Man beats fentanyl trafficking charge due to charter violation. Here’s the video of the dog sniffing the car

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A B.C. Justice recently threw out the case against a man charged with trafficking 27,500 fentanyl pills.

In a decision published in January, he said it wasn’t clear if the dog sat or not.

And new video, obtained exclusively by Global News, shows the entirety of the traffic stop, including the moment the dog investigates the vehicle.  

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READ MORE: Did the drug-sniffing dog sit or not? Debate leads to man’s acquittal in B.C. fentanyl bust

Here’s why the extent of the dog’s sit matters: If the dog properly sat down, it would have indicated the dog was “in odour,” meaning it had found drugs.

But in the case of Sandor Rigo, who was stopped on a Chilliwack highway in April 2017, the dog, named PSD Doods, was unable to sit down all the way. The police officer who made the stop said this was because a curb was in the way.

An officer who stopped Rigo – only identified by the Justice’s decision as Corporal Catellier – said he believed the dog was in odour and had the car towed so it could be thoroughly searched. Police say over 27,000 fentanyl pills were found in the wheel well.

The dash-camera video from the RCMP vehicle, obtained by Global News, offers a partial view of what happened.

The video shows the officer pulling over Rigo, who was driving a Dodge Caravan. The officer can be heard asking Rigo where he was going and why he appeared to be shaking. Rigo answered that he was picking up used tires from a friend and he was shaking due to hypoglycemia, a condition which requires people to eat frequently to keep their blood-sugar levels stable.

Rigo was then asked to exit his van and sit in the RCMP vehicle. That’s when Cpl. Catellier brought PSD Doods to sniff the outside of the van.

RCMP PDS Doods sniffs Sandor Rigo’s van.

HO / RCMP dashcam video of traffic stop

The dog can be seen sniffing the outside of the driver’s side of the van. She is then directed to the passenger side of the van, which is out of view of the dash camera, and next to a high concrete curb.

On the video, the moment in question can be heard, but only partially seen. The officer repeatedly says, “Good girl,” to PSD Doods, as she is seen at the side of the car. .

A partially obstructed view of PSD Doods sniffing Sandor Rigo’s vehicle.

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An expert witness in court said the dog wasn’t showing other signs of being in odour — which normally includes wagging her tail.


READ MORE:
Vancouver Island police seize huge trove of guns, explosives, homemade silencers

But the officer testified at the time that she displayed the other signs when she was out of sight of the video.

In his decision, which was made public in January 2018, Justice Michael Brundrett said since the dog was only shown in a “partial form of ‘alert,’” there wasn’t reasonable grounds to search the vehicle.

Brundrett said Rigo’s charter rights were violated, specifically articles 8 and 10(b), which pertain to the right to be secure against detainment, search and seizure, and the right to a lawyer.

Because of this, all evidence collected after the charter breach had to be thrown out.

Criminal lawyer Dino Bottos said even if the officer is proven correct because drugs were found in the car after the fact, in cases like these the public has to remember that “the ends do not justify the means.”

He said the judge has to maintain impartiality.

When a judge excludes evidence obtained during an unlawful search and seizure, he or she is doing so not to favour a particular accused, but rather to uphold what is written into our Constitution,” he explained. 

Anything obtained after the charter violation – in this case that would be the physical drugs as well what appears to be a video of Rigo’s confession – is “considered fruit from the poisonedtree.”

“If we’re serious about protecting rights and freedoms, that means that we need to exercise control over police state actions,” Bottos explained. “Which means in this case, when there is a breach of a right, then the only reasonable remedy is to exclude the evidence found as a result of that breach.”

Almost a dozen Canadians died every day from opioid overdoses last year. Since 2016, more than 8,000 have lost their lives, primarily to fentanyl. In British Columbia, the problem has become so bad that life expectancy has dropped for the first time in decades.

WATCH: Global News investigation into the deadly fentanyl trade in Canada






The amounts traffickers are bringing in are believed to be so vast that investigators suspect their money laundering has disrupted the Vancouver-area housing market. It has also put a spotlight on casinos. But when police seize their illicit cash, traffickers often just walk away, seemingly unfazed.

Brundrett said in his decision that it was a serious case, because of the “evils” of fentanyl trafficking, but the integrity of the justice system had to be taken into account.

*With files from Sam Cooper 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Prepare for ‘nasty’: Here’s a blow-by-blow of what to expect from today’s storm

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Toronto is in for another blast of winter weather Tuesday.

There are 15 to 25 cm of snow and ice pellets in the forecast — plus high winds and possible freezing rain.

Here’s how the day may play out:

Midnight to 7 a.m. – The calm before the storm

It might not look like much in the morning.

The day will start cloudy and cool — but don’t be fooled. That snow is coming.

Meanwhile, the winds will be picking up to around 50 km/h, said Environment Canada meteorologist Ryan Rozinskis.

Can you work from home today? Environment Canada suggests postponing non-essential travel — the roads will soon be snow-covered, with near zero visibility at times.

Check to see if your office or school is open. Centennial College has already announced it’s closing all campuses for the day.

The snow should start in Hamilton and Kitchener around 6 a.m.

8 a.m. — It begins

The snow will start falling around 8 a.m. in Toronto — and it will be heavy from the start, said Rozinskis.

There will also be high winds, up to 80 km/hr, with the strongest gusts along the lakeshore.

That means the morning rush hour may be tough.

« We know there’s going to be an increased number of fender benders and crashes, » said Sgt. Brett Moore with Toronto Police. 

Slow down, he said on Twitter. And if you’re in a minor crash, get your car off the road. Officers will be tied up and won’t be able to quickly get to all accidents. 

10 a.m.

