Published by Saskatchewan Branch of Consumers’ Association of Canada ISSN 1184-0005 Volume 25 Issue 2 Summer 2009 WALK, WHEEL, JOG, RUN, SKATE, Canadians are not active enough, QUALITY OF LIFE BENEFITS: SKI, SCOOT, CYCLE, PADDLE ... and a sedentary lifestyle is a fun- Walkers and cyclists see more Choosing human damental health problem today. than stoplights, power over motor white lines and ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS: power will im- Decreased use of motorized vehicles car bumpers. Ac- prove your health helps cut down on greenhouse gas tive Transporta- and reduce your emissions and global climate tion provides impact on the envi- change; reduces air pollutants (up calmer and safer ronment. Active Transportation to 16,000 premature deaths per roads, reduces includes anything that gets you to year in Canada can be attributed to noise pollution and congestion, your destination using your own air pollution); reduces noise pollu- and increases opportunities for energy. According Health Canada, tion; saves valuable green space; social interaction with your com- “each Canadian makes an aver- munity, family and friends. and reduces the need for new age of 2,000 car trips of less than parking lots and roadways, which PUBLIC HEALTH BENEFITS: three kilometers each year; trips means more efficient land use. Active Transportation can signifi- that could be replaced with an ac- cantly reduce public health costs tive choice of transportation.” FINANCIAL BENEFITS: while fostering a healthy, produc- Whatever mode you choose, it has Operating a vehicle is very expen- tive workforce. Public health costs great benefits for you as an indi- sive. It costs an average of $9,000 per year to own and operate a mo- attributable to physical inactivity vidual and for the Earth! are one to two times greater than tor vehicle, but only $150 annually HEALTH BENEFITS: that of smoking! This takes into for a bicycle, and virtually no cost Active Transportation incorporates account that while the individual for walking! regular physical activity into daily risk of smoking is greater, the fact activities. Not only will that far more Canadians you look and feel better are inactive (35%) com- and reduce your stress, pared to those that smoke but you'll reduce your risk (26%) makes physical of diseases. Health Can- inactivity a greater public ada says 6 out of every 10 health burden. In the Issue Year in Review; CAC/SK AGM 2 6 Bill 60-Protects Cellphone Users Consumer Protection Campaign 3 6 Deceptive Telemarketing; Operation Mirage Restaurant Inspections Go Public 3 7 Don’t be Fuelish! Protect Yourself from Fraud Bits & Pieces 4 8 You Asked 2 S AS K W ATCH SaskWatch - Summer 2009 Publisher: A Year in Review Consumers' Association of Canada, Saskatchewan Branch (CAC/SK), Inc. by Maura Gillis-Cipywnyk Editor: President Brenda Goldsworthy Contributors: Given the economic downturn in regarding insured funeral policies. Ruth Robinson Maura Gillis-Cipywnyk the past year, the Saskatchewan We've had input into the New Annemarie Buchmann-Gerber Consumers’ Association has an Home Warranty Program and have Production & Design: increasingly important role in ad- been active in getting Restaurant Brenda Goldsworthy vancing the rights of consumers in Inspections made available to the Published quarterly: the market place. We strive to public. The Saskatoon Airport Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter make a difference for consumers in Authority has been appreciative of _____________________________ this province and, in many areas, our recommendations and we've Consumers' Association of have helped to effect important submitted comments towards pos- Canada (Saskatchewan Branch) changes. sible legislation for “ticket selling #306 - 220 3rd Avenue South We had input into the new Gift and reselling in Saskatchewan” . Saskatoon, Sask. S7K 1M1 Card Legislation and believe these Work is underway to enhance Phone: 306.242-4909 new regulations will provide good our website and make it more inter- Fax: 306.955-5810 Toll free: 1-888-395-5661 protection for consumers. We active and user friendly. We cur- Email: email@example.com made several presentations to the rently average about 800 hits per Website: www.consumersask.com Rate Review Hearings for Sask- month. Office Hours: Tuesday to Thursday Power and SaskEnergy. We met Thank you to the board mem- (8:30 am - 1:30 pm) with the Assistant Privacy Com- bers and