The city has lost its bid to ban Uber from operating in Toronto.
In a decision handed down late Friday, Superior Court Judge Sean Dunphy rejected its request for an injunction, ruling that the California-based company does not need a licence to operate under current bylaws.
The act of ordering a ride with the Uber smartphone app is automated and involves software downloaded ahead of time, Dunphy ruled, so drivers don’t “accept” communication from passengers. Accepting calls to arrange transportation does require a licence but “Uber does not do that,” his 30-page ruling finds.
The iTaxiworkers Association, a major taxi drivers’ union, said it was “deeply disappointed” with the ruling. “This will continue to hurt the front line drivers and the taxi industry. We urge City Council to take immediate measures to ensure fairness for the 10,000 licensed taxi drivers of the City,” wrote Amarjeet Kaur Chhabra, the union’s executive director, in an email.
Uber Canada general manager Ian Black called the decision “a great win for the 5,000 drivers who need this flexible earning opportunity to make a living, and the 300,000 riders who rely on them” in an emailed statement. The mayor’s office said it would invite representatives from both sides in for a meeting to seek “mutually agreeable solutions.”
Uber, which began operating in Toronto in 2012, had steadfastly insisted it did not need to be regulated, because it was merely a technology company linking riders with drivers.
Taxi companies and the city of Toronto argued otherwise, saying Uber was acting like a taxi brokerage, finding taxis and drivers for passengers.
However, just weeks before the city’s injunction hearing was scheduled to begin, Uber applied for a taxi brokerage licence – though it has refused to apply for limousine licence, saying the city’s rules don’t meet Uber’s business model.
During the June 1 and 2 court court hearing, Uber’s lawyer Julie Rosenthal argued that Uber doesn’t need to be licensed as a taxi brokerage because it doesn’t actually dispatch taxis. Much of her argument hinged on the definition of the word, “accept,” as in accept a ride.
But city lawyer Michele Wright disputed the argument, noting Uber continues to find a driver if the first one rejects it, so it is in the business of dispatching drivers. Uber collects payments and has the power to suspend or boot passengers or drivers off the platform, she added, in an argument the judge rejected.
“If ‘accepts’ were read as broadly as the City suggests, then unintended consequences would abound. Such a definition would capture any telephone carrier since they are in the business of connecting calls and some of the calls they connect are certainly to request a taxicab or limousine transportation,” Dunphy ruled.
With files from Betsy Powell and Vanessa Lu.
Less than two days before a July 5 deadline, Loblaw and its workers in three Ontario locals have a tentative deal to avoid a strike affecting 69 stores across Ontario.
The agreement reached Friday will be voted between July 5 and July 8 by members of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1000A; if they reject it, the deferred strike at the affected Loblaw’s Great Food and Real Canadian Superstores starts July 11.
The deferral comes after continued talks between Loblaw and Local 1000A to prevent a strike, which could have seen 12,000 workers walk off the job at 61 stores throughout the GTA, Peterborough, Kingston, Ottawa and London.
The strike would have come on the heels of 1,600 workers who have already commenced job action at Loblaw-owned stores in Windsor and the surrounding area. Represented by different UFCW locals, they too will vote on Friday’s agreement.
According to the UCFW, key issues in the dispute have included wages, work schedules, benefits, and limits on third party providers.
Loblaw Cos. Ltd. reported a big jump in profit in its latest quarter as it benefited from major strategic moves, including the purchase of Shoppers Drug Mart, the country’s largest drugstore chain. Canada’s largest grocery company said its net income was up 21.7 per cent from the same time last year, rising to $146 million and its adjusted net income was up 96.7 per cent to $301 million.
Loblaw also raised its quarterly dividend by 2 per cent to 25 cents per common share, starting in July.
Like other supermarket chains, Loblaw is in fierce competition with non-union rival Walmart, which has been adding more food to its general merchandise stores.
With files from Dana Flavelle
Infants and young children could be required to be belted in their own airline seats instead of being held on their parents’ laps, if the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s latest recommendations are adopted.
“In some cases of severe turbulence, or a sudden deceleration, or an accident, parents simply can’t hang on to the baby as hard as they might try,” said Kathy Fox, chair of the Transportation Safety Board, in a telephone interview.
“That’s why they need to be in a separate seat.”