By now, the snow will be engulfing the rest of York Region and Durham.

The City of Toronto says it’ll be de-icing, salting and plowing as required during the storm. You can track the city snow plows here.

There will be high winds throughout the day, and it’s going to be « nasty, » said CBC Meteorologist Colette Kennedy. 

12 p.m. — The ice pellets cometh

Lunchtime might get a little painful.

The snow may transition to ice pellets at some point between noon and 3 p.m., Rozinskis said, depending on where you are in the GTA.

That means less blowing snow, but the road conditions will still be bad.

1 p.m. – Possible power outages

Be ready for anything on a storm day.

In case of power outages, Toronto Hydro says they’ll have extra crews at the ready on Tuesday.

2 p.m. — Chance of freezing rain

There’s also a chance of freezing rain later in the afternoon, Environment Canada says.

Along with ice pellets, the freezing rain could arrive between 2 and 7 p.m.

By now, the wind should be slightly weaker than Tuesday morning — but it’ll still be gusting as high as 60 km/h into the evening.

Areas farther west and south of Toronto, like Kitchener and Hamilton, will see longer periods of freezing rain, Rozinskis said.

7 p.m. — Hello snow, my old friend

The ice pellets will change back into snow at some point Tuesday evening.

That snow will last through Tuesday night into Wednesday, gradually becoming lighter, said Rozinskis.

10 p.m. — It ain’t over til it’s over

Rozinskis warns of  5 to 10 cm of snowfall on Tuesday night, and an overall total of up to 25 cm for the day.

And keep your hat on — winds around 60 km/h should last through the evening and into Wednesday.

The morning after

There may be periods of snow on Wednesday, but only up to 5 cm, Rozinskis said.

But the next day’s commute may still be rough.

Rozinskis recommends keeping up to date, as weather conditions change.

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Here’s your primer on the SNC-Lavalin drama in Canadian politics

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OTTAWA—Was it direction, or pressure, or nothing at all?

That was a central question in the drama—some would say scandal—that broke out on Parliament Hill this week. The Liberal government was broadsided by allegations that officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, after repeated lobbying by SNC-Lavalin, tried to convince former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to strike a mediation deal instead of pursuing fraud and corruption charges against the Quebec-based engineering giant.

Justin Trudeau was accused by the opposition of suspiciously “legalistic” denials, after an obstinate performance at a news conference in Vaughan, where he repeatedly stated that neither he nor anyone in his office “directed” Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the case. He repeatedly refused to answer whether there were attempts to influence or pressure her—although Wilson-Raybould’s replacement in the portfolio, along with other Liberal MPs, have since said there was no pressure or influence from political operatives in Trudeau’s office.

Why should you care?

To quote from the kiss-off letter that Wilson-Raybould penned last month when she was reassigned to Veterans’ Affairs, “It is a pillar of our democracy that our system of justice be free from even the perception of political interference.”

There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get up to speed:

Can the attorney general intervene in federal cases?

Yes. Under the Director of Public Prosecutions Act, the attorney general can take over the Crown’s prosecution of criminal cases and direct the federal government’s top prosecutor—the aptly named Director of the Prosecution Service of Canada—on how to conduct a case. The act says this is allowed if the attorney general thinks the proceedings at hand “raise questions of public interest.”

But if the attorney general decides to intervene in this way, she must publish her rationale for doing so in the Canada Gazette, a publication that outlines recent actions of the federal government.

What about political interference?

The government’s accountability rules are clear: prosecutions should be free from “political control, direction and influence.”

There is some room, however, for the attorney general to consult with the prime minister and other cabinet members before intervening in a prosecution, “depending on the complexity or sensitivity of a case,” according to the privy council’s rules for “Open and Accountable Government.”

But the key element is that it’s up to the attorney general to start the consultations, said Ian Brodie, who served as chief of staff to former prime minister Stephen Harper.

“It starts with her. She makes the final decision. There’s nothing in there about the prime minister directing her or anybody else picking up the phone and suggesting she might want to think about something,” Brodie said.

“Any suggestion that there was political interference or political pressure brought to bear on a prosecution decision, that’s got to be answered definitively, right away,” he said.

Gerry Ferguson, a professor at the University of Victoria who wrote a book on global corruption law, said there is a centuries-old tradition that the attorney general’s role as the government’s chief prosecutor needs to be independent from her position as a member of the executive branch at the cabinet table. As such, “it is improper for any other minister to attempt to influence the attorney general in her first role,” he said by email Friday.

So what’s the deal with SNC-Lavalin?

The multinational corporation faces a slew of corruption and fraud charges that the RCMP laid in 2015. The company is alleged to have doled out millions of dollars in bribes to officials in Libya to secure work on government contracts.

In recent months, the company has sought a so-called “deferred prosecution agreement” with the Crown. Such an agreement would halt the criminal trail against the company, and see SNC-Lavalin agree to a series of conditions that could include the payment of fines and co-operating with authorities.

But in October, the company revealed that government prosecutors decided not to offer a DPA in this case. Since then, it has filed a judicial appeal in federal court, while SNC-Lavalin president Neil Bruce penned a public letter that said the firm will continue to push for a mediated solution to avoid a criminal trial.

The company has met with government officials nine times in the last six months to discuss “justice and law enforcement,” according to the federal lobbyist registry.

Why does SNC-Lavalin want a DPA?

The Liberal government introduced DPAs in a 582-page budget bill last year, after it held consultations about the proposal in the fall of 2017. They have been available in the United States since 1992 and the United Kingdom since 2014.

