Business news

November 01, 2021

Is your company among the "Best Employers" in Canada?

While employees certainly care about salaries and benefits, it's the total package that matters more, according to a recent study from Aon Hewitt entitled Best Employers In Canada.

Organizations are selected as top employers based primarily on survey responses from more than 134,000 Canadian employees at 251 Canadian companies. 

According to Aon Hewitt's definition, employees are engaged when they "say, stay and strive": they speak positively about the organization to others, are committed to a long-term career, and are motivated by their organizations' culture and values to go "above and beyond" to get the job done. 

While the list contains many of the same names that have led the way in previous years past, a few companies have climbed the ladder, and almost 20 new employers have climbed on board.

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October 26, 2021

Are red light cameras simply a hidden tax?

Across the country, more and more intersections are sporting cameras designed to catch vehicles running red lights and reduce traffic accidents.

Earlier this year, for instance, the City of Ottawa doubled – 33 intersections across the city are now being monitored for red light infractions, up from 18 sites – the number of intersections equipped with cameras to nab careless drivers who run red lights.

But are these robotic photographers really up to the task of prevention or are they simply municipal fund generators?

It's currently a $325-fine for running a red light in the nation’s capital – $490 if you blow through a school zone.

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August 16, 2021

Underground economy on the upswing: report

Here’s a big shock: Most Canadians have, at some point, paid cash for goods and services to avoid paying tax.

A recent poll found 19% of respondents take advantage of under-the-table opportunities just about every chance they get. Another 38% said they don’t do it regularly, but have done it once or twice. Only one-quarter of Canadians said they would never pay cash in order to get a tax break.

Ontarians are most likely to take advantage of the underground economy by paying cash while residents of B.C. and Atlantic Canada are least likely, the numbers suggest.

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July 08, 2021

Are you expecting a wage freeze this year?

Hey, at least somebody’s getting a raise.

As local Chinese governments raise minimum-wage requirements — and impatient workers clamour for higher salaries — pay scales in China are expected to rise sharply.

Foxconn, China's largest contract manufacturer, which produces goods for Apple and other electronics giants, implemented a one-time minimum-wage increase of more than 33% to 1,200 yuan a month — only to double that bump a week later. And Honda workers recently won a 35% pay raise following two week strike.

Back on the farm here in Canada, things don’t look as promising. The average salary increase is projected to be 2.8% nationally this year, up from the 2.2% increase actually awarded in 2009. In fact, 6.5 % of employers are planning to freeze salaries altogether, according to Hewitt & Associates.

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April 23, 2021

Most business owners don’t understand new HST rules

The Ontario government's decision to harmonize the federal and provincial sales tax into a single 13% tariff should do wonders for the underground economy, predicts Cyndee Todgham Cherniak, a tax lawyer with Lang Michener in Toronto who tracks the changes on The HST Blog.

The new tax, which will take effect in July and apply to a much wider array of goods and services – vitamins, gasoline, plane tickets and Christmas trees, to name just a few – is such that just about everyone is going to want to start paying cash again.

Not that every analyst agrees: No group is significantly worse off or better off as a result of the province's HST plan, claims Ernie Lightman, a University of Toronto economist who co-authored a recent report entitled Not a Tax Grab After All: A Second Look at Ontario's HST.

In fact, the vast majority of Ontarians will either be slightly better off or unaffected by the tax changes, he maintains.

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April 18, 2021

Workers admit to being habitually late for work: Report

Does your morning routine typically involve hitting the snooze button and then scrambling to get out the door?

A new Careeerbuilder survey reveals that 16% of workers arrive late to work at least once a week. What's worse, almost one-in-ten admit to showing up late at least twice a week.

Actual reasons for being tardy vary from worker to worker, traffic is the main culprit with close to one-third (32%) of workers claiming it caused their tardiness. Nearly a quarter (24%) point to lack of sleep, while seven percent pin the blame on getting their kids ready for school or day care. 

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March 11, 2022

New scam targets Madoff victims

As if the poor folks ruined by convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff don’t have enough problems, a new phishing scam is hoping they’ll bite one more time.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is alerting investors about a phony web site that falsely claims to have recovered $1.3 billion in funds hidden by Madoff in Malaysia.

The site claims to be home to the non-existent "International Security Investor Protection Corporation" and bears a convincing likeness to the Securities Investor Protection Corporation's (the entity formed by the U.S. Congress to assist customers of insolvent brokerage firms) own web site, mimicking its look, feel, and content.  

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April 15, 2021

Conquest Vacations ceases operations

By James Havers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

Tour operator Conquest Vacations Inc. has announced the cessation of its operations effective immediately.

In a posting on its website, the company says customers who booked and paid using cash or cheque should contact their travel agency with respect to a refund or claim. Customers who booked directly with Conquest should email with a booking reference number.

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February 25, 2022

Hey that's my beach house!

Wallet By Dawn Cuthbertson, Sympatico / MSN Finance

I've always wondered what Wall and Bay Street bankers did with their multi-million dollar salaries.

I envision secret vaults in their homes bursting with mountains of crisp dollar bills. Or private jets whisking them away to exotic places like Bora Bora for the weekend

Then I read an article in the NY Times and my bubble burst.

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February 17, 2022

Internet policy review threatens higher cable bills

By Deirdre McMurdy, Sympatico / MSN Finance

The federal broadcast regulator has launched extensive hearings that explore whether the internet has become another channel for broadcasting and need to have its own Canadian content rules and other guidelines for its future evolution.

It all sounds sufficiently high concept and non-threatening, but for consumers - specifically the millions of cable customers in Canada - this process has a potentially pricey outcome: if a tax is imposed on cable companies to help pay for the production of new Canadian content, that will almost certainly be passed along to end users. That means internet access will become more expensive at a time when few households are able to pay more for anything.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...