Canada’s telecommunications regulator is mandating that telecom companies implement new technology aimed at bringing Canadians some relief from spoof and fraudulent phone calls.
In a speech to the Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto on Monday, CRTC chair Ian Scott said the country’s telecom companies have until Nov. 30 to update their networks to meet a technical standard that gives telecom providers the ability to validate a caller’s identity.
Scott said unwanted calls, or robocalls, have become such a widespread problem that they are contributing to an “erosion of confidence in the telecommunications system.”
“Something in the order of 25 per cent, or more than 25 per cent, of all the calls made on mobile networks are robocalls,” Scott said in an interview following his address. “It’s a huge problem, and it’s going to require tremendous effort by regulators and co-operation by the industry to address.”
In 2019, the CRTC approved the establishment of the Canadian Secure Token-Governance Authority Inc., an industry group whose role is to encourage industry-wide adoption of policies, protocols, and operating procedures to mitigate spoofing and illegal robocalling.
One piece of the puzzle is called Secure Telephony Information Revisited, or STIR, a technical standard that provides a means for carriers to authenticate the identity of callers.
The other component, known as “Shaken,” is short for “signature-based handling of asserted information using tokens,” and refers to the framework for implementing the standard in IP-based service providers’ networks.
While the only deadline Canadian carriers must meet by the end of the month is to update their networks to enable the implementation of the technology, Scott said the vision is to give Canadians the ability to determine which calls are legitimate and worth answering, and which need to be treated with caution.
Red light, green light system for call recipients
Ultimately, Scott said call recipients could see a caller ID that pops up with either a red light or green light beside the name, indicating whether the caller’s identity has been verified by the carrier or not.
Scott noted that the CRTC has also required service providers to either provide their subscribers with the ability to filter calls or to implement a call-blocking system.
He said Bell Canada has gone so far as to apply to the CRTC to permanently block calls that are confirmed as fraudulent on the company’s network. He said Bell has been testing this technology over the past two years and has blocked more than 1.1 billion calls between July 2020 and October 2021.
The CRTC is currently reviewing Bell’s application and expects to issue a decision soon, Scott said.
Other carriers should also consider ways they can do more to protect their subscribers against nuisance and potentially harmful activities on their networks, Scott said, noting that robocalls are often used by criminals looking to dupe hard-working people out of their money and their sensitive data.
He said it should be carriers, not consumers, who pay the costs associated with implementing robocall-mitigating technologies.
“This is not a profit opportunity, but an opportunity to engage with and support customers, and to build their confidence in your ability to serve,” Scott said in his speech.
Tentative deal between union workers and beef producer Cargill struck | CTV News – CTV News Calgary
With less than a week to go before workers were set to go on strike at Cargill’s High River, Alta. beef processing plant, the company says a tentative deal has been reached.
The company announced the development on Wednesday and says it is “encouraged by the outcome” of recent talks.
“After a long day of collaborative discussion, we reached an agreement on an offer that the bargaining committee will recommend to its members. The offer is comprehensive and fair and includes retroactive pay, signing bonuses, a 21 per cent wage increase over the life of the contract and improved health benefits,” Cargill wrote in a statement to CTV News via email.
The company adds it also “remains optimistic” a deal can be finalized before the strike deadline.
“(We) encourage employees to vote on this offer which recognizes the important role they play in Cargill’s work to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. While we navigate this negotiation, we continue to focus on fulfilling food manufacturer, retail and food service customer orders while keeping markets moving for farmers and ranchers,” it wrote.
The United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union (UFCW) Local 401 was expected to go on strike on Dec. 6.
It rejected the most recent attempt at a deal on Nov. 25 by a 98 per cent margin.
According to a statement from UFCW Local 401, the negotiating team engaged in “a marathon day” of talks with the company on Tuesday.
“Late in the evening, our bargaining committee concluded that they were in receipt of a fair offer and that they were prepared to present that offer to their coworkers with a recommendation of acceptance,” it wrote in a statement.
The union says the tentative deal will “significantly improve” the lives of Cargill workers and will be the ‘best food processing contract in Canada.”
Highlights from the deal include:
- $4,200 in retroactive pay for many employees;
- $1,000 signing bonus;
- $1,000 COVID-19 bonus;
- More than $6,000 total bonuses for workers three weeks before Christmas;
- $5 wage increase for many employees;
- Improved health benefits; and
- Provisions to facilitate a new culture of health, safety, dignity and respect in the workplace
While UFCW Local 401 president Thomas Hesse calls the deal “fair,” he will support workers on the picket line if they decide to reject the proposal.
“If they do accept it, I’ll work with them every day to make Cargill a better workplace,” Hesse said in a statement. “I will do as our members ask me to do.
“I respect all of the emotions that they feel and the suffering that they have experienced.”
Employees are expected the vote on the new deal between Dec. 2 and 4.
Afterpay delays vote on $29 billion buyout as Square awaits Spain’s nod
Afterpay Ltd will delay a shareholder meet to approve Square Inc’s $29-billion buyout of the Australian buy now, pay later leader, as the Jack Dorsey-led payment company awaits regulatory nod in Spain.
The investor meet was set for Dec. 6, but Afterpay said it would likely take place next year as Square, which has rebranded itself to Block Inc, is likely to get an approval from the Bank of Spain only in mid-January.
The delay is unlikely to impact the completion of Australia‘s biggest deal, which is set for the first quarter of 2022, Afterpay said.
“We continue to believe the risks of the transaction closing are minimal,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Chami Ratnapala said in a brief client note.
Meanwhile, Twitter Inc co-founder Dorsey is expected to focus on Square after stepping down as chief executive of the social media platform as it looks to expand beyond its payment business and into new technologies like blockchain.
Afterpay shares fell more than 6%, far underperforming the broader Australian market, tracking Square’s 6.6% drop overnight in U.S. market on worries over the Omicron variant.
(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian, Sameer Manekar and Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Rashmi Aich and Arun Koyyur)
Canada Goose under fresh fire in China over no-return policies
China’s top consumer protection organisation has warned Canada Goose Holdings Inc against “bullying” customers in China with its return policies, just three months after the winterwear brand was fined for false advertising.
The premium down jacket manufacturer has been a hot topic on Chinese social media in recent days over its handling of a case involving a customer who wanted a refund of her purchases amounting to 11,400 yuan ($1,790.17) after finding quality issues.
She said she was told by Canada Goose that all products sold at its retail stores in mainland China were strictly non-refundable, according to her account which went viral online.
State-backed media such as the Global Times newspaper later cited Canada Goose as denying that it had a no-refund policy and that all products sold at its retail stores in mainland China were refundable in line with Chinese laws. The company did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
That has not failed to quell criticism of the brand.
“No brand has any privileges in front of consumers,” the government-backed China Consumer Association (CCA) said in an opinion piece posted on its website on Thursday morning.
“If you don’t do what you say, regard yourself as a big brand, behave arrogantly and in a superior way, adopt discriminatory policies, be condescending and bully customers, you will for sure lose the trust of consumers and be abandoned by the market,” the CCA said.
Representatives of the brand were summoned for talks on Wednesday by the Shanghai Consumer Council to explain its refund policy in China.
The dressing down of Canada Goose comes as tension between China and Western countries has fuelled patriotism and driven some shoppers to turn to home-grown labels.
Canada Goose was also fined 450,000 yuan in September in China for “misleading” consumers in its ads.
($1 = 6.3681 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Sophie Yu, Brenda Goh; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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