Ferguson pointed out that DPAs allow companies to avoid convictions, even if they have to agree to facts that could have supported a conviction, as well as to pay financial penalties. That is significant because a conviction for fraud or corruption would bar SNC-Lavalin from bidding on government contracts for 10 years. “This debarment would create a significant negative impact on SNC-Lavalin’s future economic prospects,” he said.

Peter MacKay, a former Conservative justice minister, said the Stephen Harper government contemplated introducing DPAs as well. He said the agreements can lead to tough penalties for a company, while avoiding the consequences a criminal conviction would have—including the prohibition from government contracts.

“That’s a death knell for a company,” he said.

Canada’s DPA law came into force in September. But so far, no companies have reached such an agreement with federal prosecutors.

With files from Bruce Campion-Smith and Tonda MacCharles

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Social engineering is the new method of choice for hackers. Here’s how it works.

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Is your name and your phone number all it takes for a hacker to take over your cellphone account?

Marketplace‘s latest investigation has found that just a few pieces of personal information could leave you and your accounts vulnerable.

It happened to Erynn Tomlinson. The former cryptocurrency executive lost about $30,000 in cryptocurrency after hackers used a few of her personal details during interactions with Rogers customer service representatives to ultimately gain access to her account.

« I don’t know how to describe it. I was sort of in shock at the whole thing, » said Tomlinson about realizing hackers stole savings she was planning on using for a mortgage.

Tomlinson is a victim of the latest type of hack plaguing the telecommunications industry: it’s called a SIM swap, and hackers use what’s known as social engineering to make it happen.

Social engineering fraud typically happens through email, phone, or text — or in Tomlinson’s case, through online chat windows. Hackers use charm and persuasion to convince a customer service representative they are actually the account holder.

If at first you don’t succeed, hack again

The hackers might have a few pieces of publicly available personal information: a person’s name, email address, birthdate, postal code or phone number.

Hackers use some of those details to try to sweet talk a representative into handing over more information and ultimately gain access to an account.

« The attackers are very sophisticated. In this case, Rogers didn’t provide any friction for them and made it far too easy, » Tomlinson said of her experience.

In an increasingly cashless world, many people rely on digital apps for banking and online purchases. Experts say hackers are taking advantage of this. (Hannah Yoon/Canadian Press)

As far as Tomlinson can tell, the hackers had only her name and her phone number. Over a series of eight different online chats, the hackers managed to obtain her date of birth, email address, account number, the last four digits of her credit card, and other details about her account.

Armed with this information, the hacker convinced a Rogers rep to activate a new SIM card linked to Tomlinson’s account, which could then be placed into a phone in their possession. A SIM card is a chip used to identify and authenticate a subscriber to a service provider.

Once the hackers had executed the SIM swap, they were able to use their own phone to gain access to a number of Tomlinson’s sensitive accounts, including those tied to her finances.

  • Watch Marketplace‘s investigation into social engineering fraud at 8 p.m. Friday on CBC-TV and online.

Tomlinson used two-factor authentication on her sensitive accounts, an extra security step that sends a message to your cellphone before granting access. Tomlinson believes the SIM swap allowed the hackers to divert those incoming messages to a new device, effectively bypassing her security measures.

She first became aware something was wrong when her cellphone stopped working. After stopping by a nearby café to use the Wi-Fi, she realized one of her financial accounts was at zero. She rushed home and logged onto her other accounts, and also saw them being drained.

In total, the hackers managed to steal the equivalent of $30,000 in cryptocurrency.

« I hope this is a bit more of an extreme case, » she said. « But I think … every Canadian is at risk right now. »

Social engineering on the rise

Tomlinson’s losses may sound extreme, but companies around the world say social engineering attacks are on the rise.

Canada’s federal privacy commissioner now requires all companies to report any security or privacy breaches. Since November 2018,  there have been more than a dozen reports of social-engineering breaches in this country’s telecommunications sector alone.

In an email, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner told Marketplace the trend « clearly raises concerns. »

The emergence of social engineering fraud comes as no surprise to ethical hacker and cybersecurity expert Joshua Crumbaugh.

« Social engineering’s been a popular thing, I mean, since the beginning of time — we just gave it a new term. It’s the same thing that grifters and con men have been doing forever … they’re just exploiting basic human weaknesses or vulnerabilities. »

Joshua Crumbaugh is an ethical hacker and cybersecurity expert whose company, PeopleSec, teaches skills for avoiding cyberattacks. (David MacIntosh/CBC)

It’s human nature to want to help and avoid conflict, which is why Crumbaugh says the key to a successful social engineering hack depends on who picks up the other line.

Chances are if one person is not willing to help, the next person likely is, he says.

« It’s just psychology. So if you understand how somebody’s going to react to something, you can easily manipulate somebody into giving you information or access to things that maybe they shouldn’t. »  

Marketplace calling

To see how Rogers would respond to a social engineering attack, Marketplace asked Crumbaugh to try to hack into Marketplace host Charlsie Agro’s personal account, providing him only with her name and phone number.

On the first attempt, Crumbaugh called the company’s customer service line, posing as Agro’s personal assistant. The call ended quickly, with the rep refusing Crumbaugh’s access to the account unless Agro phoned and added him as user.

He called back minutes later and, with a different rep on the phone, instead posed as Agro herself. He did not disguise his voice. This time, the agent requested Agro’s birthdate and email address as verification, which Crumbaugh was able to provide after some quick searches online.

The agent also asked Crumbaugh to provide the PIN and postal code attached to the account. Crumbaugh guessed at a PIN number and, after another online search, provided a postal code. Both were off by a single digit but the agent still allowed Crumbaugh to access the account, which could have ultimately locked Agro out.

