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No receipt needed for Microsoft class-action claims; A work-from-home tax break: CBC's Marketplace Cheat Sheet –



Miss something this week? Don’t panic. CBC’s Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday.

Have you spent most of the year working from home? A tax break might be coming your way

If you were sent away from the office back in March to work from home, it’s likely you’ll qualify for a new tax deduction. According to new rules from the Canadian Revenue Agency, those who worked from home more than 50 per cent of the time over a period of at least four consecutive weeks as a result of the pandemic will be eligible for a deduction. Those who qualify will be able to claim $2 for each day they worked from home during that period, up to a maximum of $400. Read more

The CRA has come up with a new way for Canadians to claim a tax deduction for working from home. (Submitted by Sandy Mangat)

You won’t need a receipt to benefit from this class-action lawsuit

If you bought any PC versions of Microsoft software between 1998 and 2010, you might be eligible for compensation. And depending on the size of your claim, you won’t even need a receipt. The lawsuit alleged that Microsoft and Microsoft Canada were involved in a conspiracy to illegally increase prices for the company’s products. Microsoft agreed to a settlement — capped at $517 million — but denies any wrongdoing and has not admitted liability. Read more

One of the largest class-action settlements in Canada could be worth money in your pocket. 2:21

These nursing homes have the highest COVID-19 death rates in Ontario 

Not all for-profit long-term care homes in Ontario are equal when it comes to COVID-19, according to a new Marketplace investigation and data analysis. The analysis found that both Southbridge and Rykka homes had higher death rates than other for-profit homes in the province. Read more

Protesters gather outside Hawthorne Place Care Centre in Toronto on May 31, 2020. The home is owned by Rykka Care Centres, a nursing home chain with one of the highest COVID-19 death rates in Ontario. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Amazon opens pickup depot in Iqaluit, promising dramatically faster shipping

The new partnership with Canadian North will cut delivery times for Amazon Prime members from two to three weeks, down to three to five days. Many Iqaluit shoppers have come to rely on the company, which offers items like non-perishable food, toothpaste, tampons and deodorant at significantly lower prices than local brick-and-mortar stores, with prices driven up by shipping costs, staff wages and power bills. But as Iqaluit Coun. Kyle Sheppard acknowledged, those who lack a credit card, bank account, or the spare money for a Prime membership still won’t be able to benefit from the deal. Read more

Back in the fall, Marketplace investigated where Amazon returns really end up.

Hidden cameras and secret GPS trackers reveal that some products sent back to Amazon Canada are being liquidated by the truckload and even destroyed or sent to the landfill. 11:27

What else is going on?

Canada Post moves up parcel delivery deadlines amid unprecedented holiday demand
Canada Post delivered a record 1.1 million parcels last weekend.

Tight controls on COVID-19 vaccine may limit queue-jumping for the well connected
The NHL came under fire following a report it was looking to buy doses of the vaccine.

Ontario retirement homes push for mandatory COVID-19 testing for caregivers, support workers
Number of retirement home outbreaks up by 70 per cent since September, regulator says.

Federal sickness benefit payouts don’t match spike in COVID-19 cases
Government anticipated 4.9 million workers could need sick leave, but fewer than 250,000 have received benefits so far.

These deli meats been recalled due to a possible Listeria contamination
If you have any Compliments brand Montreal-style smoked meat or Levitts brand corned beef and New York-style pastrami in your fridge, check the dates.

Happy holidays from Marketplace

It’s been a year unlike any other and we’re grateful for the support from our viewers.

Thanks to your tips, we’ve been able to do what we do best all year long.

Over the past few months, Marketplace has investigated what happens to Amazon returns; the crisis in long-term care homesappliance repair rip-offs; the virtually unregulated trade of puppy imports; fighting for airline refunds during the pandemic; racism in the oilsands; pandemic price gouging; and the best and most effective face masks for keeping you safe from COVID-19.

We’ll be back in the new year with new stories and new investigations.

Happy holidays!

-The Marketplace Team

Marketplace needs your help

Did you get COVID-19 and experience symptoms longer than expected?

Some long-haulers say they have spent thousands of dollars on post-COVID care, while others tell us physicians didn’t believe them.

We’re looking at long-haulers to better understand how Canadians are coping with the disease and what supports they believe could help. Share your experience with us by taking this questionnaire.

Catch up on past episodes of Marketplace any time on CBC Gem.

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Ontario allows second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to be delayed amid shortage – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



The Ontario government has updated its recommendation for when some people should receive the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine after it was announced that there will likely be a shortage.

