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Month: September 2020

Implementing Virtual Affidavits

Manitoba’s Law Reform Commission Recommends Implementing Virtual Affidavits

After working closely with the Attorney General’s office in Ontario to bring forward virtual commissioning of legal documents via tele-conference, the CCC’s David Clement was asked to consult with Manitoba’s Law Reform Commission

Specifically, Manitoba was looking for guidance on how they could modernize their legal system and enact similar changes.

On August 31st, the Law Reform Commission released their report, where they made the suggestion that Manitoba should in fact move forward with modernizing their legal system by allowing affidavits to be taken virtually via video-conference.

The Commission acknowledged the CCC in the following way: 

The Commission gratefully acknowledges the following individuals for providing valuable feedback on this project: David Clement, North American Affairs Manager- Consumer Choice Center

The Commission officially made the following recommendation:

The Commission recommends that section 64(1) of The Manitoba Evidence Act be amended to remove the requirement that an oath, affirmation or statutory declaration be taken only in the presence of a person and to enable affidavits to be taken remotely using video-conferencing technology. (p 15)

Removing Sales Tax From Medical Cannabis

BC’s Finance Committee Recommends Removing Sales Tax From Medical Cannabis

Earlier this year our North American Affairs Manager David Clement appeared before British Columbia’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services to discuss cannabis taxation. In his presentation David explained that medical cannabis should be exempt from provincial sales taxes, for the following reasons:

  1. Other prescription medicines are exempt from sales taxes. Removing the sales tax from medical cannabis would simply be treating medical cannabis like the prescription medicine it is.
  2. Taxing medicine is cruel, given that many medical cannabis patients are chronically ill and have limited incomes.

In late August the Committee released their official report to the legislature, which includes a recommendation that BC remove the provincial sales tax from medical cannabis purchases.

The committee acknowledged the CCC with the following statement:

“The Committee also received recommendations to remove the PST on medical cannabis from several organizations, including Consumer Choice Center, Medical Cannabis Canada, and Aurora Cannabis Inc. They described the application of the PST as a barrier for most British Columbians who use medical cannabis, noting that many pay out-of-pocket as Pharmacare and many private insurers do not cover medical cannabis. The Arthritis Society, BC and Yukon Division shared that many individuals with arthritis use medical cannabis for pain management and that the cost barriers could lead individuals to the illicit market.”

The report officially made the following recommendation:

“Examine mechanisms in the taxation system to remove or rebate the PST for medical cannabis.”

Note to the European Commission: no need for a new competition tool

As the European Commission is seeking to introduce a new competition tool to better handle market issues surrounding digital platforms, there is an urgent need to provide a pro-consumer and a pro-innovation perspective on the matter.  We, at the Consumer Choice Center, believe that amending the existing antitrust legislation – articles 101 and 102 of the EU Treaty – shouldn’t be seen as the goal in itself. Instead, the Commission should consider the underlying issues affecting the conditions leading up to the anticompetitive behaviour in the digital market. 

For the market to ensure the most efficient outcome, competition has to be fair so that all respective parties can compete under fair conditions. While antitrust laws play an important role in safeguarding competition, they shouldn’t be seen as a panacea. Instead, the goal should be to create and sustain a framework that doesn’t pick winners and losers, but safeguards intellectual property rights, keep taxation low to encourage returns, limit barrier of entry and make investment easy.

There are many outdated laws in the EU that make it burdensome to create new and innovative digital services before they ever hit the market. One example is the lack of a European-wide license for audiovisual services, forcing service providers to apply in every Member State if they want to show their content. It is the same for most other digital services in the EU, including music streaming or news collection.

Anti-competitive monopolisation where one market player may rapidly acquire market shares due to its capacity to put competitors at a disadvantage in the market unfairly is probably one of the most important factors hindering competition. However, what is crucial here isn’t the dominance of one player but the fact that they resort to unfair competition practices to impact the behaviour of other players. One issue that requires more attention on the side of regulators is that the notion of “unfair competition” provides a lot of discretion which often leads to misleading assessment and unjustified antitrust proceedings. The mechanisms for determining what is “unfair competition” have to be more specific.

In terms of highly concentrated markets where only one or few players are present, which allows to align their market behaviour, the solution is once again to liberalise the digital market so such a situation doesn’t occur in the first place. 

