Why the CRA might owe you money; Airlines continue to deny compensation claims: CBC's Marketplace cheat sheet
Consumer and health news from the week starting Aug. 1
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Nearly 9 million Canadians have $1.4B in uncashed CRA cheques — could you be one of them?
Good news from the Canada Revenue Agency for a change? Now that's a treat.
Over the next month, the CRA, Canada's tax agency, says it will begin sending out reminders to tens of thousands of Canadians to let them know they've got money owed to them they haven't yet claimed.
On Monday, the CRA said it has roughly $1.4 billion worth of uncashed cheques on its books, some of which has been owed as far back as 1998. As of May, 8.9 million Canadians had some sort of uncashed cheque attached to their name. The average amount owed is $158, the tax agency said.
While the CRA handles billions of dollars in taxes and rebates every year, not all of it makes it into the hands of Canadians who are entitled to it, mostly due to people either losing the cheques, or changing addresses, meaning they never received it in the first place.
"We want to make sure this money ends up where it belongs. In taxpayers' pockets!" the tax agency said.
The CRA said it will soon notify roughly 25,000 recipients of the Canada child benefit and related provincial/territorial programs, GST/HST credit and Alberta Energy Tax Refund if they are owed money, and that another two groups of 25,000 will be notified this November and in May of 2023.
But if you think you may be one of those lucky Canadians, you might want to be a little bit more proactive. Read more
Customers cry foul as Air Canada, WestJet continue to deny certain compensation claims despite new directive
Judging from plenty of anecdotal evidence, flying has been a bit of a headache lately.
Long flight delays and crew shortages have led to mayhem at many Canadian airports.
But a recent Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) decision was supposed to help clear the air on at least once source of frustration: the rules around flight compensation.
When issuing a decision in a WestJet case on July 8, the transport regulator clarified that, in general, airlines can't deny passengers compensation for flight disruptions caused by crew shortages.
However, the clarification has only ignited fury for some passengers, including Frank Michel, who was denied compensation by Air Canada, and Jennifer Peach, denied by WestJet, due to crew shortages and constraints and safety concerns.
"It's insulting," said Michel of Marquis, Sask.
Under federal rules, airlines only have to pay compensation — up to $1,000 per passenger — if the flight disruption is within the airline's control and not safety-related.
WestJet and Air Canada each declined to comment on individual cases, but both said they abide by federal air passenger regulations. WestJet said that safety is its top priority. Air Canada said airlines shouldn't be penalized for cancelling flights for safety reasons.
But Michel says the company isn't playing by the rules.
"CTA has already made it clear that crew constraints is not an acceptable excuse," he said. "It's not a safety issue. It's a management issue. You have to manage your resources." Read more
You tip your hairdresser, but what about your mechanic? It might only be a matter of time
You probably tip the person who cuts your hair. Should you do the same for the person fixing your car?
Customers are increasingly seeing a gratuity option on card payment machines in industries where tipping was never previously part of the cost, from auto shops to fast food giants.
The phenomenon, dubbed "tip creep," is leaving a bad taste for some consumers, who have vented online about being asked if they want to pay an extra 15 per cent or more on top of the price of a takeout pizza, oil change or propane tank refill.
"Tipping is spreading to a lot more places right now, so where we wouldn't have previously been prompted to tip, now it seems to be a lot more common," says Simon Pek, an associate professor at the University of Victoria's Gustavson School of Business who researches tipping practices.
As customers shift away from carrying cash, it's easier than ever for any business to ask for a little bit of extra money by adding the automatic prompt — what psychologists call a "tip nudge" — to their card payment machine.
Inflation may play a factor, too. Business owners, for example, may see adding a tip button as a way to give in to workers' demands for higher pay without necessarily affecting their bottom line.
"We'll still see a lower sticker price, we'll still buy the product, and then adding 10 to 20 per cent after — it might be frustrating, but people still end up doing it, and that's often cheaper for a company than having to pay those wages," said Pek. Read more
Do you have an inflation story to share? Email us at email@example.com
What else is going on?
Cineplex ekes out $1.3M quarterly profit — its first since pandemic began
11 million people saw a movie at a Cineplex location during the quarter, up from 1 million last year.
Polio largely vanished thanks to vaccines. So why is it now back in more countries?
Infections, wastewater samples in U.K., U.S., Israel point to challenges in wiping out virus globally.
Climate change is hurting our mental health. These researchers want to help
Scientists across Canada are trying to learn enough about climate anxiety to prevent and treat it.
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