Watch how ethical hacker Joshua Crumbaugh uses social engineering to gain access to Charlsie Agro’s Rogers account:

Cybersecurity expert Joshua Crumbaugh hacks into Marketplace host Charlsie Agro’s Rogers account using only her name and phone number. 1:00

Crumbaugh believes companies need to better educate their customer service representatives on how to identify and prevent social engineering hacks.

« We have got to do more in making our people aware that these things happen, » he said.

Marketplace asked the Canadian Wireless and Telecommunications Association — the wireless industry’s main lobby group, representing Bell, Rogers and Videotron, among others — what it is doing to help protect consumers from social engineering attacks.

CWTA president Robert Ghiz said each of its members is responsible for their own security, but that the companies have measures in place to keep customers’ data safe, including PINs, passwords, security questions and voice identification.

He also said many telecommunications companies are undertaking training for their staff, and that he believes protecting consumers against social engineering attacks is a top priority for CWTA members.

« It’s got to be about educating those front-line services and training those front-line services — and it needs to continue to be vigilant into the future, » Ghiz said.

When Marketplace pointed out that an incorrect PIN and postal code didn’t keep our ethical hacker out of Agro’s account, Ghiz said he believes the security measures in place are largely working, noting there are millions of calls coming in every week.

« There’s always going to be some human error that’s going to exist, » he said.

Rogers responds

In an email, Rogers said it takes its customers’ privacy and security very seriously and the company is continually strengthening its security measures and verification processes. It reinforces those measures with « ongoing training in authentication best practices for front-line team members. »

When provided with the results of Marketplace‘s ethical hacking test, Rogers admitted its authentication steps were not followed and said action was taken to reinforce proper protocols with the agent involved.

As for Tomlinson, she says she was not happy with the solutions Rogers offered following her experience: she was initially offered three months of free service, then a year of free service.

She is now pursuing legal action against the company.

Although Rogers would not comment on Tomlinson’s case, as it is before the courts, the company argues it is not responsible for what happened to her.

« What I really want to see is, not just that they give platitudes, and say, ‘Oh, we’re sorry this happened’ from a customer service point of view, but that they make real changes to their policies and their training … so that this can’t happen, » said Tomlinson.

Kevin Mitnick, one of the world’s most famous hackers, says social engineering attacks are happening every day, as they’re relatively easy to perform, with little technical skill needed. (David MacIntosh/CBC)

Kevin Mitnick, an infamous hacker turned do gooder, agrees customer service reps need better training. « The companies need to have policies put into place to come up with a way to have a very high confidence that they’re dealing with the consumer, » he said.

Mitnick has hacked into more than 40 companies, from a McDonald’s drive-thru to Motorola, and was once one of the FBI’s most wanted — eventually serving five years in prison for computer and phone hacking. Today he runs a business that points out security flaws to the corporations he once targeted.

Social engineering attacks are happening every day, Mitnick says, and it is often the first technique hackers turn to, because « calling somebody on the phone is so much easier than doing the technical magic you need to break into a computer. »

Mitnick is adamant: Consumers need to demand more from their vendors. If you aren’t satisfied with the steps your provider is taking to protect your account, vote with your wallet, he says.

« It’s really up to the organizations that need to verify their customers’ information. They’re the ones that are in control … they’re the ones that could affect change, » he said. « The consumer can only demand change — and if they’re unwilling to do it, you go to a different vendor. »

Consumers can help themselves

Crumbaugh says there are some ways consumers can help themselves.

First, if possible, set a PIN on your account. Choose four digits at random; connecting them to an easy-to-guess birthdate or address is a bad idea.

He also suggests creating fake answers to common security questions like « What is your mother’s maiden name. »  For example, don’t use your dog’s real name and if you do, don’t make that information public.

Social media is one of the first places hackers look to for clues about your passwords and answers to common security questions, such as your birthdate and where you went on your honeymoon.

Watch as Marketplace asks Canadians how careful they are about their online passwords:

Marketplace asked members of the public about the strength of their passwords. 0:51

« So many people will use their children’s names or birthdates or their animals’ names as passwords, and then you go onto their social media, and they’ve posted a million pictures of the same dog with the name of their dog, and they’re basically putting their passwords out there for everyone to see, » said Crumbaugh.

Crumbaugh also suggests using security questions that require an answer only you know but is not a personal detail like a birthdate.

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Pot brownies in Canada could be 10 times weaker than in several U.S. states. Here’s why some people think that could be a big problem

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CALGARY—Very few businesses long to be regulated. Baked Edibles is one of them.

For the last three years, the Victoria, B.C.-based company has supplied edibles and topicals — such as salves and massage oils — to around 500 businesses across Canada. It remains an underground operation; these popular products were not legalized along with cannabis flower and oils last October.

Sean Bird, Baked Edibles’ general manager, says the business is ready to adapt and submit to the federal government’s coming regulations once they’re finalized. But he warned that the current section on edibles, as it currently stands, only allows a very conservative dose of THC — the main psychoactive component found in cannabis.

He believes the proposed limit of 10 milligrams per package of edibles, small even for novice users, will keep customers returning to the black market. Alternatively, consumers can cook up stronger edibles at home with relative ease.

“They will find other methods. Perhaps these methods will not be regulated,” Bird said. “As we’ve seen in the past, the black market will fill any holes it can. It will remain strong if there’s demand.”

California, Colorado and Washington states allow a single package of edibles — containing multiple gummies, brownies, cookies or other treats — to contain up to 100 milligrams of THC. Oregon’s regulations are somewhat stricter at 50 milligrams.

Despite its draft regulations allowing just a fifth of Oregon’s limit, Health Canada said it looked to U.S. states for inspiration and cited the U.S. experience as proof that legalization does erode the black market’s staying power.