volunteers who've contrib- Office Administrator: Annemarie Buchmann-Gerber missioner of Canada and ex- uted their time and talents to our _____________________________ changed ideas of how to dissemi- activities in the past year. Your nate relevant information to Sask- participation and support is appre- Consumers' Association of Canada, atchewan consumers. The Funeral ciated and necessary. Saskatchewan Branch, active since 1947, and Cremation Service Council is a non-profit, volunteer-driven Together we can make a difference. association committed to fairness in the met with us to get our comments marketplace and improving the quality of life for consumers. Through information and education, CAC Saskatchewan assists CAC/SK Annual General Meeting consumers make wise use of personal resources and endeavours to represent the CAC/SK held its Annual General Consumer Protection Branch and consumer interest in marketplace issues Meeting in Saskatoon on May 26th its mandate and revealed how they with business and governments. and included presentation of au- identify issues and recognize sig- ____________ dited financial statements, approval nals of when, where and how to CAC/SK Board of Directors of budget for the coming fiscal respond. 2009-2010 year, appointment of an auditor, The AGM concluded with and committee reports. nominations and election of the President: Maura Gillis-Cipywnyk Eric Greene, Registrar, Con- New Board of Directors for 2009- Treasurer: Jacqueline Lindgren Secretary: Ruth Robinson sumer Protection Branch, Ministry 2010. Maura Gillis-Cipywnyk of Justice & Attorney General gave (President), Ruth Robinson Members-at-Large: a very informative PowerPoint (Secretary), Jacqueline Lindgren Jane Finnie Burna Purkin presentation called “Ensuring (Treasurer), and Members at Mary Glauser Marketplace Fairness.” Large: Jane Finnie, Mary Glauser, Audrey Findlay He covered the existence of the Burna Purkin, and Audrey Findlay. SaskWatch is available on line at: www.consumersask.com S AS K W ATCH 3 Consumer Protection Campaign The Government of Saskatchewan’s “We want to get people the infor- While the CPB’s focus is on new campaign - The Money Game mation they need to avoid scams helping those who are most - Play it for Keeps - will help pro- and to keep themselves in good vulnerable, such as senior citizens, tect consumers from cons, scams financial shape.” youth and young adults, the cam- and credit troubles, and increase The campaign will inform paign provides tools and informa- public awareness of the Con- Saskatchewan consumers about tion to help all Saskatchewan con- sumer Protection Branch (CPB) CPB services and help get them sumers protect their finances and consumer protection issues. the information they need to pro- from those who would prey upon “Helping protect Saskatchewan tect themselves from con artists, them. consumers from financial loss is Internet scams, high-pressure For more information, phone: important to this government,” sales people and the potentially 306-787-2626 or email: lin- Justice Minister Don Morgan said. high cost of easy credit. firstname.lastname@example.org Restaurant Inspections Go Public New regulations under The Ministry of Health erally had to file an access The Public Health Act, conducted comprehen- to information request if 1994 will allow anyone sive consultations with they wanted to try and to access all restaurant numerous stakeholders, see an establishment’s inspection reports dating including the Consumers’ inspection records. from October 1, 2008. “If Association of Canada, Robinson noted if a res- they are licensed by the the Canadian Restaurant taurant has problems health region, they are and Food Services Asso- identified, a follow up safe to eat at,” Mr. ciation (Manitoba- report, posted online, will Saskatchewan residents McMorris said. Saskatchewan Region) allow the consumer to now have free access to Summaries of reports and the province’s re- see if the issues have public health inspection dating back to October gional health authorities been addressed. reports for restaurant- 2008 are posted, which prior to introducing the type facilities at: new regulations. “I want Because the information means information on www.health.gov.sk.ca/ to commend the restau- online is only a summary, many restaurants isn't yet restaurant-inspections. rant industry and the Con- a full copy of a report can available because an in- sumers’ Association for be obtained