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Chocolate industry settlement offers sweet reward to customers

There is sweet news of a $50 rebate for Canadian chocolate lovers as the result of an industry price-fixing scandal.

The settlement of a class-action lawsuit that alleged price-fixing by four major manufacturers means there will be payback to consumers.

While denying the allegations, Cadbury Adams Canada Inc., Hershey Canada Inc., Nestle Canada Inc. and Mars Canada Inc., as well as distributor ITWAL Limited, have agreed to pay $23.2 million in compensation.

Courts in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec have approved a settlement of $50 to anyone who submits a form — even without receipts — declaring they bought any of the companies' products between Oct. 1, 2005, and Sept. 30, 2007.

There is a higher payback for consumers who have receipts for more than $1,000 in products, all with a deadline to file of Dec. 15. The form is here:

In June, Hershey pleaded guilty to fixing the price of chocolate products in Canada and was fined $4 million. Trials are proceeding against the other companies named.

Cellphone roaming rates under review

Mounting complaints have led Canada's telecommunications regulator to review roaming rates charged to cellphone users.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has told some 35 telecom companies to submit information they haven't disclosed publicly about rates, terms and conditions charged.

The agency is considering regulations as a result of consumer complaints about what they are charged to use their phones while traveling across Canada and the United States.

Roaming charges are often up to 99 cents a minute for calls placed in the U.S. in addition to long-distance charges for using another carrier's network.

News in brief

• Investigators returned to the scene of a crash that killed six people and injured 30 on an Ottawa transit bus that hit a Via Rail passenger train Sept. 18. The Transportation Safety Board is trying to recreate the conditions when a double-decker OC Transpo bus crashed through flashing railway barriers and into the side of the train. Factors being checked include the visibility of the train by the bus driver who was killed, sounds and sightlines at the crossing.

• The Canadian government said it "remains on track" with its budget projections even with a higher spending deficit of $2 billion in July. It was estimated in the March budget that the deficit would fall to $18.7 billion this year from $25.9 billion last year. The latest increase was due to a drop in personal and corporate income tax, the Finance Department reported.

• Dave Nichol, the folksy pitchman for Loblaw's President's Choice and No Name food brands in the 1980s and '90s, has died at age 73. From Chatham, Ontario, he is credited with changing the style of grocery marketing in Canada. Nichol appeared in TV ads and newsletters and helped make the PC brand one of the most recognized in Canada.

Facts and figures

The Canadian dollar is slightly lower at 97.02 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.0306 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.

Stock markets are mixed, with the Toronto exchange index down at 12,763 points and the TSX Venture index up at 950 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Oct. 2) 2, 10, 16, 36, 40 and 45; bonus 11. (Sept. 28) 8, 16, 18, 26, 28 and 37; bonus 5. Lotto Max: (Sept. 27) 10, 11, 18, 24, 26, 42 and 47; bonus 45.

Regional briefs

• Canada's western cities are expected to lead the country's metropolitan areas in economic growth this year. The Conference Board of Canada's prediction said that Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver make up the top five performers in the latest metropolitan outlook.

• In the next election, expected within a year, Ontario's minority Liberal government is ready to campaign on new tolls or fees to fund public transit, said Premier Kathleen Wynne. At issue are ways to pay for massive spending on upgrades to public transit in the Toronto-Hamilton corridor that are "quality-of-life issues," she said.

• The University of Regina overpaid two Information Technology employees nearly $380,000 in the past 11 years. President Vianne Timmons said the money was for overtime work that was to have been limited to only one year. An employee tipped off the university administration about the situation. The workers remain employed and the provincial government has asked for an explanation.

Jim Fox can be reached at [email protected]

Chocolate industry settlement offers sweet reward to customers 10/04/13 [Last modified: Saturday, October 5, 2013 6:24pm]
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