“Experience in the U.S. has clearly shown that the legalization and regulation of cannabis in several U.S. states has led to a significant displacement of the illegal market, over time, in those jurisdictions,” said Health Canada in a statement.

Part of Canada’s cautiousness comes from fears of overconsumption. Unlike smoking a joint or vaping cannabis oil, edibles have a delay between consumption and when a user starts to experience its effects. Novice users might eat an edible, not feel anything, and then eat several more under the assumption that they haven’t had enough.

While cannabis overconsumption — colloquially referred to as “greening out” — can be acutely unpleasant and may mean a trip to a hospital’s emergency room, it isn’t fatal.

Rebecca Haines-Saah, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary’s department of community health sciences, agreed a 10-milligram THC limit is a very low dose. For most users, it would mean a relatively mellow high, although she noted that edibles produce a different experience than smoking or vaping.

“I imagine that putting out the draft regulations with a very, very low dose is meant to respond to this general concern among public health authorities,” she said.

Haines-Saah said it’s worth paying attention to the issue of overconsumption but said recent statistics suggesting an increase in hospital visits need to be taken in context. Before cannabis was legalized in Canada and certain U.S. states, bringing a child to the ER because they accidentally ate a special brownie could also mean a visit from child-welfare authorities. Now, she argued, parents in those jurisdictions are more likely to come forward.

“It’s a really tricky issue to figure out,” Haines-Saah said.

Parliament is expected to approve the regulations, in some form, no later than Oct. 17. Consultations continue between Health Canada, cannabis industry players, provincial and territorial governments, First Nations and other members of the public.

However they turn out, the final rules will have a big impact. Edibles are likely to be a significant part of Canada’s recreational cannabis scene going forward, according to Mitchell Osak, managing director of business consulting and technology services at Grant Thornton LLP, who advises companies in the Canadian cannabis industry.

Between January and July of 2018, he said, the demand for edibles in California and Colorado made up about 43 per cent of the total market for weed. Many potential consumers in Canada are staying out of pot shops because they’re waiting for edibles to arrive.

“That’s how they want to experience cannabis,” Osak said.

And the new rules will almost certainly mean major changes for underground producers. According to Bird, breaking into the legal market will mean shuttering Baked Edibles as it currently exists, pulling out of arrangements with black market sellers and, it seems, discontinuing the potent edibles it currently sells.

Nonetheless, Bird said this was always the plan.

“We want to be regulated and we want to offer a safe and reliable product, and we want to work within the confines of the law,” he said.

Brennan Doherty is a work and wealth reporter with StarMetro Calgary. Follow him on Twitter: @bren_doherty

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Trouble filling up the tank this week? Here’s why

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There are plenty of reasons for drivers to get cranky with Mother Nature. This week, you can add “trouble fuelling up” to the list.

Dozens of gas stations across the Greater Toronto Area ran into supply issues this week — including in some cases being completely sold out — thanks to the wintry conditions on area roads.

Getting into and out of fuel storage depots, as well as the slippery, snowy road conditions around stations in tightly packed urban areas, is especially hazardous when you’re driving a tanker filled with gasoline, said Suncor spokesperson Nicole Fisher.

“We always want to make sure our drivers are safe, and because of this weather, they wouldn’t have been,” said Fisher, who wasn’t able to provide an estimate of how many of Suncor’s PetroCanada stations were affected. “There wasn’t a shortage of gasoline. This was about distribution.”

While deliveries started back up again Wednesday, not every station will be filled up instantly, Fisher added.

It’s been five years since the GTA has seen a similarly widespread rash of empty pumps, said former Liberal MP Dan McTeague, who’s now a fuel analyst at GasBuddy.com

“This doesn’t happen too often, but it happens. The last time it was this big was probably 2014,” said McTeague, who estimated roughly 140 stations across the GTA were affected. The worst-hit ones were stations in Toronto itself, McTeague said.

“Usually, it’s areas to the east and west of Toronto which get hardest hit when there’s weather like this, but this time, it was worst downtown,” said McTeague.

Busy stations usually get deliveries every two or three days, McTeague said.

The supply troubles were exacerbated by a run on gasoline as drivers tried to take advantage of pump prices which dropped to an average of 98.9 cents per litre for regular gas, the lowest the GTA has seen since October 2016, McTeague said.

Still, the situation could have been more dire.

“It would have been a lot worse if the depots or refineries had run out of gasoline, but that’s not what happened here,” said McTeague. The Toronto area is supplied by a handful of major fuel terminals, including one in Oakville and one near Keele St. and Finch Ave.

Those terminals typically have enough gasoline on-hand to survive for a while without being restocked by refineries.

“It would be a few days before they’d run out, if it came to that,” McTeague said.

It isn’t just gasoline deliveries which have been disrupted by the frigid, snowy weather across much of eastern North America. In storm-struck Michigan, auto plants and other big energy users Michigan have shut down or limited operations due to a natural gas shortage caused by a fire and frigid weather.

Eighteen factories and other facilities run by General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler were affected Thursday. It’s not clear when they’ll resume normal operations.

The fire hit a Consumers Energy natural gas compressor station north of Detroit on Wednesday as record-cold temperatures swept over the region.

Elsewhere, beer delivery trucks in Milwaukee were pulled off the roads because distributors worried that the brews would freeze. In Chicago, train tracks were being deliberately set on fire by railroad crews, to avoid tracks from freezing and keep trains running.

