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Estée Lauder sues founder of Toronto-based skin care company Deciem following his sudden closure of business

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Estée Lauder, owner of 28 per cent of Toronto-based Deciem skin care firm, filed a lawsuit against its founder Brandon Truaxe in Toronto Thursday morning, applying to prevent him having further involvement with the company.

In its court filings, the cosmetics giant sought to prevent Truaxe from having contact with the company, its activities and assets, and to have him replaced as Deciem’s head by co-CEO Nicola Kilner.

The beauty supply store Deciem closed all locations unexpectedly on Tuesday.
The beauty supply store Deciem closed all locations unexpectedly on Tuesday.  (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The injunction also seeks to protect Deciem, its employers, employees, assets, social media links and e-commerce infrastructure.

Estée Lauder’s move comes just days after Truaxe posted a video on Instagram that all of Deciem’s worldwide locations — billed as The Abnormal Beauty Company — were shutting down.

Read more:

Skin care company Deciem to close all stores following founder’s Instagram post

Everything you need to know about the possible Deciem shutdown

The main Deciem website remained shut Thursday, although its online shopping site appeared to be working. Phones went unanswered at various locations. Stores listed on The Abnormal Beauty Company website were all listed as “closed” Thursday.

Established by Truaxe in Toronto in 2013, Deciem sells skin and hair care products at the company’s own shops in major cities all over the world.

They are sold at department stores such as Hudson’s Bay Company in Canada.

They come in lab- or industrial-looking tubes, pill containers and dropper bottles, and carry bland labelling, and go under product names such as “The Ordinary” and “The Chemistry Brand.”

Beauty product giant Estée Lauderbecame a minority shareholder in Deciem in 2017, when fewer than 300 people worked there.

In April, Deciem’s Kilner, who was fired by Truaxe and rehired earlier this year, said in an Elle magazine article that 450 people, most under the age of 35, were employed by the company.

In an Instagram post in May, Truaxe wrote: “I control the company; I’m running the company. Forget the shares. Yes, I may be the biggest shareholder, but that doesn’t mean anything. There are arrangements in place that no shareholder, even if they end up owning 99 per cent [can fire me.] I choose to leave when I choose to leave.”

Truaxe has boasted in the past of spending nothing on marketing and reaching an eager clientele via social media postings and word of mouth.

A court hearing has been scheduled for Friday.

—with files from The Canadian Press



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‘It’s devastating’: Barge cancellation taking a toll on Kugluktuk business, residents

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The community of Kugluktuk, Nunavut, received its first freighter flight of goods on Saturday from the recently cancelled Marine Transportation Services (MTS) barge — a relief for residents, but one that has not alleviated concerns or confusion in the community.

Earlier this month, the Northwest Territories government, which owns MTS, announced the annual barge would not make it to Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, and Paulatuk, N.W.T., because of poor ice conditions. The barge was scheduled to arrive in mid-August.

For extremely remote communities like Kugluktuk, the annual barge is a lifeline that brings in much needed goods, food and vehicles.

After several emotional meetings with affected communities, MTS management agreed to fly in a portion of the goods. The rest will sit in a heated warehouse in Inuvik, N.W.T., until they can be brought in on a barge next year.

Delays put businesses at risk, say owners

For some of Kugluktuk’s local business owners, that announcement was heartbreaking. The community’s locally-owned hardware store, JMS Supplies — Kugluktuk’s main source of lumber, tools, paint, and snowmobile parts — had about $850,000 worth of stock on the barge.

« It’s devastating. You have to wonder if your business is going to survive, » JMS manager Gladys Joudrey says.

« Can it survive if we don’t get our stuff in? I don’t know. We’re just starting to run out of stuff that we sell all the time. It’s starting now to really impact us. »

JMS Supplies manager Gladys Joudrey and owner Joanne Klengenberg. About $850,000 worth of stock for their store is currently stuck in Inuvik, N.W.T., after the barge it was on was cancelled. (Hilary Bird/CBC)

On Saturday, MTS flew up a very small amount of the store’s goods from Inuvik. A local hotel, the Enokhok Inn, also received a portion of its supplies.

