Are we doing enough to fight COVID-19? How to get a flight refund: CBC's Marketplace consumer 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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It’s a special edition of your Marketplace

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, the Marketplace team released a pandemic special, looking into how other countries are tackling the pandemic and more.

Last week, we received hundreds of notes from our viewers across the country with questions, concerns, and tips about what you wanted to know about the COVID-19 pandemic.

We heard you loud and clear. Our journalists have been working harder than ever to bring you the latest on the crisis and to keep Canadians up-to-date on what’s happening here at home and around the world.

It hasn’t been easy. Many of us have been working from our living rooms, while others have had to get creative to conduct interviews via FaceTime and Skype, or by using clever workarounds to make sure our hosts and videographers are still practicing social distancing.

But we put together a show we’re really proud of and one that asks a lot of questions about how we might proceed during these difficult times.

As we adjust to this new normal, we hope you’ll watch this week’s episode.

School may be cancelled in Canada, but in Taiwan, it’s business, mostly, as usual. (CBC News)

Taiwan took fast action to stop COVID-19. Can Canada?

As countries in Europe and North America scramble to contain the spread of the coronavirus, many health and safety experts are looking to Taiwan as a model for how to respond to the pandemic.

Marketplace wanted to know: What is Taiwan doing that we aren’t?

While schools are shut down across Canada, and many adults are now working from home, businesses, restaurants, and schools are still open in Taiwan.

The country has also taken strides to prevent price-gouging and make sure items like hand sanitizer and face masks are available to all.

Meanwhile, we talk to a Canadian family about what life has been like since they began social distancing. It’s a very different story on this side of the world.

Plus, host David Common speaks with Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaushieh Joseph Wu about what Canada can learn from his island’s efforts. Read more.

Marketplace’s Asha Tomlinson interviews a grocery shopper, from a safe distance away. (CBC News)

Supermarkets often limit sale items. Why didn’t they act sooner to place limits during COVID-19?

If you’ve been to a store recently, you’ve likely had some trouble finding things like hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and maybe even some food items.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen Canadians across the country stocking up on supplies in anticipation of weeks of social isolation. But companies’ public assurances that their suppliers won’t run out of product aren’t doing much to make essential items consistently available.

This week, Marketplace host Asha Tomlinson speaks with shoppers (from an appropriate distance away, of course) to see how they’re feeling and a pandemic expert to find out what drives us to panic buy when the going gets tough.

Then we ask the Retail Council of Canada to see why grocers haven’t done more to ensure Canadians have what they need. Read more.

Many airlines are offering passengers credits but not refunds. (CBC News)

Cancelled flight? Here’s how to fight for a refund

It’s an uncertain time for consumers looking to get some answers on what to do about their cancelled flights amidst the pandemic.

Many airlines have quickly changed their policies to give passengers credits for their cancelled flights. But several viewers who spoke to Marketplace say they’re still not satisfied with the response from Canada’s airlines. They want their money back instead of a credit.

On this week’s episode, Marketplace’s Erica Johnson investigates why — for the most part — that’s not happening, even as there are discussions about airlines seeking a government bailout.

We talked to passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs who says Canadians have the right to a flight refund.

Here’s his advice:

  • Record your phone calls. It’s legal in Canada.
  • Keep good records, including screenshots and emails.
  • Read up on your rights.
  • Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
  • Ask to speak with a supervisor.
  • If all else fails, sue.

“I would say first passengers should try to get a refund through the airline, then they should try to get a refund through the credit cards and if that doesn’t work, I would sue both the airline and the credit card company,” says Lukacs.

Marketplace heard from whistleblowers at UPS about concerns their employer isn’t doing enough to keep workers safe and healthy amid the outbreak. (CBC News)

UPS drivers want bosses to do more to protect them from virus

At a time when many stores are closed to foot traffic, UPS drivers have still been busy, and are coming into contact with dozens of people per day. The company employs 12,000 Canadians, and Marketplace host Makda Ghebreslassie spoke to several employees who are urging their bosses to put more precautions in place to protect them from coming into contact with the virus.

They say items that health officials say can prevent the spread of COVID-19 like disinfectant wipes and latex gloves haven’t been made available, and they’re concerned the company hasn’t been properly sanitizing vehicles before use. Watch here.

What else you need to know

Working from home for the first time? Here’s how to make it a success

If you’re stuck at home, you probably want to read these tips.

Tracking the coronavirus

Stay informed with the latest data on the number of COVID-19 cases.

Recovering COVID-19 patient describes what it was like to have the virus

David Anzarouth is going public to persuade others to take the novel coronavirus seriously

This week on Marketplace

We’ve got lots more on what you need to know to be prepared for coronovirus on this week’s show.

It’s a special edition of your Marketplace, and our hosts have been working hard to bring you the latest on COVID-19.

Watch the full episode here, and past episodes of Marketplace, on CBC Gem, YouTube, and CBC TV.

We want to hear from you

Many of us are working from home during this pandemic but Marketplace is still on the case. Send us your stories. Email us at

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