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New vaping promotion ban comes into effect in Ontario on Wednesday

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Dec 31st, 2019

Ontario’s new ban on the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations comes into effect on Wednesday.

The regulations were announced by the Progressive Conservatives in the fall, in response to research that shows vaping is on the rise among young people in the province.

The new regulation will bring vaping rules in line with the current ban on in-store tobacco promotion.

The government will still allow the products to be promoted in specialty vaping and cannabis shops, which are open to people aged 19 and older.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott says the government expects to put forward additional regulations aimed at protecting young people in the new year.

Ontario was set to ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores in 2018 under the previous Liberal government, but the Tories paused those regulations after taking office.

What’s open and closed New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Dec 31st, 2019

It is the most wonderful time of the year and also the busiest. Before you head out and about over the holidays, consult our list below of what’s open and closed from now until New Year’s Day.

Transit | Malls | Grocery/drug stores | LCBO/Beer stores | Tourist attractions | Government offices and banks | City of Toronto services


Dec. 31: Regular service, with free rides from 7 p.m. on Dec. 31 until 7 a.m. on Jan. 1
Jan. 1: Sunday service (subway and most surface routes start at 8 a.m.)

Click here to refer to the service schedule.

GO Transit
Dec. 31: Sunday schedule, with early homebound and late-night service, and free rides after 7 p.m.
Jan. 1: Sunday schedule

Click here to refer to the service schedule.


Bramalea City Centre
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dufferin Mall
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Eaton Centre
Dec. 31: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Erin Mills Town Centre
Dec. 31: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Fairview Mall
Dec. 31: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Scarborough Town Centre
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Sherway Gardens
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Shops at Don Mills
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Square One
Dec. 31: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Toronto Premium Outlets
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Vaughan Mills
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Yorkdale Mall
Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Grocery/drug stores

Most grocery stores will be closed on New Year’s Day but some local stores may be open. Call your local store before heading out.

LCBO/Beer Stores

Dec. 31: Most stores will have extended hours, click here to locate your store’s hours
Jan. 1: Closed

The Beer Store
rel=”noopener”>Select stores will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Dec. 31: Stores will close at 6 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Tourist attractions

AGO: Open over the holidays.
Casa Loma: Open over the holidays.
CN Tower: Open over the holidays.
Ontario Science Centre: Open over the holidays.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada: Open over the holidays.
Royal Ontario Museum: Open over the holidays.
Toronto Zoo: Open over the holidays.

Government offices and banks

No mail delivery on New Year’s Day and banks are closed as well.

City of Toronto services

Garbage collection
Garbage, blue bin and green bin collection will not take place on New Year’s Day but will be picked up the following day. The next day’s collection will move to the next day and so on. This applies to daytime and nighttime curbside collection. Click here for more information.

Toronto Public Library
Dec. 31: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Jan. 1: Closed

Recreation centres and skating rinks
The City of Toronto’s municipal offices, community and recreation centres, arenas, child-care centres and museums will be closed on New Year’s Day. Recreation centres will be open until 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

Click here for list of activities to do in the city over the break.

Toronto under a snow squall watch

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Dec 31st, 2019

A snow squall watch is in effect for the GTHA including Toronto as a “brief but intense” snowfall is expected on Tuesday.

“Flurries will develop early this morning. A brief period of heavy snow is expected later this morning,” Environment Canada said in its watch.

Wind gusts of up to 70 km/h are also expected, resulting in reduced visibility for drivers.

Around two to four centimetres of snow could fall in the GTA.

Serious injuries after double shooting in North York

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Dec 31st, 2019

A double shooting in the city’s west end overnight has sent two people, including a teen, to hospital.

Emergency crews were called to the scene outside the Turf Grassway complex in the Jane Street and Finch Avenue area around 3 a.m. Tuesday.

When police arrived they found one victim outside the complex. The second victim was found about half a block away in front of another building on the other side of the street.

Police said one of the victims is believed to be a 17-year-old boy, and the other is a man in his 20s.

Their injuries are considered serious but not life-threatening.

Police have not released any suspect details.

Investigators are looking through surveillance video of the area and are asking witnesses to come forward.

LifeLabs facing proposed class action over large scale data breach

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Dec 30th, 2019

A proposed class action lawsuit has been filed against medical services company LifeLabs over a data breach that allowed hackers to access the personal information of up to 15 million customers.

In an unproven statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court on Dec. 27, lawyers Peter Waldmann and Andrew Stein accuse LifeLabs of negligence, breach of contract and violating their customers’ confidence as well as privacy and consumer protection laws.

The statement of claim was filed on behalf of five named plaintiffs, including lead plaintiff Christopher Sparling, but seeks to represent all Canadians who used LifeLabs’ services, or else those who were told they were affected by the breach, if that information becomes available.

The plaintiffs allege LifeLabs “failed to implement adequate measures and controls to detect and respond swiftly to threats and risks to the Personal Information and health records of the class members,” in violation of the company’s own privacy policy.

In the court document, specific allegations include a failure to implement “any, or adequate, cyber-security measures,” neglecting to hire or train personnel responsible for network security management, storing personal information on unsecured network and servers, and failing to encrypt the data.