The new recommendation comes after the federal government announced earlier there will be a “temporary” delay of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shipments due to expansions of the company’s European manufacturing facility. It could result in a 50 per cent cut in shipments in January.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said in a statement on Saturday morning that long-term care and high-risk retirement home residents – and their essential caregivers – who received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine will receive their second dose in 21 to 27 days.

Staff who were vaccinated within the homes will also receive their second dose within this time period.

The government said that for all other people who received the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine they will now receive their second dose between 21 and 42 days.

People who received the Moderna vaccine will receive their second dose after the scheduled 28 days.

The vaccine adjustments align with the recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), the government said.

Ontario was expecting to receive more than 160,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the final two weeks of January, a delivery schedule that’s now in doubt.

Health Minister Christine Elliott told CTV News Toronto on Friday the province is awaiting further details on the “the exact allocations” and the “timing of those allocations” but said the province is once again reserving vials of the vaccine to ensure second doses are administered.

“We have some in reserve to make sure that we are going to be able to do the second doses in the appropriate period of time. So no one needs to worry about whether they will get their second dose or not,” Elliott said.

As of 8 p.m. on Friday, 189,090 initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario.

-With files from CTV News Toronto’s Colin D’Mello

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GM, Unifor reach tentative deal to build electric delivery vans in Ontario –



GM Canada says it has reached a tentative deal with Unifor that, if ratified, will see it invest $1 billion to transform its CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont., to make commercial electric vehicles.

Unifor national president Jerry Dias said along with the significant investment, the agreement between the company and union will mean new products, new jobs and job security for workers.

In a statement, Dias said that more details of the tentative deal will be presented to Unifor Local 88 members at an online ratification meeting scheduled for Sunday.

He said the results of the ratification vote are scheduled to be released on Monday.

Details of the agreement were not released Friday night, but the Ontario government issued a statement on Saturday praising the deal as “good news.”

“Unifor and General Motors have worked together to reach a tentative deal that will further strengthen Ontario’s world-class auto sector for its workers, their families and the communities they live in,” a joint statement from Premier Doug Ford and Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli said.

FedEx lined up to buy electric delivery vans

A GM spokesperson said in a statement that the plan is to build BrightDrop EV 600s — an all-new GM business announced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show that will offer a cleaner way for delivery and logistics companies to move goods more efficiently. The growth of online shopping has increased demand for electric vans.

BrightDrop’s first customer is FedEx, which will begin receiving GM’s EV600 electric vans later this year.

The Ingersoll plant currently makes Chevrolet Equinox SUVs.

Unifor said the contract would bring total investment negotiated by the union to nearly $6 billion after new agreements were ratified with General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler in 2020 that included support from the federal and Ontario governments.

It said the Ford deal reached in September included $1.95 billion to bring battery electric vehicle production to Oakville, Ont., and a new engine derivative to Windsor, Ont., while the Fiat Chrysler agreement included more than $1.5 billion to build plug-in hybrid vehicles and battery electric vehicles.

Unifor said in November that General Motors agreed to a $1.3 billion investment to bring 1,700 jobs to Oshawa, Ont., plus more than $109 million to insource new transmission work for the Corvette and support continued V8 engine production in St. Catharines, Ont.

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GM to invest C$1 billion in Canada plant to manufacture electric vans – Reuters



FILE PHOTO: The General Motors Co (GM) CAMI assembly plant is seen in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

(Reuters) – General Motors Co and labor union Unifor said on Friday they have reached a tentative deal for the automaker to invest nearly C$1 billion ($785.42 million) in its CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, to manufacture commercial electric vans.

Under the tentative deal, which is yet to be ratified by the union workers, GM has agreed to begin large-scale commercial production of EV600, an electric van, at its CAMI plant, Unifor said in a statement.

The Detroit automaker said in a separate statement that work would begin immediately at the plant.

The new deal builds upon recent investments by GM in Canada, which in November had agreed to invest C$1 billion in its Oshawa plant to expand production of its full-size pickup trucks.

The Canadian government welcomed the deal and said it would confirm its support as soon as the union members ratified the deal.

“We await the results of the ratification vote,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said in a statement.

Unifor, the union representing hourly workers in Canada, said more details of the deal would be presented to local members of the union at an online ratification meeting scheduled for Jan. 17, the results of which are scheduled to be released a day later.

($1 = 1.2732 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru with additional reporting by Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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