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Still Waiting…

I had hoped for details on any change to the intellectual property provisions of NAFTA by the first of August but it appears too early, even for speculation.

A new council had been created earlier this month and there are concerns about privacy. But nothing yet as too what else the United Stated will want changed.

Unfortunately, our government has extended our copyright term from 50 to 70 years due to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement so now we’ve got to wait twenty more years for copyrighted works to enter the public domain, regardless of the fact that the United States has withdrawn from the agreement.

I certainly hope they will not go after our ability to make private copies of recordings for personal use or attempt to resurrect proposals to tax hard drives and flash media. But I am hoping they will negotiate higher exemptions for personal importations by mail.

As it stands most imported parcels valued under $20 are exempt from duties and taxes, as stipulated on the Canadian Border Services Agency web site. And I think this amount is way too low.

eBay had proposed a higher de minimis threshold for Canadians since July 2016 and had created an official Parlimentary petition that year and a petition for its users earlier this year.

They published a study (PDF) by the C.D Howe Institute and I’m guessing from eBay’s response to the renewed NAFTA negotiations that they will petition the government again on this issue.

According to a 2016 Nanos Research poll, 76% of Canadian respondents want a $200 exemption and over 15,000 Canadians had signed the official Parlimentary petition that year, so i’m guessing eBay will bring attention to this issue again durring the negotiations.

I will, of course, keep an eye out for new information and will update this site a.s.a.p.

Last Day For Domestic Shipping

Today’s the last day to get those standard shipping parcels out to Canadian addresses, if you want them to be received on December 23rd, 2016 :

Amazon.ca will be offering their Prime Members and Amazon Students free two day delivery until 9pm PST on December 21st, 2016 and paid one day delivery until 9pm PST on December 22nd, 2016. Prime members in Toronto and Vancouver can have same day deliveries up to Saturday, the 24th.

Microsoft Canadaicon is offering free expedited shipping on in stock products until Noon, today.

Newegg.ca is offering ground shipping on in stock items to Ontario and Quebec until December 20th, 2016. Express shipping to the Territories and Atlantic provinces ends on December 21st whilst express shipping to the remainder of the provinces ends on December 22nd.

Sears Canada is offering free priority shipping on orders over $50 to the cities of Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Regina, Saskatoon, St. Johns, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria or Winnipeg. This offer ends on December 21st, 2016.

And note that Gift cards are always available…

Canada Post Security Warning + Postal Strike Update

Canada Post has issued a warning stating that official looking emails have been circulating asking people to click on link for tracking information on parcels that are non-existent.

Clicking on this link results in the downloading of a virus so Canada Post advises people to copy and paste the tracking number of these parcels into the official site.

If you receive one of these emails and are not waiting for a package to be delivered, delete the email.

In regards to the possibility of a postal strike, the 30 day extension will end on the 8th of August and both parties are expected to enter into binding arbitration. The Union is planning a rally in Montreal on the 6th from Parc Saint-Alphonse to the Prime Minister’s constituency office on Jarry Street East.

eBay Wants Changes In Duties

A study published by the CD Howe Institute is the latest attempt by eBay to get the Canadian government to consider raising the duty free thresholds.

Most postal shipments valued at under $20 and gift shipments valued at under $60 (in Canadian funds) that are imported into Canada are not subject to duties and taxes. And this eBay commissioned report studies the possible effects of a hike of this threshold to $80, $100 and $200 (in Canadian funds).

Apparently the authors of this study have found “that an increase of the DMT in Canada will be fiscally neutral or even positive for the federal government” and that such an increase would “likely to yield a net economic benefit for Canada”.

The American threshold was raised from $200 to $800 (in American funds) last February so hopefully the government will consider a higher threshold, reducing a need for paperwork for eBay sellers and Amazon Marketplace merchants outside of Canada. But the study does not include information in regards to the impact of these changes to Canadian retailers so the government would likely need to commission a report on the issue as well.

For additional information on importing music by mail you can either click here to read my article on saving by importing films and music or click here for the official information issued by the Canadian Borders Services Agency.

Canada Post Warns Of Delays Due To Weather

Canada Post has issued an advisory stating that deliveries may be delayed in some areas due to severe weather. Click here for details.

Alternatives To Zip.ca

Now that Zip.ca has closed its doors I’m sure some of you are looking for alternatives, so I thought I’d provide a few.

Unfortunately there are few alternatives when it comes to rentals by mail now that zip.ca is gone.

It appears that only DVD Link is offering a mail rental service at the moment. But their rates are pretty good at $9.95 to $54.99, depending on how many DVDs or Blu-Rays you want to rent per month. And unlike zip.ca, this Vancouver based company rents games and don’t charge more for Blu-Ray rentals.

People who like renting from kiosks will of course fare better because Redbox  just recently expanded into the Atlantic Provinces and Western Canada.

Redbox kiosks have pretty much invaded my city (Ottawa), and can be found at most Sobeys, Loblaws/Real Canadian Superstore, Walmart and Giant Tiger stores.

They’ve placed kiosks at quite a few of those stores through-out Canada, both indoors and outdoors. And I like them because you don’t need to return your discs at the specific Redbox kiosk they were rented from.

I believe they’ve replaced most of the Bestbuy Movie Kiosk locations at the 7-Eleven, Mac’s, Safeway, Real Canadian Superstore and Walmart stores in western Canada. And possibly the Moviemagic kiosks in Ontario as well.

In the Montreal area they have opened locations at IGA stores. But until they expand further the best solution for rentals in the province of Quebec are the Superclub Videotron stores.

Independent stores can still be found in the largest cities, through-out Canada. But the largest video rental store chain in Canada is now Jumbo Video/Superclub Videotron, which operate stores in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.

Quebecor Media owns both of these chains along with Microplay, a chain that rents videogames from some of the Jumbo Video/Superclub Videotron locations. But whether these chains will fold like Rogers Video and Blockbuster Video is unknown.

High speed internet remains prohibitively expensive in many areas, especially in rural communities, so renting individual films from iTunes, Netlix, Cineplex or Cinemanow may still not be a viable option for some.

Another option is to bite the bullet and rent films via the on demand and pay per view services offered by the cable and satellite companies. But at $5.99 to $7.99 per film this can get quite expensive.

They do occasionally offer some discounts on The Movie Network/TMN Encore and Super Ecran but the delays on new films remain on those channels and I’ve found that the Hollywood Suite package is much better if you’re mostly interested in classic films. The later is much more affordable at the moment.

Those are pretty much my suggestions on this matter. I will of course post updates, if some occur. I hope that you found this information useful.

UPDATE : Redbox left the Canadian market in Early 2015, significantly reducing our options. Some public libraries have limited selections of rentals offline but it appears that online film rentals have killed off the physical rental market in Canada. Click here for my first impressions on the Shomi service.