LifeLabs has said the data hack affected up to 15 million customers, almost all of them in Ontario and British Columbia. The compromised database included health card numbers, names, email addresses, logins, passwords and dates of birth, but it was unclear how many files were accessed. The lab results of 85,000 customers in Ontario were also obtained by the hackers, the company said.

The class action, which has yet to be certified, asks for more than $1.13 billion in compensation for LifeLabs’ clients, who they say experienced repercussions including damage to their credit reputation, wasted time, and mental anguish.

“The Plaintiffs and the Class Members are therefore obliged to take all reasonable steps necessary to protect their information including hours of wasted time and inconvenience involved in applying for identity theft protection services, changing passwords, notifying financial institutions and applying for new social insurance numbers from Service Canada, as well as the humiliation and mental distress of having lab tests results released without their consent,” the statement of claim read.

The plaintiffs are also seeking additional punitive and moral damages.

LifeLabs chief executive Charles Brown apologized earlier this month for the breach, which led the company to pay a ransom to retrieve the data.

The company also assured the public that its consultants have seen no evidence that data from LifeLabs has been trafficked by criminal groups that are known to buy and sell such data over the internet.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Reitmans CEO Jeremy Reitman has died

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Dec 30th, 2019

Jeremy Reitman, a stalwart of the Canadian womenswear scene who guided Montreal-based Reitmans Ltd. through the so-called retail apocalypse, has died.

The company announced the death of its chairman and CEO in a brief statement on Sunday, saying the entire company mourns for him.

“The board of directors, management team and employees of the company extend their deepest sympathies to the Reitman family.”

Reitman was also a loving father, stepfather and grandfather, according to an obituary published on the website of a Montreal funeral home.

“A passionate golfer, skier, Moishes regular, toastmaster and philatelist, Jeremy was also a strong supporter of Israel and Jewish causes and a most devoted friend,” reads the notice, which did not specify his age.

“Jeremy will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by his many nieces, nephews, cousins and all who knew him.”

The obituary says Reitman died peacefully in Florida on Saturday. Funeral services are scheduled for January 2, 2020 in Montreal. The family will then sit shiva in his home.

He was also the grandson of Reitmans Ltd. founders Herman and Sarah Reitman. His brother, Stephen Reitman, serves as chief operating officer.

Jeremy Reitman was head of the 93-year-old family business for well over a decade, steering the company through a rapidly changing retail landscape, contending with an influx of U.S. competitors who set their sights on the Canadian market and the rise of e-commerce. Amid the ruins of Canadian retailers, Reitmans is one of the few domestic chains still standing, though it is shrinking.

When he took the helm, the company was growing, from 854 stores in 2004 to 968 in 2011. Today, there are 587.

In 2011, the company announced that it would close its Cassis stores, which were geared towards women over 40. Three years later, it said it would also shutter Smart Set locations, which had targeted young urban professionals.

Five separate banners remain, including Reitmans, Penningtons and Addition Elle, the latter two brands focused on the plus-size market.

With an eye to the rise of Lululemon and the “athleisure wear” trend, Reitman also led the company’s foray into the activewear market with the launch of its Hyba line. There were briefly standalone Hyba stores, but now the clothes are sold online and in Reitmans locations.

Under Jeremy Reitman’s tenure, the company also gained attention for a series of notable ads in the mid-aughts that pitted Reitmans’ wearable fashions against haute couture looks.

“Reitmans: One. Haute Couture: Zero,” one of the two judges would inevitably say, before explaining that the company’s clothes are “designed for real life.”

In a December 2006 interview with The Canadian Press, Jeremy Reitman said the ads – and the middle-class ethos behind them – boosted sales for the company.

“We’ve always built our business on the middle and the lower middle because that’s where the money is, that’s where the people are and that’s where the broad base of customers are,” he said at the time.

Nearly a decade later, in 2015, the company tapped Meghan Markle as a spokeswoman.

Before the now-Duchess of Sussex began dating Prince Harry, she designed a capsule collection for Reitmans, and in a series of ad spots, she proudly told viewers that “It’s Reitmans. Really.”

Freezing rain warning for parts of southern Ontario, Toronto dealing with wind

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Dec 30th, 2019

It could be a slick drive on Monday morning, as another wave of freezing rain continues through areas north of the GTA.

A freezing rain warning is in effect for parts of southern Ontario, including areas such as Caledon, Orangeville and southern Dufferin County.

Environment Canada says ice accretion or build-up of 10 to 15 millimetres is possible.

Meanwhile, winds belt through Toronto overnight and are expected to continue through the morning – getting up to 40 kilometres an hour.

High winds could cause downed power lines and debris to fall onto the roadways so drivers should take caution.

However, by the afternoon things are expected to calm down as the temperatures rise. Toronto is expected to hit an above-seasonal high of 8 C.

Pedestrian fatally struck by transport truck on Hwy. 401

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Dec 30th, 2019

The eastbound express lanes of Highway 401 have reopened at the Allen Road after a pedestrian was struck and killed overnight by a transport truck.

Emergency crews were called to the scene just after 1 a.m. Monday after multiple people reported seeing someone walking on the highway.

Police said the pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene.

There has been no word on why the pedestrian was on the highway. An abandoned vehicle was found a short distance away from the scene but police would not confirm if it was connected to the incident.

The driver of the truck remained at the scene and is cooperating with police.

All traffic was being diverted into the collector lanes at Allen Road while police investigated.

The section of highway reopened around 5 a.m.

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