WestJet changes course on refunds; housing prices down after record high: CBC’s Marketplace cheat sheet

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WestJet says it was wrong to refuse customer refunds for rebooked flights

WestJet says it made an error when the airline rebooked thousands of customers on alternate flights last month and offered no refunds — only credit — to those who wanted to cancel their trip.

“We gave incorrect information or inconsistent information,” Richard Bartrem, WestJet’s vice-president of communications, said in an interview.

Bartrem said the Calgary-based airline is taking steps to ensure that affected customers can collect a refund if they wish. 

Back in June, CBC News spoke with five customers, booked on WestJet flights set to depart in July, who said they had been rebooked on a longer flight that included a stopover and, in three cases, departed on a different day.

If the new itinerary didn’t work for them, they were told they’d have to settle for a credit, not a refund.

“[It’s] tremendously frustrating for the guests … and we are sorry for that,” said Bartrem. Read more

Seema Shirali of Markham, Ont., was upset after WestJet cancelled her direct flight from Toronto to New York City and offered only a credit when she requested a refund. (Submitted by Seema Shirali)

Canadian house prices and home sales hit records in March — but have fallen every month since

Are the prices of Canadian homes finally trending downward after a record high in March? 

The Canadian Real Estate Association said Thursday that home sales have fallen for three months in a row after setting an all-time high earlier this year. 

Just over 50,000 Canadian homes changed hands during June. The average selling price, $679,000, was down from $688,000 in May, $696,000 in April and $716,000 in March.

On a monthly basis, home sales fell by 12 per cent in April, by seven per cent in May and then by eight per cent in June. But they were still 13 per cent higher than this time last year and, in fact, had the strongest June on record — a sign of just how red-hot housing was earlier this year. Read more

Cochrane, Alberta homeowner Dawn Granley is reluctant to sell her home into the current hot market, because she’s worried about what will be available for her to buy once she does. 0:54

Digital divide holds back Indigenous communities, new report finds

It’s hard enough to start a business, but young Indigenous entrepreneurs face an even more uphill battle because of a systemic digital gap that’s holding them back — along with Canada’s entire economy.

That’s the main takeaway from a new report by Royal Bank, after spending the last 18 months analyzing economic data and talking with Indigenous stakeholders about how to unlock and maximize their economic potential.

A new report highlights the digital divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada and it raises concerns about the growing gap and how it could affect Indigenous youths’ financial futures and ability to thrive. 2:00

The Indigenous youth population in Canada is growing four times faster than the rest of the country’s youth, the report found, and Indigenous people create new businesses at nine times the Canadian average.

But while Indigenous entrepreneurs are a vast and growing cohort, a big reason they remain a largely untapped resource is a wide digital divide, including the accessibility of high-speed internet for many households. Read more

What else is going on?

Could my condo building collapse like the one in Florida? Expert says problems can be found faster in Canada
Rules require regular inspections and most buildings have reserves for repairs.

How Canadians are making sure no one is left behind in the vaccine rollout
Marginalization, cultural barriers and language divides create vaccine roadblock.

This cumin powder has been recalled for a salmonella contamination
If you have UnjhaSpice brand Cumin Powder in your cupboard, throw it out or return the product to the store where it was purchased.

Canada’s pandemic warning system was understaffed and unready when COVID-19 hit, review finds
An important position at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) was vacant when the pandemic struck.

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