How I Explained Taxation to a Class of Kindergarten Students


How I explained taxes to children in a kindergarten classroom without having them lose focus or fall asleep on me:

 

Q: Do you know what a tax is?”

It’s something you have to pay.

Q: Why do we have to pay taxes?

We pay taxes for things we need.

We have to.

We pay taxes so poor people can have some money too.

Q: Any examples of things we need?  How about some examples of things we need that we all share.

1) Roads

2) Lights

3) Signs

4) Sidewalks

5) Playgrounds

6) Schools

7) Policewomen

8) Firemen

9) The trucks that come to take our garbage away.

10) Hospitals

11) Doctors

12) Food – Do taxes pay for food?

Not usually.

We have to pay for our own food. But taxes pay to make sure our food doesn’t make us sick.

Money we pay as taxes make sure we have clean water.

Q: Does anyone remember the ice storm, and when all those branches and trees fell on peoples houses and cars and all over the street?  Men and women had to come to take the branches away.  Taxes paid for that.”

Snack time – I brought cupcakes for the kids.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Nothing is certain except (Hello Kitty) death and taxes,” and just as your children will gradually learn about (Hello Kitty) mortality, they will also find out about taxes and other financial issues.

There are taxes everywhere on almost everything to make sure that everyone has a chance to pay taxes and share.

Paying taxes is like this container of cupcakes.  This pile of cupcakes is the economy. This is the money that belongs to the whole country and everybody needs a piece – the schools, the street cleaners, the hospitals, and the TV stations.

Without their cupcake, the government can’t provide any of the things we need.

If we gave all of our cupcakes to the government we would have nothing left.  But taxes are like taking a little bit off – the wrapper, maybe – to give to the government while we keep the rest.  The government collects all the wrappers and uses them to keep all of us safe and healthy and helps us learn and grow…

Apart from enjoying a fun time, your kids will learn a very valuable financial lesson…sometimes you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada announce Improvements to Canada’s Caregiver Program


Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced Improvements to Canada’s Caregiver Program, formerly known solely as the Canadian Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP), and the Canadian government hopes that these improvements will:

  • Result in faster processing at all stages of the program
  • Provide faster reunification of families in Canada
  • Create better career opportunities upon completion of the program, and
  • Establish better protection against potential workplace vulnerability and abuses

These reforms were put in place to address some key concerns of the old Live-In Caregiver program through the removal of the live-in requirement and increasing the processing time for permanent residence.   In the old program there actually were employers who felt that since the caregiver was living in their homes that they were available to work 24/7, and even questioned their caregivers who wanted to go out in the evening, or stay away on the weekends.

Another major problem with the old program was the lack of long-term opportunities for caregivers who, through talking to their peers, waited for their program requirements to end so that they no longer needed to live-in, and could demand a higher wage.  Often this was not a discussion between the employee and the employer and thus a job change was the often outcome.

The resulting job change often meant a higher salary, but in the same field, or with less hours, or with less “perks” like meals and living accommodations earned as the caregiver and the families bond over the years.  It’s usually a major step backwards when the caregivers should be leveraging their employers for their next step once their employment is no longer required.

In addition, CIC plans to reduce the backlog by admitting 30,000 permanent resident caregivers and their family members in 2015, an all-time high, and also a major change in direction from a government which has always publically stated that the Live-In Caregiver Program was not meant to be used for reunification.

CIC also announced that they will be dropping the live-in requirement for caregivers.  If employers and caregivers wish to agree to live-in arrangements, they can continue to do so.  In addition, caregivers currently in the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) may choose to live out and later apply for permanent residence by applying for a regular work permit to replace their LCP-specific work permit.

On November 30th, 2014, the Canadian Government launched two new pathways for caregivers which will:

  • accept up to 5,500 applicants for permanent residence per year plus family members,
  • process these permanent residence applications with a 6-month service standard, and
  • accept applications from those already in the LCP queue who prefer one of the improved pathways

The 2 New Pathways:

1.  Caring for Children Pathway:  A pathway to permanent residence for caregivers who have provided child care in a home, either living in the home or not.

