Ride hailing, electric vehicles, self driving cars: Ford Canada looks to future

By Laura Kane

THE CANADIAN PRESS

VANCOUVER _ Ride hailing, electric vehicles and self-driving cars are transforming the future of Ford Canada, and CEO Mark Buzzell says the company is gearing up for a radical shift toward becoming an “auto and mobility” business.

Buzzell said Tuesday the company sees these trends taking hold and is responding with billions of dollars in new investments. While he wouldn’t speculate on long-term hiring plans in Canada, he said Ford would still need a strong manufacturing workforce.

“At the end of the day, you still have to manufacture autonomous vehicles,” he said in an interview at Vancouver’s auto show. “If anything, it’s going to add jobs because we need software development engineers to help us with the technology.”

Ford has already invested in San Francisco-based Chariot, which allows people to use a mobile app to hail rides on transit vans, as well as bike-sharing service GoBike. Last month, it announced $1 billion for a company called Argo AI, which is led by former Google and Uber executives and aims to develop a new software platform for Ford’s first autonomous vehicle.

“There’s a lot of new disruptors or new players trying to get into this space,” Buzzell said. “As our chairman Bill Ford has said, it’s an interesting time when we need to figure out who’s our friend and who’s our foe. In some cases, they may be one and the same.”

The company is promising to have a self-driving vehicle, without a steering wheel or gas pedal, on the market by 2021. Currently, Ford is testing a fleet of 30 autonomous vehicles in the U.S. and aims to expand to 90 around the globe, Buzzell said.

Ford has also invested $4.5 billion in electric vehicles to bring 13 new models to market over the next four or five years.

“I think we can do a better job of creating awareness of the features and benefits these vehicles bring,” he said. “Then I think we have to overcome some anxieties.”

Customers have “range anxiety,” worrying that they will run out of energy, he said. But he said Ford is working to ensure more charging stations are available while piloting wireless charging technology in other parts of the world.

Buzzell said Canada is trying to position itself as a technology and innovation leader and the company is working closely with the federal government on projects including improving engine development at its two engine plants in Windsor, Ont.

Ford promised last fall it would inject $700 million into the Windsor plants and its assembly plant in Oakville, Ont., as part of a labour deal reached with Unifor, which represents about 6,700 workers at the company’s facilities.

Buzzell has said this commitment has not wavered since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump. He reaffirmed his position on Tuesday, adding it would be unfair to speculate about Trump’s protectionist proposals.

He said it’s too early to comment on the U.S. administration’s proposal for a border-adjusted tax on imports, but he said Ford chairman Bill Ford and CEO Mark Fields are communicating to Trump that the company supports free trade. He wouldn’t comment on what they were hearing in response.

He said the company is also working with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and governors of Great Lakes states, as Ford facilities on either side of the border are highly interdependent.

“NAFTA has been around for 22 years and for the most part, it’s served us very well,” he said. “We’re in favour of very open trade agreements that make it easy for us to do business around the globe.”

 

Edmontonians charged in identity theft, counterfeit ring police say

EDMONTON _ Four people have been charged in what Edmonton police say was an identity theft and counterfeiting operation.

Police say they watched a resident leave a house in a stolen Ford F350 and three others leave in a car with a stolen validation tag on Feb. 28.

Police then searched the house and found stolen driver’s licences, passports, birth certificates, social insurance number cards, health-care cards, credit cards, bank cards, and assorted membership cards.

Officers also found stolen mail, cheques, money orders, and vehicle access codes and counterfeit manufacturing materials including printers and scanners, a laptop, external hard drives and memory sticks, and a debit terminal.

They also found counterfeit $20 and $50 American dollar bills, as well as $5, $10 and $20 dollar Canadian bills, printed on sheets of paper and four undocumented and unsecured rifles with ammunition.

Charged are Patsy Brown, 45, Chayenne Cardinal, 22, James Gibb, 36, and Douglas Herman, 59,.

“It’s quite a significant seizure, it’s not common to recover this amount of stolen identity documents and counterfeit materials in one place,” said Const. Benjamin Davis with EPS Northeast Division.

“We believe there may be over 100 victims of identity theft connected to this file, but by removing these stolen identities from the street, we’re stopping any future frauds to individuals or businesses.”

Ontario government to set up new regulator for home builders, replacing Tarion

By Michelle McQuigge

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ The Ontario government will be setting up a stand-alone regulator to oversee the province’s home builders.

Minister of Government and Consumer Services Tracy MacCharles says the move will mean removing responsibilities from the Tarion Warrant Corp., which has overseen nearly all facets of the home building sector for the past 40 years.