through the “The public has a right spection hasn't been con- their commitment to be appropriate health region to know the restaurant ducted since last fall. open and accountable,” for a $30 fee. For more they are eating in has Restaurants are typically Mr. McMorris said. info rmation phone: been inspected and meets inspected at least once a 306.787-4083. Email: provincial standards,” year. Ruth Robinson, a Direc- email@example.com Health Minister Don Eventually, the summa- tor of the Saskatchewan McMorris said. “These ries of the most recent Consumers’ Association, inspection reports are three reports on each res- said the site is a big step public information,” he taurant will be available forward from the old sys- added, noting the prov- for viewing. tem, where patrons gen- ince has about 5,000 res- taurant-type facilities. 4 S AS K W ATCH Bits & Pieces BITS & Anti-Spam Bill Introduced Retire your Ride in Saskatchewan In April, Industry Canada Minister Tony Clement Saskatchewan residents will soon breathe easier tabled the Electronic Commerce Protection Act thanks to Canada’s new vehicle recycling program, (ECPA) in Parliament. According to the minister, the Retire Your Ride. Managed by Clean Air Foundation proposed ECPA will deter the most dangerous forms and delivered locally by the Saskatchewan Environ- of spam, such as identity theft, phishing and spyware, mental Society, the program aims to recycle 1995 or from occurring in Canada This bill will allow busi- older vehicles in an environmentally responsible nesses and consumers to take civil action against any- manner to improve air quality and encourage the use one who violates the EPCA. It will allow offenders to of sustainable transportation. Older vehicles produce be charged with monetary penalties of up to $1 mil- 19 times more smog-forming pollutants than 2004 lion for individuals and $10 million for all other and newer models. More info: www.retireyourride.ca offenders. Web: www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/icl.nsf/eng/0495.html or phone: 1-877-773-1996. (SEN June Info Bulletin) Cellular Recycling Program Will Green Radio Benefit Transition Houses Tune in to Green Planet, CJTR - 91.3FM (Regina SaskTel recently announced a new cellular recycling Community Radio), Wednesdays at noon for infor- program called Phones for a Fresh Start that provides mation on energy efficiency, environmental program- an opportunity for Saskatchewan residents to drop off ming in Regina, climate change, and all things great their used wireless devices for recycling, while pro- and green. Replayed Thursdays at 9:00am. You can viding cellular phones and prepaid phone cards to listen on the web, as well, at: www.cjtr.ca women’s shelters across the province. SaskTel will Tune in to CFCR's Pocket Mulch, every Wednes- accept donations of any used wireless devices, batter- day and Friday at 6:30 pm on 90.5FM (Saskatoon's ies, chargers and accessories at all SaskTel Stores and Community Radio), for up-to-date info on environ- participating SaskTel Authorized dealers. All donated mental happenings around the world and in Saska- items will be shipped to a wireless recycling company toon, as well as interesting environmental issues in which will pay SaskTel for each device. The money the news. It's also on the web: www.cfcr.ca will be used to provide the phone cards to the transi- tion houses. Full story: http://preview.tinyurl.com/ Way To Go Saskatchewan myv8jl. For many years now Saskatchewan has had the high- est rate of charitable giving per capita, and the highest Important Labelling Information volunteering, of any province in this country. for Iron-Containing Products Health Canada is advising Canadians to carefully read Asbestos: Dramatic Documentary the labelling of iron supplement products as there is In Canada, over 60% of workplace deaths every year potential for confusion about dosage. Products cur- are the result of exposure to asbestos. In B.C. 300 rently on the Canadian market display the dose in dif- workers will die every year for the next five years ferent ways and consumers may misinterpret the from asbestos-caused illnesses. On June 10th, CBC's amount of iron in the product and potentially take an The National aired a dramatic and compelling docu- incorrect dose. As of January 1, 2010, all products mentary presenting another opportunity to take action containing iron will be required to have consistent on this critical