Eligibility is based on:

  • Work experience – A minimum of 2 years of Canadian work experience as a home childcare provider, with a work permit.
  • Human capital criteria – A 1-year completed Canadian post-secondary credential, or equivalent foreign credential, and language level of at least initial intermediate

2.  Caring for People with High Medical Needs Pathway:  A pathway to permanent residence for caregivers who have provided care for the elderly or those with disabilities or chronic disease at higher skill levels in health facilities or in a home

Eligibility is based on:

  • Work experience – A minimum of 2 years of Canadian work experience as a registered nurse, registered psychiatric nurse, licensed practical nurse, nurse aide, orderly, patient service associate, home support worker or other similar occupation, with a work permit.
  • Human capital criteria – A 1-year completed Canadian post-secondary credential, or equivalent foreign credential, and an appropriate level of language proficiency to practice their occupation, ranging from initial intermediate to adequate intermediate

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What sort of work permit should I apply for if this is my first time as a caregiver in Canada and my employer applies for a Labour Market Impact Assessment after November 30, 2014?

A1: You will need to apply for a regular work permit, not a specific caregiver work permit.

You can live in your own home. If you and your employer have agreed that you will live in their home, this should be:

  • in your employment contract, and
  • noted in the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) request by your employer to Employment and Social Development Canada. Your employer will have to confirm that the accommodation they are providing meets acceptable standards before they get the LMIA.

Q2: I am working as a live-in caregiver but would like to move into my own home. Can I?

A2: To work as a caregiver on a live-out basis, your employer will need a new Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and you will need to apply for a new work permit based on that LMIA. In addition, you would have to apply for permanent residence through the Caring for Children or Caring for People with High Medical Needs pathway, and not through the Live-in Caregiver Program.

Q3: I have submitted an application for permanent residence through the Live-in Caregiver Program. Can I submit an application to either the Caring for Children or Caring for People with High Medical Needs pathway as well?

A3: If you meet the requirements of either the Caring for Children or Caring for People with High Medical Needs pathways, you may submit another application for permanent residence, including providing the required information and processing fee.

Q4: I am already working as a live-in caregiver. Will I be able to apply for permanent residence when I complete the work requirement?

A4: Yes. You may continue working as a live-in caregiver and apply for permanent residence when you meet the work requirement. You do not need to switch to one of the new pathways.

If you choose to remain in the Live-in Caregiver Program pathway, your eligibility for permanent residence will still be based on the requirements of that program. This includes the requirement to live in the home of your employer.

If you choose to apply to the Caring for Children Pathway or the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Pathway, your eligibility for permanent residence will be based on the requirements of those pathways.

Q5: I just applied for a work permit as a live-in caregiver. Will I be able to apply for permanent residence when I complete the work requirement?

A5: Yes. You may come to Canada to work as a live-in caregiver and apply for permanent residence based on the requirements of the Live-in Caregiver Program. This includes the requirement to live in the home of your employer.

If you choose to apply to the Caring for Children Pathway or the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Pathway, your eligibility for permanent residence will be based on the requirements of those pathways.

Summary: What are the improvements to the Caregiver Program?

As of November 30th, 2014, the Caregiver Program includes two new pathways for permanent residence for foreign workers with experience as caregivers in Canada.

The two new pathways are:

  • Caring for Children
  • Caring for People with High Medical Needs

For both the Caring for Children Pathway and the Caring for People with High Medical Needs Pathway:

  • You do not need to live in the home of your employer to qualify for permanent residence.
  • You do need to work in Canada with a work permit in an eligible occupation for two years.
  • You do need to meet requirements for language ability and education.

In addition, the Live-in Caregiver Program pathway to permanent residence is still open for all live-in caregivers who:

  • have started working in Canada as a live-in caregiver, or
  • have applied for a work permit as a live-in caregiver, or
  • apply for their initial work permit based on an approved Labour Market Impact Assessment that had been submitted by the employer to Employment and Social Development Canada by November 30, 2014, and
  • complete the work requirement of the Live-in Caregiver Program.

All your questions, plus more, can be answered here; (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/helpcentre/index-featured-int.asp), on the government’s website.

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Things Torontonians (and you) Need To Do Now That The Snow Has Arrived.


Ah, a snowy Thursday in Toronto, our second such day this year, and with winter not officially here until December 21st, I always worry that even in areas where there is a lot of snow people forget to apply common sense in many different areas of their lives when snow stays on the ground.

So today is the perfect day for me, to educate you, on the 13 Things You Need To Do Now That The Snow Has Arrived.

Let’s start with #1 because it’s the most important and the City of Toronto By-Laws and Chapter 719 of the Municipal Code lay it all out there for you.

