Highlights from Canada's 2017 federal budget tabled Wednesday by Finance Minister Bill Morneau:
-- The deficit (as shown in the above chart) is at $23 billion, and is projected to reach $28.5 billion for 2017-18 -- including a $3 billion contingency fund -- before declining to $18.8 billion in 2021-22.
-- Employment insurance premiums are going up five cents to $1.68 per every $100 of insurable earnings, up from $1.63 -- the maximum allowable increase under the Employment Insurance Act.
-- The 71-year-old Canada Savings Bond program, first established in 1946, is no longer cost effective and is being phased out.
-- Higher taxes on alcohol and tobacco products: the excise duty rate on cigarettes goes up to $21.56 per carton of smokes from $21.03, while the rates on alcohol are going up two per cent. Both will be adjusted every April 1 starting next year, based on the consumer price index.
-- The public transit tax credit, which allows the cost of transit passes to be deducted, is being eliminated effective July 1.
-- The budget dedicates $11.2 billion to cities and provinces for affordable housing over 10 years as part of the second wave of the government's infrastructure program, $5 billion of which is to encourage housing providers to pool their resources with private partners to pay for new projects.
-- An "innovation and skills plan" to foster high-tech growth in six sectors: advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital industries, health/bio-sciences and clean resources-- $523.9 million over five years to prevent tax evasion and improve tax compliance, including more auditors, a crackdown on high-risk avoidance cases and better investigative efforts.
-- $7 billion in spending over 10 years for Canadian families, including 40,000 new subsidized daycare spaces across Canada by 2019, extended parental leave and allowing expectant mothers to claim maternity benefits 12 weeks before their due date.
-- $2.7 billion over six years for labour market transfer agreements with the provinces and territories to modernize training and job supports, to help those looking for work to upgrade skills, gain experience, start a business or get employment counselling.
-- A national database of all housing properties in Canada, known as the Housing Statistics Framework, to track details on purchases, sales, demographics and financing, as well as foreign ownership.
-- $400 million over three years through the Business Development Bank of Canada for a "venture capital catalyst initiative" to make more venture capital available to Canadian entrepreneurs.
-- A comprehensive spending review of "at least three federal departments," to be named later, to eliminate waste and inefficiencies, as well as a three-year review of federal assets and an audit of existing innovation and clean-tech programs.
-- $59.8 million over four years, beginning in 2018-19, to make student loans and grants more readily available for part-time students, and $107.4 million over the same period for assist students with dependent children.
-- $287.2 million over three years, starting in 2018-19, for a pilot project to facilitate adult-student access to student loans and grants.
-- $225 million over four years, starting in 2018-19, for a new organization to support skills development and measurement.
-- $395.5 million over three years for the youth employment strategy.
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Published by the Eastern Graphic | Full article here
History was made Friday when a group of Dr John M Gillis Memorial Lodge staff and administrators exchanged hand shakes as a new contract was signed between the community care facility in Belfast and the newly formed Gillis Lodge Employee Association.
“What’s really significant is the fact it’s the first time in PEI history I’m aware of that a sitting union was decertified and in its place we put in place an inhouse association owned and operated by the employees,” said Paul Trainor, administrator for the new association.
“It bypasses the employer versus union stuff that goes on and I think what we’re going to see is more Island firms wanting that as an alternative. Who better to fix the problems than the people that work there.”
Since 2014, staff at Gillis Lodge had been without official representation after ousting the PEI Union of Public Sector Employees with whom a majority of workers were no longer happy. “UPSE was in place but it just didn’t work for whatever reason,” said Mr Trainor.
The staff of approximately 125 were left nervous, not knowing where they were going to land. The energy in the workplace during that time was described as very negative and a stressful time for everyone.
With help from Mr Trainor who works for the PEI Business Federation, the group was able to put together a comprehensive contract to which both sides were more than eager to commit.
Jeffrey Haight works as a chef at the facility and is the president of the new employee association. Every department from administration to housekeeping is represented on the board ensuring policies are fair and encompassing of everyone’s needs with everyone on the board doing so in a volunteer capacity.
“It’s all about the residents here,” Mr Haight said “We’re working in their home and we respect them.”
Douglas MacKenzie, owner and administrator of Gillis Lodge looks forward to moving forward into the future. “This agreement will provide assurance to the staff of stable working conditions and management that can carry out its duties accordingly,” he said. “I would like to commend the staff for their dedication.”
