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Skip the Dishes pulling out of U.S. market after making deal with rival company

Skip the Dishes pulling out of U.S. market after making deal with rival company

Winnipeg-based online delivery service Skip the Dishes is moving out of the U.S. market.

The company confirmed to CBC News it has entered into an agreement to transition operations of their six markets in the United States to its Chicago-based competitor Grubhub.

“Our focus is on building our business and brand at home in Canada,” a Skip the Dishes spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson said the company will continue to grow its international food delivery as part of the Just Eat Group. Just Eat is described as a “leading global marketplace for online food delivery headquartered in the U.K.” on the Skip website.

The company, which started in Saskatoon and is headquartered in Winnipeg, partners with 12,000 restaurants across the country, 600 of them in Manitoba.

Skip now operates in six U.S. cities: Buffalo, N.Y.; Omaha, Neb.; St. Louis, Mo.; and Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus in Ohio.

Jazib Haider, 24, has been a contracted driver for Skip the Dishes in Buffalo for the last two months, and also drives for Uber Eats.

He received an email from Skip this week, letting him know about the change.

He says the company told him it would continue to operate under the Skip the Dishes name until at least the end of April, and Grubhub would reach out to Skip drivers about driving for their network.

Other than that, he says they haven’t been clear with details about the merger.

“I have no idea what’s coming for us now,” he said.

He says he wasn’t too surprised by the news.

“Every time I went to the restaurant they were always complaining about how the drivers weren’t on time,” he said. “And after that, they would say Skip the Dishes support wasn’t all that great.”

From a logistical point of view, he says many of the orders he took for Skip, which paid him a flat rate per delivery regardless of the distance he drove, didn’t make sense.

He says Uber Eats pays him per mile and for his time.

“I number crunched and figured out that I was getting paid about 88 cents to a mile [with Skip],” he said.

On average he says he’d make around $10 an hour for an eight- to nine-hour shift with Skip, but only if customers were tipping.

The spokesperson for Skip wouldn’t disclose details of the deal reached between Grubhub and Skip at this time, but said more details would be released closer to completing the transition.

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Ontario can't block B.C.-based eyeglass company from selling there, Appeal Court rules

Ontario can’t block B.C.-based eyeglass company from selling there, Appeal Court rules

Ontario regulators have no right to block a company legally operating elsewhere in Canada from selling prescription eyewear to online customers in the province, an Appeal Court ruled on Thursday.

The decision means Ontario consumers can continue to order corrective glasses and contact lenses from British Columbia-based online retailer Essilor, which sells Coastal and Clearly products.

“The mere delivery in Ontario of an order for prescription eyewear that has been processed in compliance with the British Columbia regulatory regime, without more, does not establish a sufficient connection between Essilor’s online sales and the controlled acts proscribed by (Ontario’s laws),” the Appeal Court ruled.

“Where the supplier of the prescription eyewear operates in another province and complies with that province’s health-professions regulatory regime when filling an online order placed by an Ontario customer, the final act of delivering that product to the Ontario purchaser does not amount to the performance of a ‘controlled act’ by the supplier.”

The case arose in December 2016 when regulators in Ontario — the colleges of Optometrists and Opticians — alleged Essilor was acting illegally by accepting orders for prescription eyewear through its websites and shipping the products to patients in Ontario. It wanted the courts to end the practice.

In essence, the colleges argued only licensed professionals in Ontario could dispense prescription eyewear in the province. The colleges offered no evidence anyone was actually harmed by Essilor’s practices.

In January 2018, Superior Court Justice Thomas Lederer sided with the colleges. He ruled the company was dispensing corrective eyewear in Ontario and concluded the province’s rules should apply. Lederer ordered Essilor to stop the sales.

Essilor Group Canada, whose head office is in Quebec but runs its online operation out of B.C., appealed, also winning permission to continue its sales pending the outcome of the case. It argued that fulfilling Ontario orders did not amount to the controlled act of dispensing prescription eyewear.

The subsidiary of France-based international eyewear giant, Essilor International, also argued Lederer wrongly decided that Ontario’s regulations applied to its online sales.

According to court filings, the Canadian prescription eyewear market is estimated to be worth more than $4.5 billion a year. The Appeal Court noted that eyewear is part of a trend toward online retail sales.

