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Air Canada says mobile app breach may affect up to 20,000 customers

CHRISTOPHER REYNOLDS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Aug 30th, 2018

Some 20,000 Air Canada customers woke up Wednesday to learn their personal information may have been compromised after a breach in the airline’s mobile app, which prompted a lock-down on all 1.7 million accounts until their passwords could be changed.

Air Canada said it detected unusual login activity between Aug. 22 and Aug. 24 and tried to block the hacking attempt, locking the app accounts as an additional measure, according to a notice on its website.

Mobile app users received an email Wednesday morning alerting them as to whether their account had been affected.

The app stores basic information including a user’s name, email and phone number.

Any credit card data is encrypted and would be protected from a breach, Air Canada said.

But Aeroplan numbers, passport numbers, birth dates, nationalities and countries of residence could have been accessed if users saved them in their account profile, the company said.

Air Canada declined to respond to questions, referring The Canadian Press to its website.

The risk of a third party obtaining a passport in someone else’s name is low if the user still has their passport and supporting documents, according to the federal government.

Users can reactivate their account along stricter password guidelines by following instructions emailed to them or prompts when logging in.

Some users reported problems with the process on social media, likely due to the volume of customers trying to unlock their account.

Air Canada advised anyone looking to access the app to keep trying.

In March, the airline said some customers who booked hotels through its former travel partner Orbitz may have had their personal data stolen.

Nearly 2,300 bookings through Air Canada hotel options could have been involved in a data breach of hundreds of thousands of records that Orbitz reported earlier this year, Air Canada said.

The Expedia-owned travel website operator, whose platform Air Canada no longer uses, disclosed on March 20 that hackers may have accessed personal information from about 880,000 payment cards in 2016.

Reports of CRA extortion scam on the rise

News Staff | posted Thursday, Aug 30th, 2018

“These scammers are very threatening. They’re very direct. They entice that fear.”

Stores including pharmacy chain Rexall have started posting warnings about scams involving gift cards as reports about the fraud continue to mount.

Fraudsters pretending to be the Canada Revenue Agency(CRA) have been calling unwitting consumers and telling them they owe money from a past tax return. The consumers are told they will incur additional fees, face jail time or be deported if they fail to pay the sum — by wire transfer, pre-paid credit cards, gift cards or bitcoin.

“It’s one of the biggest scams out there right now,” said Jessica Gunson of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), a federal agency jointly managed by the RCMP, the Competition Bureau, and the OPP.

“These scammers are very threatening. They’re very direct. They entice that fear. They just want that person to have that knee-jerk reaction. They don’t want to give them time to think about it. They don’t want them to talk to anyone else.”

When scammers receive gift cards, they generally resell them for cheaper, Gunson said. They may sell a $100 iTunes gift card for $80, for example.

In October 2016, investigators traced the fraudsters to call centres in India, arresting dozens.

Almost immediately, the CAFC noticed a “huge decrease” in calls about the CRA extortion scam. Since that time, however, the reports have steadily increased.

Last year, the agency received more than 10,000 complaints about that particular fraud, and 688 people reported being swindled out of $2.7 million. But already in the first six months of this year, the number of reported victims has surpassed the 2017 total. The CAFC said 764 victims of the extortion scam handed over $3.6 million to fraudsters from January to June.

The real number is likely much higher as it’s estimated less than five per cent of fraud is reported to the CAFC.

Gunson said she has seen convenience stores and pharmacies in Ontario taking preventive measures.

“Retailers have become very good and very vigilant in alerting customers that may be buying or asking for a stack of cards,” she said.

In April 2016, the manager of a Metro grocery store in Brampton intervened when a man tried to buy 42 iTunes gift cards at once. The manager called police who, after assessing the situation, told the man he was being scammed.

And several Rexall stores in downtown Toronto have posted signs on their gift card display warning customers who are being pressured to buy gift cards.

The notices mention the CRA will never use aggressive language or tone, ask for prepaid credit or gift cars or threaten arrest. They include a link to the CRA’s fraud prevention website.

Here are some more tips from the CAFC about how to avoid scams by phone and email.

How to protect yourself from scammers

  • The CRA will use registered mail to contact consumers.
  • Contact the CRA to confirm you owe back taxes or are entitled to a refund.
  • Never provide personal information on inbound phone calls. Ask who is calling, document information and do your homework.
  • The CRA would never request payment by money service business, iTunes gift cards or bitcoin.
  • For more information about fraud scams involving the CRA, visit the agency’s fraud prevention website.
  • If you’ve shared personal information, contact Equifax and Trans Union to place fraud alerts on your account.
  • If you’ve shared banking information with the scammers, contact your financial institution to place alerts on your account.
  • If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, contact the Canadian Anti‐Fraud Centre at 1‐888‐495‐8501 or report it online at antifraudcentre.ca.

Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada launches, expected to be important learning tool

GABRIELE ROY, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Aug 30th, 2018

A learning resource described as a comprehensive atlas on Indigenous lands, languages and culture in Canada was launched in Toronto on Wednesday after two years of input from the communities it covers.

The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, which includes a four-volume set of books, an online interactive atlas and other components, was touted as an important educational tool for future generations.

“Not only will (Indigenous) children see themselves and their people in such a respectful and meaningful way, but non-Indigenous children will be educated with resources that come from authentic Indigenous voices for the first time,” said Charlene Bearhead, the project’s education adviser.

The project, funded by the federal government, was developed by Indigenous groups working with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Those involved in the effort said it was believed to be the first of its kind.

Bearhead, who is also the education co-ordinator for the National Inquiry of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, said the way in which the atlas was developed was important.

“The First Nations made the decisions about what would be in their volume, the Metis made the decisions about their volume and so did the Inuits,” she said.

The chief operating officer of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society said the project told the story of the country’s people and their lands in an important way.

“As a powerful education tool, it is clear that the Indigenous People Atlas in Canada will become a foundational step on the path towards reconciliation,” said Gilles Gagnier. “The learning from the atlas will help ensure that the Indigenous voices in every part of this country and throughout the world are heard and understood.”

The atlas includes information on Indigenous communities, languages, education, treaties and lands. It also addresses topics such as residential schools, colonization, racism and cultural appropriation.

“It is our hope that the voices of the First Peoples gathered in this atlas will cause you to reflect … and maybe even act,” said Julian Brave NoiseCat, a contributing editor to the atlas who is a member of the Canim Lake Band in British Columbia.

“It is a beautiful and proud thing to be Indigenous.”

The atlas will soon be introduced to classrooms across Canada, and teachers will be given materials that will help them learn how to best use the resource.

“We are right here, in someone’s homeland and we don’t learn about them,” said Bearhead. “Now that we have this resource, there are no excuses.”

Bearhead added that the use of the atlas should go beyond the classroom.

“Every family, every house in this country needs to have that atlas as a beginning point to educate,” she said.

Donations pour in for residents displaced by fire at 650 Parliament St.

News Staff | posted Thursday, Aug 30th, 2018

Following an appeal by Mayor John Tory on Tuesday, the city says donations have begun pouring in for the displaced residents of 650 Parliament street.

Around 1,500 people were forced to evacuate the building after a six-alarm fire broke out on Aug. 21.

Mayor Tory asked private citizens and corporations in Toronto to contribute housing support, financial help and donate back-to-school necessities for over 300 children who need clothes, shoes and other essentials for the first week of school.

As of Wednesday afternoon the children’s needs were almost fully taken care of thanks to corporate donations of gift cards and vouchers as well as backpacks, socks, t-shirts and other clothing.

In addition the Red Cross received $32,638 in financial donations as well as 112 offers of accommodations and hundreds of items of school supplies.

The distribution of items to families with school-age children will begin on Saturday at the Rose Avenue Public School gymnasium on 675 Ontario Street.

In a release, both Mayor Tory and Coun. Lucy Troisi expressed their thanks to the people of Toronto and various corporations

Tory added that going forward, the most important needs are accommodation and financial help.

How you can help

  • If you’d like to donate money, financial contributions can be made online at redcross.ca or by calling 1-800-418-1111.
  • To coordinate offers of accommodations, goods and services, Toronto social service agency WoodGreen has made their H.O.M.E portal available to allow donors to post available housing, goods and services.Visit www.mycanadianhome.org to post an offer.
  • If you would like to donate clothing, the drive being organized in partnership with Community Matters and Community Corner is ongoing. However gift $20-$25 gift cards are preferred due to space restrictions. Gift cards can be dropped off at Community Corner, 200 Wellesley St. E. The clothing drive ends 8 p.m., Friday.

 

Labour Day long weekend — last hurrah of summer: what’s on, what’s open

PATRICIA D'CUNHA AND SAMANTHA KNIGHT | posted Thursday, Aug 30th, 2018

It is with mixed feelings that we welcome the last long weekend of summer. While most of us are looking forward to having Labour Day off, we are also slowly saying goodbye to summer. The season officially ends on Sept. 22.

