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  • 14 Oct 2018 11:28 | Paul Mann (Administrator)

    Canada is applying quotas and a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports from China and other countries to avoid becoming a dumping ground for steel in the face of metal levies imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

    Canada will erect new barriers to any flood of shipments of seven types of foreign steel, and will issue refunds and exemptions to some Canadian firms on tariffs paid on imports from the U.S.

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  • 14 Oct 2018 11:25 | Paul Mann (Administrator)

    Dealing with residents who smoke or grow cannabis is nothing new for most landlords and condominium corporations. But as the clock ticks down to recreational cannabis legalization on Oct. 17, many are still left scrambling to clear up some unanswered questions that the new legislation brings.    

    “While legalization of cannabis is new, we have been dealing with cannabis growing and smoking for what seems like forever,” Rachelle Berube, a long-time property manager in the Toronto area, and president of Landlord Rescue Inc., told BNN Bloomberg in an email.


  • 05 Dec 2017 13:01 | Nishan Singh

    Faced with rising minimum wage costs, many small-business owners across Ontario are crunching numbers and making the difficult decision to raise their prices.

    The provincial Liberal government is increasing the minimum wage to $14 an hour as of Jan. 1 and then to $15 by Jan. 1, 2019 – an increase of about 23 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively, from just over two months ago. The rate increased to $11.60 from $11.40 in October. 

    "It is meaningful, the way it affects us," says Andrew Violi, president of Mellow Walk Footwear, a Toronto-based manufacturer of footwear sold to retailers such as Mark's and Mister Safety Shoes.


  • 27 Nov 2017 11:00 | Nishan Singh

    With companies up in arms over a looming hike to Ontario's minimum wage and an election barely six months away, the Wynne government is offering small businesses a tax cut and new incentives to hire and retain young workers.

    Ontario will cut its corporate tax rate on the first $500,000 of profits to 3.5 per cent effective Jan. 1, down from the current level of 4.5 per cent, Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced Tuesday.  

    Small businesses with fewer than 100 employees will get an incentive of $1,000 to hire a young person aged 15 to 29 and another $1,000 if the company retains that worker for six months.

    Sousa made the pledges in his fall economic statement. The statement is typically a mid-year tweak to the budget, but this edition takes on extra significance with election day set for June 7 and the Ontario Liberals trailing in the polls after 14 straight years in power.


  • 26 Nov 2017 09:30 | Nishan Singh

    Chatbots are the future of digital engagement between businesses and their customers — and the future is here. The term still sounds a little out there, but it will soon be as familiar as “social media,” “digital marketing,” “smartphones” and…texting.

    A chatbot is a form of digital communication through a texting interface. Through chatbots, businesses can communicate with their customers in a number of ways. Insurance companies are able to offer coverage quotes. Food delivery services and restaurants might take orders or make reservations. Weather services can offer localized forecasts. Healthcare providers can schedule appointments. And any type of business can explain their services, location and business hours.

    And that’s only the start. There are some corporations that are even offering basic communications between employees and human resource departments via chatbots. The business community is already learning that there are virtually unlimited options for this technology as it continues to advance.


  • 15 Nov 2017 11:46 | Nishan Singh

    Industry 4.0 might sound like a SimCity-style tycoon game, but it's really the biggest shift to hit global manufacturing since automation. Centered around advanced robotics and automation, new ways of human-machine interaction and vast troves of data and boosted connectivity, Industry 4.0 is poised to modernize manufacturing and boost western industrial competitiveness.

    Coupled with the emerging internet of things (IoT), Industry 4.0 offers manufacturers the ability to collect, analyze, and act on immense stockpiles of data like never before, and then set those actions in motion with highly efficient, automated robotics. The result? A higher quality product at a lower operating expense.

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  • 15 Nov 2017 11:44 | Nishan Singh

    Machine learning is one of the year's buzzworthy technologies, with several applications of it showing tremendous potential to change nearly every industry. Most consumers will encounter this technology through chatbots. Chatbots are proving to be fun, digital toys for the programmers, but they're also a boon to businesses using them to supplement human customer service and increase sales.

    A chatbot is basically an artificially intelligent system that you interact with via text. Online businesses have been using these for various customer service functions for quite some time. It's common now to see a chat button on the bottom corner of a website that opens a chat window to a chatbot.

    These are typically rules-based programs that respond to certain words and phrases with a preprogramed reaction or message. They have a specified and simple structure, much like a phone tree, and for customer service purposes, will usually hand users off to a human representative after it gathers some basic information.

