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Cameras in a plastic surgeon’s office: The Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

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

Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday.

Cameras in plastic surgeon’s office

It’s probably safe to say that most people expect total privacy when they walk into the treatment room at their doctor’s office. But our latest investigation reveals a Toronto plastic surgeon may be filming his patients without telling them

We discovered the security cameras during our report on the marketing practices associated with breast augmentation, when we noticed them on the ceiling of a closed-door consultation room at the Toronto Cosmetic Surgery Institute, owned by Dr. Martin Jugenburg.

Watch: Plastic surgeon may be filming without patients’ consent

Dude, where’s my truck?

More thieves are eyeing your vehicle, especially if you drive a Ford F350. The truck is Canada’s most frequently stolen vehicle, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s annual list.

Auto theft in general is up six per cent across the country, with the highest increases in New Brunswick, up 28 per cent, and Ontario, up 15 per cent.

To minimize the chances of becoming a victim, IBC recommends parking in well-lit areas, ideally in a garage, leaving your keys or key fobs unattended or leaving valuables visible on the seats.

The Ford F350 pickup truck is Canada’s most frequently stolen vehicle, according to data from the Insurance Bureau of Canada. (Ford)

Paying for worthless extended warranties

Sears Canada went out of business, but former customers are still paying for extended warranties. What happens if they refuse to pay? A call from debt collectors. Sears previously told CBC News that customers would be refunded the cost of the extended warranties at the end of their financing term. But Scotiabank, which now owns the Sears credit card accounts, is threatening to send customers’ accounts to collections.

A spokesperson from Scotiabank said customers will have to resolve the issue of extended warranties directly with Sears. But customers can’t reach anyone at Sears now that the company is liquidating. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Is Air Canada lying to you?

Have you ever lost your luggage on an international flight? You may not know the airline can be held liable for damages up to $2,100. A recent CBC Go Public investigation found Air Canada isn’t relaying that message to passengers. A passenger rights advocate says Air Canada is able to mislead customers about compensation because the Canadian Transportation Agency hasn’t issued punitive fines.

Air Canada says it handles about 115,000 bags per day. A passenger rights advocate says Air Canada is able to mislead customers about compensation for lost luggage because the Canadian Transportation Agency hasn’t issued punitive fines. (John Li/Getty Images)

Making training mandatory for semi drivers

If semi-trailer trucks make you afraid to drive on the highway, you’re not alone. Many Canadians are fed up with the lack of semi driver training, and more than 1,200 people are petitioning the federal government to make it mandatory. Our investigation revealed how Canada’s patchwork training and testing system leaves some new truck drivers ill-prepared to operate big rigs.

The cab of a semi-trailer shows damage after a crash. Experts are calling for the federal government to take over semi-trailer truck driver training and make it mandatory. (Saskatchewan RCMP)

Some Kotex tampons recalled after injuries

If you’re stocked with Kotex tampons, you might want to check the label. U by Kotex Sleek tampons have been recalled in Canada and the U.S. after reports of the tampons coming apart while being removed. The American company says that in some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Kimberly-Clark has recalled regular absorbency U by Kotex Sleek tampons that were sold in Canada and the United States. (Kimberly-Clark )

What else is going on?

More Canadians are refusing to use self-checkout machines and say “they kill jobs.” Many major retailers offer a mix of cashiers and self-checkout, but that could shift as some experiment with a cashier-less format.

A new survey suggests “unprecedented” drug shortages affecting many Canadians. The Canadian Pharmacists Association is worried the shortage might result in patients turning to unregulated suppliers on the internet.

Modern laundromats are capitalizing on the app-based service economy.WashOut laundromat wants to be “the SkipTheDishes of laundry,” charging $30 per load for someone to pick up their laundry from their home, wash, dry and fold it, and deliver it 24 hours later.

This week in recalls

This thermostat could pose a fire hazard; this dishwasher powder doesn’t comply with Canadian packaging and labelling regulations; this lockset could fail to open, posing an entrapment hazard; this foam cleaner doesn’t have the proper consumer chemical hazard labelling; this Dell adapter could pose a risk of electric shock; these glass knobs could shatter when pulled, posing a laceration hazard.

Marketplace wants to hear from you

We want to hear about your experience with short-term rental platforms like Airbnb as a guest, host or neighbour. While we know these platforms are international, we are focusing on Canadian stories right now.

It’s shopping season and we need your help. We’re on the hunt for Canada’s Worst Sale! Ever spotted a sale price higher than the original price? Items on sale all out of stock? Does the company use their pricing to make you believe you’re getting a better deal than you actually are? We want to hear about it!