Even after the stock flown in on Saturday was unpacked, many of the shelves in the small hardware store still sit bare. Almost all of the racks in their lumber warehouse are empty.

« Right now, we’re losing money. People come in asking for supplies and obviously we don’t have it. Every time, we’re losing a sale, » Joudrey said.

Those lost sales are beginning to add up. Joudrey said she has had to cut down on her hours in order to help keep the doors open.

Lack of communication

The Northwest Territories government got into the shipping business when it bought the Northern Transportation Company Limited (NTCL) assets for $7.5 million in December 2016. The company filed for bankruptcy protection after racking up about $140 million in debt.

The deal included 82 barges, eight tugboats, a shipyard in Hay River, and a number of other vessels, buildings, and equipment.

What Joudrey said is most frustrating about the dilemma is the lack of communication between MTS and the community. Joudrey said she only found out about the freighter flight three hours before it arrived. She said she had no idea what stock would be coming in, or how much.

« [At a community meeting] MTS said: ‘Oh, we’re reaching out to people,' » Joudrey said. « And we’re all looking at each other like: ‘Who? Who did you reach out to?' »

While MTS claims the barge cancellation is « an act of God, » Joudrey said she doesn’t buy it.

The company claims it ran into impenetrable ice near Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., in late September. Joudrey said if the barge had left the Hay River shipyard on time and came to the community in mid-August as scheduled, it would never have run into ice.

« Of course there’s going to be ice in late September, » Joudrey said.

The N.W.T. government said the delays were caused by high water levels and late fuel deliveries out of Edmonton.

This is the second year the government’s barge transportation service has run into problems. Last summer, the barge schedule changed three times and many communities received their shipments about four weeks after the expected arrival date.

‘It’s a lifeline’

Inuvialuit elder Frank Ipakohak said this is the first time in his 71 years that he hasn’t seen a barge arrive.

« For every community, it is a lifeline, » Ipakohak said as he filleted char outside his home. « It’s how you’re going to get construction stuff and equipment and things people need in our communities. »

Elder Frank Ipakohak fillets char outside of his house. He says the barge brings in much needed snowmobile parts and sled supplies that help him provide for his family. (Hilary Bird/CBC)

Ipakohak said he uses his snowmobile to set fish nets to feed his family. Without snowmobile parts or lumber and rope to make traditional Inuit sleds called kamotiks, many families like Ipakohak’s wouldn’t be able to get the fish they need.

« I have to provide fish and animals for my family, as well as for my friends, » he said. « People here help each other and provide food for other people as well. »

Joudrey said she hasn’t been told when the next freighter flights will be coming in, or if the rest of JMS’s stuff will be on it. She said she trusts MTS will stand by its word and fly in their stock.

If they don’t, JMS may have to close its doors, she said.



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Ballot points: your questions answered about voting in Toronto’s election

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After a tumultuous six-month election campaign, voting day — Monday, Oct. 22 — is upon us.

Voters will decide which of the 35 candidates will be mayor, and who out of more than 250 candidates will win one of 25 councillor seats for the next four years.

Here’s everything you need to know to cast your ballot.

When do I vote?

Polls are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Where do I vote?

You must vote in the ward you live in. Each of the 25 wards has multiple voting stations. To find locations close to you, visit myvote.toronto.ca.

Am I eligible to vote in the Toronto municipal election?

Any Canadian citizen 18 years or older who is a resident of Toronto, or owns or rents property in the city, is a spouse of someone who owns or rents property in the city, and isn’t prohibited from voting under any law can vote in the municipal election.

People cannot vote if they’re serving a sentence of incarceration, convicted of a corrupt practice under the Municipal Elections Act, or as a corporation. They also cannot vote acting as an executor or trustee, except if they’re a voting proxy.