With files from The Associated Press

Josh Rubin is a Toronto-based business reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @starbeer

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We’re Eating Olive Oil on EVERYTHING Right Now. Here’s Why. | Healthyish

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Long before it was a supermarket commodity, olive oil illuminated ancient civilizations, anointed pharaohs and kings, bathed triumphant Olympians, and of course, made food taste good. It’s a real workhorse, one of the few ingredients you’ll find in almost every kitchen, but not many people realize that it’s essentially a fruit juice, meaning that, unlike its hardy counterpart, vinegar, it has a shelf life—best used within 18 months of its harvest date.

marinated goat cheese with herbs and spices

Alex Lau

Peak olive oil makes marinated cheese even more amazing.

This past fall was my fifth harvest of Wonder Valley olive oil. In October, the firm, green olives begins to flush with a light mauve hue. Over the next month or so, they’ll continue to ripen through a spectrum of reddish purple, then, if left on the tree long enough, to a final shiny black. At Wonder Valley, we barely let the fruit blush before we plucked them off the trees the first week of November because we favor a bracingly green, herbaceous, polyphenol-packed olive oil. The oil is left to settle for a few days, any sediment is filtered out, then it’s bottled and ready to go.

These first few weeks of the year is olive oil magic time. The new harvest oils are released into the world—buy direct from the producer if you can or be mindful of harvest rather than the expiration dates listed on the bottle. Taste alongside different varietals or regions, taste it against that old, oily bottle that’s been lingering in the back of the pantry. You don’t need professional training to taste the nuances of olive oil, the peppery intensity that comes from picking under-ripe fruit or the buttery soft flavors of letting them mature fully.

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Photo by Jay Carroll

Alison Carroll working on the Wonder Valley harvest.

I have a bottomless supply of fresh extra virgin olive oil on hand, the most decadent job perk, and I’m constantly getting high on my own supply. While it’s at peak season, I use it in the most humble and simple ways: streamed into bowls of fresh beans and grains and pasta with nothing more than fresh herbs or grated cheese and cracked pepper, or blitzed into sauces like pesto or caper-heavy salsa verdes, or drizzled over sweet seasonal fruits and soft cheese like figs and Roquefort, and forever brightening a bowl of leafy greens. At my home here in Joshua Tree, we are able to cook outdoors over fire year-round. Sturdier vegetables like eggplant or squash get cooked in the embers, and we fold the caramelized flesh with chiles, olive oil, and tahini while a grill of peppers and carrots need nothing more than a glug of it and salt to shine. I even book-end each day with a small shot of olive oil for maximum polyphenols (free-radical fighting antioxidants), omega 3s, and digestive support, and I’ll take a shot before I start a night of drinking to prevent a hangover (it works!).

So, yes, you can use olive oil year-round, but now is the time to go all in. Get the best, freshest batch you can find, and follow my lead.

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Here’s where you can sign the book of condolences for the Ottawa bus crash victims – Ottawa

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After the deadly double-decker bus crash at Westboro station on Jan. 11, the City of Ottawa since Monday has been inviting residents wanting to honour those affected, injured and killed in the collision to sign a book of condolences.

A westbound Route 269 express bus smashed into the overhang of a shelter at the Transitway stop last Friday, claiming the lives of three civil servants and injuring 23 other passengers.


READ MORE:
UPDATE: Ottawa police accept technical support from TSB in Westboro bus crash probe

Ottawa police on Monday identified the three victims as 56-year-old Bruce Thomlinson, 57-year-old Judy Booth, and 65-year-old Anja Van Beek. Many injured passengers remain in hospital and have “a long road ahead of them,” police said in an update on Wednesday.

Residents wanting to sign the book of condolences can do so in Jean Pigott Place at Ottawa City Hall until end-of-day Sunday, Jan. 20.

From there, the book will move to the Eva James Memorial Community Centre on Stonehaven Drive in Kanata. The city is inviting residents of the west-end, suburban community — the area where the bus was headed last Friday — to sign the book at the centre between noon on Monday, Jan. 21, and end-of-day Sunday, Jan. 27.


READ MORE:
Civil servant launches $1M fundraiser to support families of those severely injured, killed in Ottawa bus crash

Residents wanting to pay their respects who are unable to visit either of those two locations can sign an online version of the book of condolences.

The possible causes of the crash remain under investigation by the Ottawa Police Service and its partners, including the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

WATCH: Ottawa police say many injured bus crash victims have a long road ahead





© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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A third of Toronto’s young adults live with their parents. Here’s how Bloor West compares to the Bridle Path, and more

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Twenty-six-year-old Ian Sinclair has found the perfect basement apartment in the west end.

It’s close to transit, with its own entrance. He even gets along well with his landlords, who happen to be his parents.

“Essentially I’m their basement tenant but not paying rent,” says Sinclair, who works full-time in the public sector. He moved back into the house he grew up in near Runnymede Station after graduating university in 2017.

“I definitely feel fortunate and privileged,” he says of his situation. “I have many friends from school whose parents aren’t from the city so they didn’t have a choice.”

As Toronto’s housing crisis continues, experts are seeing a new divide taking hold among the younger generation: those who can live with their parents — and save for a down payment — and those who can’t.

The highest percentage is found in one of the city’s wealthiest communities, Bridle Path-Sunnybrook-York Mills, where a whopping 75 per cent of young adults are sticking with mom and dad.

“I see living with parents as a form of privilege,” says University of Waterloo assistant professor Nancy Worth, who studied the issue in a 2017 report called GenY at Home.

Worth said living at home is also increasingly being seen as a smart financial move that sets younger people up for success, rather than the old stereotype of the “lazy millennial” trapped in their parent’s basement delaying adulthood.

“It’s sort of introducing a kind of inequality within a generation, rather than just across a generation.”

The trend is not only about money, Worth says, as many boomer parents and millennial kids have a closer relationship than previous generations. Precarious work also pushes people back home, as it’s hard to lock into a 30-year mortgage or even a yearlong lease on a six month contract.