In our opinion, non-structural remedies such as an obligation to abstain from certain commercial behaviour would be most effective. An obligation to abstain from using unfair trading practices, especially those leading to anti-competitive monopolisation is crucial. Businesses should be made aware of the consequences of engaging in unfair practices and obliged to comply, The notion of obligation is linked to personal or business responsibility whereas bans have a preventive and prohibiting nature. Bans would alter the behaviour of businesses: they would be primarily incentivised to avoid the penalty instead of complying with the rules.

The existing antitrust rules do not discriminate between various sectors of the economy, and there is no need to come with rules specific to the digital market. The antitrust rules should be the same for all sectors of the economy to be effective. Sector-specific antitrust legislation will unfortunately only add more confusion, and make it harder for new businesses to get their head around new regulations. It is very hard to draw a clear line between all sectors, not least because the future of innovation is uncertain, and we simply cannot predict what new business will emerge. In the spirit of the rule of law, rules have to be unified.

In conclusion, there is no need for a new competition tool. Antitrust proceedings are costly and drive businesses out of the market. Instead, we should liberalise the European digital single market to make it easier for small business to enter and for the existing ones to operate on equal terms with the more successful ones, and that will ensure that there is no possibility for a single player to monopolise the supply of digital services.

By Maria Chaplia, European Affairs Associate at the Consumer Choice Center

Forbrugerorganisation er imod suspension af slotregler

Forbrugerorganisationen Consumer Choice Center mener ikke, at det er en god idé at forlænge suspensionen af EU-slotreglerne hen over vinteren, som er foreslået af lufthavne og flyselskaber.

I sidste uge meddelte en række europæiske luftfartsorganisationer, at man ønsker suspensionen af slotreglerne i EU-lufthavne forlænget hen over den kommende vintersæson. Reglerne har været suspenderet gennem sommertrafikprogrammet og er det fortsat frem til 24. oktober.

Forslaget fra de europæiske lufthavne og flyselskaber får dog kraftig modstand fra Consumer Choice Center, der er en international forbrugerorganisation, som repræsenterer forbrugere i over 100 lande verden over. Organisationen har netop sendt et brev til generaldirektør Henrik Hololei i EU-Kommissionen, hvori der udtrykkes stor bekymring over, at kommissionen overvejer at forlænge suspensionen af slotreglerne.

”Forlængelsen vil skabe den situation, hvor de største flyselskaber får en chance for at monopolisere slottider, hvilket gør det umuligt for de mindre at komme ind. Et sådant skridt vil være yderst protektionistisk, forvridende og ville gøre mere skade end gavn,” siger Fred Roeder, administrerende direktør i Consumer Choice Center.

Skal normalt operere mindst 80 procent
EU-Kommissionen godkendte den midlertidige suspension af reglerne om anvendelse af lufthavnsslots (start- og landingstilladelser, red.) i slutningen af marts. Suspensionen gjaldt sommersæsonen over som følge af coronakrisens konsekvenser.

Normalt skal flyselskaber operere mindst 80 procent af de slottider, som de har fået tildelt. Dette ud fra den såkaldte 80-20-regel. Hvis ikke selskaberne formår dette, risikerer de at miste retten til slottiderne i næste tilsvarende sæson. Myndighederne kan dog lempe på disse krav under særlige omstændigheder.

EU-Kommissionen vurderede coronakrisen som en særlig omstændighed, og de europæiske lufthavne og flyselskaber lægger således nu pres på for at få forlænget suspensionen. Der er tale om ACI Europe (ACI), Airlines for Europe (A4E), Airlines International Representation in Europe (AIRE), International Air Transport Association (IATA) og European Association of Slot Coordinators (EUACA), som sammen håber, at kommissionen forlænger.

Nye aktører bør få muligheder
Consumer Choice Center er som beskrevet lodret uenig med lufthavnene og flyselskaberne, da slottiderne konstant bør kunne bevæge sig fra selskab til selskab.

”Ejerskabet af lufthavnsslots bør ikke være statisk. Tværtimod bør ejerskabet konstant skifte mellem flyselskaber for at garantere den mest effektive tildeling af faciliteterne og tilskynde til ansvarlig brug af lufthavne. Slotreglerne er i denne forstand fair og retfærdige og skal opretholdes til enhver tid,” påpeger Maria Chaplia, europæisk medarbejder i Consumer Choice Center.

Fred Roeder supplerer med, at det, der er brug for i øjeblikket, er flere forbindelsesmuligheder – og ikke færre.

