Tag Archives: Toronto

Finally! It Might Be Safe To Pick Up The Phone Again: CRTC Fines Duct Cleaning Companies.


Canadians… You know how it goes, right?

Ring

Ring

Ring.

“Hello”.

“Hi, do you need your ducts cleaned?”

Then you, a) curse at them.  b) Tell them you have no ducts.  C) Ask to speak to a manager or D) Hang up.

But they call back.  Over and over again.  Day-in.  Day-out.

Each and every time they call you, the person on the other end of the line is named John Smith, but you know it’s a company from overseas, usually India, and all you want is for them to stop calling you.

Well, on March 25th, 2015 the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced that 4 air duct cleaning companies paid a total of $55,000 as part of a settlement following violations for unsolicited phone calls to potential customers.

This happened because people like you and I took the time to complain to the CRTC about violations made under the “Do Not Call” list which bans unsolicited business offers via phone.  As a result of these complaints, the CRTC launched an investigation into 9 Toronto-area duct cleaning companies.

In addition to the $55,000 paid by 4 companies, the CRTC also announced that they have issued notices of violation accompanied by monetary penalties totalling $94,000 for 5 more companies.

“We are pleased to report that four of the nine companies cooperated with the investigations and have voluntarily ceased making unsolicited telemarketing calls to Canadians,” the CRTC’s chief compliance and enforcement officer Manon Bombardier said in a statement.

The list of companies that have paid, and how much, is as follows:

  • Bridge Home Services Inc. – $6,000
  • Cambridge Heating Services – $23,000
  • HR Home Services – $3,000
  • Top Line Air Duct Cleaning Inc. – $23,000

The following 5 companies were issued a notice of violation and an administrative monetary penalty, and now have 30 days to respond to the CRTC:

  • Aqua Duct Cleaning Services – $9,000
  • Goodlife Home Services Inc. – $16,000
  • Kareem Duct Cleaning – $15,000
  • N. Bro Transport Inc. – $14,000
  • Toronto Breeze Air Duct Cleaning Services Inc. – $40,000

All nine companies used  foreign call centres to make the unauthorized calls, and the CRTC says it sent warning letters to seven call centres located in Pakistan, India and the U.S.

“The CRTC reminds telemarketers that it is their responsibility to adhere to the rules, whether they make the calls themselves or through a third party in Canada or abroad,” the regulator said in a release.

Since being implemented in 2008, more than 12.8 million Canadians have signed up to be on the Do Not Call list. The CRTC says Canadians can register their numbers, verify whether a number is on the List or file a complaint about a telemarketer by calling 1-866-580-DNCL (3625) or visiting www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca.

So far, the CRTC has issued monetary penalties worth over $6 million and other penalties worth $741,000 for violations to the list.

Now I can answer my phone again!

 

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Apparently I Neglected To Educate My Children About St. Patrick’s Day!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!St Patricks Day

I have never tried McDonald’s Shamrock shake probably because I keep hearing it might taste a little like cough syrup, or something like that.

I realized this morning while listening to ” Stu Jeffries $1000 Dollar Minute” on Boom 97.3FM that today was March 17th and that means St. Patrick’s Day!  All the questions were St. Patrick’s Day related and my kids looked at me quite perplexed as the quiz went on, because I think they knew the “Lucky Charms” question and that was it.

“Today is St. Patrick’s Day!” I proclaimed.

“Yeah?”

“So?”

“What does that mean?”, were the responses.

Oops.  I thought as I realized that we’ve really never spoken about St. Patrick’s Day – at least not recently – and when we reconvened at dinner time I had better have an explanation more significant that my note about the Shamrock shake.

So here, is the “Coles Notes” version of why St. Patrick’s Day matters and why we celebrate it, with some fun facts thrown in for the curious kids:

 

  • St. Patrick’s Day is an annual feast day celebrating the patron saint Patrick for whom the day is named after.
  • Saint Patrick was not born Irish, but became an integral part of the Irish heritage through his service across Ireland of the 5th century.
  • Patrick was either Scottish or English, his real name was though to be Maewyn Succat and Patricius was his Romanicized name until it became Patrick.
  • St. Patrick’s Day is the national holiday of Ireland.
  • On the religious side, St. Patrick, is credited with bringing Christianity to the Irish people.
  • Many believe St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland, but truth be told, Ireland never actually had snakes, and many now believe that “snakes” actually represented the serpent symbolism of the Druids of that time and place.
  • Many, many people – Irish or not – wear the colour green today.
  • An interesting Irish tradition which I chose to mention after your day at school has finished, is to pinch anyone who is not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • St. Patrick’s Day was first observed in Boston by Irish immigrants in 1737.  I believe the Chicago river is turned green today by a dye which lasts 2-4 days.
  • The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the US was held in New York, of course, in 1766.  The Toronto St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on Sunday March 15th.
  • The common symbols of St. Patrick’s Day are the shamrock, pot-of-gold andleprechans.
    • Three is Ireland’s magic number and the three petals that make up the shamrock are supposed to bring good luck.
    • The three leaves also represent the Trinity in the Christian religion.
    • The leprechaun is a small Irish fairy who is dressed like a shoemaker, with pointed shoes and hat and he wears a leather apron.
    • Leprechauns are supposed to be unfriendly little men who lives alone in the forest, spending all of their time making shoes and guarding their treasures.
    • If someone catches a leprechaun, he will be forced to tell where he hides all his pots of gold. However, the leprechaun must be watched at all times. If his captor looks away, the leprechaun will vanish along with his treasure.
  • Envy, while green, is not welcomed on St. Paddy’s Day.
  • Today is the only day that I willingly change my last name, “Orlans” to “O’lans”.
  • Tonight we’re going to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day not by drinking green beer, or by wearing green PJ’s but by eating all of our green veggies!  Yum.
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Thursday Thirteen: 13 Things Torontonians (and you) Need To Do Now That The Snow Has Arrived.


