Connect with us

Business

Ride-hailing in Vancouver gets off to a contentious start with detours to courts – CBC.ca

Published

 on


The long-awaited arrival of Uber and Lyft in Metro Vancouver is facing legal challenges less than a week after they began operating as Surrey’s mayor also vows to keep the companies’ drivers off the city’s streets.

Premier John Horgan accused Mayor Doug McCallum on Wednesday of putting up unnecessary roadblocks in Surrey as ride-hailing in Metro Vancouver gets off to a contentious start.

Horgan, who faced intense pressure last year to speed up the ride-hailing approval process, said competition brings challenges, but the government developed a regulatory framework to ensure a level playing field for taxi firms and companies like Uber and Lyft.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

“When new competition comes in you want to make sure you’re protecting the existing industry, but not protecting it from competition,” the premier said at a news conference in Prince George. “This is a free market economy, people understand that.”

He said B.C.’s independent Passenger Transportation Board balanced the interests of the public and existing taxi industry before granting licence approvals last week to Uber and Lyft.

An Uber driver picks up passengers at Vancouver International Airport. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“The way forward for Surrey and for Mr. McCallum is to listen to the citizens in his community who want to see competition, not to destabilize and put people out of business, but to provide a range of options for the travelling public,” said Horgan.

McCallum said in a statement following the board’s approval of licences for Uber and Lyft that he will not support ride hailing in Surrey until he is convinced a fair playing field can be established.

“What continues to be my chief concern is the unfair advantage that has been created without any regard as to how it will impact those who are employed in the taxi industry,” McCallum said.

Michael van Hemmen, Uber’s spokesman for Western Canada, said the company filed an injunction application in British Columbia Supreme Court to prevent Surrey from issuing fines to its drivers in the city.

He said Surrey has not created a business licence for ride-hailing, compared to Vancouver’s decision to update its bylaws to create a clear classification for ride-hailing companies. But Uber drivers in Surrey face the prospect of being fined by bylaw officers, said van Hemmen.

The Vancouver Taxi Association has filed petitions in B.C. Supreme Court alleging unfairness towards the taxi industry. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Uber considers Surrey’s bylaw tickets illegal

The injunction application says the Passenger Transportation Board approved Uber to operate in the Lower Mainland, including Surrey. It also says Uber considers Surrey’s bylaw tickets illegal.

Van Hemmen told a news conference in Vancouver that Uber drivers will continue to operate in Surrey.

“We know that riders and drivers in Surrey want ride-sharing,” he said.

“A large number of drivers who drive with Uber are actually from Surrey.”

McCallum could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

But Uber is not the only organization going to court. The Vancouver Taxi Association has filed petitions in B.C. Supreme Court alleging unfairness toward the taxi industry and calling for the quashing of licence approvals for Lyft and Uber.

A hearing is set for Feb. 4 in Vancouver.

Ride-sharing designated pick-up for Uber and Lyft is now open at Vancouver’s international airport. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“The business model of the international transportation service network companies, specifically Uber and Lyft, is to dominate the passenger transportation market by not having to comply with the rules and regulations that apply to taxis,” says the petition representing nine companies.

“They do not want a limit on the number of vehicles they deploy through their apps, and they do not want restriction on the prices they charge to customers.”

Taxi association lawyer Peter Gall said the companies argue allowing Uber and Lyft to have no restrictions on vehicle numbers or pricing gives them an unfair advantage.

“The whole argument of the taxis is, give us an even playing field,” he said.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said she preferred not to comment on a matter that is before the courts, but the government spent two years developing legislation and regulations in advance of ride-hailing licences being approved by the independent board.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Business

‘More than disappointing’: Air Canada to stop direct flights to Calgary from Regina, Saskatoon

Published

 on

Saskatchewan residents looking to fly direct to Alberta’s largest city will soon have one less airline with which to do so.

CBC News has confirmed that Air Canada will be cancelling direct flights from the Saskatoon and Regina airports to Calgary in mid-January.

“It is a bit disappointing for the airport and the community,” said C.J. Dushinski, the Saskatoon Airport Authority’s vice president of business development and service quality.

“It certainly limits the amount of options available for travellers that are looking to get to Calgary or looking to travel beyond the connect.”

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

Dushinski and Justin Reves, the Regina airport’s manager of customer experience and marketing, told CBC News that Air Canada informed their respective airports that direct service to Calgary will end Jan. 16.