But without affordable housing options for younger people, it’s the family who steps up, and that impacts who is able to then save and buy future real estate, she says.

“If you can’t give your kids $50,000 but you can give them their room back, especially in your large single family home, you’re essentially giving them a savings of rent which can be quite significant in a place like Toronto.”

In the Bridle Path, notoriously one of Toronto’s toniest addresses, adult children living with their parents just makes sense in terms of “pure square footage,” says Barry Cohen, owner of ReMax Barry Cohen Homes Inc., who sells homes in the area.

“It’s quite common through the Bridle Path because the homes are so large and extravagant,” he said, noting there are even a few multi-generational homes in the neighbourhood, with features such as separate entrances, designed for grandma and grandpa as well as mom and dad and adult kids, Cohen notes.

“Why not live in the lap of luxury?”

The lowest rates of young adults living at home are in neighbourhoods along the waterfront and financial district, like Niagara (4 per cent), and the Bay Street corridor (7 per cent), where smaller, newer, condo units make multi-generational living crowded.

“You’re in 450, 500 square feet, you don’t have room for parents, you don’t have room for a cat,” says Nora Spinks, chief executive officer at the Vanier Institute of the Family, with a laugh.

In a city where the average detached home costs about $1.3 million, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board, and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is now more than $2,000, say figures from market research firm Urbanation, cost is the biggest factor for many.

It certainly was for Sinclair, who’s saving the “tens of thousands of dollars a year on rent, at least,” for a future down payment, by living with his parents in the west end.

But there are other reasons for living with mom and dad, such as taking care of a sick parent, or coming from a culture where it’s more accepted, says Spinks.

Amani Tarud, 24, who grew up in Chile and has Middle Eastern heritage, says it’s normal and even encouraged for young single people to live with their parents there.

“It’s a very North American ideal that you have to leave once you turn 18,” she says.

Tarud lives in a two-bedroom apartment near Yonge and Eglinton with her mom, twin teenage sisters and the family dog. She graduated from the University of Toronto last June but is sticking around as long as she can to save a nest egg for rent and work on paying off her student loan. Even though it means sharing a bedroom with her mom.

“Does it get in the way of social and romantic life a little bit? Yeah sure, but it’s not terrible by any means at all.”

Tarud, who is working in child and respite care, says a place of her own would be way out of reach financially. And there are perks such as being able to take care of each other when they get sick.

“If I have to live with a roommate it might as well be here, because at least it’s someone that I get along with,” she says.

Urban planner Cheryll Case lived with her parents in the Etobicoke neighbourhood of Kingsview Village The Westway (where 49 per cent of single adults aged 20 to 34 do the same) for a year after graduating from Ryerson University.

She too feels lucky she was able to save up “a good cushion” for rent before moving into a townhouse with her boyfriend and a roommate.

But, she notes, there are many neighbourhoods where if you want to remain in the area the only real choice is to stay in the house you grew up in, because of a lack of affordable housing.

Building more “missing middle” units across the city, lowrise apartments and townhomes that are a more affordable alternative to the two extremes of highrises and single detached homes, would help with supply issues, she says.

“It’s a great privilege to live with your parents and you save money, but it’s a great privilege to be able to live on your own if you so choose,” she says.

May Warren is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @maywarren11

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Ontario is holding a lottery for cannabis stores on Friday. Here’s what the rest of the country tried and how it turned out

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However, there’s one major outlier: British Columbia. The entrenchment of black- and grey-market cannabis operations in B.C., as well as the sluggish rate of legal cannabis store openings, means the province has a chimera of private and public sale systems that’s been difficult to leverage.

“They have a quasi-legal illegal market,” Osak said. “They have a couple of publicly owned stores and now, recently, a couple of private (ones). So they have a mixed bag of everything.”

A lot of questions about Ontario’s cannabis licensing system remain unanswered, Osak said, especially when it comes to late penalties.

Retailers are required to submit a $50,000 letter of credit as part of their application. If they aren’t open by April 1, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario can take $12,500 of that. Retailers who still aren’t open by April 15 will lose another $12,500. What isn’t clear is whether stores that have passed all of the necessary inspections and trained their staff appropriately could suffer these penalties if they’re faced with an unreliable supply of weed and are forced to close.

“This whole process is clouded in uncertainty,” Osak said.

Here’s a look at how the rest of Canada has handled brick-and-mortar cannabis stores and how they’ve fared since legalization:

Read more:

Ontario’s cannabis retail lottery will have just 25 winners. But is it a smart approach, or a golden ticket to nowhere?

N.B. cannabis retailer lays off staffers as ‘operational needs’ become clear

Toronto council opts in on pot shops just as Ontario limits number to 25 because of supply shortage

British Columbia

The process: While B.C. isn’t limiting the number of private cannabis retailers, applicants must go through several steps in order to officially obtain a licence, including paying an application fee of $7,500 and receiving approval from their local government or Indigenous nation.

What worked: In B.C., most cannabis users who couldn’t go to the only provincially owned store in Kamloops had to buy from the provincially operated online store in the first two weeks of legalization. It proved immensely popular, with reports that the province was low on stock just 24 hours after launch.

Private retailers came a few weeks later, with Tamarack Cannabis Boutique in Kimberley being the first out of the gate.

What didn’t: Regulations have limited stores to selling products exclusively from the provincial wholesaler. As a result, stores cannot carry cannabis-based creams and edibles; Tamarack owner Tamara Duggan said those were some of the most popular items at her Kimberley store.