1.  Make sure that you have cleared the sidewalk in front of your house!  According to City By-laws you have 12 hours from the last snowflake to remove the snow and / or ice from the sidewalk in front, behind or beside your property.

2.  Failure to remove snow and / or ice can result in a fine of up to $5000 under the Provincial Offences Act.

3.  Anyone – strangers, neighbours, government workers, can call 311 to notify them if your snow and / or ice is not removed within 12 hours after a snowfall.

4.  Thinking about clearing your snow onto the street?  DON’T!  Besides the obvious fact that it make driving that much more dangerous, it’s against the by-laws and you can be fined for doing this.  Plus, it’s fairly obvious when your lawn (which loves the water in the spring) is flat the snow in the street in front of your house is densely packed compared to others.

5.  If the City of Toronto has to send someone out to shovel or salt your sidewalk, you will be charged a fee for this “service: and if you do not pay it, it will be added to your property taxes.

6.  Starting this year – 2014 – the City of Toronto is paying special attention to those mounds of snow you pile at the curb in front of your house because as the weather changes they pose a safety concern regarding visibility, and drivers trying to avoid them.  Plus, by the mere fact that they are on the street means you are in violation of Section 719-5 of the Municipal Code.  By-law officers might force you to remove it at your own expense or fine you.

7.  Clean off your car before you  drive it!  All windows, the front and tail lights are essential to ensure you have complete visibility.  The majority of vehicle – pedestrian accidents in the winter occur when drivers cannot fully see out of their windows and bump into people crossing the street.

8.  I know it’s a pain in the butt for many of you, but you really do need to come to a full and complete stop at all traffic crossings when there is snow.  Besides being the law, and potentially dangerous if you do not, by rolling through stops, or around corners you also run the risk of having to brake suddenly and sliding or spinning out of control, or worse, stopping only to have the car behind you slam into you, and then for you to hit someone as a result.

9.  Signal.  I prefer to refer to the turn signal as an “indicator” because while it may be law to signal before you turn, it’s nice and kind to indicate to other drivers what you intend to do with your vehicle.  This is especially important if you are one of “those” drivers who do not feel the need to stop at every intersection as indicating your intentions keeps pedestrians safe and the cars around you less likely to want to roll down their windows and throw a snowball at your car.

10.  Be extra courteous to those around you who are walking when you are driving.  They are dealing with un-cleared sidewalks, and cold, or wind, plus heavy clothing and usually something in their hands.  The LAST thing they need to do is wonder whether that car is a) going to stop, b) sees them c) start to proceed before they finish crossing the street.

  1. If you hired a ploughing service to clean your driveway, make sure they are not falling out of favour with your neighbours or with the City by-laws.

  2. Think about others!  If your neighbour shovels your sidewalk when it snows, it might not be a smart idea to only shovel your piece of sidewalk when you are doing yours.  Even if you are in a rush, make an effort to go a little onto their side, they’ll understand.  But to put up that snow barrier while their side is still covered and yours is clean is a message to that neighbour that you are only thinking about yourself.  Is that what you want them thinking?  I’ve always said that it is better to accept the help of your neighbour than criticize them for where they put your snow, that you should have moved!

13.  Put a smile on your face and be nice to others!  Say hello to neighbours, strangers and passers by.

Happy 50th Dove Canada. Thank You For Teaching Men, Women and Children to be Happy in Their Own Skin


Dove is celebrating 50 years in Canada, and to mark the occasion they have reached out to men, woman and children about health, and what it means to be beautiful.  During their campaign celebrating their 50th year, Dove revealed some startling facts around women and the fear of embracing their age!  untitled

Earlier this year, Dove put out an open casting call to find up to 50 real Canadian women. More than 4,000 women from coast-to-coast applied and those selected are being featured in a new campaign showcasing their personal stories about why they feel beautiful at any age.

Dove is celebrating its 50-year milestone in Canada trying to inspire women to feel beautiful at any age – whether they are 30 or 100 – to educate children about what advertisers do to images of “real” people and how that is not attainable, and by providing better quality men’s products without all those unneeded chemicals and additives.

You can watch Dove’s new film titled How Old Are You? here: www.youtube.com/dovecanada.

Here are some additional stats on why Dove decided to launch the Beautiful Age Campaign and they were asking Canadian women, “shouldn’t every age feel beautiful?”

