Legal affairs

March 02, 2022

Where to go when the tax man simply won't listen

In case you missed it, J. Paul Dubé, who became Canada’s first Taxpayers’ Ombudsman in February 2008, has been reappointed for another five years.

Taxes For many beleaguered taxpayers, this is a good thing as Dubé, a former criminal defense lawyer, can help them resolve individual service complaints and deal with a somewhat opaque system.

Dubé's office will review a complaint only after all the CRA's internal complaint resolution mechanisms have been exhausted, however.

As well, his brief is limited to service-related complaints, not issues relating to tax policy or program legislation or matters that are before the courts.

Continue reading »

February 24, 2022

Is employee theft on the rise?

Customer theft, including shoplifting and organized retail crime accounts for roughly 42.4% of shrink in most businesses, followed closely by employee theft at 35.3%, according to the most recent edition of the Global Retail Theft Barometer.

Theft Assuming you’ve given up on the first category, how do you handle less-than-honest coworkers? Say someone at the store is offering your employer’s immediate-family-only discount to just about everybody she meets. What should you do?

Talk to her directly and remind her of the rules; notify management anonymously or simply let it slide, since it’s really a victimless crime?

Continue reading »

February 18, 2022

Are you mooching off your neighbour’s Wi-Fi

According to a recent survey, 32 percent of Americans admit to surfing on their neighbour’s open Wi-Fi networks.

That’s up from 18 percent in 2008, reports USA Today, and there's no reason to think that the Canadian numbers are that much different.

Wifi According to experts, that's a practice that puts you and your sensitive information at risk.

"The reality is that many consumers have not taken the steps to protect themselves," says Kelly Davis-Felner, marketing director at the Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit trade group that commissioned the survey.

Continue reading »

February 07, 2022

Should struggling retirees consider going bankrupt?

The number of Canadians filing for bankruptcy protection in retirement has soared in recent years, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada.

The share of insolvent consumers among people aged 55 and older has more than quadrupled in the past decade, sneaking past 20 per cent.

Not only do seniors have limited ability to earn income, most are reluctant to discuss money troubles openly, leaving them stranded when debt burdens grow overwhelming.

But, for older people, bankruptcy is usually not a particularly good choice, says accountant Douglas Hoyes, a licensed trustee in bankruptcy.

Continue reading »

February 03, 2022

Homeowners band together to fight increased property taxes

While New Westminster, B.C.'s residential property assessments went up by more than 9 per cent overall, some homeowners have been hit with a much higher increase.

James Crosty, a local citizen advocate, saw the assessed value of his condo increase by a whopping 52 per cent, prompting him to reach out to neighbours and band together to appeal their assessments.
You might want to do the same.

Keep in mind that it's one thing to explode over an unexpected jump in your bill and quite another to crawl through the labyrinth of assessment procedures -- most of which vary sharply among provinces, and even from city to city.

Continue reading »

January 24, 2022

Disinheriting family members can be tough to do

Many Canadians would be surprised to learn they don’t always have the last word when it comes to decisions about who inherits their money.

Will In certain circumstances, lawyers report, the courts are becoming more sympathetic to the rights of estranged family members who’ve been cut out of a will.

Essentially, they’re saying that you can’t, for instance, simply cut one of your kids out of your estate plan unless you have a really good reason.

Continue reading »

December 13, 2021

Desperate Canadian couples turn to foreign surrogate mothers

For infertile couples, miracle babies are the joy of a lifetime, but they often come with a hefty price tag. More affordable surrogate mother candidates are beginning to be found overseas, however.

Hansha At Kaival Hospital in Ananad, India, women are lining up to carry babies for Canadian couples at a fraction of the cost, skirting Canadian laws at the same time.

Six years after Canada outlawed the buying and selling of human eggs and sperm and the "renting" of women's wombs, a new international baby-making business is flourishing.

While Canada's assisted human reproduction act prohibits payment for surrogacy, it doesn't prohibit couples from going to foreign countries for surrogacy or other fertility-related services.

Continue reading »

November 18, 2021

Gillette settles razor lawsuit and offers refunds

In the arms race some know as the razor business, The Gillette Company has lost a tiny skirmish.

A proposed settlement in a class action lawsuit against Gillette could mean at least $13 or a free Gillette Fusion Razor for anyone who acquired a Gillette M3Power Razor between May 1, 2021 and October 31, 2005.

The class action lawsuit challenges the accuracy of Gillette’s advertisements for its M3Power Razor, specifically its claims that the razor “raises or stimulates hair up and away from the skin.”

Gillette deleted those claims, which the class action says were false and misleading, from its ads several years ago, but the damage was done.  

Continue reading »

September 28, 2021

Sex scandals in the workplace — What's the big deal?

Last week, Mark Hurd settled a lawsuit brought on by his former employer Hewlett-Packard after he was hired to help lead rival Oracle. You might remember Hurd resigned as HP CEO in August, following an internal investigation that found he falsified expense forms to conceal a relationship with a former TV reality show contestant turned marketing consultant, Jodie Fisher. Fisher had charged Hurd with sexual harassment (they eventually settled out of court).

Continue reading »

July 15, 2021

US government attacks downloaders, sinks movie pirating sites

Looking to save some money at the movies?

While taking in a matinee, subscribing to Netflix and swapping DVDs among friends are all smart ways to save money on films, being frugal to the point of breaking the law is another thing altogether.

Illegal downloading seems to be commonplace these days and isn't taken very seriously, but all that may be changing.

Last week, U.S. Homeland Security agents shut down several popular websites devoted to online video streaming. While shuttering these sites will hardly make a dent in the number of sites offering the same service, it’s clear that US officials are getting serious when it comes to cracking down on pirating.

Continue reading »


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...