The most stolen vehicles in Canada; Antibody tests leave unanswered questions: CBC’s Marketplace cheat sheet

Miss something this week? Don’t panic. CBC’s Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

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You can now pony up for COVID-19 antibody tests, but are they worth it?

The tests promise to give some people an answer as to whether that persistent cough or scratchy throat a few months back could have been COVID-19, but they may not offer much insight beyond that. That’s because a positive test doesn’t necessarily mean you have immunity. “The scientific evidence is now showing that if you’ve been exposed and you’ve made antibodies, there’s a good probability that you will be protected at least in the short term,” said Marc-André Langlois, a University of Ottawa professor and Canada research chair in molecular virology and intrinsic immunity. “What no one knows, at this stage, is how long this protection from the antibodies will last.” Read more

As access increases to SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing in Ontario, health experts and labs are reminding patients a positive test does not mean a patient is immune to COVID-19. (Marijan Murat/AP)

Get ready to pay a little more for Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime

If you’re a subscriber to streaming services, like Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime, expect your bill to increase, beginning next year. 

Ottawa said in its fiscal update Monday it will require multinationals to collect GST or HST on digital products and services, which it said would add up to $1.2 billion over five years. Sometimes labelled a “Netflix tax,” the measure would also apply to other services such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video or the Spotify audio streaming service, as well as digital products like software applications.

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales, so it’s only fair that foreign multinationals should do the same. But experts still expect the companies to pass off the cost of the new tax to consumers. Read more

A new tax on digital services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Spotify will raise the price of those services for consumers. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

Newer SUV’s and trucks with key fobs top most-stolen list

We often worry about our cars being stolen the old-fashioned way, through something like a smashed window, but cheap tech tools are making it easier to steal a car today. Bryan Gast, national director of investigative services at the  Insurance Bureau of Canada, says the biggest trend he’s seeing this year is what’s known as a “relay attack.” “That means they’re acquiring your signal from your key fob, cloning your key fob and [then] have the ability to start your vehicle without ever having the original key fob,” he said. Read more

Back in 2016, Marketplace investigated high-end car thefts and the mysterious device believed to be aiding thieves.

(CBC)

Looking to buy a Christmas tree? You might want to get a head start

It seems everyone is looking for a little extra holiday cheer this year, whether we can gather with our extended families or not. Farmers anticipate 2020 will be a record sales year, said the Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association. Association head Larry Downey said it’s simple supply and demand: a shortage of trees coupled with a greater appetite from people hoping to liven up their living spaces thanks to widespread stay-at-home orders. Read more 

Christmas tree sellers say they are expecting strong demand from consumers looking for an outdoor, physically distanced activity and who want to add some holiday cheer to their homes, where people are spending more time thanks to a second wave of COVID-19. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

What else is going on?

WHO updates mask advice, recommending they be worn in indoor, poorly ventilated areas
The organization is recommending that, where COVID-19 is spreading, masks be worn by everyone in health-care facilities and for all interactions in poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

32 salmonella cases in 6 provinces tied to pet hedgehogs
Spiny pets linked to salmonella outbreak, warns Public Health Agency of Canada.

Grounded 737 Max could take first step toward being cleared to fly this week, say crash victims’ families
Fleet has been grounded for 20 months in response to two fatal crashes.

Lab-grown meat approved for sale for 1st time
U.S. startup Eat Just gets approval in Singapore to sell lab-grown chicken at restaurant.

This rattan lounge chair has been recalled due to a fall hazard
Consumers should stop using the chair immediately and return it to any Structube location for a full refund of the purchase price, or an in-store credit if proof of purchase cannot be established.

Kawartha Dairy recalls ice cream for possible metal presence
Canadian Food Inspection Agency urges people to throw out product if purchased.

This treestand has been recalled due to a possible fall hazard
The cable assemblies on the treestand can separate due to corrosion, posing a fall hazard to the user.

Marketplace needs your help

Have you been discriminated against because of your hair at work? Quit your job after getting asked to straighten/cut your textured hair? Or denied a promotion because of it? We’re looking for people to share their experiences. Email us at marketplace@cbc.ca

With the holidays coming up, many of us are shopping online. But are you getting the real deal or could you be getting a knock-off? If you think you’ve spotted a fake, we want to hear from you. Email us at marketplace@cbc.ca

Catch up on past episodes of Marketplace any time on CBC Gem.

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