issue. Please write a short email to labelling information with respect to dosage. Con- both Stephen Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Michael sumers requiring more information about this advi- Ignatieff (email@example.com) urging them to ban sory can contact Health Canada's public inquiries line the export and production of this lethal substance. at: 613.957-2991, or call toll free at 1-866-225-0709. PIECES Bits & Pieces Anti-Fraud Call Centre Patients’ Rights Association PhoneBusters plays a key role in educating the pub- of Saskatchewan (PRAS) lic about specific fraudulent telemarketing pitches. The PRAS was founded in 1999 to advocate for the The Call Centre also plays a vital role in the collec- rights of consumers of healthcare in Saskatchewan, tion and dissemination of victim evidence, statistics and to ensure these rights are respected. They believe documentation, and tape recordings which are made the best way to ensure such respect is to have gov- available to outside law enforcement agencies. Pro- ernment enact formal legislation to guarantee these tecting yourself from fraud begins with learning to rights. Their aim is to ensure that through public edu- recognize it. Call PhoneBusters to report fraud and cation and increased government sensitivity, public learn more ways to protect yourself. 1-888-495-8501 institutions will be held accountable for their health- or check out their web: www.phonebusters.com care decisions. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.patientsrights.ca Pesticide Reduction Group The cosmetic use of pesticides in and around our About the Net … homes has significant impacts on the health of hu- • The number of text messages sent and received mans, animals, plants and the environment. Sask- every day exceeds the total population of the atchewan Environmental Society encourages you to planet. consider the risks of using pesticides. Join their Pes- • the number of internet devices in 1984 was one ticide Reduction Group! For details: Susan at pesti- thousand. In 1992 it jumped to one million. In 2008 email@example.com, phone 665-1915. the number exceeded one billion! • there are about 31 billion searches on google every Consumer Reports month. Best Buy DrugsTM For some people, medication costs are a serious issue Fast Facts and can mean the difference between taking their Q: How many sea creatures are being killed by plas- drugs as prescribed or not taking them at all. Con- tic bags and plastic garbage thrown into the ocean? sumer Reports Best Buy DrugsTM is an educational A: Two million animals die each year, either by get- and outreach initiative that compares a variety of ting tangled in plastic or mistaking it for food (including prescription drugs on price, effectiveness and safety sea birds, turtles, dolphins, whales and seals). to help consumers and their doctors identify the most Q: How many soft drink cans and bottles do North effective and affordable medicines. More informa- Americans throw away every year? tion: ConsumerReportsHealth.org/BestBuyDrugs A: Enough to reach the moon and back nearly 20 times if they were stacked end-to-end. Saskatchewan Youth Awards Q: How long does it take for a disposable diaper to The 2008 recipients of the Saskatchewan Youth Awards are: Bryce Ehman (Weyburn); Jasmine completely decompose in a landfill? Erickson (Estevan); Justin Gryba, (Saskatoon); A: 500 years! Nicole LaPlante (North Battleford); and Sarah Thies- Q: How much would it cost to slow climate change, son (Clavet). This Award is bestowed on youth who conserve wildlife, reduce our population growth, im- have made significant contributions to Saskatchewan prove land use and human health, reduce poverty, through personal accomplishments and outstanding and cut waste production? achievement. Recipients are selected from nomina- A: $600 billion, which is about $400 billion LESS tions submitted by the public. For more information, than the global military budget! visit: www.ops.gov.sk.ca (from www.royalsaskmuseum.ca/education/kids) 6 S AS K W ATCH Bill 60 - Protects Cellphone Users The Government of Québec has renewal of cellphone contracts increase fees during the life of the tabled legislation to better protect without a customer’s written ap- contract. consumers when they sign cell- proval. It would also force mer- Weil said officials in the prov- phone contracts. Justice Minister chants to disclose the total cost of ince receive nearly 