The excerpted article was written by By Sandor Gyarmati, Delta Optimist
You were looking forward to your dream vacation or nice little gateway before coronavirus – now travel restrictions are in place and your flight has been canceled.
Don’t count on the airline giving you a cash refund, but you will likely get a voucher, which has many people fighting mad.
Barb Mills with Tsawwassen Insurance said the Canadian Transportation Agency endorsed airlines not refunding passengers for flights cancelled due to the COVID-19 or other reasons outside an airline’s control.
Mills noted airlines are only obliged to ensure passengers can complete their trip and are offering customers vouchers, adding most airlines are offering at least a year for people to use those vouchers.
The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association says in the past, travel service providers usually provided consumers with refunds where the service provider was unable to provide service, but over the past month, that changed and they are now offering vouchers or credits that consumers can use for future travel.
On March 25, the Canadian Transportation Agency updated its endorsement of the use of vouchers or credits as an appropriate approach for Canada’s airlines as long as the vouchers or credits do not expire in an unreasonably short period of time.
“Travel insurers are advising policy holders that if you have been offered this type of full credit, or voucher for future use by an airline, train or other travel provider, in many instances, under the terms of your insurance policy you will not be considered to have suffered an insurable loss,” a news release by the association notes.
The association also notes disputes over refunds and credits should be directed to travel service providers, transportation carriers or the Canadian Transportation Agency.
Airlines already have a fight on their hands, meanwhile, as a proposed class-action lawsuit targeting airlines that only offered vouchers, including Air Canada, Air Transat, West Jet, Sunwing and Swoop, has been filed. The suit claims that the airlines should not be allowed to hold onto customers’ money indefinitely for a purchase that they may or may not make in the future.
The advocacy group Air Passenger Rights says the transportation agency has given the false impression the initial endorsement of vouchers was a legally binding determination.
Source: Delta Optimist
Whether you’re entertaining guests at home or at an off-site venue, make sure safety is part of your planning process.
The holiday season is synonymous with socializing and celebrations. If you’re hosting a party of any size, taking the right steps to ensure your safety and the safety of your guests is an important step in the planning process.
Here are some simple tips to protect yourself from liability at your next holiday party.
Prevent slip and falls
When you throw a party at your home, you’re responsible for the safety and well-being of your guests. This means providing a standard of care in keeping your property free from hazards.
During your event, ensure that all sidewalks, walkways and steps are clear of ice and snow and that there is adequate lighting to allow guests to safely enter and exit your home. Indoors, keep hard floor surfaces free from any moisture that could potentially cause a slip and fall.
Think of the children
Family-friendly parties or events present a set of hazards for children that can often be overlooked. As a host, eliminate any child-specific dangers like choking hazards, access to medications or toxic cleaning products, and sources of open flames like fireplaces or candles.
Keep the drinking in check
Many of us enjoy a holiday cocktail or two, but safety and moderation are key. As host, you are responsible for making sure your guests enjoy responsibly. If someone leaves your party, drives drunk and causes injury or death, you could be found liable. Limiting guest’s alcohol consumption, providing a place to stay, and actively preventing drinking and driving are all good practices as host.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada offers several tips for managing liquor liability risks including hiring professionals who are trained in the proper service of alcohol, making sure there are food options and a variety of non-alcoholic beverages available, and having cash or vouchers on hand for cabs.
Understand your existing insurance policy
Before hosting an event, make sure to contact your insurance provider and ask them to review your homeowner’s insurance policy with you. will be able to confirm what you’re currently covered for, such as slip and fall, and advise you on what other extra, short-term policies you may want to add for your holiday event.
Hosting a party at an off-site venue? Consider this.
Anytime you rent a venue, you are responsible for the premises being left undamaged. This is especially important for business owners as they are responsible for their employees’ safety and actions during their event. While there is always a risk of some damage occurring, especially when there are a large number of guests and alcohol is present, there are things you can do to ensure you do not incur the liability.
