Report shows cellphone bills aren’t getting cheaper; FAQ about COVID testing: 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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Major cell phone carriers aren’t dropping prices, despite government promises

The Liberal government has promised to reduce the cost of cellphone services by 25 per cent by 2022, but so far, there doesn’t appear to be much movement on that front.

The first ever cellphone price tracker report, released this week, shows that in most provinces, prices haven’t declined in a substantial way.

Now, some experts believe the only way to get wireless carriers to play ball will be through increased regulation. Read more about how that might work.

Laura Tribe, the executive director of Open Media, said the way Ottawa is collecting pricing data from the Big 3 wireless companies –– Rogers, Telus and Bell –– is flawed because it only examines the prices of their discount brands (Fido, Koodo and Virgin) and lower-gigabyte plans. 2:03

Planning to get a COVID test before visiting family? Here’s what you need to know

Many Canadians are getting tested for COVID-19 even though they have no symptoms. They’re doing it, in part, as an extra precaution before visiting with elderly loved ones, travelling or gathering with friends and family.

But experts caution that just because you’ve received a negative test, it doesn’t mean physical distancing can be thrown out the window. There’s still a risk of false negatives and the possibility that the virus is undetectable in your system. Read more about what experts are saying.

A health-care worker does a test at a drive-thru COVID-19 assessment centre in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Physical retail may be down, but online shopping has doubled since the pandemic

It’s not exactly surprising, but the numbers lay it bare: if Canadians are still shopping these days, they’re increasingly likely to do it online instead of in real life.

The numbers, compared to last year, when the concept of physical distancing was still a foreign one to us, are staggering. E-commerce sales more than doubled year over year, with a 110.8 per cent increase compared with May 2019. Read more about the rise of online shopping.

Online shopping has exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

What else is going on?

A new project is aiming to alleviate textbook costs for university students in Atlantic Canada:
A $35,000 pilot project is being launched to bring open education resources to Atlantic Canada.

Shopify revenue doubles amid shift to online shopping in COVID-19:
The Canadian company is reporting $36 million US in profits in the second quarter on a nearly doubling of revenues as it reaped the benefits of COVID-19 lockdowns.

Strong efforts to reduce plastic could still leave 710 million tons in the environment by 2040, study suggests:
There’s no “single solution” to reducing plastic pollution, says a co-author of the study. 

Sick of working from home during COVID? Barbados wants you to do it there:
Barbados has launched a one-year working visa giving foreigners the right to live and work remotely on the island during the pandemic. A tempting proposal!

This dock edge ladder has been recalled due to a laceration hazard:
The product has an exposed sharp edge that may pose a laceration hazard if not assembled correctly.

These gas boilers have been recalled due to a carbon monoxide poisoning risk:
If you use Triangle Tube’s Prestige Solo and Prestige Excellence Gas Boilers, you’ll want to schedule a free repair.

Marketplace needs your help

Many of us are looking to get our driveways freshly paved this summer, but not all contractors are created equal. Have you had a challenging experience with a paving contractor? Or has a door-to-door contractor taken your money and not finished the job? Tell us your story at [email protected]

Do you have a buzzworthy product that you think is bogus? Whether you’ve seen products that seem too good to be true on Instagram, trendy items on TikTok, or fishy ones on Facebook, we want to hear about it. Email us at [email protected]

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

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