Business·MARKETPLACE

Why you're waiting for that Canadian passport; the return of Zellers: CBC's Marketplace cheat sheet

CBC Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need from the week starting Aug. 15, 2022.

Consumer and health news from the week of Aug. 15, 2022

For months, Canadians have faced long lines and major delays when trying to obtain new passports, sometimes leaving their travel plans in jeopardy. (Sabah Rahman/CBC)

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

Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday.

Why is it so hard to get a new passport?

If you've applied for a passport this year — or put it off because of the hours-long queues outside Canada's offices — you might have wondered why it's suddenly so hard to get one.

The federal government blames a sudden surge in passport applications, coming at the same time pandemic-related health restrictions meant up to 70 per cent fewer staff could be onsite at its service centres and processing facilities, up until May this year.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says the backlogs aren't related to the actual production of passports — a process shrouded in secrecy in order to prevent counterfeiting and fraud.

But to help piece together the steps involved in making a passport, from the moment you apply until you receive your new travel document, the CBC asked IRCC and Service Canada to share more information about the process. Read more

People hoping to apply for a Canadian passport camp out in line overnight outside a Service Canada office in Vancouver on June 22. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

WestJet, Air Canada have this to say about compensation complaints 

The complaints about flight problems keep coming, but WestJet and Air Canada continue to maintain they're playing by the rules, even if some passengers vehemently disagree.

"I think they don't have a valid reason," said Lesley Lowe, who was denied compensation from Air Canada after a flight delay. "I think that if they were to really be honest and transparent as to what happened … they know that they'd be liable and they'd have to compensate the passengers on the flight."

WestJet and Air Canada first sparked customer fury after they continued to deny compensation for some flight disruptions caused by crew shortages, despite a recent Canadian Transportation Agency clarification that staff shortages are generally within an airline's control and warrant compensation.

Under federal rules, airlines only have to pay compensation — up to $1,000 — if a flight delay or cancellation is within an airline's control and not required for safety reasons. Carriers must also cover accommodation costs for flight disruptions within their control.

"These [air passenger regulations] are not actually being properly enforced in a rigorous manner," said Daneil Tsai, a consumer advocate and Toronto-based business lawyer.

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has yet to confirm if it will take action against non-compliant airlines — despite calls from air passenger rights experts that it's time to issue harsh penalties.

Both WestJet and Air Canada declined to comment on individual cases. They told CBC News they follow federal air passenger regulations, and that a 2020 CTA inquiry found no evidence airlines had deliberately misled passengers when denying compensation claims. Read more

Canadian airlines face tough questions about lack of compensation after flight delays

4 months ago
Duration 2:51
Canadian airlines are facing growing frustration from passengers who say they are being unfairly denied compensation for delays and cancellations — sometimes without even finding out why. Now calls are growing for federal regulators to impose tougher fines on airlines that skirt the rules.

Feeling nostalgic? Zellers is getting a new lease on life

It's been 10 years since the company shuttered most of its stores across Canada, but it's hoped shoppers are ready for a comeback.

Hudson's Bay says Zellers will debut a new e-commerce website and expand its brick-and-mortar footprint within select Bay department stores across Canada in early 2023.

The company says the relaunched Zellers will offer "a digital-first shopping journey that taps into the nostalgia of the brand."

In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson for Hudson's Bay did not confirm where the new Zellers stores will be located.

Initial inventory will include housewares, furniture and toys, with apparel to be introduced later in the year. The company also plans to launch a private brand, according to the release. Read more

Hudson's Bay says Zellers will debut a new e-commerce website and expand its brick-and-mortar footprint within select Hudson's Bay department stores across Canada in early 2023. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

What else is going on?

She bought a house on a fledgling auction site. Now she faces over $100K in repairs
First-time homebuyer alleges company misrepresented the home's listing with sub-par inspection report.

Increased loneliness, isolation are side-effects of inflation for seniors, expert says
According to Statistics Canada, 27.9 per cent of seniors live alone — twice the percentage of the general population.

Airbnb to roll out new 'anti-party' technology in Canada, U.S.
Screening system examines renter's Airbnb history, produced 35 per cent drop in unauthorized parties in Australia.

Marketplace needs your help

Getting stuck in a long lineup at the grocery store is one thing, but how about when it comes to health care? Tens of thousands of Canadians are waiting for surgery, and for many, as that wait drags on, so does the pain and suffering. Email us your surgery wait-time stories at marketplace@cbc.ca

Have you ever had a bad experience buying jewelry — counterfeits, misleading claims or low-quality pieces — from a reputable jeweller? We want to hear from you. Email us at marketplace@cbc.ca.

Catch up on past episodes of Marketplace on CBC Gem.

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