So make this weekend a good one. Several fun-filled events are on tap, including the air show at the CNE, which comes to a close on Monday.

If you are planning to squeeze in some back-to-school shopping on the holiday Monday, several malls will be open. Below is a list of what’s open and closed.

For those planning to drive or take the TTC into the city this weekend, a portion of Line 1 will be shut down and some road closures will be in effect. Below are the details.


Events

CNE wraps up with air show
As the CNE comes to an end this Labour Day weekend, the Canadian International Air Show will take to the skies over Lake Ontario for its 69th annual performance. This year, the the United States Air Force Thunderbirds will open the show and the Canadian Forces Snowbirds will bring the performance to its dramatic finale. This is the first time in 15 years that the Thunderbirds have returned to the CNE, and it will be their only performance outside of the U.S. in 2018. The show runs from noon until 3 p.m. Saturday through Monday. The CNE wraps up at 9 p.m. on Labour Day.

Light show over the mountain
It is not only the last long weekend of summer but also the last fireworks show of summer at Canada’s Wonderland. So if you are already planning to be at the amusement park on Sunday, you can stay a bit later and watch the show. Fireworks set to music will light up over Wonder Mountain at 10 p.m. The light show will only run weather permitting.

Buskers bring their magic
Woodbine Park will be transformed into a world of magic and wonder this weekend for the annual Toronto International BuskerFest. The festival will have you questioning your very eyes, with spectacular circus artistry, non-verbal shows, music, magic, mime, fire jugglers, acrobats and more. This year’s event also features the Mac and Cheese Festival, with over 50 variations of mac and cheese from top chefs. BuskerFest is the largest fundraiser for Epilepsy Toronto. The event takes place from Friday afternoon until Monday.

Bring on the fans
Calling all sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming fans! Fan Expo Canada is taking over the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this Thursday through Labour Day. The event is now in its 24th year and attracts more than 129,000 people from around the world. Highlights of this year’s show include the Back to the Future cast, a Degrassi: The Next Generationreunion, Harry Potter-themed escape rooms and WWE superstars Triple H, AJ Styles, The Miz and Charlotte Flair. There will also be exclusive collectibles, a kids costume contest and a cosplay photo park.

Did someone say bacon?
Keep the wet wipes and bibs handy this long weekend at Toronto’s Rib, Bacon & BBQ Fest at Downsview Park. This year the four-day event is expanding on its traditional ribfest fare by including vendors that specialize in bacon and BBQ treats. There will be tons of entertainment, including live music, midway rides, bouncy castles and a beer, wine and spirits tent. Celebrity Chef Rob Rainford will be at the festival on Labour Day doing a cooking demonstration, signing copies of his book and judging the best ribber competition.

Beer, food and summer
Brewer’s Backyard is celebrating Labour Day with its final festival of the summer — the Fruits of our Labour. The event features a lineup of breweries including Goose Island Beer Company, The Exchange Brewery, Great Lakes Brewery and Northern Maverick Brewing Company, along with tasty food. It runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the pavilion areas of Evergreen Brick Works. There will also be a “first call” special with $5 beers for the first hour. Admission is free.

Music takes over the square
TDotFest is taking over Yonge-Dundas Square this Sunday. The annual festival features over 40 artists, including Canadian R&B recording artist Jrdn, who will be releasing music from his new album, Kiia, Foxx Williams and Ebonie. The free concert also includes food and beer. It kicks off at noon.

Hanlan’s Point goes electric
Hundreds of people will be flocking to Hanlan’s Point this long weekend for the Electric Island Festival. The two-day event showcases over 20 artists on two stages. There will also be a BBQ, international food trucks, games and activities. All-day entry runs from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday and Labour Day Monday.

What’s open and closed on Monday

Open

  • TTC will run on holiday service.
  • GO will run on a Sunday schedule.
  • Tourist attractions: Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada’s Wonderland, Casa Loma, CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, Ontario Science Centre, Canada’s Wonderland, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Zoo
  • Several malls: Bramalea City Centre (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Eaton Centre (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Square One Shopping Centre (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Promenade (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Toronto Premium Outlets (9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Upper Canada Mall (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.), Vaughan Mills (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Hillcrest Mall (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • City of Toronto outdoor and wading pools will close at 4 p.m. on Sunday but 10 pools will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Monday. Click here for the list.
  • City of Toronto swimming beaches will be open and supervised from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday. Splash pads will also be open.
  • Eight of Toronto’s historic sites will also be open, as well as city-run golf courses. Click here for a full list of city-run programming.

