Ontario: Two gamblers spearhead class action against casino over hacking of private data

By Colin Perkel

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ Two gamblers who allege their privacy was breached are spearheading a proposed class action against an Ontario casino whose databases were hacked.

In a notice of action, they also alleged Monday that Casino Rama, north of Toronto, unjustly enriched itself at the expense of the claimants.

In the allegations contained in the notice, Leonid Kaplan, of Barrie, Ont., says he provided casino staff with copies of his driver’s licence and credit card when he went there to gamble in September.

Kaplan says he received an email by the CEO of Casino Rama, John Drake, on November 10 with the subject line: “Unauthorized Access to Personal Information.”

The email stated that the organization had been the “victim of a cyberattack that resulted in the theft of past and present patron, employee and vendor information.”

The casino publicly confirmed the attack last week but did not say exactly when it occurred or over what period.

The other proposed representative plaintiff, Cheryl Mizzi, of Stouffville, Ont., says she and her husband regularly went to Casino Rama starting in 1999. They last visited in 2015. She, too, provided various forms of identification.

Neither proposed plaintiff have said what losses, if any, they incurred as a result of the privacy breach.

The lawsuit also names Ontario’s gaming commission, the Penn National Gaming and its Ontario subsidiary, which run the casino, and the Chippewas of Rama First Nation where the facility is located.

The suit, which has yet to be certified as a class action or tested in court, seeks $50 million in damages as well as another $10 million in punitive damages.

Lawyer Ted Charney said Monday the “unjust enrichment” claim arises from the casino generating revenues from gambling when customers thought reasonable security measures were in place to protect privacy.

“The casino elected not to invest in adequate staff and technology while collecting gambling revenues, promising to provide adequate security measures,” Charney said.

The suit also alleges the defendants breached contracts and violated consumer laws.

A Casino Rama spokeswoman did not address the allegations, but said Monday the organization was working with the authorities on the ongoing investigation.

“We are limited in how much detail we can provide,” Jenna Hunter said. “We deeply regret this situation and recognize the seriousness of the issue.”

Casino Rama Resort warned its customers, vendors as well as current and former staff last Thursday to keep an eye on their bank accounts, credit cards and other financial information.

The casino said it had “recently” discovered becoming the victim of a cyberattack that resulted in the large-scale data theft.

Stolen data appeared to include internal financial and security-incident reports, emails, payroll data, client information, social insurance numbers, and dates of birth, according to the casino.

“The hacker claims that the employee information dates from 2004 to 2016, and that some of the other categories of information taken date back to 2007,” the casino said in a statement.

The resort, which has 2,500 slot machines and more than 110 gaming tables, said the games themselves weren’t hacked.

Located on Rama First Nation, the casino opened 20 years ago.

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Canadian golfer Dawn Coe-Jones dead at 56

Canadian golfer Dawn Coe-Jones dead at 56

Dawn Coe-Jones, a member of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame who helped blaze a trail for Canadian women on the pro tour, has died of cancer. She was 56.

Golf Canada said Saturday that Coe-Jones died at a hospice near her home in Tampa, Fla. She had been diagnosed with bone cancer earlier this year.

The native of Lake Cowichan, B.C., played on the LPGA Tour from 1984 to 2008. She won more than US$3.3 million on the circuit with three victories and 44 career top-10 finishes.

“Dawn was a great competitor and role model for over 25 years on the LPGA Tour,” said Canadian Golf Hall of Famer Sandra Post. “Her happy and positive attitude towards life will be missed by all that knew her.”

The golf world took to social media Saturday to mourn Coe-Jones.

Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., called Coe-Jones a “great player & competitor & wonderful lady!” in a tweet.

Brantford, Ont., native David Hearn tweeted: “Very saddened to hear of the passing of Dawn Coe-Jones. She was a great player and role model for so many Canadians. You will be missed Dawn.”

Former LPGA Tour pro A.J. Eathorne of Penticton, B.C., posted a photo collage of her and Coe-Jones on her Instagram account.