A smart option is to bring your rental contract to your insurance provider and figure out what additional short-term policies you need that will offer the best protection. They may ask you to consider event insurance, holiday party liability insurance or injury liability insurance. You need to be clear on what coverage you have and what you need ahead of time to prevent being involved in a potential lawsuit.
Certain liabilities can be avoided with the right preparation. To speak to someone about the best ways to protect yourself and your guests at your next holiday party, click here.
VANCOUVER _ Money-laundering operations in casinos have been tied to British Columbia’s opioid overdose crisis and the real-estate market, the attorney general said Wednesday as he released an independent report detailing how organized crime groups used the gaming industry to distribute its profits.
David Eby said the report highlights disturbing issues related to international gangsters discovering Vancouver-area casinos as destinations to launder illegal drug money and then invest it in real estate.
“The fact that we played not just a local role, but an international role in this should be troubling to everybody,” he said.
Eby said the problem surfaced in 2011, but the former Liberal government failed to address “serious crime with serious consequences.”
“It has to stop,” Eby told a news conference. “We can’t let organized crime get ahead of us.”
Eby tasked former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German to conduct a review and make recommendations last September.
German’s report, “Dirty Money,” said B.C.’s gaming industry and the anti-money laundering system was not prepared for the onslaught of illegal cash flowing through the casinos and they failed collectively.
He estimated more than $100 million was funnelled through casinos as part of a scheme dubbed the “Vancouver model.”
German said the model is linked to Chinese crime organizations that would loan money from their proceeds, usually drugs, to borrowers who would gamble at B.C. casinos. The gambler would then receive Canadian dollars from the proceeds to repay the criminal groups.
“The ‘genius’ of the scheme is the ability to achieve two objectives and be paid for, both in the same transaction,” the report says. “The lender is both servicing a drug trafficking organization by laundering its money, and the Chinese gambler by providing him or her with Canadian cash.”
Much of the laundered money ended up being invested in Vancouver-area real estate, German said.
“Why did this occur? Because it could,” he told the news conference.
German’s report says the RCMP viewed real estate as a hiding place for illegal money.
“It has been said that ‘everything in B.C. comes back to real estate,’ “the report says. “It has also been suggested that you can see a ‘rat move through all of it,’ meaning that each component of the industry is vulnerable to criminal actors who tend to operate in more than one discrete area of real estate sales, mortgages, insurance, and so forth.”
German said the amount of suspicious money entering casinos since a high point in 2015 has been greatly reduced due to police and industry actions, but the prevention measures must continue to ensure the problem does not resurface.
He warned organized crime will move on to other sectors of the economy, including luxury vehicles and horse racing.
“We need a strong provincial regulator, which is not currently the situation,” German said.
The report makes 48 recommendations, including the establishment of a gaming regulator and a police unit that specializes in criminal and regulatory investigations in the industry.
Eby said the government accepts all the recommendations.
“We will be moving as quickly as possible to slam the door shut on dirty money,” he said.
He said the former Liberal government turned a blind eye to money laundering in B.C. casinos for years.
“Nobody said No to taking this money and that is inexcusable.”
Liberal jobs critic Jas Johal said he expected the report to include announcements of arrests and crackdowns on organized crime.
Billions of dollars have been invested in B.C.’s real estate market in the last few years so “$100 million is a drop the bucket,” he said in an interview.
Johal said German’s recommendations will strengthen the system, and the Liberal government was moving towards making improvements before the last provincial election in May 2017.
Eby launched an investigation after the government’s gaming enforcement branch showed him surveillance video of gamblers walking into casinos with suitcases and a hockey bag full of $20 bills.
The BC Lottery Corp., which operates casinos, said the report is an important road map for multiple organizations involved in fighting money laundering in the province.
“We are poised to implement the direction set out by Attorney General David Eby to keep dirty money out of casinos alongside our industry, government and law enforcement partners,” corporation president Jim Lightbody said in a news release.
By Dirk Meissner in Victoria.