Amazon to Bring Streaming Service To Canada

Netflix and Crave subscribers beware. There is another subscription service coming on top of your Prime TV membership that comes standard with Amazon Prime account.

Soon you will have a choice of 13 ondemand and live TV services that can be added on top of your Amazon Prime TV account. It’s not confirmed when this will be launched , but Amazon said that it will be very soon.

Several popular channels will include Nickelodeon and Slack TV.

Unfortunately you will not be able to get HBO or Showtime through Amazon. For that you would need to go through Crave TV in Canada.

Greg Hart, vice president of Amazon Prime Video, said not to worry about lack of many choices for now. He mentioned that when they launched in US they started with 25 channels and now grew all the way to 150.

But things might not take off as nicely in a very reserved Canadian environment where Amazon is being demonized by media companies afraid of losing their dominance.

  • Mary Ann Turcke, Bell Media’s president at the time, said that it will be impossible for Canadian TV providers to acquire content if behemoth of a company like Amazon will get into a bidding war;
  • Helene Laurendeau, deputy minister of Canadian Heritage, said that Amazon will force Canadian TV providers out of business.

SEC Goes After Canadian Unicorn

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is charging Kik Interactive Inc. for illegally distributing US$100-million of digital tokens in 2017.

Kik Interactive, Inc. develops smartphone messaging applications for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry. Its Kik Messenger enables users to talk to friends, and browse and share various Websites with friends.

Kik is among few beloved emerging Canadian companies that became a unicorn, a company valued at more than $1-billion.

US$55-million was raised via tokens from American investors but not declared.

Securities regulators in US and other countries are not quite sure how to handle digital tokens or coins because they are not regulated yet.

In April 2019, SEC published a guide saying that as long as investors invest money into a company, and company promises them future returns, it does not matter what they invest (could be cash or tokens).

Kik’s founder and CEO Ted Livingston went to twitter to say how ridiculous it was for SEC to go after them and that they are ready for a fight. See his responses below.

SEC states that the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) told Kik to stop selling tokens in Ontario and Kik has stopped to sell there but they continued to sell them in the US without registering them with SEC and without providing investors with disclosures legally required in a securities sale.

“After learning of the OSC’s position, Kik barred Canadians from purchasing Kin in the public sale.”

SEC statement on KIK violation

Vancouver Potentially Cracking Down on Bitcoin ATMs

Police in Vancouver say that Bitcoin ATMs are used for money laundering and must be stopped. Vancouver Mayor agrees with them. Bitcoin users say that federal rules need to be set for bitcoin across Canada.

Unlike banks and money lending services, bitcoin machines are not covered by federal anti-money-laundering regulations.

“Regulate the use and operation of cryptocurrency ATMs, including the requirement for a business licence, requirement for signage to advertise common frauds, requirement for identifications to be used to verify the sender and receiver of funds and requirement of security features.”

Vancouver wants to pass this municipal bylaw soon

Some people might be using bitcoin ATMs to launder money, but many others use it for legitimate purposes.

Police in Vancouver say that many of these machines are used to commit fraud.

There are more than 60 bitcoin ATMs in Vancouver area.

If you have bitcoin or ethereum accounts with coins in it – you can use ATMs to withdraw the money. Typical fee is around 9% to take out the money.

Vancouver is calling for federal government to step up and regulate bitcoin ATMs to make sure they are covered by anti-money-laundering.

Some machines advertise $1,000 or $3,000 limit. Some others do not have any limits at all.

Lyft is launching in Montreal soon

Montreal is slowly catching up to Toronto. Lyft has mentioned that they are looking to add Montreal to their list of Canadian locations where they operate. They have been operating in The Greater Toronto area since the end of 2018. They also have recently launched their service in Ottawa.

Lyft mentioned that they potentially will be launching in the summer of 2019 in Montreal. Lyft thinks that the new Bill 21 in Quebec will be good for their business, even though hundreds of taxi drivers there protested against it, and some even did self imposed harm, like cutting their wrists on live TV, to get media attention.

Bill 17 helps deregulate Quebec’s taxi industry and makes it easier for ride sharing companies to open up there. Quebec government has also said that taxi drivers will be compensated for the inconvenience.

Lyft is currently in talks with Quebec to get the best deal sorted out. Ideally they said they want to launch in Montreal, Gatineau, and Quebec City.

Bonne Chance! Launch date in Quebec is coming soon (and will be updated here).

And if you are looking for a job in social media or software engineering, Lyft is hiring in Montreal – make sure to apply today:

Uber to remove users with low ratings in Canada

Uber will start removing users whose ratings it finds unacceptable.

Uber mentioned that they will notify users several times to improve their rating before kicking them off.

If Uber removes your account due to your rating, you will also lose access to Uber Eats as well as Jump scooter app.

“Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability. Drivers have long been expected to meet a minimum rating threshold which can vary city to city. While we expect only a small number of riders to ultimately be impacted by ratings-based deactivations, it’s the right thing to do. We want every Uber experience to be a great one.  ”

Kate Parker, Uber’s head of safety brand and initiatives

Users are not the only ones who can get kicked off. Drivers with rating 4.5 or less might lose access to the app as well.