“A very sad day today as we say good bye to our dear friend Dawn Coe Jones,” the caption read. “One of the most caring and wonderful women I have ever met. I am so lucky to have got to spend so many great times with her and her family. Love you always Miss Dawn.”

“Just hearing of the incredibly sad news of the passing of @LPGA member & Canadian legend Dawn Coe-Jones. Always a class act. RIP, my friend,” said American golfer and broadcaster Dottie Pepper.

“So sad to hear the passing of @LPGA Dawn Coe Jones. A true competitor, ambassador of the game. She will be missed #RIP,” echoed Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam.

Coe-Jones had an outstanding amateur career, scoring back-to-back wins in the B.C. Junior tournament in 1978 and ’79 and the B.C. Amateur in 1982 and ’83. She capped her 1983 season with the Canadian Amateur title and won NCAA all-American honours at Lamar University.

Her first LPGA win came at the Women’s Kemper Open in 1992. She went on to claim the 1994 LPGA Palm Beach Classic and 1995 Tournament of Champions.

A fervent Montreal Canadiens fan, she savoured getting a Habs jersey with No. 1 on the back after winning the Tournament of Champions.

She was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.

”I was totally caught off guard,” Coe-Jones said at the time. ”In fact, I had to make sure someone wasn’t playing a trick on me. I am just thrilled and proud to be included in such good company.“

A veteran of more than 20 Canadian Opens, Coe-Jones said she had learned to embrace playing at home.

”Over the years I’ve learned that you just go out there and enjoy the atmosphere and feed off the fans,“ she said in 2006. ”They are there to support you and want Canadians to do well.”

Growing up in Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island, she worked as a teenager at March Meadows Golf Course in Honeymoon Bay.

“I drove an old Ford tractor, cutting grass and raking bunkers by hand,” she recalled in an interview with Golf Canada magazine. “We didn’t have the equipment they’ve got now.”

She honed her golf game at March Meadows before heading to Lamar University, where she won a scholarship in her sophomore year.

Coe-Jones made her farewell appearance at the CN Canadian Open in 2008 with her trademark beaming smile despite finishing 14-over after two rounds and missing the cut.

Coe-Jones was accompanied by caddie and childhood friend Kelly Feltrin, who was on her bag when she won the Kemper Open.

Her best score ever was 63 at the Safeco Classic in 1998.

Coe-Jones’ best chance to win her national Open was in 1993, when she was third behind Brandie Burton and Betsy King at London Hunt. She tied for fourth with Canadian Gail Graham in 1998 in Windsor, Ont.

”I feel very proud of my career,” Coe-Jones said in 2008. ”I wish everyone who was ever out here had that opportunity to walk up 18 and be the winner just once.

”It’s a wonderful feeling to be the best in your field one time. I was lucky enough to have it three times.”

She married Jimmy Jones in 1992 and their son James was born three years later.

“On behalf of the entire golf community we are deeply saddened by the passing of Dawn Coe-Jones,” Golf Canada CEO Scott Simmons said in a statement. “Dawn was a tenacious competitor, a mentor and friend to so many of her peers and a proud ambassador for Canadian golf throughout her distinguished career.

“As we mourn her passing and send our most sincere condolences to family and friends, the golf and sport community come together in celebrating her outstanding legacy.”

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Please help us raise funds for DCJ in her fight against Sarcoma.  

Our goal is $75,000 in the next 10 days.

Thanks for your support…Let’s get this done!!

Help spread the word!
Please consider being part of this great Challenge - for Dawn.

Please consider being part of this great Challenge – for Dawn.

CDN Parents wrestle with how to explain Trump’s win in U.S. election to their kids

By Cassandra Szklarski

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ The incendiary U.S. election is proving to be a challenging teachable moment for some Canadian parents who are struggling to explain the surprising results to their curious children.

But at least they can comfort their youngsters with the fact they live in a country that has embraced much different values than the divisive ones that marked the U.S. campaign, says Oakville, Ont., dad Jason Little.