700 formal Kathleen Weil said laws aimed at the goods and services offered to complaints about cellphone con- protecting cellphone users were prevent customers from being tracts each year — about 10 per written in the early 1970s and caught off guard by hefty fees for cent of all consumer complaints — don't address current consumer services they don’t want, such as as well as thousands of inquiries. habits. She said Bill 60, introduced text messaging. In addition, com- Michel Arnold, head of the June 16th, would revise outdated panies won’t be able to suddenly non-profit consumer rights group rules. Option consommateurs, said Qué- There can be “very onerous bec is the first jurisdiction in the penalty fees” to pull out of a con- country to introduce this kind of tract once a service provider auto- consumer protection. Bill 60 is matically renews it — usually for expected to be adopted before the a period lasting three years, Weil end of the year. (from cbcnews.ca) said. The bill would prohibit the Deceptive Telemarketing / Operation Mirage The Competition OPERATION MIRAGE: Recognizing the serious- Bureau has an- ness of deceptive telemarketing, The Competition Bu- nounced that four reau announced that it is taking action against 50 or- companies have ganizations and individuals in the Montreal area, as pleaded guilty to part of Operation Mirage, a campaign to combat deceptive telemar- fraudulent telemarketing operations. “Deceptive tele- keting charges marketers are defrauding businesses and consumers and were fined of hundreds of millions of dollars in an already diffi- $725,000. “The cult economic climate,” says Andrea Rosen, Deputy Bureau is dedi- Commissioner of Competition. “Through Operation cated to eliminat- Mirage, we are cracking down on this criminal activ- ing deceptive tele- ity with enforcement action and public education.” marketing activi- This action was conducted under the newly ties,” said Andrea Rosen, Deputy Commissioner of amended Competition Act, which allows for signifi- Competition. “This type of telemarketing is illegal cantly higher penalties for those convicted of criminal and punishable under the Act, and the Bureau’s on- telemarketing offences. going efforts to crack down on any company or per- The campaign is targeting fraudsters who use ille- son involved in deceptive telemarketing scams remain gal techniques to market phony business directories a priority.” The four companies are Infogroup Data to businesses and not-for-profit organizations. It is the Inc., Allegiance Publishing Inc., 2957647 Canada largest-ever Bureau sweep against deceptive telemar- Inc., and 3433587 Canada Inc. keting and one of the largest ever in Canada. The Competition Bureau is an independent law For further information on Operation Mirage and enforcement agency that contributes to the prosperity to learn more about how to protect yourself against of Canadians by protecting and promoting competi- fraud, please visit the Bureau’s Web site at: tive markets and enabling informed consumer choice. www.competitionbureau.gc.ca S AS K W ATCH 7 Don't be Fuelish! Join a Carpool In 100 years, we’ve gone from horse and buggy to Carpooling is a simple way for individuals to take over 14 million cars on Canada’s roads! Our reliance part in the climate change challenge while saving on the single occupancy vehicle contributes greatly to money, reducing congestion and conserving energy. global warming. According to Environment Canada, Carpool.ca provides assistance to individuals who are overall transportation represents the largest single considering carpooling as an alternate means of com- source of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions (27%). muting. Contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 1-800.668.7433. Web: www.carpool.ca Canadian Automobile Association says that the aver- age commuter spends about $7,500 per year, or $15 per day, to operate their car. Sport utility vehicle and mini-van owners spend over $9,000. But a more tragic cost is the degradation of our envi- ronment. Every day, millions of vehicles pump pol- lutants into our atmosphere. Some of these fall to earth, fouling streams and contaminating crops. Oth- ers rise into the stratosphere, damaging the ozone layer and causing global climate warming – the “greenhouse effect”. Still more of these pollutants cling close to earth, and are inhaled with every breath we take. Protecting Yourself Against Fraud the last four numbers. The com- card numbers handy so you know pany knows the rest. who to call. 4) Put your work number on your 2) File a police report immediately. cheques instead of your home phone. If you have a P.O Box, use Here's the most important of all: that instead of your home address. 