Business·Marketplace

Marketplace is launching a podcast!; Google blocking news sites

CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need from the week.

Consumer and health news you need from the week

A pair of CBC personalities pose in front of CBC's new branding, which features the CBC Gem symbol broken up.
CBC Marketplace hosts David Common and Asha Tomlinson are hosting a brand-new podcast series, featuring deep dives into action-packed investigations. (Alex Lupul/CBC)

Miss something this week? Don't panic. CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

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Marketplace is launching a podcast!

A look back at 50 years of holding companies, governments accountable

2 years ago
Duration 6:26
For 50 years, Marketplace has been asking tough questions. Here’s a look at some of those heated – and often tense – moments.

Missing Marketplace this summer? You're in luck, because on Tuesday July 4 the show is launching its own podcast series!

Hosts and investigative journalists Asha Tomlinson and David Common bring you inside eight action-packed investigations, from exclusive access to a police bust of moving companies to a five-year fight against scam calls.

To relive some of Marketplace's biggest investigations from the past year, check it out on CBC Listen or your favourite podcast app. 

Canadian shoppers want their slice of $50M bread price-fixing fine

Rows of Dempsters bread are displayed at a Vancouver grocery store.
Canada Bread, the maker of numerous brands of baked goods, has agreed to pay $50 million for its role in colluding to fix the price of bread. (Ben Nelms/Bloomberg)

Major bread producer Canada Bread admitted last week it colluded to fix prices — a scheme that resulted in two wholesale hikes in 2007 and 2011.

The Competition Bureau said the guilty plea is a significant development in its more than seven-year investigation into an alleged industry-wide bread price-fixing scheme. 

"[It's a] very serious crime," said Commissioner of Competition Matthew Boswell in an interview on Friday. "Bread, as we all know, is a staple of the Canadian diet." 

Nevertheless, the $50-million fine will go into the federal government's general revenue pool. Although that money will be used for government services, many Canadians want to know why it's not going directly to them — the folks who bought the overpriced bread. 

The Competition Bureau said that Canadians searching for compensation can pursue civil litigation. Currently, two class-action lawsuits, one in Ontario and one in Quebec, are seeking cash for bread shoppers from Canada Bread and other companies allegedly involved in the price-fixing scandal.  

The Competition Bureau is still investigating grocers Sobeys, Walmart and Giant Tiger, as well as wholesaler Maple Leaf Foods for allegedly taking part in the bread price-fixing scheme which ran from 2001 to 2015.

Each of those companies has said they have no knowledge of any wrongdoing.  Read more

Google set to remove news links in Canada over online news law

The orange, yellow, blue and green G logo of Google is seen in a store window.
Google says it's removing Canadian news links from its service. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

Google said Thursday it will remove Canadian news content from its search, news and discover products after a new law meant to compensate media outlets comes into force.

The move to pull news from the world's most dominant search engine could have a devastating impact on media outlets, which often depend on third-parties like Google to get content into the hands of readers.

The decision comes after the government's contentious C-18 legislation passed Parliament last week. The bill has been criticized by tech giants like Meta and Google and some smaller media outlets and experts who say it's unfair to impose what amounts to a tax on links.

The government and larger media outlets, including the newspaper lobby group and broadcasters like the CBC and CTV, have said social media companies should compensate news outlets for linking to their journalism.

The bill has been pitched as a way to keep news outlets solvent after advertising moved en masse to digital platforms, virtually wiping out a major revenue stream for journalism. The government has presented the legislation as a way to prop up an industry that has seen a steady decline since the emergence of the internet.

Meta already has said it will block Canadian news content on popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

"We're disappointed it has come to this. We don't take this decision or its impacts lightly and believe it's important to be transparent with Canadian publishers and our users as early as possible," said Kent Walker, the president of global affairs at Google and Alphabet.  Read more

Sources say WHO is about to declare the artificial sweetener aspartame a possible cancer risk

A can of Diet Coke.
Aspartame, one of the world's most common artificial sweeteners used in products like diet soda, is set to be declared a possible carcinogen next month by a leading global health body, according to two sources with knowledge of the process. (Coca-Cola)

One of the world's most common artificial sweeteners is set to be declared a possible carcinogen next month by a leading global health body, according to two sources with knowledge of the process, pitting it against the food industry and regulators.

Aspartame, used in products from Diet Coke to Mars' Extra chewing gum and some Snapple drinks, will be listed in July as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" for the first time by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO), the sources said.

The IARC ruling, finalized earlier this month after a meeting of the group's external experts, is intended to assess whether something is a potential hazard, based on all of the published evidence.

But the industry is fighting back. "IARC is not a food safety body, and their review of aspartame is not scientifically comprehensive and is based heavily on widely discredited research," said Frances Hunt-Wood, secretary general of the International Sweeteners Association.

The body, whose members include Mars Wrigley, a Coca-Cola unit and Cargill, said it had "serious concerns with the IARC review, which may mislead consumers."

The International Council of Beverages Associations' executive director, Kate Loatman, said public health authorities should be "deeply concerned" by the "leaked opinion," and also warned it "could needlessly mislead consumers into consuming more sugar rather than choosing safe no- and low-sugar options."

Listing aspartame as a possible carcinogen is intended to motivate more research, said the sources close to the IARC, which will help agencies, consumers and manufacturers draw firmer conclusions.  Read more

 


 

What else is going on?

Auto-parts makers have agreed to pay $78M in Canadian price-fixing class action settlements
Anyone who bought or leased a new car between 1998 and 2016 can apply for $25 per vehicle.

Canada is banning cosmetic testing on animals
The new regulations will ban the sale and import of cosmetic products that rely on animal testing and make it an offence for a company to falsely claim their products don't use animal testing.

How many hours of shut-eye is best? Here's what the latest science says about sleep
Doctors say not to worry, different sleep patterns work for different people. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jenny Cowley is an investigative journalist in Toronto. She has previously reported for CBC in Nova Scotia. You can reach her at marketplace@cbc.ca.

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