“We will sue you:” Calgary company charged by province with price hikes in pandemic

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks at a press conference in Edmonton on February 24, 2020.

JASON FRANSON / The Canadian Press

Alberta has charged excessive prices for COVID-19 to a Calgary supply company, but the owner says that he pays massively inflated prices only for supplies such as masks and disinfectants.

“I’m trying to compete globally – globally. The price is going to be higher, “said Yan Gong, owner of CCA Logistics Ltd., on Friday.

“Either we make small profits, or we donate (materials) to local communities.”

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Earlier Friday, Premier Jason Kenney announced that CCA is the first company to be charged with price increases during the Alberta pandemic.

He said his government would drop the hammer of those seeking to make exorbitant profits from the health crisis.

“If you think you are going to force-feed your fellow Albertans with ridiculous price increases, by exploiting the pandemic, you have another thing to come,” said Kenney. “We will pursue you and launch the book to you.” “

Kenney said investigators discovered last month that CCA Logistics was charging $ 120 for a mask (a 400% increase) and $ 39 for a hand sanitizer (200% increase). The company was charged after ignoring a stop warning.

Gong questioned government comparisons.

On the $ 39 hand sanitizer, Gong said it was for an oversized bottle of specialty antibacterial soap.

“It’s 1,000 milliliters,” said Gong. “You can use it all summer. “

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Gong added that his company was not only trying to bring supplies. He is part of a group that also donates supplies to grocery chains and the community.

He is scheduled to appear in Calgary Provincial Court on August 19. He said he wouldn’t take a lawyer.

“I’m going to go on stage and tell the judge what happened. “

Companies convicted of price hikes risk fines of up to $ 300,000.

To date, the province has reported that it has received 458 complaints about price increases related to COVID-19. Of these, 351 are to be investigated.

Complaints include margins on items, including masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, soup, flour, toilet paper, infant formula, ground beef and grated cheese.

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Alberta has reported its first COVID-19 case for nine weeks.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province’s chief medical officer of health, reported 81 new cases on Friday, bringing the total to 5,983. Of these cases, two-thirds have recovered. There was also another death, bringing the total to 115.

The province is struggling with outbreaks primarily in beef processing plants and long-term care facilities.

Hinshaw said Alberta now has its first segregation case: an inmate at the Calgary Remand Center.

She said that the person showed no signs of COVID-19 but was placed in the quarantine unit upon arrival. The detainees were placed in a cell with a roommate who also showed no symptoms, but the following night was sick. The two detainees are now isolated.

Hinshaw said six people at Canada Post’s main sorting center north of Calgary were also infected.

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Hospitalization rates in Alberta – a key indicator for assessing the epidemic – remain stable or declining. There are currently 80 people hospitalized, including 17 in intensive care.

Kenney announced last week that the government would slowly begin to allow businesses and services to reopen.

Golf courses and shooting ranges can now open on a limited basis, and dentists, physiotherapists, social workers and other similar health professionals can also resume operations, subject to the health rules of their professional bodies.

The main economic recovery is scheduled for May 14, with retailers, museums, barbers and hairdressers authorized to open their doors. Public gatherings must be limited to a maximum of 15 people.

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