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We spent a day taking rideshares in Vancouver. Here's what we learned –



After years of waiting, James Su didn’t get to test out his Uber license the day the service launched in Vancouver. His wife wouldn’t let him.

“It was Chinese New Years Eve,” he said, laughing. “[She] stopped me from going out.”

But on Saturday, he made up for the lost time, taking to the road at 9 a.m. PT and barely finding time for a break for the next six hours.

CBC News spent the day taking rideshares across Vancouver, chatting with drivers like Su, who say there is demand from eager passengers. Here’s what we learned from taking rides around town.

Lyft started making trips in Vancouver on January 24. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Cab drivers already making the switch

If you can’t beat them — join them.

That’s the attitude of one Uber driver, who asked not to be named fearing repercussions from his employer at a Vancouver-based taxi company.

“Nobody can fight with technology,” he told CBC News, which agreed to protect his identity.

“We couldn’t get Uber here because of politics and power, but the funny thing is, nobody can fight it — there is nothing more powerful than technology. So, I wanted to be ahead of the game.”

He said the choice was made easier by complaints people have about the taxi industry.

“I was trying to give very good service to people [as a cab driver],” he said. “But people have a very bad impression of the taxi industry, no matter how good you are.”

“I believe in the end, most of the taxi drivers are going to switch to this. They have no choice,” he said.

The Vancouver Taxi Association said Friday its members are extremely upset with the Passenger Transportation Board’s (PTB) decision to approve ride-hailing.

It says the new service will be devastating to the taxi industry and those who work in it.

The association is pursuing a judicial review of the PTB’s decision and asking the board to regulate the number of ride-hailing vehicles in the same way it restricts the size of taxi fleets.

Uber and Lyft are paying drivers up to $500 to sign up for services. For now, a driver shortage can mean waits for rides. (CBC)

Wage disappointments

Lyft driver Donald Chang took to the streets shortly after the service officially launched in Vancouver on Friday. He said he worked for about three hours and made just over $100.

He was hoping to have earned more.

“I don’t think it’s what I expected, the price isn’t that high” said Chang, who bought a new vehicle so he could become a rideshare driver.

It’s a sentiment echoed by James Su, who expects he’ll average about $300 per day.

“I just [drove] a South African couple from Richmond to East Vancouver, and that only gives me $17,” he said. “It was a long trip — I think it should have been over $20.”

Su would like to see a lower commission taken by ridesharing companies. He says Uber takes about 25 per cent of each fare. Lyft’s driver fees vary.

Ride-hailing services use demand pricing, as opposed to fixed taxi charges.

A customer takes the first Lyft ride in Vancouver on Jan. 24, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Wait times, wait times, wait times

Both companies are eager for more drivers and currently offering a $500 bonus for those who sign up.

The shortage can be noticeable when hailing a ride, with wait times sometimes exceeding 15 minutes. Despite being available across Metro Vancouver, numerous Uber requests by CBC News expired before the app was able to assign a driver.

Lyft has limited its operations to the core of Vancouver to optimize its service.

Still, drivers say its early yet for the service and expect there will be more cars on the road day by day — and plenty more passengers, too.

“I think it’s going to get a lot busier in the future,” said Chang.

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TD Bank CFO Ahmed to head securities unit, move seen as CEO succession play



TD Bank Group on Thursday named Chief Financial Officer Riaz Ahmed chief executive of its securities unit and head of wholesale banking, a move some investors interpreted as a sign he will succeed CEO Bharat Masrani.

For Ahmed, 58, the change marks a return to his TD roots. He began his career at the bank in 1996 as an investment banker in the securities division, following which he served as its CFO and chief administrative officer. He has been part of TD Bank‘s executive team for nine years, and CFO for over five.

“Cross-training in the capital markets role … increases the likelihood of (Ahmed) succeeding Masrani when he retires, but I doubt it would be soon, as that would create unnecessary turnover atop TD Securities,” said Brian Madden, portfolio manager at Goodreid Investment Counsel.

“Maybe Masrani announces his retirement next year (or the following) and leaves early in 2023” or 2024.

Masrani’s compensation arrangements anticipated his retirement in 2020, TD said in its 2019 shareholders meeting proxy circular. But he was granted stock options worth C$1.9 million ($1.5 million), vesting in five years, on the condition that he remain available to serve as CEO throughout that period.

Ahmed replaces Bob Dorrance, who will retire on Sept. 1 after about 16 years at the bank, Canada’s second-biggest lender by market value said in a statement.

When asked about TD’s succession plans, a spokesperson said: “Today we are celebrating Bob Dorrance’s incredible career and accomplishments, and the appointment of top executives to critical, leadership roles.”