“The explosion in the volume and variety of online consumer transactions over the past decade has included the emergence of an online market for the purchase and sale of prescription eye glasses and contact lenses,” the court said. “In some jurisdictions, friction has emerged between the online vendors of such products and the professional health-care bodies that historically have regulated the sale.”

In siding with Essilor, the appellate court found the company was acting lawfully in its home province, which has a similar regulatory framework to Ontario. Nor was it “dispensing” eyewear in Canada’s most populous province by fulfilling orders in B.C. and shipping them across the country.

Leaning on Quebec case law, the court also noted that providing prescription eyewear is a transaction with both health care and commercial aspects.

Barring the online sales would amount to using Ontario’s Regulated Health Professions Act to give the province’s optometrists and opticians a monopoly over the commercial importation of prescription eyewear.

That could only happen if the legislature passed a law to clearly allow such a monopoly — something current regulations do not do, the court said.

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London Life insurance company to be called Canada Life

London Life insurance company to be called Canada Life

London Life, the iconic insurance company that carried the Forest City’s name for almost 150 years, is getting a rebrand.

The company will join with two other insurance firms under a single banner, Canada Life.

“Our three companies, Great-West Life, Canada Life and London Life are celebrating the next stage of our journey. Welcome, as we unite under a single brand,” said Jeff Macoun, president and COO of Canada Life. 

“The new Canada Life brand combines the strengths of our three companies so we can even better deliver on our purpose — to improve the financial, physical and mental well-being of Canadians.” 

The demise of the London name was announced Wednesday at the historic London Life building on Queens Avenue in downtown London, Ont.

London Life was founded in London in 1874 and currently employs about 3,000 people in the city.

The historical roots of the London Life will always be iconic to the London area– Courtney Hance, The Branding Firm Inc.

It merged with Great-West Life in 1997 and then joined Canada Life in 2003.

“Uniting under one brand will make it easier for us to talk about what makes us different than other companies,” Macoun said. 

“It will help us simplify how we work, how we grow our business, and how we will put the customer at the centre of what we do.”

The company says the change, which requires board, regulatory and policyholder approvals, will further simplify the business.

‘Clear and concise’

Consolidating three brands under one makes a lot of sense, said Courtney Hance, the owner and president of The Branding Firm Inc., a London-based marketing agency. 

“Brand unification is definitely something that allows for clear and concise messaging. It wakes away confusion in the marketplace, to current customers, to future customers, and within the organization,” Hance said. 

London Life will be rebranded as Canada Life in the coming months. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

“The historical roots of the London Life will always be iconic to the London area. I don’t think this changes that. If anything, there’s an interesting story about putting our city on the map, about a brand that was born in our city and has scaled up.” 

The Canada Life rebrand will happen over the next year. Customers will continue to work with the same advisors and group benefits won’t change. 

Canada Life will have more than 10,500 employees across the country and serve 13 million customers. 

             –with files from The Canadian Press

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Hydro One to pay American energy company $103M US after failed merger plan

Hydro One to pay American energy company $103M US after failed merger plan

Hydro One and Avista Corp. say they have agreed to cancel their merger after regulators in Washington state and Idaho shot down the deal. 

The energy companies say that after weighing their chances of  getting those decisions reversed, both their boards of directors decided it was best to call off the plan.

They say under the terms of the merger agreement, Hydro One must now pay Avista US $103 million in termination fees.

Earlier this month, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission denied a request from both companies to  reconsider its rejection of the Ontario utility’s planned takeover of the American company.

Ontario electricity customers won’t foot bill, minister says

The request was issued after regulators found that the $6.7-billion planned merger would not sufficiently safeguard Avista customers from the whims of the Ontario government, which is Hydro One’s largest shareholder.

The regulator has pointed to Premier Doug Ford’s efforts to force former Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt to retire —which was followed by the resignation of the utility’s entire board — as a sign that the province was willing to put political interests above those of shareholders.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission also denied the proposed takeover, finding that the companies had failed to demonstrate that the transaction met the public interest.

The merger required approvals from state regulatory commissions in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Alaska to go through, but only the latter two have approved it. Oregon’s public utility commission opted last week to put its decision on hold.

Ontario Energy Minister Greg Rickford said the Progressive Conservative government accepts the decision made by the two utilities, and will continue to focus on bringing down hydro rates for Ontarians.

“Any costs incurred as a result of today’s decision will not be paid by Ontario electricity customers,” Rickford said in a

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