Food insecurity in Nunavut and plastic surgeon removes cameras: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

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Food insecurity rising in Nunavut

You might think you pay a lot for groceries, but have you shopped in Canada’s North? Even with the revamped $100 million Nutrition North food subsidy program, prices are still the highest in the country. A study published this week found food insecurity in Nunavut has actually increased since the introduction of the program in 2011. We travelled to Iqaluit to investigate what’s behind the food price crisis.

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Plastic surgeon removes cameras from consult rooms

When you walk into the treatment room at a doctor’s office, you expect total privacy. But we discovered security cameras during our report on the marketing practices associated with breast augmentation — on the ceiling of a closed-door consultation room at the Toronto Cosmetic Surgery Institute, owned by Dr. Martin Jugenburg. Now, he’s facing a formal allegation of professional misconduct from the regulatory body for doctors in Ontario.

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Would you feel safe living next to an Airbnb?

Airbnb listings can be a convenient source of extra cash for homeowners, but some people living next to them say they’re attracting crime. Residents in Ottawa’s ByWard Market say theft, prostitution and public nudity are just some of the things they’ve witnessed since the so-called ghost hotels popped up. In our investigation, we spoke with guests who were asked to lie and sneak around their Airbnb rentals.

This naked man was caught on surveillance camera stealing a flag from an Ottawa home on St. Andrew Street mid-April. (Supplied)

Man charged thousands for 1-night hotel stay

Picture this: you need to book a hotel room for a business trip tomorrow evening, you log onto, pick a $200 room and check out in a bit of a rush. You make the purchase, print the receipt, and when you look down you notice you’ve been charged over $6,000 for a one-night stay. That’s exactly what happened to Justin Smerchanski and he says when he tried to get a refund, Expedia gave him the runaround for days.

Justin Smerchanski has been fighting Expedia after the booking website billed him $6,180 for a one night stay at a Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Willmar, Minn. (Submitted by Justin Smerchanski)

Weight loss ‘grants’ program fails to pay up

As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The so-called Weight Loss Grants Program advertised “get paid to lose weight,” but customers say when they held up their end of the bargain and shed the pounds, the private (for-profit) company wouldn’t pay out, or dragged customer claims out for months before cutting a cheque.

Jenn Granger, left, Larry Smith, centre, and Richel Prevost are among many program participants who say they believed it was government sponsored because the company running it called it a grants program. (CBC)

What else is going on?

Homemade, natural sunscreens may leave you risking a burn. Homemade sunscreens on Pinterest may look pretty and smell even prettier, but according to new research, most of them won’t shield you from sunburn or skin cancer.

Restrictions to alcohol content in sugary drinks take effect across Canada. Until now, one can could contain up to 11.9 per cent alcohol, the equivalent of about four standard alcoholic drinks.

Why some experts say it’s time for Twitter and Facebook to ban anti-vaccination posts. They say the risks to public health created by misinformation outweigh the right to free speech.

More Americans are coming to Canada to fill prescriptions. Pharmacists are seeing a quiet resurgence of the practice in recent years, and some say it could disrupt the Canadian supply.

The latest in recalls

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US is recalling almost 200,000 vehicles for a power steering issue. The problem is with a contaminated wiring harness which could interrupt an electrical circuit, causing stalling or intermittent loss of power steering.

These President’s Choice To-Go Tumblers pose a fire hazard when placed in the microwave; these Pousses et Cie brand Mix Spicy Microgreens could possibly be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes; this Laskol brand Chrzan contains milk which is not declared on the label; this electric bicycle’s stem can break, posing a crash hazard to the rider.

Our television season has wrapped, but you can catch up on previous Marketplace investigations on CBC Gem. From scams, misleading marketing claims, to products and services that could put your health at risk, we are working on bringing you brand new investigations this fall. If you have a story you think we should be covering, email us at

The Marketplace team

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