MacCharles says Tarion has been responsible both for regulating builders and administering the province’s new home warranties, but the system lends itself to the perception of a conflict of interest.

She says Tarion will effectively be split in half, maintaining administration of the warranty program while the government establishes a new regulator.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Tarion says the firm has “serious concerns” with the move.

Legislation to establish the new regulator is expected to be introduced in the fall.

MacCharles says the change is designed to improve accountability and transparency for home buyers.

“Tarion is too far removed from government; its unique structure doesn’t give my ministry the same oversight tools that it has for our other administrative authorities,” MacCharles said in a prepared remarks to Toronto’s Empire club on Tuesday. “We believe that consumers can be better protected by giving government the lead in making rules and setting standards.”

In November 2015, the government appointed Douglas Cunningham, the former associate chief justice of the Ontario Superior Court, to lead a review into consumer protections for new home owners.

In MacCharles’ remarks, she acknowledged that Cunningham had found fault with Tarion’s complex structure and over-arching mandate, adding the retired judge had heard that both builders and homeowners questioned Tarion’s objectivity.

In a statement sent to The Canadian Press on Tuesday, Tarion spokeswoman Laurie Stephens took issue with Cunningham’s recommendations.

“We worry that the recommendations will have the effect of seriously weakening consumer protection; increasing costs for the administration and regulation of the warranty, new costs that ultimately new home buyers will have to pay; and creating barriers to entry for builders that could further impact a marketplace already struggling to keep pace with consumer demand,” said Stephens.

Years earlier, the province’s ombudsman had slammed the private company in a report and described it as a “puppet of the building industry.”

“if we were doing this in 2017, would we give an organization all these multiple roles? The short answer is no,” MacCharles said. “Why? Well, as Justice Cunningham noted in his final report, Tarion’s multiple roles and responsibilities can give rise to a perception of conflict of interest, and could result in actual conflicts of interest.”

The Residential Construction Council of Ontario said it is pleased to see that the report calls for dismantling Tarion’s monopoly over new-home warranty service and moving to a multi-provider insurance system.

“Competition will give new-home buyers more options,” president Richard Lyall said in a statement.

“Justice Cunningham’s report encourages the Ontario government to enable new private-sector warranty-surety providers to enter the marketplace, just like British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta,” Lyall said. “This recommendation aligns home builders with consumer advocates.”

Casual Worker Permitted To Sue Employer For Injuries Resulting From Workplace Accident

Article by Jessica R.W. Bungay

Workers’ Compensation generally operates like a form of insurance in that it provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees who are injured in the course of their employment. In exchange for this protection, Workers’ Compensation legislation includes a provision that bars all rights and causes of action by an employee against an employer resulting from injuries which arise as a result of employment. The system is therefore beneficial for both employees and employers.

There are, however, situations where the quid pro quo is not applicable. One such example occurred in the case of Eastland Industries Ltd. v. Casey, 2016 NBCA 57. In the case, the Company arranged for two individuals to clear snow off the roof of a building owned by the Company. The building, while owned by the Company, was being used by the owner of the Company to store personal belongings. The Company paid the two individuals cash for what was anticipated to be a one-day job. While performing the work, one of the individuals, Casey, fell through the roof of the building and landed on the cement floor below. He sustained serious injuries and had to undergo surgery. While he was in the hospital, Casey signed a Report of Accident form for the purposes of theWorkers’ Compensation Act. The form was submitted to the Workers’ Compensation Commission and Casey was advised that his claim for compensation had been accepted. He received approximately $300 in workers’ compensation benefits.

Decision

Casey later filed a legal action against the Company claiming damages for personal injuries on the basis of negligence. The Company asserted that the action was barred as a result of the operation of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The matter was referred to the Workers’ Compensation Commission for a determination as to whether the legal action was barred by the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Commission held that, in light of the fact that Casey had received workers’ compensation benefits, his legal action against the Company was barred.

The decision of the Commission was appealed to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal. The Appeals Tribunal held that Casey’s employment with the Company was of a “casual nature”. The evidence established that the building from which the snow was being cleared was owned by the Company but was not being used “for purposes of the industry”. Pursuant to the Workers’ Compensation Act, the prohibition against legal actions by employees against their employers for injuries sustained in employment did not apply to persons whose employment was of a “casual nature and otherwise than for the purposes of the industry”. This decision was appealed by the Company.

