President of Aeroplan parent company leaves after less than 3 months

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Aimia Inc. has announced the departure of its president and chief strategy officer less than three months after he took the job.

In late August, the Montreal-based company hired Nathaniel Felsher from Deutsche Bank in New York, where he co-headed the firm’s aviation corporate and investment banking group.

« The company wishes to acknowledge Mr. Felsher’s contributions during this pivotal period and wishes him well in his future endeavours, » Aimia said in a two-sentence release Thursday.

Felsher reported directly to Aimia CEO Jeremy Rabe, pictured here. (Aeroplan)

Felsher, who has experience with loyalty programs, reported directly to Aimia chief executive Jeremy Rabe over the past 12 weeks.

« Having worked with him in the past, I believe his knowledge of the global loyalty and aviation space, strong relationships and corporate finance skills will be a huge asset to our business going forward, » Rabe said in a statement on Aug. 27.

An Aimia spokesperson declined to comment.

Transition time for Aeroplan

« It is a short tenure for sure, » said Karl Moore, an associate professor at McGill University’s business school.

« I’ve heard he was very helpful in terms of getting them to the place they needed to be with Air Canada and Aeroplan, but clearly he did not fit with where they were going in the future. »

Aimia is in transition mode, as it works to complete the sale of its flagship Aeroplan rewards program to an Air Canada-led consortium for $450 million.

The company, which has seen its shares struggle in recent years, launched a review of its strategic direction earlier this month, with Rabe suggesting more asset sales on the horizon.

Shares have hovered at around $4 since the Aeroplan deal was announced on Aug. 21, less than half its stock price from before May 2017. The analytics firm has seen shares decline from a peak of around $20 in the first half of 2014 and net losses totalling more than $400 million over the past five years.

Shares of the company have fallen to around $4 since the sale of Aeroplan was revealed. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Aimia’s global reach has sometimes come at a cost. In February, the company announced it had sold Nectar, a U.K. loyalty program, to British retailer Sainsbury for $105 million, 11 years after Aimia bought it for $755 million.

The Aeroplan agreement — which includes buyers Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Visa Canada Corp. — would leave the company with more than $1 billion in cash to invest elsewhere, according to Mittleman Brothers, Aimia’s largest stakeholder at 17.6 per cent.

Analysts predicted about 1,000 Aeroplan employees — roughly 60 per cent of Aimia’s work force — would transfer to Air Canada if the deal goes ahead.

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BlackBerry to buy cybersecurity company Cylance for $1.4B US

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BlackBerry Ltd. has signed a deal to acquire U.S. artificial intelligence and cybersecurity company Cylance for US$1.4 billion in cash.

The Ontario-based company called Cylance a pioneer in applying artificial intelligence, algorithmic science and machine learning to cybersecurity software.

« Cylance’s leadership in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity will immediately complement our entire portfolio, UEM and QNX in particular, » John Chen, BlackBerry’s executive chairman and chief executive, said in a statement Friday.

In addition to the purchase price, BlackBerry will also assume Cylance’s unvested employee incentives.

Blackberry’s shift from smartphone to software, security

Cylance will operate as a separate business unit.

BlackBerry made its name as a smartphone pioneer, but has shifted in recent years to software and security services.

The company is also growing its QNX software business, which is focused on the automotive sector.

BlackBerry said the deal to buy the California-based firm is expected to close before the end of its financial year in February 2019, pending regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

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Twelve’s company: Two couples want to make High Park co-housing dream a reality

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It began half in jest — two couples enjoying their annual weekend getaway, strolling the streets of Stratford, Ont., wistfully admiring the pretty Victorians and wondering aloud about the future.

Would it be feasible to avoid the loneliness that creeps with age by joining forces in a private home with room for shared meals and laughter and cosy nooks for private chats or reading?

Doug and Mardi Tindal (from left) with their co-housing partners Hillary Arnold and Ted Addie. The couples plan to convert their home into c0-housing space with separate units and a common kitchen and living area to share with other older singles and couples.
Doug and Mardi Tindal (from left) with their co-housing partners Hillary Arnold and Ted Addie. The couples plan to convert their home into c0-housing space with separate units and a common kitchen and living area to share with other older singles and couples.  (Steve Russell / Toronto Star)

Two years later, Doug and Mardi Tindal, Ted Addie and Hillary Arnold, who have been friends for 30 years and are all in their late 50s to mid-60s, have parlayed a daydream into a serious plan for a co-living community. It has room for 10 to 12 people, all of whom would continue to pursue their separate lives while also sharing companionship and mutual support.