Ah, a snowy Thursday in Toronto, our second such day this year, and with winter not officially here until December 21st, I always worry that even in areas where there is a lot of snow people forget to apply common sense in many different areas of their lives when snow stays on the ground.

So today is the perfect day for me, to educate you, on the 13 Things You Need To Do Now That The Snow Has Arrived.

Let’s start with #1 because it’s the most important and the City of Toronto By-Laws and Chapter 719 of the Municipal Code lay it all out there for you.

1.  Make sure that you have cleared the sidewalk in front of your house!  According to City By-laws you have 12 hours from the last snowflake to remove the snow and / or ice from the sidewalk in front, behind or beside your property.

2.  Failure to remove snow and / or ice can result in a fine of up to $5000 under the Provincial Offences Act.

3.  Anyone – strangers, neighbours, government workers, can call 311 to notify them if your snow and / or ice is not removed within 12 hours after a snowfall.

4.  Thinking about clearing your snow onto the street?  DON’T!  Besides the obvious fact that it make driving that much more dangerous, it’s against the by-laws and you can be fined for doing this.  Plus, it’s fairly obvious when your lawn (which loves the water in the spring) is flat the snow in the street in front of your house is densely packed compared to others.

5.  If the City of Toronto has to send someone out to shovel or salt your sidewalk, you will be charged a fee for this “service: and if you do not pay it, it will be added to your property taxes.

6.  Starting this year – 2014 – the City of Toronto is paying special attention to those mounds of snow you pile at the curb in front of your house because as the weather changes they pose a safety concern regarding visibility, and drivers trying to avoid them.  Plus, by the mere fact that they are on the street means you are in violation of Section 719-5 of the Municipal Code.  By-law officers might force you to remove it at your own expense or fine you.

7.  Clean off your car before you  drive it!  All windows, the front and tail lights are essential to ensure you have complete visibility.  The majority of vehicle – pedestrian accidents in the winter occur when drivers cannot fully see out of their windows and bump into people crossing the street.

8.  I know it’s a pain in the butt for many of you, but you really do need to come to a full and complete stop at all traffic crossings when there is snow.  Besides being the law, and potentially dangerous if you do not, by rolling through stops, or around corners you also run the risk of having to brake suddenly and sliding or spinning out of control, or worse, stopping only to have the car behind you slam into you, and then for you to hit someone as a result.

9.  Signal.  I prefer to refer to the turn signal as an “indicator” because while it may be law to signal before you turn, it’s nice and kind to indicate to other drivers what you intend to do with your vehicle.  This is especially important if you are one of “those” drivers who do not feel the need to stop at every intersection as indicating your intentions keeps pedestrians safe and the cars around you less likely to want to roll down their windows and throw a snowball at your car.

10.  Be extra courteous to those around you who are walking when you are driving.  They are dealing with un-cleared sidewalks, and cold, or wind, plus heavy clothing and usually something in their hands.  The LAST thing they need to do is wonder whether that car is a) going to stop, b) sees them c) start to proceed before they finish crossing the street.

  1. If you hired a ploughing service to clean your driveway, make sure they are not falling out of favour with your neighbours or with the City by-laws.

  2. Think about others!  If your neighbour shovels your sidewalk when it snows, it might not be a smart idea to only shovel your piece of sidewalk when you are doing yours.  Even if you are in a rush, make an effort to go a little onto their side, they’ll understand.  But to put up that snow barrier while their side is still covered and yours is clean is a message to that neighbour that you are only thinking about yourself.  Is that what you want them thinking?  I’ve always said that it is better to accept the help of your neighbour than criticize them for where they put your snow, that you should have moved!

13.  Put a smile on your face and be nice to others!  Say hello to neighbours, strangers and passers by.

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It’s Friday! Time For The Urban Daddy’s Must Read Blog: Introducing Casey Palmer!


It’s Friday, which means it is time for the Urban Daddy’s must-read blog of the week.

The last blog I featured was Jason Wormald of Wormald’s Words, a relatively new blog, and while this week’s recommendation is a new blog to me, it is certainly not a new blog in the blogosphere.

Casey Palmer.

I was introduced to Casey’s writing through a Canadian Daddy Blog group on Facebook and I was immediately hooked.  I like Casey’s posts, I like his outlook on life and I like the way he interacts with the other dads in the group but I really like his lists.  :) After seeing one of his lists, I have to run back and adjust or re-do mine.

Please go check out Casey’s blog right now!  Read some posts, leave some comments and get to know Casey.

Casey can also be found on Twitter, Facebook, and much more, found through his blog.  Please like, add and follow him on social media and show him some love.

Thanks!

The Urban Daddy.

 

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