The roll-out of stores in other municipalities has been much slower, with businesses complaining that the licensing process is overly complex. In Vancouver, a hub of cannabis use where several illegal stores are still in operation, three months passed before the first two private retailers opened their doors — to long lineups from enthusiastic customers.

Jaclynn Pehota, a regulatory consultant for Evergreen Cannabis, said the process for private licensing is “not particularly intuitive or user-friendly,” and many small businesses may not have had the resources to get through.

Alberta

The process: Alberta has taken a relatively hands-off approach to selling weed, similar to their privatized system for liquor stores. Applicants looking to open a storefront must secure approval from municipal authorities and submit to an application process (which includes background checks) from the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC).

There is no cap on the number of stores allowed within the province, although the AGLC expected to see around 250 store applications within the first year of legalization. However, privatization doesn’t extend to the internet: The only legal website to buy weed in Alberta is the AGLC-run albertacannabis.org.

What worked: Alberta had 17 storefronts open on Oct. 17. The Edmonton area alone had a dozen ready to go on legalization day, while Calgary had two. There are several possible reasons why the provincial capital outpaced Cowtown so quickly, including an existing medical cannabis industry (Aurora’s headquarters are based in Edmonton) and relaxed public consumption laws. Albertans also have a healthy appetite for bud: Nova Cannabis, a chain with stores across the province, pulled in $1.3 million in sales within the first five days of legalization.

What didn’t work: As with other provinces, Alberta’s brick-and-mortar stores and albertacannabis.org found themselves starved of weed just a month after legalization. In late November, the AGLC announced a moratorium on granting new store licences until supply issues could be resolved, saying it had only received 20 per cent of the cannabis it had ordered from licensed producers.

Several stores, including Numo Cannabis in northern Edmonton, had to close for weeks due to a lack of weed, while Urban Canna, a small chain in Calgary, found itself unable to open at all during the first month of legalization. Some Alberta municipalities have also vetoed pot stores, and Calgary has found itself bogged down with appeals against cannabis stores within city limits.

Atlantic Canada

The process: In Nova Scotia, the government-run Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) is the only authorized pot seller. On legalization day, the crown corporation opened 11 cannabis boutiques inside existing liquor stores, one stand-alone cannabis shop in Halifax and online sales.

What worked: When the shops opened in cities and towns around the province on Oct. 17, there were long lines as clerks handled almost 13,000 transactions and sold more than $660,000 in products. Those lines persisted at some locations for several days.

NSLC spokesperson Beverly Ware said in an email that the corporation was “very pleased with the implementation” and that it answered the public’s demand for local producers shortly after legalization. There weren’t any local licensed producers in the province on Oct. 17, but two have since received the green light from Health Canada.

What didn’t work: Several NSLC cannabis stores closed early because of shortages.

As in Nova Scotia, the rest of Atlantic Canada opted for government-run cannabis retailers. New Brunswick’s retailer, Cannabis NB, faced similar supply challenges to the NSLC and recently laid off more than 60 employees from its 20 stores.

Cannabis NB spokesperson Marie-Andrée Bolduc told The Canadian Press that it was difficult to say whether the supply problems were linked to the layoffs.

“The decision is representative of normal new retail industry operations and long-term fiscal responsibility,” Bolduc said in an email.

Quebec

The process: The Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) runs 12 stores across the province, including three in Montreal and two in Quebec City. Customers can also purchase cannabis from its website.

What worked: The 12 stores were open by legalization day, and the website was live. The province’s website reported 53,300 online transactions and 84,850 in-store transactions in the first week of operation.

What didn’t work: Plagued by supply shortages, the stores are now only open Thursdays to Sundays. In addition, some customers reported receiving products with a unit weight lower than what was indicated on the packaging, according to the SQDC’s website.

Saskatchewan

The process: Operators for 51 retail cannabis stores were selected through a two-step process that combined an open request for proposals and a lottery.

Applicants that made it through the first screening phase, which looked at financial and inventory systems, were entered into the lottery to be eligible for a permit. Independent consulting firm KPMG monitored the process, according to the province’s website.

What worked: The advance planning meant a few stores were open on legalization day, The Canadian Press reported at the time.

What didn’t work: Not all of the 51 stores were open by then. Currently, only 17 are in operation; the rest are working through the permit process, and more should be issued in the coming weeks, according to a government spokesperson.

Manitoba

The process: A request for proposals went out in November 2017, looking for four initial companies. The province announced the successful retailers in February 2018.

The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Authority of Manitoba (LGCA) regulates, licenses, inspects and audits the industry, while the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (MBLL) is in charge of processing and distribution, according to the province’s website.

The private sector operates all 16 retail locations across the province, including two in First Nations communities and 10 in Winnipeg, according to the government’s website.

What worked: In December, the province announced the private retailers were largely playing by the rules so far and none had been fined since legalization, The Canadian Press reported.

What didn’t work: MBLL said in October it expected supply shortages to last at least six months, as the province, along with others, is not receiving as much cannabis as it needs.

In December, the RCMP seized all cannabis from the Winnipeg-based company Bonify, saying they believed illegal cannabis had entered the market.

Nunavut

The only way to buy is to order online from private retailer Tweed, which doesn’t have any stores in Nunavut. The government did not immediately respond to a request for more detail.

Yukon

The government operates one cannabis shop in Whitehorse, as well as an online store. The government did not immediately respond to a request for more detail.

Northwest territories

The Northwest Territories Liquor and Cannabis Commission regulates the distribution of alcohol and cannabis through mail order, an online store and five brick-and-mortar locations. The government did not immediately respond to a request for more detail.

With files from Joseph Hall, Kevin Maimann, Omar Mosleh, Taryn Grant, Cherise Seucharan and May Warren

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