The alternative for most elderly North Americans is isolation or institutionalization — likely both, say the Tindals.

The two couples have purchased a big High Park house across from a park and backing on a ravine. It doesn’t have a real porch but there is one in their plan. Steps from the subway, the $2.2-million home is divided into three units. While they are assembling their community, the Tindals are living on the main floor and Addie and Arnold have the upstairs. The lower level with a walkout to an expansive deck is rented.

The foursome has legally incorporated an equity co-op they call Wine on the Porch Inc. They have hired an architect, who has done renderings for an extensive renovation that would maintain the footprint of the home but transform it to accommodate up to a dozen people aged 50-plus. They would all share a generous light-filled kitchen and living area. Each individual or couple would also have a private bedroom and sitting area with a locked door, 400 to 600 sq. ft. — about the size of many Toronto condos.

There would be an elevator, two guest suites for visitors or caregivers and a second dining room so residents could host private gatherings for family and friends.

Addie, a retired, self-described introvert, says he is looking forward to having a choice of whether to be alone or share some conversation.

“You always have your private space but it’s easy to plug into somebody else,” he says.

Wine on the Porch is unusual but not entirely unique. Its founders have been informed and inspired by four women known as Port Perry’s “golden girls,” who share the expense and work of co-ownership while living independent lives, and a similar equity co-op in Kamloops, B.C., called the RareBirds.

People generally grasp the potential benefits, they say, of the Wine on the Porch proposition: the ability to age in place; a gentle means of adding density to urban neighbourhoods traditionally reserved for single family homes; and the economic and environmental efficiencies.

But, as attractive as their proposal is to many people, most simply don’t take the leap, says Doug, a retired writer.

“We have a universal enthusiastic response from everyone we talk to followed by the hemming and hawing and backing away,” he says. “Everyone has thought about this but it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to realize we’re proposing something quite specific.”

What they are proposing is “countercultural,” says Doug, and sometimes just the notion of a common kitchen is a deal-breaker.

The four co-founders have put a lot of time and thought into making some decisions, including the location of the house. The common kitchen and a commitment to one shared daily meal are among the decided tenets of Wine on the Porch. Other details about how the community functions have been deliberately set aside, awaiting the input of more members.

“Why would we uproot our lives and move halfway across the city if we’re only going to meet once a month? We can do that now,” Doug says.

“Many people see giving up their own kitchen as giving up independence,” he says. “In North American society particularly we have this idea of independence as a cardinal virtue that has now tipped over, in many cases, toward isolation.”

Both couples are longtime homeowners. Addie and Arnold most recently lived in a Distillery District condo and still keep a cottage. The Tindals had a High Park condo before moving to their shared address early this year.

What do their friends think about their choice? Arnold and Addie laugh and shrug.

“There’s a lot of quiet, a lot of non-talking, they don’t bring it up,” Ted says. “Most of our friends are suburban and have homes, they love their neighbours, they feel like they have everything. They don’t know what it is we think we’re missing, why we need to do this.”

“They think we’re crazy. They’re polite though,” says Hillary, a project manager, who is the only one of the four still working full-time.

“People who don’t want to do it can’t imagine it,” she says.

But for her, the choice of co-housing is entirely natural. “My life changes so my house changes,” she says. “People get so stuck with their house and their place rather than their people.”

The Tindals have two grown sons; Arnold and Addie have four. All are supportive, the parents say.

Unlike a condo or retirement home, there is no profit built into the financial plan for Wine on the Porch. The expectation is that the arrangement will attract people like themselves, who already own a home and can pay cash for a share in the community. The number of shares will depend on whether the incoming members are individuals or couples. Both are welcome. Without more people it is impossible to say precisely what each share will cost but they think the starting price will be under $700,000.

There will also be a monthly maintenance cost attached to each share. Early estimates suggest it would be about $1,480, they say, including utilities, taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs, and a reserve fund.

If a member decides to move or dies, their share can be sold or inherited just like any other property. The only real risk, explains Ted, is that Wine on the Porch may not appreciate at the same rate as other real estate. The flip side is that it might become so attractive that it appreciates faster.