With the new association in place, staff grievances will be handled differently as elected board members will take their own departmental concerns to management in a more streamlined fashion. “It keeps it much more civilized, professional, kind and balanced,” Mr Haight said.
The contract is a 45 page document that addresses the needs of every department.
Better wages, health and dental plan and a matched RRSP program are just some of the highlights but one of the biggest advantages to the in-house association is the major reduction in dues. Employees were paying about $500 a year but with the volunteer employee board representing them, staff will now pay $120 a year.
“They feel like they have this voice and they can say something and don’t have to hide in the corner,” said Mr Haight when asked if staff were on board with the new system. “They feel like they have support now.”
Mr Trainor hopes more small Island businesses will consider this unique alternative for their organizations.
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Three Popular Start-Up Financing Options | U.S. Small Business Administration
By kmurray, Contributor and Moderator
Published: May 21, 2014
Thinking about starting a business? Recent studies and reports have shown that entrepreneurs are more optimistic than in recent years when it comes to the state of their businesses this year, and that’s great news! But always high on the list of concerns for starting a business – even in optimistic times – is financing. Here’s a roundup of some ways, aside from avenues such as SBA-backed loans, to finance your business.
According to expert Marco Carbajo, credit cards are a major source of financing for small business owners, with statistics even showing that more than 65% of small businesses using them on a frequent basis. It’s a popular approach, but you should be sure to do your research to determine if it’s the right one for you. Here are some tips from Entrepreneur.com (link is external) to help:
Asking friends and family to borrow funds to help finance your business sounds like it could get awkward, but it doesn’t have to. Treat the process just as professionally as you would an engagement with a bank. If you done right, you can potentially gain quicker access to the cash you need and jump through fewer hoops – after all, your friends or family already know you. Read more about borrowing from friends and family in our article here, but think about these highlights as you consider this option:
Increasingly, crowdfunding is becoming a popular way for people to get startup financing for their businesses. You’ve probably heard of Kickstarter campaigns – that’s crowdfunding. It works through a collective cooperation of people who network and pool their money and resources together, usually online, to support efforts initiated by others. So it gathers multiple, smaller investments as opposed to a single source of funding. You can read more about the details here, but here are three other key considerations from Entrepreneur.com (link is external):
Beyond a “traditional” track of securing a loan from a bank, there are quite a few avenues to consider for financing your business. And with passion, professionalism and planning, you’ll establish a good foundation for success down any of these paths.
“We’re now out of beta and accepting applications,” said Andrew Graham, chief executive of Borrowell, a 100%-online firm that aims to provide fixed term loans to Canadian retail borrowers on better terms than available through credit card companies or banks. “We believe Canadians deserve better borrowing options,” adds Graham, noting that developments in Canada lag behind what’s happening in other markets, particularly the U.S. and the U.K.
But the domestic market is huge. Based on estimates provided by Equifax, Borrowell says Canadians currently own more than $80 billion in credit card debt with a typical interest rate of 19.9 per cent or higher.
Borrowell will fund those fixed rate loans – indeed match them – through fixed rate term deposits with its team of backers that also include some prominent individuals.
Certainly the banks are aware of the potential competition that marketplace lenders offer. For instance:
Support for Small Business Online
Minister Findlay participates in Facebook's Small Business Boost launch to help small businesses learn the digital skills needed to succeed
January 20, 2015 – Coquitlam, B.C. – Industry Canada
The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Minister of National Revenue and Member of Parliament for Delta– Richmond East, spoke to an audience of Vancouver- area small business owners and entrepreneurs at the launch of the Facebook Small Business Boost program. The Minister underscored the Harper Government's efforts to ensure that the right conditions are in place for entrepreneurs and small business owners to start a business and create jobs in the digital economy.
Minister Findlay noted the importance of social media and digital adoption in helping small businesses attract new customers and succeed. She further outlined how the government's plan for the digital economy, under Digital Canada 150, is creating opportunities for businesses of all sizes.
Facebook's Small Business Boost is a networking and information event organized by Facebook's Small Business Team to show local business owners best practices and strategies on how they can use Facebook to help grow and manage their businesses. The event features discussions with local companies that have used Facebook to find new customers and become more engaged with existing customers.
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