The morning after America elected Donald Trump as its next president, Little says his nine-year-old daughter stunned him by asking whether Trump would start a world war.

“I only cared about baseball at that age. It’s just really a hard conversation to start,” Little said Wednesday.

He says his daughter had been following Hillary Clinton’s bid to become the country’s first female president, but she didn’t take her loss as a signal that women can’t be leaders.

“For her, it’s more: he’s a bad person, she’s a good person,” he says.

“She was more, I think, mixed in her response disappointed, sad, angry, all at the same time.”

Little says he and his wife tried to emphasize their belief that people are generally good, despite the misogyny, xenophobia and racial hatred that marked Trump’s campaign.

Little stressed that there would be enough people around Trump to prevent anything bad from happening, but admits his kids are exposed to a surprising amount of political hyperbole thanks to chatter at school and the YouTube stars they follow.

“They hear all the bad things magnified about him,” says Little, who also has an 11-year-old son.

In her concession speech, Clinton seemed to acknowledge the potential impact of her defeat on young girls who might be demoralized by the vote.

“To all the little girls how are watching this: Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

Little says the election results and how they were interpreted by kids dominated chatter with other parents on the walk to school on Wednesday.

“I don’t know why it’s just so front and centre at that young age in the school but all the parents we walk to school with, it was all the same,” says the 42-year-old dad.

“One of the parents said their kid woke up in the middle of the night with a nightmare about the election. And I’m like, ‘Holy cow, this is something.”

Little says they haven’t shielded their kids from the news, even though the U.S. campaign was especially nasty and demeaning. If anything, that helped highlight how different politics are in Canada, he said.

“They know we’re kind of a nice country. We just keep reinforcing the same thing: respect people, people have their opinions, they’re entitled to their opinion.”

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Heavy rain, swelling rivers threaten Vancouver Island First Nation

PORT ALBERNI, B.C. _ A First Nation near Port Alberni, B.C., expects to evacuate some homes as heavy rains cause rivers to flood.

Tseshaht Nation emergency preparedness co-ordinator Hugh Braker said the community has been sand bagging riverside properties and roads, but with up to 120 millimetres of rain expected by Wednesday, the risk for flooding remains high.

Out buildings including garages and carports were damaged by flooding on the weekend, but no homes have been affected yet, Braker said.

Six families who were forced to leave their homes on the weekend as a precaution were able to return, but a new round of evacuations is anticipated to begin Monday evening.

Braker said the reserve’s major thoroughfare, Highway 4, is also expected to be washed out by rising water levels, posing challenges for emergency crews as they try to reach people.

“Our reserve is serviced by the fire department of the City of Port Alberni. If we have a fire above the flooded highway, it’s going to take a very long time for the trucks to respond.”

Although a school on the reserve is not within the flood plane, Braker said classes might be cancelled to prevent students from having to travel on flooded roads.

He said flood levels from the Somass River are expected to peak Tuesday, and could be comparable to historic flooding that devastated the community in 2014.

The reserve has faced flood risks every year since then.

“It’s very unusual for us,” he said about flooding three years in a row. “Certainly it’s something the … Tseshaht First Nation council will have to look at after this emergency is over.”

The Tseshaht Nation declared a state of emergency on Friday and has been working with the province and Environment Canada to monitor the flood and take precautions.

“We’ve been able to do a lot of preventative planning and placement of resources in anticipation of the flood.”

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Parking Lots are Hazardous Places

backing-up-thumbnailI had a bit of a scare the other day when I tried to back out of a space in a busy parking lot. There was a large van beside me blocking my view so I scanned as completely as I could and began to let up on the clutch. No sooner had I started to roll than a woman paying more attention to her smart phone than where she was walking appeared from behind the van. We both slammed on the brakes and after looking at each other for a moment, she continued on her way.

I wondered just how dangerous parking lots were, so I asked about it and ICBC provided me with data for the five year period from 2011 to 2015. During that time there was an average of 2 deaths, 5,900 injuries and 120,000 property damage incidents each year. Parking lots do appear to be hazardous places!