“This is not a widely established product yet so we don’t know what the future demand will be. But we’re optimistic,” Doug says.

Getting others to sign on is a challenge but the idea clearly speaks to some. Wine on the Porch organized a workshop last weekend that attracted 29 participants. Each paid about $300 to explore different models of co-housing and hear speakers from other communities, including Port Perry and a moderator flown in from British Columbia.

The price, which covered most of the workshop cost, was high enough to discourage window shoppers, says Doug, who admits they are all a little weary of smaller information events.

Response to the weekend was overwhelmingly positive. But they aren’t expecting that new shareholders will necessarily emerge from it. Their hearts have been broken before, says Mardi, a writer and former Vision TV co-host.

Last June, two other couples were on the verge of joining Wine on the Porch. They all invested two days working through a 10-page memorandum of understanding about how the community would operate. Then everyone went away to think it over.

Two weeks later, both couples withdrew, saying they simply weren’t ready.

The problem, say the co-founders, is that by the time most people are ready for the arrangement they’re proposing, it’s too late.

“People have such a resistance to being institutionalized that they say, ‘I won’t go until I have to,’” Doug says. “At the point where you have to, it’s too late for you to form community. You no longer have the capacity.

“We’re doing it for the fun, not out of fear. But that’s part of the mindset you have to bring to it,” he says.

Gathered in the Tindals’ living room on Tuesday, Doug pours from a bottle of red wine and Ted fetches a beer. There is much laughter but also the frank admission by everyone that statistically, the women will likely lose their partners first. When that happens, they say, they won’t face a big decision about moving out and managing alone because their home will accommodate them and their friends will support them through the inevitable trauma.

If she needed a reminder that they are on the right course, Mardi says a trip to the polling station in a nearby retirement home on Monday provided vivid confirmation.

“It looks like a lovely, well-appointed home,” she says. But, “there were a lot of people there who looked lonely.”

“You go to those places and there’s no crackle going on, in the halls, in the common areas, even in the dining room,” Ted says.

“And they are expected to start relationships at a point when it’s hard. It’s easier for us to initiate and begin relationships now,” Mardi says. “To ask an 85-year-old or even a 78-year-old to start all over in a new community, it’s a pretty tall order.”

Co-housing in Canada: ‘It’s not appetite that is lacking, it’s availability of projects’

The idea of co-housing, a concept that bakes community into a home, isn’t new but it is still relatively rare in Canada. It is more common in Europe and parts of the U.S.

In Scandinavia, housing is often developed around a common house and garden, which are managed co-operatively by community members.

In Canada, there are cultural, planning and financial barriers to that system and experts say that launching a co-housing community here is a lengthy, complex process.

But they are worth encouraging because they make sustainable, renewable technology more financially viable, says Sasha Tsenkova, a planning professor at the University of Calgary.

She points out that in cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, many people already live in condominiums and have adjusted to the idea of shared, common space and amenities.

“We simply need to adjust to the problems of a changing society in Canada and across North America and actually change some of the planning regulations to make this easier. We’re very much stuck in a mentality where it’s really either single family homes or the tower block and there is nothing in between,” she says.

There are 13 Canadian co-housing communities operating in Canada, according to the Canadian Cohousing Network website, 10 of them in British Columbia. Another 12 are under development, meaning the founders haven’t yet located land for building or they have the land but are still in the design stage. Two are under construction in Saskatchewan.

The Wine on the Porch concept is distinct from the European co-housing model, says Kathy McGrenera, a co-housing consultant, and founding member of Vancouver’s Quayside Village co-housing community.

McGrenera chose co-housing 20 years ago as a way of providing a community for herself and her daughter. Their life has been rich, she says. A neighbour, who is now 85, read to her daughter, who had no grandparents. As a young child, the girl was free to wander around the community because, with other adults looking out, there was no fear of “stranger danger.”

“That is how many of us grew up and people long for that. But what I hear is that people’s experience is not like that,” McGrenera says.

Quayside Village is a mixture of generations, families and singles occupying separate residences with all the facilities of a standard house or apartment. They share a common courtyard and gardens. Appliances that can be used by members as needed are stored in a community kitchen. Once a week there’s a community meal where members pay about $5 to gather around the table. Residents help run the community through a series of committees.