The recommendations were released this week as part of a report into a Perimeter Aviation crash in December 2012, in Sanikiluaq, Nunavut, where a 6-month-old baby, who was being held by his mother, was killed when the small turboprop overshot the runway as pilots tried to land a second time in bad weather.
If Transport Canada were to mandate the changes, it would mean every child, even those under 2, who are currently allowed to fly for free if held by parents in their arms, would need to have his or her own seat. That would likely bring higher costs for families wanting to travel by air.
The TSB report said the aircraft came in “too high, too steep, and too fast,” hitting the ground 160 meters past the end of the runway.
Isaac Appaqaq had accompanied his mother on the flight from Winnipeg, where she had a medical appointment because he was still breast-feeding. It was just three days before Christmas, and they were headed back to Sanikiluaq, a small isolated community in the Belcher Islands, in Hudson Bay.
The other six adult passengers including Isaac’s mother and two pilots, who were all secured by seatbelts, suffered injuries ranging from minor to serious.
“If the baby had been in his own seat, with a proper seat restraint system, he would have had a better chance of survival, given that everybody else survived,” said Fox.
Transport Canada encourages passengers to use an approved car seat for infants or children when travelling by air, but it is not required. Its policy is similar to other countries including the United States.
In a discussion paper issued last July, the Australian Civil Aviation Authority noted that while restraints for adults have steadily improved over the years, it has not changed for infants and young children.
However, the International Civil Aviation Organization, which is the UN agency that works with 191 member states and global aviation organizations, is looking at introducing new rules.
A group, which includes safety regulators, airlines and aircraft manufacturers, has been studying the issue of child restraints since 2013 as part of a cabin safety review, and is expected to issue guidelines next month.
ICAO spokesman Anthony Philbin said a draft of the policy recommends all occupants should have their own seats, and that child restraint systems be appropriate for a child’s height and weight.
He added that any guidance changes receive wide-ranging input from both member states and industry, so “there is generally no issue with states or airlines adhering to new requirements once they are agreed to.”
The safety board is urging Transport Canada to require commercial airliners to collect data and report on a routine basis, the number of infants and young children travelling by air, because the statistics are currently not available.
As well, the report urged Transport Canada to work with industry to develop age- and size-appropriate child restraint systems for infants and young children travelling on commercial aircraft and mandate their use to provide an equivalent level of safety compared to adults.
A spokesperson for Transport Canada said it will review the report’s recommendations and provide a formal response, due in 90 days.
Both Air Canada and WestJet said they would wait to see if Transport Canada updates any regulations.
Fox noted not all approved car seats are compatible in all aircraft seats, and airlines want quick turn around times, so installing a car seat can delay departures.
“But these shouldn’t be obstacles to doing what’s right for children,” she said, adding this could spur development of better restraint systems that may be easier to install.
While airlines offer a financial incentive to hold a child under 2 in the lap of an adult, Fox argued it is something parents will have to address, because kids are simply safer in their own seat, in an approved child restraint system.
“It’s comes down to basic physics,” she said. “Young children aren’t suitably restrained at critical times of flight, during takeoff and landing and turbulence, they are exposed to more risk.
“And that’s just not right,” Fox said, noting on her last flight, a flight attendant carefully stowed a purse under the seat, but just two rows away a baby was sitting her mother’s lap.
Alex Kelly, a spokesperson for Parachute, a national organization focused on preventing injuries and saving lives, said best practices call for an infant to be in an approved car seat.
“At Parachute, we recommend parents call ahead to the airline, make sure their car seat is approved for use in an aircraft,” she said, “and when it comes down to it, buying the extra seat, so the car seat can be installed on the airplane.”
Kelly acknowledged the financial cost, but “these are our kids, and we have to make sure they are safe when they travel.”
Several times every day in Toronto, vulnerable children and teenagers in group homes are being physically restrained by staff, being charged by police or running away.
Their stories are briefly told in 1,200 Toronto reports describing “serious occurrences” filed to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in 2013. Most involve children and youth in publicly funded, privately operated group homes.
The Star obtained the reports in a freedom of information request and compiled them according to the type of serious event that occurred — something the ministry does not do. They note everything from medication errors to emotional meltdowns to deaths.
And they shed light on the troubled lives of children placed in group or foster homes by children’s aid societies and desperate parents.
There are 3,300 children and youth in 484 group homes in Ontario, according to the ministry. Those homes, along with foster parents and children’s aid societies, generate almost 20,000 serious occurrences filed province-wide every year.