Uber said users are encouraged to be courteous with the driver and remove their garbage, be nice to drivers, and not ask them to speed or run a red light.

So do not be like Larry David using Uber in Curb Your Enthusiasm episode…

Uber is trying hard to reinvent and improve itself due to bad publicity Uber faced lately in Canada and elsewhere in the world.

Federal Government Starts Subsidies on Electric Cars across Canada

If you are shopping for electric cars, today is a great day to buy one as the government of Canada starts subsidizing electric cars across Canada no matter where you are in Canada, British Columbia to PEI.

We have recently written about the $5,000 subsidy and criticized the government for only providing subsidies on cars less than $45,000 therefore eliminating Tesla from the subsidies. Government has listened to us as well as other publications and decided to up their subsidy to $55,000 instead.

With this new increased subsidy you can buy Tesla 3 for $5,000 less. The eligible Tesla according to the government website is: 2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range or Standard Range Plus.

The Tesla 3 model now sells for $48,310 therefore you will pay only $43,310 if you decide not to upgrade anything. Even if you upgrade it – make sure only up it to $55,000 to be eligible for $5,000 subsidy. For example the upgrade to autopilot will cost extra $6,600 for a total of $54,910. It will be definitely worth it.

If Telsa is not your thing you can also check out other cars that are being subsidized by the Canadian government. The list of eligible vehicles under the iZEV Program is here and includes amazing cars like Audi A3 Sportback e-tron , Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid and Volkswagen e-Golf.

For example if you want to buy VW eGolf with 201km range – it will cost you
$36,720 minus $5,000 or $31,720.

This will definitely help people considering buying electric cars across Canada. In Ontario, the newly elected provincial government of Doug Ford, has killed off the electric cars’ provincial subsidies and the sales decreased. Provincial subsidies are still running in Quebec and British Columbia.

You can see all subsidized cars below and their subsidies.

Model YearMakeModelTrim
2018AudiA3 Sportback e-tronProgressiv Technik
2018/ 2019ChevroletBoltLT (2LT) Premier (2LZ)
2018/ 2019ChevroletVoltLT (2LT) Premier (2LZ)
2017/ 2018/ 2019ChryslerPacifica HybridTouring Premium Platinum
2018FordFusion EnergiSE Luxury Titanium Platinum
2019FordFusion EnergiSEL Titanium
2019HondaClarity Plug-in HybridBase Touring
2019HyundaiIoniq ElectricPreferred Ultimate
2019HyundaiIoniq PHEVPreferred Ultimate
2019HyundaiKona ElectricPreferred Ultimate
2018/ 2019HyundaiSonata PHEVUltimate
2019KiaNiro PHEVEX Premium SX
2019KiaNiro EVSX Touring EX
2017/ 2018/ 2019/ 2020KiaOptima PHEVEX EX Premium
2017/ 2018/ 2019/ 2020KiaSoul EVEV EV Luxury EV Sunroof
2020KiaSoul EVEV Premium Limited
2018/ 2019/ 2020MINICountrymanCooper S E All4 Cooper SE All4
2018/ 2019MitsubishiOutlander PHEVSE-Base SE Limited Edition SE Touring GT
2018/ 2019NissanLeafS SV SL
2019NissanLeaf PlusS SV SL
2019TeslaModel 3Standard Range Standard Range Plus
2018/ 2019ToyotaPrius PrimeBase Upgrade Technology
2018/ 2019smartEQ fortwo cabriolet
2018/ 2019smartEQ fortwo coupe
2018smartfortwo electric drive cabriolet
2018smartfortwo electric drive coupe

Facebook Scolds Canada

Canadian regulators said that Facebook’s weak privacy protection was to blame for millions of users’ data being exposed.

Canadian privacy commissionaire said that Facebook broke national and provincial regulations when it came to sharing user data with third parties.

Facebook flat-out refused to agree with the Canadian government’s legal findings and refused audits of its privacy procedures.

Daniel Therrien, The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, told New York Times:

“They told us outright that they do not agree with our legal findings. I find that absolutely untenable that a company can tell a regulator that it does not respect its findings.”

Therrien said that they will be taking Facebook to Canadian federal court but he acknowledges that even if Facebook is found guilty due to Canadian law system , it might only be fined few thousand dollars.

Facebook was not happy with Therrien’s announcement and released the following statement:

“After many months of good-faith cooperation and lengthy negotiations, we are disappointed. There’s no evidence that Canadians’ data was shared with Cambridge Analytica, and we’ve made dramatic improvements to our platform to protect people’s personal information.”

While Canada might impose penalties against Facebook in the future there are most likely be puny when compares to up to $5 billion dollars that might be imposed against them by Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations.

Therrien said he is not happy with a current system and is worried because some 622,000 Canadians may have been affected by personal data exposure. Therrien said that he wants better privacy laws in Canada as well as a way for regulators penalize companies.

Canada never adopted stiff penalties like many other European countries.

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