You know those DNA tests? Ever order one online and get unexpected results? We want to hear about it.

To let us know about these or any other stories, send us a message at marketplace@cbc.ca.

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Real Estate

Montreal real-estate prices climbing much faster than Toronto or Vancouver: study

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MONTREAL — The cost of housing per square foot has skyrocketed in Montreal while other cities saw little change over the last year, according to a new national survey.

The study found that condominium prices in downtown Montreal are up 13.5 per cent from last year to, on average, $805 per square foot.

That’s not as high as other cities, but it’s catching up — and Montreal’s rate of growth is outpacing other major Canadian cities.

Toronto’s condo prices grew to $1083 per square foot, an increase of just under 10 per cent, according to the study. In Vancouver, where you can find some of Canada’s most expensive condo prices, rates are down 4 per cent to $1192 per square foot.

To make the comparisons, Canadian real estate giant Century 21 collected data from real estate boards across the country to calculate the home costs per square foot.

“It’s important to compare apple to apples,” said Todd Shyiak, the company’s vice president of operations.

Montreal’s rise was even more explosive for detached homes and townhouses.

Detached houses in Montreal’s downtown and southwest rose to $958 per square foot, 40 per cent up from last year.

“It’s wild,” said Century 21 broker Angela Langtry. She says the pandemic raised demand.

“People had a lot of time to figure out they don’t like the home they’re in,” she said. “They all want pools.”

There was a big spike in sales, she noted, following a pause in brokerage during the spring, at the peak of the pandemic.

Experts say the pandemic will push people into the suburbs as they search for affordable housing and home office space.

“A huge portion of our society’s housing needs changed overnight,” said Shyiak. People “no longer need to be 10 minutes from the office.”

He says that could mean less demand for condos in the future. “People want their own front door,” he said.

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Carttera buys prime downtown Montreal development site

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Carttera has acquired a prime downtown Montreal site at 1455 De La Montagne St. which will mark its third development on the thoroughfare.

“We think it’s probably one of the best, if not the best, locations in the whole city,” Carttera founding partner Jim Tadeson told RENX. “We’ve had great success on De La Montagne.”

The two earlier projects are: L’Avenue, a building with 393 residential units, 84,000 square feet of office space and 34,000 square feet of retail that was developed with Broccolini and occupied in 2017; and Arbora Residences, a two-phase development with 434 rental and condominium units in three buildings being built in partnership with Oxford Properties.

Thursday’s latest acquisition, for $48.5 million from 630745 Ontario, is a 31,750-square-foot surface parking lot with flexible mixed-use zoning on the corner of De La Montagne and De Maisonneuve Boulevard West.

The site is near the Vogue Hotel Montreal Downtown, the new Four Seasons Hotel Montreal and high-end retail.

“It’s zoned for up to 203,000 square feet of density, which we’re going to take advantage of,” said Tadeson. “Our vision for the site is a condominium project with some retail.”

Since there is no demolition required and no heritage issues to contend with, Toronto-based Carttera plans to move ahead quickly with the luxury project.

It’s in the concept design phase and Tadeson said it could take six months or more before it’s prepared to make a submission to the city.

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Real Estate

Montreal Has the Hottest Real Estate Market in Canada Right Now

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If you thought Toronto’s real estate market was on fire, it’s time for a second take, because the market in Montreal is the hottest in all of Canada right now.

A newly-released annual report from CENTURY 21 Canada reveals that, following an early-spring decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales numbers are bouncing back and house prices across the country are maintaining their strength. The study compared the price per square foot of properties sold between January 1 and June 30 of this year, compared to the same period last year.

In Toronto and Vancouver, unsurprisingly, prices remain high. But while regions across the country are seeing varied stories when it comes to their housing market fluctuations, Montreal stands out — there, prices have increased dramatically since 2019. While the numbers remain lower than Toronto and Vancouver, that housing market is proving to be the country’s strongest right now.

In Quebec’s largest city, prices have increased significantly since last year, particularly in the downtown detached house and townhouse markets. For example, the price of a detached house in Montreal’s downtown and southwest rose 42.14% to $958 per square foot, while townhouses went up 44% to $768, and condos, 13.55% to $805. Comparatively, in Toronto and Vancouver, prices saw more modest increases or, in some cases, even declines.

“Even though real estate in Quebec was not considered an essential service, we have seen strong demand and a jump in prices in 2020,” said Mohamad Al-Hajj, owner of CENTURY 21 Immo-Plus in Montreal.

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