The Saskatoon airport authority hopes the airline will add additional seats to other hubs, such as Toronto and Vancouver, and that WestJet will add seats or service to Calgary, Dushinski said.

The Regina airport has contacted other airlines, including WestJet, about potential service, Reves said.

“Calgary is a huge market for the city of Regina,” he said.

“A lot of people, friends, family, business connections [are] there, and it’s primarily going to be disappointing for Air Canada customers who are used to being able to fly that route.”

Air Canada only offered one direct flight per day from Regina to Calgary, he added, in comparison with West Jet, which currently runs several flights daily.

Focus on rebuilding main hubs of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, Air Canada says

People flying out of Saskatoon and Regina will continue to see flights to and from Toronto and Vancouver, an Air Canada spokesperson told CBC News.

Saskatchewan residents will still be able to fly to Calgary, but only via other destinations, such as Vancouver.

Public health guidelines aimed to stymie the potential spread of COVID-19 affected all travel. Airports and airlines hemorrhaged money as a result of lower passenger traffic.

Air Canada has made changes to various routes to and from Calgary as it rebuilds from the impact of the pandemic, which means examining the network and where it would be most productive to deploy resources, the spokesperson said.

The airline has decided to focus on rebuilding its main hubs: Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, they said.

The announcement is a savvy business move, said Karl Moore, an associate professor with McGill University’s faculty of management in Montreal. He has previously consulted for Air Canada, among other companies.

Air Canada is looking at load levels — how many people fill certain flights and how much they pay — to see which flights are unprofitable, or which routes or hubs could be more profitable, Moore explained.

“They spend a lot of time thinking about that and that’s what good business people do,” Moore said, noting that WestJet made a similar move by cutting service on the east coast.

In an open letter to Air Canada, Economic Development Regina also expressed their concern and disappointment about the airline’s move to cancel direct flights from Saskatchewan to Calgary.

The suspension of these routes triples the travel time between Saskatchewan’s capital and Calgary, said Chris Lane, president and CEO of Economic Development Regina.

His organization is asking Air Canada to reconsider their decision and to commit to an expansion of their service to Regina, while looking at the city’s role when it comes to supplying “sustainable food and fertilizer” to the world, said Lane.

“As one of Canada’s fastest growing economies and population areas, the need for connectivity and the opportunity it presents for airlines is as necessary as it is mutually beneficial,” he said in the letter.

“[Regina’s] population will grow by almost 10 per cent in the next five years. Calgary’s numbers are similar and so are Saskatoon’s. That the flag carrier airline of Canada would choose to suspend direct connectivity between these regions at this time is more than disappointing; it is ill-considered.”

Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Theranos exec Sunny Balwani sentenced to 13 years in prison for defrauding patients and investors

Published

 on

The former COO of disgraced blood testing startup Theranos, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani was sentenced to 155 months, or about 13 years, in prison, and three years of probation. After a three-month trial, Balwani was found guilty on all 12 criminal charges, ranging from defrauding patients and investors to conspiring to commit fraud. Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes was convicted on four of these charges and was sentenced to 11.25 years in prison last month.

Despite the disparate outcomes from the two separate juries in two individual trials, Judge Ed Davila calculated Holmes’ and Balwani’s sentencing ranges to be exactly the same: 135 to 168 months, or 11.25 to 14 years. In both cases, prosecutor Jeff Schenk countered by asking for 15 years.

Balwani’s lawyers attempted to argue that he should get a more lenient sentence than Holmes, as he was not CEO.

“He’s not Ms. Holmes. He did not pursue fame and fortune,” said Balwani’s attorney Jeffrey Coopersmith.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

Judge Davila even noted that the court saw another side of Balwani when they were told about his charitable giving, some of which occurred after Theranos. Yet Balwani still received a severe sentence of 13 years.

Holmes and Balwani were supposed to be tried for fraud together, but the former CEO filed for a separate trial, stating that Balwani, who is 20 years her senior, had emotionally and sexually abused her during their long romantic relationship. Though the court was not ruling on those allegations, the judge granted the request.

Throughout the trial, Balwani’s lawyers attempted to make the case that even though he was an investor and executive at Theranos, he was not involved in key decision-making. The defense failed to argue for his innocence, though. In one piece of evidence, the jury was presented a text from Balwani to Holmes that read, “I am responsible for everything at Theranos.”