The matter proceeded to the New Brunswick Court of Appeal where the decision of the Appeals Tribunal was upheld. There was no dispute that Casey’s employment was of a “casual nature”. The work being done was not “for purposes of the industry”. Accordingly, the bar to legal action against the employer did not apply. The Court of Appeal noted the novelty of the factual situation at para. 39:

…The statute leaves the door ajar, albeit very slightly, to employee lawsuits for damages against the employer. The cases where the courtroom door is not shut are truly rare.

What This Means for Employers

As noted by the New Brunswick Court of Appeal, it is extremely rare that an employee injured in the course of their employment is permitted to take legal action against his/her employer. This situation can arise when individuals are hired to perform casual work that is not related to the business of the employer. This may include, but is not limited to, tasks such as snow clearing, landscaping, work related to the aesthetics and/or upkeep of the premises, etc. Employers should ensure that employees who are hired to perform such tasks are properly instructed, trained and qualified to perform the work and that the appropriate safety measures are in place and are being adhered to.

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.

Street Racer Found Partly Liable for Other Vehicles Fatal Crash

Interesting reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, finding a street racer partly liable for the death of a passenger in another vehicle that he did not collide with.

In today’s case (Suran v. Auckland) Cadillac and a Chrysler 300 were involved in a street race. Police subsequently blocked off the road and the driver of the Cadillac was apprehended The driver of the Chrysler backed up and drove around the road block and “proceeded down a steep embankment and dropped over a retaining wall, before finally coming to rest at the bottom of a ravine.”. A passenger in the vehicle died when”he was unable to extricate himself from the vehicle when it caught fire. His body was found partially seated on the right front passenger’s seat area with his feet trapped between the right front passenger’s door and the ground.”

The passenger’s family sued and both motorists were found partly to blame with the passenger himself being faulted with 25% contributory negligence. In holding the driver of the Cadillac partly at fault for the death even though he was in police custody at the time Madam Justice Burke provided the following reasons:

[195] I conclude Mr. Marwaha in the Cadillac and Mr. Auluck in the Chrysler 300 were engaged in a common (unlawful) course of action that ultimately precipitated the catastrophic accident and death of Mr. Suran. It was reasonably foreseeable, as argued by Ms. Suran, that participation by Mr. Marwaha in a street race at high speed on a busy street would attract police attention and action, which it did. It was also reasonably foreseeable that Mr. Auluck would flee the police as he did, based on his erratic and dangerous behaviour throughout the evening.

[196] There is, therefore, sufficient proximity and foreseeability for Mr. Marwaha to be found partially liable for the accident. As he was indeed stopped by the police and could no longer participate in the race, I conclude Mr. Marwaha’s culpability for the accident lies at 10%.

Uninsured, Self Represented Litigant Learns that Perjury is a Poor Idea

From the vault of how not to represent yourself in court, reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, admonishing a self represented litigant for providing the Court with perjured evidence.

In today’s case (Dizon v. Losier) the Defendant rear-ended a vehicle driven by the Plaintiff.  The Defendant was uninsured at the time and represented himself in court.  As part of his defense strategy he called a witness who said he witnessed the collision and the Plaintiff stopped for no reason.  On cross examination it became clear that this witness did not see the collision and colluded to provide this friendly evidence for the Defendant.  The Court went on to find the Defendant largely at fault for the crash, ordering payment of almost $40,000 in damages, costs, and one day of ‘specical costs’ for the perjured evidence. In admonishing this evidence Madam Justice Russell provided the following comments:

[43]         Mr. Losier called a witness who provided completely concocted evidence about seeing the plaintiff’s car stop for no reason just before the accident. This witness, Mr. Dale Carmount, was asked by this Court if he had known the defendant before the accident. This was done in order to test whether there had been any complicity with respect to this convenient account of events. Mr. Carmount denied having met the plaintiff before the accident. Instead, he said he had responded to a notice posted by Mr. Losier asking for witnesses to the accident.

[44]         In cross-examination, plaintiff’s counsel referred to a Facebook page that Mr. Carmount denied existed, but which was clearly that of Mr. Carmount, and then asked him about family relationships. Mr. Carmount then revealed that, through family in Ontario, Mr. Carmount and Mr. Losier were acquainted before the accident.

[45]         In light of this evidence, I find that the two of them developed a statement for Mr. Carmount to sign that was completely untrue. Mr. Carmount had not witnessed the accident occurring as he had stated under oath.

[46]         That this evidence amounted to perjury, for which both participants could have been prosecuted, was not lost on Mr. Losier. He tendered an apology to the Court.

[47]         This turn of events significantly undermined the reliability of the defendant’s evidence.

[84]         … the plaintiff will be awarded one day of special costs for the unnecessary delay in this matter for the consideration of the perjured evidence from the defendant.

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