3) Call the two national credit re- If you don't have a P.O. Box, use porting organizations immediately your work address. to place a fraud alert on your name 5) Photocopy both sides of the and Social Insurance number. 1) Order cheques with only your contents of your wallet. In an Then, any company that checks initials and last name. The thief emergency you'll know what was your credit, knows your information won't know if you sign with initials in your wallet and all of the ac- was stolen, and they must contact or your first name, but your bank count numbers and phone numbers you by phone to authorize new will know. to call and cancel. Carry a photo- credit. copy of your passport when traveling. 2) Don't sign the back of your credit Here are the numbers you always cards. Put “Photo ID Required.” If Your Wallet is Lost or Stolen need to contact if your wallet, etc. 3) When paying for your credit 1) Canceling credit cards immedi- has been stolen: card, don't use the complete account ately is important, but the key is Equifax Canada: 1-877-249-2705 number on the "for" line. Just use having the toll free numbers and TransUnion: 1-877-525-3823 8 S AS K W A T C H Question: How do I figure out the fact and good products from bad Question: If I buy or sell my best buy when making purchases? ones. Since then CU has filled that house, what do I do about the ex- vacuum with a broad range of con- isting alarm system and contract? Answer: Before making any pur- sumer information. To maintain its chases, call the Consumers’ Asso- independence and impartiality, CU Answer: A contract is a contract ciation of Canada, Saskatchewan accepts no outside advertising and and most companies will make it Branch (CAC/SK) at: 242-4909 or no free samples and employs sev- as difficult as possible for the con- toll free at: 1-888-395-5661. CAC/ eral hundred mystery shoppers and sumer to get out of an existing SK will answer your questions re- technical experts to buy and test contract, but the companies will garding buying any new product. the products it evaluates. most likely allow a transfer. We get most of our informa- Most Saskatchewan public Be aware of what you're get- tion from Consumer Reports, pub- libraries subscribe to the Con- ting into when you purchase a lished by Consumer Union (CU) - sumer Reports magazine and if house with an alarm system in- an expert, independent, nonprofit you have access to the internet you stalled, and make sure to have it organization whose mission is to can inform yourself at their web: included as a negotiable item in work for a fair, just, and safe mar- www.consumerreports.org the ‘offer to purchase’. ketplace for all consumers, and to If you know French, then the The alarm system usually stays empower consumers to protect Québec based Protégéz-Vous with the house, but the monitoring themselves. The organization was magazine will be a great source of contract needs to be negotiated founded in 1936 when advertising information. Their website is: and included in the ‘offer to pur- first flooded the mass media. Con- www.protegez-vous.ca chase’. sumers lacked a reliable source of Be well informed, before you It's important to have it in the information they could depend on buy anything. A knowledgeable contract; if it isn't, the existing to help them distinguish hype from consumer is a smart consumer. contract is assumed. Membership / Subscription ( ) I'd like a one-year CAC/SK membership (includes a one-year subscription to SaskWatch) $ 25.00 ( ) I'd like a one-year subscription to SaskWatch (4 issues) $ 10.00 ( ) I'd like to make a donation of $ _______ $ _____ Total enclosed: (make cheques payable to CAC/SK) $ _____ ( ) I would like to become a CAC Saskatchewan volunteer. I am interested in volunteering in the following areas: _____________________________________________________________________________ Name: ____________________________________________________ Phone: _____________________ Street: _________________________________ City: ______________________ Code: _______________ Renewal Notice: Your membership expiry date is on the top of your address label. We hope you will renew your membership.