Yet the ministry does not know, for example, if physical and chemical restraints are being used more or less often over the years, or if more children are sustaining serious injuries while in care.
How can practices be improved if no one is keeping province-wide track of what is going wrong?
Kim Snow, a Ryerson University professor and researcher specializing in child and youth care, says flatly: “There’s no evidence that anybody is taking this seriously.”
“If there is a child death, they become very interested and are all over us for as much information as possible,” says Raymond Lemay, former head of Valoris, the children’s aid society in Prescott-Russell, near Ottawa. “But for the other stuff, we report it and there is hardly a peep.”
PREVIOUSLY ON THESTAR.COM:
A Star analysis of the two- or three-page occurrence reports, which had names and ages of children redacted, found:
For kids on probation, missing a court-imposed curfew and ignoring house rules can lead to arrest, more charges and a date in court. The result is more involvement with a youth justice system that can follow young people into adulthood if they get into more criminal trouble.
Some of the circumstances outlined in reports that led to police being called, such as damaging property, raise the question: would a parent or a foster parent be so quick to dial 911?
A restraint report typically involves the use of multiple physical holds. Some last a few seconds; the longest saw a girl held face-down for 65 minutes and injected with a tranquilizer. Few restraints resulted in reported physical injuries.
The reports ask that the youth’s perspective on being restrained be included, but that section is often left blank.
One woman gave birth in a shelter, her baby dying when his head hit the floor. Another child died due to a possible cardiac arrest, brought on by a condition that was redacted. Another death involved a girl who collapsed during a home visit and died in hospital. She was otherwise healthy.
Last week, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services announced a wide-ranging review of group homes after the Star presented it with a list of questions based on the serious occurrence data. A panel of experts is to report this fall.
“Doing this review is going to help us bring together the complete picture of what’s going on, both in terms of the number you’re talking about on restraints or police involvement, but also in terms of how are kids doing,” Tracy MacCharles, the children and youth minister, said in an interview.
The ministry wants to know if children in group homes “are getting the best possible supports,” she added.
Ontario’s 46 children’s aid societies are private, non-profit corporations. They are regulated by the government and have the legal power to take children from their parents for reasons ranging from physical abuse to neglect. Most children are returned to their parents within a year, after some form of help is provided.
Those in continued need of protection are made Crown wards after a court decision. They’re placed in foster or group homes, or with relatives, and are monitored by children’s aid societies, which are responsible for their care.
Lemay, formerly of the Prescott-Russell children’s society, says he doesn’t think occurrence information is “collected rigorously across the province. And I’d be wary about low numbers because there’s an incentive not to report” to avoid looking bad.
Irwin Elman, Ontario’s Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, says its time the ministry and children’s aid societies take responsibility for their charges rather than continually passing the buck.
“I am fed up with that dance,” says Elman. “I will not listen to it any more.”
The serious occurrence results are part of a year-long investigation by the Star into Ontario’s child protection system, made up of 46 privately run children’s aid societies receiving $1.4 billion annually from the provincial government. The investigation has revealed a secretive system that has little information on how children in its care are faring, and that fails to act on the data it has.
Ministry budget data between 2008 and 2013 obtained by the Star show that children’s aid societies paid for 3.5 million days of group care. But there was a steady decline over that period from 790,000 days to 615,000 days.
The cost of placing a child in a group home ranges from about $200 to $350 per day, to much more in individual cases where a child’s needs require deeper specialization.
Bob Hanrahan, who owns and runs group and foster homes from Niagara to Durham region, says there are certainly youths in group care who would be better off with foster parents. He says a current “big push” among children’s aid societies aims to reduce the number in group homes.
The province does not post a list of licensed group homes on the ministry website. Nor does it make public annual group home inspection reports.
There are no minimum qualification requirements to work in a group home. Snow, the Ryerson professor, says staff are often young and inexperienced. High turnover doesn’t help. Keeping youth under control is too often the goal.
Some homes are doing “not much better than warehousing” kids, Snow says, while others provide quality care. Improving quality for all requires more qualified staff and decent wages to keep them there, she adds.
“Some children require residential care, and we know that,” continues Snow, who worked in group homes before joining Ryerson. “But when we provide it, it should be the highest quality care, and that’s not the current standard.”
The reporters can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
A trip to Stockholm on Canada Day for two blind Toronto women ended up a “humiliating” experience — reduced to tears, booted from their flight at Pearson and escorted out by police – because a flight crew insisted their guide dogs needed to be muzzled.
Amal Haddad and Nayla Farrah — who were flying with the Farrah’s 11-year-old daughter — did not have muzzles for the dogs. They don’t even own them.
“We travel every year and that was the first time the stewardess asked us to muzzle our dogs,” Haddad, a civil servant, said.
“We did it with Air France; we did it with Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, WestJet, Middle East Airlines … Lufthansa,” she said.
But on Wednesday Haddad and Farrah were flying Jet Airways to Sweden via Brussels.
Once they boarded the plane a flight attendant said there was an issue with the dogs.
“There was no common ground for communications — either you muzzle or you leave the plane,” said Haddad.
The two refused and police were called, though Haddad said the officers were only “mirroring” the airline’s stance.
“A policeman tells two ladies … ‘You evacuate now or we put handcuffs on you’ — because we didn’t have muzzles?” she said.
Haddad said the airline scheduled them for another flight the next day and paid for their stay that night at the airport hotel.
That flight, though, was with a different airline, Austrian Airlines, which Haddad said is she “99.9 per cent” sure will not force dogs, Nina and E.V., to be muzzled.
A Peel Regional Police spokesman said a flight’s captain has “final authority” over who flies, and officers were on scene only “for the purposes of keeping the peace.”
Transport Canada spokeswoman Roxane Marchand said the agency itself does not require service animals to be muzzled, but encouraged passengers to check their carrier’s individual policies before flying.
“As a rule of thumb, the animal can remain with you in the aircraft cabin provided it has been trained by a professional service animal institution to assist a person, is properly harnessed and remains under your control,” Marchand said.
Nina and E.V. had those harnesses and Haddad said they were both trained.
Whether Haddad’s experience was a one-off incident or the result of Jet Airways’ service animal policy is yet unclear.
Haddad said she planned the trip more than six months ago, looking up the airline’s policy and getting a representative to guide her through the website. According to Haddad, nowhere did it say that guide dogs have to be muzzled.
“Once we’re back, we’re filing a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency,” she said.
Jet Airways did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey was disqualified from the US PGA Championship after the second round for failing to "recreate his lie" after removing a ball from sand.
American Scott Verplank withdrew from the US PGA Championship with a hip problem half-way through his second round at the Ocean Course.
Golf Channel (press release) (blog)
Woods four back heading into weekend at Greenbrier
Golf Channel (press release) (blog)
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. ? Well it wasn't pretty, but it could have been a lot worse. After a front nine filled with pars, Tiger Woods survived a tumultuous inward half to post a 1-under 69 in the second round of The Greenbrier Classic. At 5 under ...
Tiger Woods says he knows his golf game and proves it at the Greenbrier
Golf: Woods slumps back into mediocrity at Greenbrier
UPDATE 1-Golf-Woods slumps back into mediocrity at Greenbrier
Nova Scotia Open finishes second day at New Ashburn Golf Club
Over 300 volunteers at the New Ashburn Golf Club have paid money for the chance to keep the Nova Scotia Open running smoothly over the last two days. People of all ages have been pitching in from dawn until dusk to facilitate the four-day tournament in ...
IN PHOTOS: Checking out the Nova Scotia Open golf tournament
Course playing tough at NSGA event
Donald Trump: Let golf be for the rich elite
Cadillac had no comment for this story; the PGA sent Fortune this statement: ?In response to Mr. Trump's comments about the golf industry 'knowing he is right' in regards to his recent statements about Mexican immigrants, we feel compelled to clarify ...
Donald Trump: 'Let golf be elitist'
Pro tours take exception to Donald Trump's comments
LA Galaxy withdraws charity event from Donald Trump's golf course
New owner plans to turn Central Saanich golf site into farm
Valerie Lindholm, the new owner of the Island View Golf Centre in Central Saanich, bought the site for $1.45 million and plans to revive it as a farm. The huge nets used to catch stray golf balls will be coming down. Photograph By BRUCE STOTESBURY, ...
Portage Daily Graphic
Golf course keeping busy
Portage Daily Graphic
After having a great start to the season with an early melt, the Portage Golf Club's operations are in full swing. Despite a bumpy ride with the weather after the early melt where they lost some time, the weather is back to co-operating and the grounds ...