. (CBC)

And if that was the case, Calabrese discovered immigrating to Canada isn’t as easy as it seems.

David Nurse, an immigration lawyer with McInnes Cooper in Bridgewater, N.S., has witnessed this first-hand.

Nurse said he immediately started receiving calls from people who were interested in immigrating to Canada “largely or entirely because of Trump’s election” in 2016.

“What I saw in practice, though, was that not all of these individuals would have a pathway to Canada,” he said.

David Nurse is an immigration lawyer with McInnes Cooper in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. (CBC)

To immigrate to Canada, individuals must be supported through specific programs offered through the federal government, which are designed to attract the young and educated who are skilled in in-demand occupations.

“A lot of people, I guess I would say, were somewhat exploring the opportunity,” Nurse said. 

“They never obviously considered emigrating from the United States before and once they found out what was involved in terms of the effort, the cost and the time, many of them backed away.”

Vargas said she doesn’t regret her decision to move to Canada, despite it being a brief stay.

“Overall, it was an amazing experience. I’m very, very thankful that I moved to Canada,” she said.

However, she said she won’t be leaving the U.S. again.

“I want to stay, and I want to try to fight for everything that I can to make America the best country that I know it can be.”

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The 4 Keys to Paying Less On Your Car Insurance

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car insurance

If one of your friends or family members got a better car insurance premium than you, it isn’t because they know someone in the industry, or they got lucky; all they did was follow these four simple steps to lower auto insurance premiums:

When it comes to car insurance in Canada, many of us pay too much. If you happen to know someone who has the same driving record as you do, yet they are paying less, it isn’t an accident, and no insurance company. What they more than likely did was used these four ways to get the lower rate:

 

1. RATE COMPARISON

Ummm, let me say state this differently, the SHOPPED! We shop prices for cars, computers, clothes, and these days EVEN gas, but when it comes to car insurance, we get the quote from the insurance rep and say “ok” and pay the rate without even shopping it!

There is a couple of reasons why we do this, and incidentally, they are myths … here is why we don’t shop

Myth #1 – there is no reason to shop because there is no difference between insurance companies when it comes to the coverage. They all charge the same price

Myth #2 – shopping rates are for new drivers who don’t have insurance yet or those people who have had accidents or tickets.

Those myths need to be BLOW OUT OF THE WATER! If you believe them, it costs you money!

If your driving record is clean, you are probably still paying way too much for car insurance because car insurance companies DON’T all charge the same; their rates do vary, and in some cases, they differ a lot.

Take the time to get a Canada car insurance quote [http://www.insurmycar.ca/quoteme.html].

 

 

 

 

2. Deductibles, consider raising them…

A deductible is the amount of the claim that YOU pay, and then your insurance company pays the rest if you are involved in an accident. We usually take the lower deductible because we want to pay less out of our pocket and have the insurance company kick in more. Good in theory, but, of course, it doesn’t work that way. We are still paying a higher premium. If you go with a higher deductible, it lowers your premium; I mean, we aren’t in accidents every day, right? So, why not elect to pay the higher deductible to save over the long run on our rate?

 

 

3. Discount, hey, do you offer any…

There are many insurance discounts you can take advantage of; here are ones to ask for:

Age – when you hit 25, the rate drops. There could be other breaks as well… ask!

Multi-vehicle discount – more than one car insured with the same company

Multi-line discount – insure the car, house, cottage, and boat and get a break if it is with the same company.

Anti-theft discount – get discounts based on the anti-theft devices you have

Low mileage discount – you’re a lower risk if you don’t drive that much.

Occupational discount – depending on the line of work you’re in, you may be one.

Auto club discount: CAA or some of the other auto clubs have discounts.

The key here … If you don’t ask, you don’t get it!

 

 

4. Watch your driving…

I know, I know, things happen when you’re on the road. However, keep in mind that your driving record is the key factor insurance company’s use in figuring out your insurance rates. The accidents you happen to get involved in that are your fault, and the traffic tickets all factor in and remain with you for a long time, so pay attention to what you’re doing!

We ALL have to pay for car insurance in Canada; that’s the law. However, we DON’T have to pay huge car insurance premiums; take the time, and use the four keys above; you can save on car insurance in Canada!

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Hong Kong considers two-week quarantine for flight crew: SCMP

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(Reuters) – Hong Kong is considering ordering flight crew entering the Asian financial hub to quarantine for two weeks, the South China Morning Post reported on Thursday, citing sources.

All pilots and cabin crew, including local staff, will have to quarantine in a hotel if they stay in Hong Kong for more than two hours, three sources told the newspaper.

Hong Kong’s flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways and the government did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment on the potential mandate.

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam said earlier this week that social distancing measures set to expire this week would be extended to contain infections.

 

(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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