“Co-housers tend to be sustainability and green minded. Our building does as close to zero waste as we can,” she says.

Two more co-housing communities being built in Vancouver are full with long waiting lists. A co-housing conference in the spring that was expected to attract 150 people filled a venue that held 200. The event could easily have attracted double that number, McGrenera says.

“In our situation, it’s not appetite that is lacking, it’s availability of projects. In Toronto, (co-housing) hasn’t got critical mass yet,” she says.

Tess Kalinowski is a Toronto-based reporter covering real estate. Follow her on Twitter: @tesskalinowski

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London-area company fined $75k after worker permanently injured on the job – London

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An Ilderton company has been fined $75,000 after a worker suffered a permanent injury when a concrete culvert fell on top of him.

Geoff Morphew, 38, was working in quality control at Coldstream Concrete on Aug. 2, 2017, when a cable snapped, dropping a concrete culvert on his right arm.


READ MORE:
Man’s arm amputated following workplace accident in Ilderton, Ont.

He was rushed to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. His arm had to be amputated.

“The surgeons said if it had been an inch over, he would’ve been dead,” said Sarah Morphew, Geoff’s wife, following the incident.

Surgeons told her that the weight of the nearly 23,000-kilogram slab saved her husband’s life by cauterizing the veins. They told her that her husband would have bled out in “60 seconds” had the pressure of the slab not acted like a “Ziploc bag.”

“It was a blessing in disguise, I guess, that it happened that way, or else he wouldn’t have made it to the hospital,” she said.

According to the Ministry of Labour, two employees were working in the business’ heavy precast yard, moving three-sided concrete culverts from the bed of a trailer on to the ground using a gantry straddle crane and spreader beam.

The crane had recently been inspected and found to be in good working order. One worker operated the crane from the cab, and the other was on the ground, rigging the culverts to the crane.

The crane operator moved a 23,000-kilogram culvert from the trailer and set it down on the ground. The worker on the ground needed the culvert raised again in order to remove a metal date plate attached to the bottom of the culvert.

The operator raised the culvert about five feet and, while it was suspended, the worker on the ground reached underneath and started to chisel the date plate away.

While doing so, the worker heard a cracking noise and was knocked to the ground by the culvert. He suffered a permanent injury.

READ MORE: Worker at Ilderton concrete product facility pinned under large slab, seriously injured

Later examination of the crane showed it had suffered an unexpected and catastrophic failure.

Provincial law requires employers to make sure that any equipment that is temporarily elevated is properly secured so that it doesn’t fall. The Ministry of Labour said Coldstream Concrete failed to do that. The company pleaded guilty Thursday and was fined $75,000.

The court also imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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New company promises to take over some of Greyhound’s routes in Western Canada

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Ahead of Greyhound’s last Western Canada runs, there’s a new bus company promising to swoop in and take over some of the old routes.

Rider Express is ready with six buses able to carry 55 passengers, two running between Calgary and Vancouver, and one running between Calgary and Winnipeg — seven days a week.

The company plans to start service from Vancouver to Winnipeg on Oct. 29, just before Greyhound stops service in Western Canada.

But days before the routes start up, the company is still putting the final touches on where it will pick up and drop off passengers, and have yet to update information online about their service and its exact pricing. 

« We are working hard to get this service up and running, » said owner Firat Uray. « If everything goes smoothly, we’re ready to go. » 

The pricing will look similar to what Greyhound charged, but Uray said the company is watching the model to see if it is sustainable. If it needs to adjust, you might see fares go up. For the rides to be profitable, he said, the buses need 15 to 20 passengers. 

« We are getting closer to those long weekends and Christmas, » Uray said. « We’re hoping we will be OK. »  

Greyhound’s model unsustainable

In July, Greyhound Canada announced the cancellations of its passenger bus and freight services in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. At the time, Greyhound’s senior vice-president Stuart Kendrick said these routes weren’t sustainable. The company halted all but one route in B.C. — a U.S.-run service between Vancouver and Seattle. 

The new company won’t be running its fleet out of big terminals, like the one still standing in Calgary. Uray said those are too expensive for now. 

He said the buses will stop at busy Husky gas stations. The company is finalizing an agreement with the Husky at Barlow Trail and 32nd Avenue N.E.

Buses won’t make frequent stops

Uray said Rider Express has hired some ex-Greyhound drivers and other bus operators with years of experiences.