”Forlængelse af suspensionen vil sandsynligvis holde antallet af flyforbindelser og destinationer langt under niveauet fra før COVID-tiden. Det kan være det rigtige tidspunkt nu for nye aktører at komme ind på markedet for at forbinde mennesker over hele Europa og verden,” siger han.

Vicepræsidenten i IATA, Rafael Schvartzman, har tidligere blandt andet argumenteret med, at en fortsat ophævelse af slotreglerne er essentiel for at sikre, at flyselskaberne ikke flyver med tomme fly. Ligesom en fortsat suspension vil muliggøre flyvning på den mest bæredygtige måde, har han sagt.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Airport Ranking Lists Zurich as Europe’s Best Airport

The Consumer Choice Center recently published its second annual European Airport Index, highlighting the top airports in Europe ranked by passenger-friendliness.

The index should be used to inform both consumers and administrators as to who is doing the best job, accommodating passengers.

The top 5 airports according to the study are Zurich, Dusseldorf, Copenhagen, Manchester, and Brussels airports.

Fred Roeder, Managing Director of the Consumer Choice Center, said the ranking shows consumers which airports allow social distancing and where to connect ideally.

“This year has been one of the most challenging for the global travel industry. Many airports were closed for weeks or even months. While travel slowly recovers we want to inform consumers which airports are the most convenient to travel from and to in Europe. Airports with more space per passenger rank higher in our analysis. This is helpful to know for travelers who try to maintain distance from others. If you have to travel this Summer, you might want to consider starting or ending your journey at well-designed airports such as Zurich, Düsseldorf, or Copenhagen.

“High points were awarded to the airports that offered great destinations around the world, but also a healthy mix of shops, restaurants, and conveniences found at the airport. This year we also added extra points for Covid-19 testing facilities at airports.

“In order to prevent a negative passenger experience and pick the optimal hubs for future trips, we examined Europe’s 30 largest airports (by passenger volume) and ranked them in terms of passenger experience, ranked according to a mix of factors ranging from location and transportation options to in-airport experience and flight network access.”

“Other factors determined in the ranking included direct jet bridges, rather than bus boarding, proximity to the city center, the number of lounges, low security waiting times, and on-time performance by airlines. Bonus points were awarded to airports with pre-clearance for US flights and the ability to broadcast security wait times. We do hope that air travel will eventually recover and passengers use our index to choose the right airport” said Roeder.

The full report is available here.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Pasaran gelap ancam pengguna, ekonomi Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR – Perdagangan haram atau pasaran gelap adalah ancaman besar dan semakin meruncing terhadap rakyat Malaysia apabila kerajaan dan perniagaan sah dilemahkan manakala pengguna pula terdedah kepada produk yang tidak bermutu dan tidak terkawal.

Sebuah kumpulan advokasi pengguna multinasional, Customer Choice Centre (CCC) dalam satu kenyataan hari ini berkata, pasaran gelap global bukan sahaja luas tetapi pesat pertumbuhannya.

Pengarah Urusan CCC, Fred Roeder berkata, ini kerana dagangan haram yang dijalankan oleh kumpulan jenayah terancang transnasional adalah satu permasalahan bernilai AS$870 bilion atau RM3.6 trilion.

Beliau berkata, adalah penting untuk ditegaskan bahawa di peringkat global, pasaran gelap rokok adalah lebih tinggi daripada segi nilai berbanding dagangan haram minyak, haiwan liar, kayu balak, karya kesenian, benda kebudayaan dan berlian disatukan.

“Ini menjadikan apa yang berlaku di Malaysia lebih meruncing kerana rokok seludup kini menguasai 62 peratus jumlah keseluruhan rokok sah yang dijual, menjadikan Malaysia pasaran No.1 di dunia bagi pasaran gelap.

“Sememangnya, permasalahan akut ini telah dan sentiasa akan berterusan mengakibatkan kelembapan ekonomi dan menjejaskan pengguna kebanyakannya,” kata Roeder.

Kenyataan itu dikeluarkan sempena kertas polisi yang baru sahaja dilancarkannya, Illicit Trade is Dangerous for Consumers (Dagangan Haram Adalah Berbahaya Kepada Pengguna).

Menurut kertas polisi CCC, pasaran gelap rokok merosakkan kesihatan orang awam dan telah terbukti menjadi dana membiayai kumpulan jenayah terancang.