 

Closed

  • All LCBO and Beer Stores
  • Most grocery stores (select ones are open but call ahead)
  • Some malls: Dufferin Mall, Erin Mills Town Centre, Fairview Mall, Scarborough Town Centre, Sherway Gardens, Yorkdale Shopping Centre
  • Government offices, municipal buildings and banks
  • All Toronto Public Library branches (They are also closed on Sunday.)
  • City of Toronto indoor pools
  • Garbage collection: Curbside pickup is not provided on any Monday, but other solid waste collection will be affected too. Click here for details.
  • City of Toronto recreation centres
  • No mail delivery

Transit and road closures

Partial Line 1 closure
Long weekend or not, transit crews will be busy on Saturday and Sunday working on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT at Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue. This means subways won’t be running on Line 1 between Lawrence and St. Clair stations. Shuttle buses will be running, and Wheel-Trans buses will be available upon request. Anyone travelling south who requires a Wheel-Trans bus should exit the train at York Mills Station since it has elevator.

Road closures

BuskerFest
The east curb lanes of Coxwell Avenue from Eastern Avenue to Lake Shore Boulevard East will be closed from 6 a.m. on Friday to midnight on Monday.

Fan Expo Canada
The south curb lane of Front Street West between John and Simcoe, the north curb lane of Bremner Boulevard between Lower Simcoe Street and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre driveway, and the west curb lane of Lower Simcoe from Front to Bremner will be closed from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Labour Day Parade
The following roads will be closed from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday.

  • University Avenue between Dundas Street West and Richmond Street
  • Queen Street West from west of Bay Street to east of University
  • Armoury Street from Chestnut Street to University
  • Centre Street from Dundas to Armoury
  • York Street from Queen to Richmond

 

The following roads will be closed from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Monday.

  • Liberty Street from Dufferin Street to Jefferson Avenue
  • Jefferson Avenue from King Street West to Liberty

 

Toronto Fashion Week
The north curb lane and north sidewalk on Yorkville Avenue from the Hazelton Hotel to Yorkville Village will be closed from midnight on Sunday to 11 p.m. on Sept. 7. Hazelton Avenue will also be closed from Yorkville Avenue to the Hazelton Hotel driveway south of Scollard Street.

TTC track replacement
The intersection of Dundas Street West and Lansdowne Avenue will be closed from 7 a.m. on Sept. 2 to Oct. 5. Drivers heading east or west can use College Street West, Bloor Street West or Queen Street West, while those going north or south can use Roncesvalles Avenue or Ossington Avenue.

3 injured after vehicle crashes into Brampton home, catching fire

News Staff | posted Wednesday, Aug 29th, 2018

Three people are in hospital after a vehicle crashed into a home in Brampton and then burst into flames.

The crash happened on Creditview Road, near WIlliams Parkway and Mississauga Road, just before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Peel police said the vehicle was heading north on Creditview, and although there’s no access to Williams Parkway, the vehicle ended up crossing the roadway to the other side of Creditview before hitting the home.

Three people in the vehicle were rushed to hospital with serious injuries.

One other person was treated at the scene for burn injuries to their hand when they helped the people in the vehicle get out.

The residents in the home were not injured.

The driver is facing an impaired driving charge, and police are also investigating whether speed was a factor in the crash.

The fire has since been put out, but the vehicle and the house that was hit were damaged.

Another day of sweltering heat in GTA before cooler temps arrive

News Staff | posted Wednesday, Aug 29th, 2018

The GTA is in for one more day of sweltering heat, before cooler temperatures arrive on Thursday.

A heat warning, which was issued by Environment Canada, remains in effect for the region, including Toronto, with humidex values expected to reach 40 on Wednesday.

680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said it will be mainly cloudy and windy with a chance of showers or thunderstorms. Although the high is 29 C the humidity will make it feel like 38 C.

The national weather agency said a cold front is expected to move in by the afternoon.

The highs for Thursday and Friday will be in the low 20s.

‘Widespread’ seafood mislabelling at retailers, restaurants, study finds

ALEKSANDRA SAGAN, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Aug 29th, 2018

When consumers buy butterfish or white tuna at a grocery store they may instead receive a fish dubbed “the laxative of the sea,” according to an investigation into seafood fraud that found nearly half of seafood samples it tested at Canadian grocery stores and restaurants were wrongly labelled.