Balwani’s trial featured the same evidence that indicted Holmes. The prosecution focused on a key piece of evidence relating to Theranos’ relationship with Walgreens. The biotech startup’s faulty technology made its way into 41 Walgreens stores, but unbeknownst to the pharmacy giant, most of the tests were conducted on third-party equipment. Theranos’ own machines couldn’t produce accurate test results, so a lot of patients had blood drawn not with a finger prick but intravenously. So, Walgreens basically spent $140 million in its partnership with Theranos, only for the startup to use the same old tech that was already in use.

Despite claims to the contrary, a Walgreens executive testified that he worked closely with Balwani on the deal. The prosecution also displayed evidence of a text from Balwani to Holmes stating that he deliberately didn’t tell Walgreens that they were using different machines.

For patients that were unlucky enough to have their blood tested with Theranos’ technology, some got wildly inaccurate results that caused significant disruption to their lives. In one case, a mother with a history of miscarriages was wrongly informed that she would have another unsuccessful pregnancy. Another patient, Erin Tompkins, used Theranos for its low costs, got flagged as HIV-positive, and then lived in limbo for three months until she could afford a second blood test. As it turned out, she didn’t actually have HIV. Meanwhile, a patient named Mehrl Ellsworth was given a false cancer diagnosis.

Unlike the jury at Holmes’ trial, the jury at Balwani’s trial held him accountable for defrauding patients, not just investors.

Before the former COO’s sentencing hearing, Balwani’s lawyers filed 40 objections to the probation office’s pre-sentence investigation report, according to tweets from Law 360 reporter Dorothy Atkins, who was present at the hearing. Judge Davila, who also presided over Holmes’ trial, said that only four of those objections were substantive.

“Usually sentencing hearings are morbid regardless of the crime — like watching a car crash where you watch families and lives being destroyed in real time,” Atkins tweeted from the court room. “This one feels more like an accounting class.”

It would certainly not be unprecedented if Balwani decides to appeal this ruling. After Holmes’ own sentencing, the former Theranos CEO told a California federal judge that she would appeal her conviction. She then asked to stay out of custody while her appeal is under consideration, also citing that she is currently pregnant with her second child. As it stands, Holmes’ surrender date is April 27, while Balwani will report to prison on March 15.

Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Bank of Canada increases policy interest rate by 50 basis points, continues quantitative tightening

Published

 on

The Bank of Canada today increased its target for the overnight rate to 4¼%, with the Bank Rate at 4½% and the deposit rate at 4¼%. The Bank is also continuing its policy of quantitative tightening.

Inflation around the world remains high and broadly based. Global economic growth is slowing, although it is proving more resilient than was expected at the time of the October Monetary Policy Report (MPR). In the United States, the economy is weakening but consumption continues to be solid and the labour market remains overheated. The gradual easing of global supply bottlenecks continues, although further progress could be disrupted by geopolitical events.

In Canada, GDP growth in the third quarter was stronger than expected, and the economy continued to operate in excess demand. Canada’s labour market remains tight, with unemployment near historic lows. While commodity exports have been strong, there is growing evidence that tighter monetary policy is restraining domestic demand: consumption moderated in the third quarter, and housing market activity continues to decline. Overall, the data since the October MPR support the Bank’s outlook that growth will essentially stall through the end of this year and the first half of next year.

CPI inflation remained at 6.9% in October, with many of the goods and services Canadians regularly buy showing large price increases. Measures of core inflation remain around 5%. Three-month rates of change in core inflation have come down, an early indicator that price pressures may be losing momentum. However, inflation is still too high and short-term inflation expectations remain elevated. The longer that consumers and businesses expect inflation to be above the target, the greater the risk that elevated inflation becomes entrenched.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

Looking ahead, Governing Council will be considering whether the policy interest rate needs to rise further to bring supply and demand back into balance and return inflation to target. Governing Council continues to assess how tighter monetary policy is working to slow demand, how supply challenges are resolving, and how inflation and inflation expectations are responding. Quantitative tightening is complementing increases in the policy rate. We are resolute in our commitment to achieving the 2% inflation target and restoring price stability for Canadians.

Information note

The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is January 25, 2023. The Bank will publish its next full outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, in the MPR at the same time.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending