PATNET – Fighting Auto Theft in Alberta

The fight against auto insurance fraud takes a huge step forward with the launch of the PATNET (Provincial Auto Theft Network) program in Alberta.

Today is the first day of a 2-day PATNET training session in Red Deer. The session has drawn interest from more than 100 law enforcement officers from Alberta and British Columbia. At the event, the participants learn how to investigate vehicle-related crime, including how to detect the cloning of vehicle identification numbers, the use of salvage, evidence handling and the components of auto-crime search warrants.

“We are delighted to launch this award-winning program in Alberta,” said Bill Adams, Vice-President, Western & Pacific, IBC. “PATNET has helped successfully bring together the law enforcement community to reduce auto theft and fraud in the Atlantic region. We hope it will serve as a model for other jurisdictions, including right here in Alberta.”

Insurance fraud is a serious problem costing as much as $1.6 billion a year, and we should all be concerned by the waste of resources that occurs due to the amount of crime, fraud and abuse in the system. The insurance industry has done much to fight crime, and this has always included huge support from the law enforcement community.

While statistics suggest that auto theft has been on the decline over the past decade, in 2014 there was a 1% increase, with 73,964 vehicles being stolen across Canada that year.

IBC co-founded PATNET in 2010 to build partnerships between the property and casualty insurance industry and law enforcement agencies to better combat auto theft. The network links police officers and IBC’s auto theft and fraud investigators through ongoing training programs, seminars, regular communication and information-sharing.

“These types of courses are of great assistance to police officers by enhancing their skills when responding to complaints of insurance fraud and vehicle theft,” said Red Deer RCMP Superintendent Scott Tod. “We are aware of the success of the program in Eastern Canada, and it certainly satisfies the need for continued knowledge, and exemplifies the value of sharing intelligence and partnerships between insurers and the law enforcement community.”

For more details on this award-winning program, visit

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 120,000 Canadians, pays $8.2 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion. For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and@IBC_West or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Canada: Are You Ready To Respond To A Workplace Accident?

Article by Daniel Pugen

Many organizations are not prepared if there is a workplace accident that results in injury to an employee. An accident is not just an accident, and especially not in the workplace. Rather, a host of legal obligations are immediately triggered with significant consequences in the event of non-compliance.

Picture this: You are a senior manager for a medium sized manufacturing company. It is Monday morning and you have just settled into your weekly management meeting. Suddenly, you hear a large “bang”. At first you think nothing of it, just the usual sounds from the shop floor. However, 5 minutes later, your floor supervisor comes into the room and says, “there’s been an accident and John has been hurt”. There is panic in the room (or, worse, there is a lack of urgency in the room!) and everyone is looking to you to figure out what to do.

You may not realize it, but a host of legal obligations have been triggered. Do you know what comes next?

When there is a workplace accident resulting in injury to an employee, there is a legal obligation under theOccupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) to notify the workplace health and safety representative or joint health and safety committee. For a fatality or “critical injury” the Ministry of Labour (“MOL”) must also be notified.

The timing of the notice varies depending on the extent of the injury, but for fatalities or “critical injuries” (such as unconsciousness, certain fractures, a serious loss of blood, burns to a major portion of the body) OHSA requires that employers immediately notify the MOL and provide details of the accident, machinery involved, time and location and the names and addresses of those injured and those who witnessed the accident. Even for non “critical injuries” OHSA still requires that the circumstances be reported to the workplace health and safety representative or joint health and safety committee within 4 days. Any trade union must be notified as well.

The workers’ compensation regime also has notification obligations on employers. Under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (“WSIA”), employers must notify the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”) within 3 days of learning of a workplace accident if that accident necessitates health care, results in the worker not being able to earn full wages, or causes the employee to go on modified duties. This is done by filling out the WSIB’s “Form 7”. The employer must generally pay the employee’s full day’s wages on the date of the injury. The WSIB has a policy on the extent of the modified duties required in order to trigger the notification obligation. For minor injuries requiring first aid, there is no obligation to report.

In addition to this duty to notify, in the event of a fatality or “critical injury”, subject to some limited exceptions, employers must “preserve the scene” under OHSA. In other words, employers must not interfere with or disturb anything connected with the scene of the accident until given permission to do so by the MOL.

It is important to note that the above OHSA obligations to notify and “preserve the scene” are not just for accidents involving employees. Recent court cases have confirmed that these duties apply to any person injured at the workplace (whether that be a customer, supplier, employee or otherwise) as long as there is a connection or “nexus” between the accident and worker safety.

Once the MOL has been notified, the employer may get a visit from a MOL inspector. An inspector has extremely broad powers under OHSA to attend the premises, collect documents, take pictures and order the employer to create or review policies, test or fix machinery or even halt production (often called a “stop work order”). It is important to note that a visit from an inspector could result in charges being laid against the employer (or even individual supervisors or workers) under the Provincial Offences Act for breaching OHSA. Accordingly, besides understanding what to do in the immediate aftermath of an accident, it is vital that employers get legal advice on how to deal with the inspector and to strategize and engage in due diligence to prepare for potential charges.

While accidents are unavoidable sometimes, being prepared is something that all employers can do. This is not only important in ensuring the safety and well-being of staff, but it is critical in avoiding costly penalties under the OHSA, which could be as high as $500,000 per charge. Further, health and safety incidents at work can lead to criminal charges against an individual. A supervisor was recently sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for criminal negligence in an incident where a swing stage collapsed on the 14th floor of a high-rise construction site causing 4 worker deaths in 2009. While that is an extreme example, it is important to note that the MOL has not hesitated to charge employers for “technical” breaches of OHSA, including failing to notify or preserve the scene as well as not having in place a joint health and safety committee.

The stakes are high when dealing with worker health and safety. It is vital that all employers understand their obligations and be prepared when there is a workplace accident.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Insurance against rejection: Egypt rejects Canadian wheat cargo

Bloomberg News

Egypt rejected a cargo of Canadian wheat for a second time due to a dispute over the level of ergot fungus, deepening a standoff with traders now reluctant to sell the grain to the world’s largest importer.

Quarantine officials at the Ministry of Agriculture turned away the 8,000-metric-ton cargo again after a first rejection earlier this month, according to a Cairo-based trader familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public. The supplies met the acceptable levels of ergot, a naturally occurring fungus, the trader said.

Egypt stumbled in a standoff with international traders after it rejected a vessel carrying French wheat supplied by U.S. agribusiness company Bunge Ltd. The country, which provides subsidized bread for its 88 million people, has since then struggled to buy and cancelled three tenders in the past two weeks because there were too few offers or high prices.

“If rejections continue, prices will skyrocket,” Hesham Soliman, the president of Medstar for Trading in Alexandria, Egypt, said. “I have a small cargo en route to Egypt now and I had for the first time to pay insurance against rejection. Imagine if this is the case with larger cargoes? It will cost me a fortune.”

Egypt is struggling to get traders to participate in its tenders due to confusion over what levels of ergot are acceptable. The Agriculture Ministry said last month it would turn away grain containing any ergot, even as the state-run buyer General Authority for Supply Commodities, or GASC, said it would accept levels of 0.05 per cent, in line with world standards. The ministry has since reversed its stance.

The Canadian cargo was first rejected in early February after visual inspection at the port in Abu Qir, the trader said. It was barred again by officials even after three independent tests carried out by the seller found ergot levels at 0.005 per cent, according to the trader.

A spokesman for the ministry didn’t answer phone calls seeking comment. The authority said it turned the cargo away the first time earlier this month.

“Traders now need the government to issue written documents that clearly states the tolerated ergot level is 0.05 per cent,” Mr. Soliman said. “They have said [it] verbally in public, then why aren’t they willing to write it down?”

Sellers charged Egypt the highest premium so far this season in a tender Sunday, prompting the country to cancel the request for purchases. The lowest offer for French grain was $14.77 (U.S.) a ton more than the price for loading at the port of Rouen, the biggest premium since the season started in July, Bloomberg calculations showed. The country got four offers Sunday, down from the usual 10 to 20.

“Every restriction you impose on sellers will have a price, so Egypt will have to pay more,” Hakan Bahceci, chief executive officer of Hakan Agro, said by phone from Dubai. “It’s a buyers’ market, but still nobody wants to take the risk.”

iPhone-killing software update

iPhone-killing software update

Christina Commisso, CTV News

Some iPhone and iPad users have watched in horror as their costly device is rendered useless after upgrading the operating system.

Apple users are reporting that their iPhones and iPads are disabled and display an “error 53” message after upgrading to the latest version of iOS 9.

The problem affects devices that feature its Touch ID fingerprint recognition, Apple says, and can occur after an “unauthorized” or faulty screen replacement. In other words, if an iPhone user has their device repaired somewhere other than an Apple Store or Apple service centre, they could run into smartphone-crippling problems when they update it.

The company says, when a system check during a software update reveals the iPhone or iPad Touch ID sensor doesn’t match the device’s other components, the update fails.

Technology experts say it “bricks” the devices – meaning they are rendered as useful as a brick.

“If the check on Touch ID fails, your update won’t finish,”Apple says on its support website. “You’ll see a Connect to iTunes screen on your device or a message like this in iTunes on your computer: The iPhone [device name] could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (53).”

Apple suggests that users who encounter an error 53 message should force a restart of their device. If that doesn’t work, they should contact Apple Support.

The company suggests that if the screen or any other part of the iPhone or iPad was replaced somewhere other than an authorized Apple dealer, users should contact Apple Support about “pricing information for out-of-warranty repairs.”

Some iPhone and iPad users have reported that they’ve lost all of their data after the error 53 message popped up on their device and they were told there’s no way to fix the problem. Some users say they’ve either brought their disabled device into an Apple store, where they’ve received a new one, or have simply gone out and purchased a new one.

“After an hour and 15 minute phone call, the ‘senior’ technician told me to take it back to the store and get another one. I guess 53 = DEAD,” one iPhone user wrote on an Apple support website.

In a statement to The Guardian, Apple said: “This security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used. If a customer encounters Error 53, we encourage them to contact Apple Support.”

As anger over the disabling of iPhones and iPads grows, lawyers in the U.S. and the U.K. have reportedly said they’re considering bringing forward a class action lawsuit against the technology giant, claiming that the company may be acting illegally.

Simplifying producer access to drone data

By Jennifer Paige | Manitoba Co-operator

So you want to utilize drone technology on your operation but aren’t sure where to start? A Winnipeg tech company may have an option for you.

Alpha Technologies is looking to offer unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) surveillance services.

“What we are working on is offering very accurate ground assessment as far as altitude, height and 3D topography. That data can help farmers to level fields or take care of low-laying spots, water damage or conduct real-time crop health assessments,” said Alan Castell, owner and operator of Alpha Technologies.

Castell has personally been flying for more than 20 years. A few years ago he decided to combine his tech knowledge and his passion for flying into Alpha’s drone services and he quickly saw the potential for the service in the agriculture industry.

“This is something we know is going to grow and grow intensely over the next two years, especially as the laws come down and people understand more of what you can and can’t do,” said Castell.

While many producers are eager to use drone technology, the complicated equipment and software can seem overwhelming and capturing high-quality data can be difficult for inexperienced operators.

“This is not a simple piece of equipment, there is a lot to it. Also, a lot of producers may want this data but aren’t interested in investing in the equipment themselves,” said Castell. “In that case, it makes a lot more sense to get someone with the equipment and experience to provide this data.”

Flying a UAV also comes with the requirement of acquiring a licence from Transport Canada and insurance, which varies depending on the situation.

“We have spent close to two years now staying in contact with Transport Canada so that we can make sure we are aware of what we can and cannot do. We also carry half a million in liability insurance and that allows us to do agricultural work without having to go through the application process every time,” said Castell.

Producers may also have to deal with the roadblock of poor or slow Internet connections in rural areas, which can dramatically slow the processing of imagery.

“Data from a drone flight can range anywhere from two terabytes and up. A farmer in a rural area will likely not have the speed or server capability to upload these files without taking days.”

Castell says he is able to capture some of the highest-resolution imagery and virtually anywhere, including areas that are inaccessible by ground transportation.

“We took a bunch of footage from behind the combine and you can actually see the sprayer’s nozzles turning on and off. That is the kind of resolution you have on these things,” said Castell.

Partnering with an equipment manufacturer

Alpha Technologies is also looking at partnering with an agriculture equipment manufacturer to combine data collected from drone surveillance with variable-rate sprayers.

“There is the ability to program these sprayers to turn on and off,” said Castel. “We are looking at being able to provide the data that the farm equipment guys need in order to program that equipment effectively.”

Castell said they would be able to merge the NDVI data (normalized deferential vegetation index) collected by the drone, which looks at chlorophyll production in healthy plants, to guide equipment operators in programming when and when not to spray.

The ability to combine this data and pinpoint spray areas with GPS technology creates a system that is more efficient for both the producer and their wallets.

“I think the benefits are massive. We have the possibility of helping producers save 30 to 40 per cent of the chemical protection products that they use,” said Castell. “That is potentially tens of thousands of dollars.”

Pot May Be Legal, but You’ll Still Get Fired

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