Homeopathic remedies; Canada halts import of goods linked to forced labour: 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.

Scientist Sophia Li Yue watches as CBC Marketplace reporter David Common tests winter boots on an icy surface. (Stephanie Matteis/CBC)

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

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Buying homeopathic remedies for your sick kids? You might want to think again

Homeopathic products can often be found in the cold and flu section of the drug store, right next to products backed with scientific evidence like Tylenol and Advil. 

But there's a big difference between the two products —  and if you're hoping to use a homeopathic remedy to treat cold and flu symptoms — there's a good chance they won't do anything at all.

"It's pseudoscience at its worst," said Timothy Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Alberta.

But that hasn't stopped some pharmacists from recommending the products anyway.

Marketplace producers spoke with 10 pharmacists at four major drugstore chains chosen at random in the Toronto area, including Rexall, Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart and Metro, and documented what they heard on hidden camera.

Six out of 10 did recommend the homeopathic remedy and indicated it would help provide symptom relief. 

"I think it's really, really important to emphasize that the whole idea behind homeopathy is scientifically absurd," said Caulfield.

Unlike vitamins and supplements, there is no debate in the scientific literature about homeopathic remedies, he says. "Homeopathy is [an] over billion-dollar industry, selling sugar water." Read more

5 out of 6 winter boots fail slip test on ice, Marketplace finds

If you're in the market for a new pair of winter boots this holiday season, you'll want to read the findings of Marketplace's latest investigation. 

We looked at popular brands for sale in Canada — Merrell, Sorel, Kamik, Ugg, Timberland and WindRiver — to see how some of these companies' winter boots would fare on a wet, icy surface. 

Five out of the six brands didn't pass the slip test, conducted at the KITE Research Institute in Toronto. 

As it turns out, winter boots equipped with fibre-embedded soles may be the answer to fewer slips and falls on ice this winter. Read more

'It's about time': Canada seizes goods linked to forced labour from China, Malaysia

The federal government has stopped two separate shipments of goods linked to forced labour from entering Canada — a move that has some advocates pleased but still pushing for more. 

A shipment of women's and children's clothing from China was intercepted in Quebec and held by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) sometime between Oct. 11 and Nov. 3.

The clothing was held under a trade tariff that prohibits goods "mined, manufactured or produced wholly or in part by forced labour" from entering Canada. 

It marked the first time the federal government has implemented this tariff, which was brought into effect on July 1, 2020, after the ratification of the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA).

In another move, a major supplier of nitrile gloves to the Canadian government was asked by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) to cease shipments until the company proves there is no forced labour in its supply chain.

"It's about time," Independent Sen. Julie Miville-Dechêne said of the halted shipments. Read more

The news follows two recent Marketplace investigations that found clothing and personal protective equipment with links to Chinese and Malaysian forced labour on Canadian store shelves.

In a first, the Canada Border Services Agency intercepted a shipment of women's and children's clothing from China under a trade tariff that prohibits goods 'mined, manufactured or produced wholly or in part by forced labour' from entering Canada. (Canada Border Services Agency)

Hate robocallers? CRTC says telcos have until end of the month to help you ID them

Sick of getting phone calls from numbers you don't recognize? Relief might be on the way.

Canada's telecommunications regulator is mandating that telecom companies implement new technology aimed at bringing Canadians some relief from spoof and fraudulent phone calls.

In a speech to the Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto on Monday, CRTC chair Ian Scott said the country's telecom companies have until Nov. 30 to update their networks to meet a technical standard that gives telecom providers the ability to validate a caller's identity.

Scott said unwanted calls, or robocalls, have become such a widespread problem that they are contributing to an "erosion of confidence in the telecommunications system."

"Something in the order of 25 per cent, or more than 25 per cent, of all the calls made on mobile networks are robocalls," Scott said in an interview following his address. "It's a huge problem, and it's going to require tremendous effort by regulators and co-operation by the industry to address." Read more

Marketplace has been investigating phone scams for nearly five years, including the CRA scamtech support scam and bank investigator scam.

Do you receive those unwanted calls? Have you fallen victim to one of these scams? Get in touch with us at

The head of the CRTC says telecom companies have until the end of the month to meet a technical standard that gives telecom providers the ability to validate a caller's identity. (CBC)

What else is going on? 

Broken iPhone? Apple will finally sell parts to let you fix it 
The move is considered a major step forward for "right to repair" advocates.

Marketplace tested Perrier, LaCroix, Bubly sparkling waters to see which is most acidic 
Lab tests show some drinks are more acidic than others, and could pose a hazard to oral health.

This Halifax-area man's oven caught fire while making turkey dinner
Rodney Parsons says the manufacturer — Samsung — refuses to replace it, even after a technician determined the oven malfunctioned through no fault of the family.

Phones top list of fires among electronic devices, says Health Canada
"We see a number of fires caused by those types of devices," says Nova Scotia's acting fire marshal.

Ottawa confirms it will nix COVID-19 test for Canadians taking short trips, starting Nov. 30
Travel must be under 72 hours.

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