To begin with, the buses will have water onboard, Wi-Fi capabilities and video entertainment.

The trip between Calgary and Vancouver is pegged at 12 hours, because the bus will stop only at pre-arranged points. 

Rider Transportation hails from Regina, and was serving the area with full-size vans seating 15 people. It’s been operating that service for 1½ years. 

With files from Colin Hall.

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GTA Deciem stores reopen after company founder is ousted

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Deciem stores that had been shuttered for several days reopened on Saturday, after the founder of the so-called “Abnormal Beauty Company” was ousted by an Ontario court ruling.

The stores were closed last week by decree of then-chief executive Brandon Truaxe, who announced on Instagram that all Deciem operations would be shutting down until further notice, alluding to allegations of criminal misconduct.

On Friday, he was removed from his post on an interim basis as a result of a court application from Estee Lauder Companies Inc., which holds a one-third stake in the business.

And while an Estee Lauder spokesperson confirmed the stores had reopened, not everything about the brand had returned to normal.

The company Instagram account, once home to hundreds of what Estee Lauder described as “outrageous, disturbing, defamatory, and/or offensive posts,” was taken down on Friday and had yet to be restored by Saturday afternoon.

Mark Gelowitz, a lawyer representing Estee Lauder, cited Truaxe’s Instagram posts — along with his decision to close the business — as a reason for the court application, saying his behaviour led to numerous legal concerns from landlords, suppliers and employees.

Representatives from Deciem did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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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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Canadian skin care company Deciem closes stores — for now

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Deciem, the upstart Canadian company behind the hugely popular The Ordinary Skin Care line, has closed its stores because of what the chief executive says is criminal activity within the company.

But Brandon Truaxe — who also founded the company — has made outlandish claims in the past, prompting some to question whether this is all an elaborate marketing stunt.

Headquartered in Toronto, Deciem makes more than 300 skin care products under 10 different product lines. It is best known for a line called The Ordinary.

Calling itself « The Abnormal Beauty Company, » Deciem is one of the most disruptive operators in the beauty business, mainly because of its low prices.

Most of Deciem’s products cost less than $12, and some cost less than $5 — price points that are unheard of elsewhere in the beauty industry, where markups can be as high as 80 to 90 per cent.

The Ordinary beauty line also offers simple ingredients and relatively modest benefit claims. The disruptive approach has led to a cult-like following of customers, helped propel Deciem to a reported $300 million in annual sales, and enticed Estée Lauder Companies to invest in Deciem in June 2017, buying a 28 per cent stake.

Despite that surging popularity, however, the company’s founder abruptly announced on Monday that he was closing up shop, for now.

« We will shut down all operations until further notice, » said Deciem founder Brandon Truaxe in a video posted on Instagram.

Truaxe appeared to say the shutdown would last two months. 

Calls to all of Deciem’s eastern Canadian locations rang unanswered until a central recorded greeting eventually said no one is available to answer your call.

Truaxe did not return calls or texts from CBC News.

In the video, Truaxe said the closures were due to widespread criminal activity within the company.

« Almost everyone at Deciem has been involved in major criminal activity which includes financial crimes and much other, » he said.

Deciem chief executive Brandon Truaxe is known for controversial social media posts. (Bill Arnold/CBC)

Deciem has more than 20 stores in five countries — and 18 more under construction — but in an interview earlier this year, Truaxe told CBC News 75 per cent of the company’s sales are done online.

An order placed on Deciem’s website this morning appeared to go through, complete with valid credit card billing.

The video is the latest in a series of rambling, often incoherent posts that Truaxe — who took over the corporate social media accounts in February — has made on Instagram.

The posts prompted company followers and fans of The Ordinary to question whether Truaxe was mentally ill or on drugs.

In June, Truaxe told the CBC there was nothing to worry about.

« In some of the posts I’m said I’m CIA. And the post before that I said we’re making a movie. So those people, they should basically, if they don’t drink alcohol they should just have a shot of Don Julio and relax. We’re a beauty company. » he said.

Beauty writer Cheryl Wischhover says Truaxe has threatened to close up shop before. (Sean Conaboy/CBC)

In that same interview, Truaxe hinted at wrongdoings within Deciem, but rather than talk specifics, he launched into metaphor.