Selain itu, pasaran gelap rokok menyasarkan kepada kumpulan paling terdedah di dalam masyarakat, sementara pengguna paling teruk terkena impak disebabkan rokok seludup dikilangkan di dalam persekitaran tidak selamat dan menggunakan produk tidak bersih.

Kertas polisi ini juga menggariskan bahawa peruncit kecil menanggung kerugian besar akibat pasaran gelap rokok kerana bukan sahaja mereka kehilangan jualan rokok sah, tetapi juga barangan lain yang biasanya perokok dewasa beli semasa mereka di dalam kedai.

Roeder berkata, dalam usaha menangani pasaran gelap rokok, kerajaan Malaysia hendaklah mengkaji kepada saranan menyederhanakan dasar cukai untuk memastikan regim cukai tidak mewujudkan permintaan terhadap alternatif haram yang lebih berbahaya.

Pada masa sama, katanya, kerajaan harus meningkatkan hukuman denda sedia ada ke atas pesalah pasaran gelap dan menguatkuasakan denda-denda tersebut dengan tegas.

“Situasi pasaran gelap di peringkat global dan di Malaysia dijangka memburuk kerana pengguna beralih kepada alternatif lebih murah disebabkan ketidaktentuan pekerjaan dan hasil pendapatan berkurangan akibat pandemik global Covid-19.

“Tindakan hendaklah diambil sekarang dan pada Bajet 2021 akan datang, merupakan peluang terbaik untuk Kerajaan Malaysia meletakkan langkah-langkah yang diperlukan bagi menangani masalah pasaran gelap rokok secara menyeluruh,” ujar beliau.

‘Illicit Trade is Dangerous for Consumers’ adalah kertas polisi yang ditulis oleh Luca Bertoletti dan Bill Wirtz untuk CCC dan diterbitkan di Brussels, Belgium pada Julai 2020.

CCC mewakili pengguna di lebih 100 negara di seluruh dunia. Kertas polisi ini boleh didapati di consumerchoicecenter.org

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Global consumer advocacy group urges Malaysia to use Budget 2021 to address tobacco black market – Yahoo

Roeder said illegal cigarettes now command 62 per cent of the total market share cigarettes sold, making Malaysia the number one in the world for this black market. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — An international consumer advocacy group is urging the government to use the upcoming Budget 2021 to implement measures to address the tobacco black market. 

Consumer Choice Center (CCC) wants the Malaysian government to take action against the tobacco black market and illicit trade, which it said is growing to become a serious threat to society and legal businesses.

Its managing director Fred Roeder said consumers are exposed to the risk of poorly-made and unregulated products with the black market.

“Transnational organised crime of illicit trade is a US$870 billion (RM3.6 trillion) problem. The global black market is not only immense but also growing rapidly. It is interesting to note that globally, the tobacco black market is higher in value than the illegal trade in oil, wildlife, timber, arts, cultural property, and blood diamonds combined,” he said in a statement.

Roeder argued that things are even more critical as illegal cigarettes now command 62 per cent of the total market share cigarettes sold, making Malaysia the number one in the world for this black market.

“Naturally this acute problem has and will continue to cause a severe drag to the economy while hurting consumers at large,” Roeder added.

In CCC’s recently-launched policy paper “Illicit Trade is Dangerous for Consumers”, it was found the tobacco black market damages public health and has been proven to finance organised crime. 

Additionally, it targets vulnerable groups in society while consumers are impacted because illegal cigarettes are produced in unsafe environments and using unsafe products.

It also highlighted that small retailers suffer considerably from the tobacco black market as they not only lose legitimate cigarette sales but also other items adult smokers usually buy from them.

“In addressing the tobacco black market, the Malaysian government should look into moderating tax policies to ensure that tax regimes do not create demand for more harmful illicit alternatives. 

“Simultaneously the government should increase the existing penalties for black market perpetrators and enforce these penalties dedicatedly, as the black market situation globally and in Malaysia is expected to deteriorate since consumers will turn to cheaper alternatives due to job security and income stretch resulting from the global Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

The policy paper is available at consumerchoicecenter.org

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Global consumer advocacy group urges Malaysia to use Budget 2021 to address tobacco black market

Roeder said illegal cigarettes now command 62 per cent of the total market share cigarettes sold, making Malaysia the number one in the world for this black market. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — An international consumer advocacy group is urging the government to use the upcoming Budget 2021 to implement measures to address the tobacco black market. 