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  • 01 Nov 2017 11:50 | Nishan Singh

    Holiday retail sales are expected to hover around $680 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Given these high stakes, businesses are looking to do all they can to not leave any money on the table.

    There is no one-size-fits-all approach to preparing a retail operation, whether it's ecommerce or bricks-and-mortar, for an influx of business during the holiday season. But small business experts and experienced owners agree that a blend of time-tested, common-sense steps and innovative approaches can help small businesses take on the holiday sales rush.

    Here are nine key steps to get your business ready for the holiday season.

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  • 18 Oct 2017 11:49 | Nishan Singh

    What's in a logo? Does imagery impact a brand so significantly that it can affect revenue? In a recent study, C+R Research examined some major brands and how their logos have changed in relation to their revenue over time. The results shed some light on corporate logo design and the benefits and risks  rebranding poses to business.

    C+R's study includes some of the most common household names, including Starbucks, Apple, Amazon, and Levi's. Some of these companies changed their logos often; some seldom. A few made drastic redesigns, while others didn't.

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  • 28 Aug 2017 13:48 | Nishan Singh

    Do you own a small, medium or large private business in Canada? New tax-planning proposals will affect your passive investments.

    On July 18, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau introduced draft legislation, explanatory notes and a consultation paper proposing to fundamentally overhaul the system of taxation for private companies, their shareholders and family members. These proposals are broad-based and primarily target Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPC), regardless of sector, industry or economic grouping. The proposals are far reaching and will undoubtedly affect all Canadian private businesses – not just incorporated professionals.

    The release of the proposal documents follow statements made in the Liberal Party election platform and the Trudeau government's 2017 federal budget that it wants to ensure that CCPC status is not used to reduce personal income-tax obligations for high-income earners, rather than supporting small businesses. The draft legislation identified the reinvestment of aftertax corporate earnings in passive investments as a priority tax-planning measure requiring significant change.

    The newly proposed tax-planning measures will fundamentally change the way corporate aftertax income reinvested in passive investments will be managed. Here's an overview of the proposed changes:

    Overview of passive income in corporations

    Currently, corporate business income is taxed at a lower rate than personal income, which leaves corporations more money to invest in their business. If a private corporation doesn't need to reinvest all of its earnings to expand the business and isn't ready to reinvest – perhaps waiting for new machinery to come out or waiting for a new opportunity to buy a building – they may invest those earnings in passive investments. These could consist of numerous different options, including savings accounts, GICs and stock portfolios held within the corporation or a related corporation. These investments allow small businesses to earn a return on their investment while holding the funds for future business needs.

    What's the perceived concern?

    The government perceives an unfair tax advantage when earnings are held inside a corporation not to expand the business, but to earn a return in the private corporation. Corporations will still pay the same amount, approximately 50-per-cent tax, on the passive investment income they earn with these aftertax funds. The government perceives there is an unfair tax advantage, as private corporations have more funds to invest given that the tax rate on their business income is less than that of an individual.

    What are the proposed changes?

    Several proposals have been issued to discourage the holding of passive investments in private corporations by neutralizing tax-assisted financial gains. The government is proposing to eliminate this perceived tax advantage by effectively increasing the tax rate substantially on earnings from corporate aftertax income reinvested in passive investments that are not related to the corporation's active business. For example, aftertax earnings reinvested in a portfolio of dividend-paying stocks would be affected.

    In the new proposals, the government outlined possible approaches for increasing the tax on earnings from such passive investments. Although the proposal documents state that the new rules would only apply on a go-forward basis, no details were provided on how passive assets currently owned by corporations would be grandfathered under the existing rules.

    What factors are the draft proposals not considering?

    The private businesses I know don't set up companies to gain an unfair tax advantage. The majority of private businesses in Canada have been operating as corporations for their entire business life cycle. The current tax system helps supports thousands of private businesses that employ millions of people and add significant value to the economy. Private businesses take risks – from loans to liability and beyond.

    It isn't "fair" to compare a private business with an individual employee and try to equate their overall returns on earned investment income. Private businesses risk all of their wealth to reap the rewards, and sometimes they fail. Employees have access to pension plans and don't risk losing all their wealth every day they go to work.

    What happens now?

    If you currently earn passive income through a private corporation, the proposed changes to legislation may result in a higher rate of tax on future distributions of this income. It's important for you to understand the financial consequences of the proposals on your bottom line – now, and in the future.

    The government has given taxpayers and professionals 75 days (until Oct. 2, 2017) to provide submissions on the proposals. Given the breadth and complexity of the proposals, it is hoped the government considers extending the timeline for submissions. Every private corporation could potentially be affected in some manner by the changes included in the proposal documents.


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