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Tim Hortons app tracking 'a mass invasion of Canadians' privacy': watchdog – Yahoo Canada Finance



Ottawa, Canada - December 16, 2021: Sign of Tim Hortons cafe in downtown of Ottawa, Canada. Tim Hortons is a popular canadian fast food restaurant.

Tim Hortons’ mobile app violated Canadian privacy laws, a new investigation has found.

Tim Hortons’ mobile app tracked and recorded users’ movements resulting in “a mass invasion of Canadians’ privacy” that violated Canadian laws, an investigation by federal and provincial privacy commissioners has found.

The investigation concluded that while Tim Hortons asked its millions of mobile app users for permission to access geolocation data, the company misled them into thinking the information would only be used when the app was open. In fact, the app tracked user data as long as the device was left on, generating an “event” every time users entered or exited a Tim Hortons competitor, a major sports venue or their home or workplace, according to the investigation.

Federal privacy commissioner Daniel Therrein says in a statement that the Tim Hortons app tracked and recorded users’ movements every few minutes on a daily basis, even when the app was not opened, “resulting in a mass invasion of Canadians’ privacy.”

“We have seen here an absolute lack of proportion between the continual tracking of customers’ location, their habits and other sensitive information this reveals about them, and a company’s desire to sell more products,” Therrein said.

“In my view, what happened here once again makes plain the urgent need for stronger privacy laws to protect the rights and values of Canadians.”

The investigation was conducted by the federal Privacy Commissioner alongside its provincial counterparts in Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. It was first launched in June 2020 after a Financial Post investigation found that the Tim Hortons app had tracked reporter James McLeod’s movements more than 2,700 times in a span of less than five months. More than 1.6 million active users were using the Tim Hortons app as of July 2020.

Tim Hortons spokesperson Michael Oliveira says in an emailed statement that the company has started to implement the privacy commissioners’ recommendations, and that the investigation does not require any new changes be made to the existing Tim Hortons app.

“We proactively removed the geolocation technology outlined in the report from the Tims app. Data from this geolocation technology was never used for personalized marketing for individual guests,” Oliveira said.

“The very limited use of this data was on an aggregated, de-identified basis to study trends in our business – and the results did not contain personal information from any guests.”

Tim Hortons app users ‘at risk of surveillance’

According to the investigation, Tim Hortons released an updated version of its app in May 2019 that featured enhanced location tracking using data collected by Radar, a U.S.-based third-party service provider. The company would receive an average of 10 data “events” per user per day from Radar.

While the data was not used for targeted advertising, it was used to analyze user trends. For example, Tim Hortons told the privacy commissioners that it could provide push notifications of promotional offers for users that were attending a professional hockey game, or travelling to a different city.

Tim Hortons disabled the location-tracking feature within days of the launch of the privacy investigation. The current version of the app uses location data to identify nearby Tim Hortons restaurants on a map, and the investigation said the company “is no longer using granular data collected through the app for any other purposes.”

But the privacy commissioners say the decision to stop continually tracking users “did not eliminate the risk of surveillance,” pointing to the Tim Hortons contract with Radar which “contained language so vague and permissive that it would have allowed the company to sell ‘de-identified’ location data for its own purposes.”

“Organizations must implement robust contractual safeguards to limit service providers’ use and disclosure of their app users’ information, including in de-identified form,” the privacy commissioners said in a statement.

“Failure to do so could put those users at risk of having their data used by data aggregators in ways they never envisioned, including for detailed profiling.”

The privacy commissioners’ report recommends that Tim Hortons delete any remaining location data and direct third-party service providers to do the same. It is also calling on the company to create a privacy management program that would ensure information collection is necessary and proportional to the impacts to people’s privacy.

The coffee and doughnut chain will have to report back to the privacy commissioners within nine months, detailing the measures it has implemented.

Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.

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Ford government caps rent increases to 2.5% in 2023 – CityNews Toronto



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  1. Ford government caps rent increases to 2.5% in 2023  CityNews Toronto
  2. Ontario is doubling how much landlords can hike rent prices by in 2023  blogTO
  3. Ontario rent guideline highest increase in a decade  CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News
  4. Rent increases in Ontario capped at 2.5 per cent next year
  5. View Full coverage on Google News

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Air Canada to reduce flights this summer amid 'customer service shortfalls' – CTV News



Air Canada is planning to reduce its flights in July and August, according to a statement from the company’s president, as the airline continues to deal with “customer service shortfalls.”

“Regrettably, things are not business as usual in our industry globally, and this is affecting our operations and our ability to serve you with our normal standards of care,” Michael Rousseau wrote.

The airline will be reducing its capacity as summer travel comes to a peak and pandemic-related restrictions on travel continue to lift.