Consumer Choice Center (CCC) wants the Malaysian government to take action against the tobacco black market and illicit trade, which it said is growing to become a serious threat to society and legal businesses.

Its managing director Fred Roeder said consumers are exposed to the risk of poorly-made and unregulated products with the black market.

“Transnational organised crime of illicit trade is a US$870 billion (RM3.6 trillion) problem. The global black market is not only immense but also growing rapidly. It is interesting to note that globally, the tobacco black market is higher in value than the illegal trade in oil, wildlife, timber, arts, cultural property, and blood diamonds combined,” he said in a statement.

Roeder argued that things are even more critical as illegal cigarettes now command 62 per cent of the total market share cigarettes sold, making Malaysia the number one in the world for this black market.

“Naturally this acute problem has and will continue to cause a severe drag to the economy while hurting consumers at large,” Roeder added.

In CCC’s recently-launched policy paper “Illicit Trade is Dangerous for Consumers”, it was found the tobacco black market damages public health and has been proven to finance organised crime. 

Additionally, it targets vulnerable groups in society while consumers are impacted because illegal cigarettes are produced in unsafe environments and using unsafe products.

It also highlighted that small retailers suffer considerably from the tobacco black market as they not only lose legitimate cigarette sales but also other items adult smokers usually buy from them.

“In addressing the tobacco black market, the Malaysian government should look into moderating tax policies to ensure that tax regimes do not create demand for more harmful illicit alternatives. 

“Simultaneously the government should increase the existing penalties for black market perpetrators and enforce these penalties dedicatedly, as the black market situation globally and in Malaysia is expected to deteriorate since consumers will turn to cheaper alternatives due to job security and income stretch resulting from the global Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

The policy paper is available at consumerchoicecenter.org

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

Argentina’s telecom price controls are economic masochism

Last week, in a bid to ensure unrestricted access for everyone to telecommunication services, the Argentinian government decided to extend a price freeze for TV, internet and mobile services until the end of the year, deeming them “essential public services”.

Prices on these services have been frozen since May, and it was expected that the ban would be lifted at the end of this month.

In response, Luca Bertoletti, Senior European Affairs Manager at the Consumer Choice Center, criticises the move saying that such a policy was populist and economically illiterate, and will destroy Argentina’s relationship with the International Monetary Fund who has been supportive of the country’s – though unsuccessful so far – road to prosperity.

“The Covid-19 crisis has overburdened most economies in the world and Argentina is no different. In order to help the economy get back on track, the Argentinian government will finally need to implement pro-free market reforms instead of holding onto socialist policies such as price controls on telecom services,” said Maria Chaplia, European Affairs Associate at the Consumer Choice Center.

“Argentina’s government should pull itself together and start making the right decisions, instead of pushing the country further down. Argentina deserves better than a populist government that pretends to act in the interests of consumers by extending price controls of TV, internet and mobile services at the expense of future prosperity,” concluded Bertoletti.

Originally published here.

Такой тотальный шеринг: прокатные услуги набирают обороты

В Петербурге растёт спрос на аренду различных вещей и техники, чаще всего это платья для торжеств, декор, реквизит и спортивный инвентарь

Шеринг (или, иначе говоря, прокат) вещей набирает популярность в России. Уже не первый год граждане арендуют на короткое время автомобили, самокаты, яхты, квартиры. Двигателями экономики совместного потребления в нашей стране являются представители поколений Y и Z, которые предпочитают брать что–то дорогостоящее в аренду, а не привязываться к вещам. Топ–5 секторов экономики совместного пользования в России — это c2c–продажи, p2p–услуги, каршеринг (поминутная аренда автомобилей), карпулинг (совместные поездки на частном автомобиле) и краткосрочная аренда недвижимости.

Аренда вещей — достаточно новое направление шеринга, пока оно не так сильно распространено в стране. Первые сервисы, которые стали предлагать в аренду абсолютно любые товары, появились на российском рынке примерно 5 лет назад. По итогам 2019 года объём транзакций в этом секторе составил всего 220 млн рублей. Но рост рынка аренды вещей, по данным исследования Sharing Economy 2019, в прошлом году оценивался в 22%, причём наблюдается смещение спроса в сторону шеринга более дорогих товаров. Эксперты отмечают, что сейчас в аренду берут дорогие платья, аксессуары, специализированную технику и гаджеты. А вот модели, по которым может работать бизнес в данной сфере, две — предлагать вещи в аренду от частных лиц или же собственные.

Read more here

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