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Canada Cannabis News: How do EVs hold up in a crisis?; Airline complaint backlog at all-time high: 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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EV charging stations can’t compete with gas stations in a crisis, driver says

A selfie of a woman and her partner posing in front of their vehicle charging.
Hagen, left, with her boyfriend, Grant, pose for a selfie while their electric vehicle charges in Squamish, B.C. (Grant Sullivan)

When Jamella Hagen and her boyfriend planned a four-day road trip to bring his new electric pickup truck from Vancouver to Whitehorse, she anticipated challenges.

She knew the gaps between fast chargers in the North, so they planned stops in communities with EV charging stations.

What she did not anticipate were the wildfires.

“Our choice to drive an EV was an attempt to reduce our personal impact on climate change,” she wrote in a CBC First Person column. “But on the road, we encountered climate change disasters all around us, and we had to cope with them while learning to use a new and still fragile charging network.”

Some of the routes Hagen planned to take were shut down and redirected to make room for evacuees leaving Kelowna and the Shuswap region. 

Knowing the EV truck wouldn’t make a long distance between chargers, Hagen made unexpected stops, like a hotel where a charger was a 20 minute walk away. Hardly unusual, she said, as she often finds EV chargers located in inconvenient places, such as the edges of town or behind buildings.

“If I was travelling as a single woman, I would have found myself missing the comfort of a brightly lit gas station on a lonely stretch of highway.”

Overall, Hagen says she’ll still consider buying an electric vehicle herself while living in the north, but only if her family had an additional, fuel-powered car at the ready.  Read more

Energy drinks can harm teen health. Here’s what experts say parents can do

Brightly coloured cans with the word "PRIME" in white capital letters are seen on store shelves. A woman is visible in the background reaching for a shelf.
Prime energy drinks have been recalled in Canada due to caffeine levels higher than the legal Canadian limit. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Most teenagers have heard about the health risks of smoking, drinking and consuming cannabis. 

But there’s another popular and potentially harmful product they’re likely hearing less about: energy drinks. 

The drinks usually contain high doses of caffeine and sugar, and are popular among teens in large part due to online influencers.   

Energy drink sales in Canada jumped from $851 million to $1.1 billion between 2018 and 2022, according to Euromonitor, a market research firm.

Children and teens shouldn’t be consuming caffeine at all, said Dr. Oliver Drouin, a pediatrician and clinician scientist at the CHU Sainte-Justine in Montreal. He says he’s heard from some teens that they regularly have more than one of the drinks a day. 

Health Canada does provide a safe maximum amount of caffeine for kids and teens in a day: 2.5 mg per kilogram of body weight. So a safe amount of caffeine for a teen could range from 100 to 140 mg per day. 

In July, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency recalled more than two dozen energy drink brands due to caffeine content higher than the legal limit of 180 mg per serving in Canada. 

Teenagers can experience a range of symptoms from consuming energy drinks, Drouin said, including jitteriness, heart palpitations, increased heart rate and difficulty sleeping.  

In his practice, he says he sees teens who have heartburn, diarrhea, upset stomach and anxiety, which he says can be attributed to the drinks.

For parents and caregivers concerned about their kids consuming energy drinks, experts say the best way to approach the topic is through a lens of curiosity, rather than a lecture or an outright ban on the drinks. 

“When we use control it’s going to either invite full rebellion or sneaky behaviour,” said Alyson Schafer, a family counsellor and parenting expert in Toronto. 

The conversation can be similar whether it’s about energy drinks, drugs, or any other substance, she said. 

“You want to be an agent of influence; influence their behaviours — because kids will decide for themselves.” 

Instead of laying down the law, both Schafer and Drouin suggest that parents ask teens what they’ve heard about energy drinks, why they drink them, and how they make them feel. 

“Genuine listening, I think, goes a long way when talking to teenagers,” said Drouin. Read more 

Air passenger complaints backlog tops 57,000 — a new peak

A frustrated passenger in a red parka rests their head in their hands and leans on a baggage cart at Vancouver International Airport.
A passenger is pictured navigating mass delays at Vancouver International Airport after a heavy snowfall on Dec. 20, 2022. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The backlog of air passenger complaints at Canada’s transport regulator has hit a new high, topping 57,000, as dissatisfaction over cancellations and compensation persist three and a half years after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The numbers reveal that an average of more than 3,000 complaints per month have piled up at the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) over the past year, with the current tally well over three times the total from September 2022

The CTA has not responded to a request to comment. Read more

What else is going on?

Canada’s inflation rate has risen to 4%
Experts say it’s largely due to the increase in gasoline prices.

Experts are sounding the alarm on dangerously hot apartments
A CBC exclusive investigation found people in five major cities living in homes that stayed above 26 C — the maximum indoor temperature considered safe by experts — the majority of the time.

Trans teens and youth say gender-affirming care is ‘life-changing.’ So why is it so hard to find in Canada?
Lack of local access to care, current political landscape puts trans, non-binary youth at risk, experts say

Marketplace needs your help!

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Attention new drivers! We want to hear your experiences with taking driving lessons. Send us your stories: the good, the bad and the bizarre:

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