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The suit, which has yet to be certified, claims that some 2,500 third-party couriers are Amazon employees and owed millions in unpaid wages from the e-commerce giant. (Toronto Star)

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Talking point: The proposed class action coincides with an ongoing case before the Ontario Labour Relations Board alleging Amazon blocked subcontracted delivery drivers in the Toronto area from unionizing. In both cases, drivers’ representatives argue that, while couriers are technically employed by independent delivery companies, they rely on Amazon for the bulk of their work and are required to follow the tech giant’s policies and processes. The class action also includes drivers using Amazon’s Flex app, an on-demand delivery service that works something like Uber. Amazon considers these couriers independent, though the suit claims they are misclassified; that they should have employee status including benefits, minimum wage and paid sick leave.

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“LifeLabs exposed British Columbians, along with millions of other Canadians, to potential identity theft, financial loss and reputational harm,” B.C. information and privacy commissioner Michael McEvoy said in a statement regarding a joint investigation into a breach last year at the laboratory-testing company. (CBC News)

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Talking point: LifeLabs revealed last December that hackers had gained access to the personal information of up to 15 million customers in Ontario and B.C. that fall, and that the company was forced to pay a ransom to retrieve and secure the data. The privacy commissioners of both provinces have instructed LifeLabs to strengthen its security policies, finding that it collected more personal information than “reasonably necessary.” The company has reportedly started to do that by hiring a chief privacy officer and chief information officer; it has also hired Deloitte Canada to evaluate its response to the ransomware cyberattack. In their statements, the commissioners said the publication of their full report was being delayed by the company’s claim that the information provided to them for the investigation was confidential. “This investigation also reinforces the need for changes to B.C.’s laws that allow regulators to consider imposing financial penalties on companies that violate people’s privacy rights,” McEvoy said.

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Six companies purchased a 49 per cent combined stake in the state-owned ADNOC Gas Pipeline Assets, which will have lease rights to 38 pipelines. (The Logic)

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Talking point: This is the largest energy infrastructure deal of 2020. It comes as oil prices are starting to rise, with U.S. crude above US$40 for the first time since March. However, both Brookfield and Ontario Teachers’ described this as a long-term investment. “This strategic transaction is attractive to Ontario Teachers’ as it provides us with a stake in a high-quality infrastructure asset with stable long-term cash flows, which will help us deliver on our pension promise,” said the pension’s chief investment officer Ziad Hindo. Shift Action, an environmental group, criticized the move, saying Teachers’ is “putting the hard-earned retirement savings of thousands of working and retired teachers at risk by investing in a massive piece of fossil fuel infrastructure in the midst of a worsening climate crisis and a volatile disruption to global energy markets.”

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As first reported by The Globe and Mail and BetaKit, multiple proposals have emerged to save the Toronto accelerator, whose chief backers include Oxford Properties Group and its parent Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System pension fund. Bidders include the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)—a provincially and federally funded agency that was a founding partner of OneEleven—and Mohamad Fakih, a Toronto entrepreneur known best for owning Paramount Fine Foods. (The Logic, The Globe and Mail, BetaKit)

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Talking point: OneEleven, whose alumni include Canadian financial technology companies Wealthsimple and Borrowell, announced its closure in April, citing financial constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Startups were told to vacate and arrange new terms with Oxford. Over a month later, there are competing visions for its revival. OCE hopes to make the accelerator a not-for-profit organization that helps startups find financing to grow. A spokesperson told The Logic the agency is in conversations with “numerous partners,” including “very positive” discussions with MaRS, to save it. Fakih told The Logic he believes it should be a private space “for entrepreneurs, run by entrepreneurs” and not be “a bureaucratic organisation that costs taxpayer money.” His proposal includes buying OneEleven and launching a seed fund to invest in early-stage startups who want to help it transform into “a lean, profit-centre that would continue to grow organically off its own revenues and investments.”

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With plans to produce 1,000 tonnes of cobalt a year by 2021, First Cobalt aims to become the first North American producer of the metal that reduces fire risk and extends the life cycle of lithium-ion batteries. (Reuters)

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Talking point: Though the Democratic Republic of Congo provides the majority of the world’s red-brown, salt-like material, it is primarily refined in China, leaving much of the world’s electric vehicle production vulnerable to the latter’s economic self-interests. Yet betting on electric cars is a fraught business. The bankruptcy of Quebec’s Nemaska Lithium in December underscores the fact that electrification of the world’s rolling stock has yet to fully materialize even before the collapse in demand caused by the pandemic.