Students attending school in Toronto can vote both in the city and in the municipality they call home. Toronto residents attending school elsewhere can still vote in Toronto’s municipal election, and can appoint another voter to proxy vote on their behalf.

Am I eligible to vote in the Toronto school board election?

The same eligibility rules apply as in the municipal election with the exception that only owners or tenants of residential, not commercial, property can vote for a trustee.

People are allowed to vote for the same school board once, and must be a “separate school board supporter” or spouse of one to vote for trustees outside the English public school board system.

In order to support another school board (such as Catholic or French language), people must have already directed their property taxes to another system. To vote for a Catholic school board trustee, you must also be Roman Catholic. To vote for a French school board trustee, you must be a French language rights holder, or the spouse of one.

I didn’t receive a voter information card. Can I still vote?

Yes. A voter information card is not mandatory, although it speeds up the voting process at the poll site.

What identification do I need to bring to vote?

You are required to show documentation with your name and Toronto address, such as a driver’s licence, tax documents, bank account statement, utility bill or payment stub. Your documentation doesn’t have to have a photo.

I can’t make it out to vote. Can I still cast a ballot?

Yes. Eligible voters who are unable to vote for any reason can appoint another eligible voter to vote on their behalf by submitting a proxy appointment form and providing identification to the city clerk by 4:30 p.m.

Forms can be picked up in person during regular business hours at city clerk office locations: Election Services at 89 Northline Rd., city hall at 100 Queen St. W., Etobicoke Civic Centre at 399 The West Mall, North York Civic Centre at 5100 Yonge St. or the Scarborough Civic Centre at 150 Borough Dr. They can also be obtained by calling 416-338-1111 or emailing voterregistration@toronto.ca.

Am I allowed to leave work to vote?

Yes. You are entitled to three hours to vote.

I have a disability, or other special needs. Can I still vote?

Yes. If you are unable to go inside a voting place, election officials can meet you at your vehicle or outside the building.

Inside voting places, voter assisted terminals provide a way for you to vote independently, offering a touchscreen, audio, Braille key pad, sip-puff tube device, rocker paddle-foot switch and zoom features.

For more information on accessibility, contact the city at accessibleelections@toronto.ca or 416-338-1111 ext. 6.

How do I find out the winners?

The city and the Star will post live election results on their websites starting at 8 p.m. Oct. 22.

Samantha Beattie is a city hall reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @samantha_kb



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Ontario to keep funding supervised drug consumption sites, health minister says

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Ontario will keep funding supervised drug consumption sites, but their focus will change to help users receive treatment and get rehabilitated, Health Minister Christine Elliott said Monday morning.

Existing sites will also have to reapply to continue operating, Elliott said.

« While critical, simply preventing overdoses is not enough. We need longer-term solutions to this problem, » she said about the reason behind rebranding the sites to focus on consumption and treatment services. 

« Lives are being lost every day, and opioid addiction, if left unchecked, creates a new burden on our health-care system.

« We don’t truly save a person’s life until they are free of addiction. »

Toronto and Ottawa have supervised consumption sites. 

London has a temporary overdose prevention site while it awaits approval of a permanent site. 

The province has capped the number of sites at 21.

There will not be any new funding for the rebranded sites, Elliott said, and most existing sites already comply with the new model. Those sites cost the province $31 million. 

The new sites will include harm-reduction services such as supervised consumption services and will connect people with treatment and health services, Elliott said. 

« Government cannot turn a blind eye to the crisis is happening in front of us. Absent a safe and controlled environment, [people] will continue to use local business, parks, homes and libraries to inject at serious risk to themselves and others. »

Currently, 19 sites are operating and can apply to the province to continue. Three sites — in St. Catharines, Thunder Bay and in Parkdale in Toronto — were paused while Elliott reviewed supervised consumption. Those will be allowed to open, she said. 

« Pop-up sites and tents will not be allowed and this will be strictly enforced. »

The sites will be subject to random audits. They’ll also have to report back to the province about who is using them. 



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