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Fair & Lovely to rebrand; Air Canada to allow more COVID refunds: CBC's Marketplace Cheat Sheet

CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need from the week.

Consumer and health news you need from the week

A customer picks up a package of the 'Fair & Lovely' brand of skin-lightening product from a shelf in a shop in Ahmedabad, India, on Thursday. (Amit Dave/Reuters)

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

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Marketplace tests popular skin creams sold in Canada to find out if the ingredients are as toxic as the marketing. 22:31

Unilever drops 'Fair & Lovely' name  — but not the product

Unilever is making big headlines this week for removing the words "fairness," "whitening" and "lightening" from its products, which include Fair & Lovely — an extremely popular cream, especially in the South Asian community. 

In a release, the company announced it's going to drop that name in the next few months and wrote: "We recognize that the words 'fair,' 'white' and 'light' suggest a singular ideal of beauty that we don't think is right and we want to address this."

The company has come under fire for its hypocrisy in the last few weeks as the Black Lives Matter movement has grown to include reviews of systemic racism across many corporations.

As we reported in a recent investigation, skin lighteners are a growing global business expected to reach more than $31 billion US by 2024. Marketplace found that skin-lightening products from some other brands contained dangerous and unlisted ingredients, including mercury and hydroquinone. Read more about the upcoming name change.

An Air Canada worker cleans her ticketing station at Pearson International Airport in Toronto in April. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Air Canada now says some passengers entitled to refunds

The company has quietly changed its refund policy to allow some customers whose flights were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic to recoup their cash — but not passengers whose trips originated in Canada.

Customers with flights originating in the European Union, Switzerland and Iceland are now "entitled to receive a refund" due to the pandemic, states a document posted to Air Canada's website on June 15.

Many Canadians have expressed frustration at Air Canada's decision to offer credits instead of refunds for a majority of COVID-related flight cancellations. Read more about the policy change.

Many people who live and work on the street rely on cash to survive, which means they've been especially vulnerable to the fact cash use has declined in Canada during COVID-19. (Dillon Hodgin/CBC)

Declining cash use is hurting society's most vulnerable 

As more businesses ban or recommend against paying with cash, people whose livelihoods depend on it are struggling. That includes many people who live and work on the street, like panhandlers, street musicians and performers — many of whom are paid with cash and don't use bank accounts or credit cards. "It's going to again marginalize and exclude them from civil society," said Jeff Karabanow, a social work professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax. Read more about cash use during the pandemic.

Some experts and researchers suggest employers should consider another type of four-day work week, one that allows employees to work fewer hours and get paid their same weekly salary.  (Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock)

Could a 4-day work week become the new normal?

COVID-19 has changed the way we work already, but will it change the work week, too? Some businesses are considering adopting a shorter week, arguing that employees are more productive when they work less. The Nova Scotia community of Guysborough has already adopted a four-day week, and so far, so good. Read more about how the town is faring.

What else is going on?

Housing market recovery will be uneven across the country: CMHC report
In cities where the industry lends itself better to working from home, the recovery may be less difficult.

Amazon's carbon footprint rose 15 per cent despite green initiatives
The amount of CO2 Amazon emitted in 2019 was the equivalent of 13 coal-burning power plants running for a year.

New rules could lengthen wait for nursing home beds
New admissions in Ontario must be placed in rooms with no more than 2 beds

McDonald's ends Beyond Meat burger trial in Canada with no set plans for a plant-based option
A trial run by McDonald's of a plant-based burger has ended, with no plans to add the burger to the menu permanently.

Marketplace needs your help

Attention teachers and parents!

CBC is developing a new show for a youth audience. We're looking for tweens and teens to help us shape it. If you know any young adults between the ages of 11 and 14 who want to have their say, email jenny.cowley@cbc.ca to find out how you can participate!

Have you had success fighting for a refund?

Last month, Marketplace brought you the story of Joanna Banasik, a woman fighting to get more than $3,000 back after Air Canada cancelled her trip to Hawaii. Her credit card issuer, PC Financial, opened a dispute to reverse the charges after initially refusing her request.

When she followed up with the bank earlier this month, she got some unexpected news: Air Canada failed to respond within 45 days, so the money would be returned. 

"I was really surprised, to be honest," she said. "It was a lot of money. So I definitely think it was worth it." 

Banasik has some advice for those considering the credit card dispute process: "Don't give up. Just keep fighting for your money."

Have you had success fighting for a refund from your airline? Email us at marketplace@cbc.ca.

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

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