In an emailed statement to CTV News Channel, an Air Canada spokesperson said the company will be reducing its schedule by an average of 154 flights per day for July and August. Prior to this change, Air Canada said it was operating around 1,000 flights per day. The routes most affected are flights to and from Toronto and Montreal airports. The changes will reduce the frequency of these flights, and will primarily affect evening and late-night flights on the airline’s smaller aircraft.

The spokesperson also said the airline will be temporarily suspending routes between Montreal and Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Kelowna, and Toronto and Fort McMurray. International flights will remain mostly unaffected, except for timing changes that the spokesperson said would reduce flying at peak times.

“To bring about the level of operational stability we need, with reluctance, we are now making meaningful reductions to our schedule in July and August in order to reduce passenger volumes and flows to a level we believe the air transport system can accommodate,” the statement reads.

While Rousseau acknowledges this will have a “negative impact on some customers,” he said he hopes giving this notice to the public of the airline’s reduced schedule will allow travellers to make other arrangements.

“We are convinced these changes will bring about the improvements we have targeted,” he said. “But to set expectations, it should also be understood the real benefits of this action will take time and be felt only gradually as the industry regains the reliability and robustness it had attained prior to the pandemic.”

Recent data shows that as we head into the summer travel season, more than half of all flights in and out of some of Canada’s major airports are being cancelled or delayed as the tourism and airline sectors continue to face staffing shortages. 

On Wednesday, the CEO of the Montreal-Trudeau Airport – where Air Canada said it would be reducing some of its flights – told CTV News Montreal that the airport was already in discussions with airlines to reduce the number of flights.

“We’re having discussions and it’s likely the frequencies — the number of flights we’ll have on a given destination — or destinations themselves,” Philippe Rainville said, adding that a staffing shortage at the airport is causing issues, most notably in loading and unloading luggage from planes.

Toronto Pearson International Airport is experiencing similar issues, with videos circulating on social media appearing to depict hundreds of pieces of luggage piled up in the baggage claim area.

“I have had conversations with the four largest airports and the two largest airlines just on Thursday and I will be having follow up conversations with them soon,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said at a press conference on Wednesday. “They know that they need to add more resources and they are working on that and we are offering our support to address these issues. But these are unacceptable issues.”

Airline and airport workers say some of the big reasons behind the struggle to address the industry’s staffing shortage are that they’re not being treated well, and their pay is not sufficient for how difficult the job is.

“There are so many screening officers that have quit because of low pay and poor working conditions that the airports are severely understaffed,” David Lipton, representative of the United Steelworkers union in Ottawa, told CTV National News on June 19.

Lipton said some unions are offering screening staff hundreds of dollars a week if they don’t take a vacation or sick days. 

With files from CTV News Montreal, CTV News Toronto, and Alexandra Mae Jones

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Accounting firm EY to pay $100M US fine after auditors caught cheating on ethics exams – CBC News



Accounting firm Ernst & Young will pay $100 million US to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charges that its auditors cheated on certified public accounting (CPA) exams and that it misled the agency’s investigators.

The London-based auditor admitted to the charges and agreed to pay what the SEC said is its largest fine against an auditor.

“EY acknowledges the findings determined by the SEC,” said Brendan Mullin, EY media relations director, adding that the firm’s response has been “thorough, extensive and effective.”

“At EY, nothing is more important than our integrity and our ethics.”

The CPA is the key qualification for accountants in the United States.

EY has also agreed to “undertake extensive remedial measures to fix the firm’s ethical issues,” the SEC said.

49 people got test answers ahead of time

The Wall Street watchdog found that 49 EY professionals “obtained or circulated” answer keys to CPA licence exams, while hundreds of others cheated to complete the continuing professional education components relating to CPA ethics.

“This action involves breaches of trust by gatekeepers … entrusted to audit many of our nation’s public companies. It’s simply outrageous that the very professionals responsible for catching cheating by clients cheated on ethics exams,” said Gurbir Grewal, the SEC’s enforcement director, in a statement.

“And it’s equally shocking that Ernst & Young hindered our investigation of this misconduct,” added Grewal.

EY submitted to the SEC that it did not have issues with cheating when, in fact, the firm had been informed of potential cheating on a CPA ethics exam by a member of staff, the SEC said.

It added that EY admitted it did not correct its submission even after an internal EY investigation confirmed there had been cheating, and even after its senior lawyers discussed the matter with the firm’s senior management.

The SEC’s order also finds that EY violated a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) rule requiring the firm to maintain integrity in the performance of a professional service.

The SEC has ordered EY to retain two independent consultants to help remediate its deficiencies. One will review the firm’s policies and procedures relating to ethics and integrity. The other will review EY’s conduct regarding its disclosure failures, including whether any EY employees contributed to the firm’s failure to correct its misleading submission, the SEC said.

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