« If you go down in the basement and you hear rats, the best news that can happen is if somebody comes and checks and there was no rat. » Truaxe said. « The worst news that can happen is maybe you’ve got rats all over the roof. But I need to get to the bottom of it. »

The odd behaviour has had some people in the past questioning whether Truaxe is in fact « screwed up » — as he proudly proclaims on Deciem’s website — or whether this is all part of an elaborate marketing scheme. 

« He’s done this sort of thing before » said Cheryl Wischhover, who writes about the beauty industry for New York-based retail industry website Racked. Truaxe has also hinted that if things « didn’t improve » he was going to leave Deciem, the company he helped found in 2013. 

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New car-share company launching in Toronto following controversy over city restrictions

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A Montreal-based car-share service is expanding to Toronto following months of debate over how the city would regulate the industry.

Communauto, which operates in more than a dozen cities, including Edmonton, Halifax, Ottawa, Montreal, and Paris, France, will be the first member to join Toronto’s « Free-Floating Car-Share Pilot, » which was officially launched in June. 

The delay was a result of another car-sharing service, Car2Go, pulling its service out of the city saying the pilot passed by council in April was overly restrictive rendering its service « inoperable. » Since then, the city has eased up on its residential parking restrictions for the 18-month pilot. 

« Now that this is available, it’s the reason why we can commit to Toronto, » said Communauto founder and CEO Benoît Robert. 

Car2Go angered some councillors and homeowners

The tension began when Car2Go started instructing its customers to park in any legal space, including in residential areas. That angered some councillors and homeowners who lived in neighbourhoods where street parking is scarce. 

Car2Go pulled its service out of the city, saying the pilot passed by council in April was overly restrictive. (Daimler AG)

So, the city decided to regulate the car-share industry by creating a pilot project to introduce regulations. After heated debates and delays, Car2Go announced it would stop operating in Toronto, calling the $1,500 parking permit fees « unprecedented » and rallying against a ban on car-share parking on residential streets where parking permits were issued at 95 per cent capacity or where there was a wait list for permits. 

Car2Go also spoke out against allowing councillors veto power over car-share parking on the streets in their wards. 

Loosened rules

Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina councillor Mike Layton made a push to loosen the rules. 

« We had many people who depended on this roaming car-share service in Toronto, » he said. « It allows my family to have a car only when we need a car. »

In July, council adopted updated regulations, which don’t allow for parking on streets where permit parking is at 100 per cent capacity, allowing for some flexibility on residential streets. Council also decided councillors could veto car-share parking in their wards, but only with advance warning to the company and a delay in the change taking effect. 

Company aims to reduce congestion

« The hope is a service like this allows people to own less cars, meaning, they’ll require less parking spaces on the street, »  said Layton. 

Robert, Communauto’s CEO, said he created the company to try and reduce congestion. « We know we have a huge impact on reduction on demand for parking and usage of cars. That’s our main goal. » 

He and John Tory are slated to announce the details of Communauto’s expansion into Toronto Tuesday morning. 

Mayoral contender Jennifer Keesmaat was measured in her reaction to a new car-share service coming to town. 

« It’s important we continue to facilitate lots of different choices for how people get around in the city, » she said. « But, the most important thing we can be doing is to facilitate transit. » 

Communauto says it expects to have 200 cars on the streets by early November.

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City getting hosed by water thieves, says Peterborough Utilities company – Peterborough

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Peterborough Utilities is asking the public to keep an eye out for scofflaws siphoning water from the city’s fire hydrants.

“We don’t want to make a federal case out of this,” said David Whitehouse, vice-president of customer and corporate services with the Peterborough Utilities Group. “We just want people to do the right thing.”


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Water hydrant theft in Etobicoke

Whitehouse said the issue came to light a few weeks ago when customers noticed contractors using hydrants to fill up vacuum trucks.

Accessing a fire hydrant without the proper equipment does create a risk for water contamination, though Whitehouse said it’s a small one.

The greater issue, he said, is the loss of revenue to the city and accessing this particular city service without permission.


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Whitehouse said the city can accommodate contractors who need to access water through a fire hydrant.

The utilities company can equip the hydrant with a backflow preventer and a metre to ensure the process is safe, and the water is paid for.

Whitehouse adds that the city sells water in bulk, at a very low price –$1 for 800 litres.

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