  • 27% of women feel you have to be young to be beautiful
  • 25% of woman feel pressure to look younger than their age
  • On average, women get anxious about aging at 34
  • 56% of woman feel negative when naked
  • 47% of women feel society puts less value on older women
  • 20% of women avoid celebrating birthdays because of their age
  • 42% of women wish they looked younger
  • 28% of women have pretended to be younger
  • 72% of women are concerned about aging
  • 87% of women are not proud to reveal their age

Amazing.

But Dove is not just concerned about woman, as during this campaign they made the rounds to many public schools to have conversations with children about health, and “beauty” and the role that media places on men, woman, boys and girls.  They showed the children pictures of real people and then images of what they looked like after make-up, and photoshop, and they told the children that so long as you take care of yourself and feel happy about yourself that is all that matters.

My 9-year-old son came home to tell me all about this discussion with the representatives from Dove Canada because he knows that I have been using the Dove Men + Care product line for over a year once it was introduced to me.  He told me that they saw an image of a woman who has brown hair and brown eyes and once the advertisers got through with the images she was now blonde with blue eyes and they make her skin look perfect and made her look super-thin and that for the majority of people in the world, it’s just not possible.

He understood the message, which tells me it was a great campaign, and a great idea by Dove!  I like what I see from Dove on the product side and socially within the community itself  They deserve to be recognized and commended for their actions.

There is more on the Dove Men + Care coming up, as they have a new men’s shaving product which they shared with me, but this post is all about Dove’s 50th birthday in Canada.  (Clearly not afraid to say their age, eh?)

Nowhere To Go But Up: ESPN Ranks The Toronto Maple Leafs the worst sports franchise in North America


ESPN The Magazine has released its “Ultimate Standings” for 2014, ranking sports franchises in Major League Baseball (MLB), The National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL) and the National Hockey League (NHL) according to a variety of categories and in a couple of them, the Toronto Maple Leafs ranked dead last at 122, and fared poorly in most of the rest of them.  Great.

To come up with these rankings, ESPN took the following steps:

First: Consulting firm Maddock Douglas surveyed 1,002 North American fans to form 25 criteria for what you want most in return for the emotion, money and time you invest in the 122 MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL teams.

Second: Teaming with NetReflector, an opinion research firm, ESPN.com asked fans to rate their home teams in each area and more than 101,000 did.  They grouped grades into the categories listed below.

Third: In order to determine the “Bank for the Buck” calculation, ESPN.com used calculations developed with Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center to figure how well teams turn fans’ money into wins.  Then they combined each team’s score across all categories into a weighted average.

The Categories, plus the highest ranked team and the lowest ranked team.

Affordability
Price of tickets, parking and concessions
1. Memphis Grizzlies (NBA)
122.  Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

Coaching:
Strength of on-field leadership
1. San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
122. Florida Panthers (NHL)

Fan Relations
Courtesy by players, coaches and front offices toward fans, and how well a team uses technology to reach them
1. San Antonio Spurs
122. New York Knicks

Ownership
Honesty; loyalty to core players and the community
1. San Antonio Spurs
122. Florida Marlins (MLB)

Players
Effort on the field, likability off it
1. San Antonio Spurs
122. NY Knicks

Stadium experience
Quality of venue; fan-friendliness of environment; frequency of game-day promotions
1. San Francisco Giants (MLB)
122. NY Islanders (NHL)

Bang for the Buck
Wins in the past year, per fan dollars
1. Indiana Pacers (NBA)
122. Toronto Maple Leafs

Title track
Championships won or expected within the lifetime of current fans
1. St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)
122. Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA)

A review of the ESPN website revealed that The Leafs fared poorly in every category. They placed last in both bang for the buck and affordability; second-last in title track; in the bottom 10 in fan relations, players and coaching; and 105th and 109th in ownership and stadium experience, respectively.

Possibly because this was done by ESPN and the majority of the respondents came from the US, all Canadian teams fared poorly in their rankings with the exception of the Montreal Canadians who appeared in the top half of the list. Here are the rest of the seven teams’ rankings at 55 out of 122.

The other Canadian teams ranked as follows;

Toronto Raptors – 74

Toronto Blue Jays – 81

Calgary Flames — 89

Ottawa Senators — 92

Winnipeg Jets — 97

Vancouver Canucks — 112

Edmonton Oilers — 115

 

The last 2 teams were the New York Knicks at 121 and the Toronto Maple Leafs at 122.

At least at last there is nowhere to go but up.  At 121, the Knicks could drop.