Returning to my near miss with the pedestrian it occurs to me that most parking lots are designed only with vehicles in mind. Even then, the object seems to be to get as many vehicles into the lot as possible, crowding them together. The lane between lines of vehicles seem to be narrower as well.

There are usually no safe places to exclude the path of pedestrians from the path of vehicles.

Would it not be better to have a sidewalk with a row of parking on either side of it? You could park and walk safely between the rows of vehicles to and from the businesses. Vehicles would be prevented from crossing the level sidewalk area by curbs and the curbs would have gaps in them to allow you to move the shopping cart to your vehicle’s side doors.

I imagine that the biggest drawback to this design would be the difficulty with snow removal.

For my part, there were at least two things that I could have done to make this safer for the pedestrians. Backing into the parking spot would have afforded a better view when I tried to leave it and a gentle tap or two on the horn just before I moved would likely have called attention to me too.

The woman should not have been intent on her phone while walking along the edge of the corridor between vehicles. She could instead have been watching for illuminated backup lights that would tell her she needed to make eye contact with the driver before she walked behind the vehicle displaying them.

What really scares me is the possibility that the pedestrian could be a child that was a bit ahead of their parent. Since I don’t have a backup camera, it’s possible that they would not be taller than the top of my tailgate and I could drive over them without knowing anything was wrong until I felt the bump. That’s far too late.

From now on, I’m taking my own advice. If I can’t pull through the spaces to be nose out, I will be backing into my parking spot. There is a much smaller chance of colliding with something backing in than there will be when backing out.

More than $1.5B in Canadian auto investments will reverse fortunes

By Alexandra Posadzki

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ The three biggest North American automakers have committed to investing more than $1.5 billion in their Canadian operations, a move that will revitalize the auto sector, Unifor said Tuesday.

The union, which represents more than 23,000 auto workers in Canada, heralded the settlements hours after it reached a tentative agreement with Ford, concluding its negotiations with the so-called Detroit Three.

“This has been a real home run,” Unifor president Jerry Dias said in an interview.

“This is the first time in over decade that we are going to see a real reversal of the fortunes of the auto industry here in Canada.”

Heading into bargaining talks, the union made clear that its primary goal was to secure investment from the automakers in their Canadian operations. Dias had expressed concerns about the ebbing away of jobs from Canada to jurisdictions such as Mexico and the southern U.S., where labour and electricity costs are cheaper.

But the deal Unifor struck last month with General Motors marked a turning point when the company agreed to move some engine production from Mexico to St. Catharines, Ont.

“Who would have believed when we kicked off 2016 bargaining that we would have had product moving from Mexico and going to the GM plant in St. Catharines?” Dias said.

“It’s unheard of. It’s always been the other way around Canadian jobs going to Mexico.”

On Tuesday, about half an hour past a midnight strike deadline, the union representing 6,700 Canadian Ford workers announced it had reached a tentative settlement after days at the bargaining table.

The negotiations with Ford were the toughest of the three, the union said, but they resulted in a deal that, if approved during ratification votes on Saturday and Sunday, will see the automaker devote $700 million to its Canadian facilities.

Dias said the “overwhelming majority” of that investment will go to one of its two engine plants in Windsor, Ont.

A Ford Canada spokeswoman said in an email that the company will not discuss the tentative deal until after its unionized workers have had a chance to review and vote on it.

Unifor was seeking a deal similar to those it reached with General Motors and Fiat Chrysler in pattern bargaining that began in the summer.

Both Fiat Chrysler and General Motors have agreed to invest $554 million each in their Canadian operations.

Dias said a number of factors came together to allow Unifor to negotiate such favourable agreements, including the resolve among members to go on strike and the low Canadian dollar, which benefits Canadian manufacturing and exports.

“The stars were all aligned,” Dias said. “We just needed to make sure that we brought it home, and we did.”

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