“The results show widespread mislabelling,” said Julia Levin, seafood fraud campaigner for advocacy group Oceana Canada, which conducted the study.

It collected 382 samples of snapper, sea bass, sole and other fish that other studies indicate are often substituted. They chose samples from 177 retailers and restaurants in five Canadian cities.

Scientists at Tru-ID, a Guelph, Ont.-based lab, used DNA barcoding to determine the species of fish. That was compared to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Fish List, which contains acceptable market names for various fish species.

They found 44 per cent of the fish were not what the label claimed — 52 per cent of the time in restaurants and 22 per cent of the time at retailers, including grocery stores and markets.

Snapper, yellowtail and butterfish were mislabelled 100 per cent of the time, according to the study. Half of the sea bass samples were wrongly identified, while more than 30 per cent of cod, halibut, tuna and sole samples were mislabelled.

Such practices can harm consumer health and wallets, as well as hurt the environment, the report claims.

Most often the fish turned out to be escolar, tilapia or Japanese amberjack.

The CFIA, which is responsible for mitigating food safety risks and monitors food fraud in the country, says it is in the process of modernizing the way food is labelled in Canada.

“The Safe Food for Canadian Regulations will improve traceability requirements throughout the supply chain, including for seafood products,” spokesman Brian Naud wrote in an email.

He said food fraud occurs around the world and is mostly driven by economic gain. Canadian food laws make it illegal to misrepresent a food.

The CFIA found that 13 per cent of the 304 fish samples tested for species authenticity since April, 2014, were unsatisfactory.

A recent publication by the University of Guelph’s Biodiversity Institute of Ontario and the CFIA showed mislabelling occurred in 14.8 per cent of samples tested between 2013 and 2016 using DNA barcoding, Naud added.

Previous studies based on retail sampling found mislabelling was greater than CFIA results but less than identified by Oceana.

Seafood is susceptible to food fraud because of a complicated global supply chain that has opportunities for mislabelling at many stages from the fishing boat to the restaurant or store.

While some mislabelling happens accidentally, Levin said, the majority appears to be deliberate. She stressed the restaurants or stores where the samples were collected are not necessarily the ones responsible for misguiding consumers and may instead be victims themselves.

“Economic profit is the primary driver,” she said, noting the pattern is for more expensive fish, like red snapper, to be replaced with a cheaper alternative, like tilapia.

Industry insiders often try to convince Robert Hanner, an associate professor at the University of Guelph whose lab tested the samples, that the problem amounts to no more than random mix ups: a confused employee laying out fish under an incorrect label.

“If it were purely random, you would expect that once in a while you’d get the good stuff when your’e paying for the cheap stuff,” said Hanner, whose lab demonstrated the first use of DNA barcoding to show seafood fraud in Canada about a decade ago.

“There’s no evidence that that ever happens.”

This means shoppers pay higher prices for lower value fish, and may unknowingly consume harmful products, like escolar that can cause diarrhea, vomiting and other stomach problems. People living with allergies are especially vulnerable.

People may also mislabel seafood to mask illegally caught fish, Levin said. When this happens, it hampers efforts to curb overfishing and protect at-risk areas, among other things, according to the report, which adds illegal fishing is often linked to troubling practices like modern slavery and child labour.

Restaurants Canada’s James Rilett said he was surprised to see Oceana Canada found 52 per cent mislabelling in its restaurant samples when the CFIA’s figures are so much lower.

Still, “any level of mislabelling is concerning,” said the not-for-profit industry association’s vice-president for central Canada.

Restaurants Canada works with partners like Ocean Wise — a program that lends its symbol to what it deems sustainable seafood choices — to educate its members on how to avoid mislabelling, he said.

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is a global problem that hurts everyone, said Paul Lansbergen, president of the Fisheries Council of Canada, a non-profit trade association that calls itself “the voice of Canada’s fish and seafood industry.”

However, this type of report into seafood fraud is not new, he wrote in an email.

“I find it unfortunate that Oceana Canada continues to exaggerate what is a rare occurrence in the overall market,” Lansbergen said, adding the study and others like it “are designed to arrive at a pre-determined outcome.”

Oceana Canada wants the federal government to increase labelling requirements to match those in the European Union. In the EU, labels must show the fish’s scientific species name, catch method, and origin — among other information. It also requires catch documentation. Studies show that seafood fraud rates appear to have fallen since the union implemented the more stringent labelling practices.

“We need Canada to implement a traceability system to keep everyone accountable.”

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