At a time when diversity, particularly in executive and board ranks, has come under increased scrutiny, Ahmed’s appointment as CEO would mean TD, the only one of Canada’s six biggest lenders to have a non-Caucasian at its helm, would retain that aspect.

Ahmed’s appointment comes after TD’s wholesale banking unit recorded an 8% revenue decline in the second quarter from a year ago, contributing to the bank’s overall underperformance versus some rivals.

Kelvin Tran, currently executive vice president for enterprise finance, will replace Ahmed as finance chief.

Dorrance, who has headed TD Securities since 2005, will stay on as chairman of TD Securities and serve as special adviser to Masrani.

TD shares were flat at C$87.12 on Thursday afternoon, compared with a 0.2% gain in the Toronto stock index. The shares are up 21% this year, versus a 15% gain in the benchmark.

($1 = 1.2303 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Nichola Saminather in Toronto; Additional reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in BengaluruEditing by Nick Zieminski and Matthew Lewis)

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AIB agrees to life and pensions joint-venture with Canada Life



Allied Irish Banks on Wednesday said it would form a joint venture with Canada life as it seeks to plug gaps in its life, savings and wealth products.

The joint venture will be equally owned by Canada Life, a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc.

“The move to create this joint venture is aligned with AIB’s stated ambition to complete its customerproduct suite and diversify income,” AIB said in a statement.

“Through this strategic initiative AIB intends to offer customers a range of life protection, pensions, savings and investment options enhanced by integrated digital solutions withcontinued access to our qualified financial advisors.”

The Irish lender highlighted Canada Life’s “deep experience” of the Irish bancassurance market through Irish Life Assurance, which is also a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco.

AIB currently operates under a tied agency distribution agreement with Irish Life, and will enter into a new distribution agreement with the new joint venture company.

Chief Executive Colin Hunt highlighted the need to plug gaps in AIB’s life, savings and wealth products when he set out the bank’s medium-term targets last December.

AIB expects its equity investment in the joint venture will be around 90 million euros ($107.51 million), equating to around 10bps of CET1.($1 = 0.8372 euros)

(Reporting by Graham Fahy;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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Interac: Canada’s Latest Payment Solution Phenomenon



Few can argue that digital payment methods aren’t central to modern-day society. In recent times, increasing numbers of payment solutions have come to the forefront, offering consumers more choice regarding their transaction preferences. Canada, in particular, has embraced a wide-ranging selection of secure, forward-thinking options. Of those available throughout the country, Interac has piqued the interests of local consumers the most. So, let’s look at why this payment solution is an especially popular option throughout Canada. 

Usable Across Various Markets 

It speaks volumes about Interac’s versatility in that it’s usable across a variety of different industries. Since being founded in 1984, the Canadian interbank network has become integral to numerous markets, including local air travel. Air Canada, which has been operating since 1937, has expanded their accepted payment methods, and now passengers can pay for their flights using Interac. According to the airline’s official website, the Interac Online service lets consumers pay for their tickets via the internet directly from their bank account. 

Not only that, but Interac is also available at Walmart. In November 2020, the two organizations partnered together to expand in-store and online payment options. Walmart has adapted well to the digital trend, with American Banker reporting that they’ve opened Interac Flash sale points throughout their stores. 

Source: Unsplash

Aside from the above, Interac has also taken the digital world by storm. Following its rapid rise to prominence, the solution has also altered the online casino industry, with platforms like Genesis Casino now accepting the transaction type. The provider, which features Interac Canadian casino options, uses the popular payment method to enhance transaction speeds of deposits and withdrawals, as well as security. Players can use Interac Online and Interac e-Transfer to make deposits or withdrawals from their desktops or mobiles as the platform is fully optimized. 

A Reflection of Modern-Day Society 

In recent times, Interac recorded a 55 percent increase in transactions between April and August 2020 compared to the same period the previous year, as per BNN Bloomberg. These figures somewhat reflect the current state of e-Commerce and modern consumerism. Following the rise of Interac and other payment methods, it’s now less troublesome for consumers to complete in-store and online purchases. 

Source: PxHere

There’s an ever-growing perception that land-based businesses need to adapt within the digital era and accept forward-thinking payment methods. According to Cision, Interac is of utmost importance to the Canadian economy, and a year-on-year increase in Interac Debit payments of 333 percent reflects that. Not only that, but Interac e-Transfer payments are growing at 52 percent each year. This Interac-oriented trend appears unlikely to fade over the coming years, with the network being selected as the country’s provider for a new real-time payment system, as per Lexology. 

Consumer Habits are Changing 

There can be no doubt that consumerism has changed drastically over the past decade. The popularity of Interac suggests that a cashless future may be on the horizon, with increasing numbers of shoppers enjoying the security of online payment methods. While it’s currently unclear if that will happen, Interac appears to be prevalent for the long run.

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