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Opinion: It’s the same old NDP

The B.C. NDP consistently boasts that the party is completely different from the one that inflicted so much damage in the 1990s. But Leader John Horgan’s remarks to the annual convention of the B.C. Building Trades put the lie to that claim. With a provincial election one year away, British Columbians should take notice and be weary.

If you’re under 30, the 1990s may seem like ancient history. But for those who experienced NDP government then, Horgan’s speech last week was chilling. Two things stood out.

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Major changes to life insurance taxation are coming

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Article courtesy Creed Wealth Management Group.

For the first time since December 1, 1982, there are significant changes to the taxation of Life Insurance.  These changes will take place as of January 1, 2017.  If you are a business owner that is considering Corporately Owned Life Insurance, these changes will have a fairly significant effect on the amount of after tax income received.  Fortunately, any insurance applications that are made prior to December 31, 2016 will be grandfathered under the existing rules, and not subject to the higher tax rate.

For small business owners, Corporate Owned Life Insurance is very attractive because the policy can be funded by the money inside the corporation, with a significant portion of the proceeds being paid directly to shareholders and beneficiaries tax free.  These changes are being made by the CRA to address the fact that people are living longer.   While Corporate owned Life Insurance is the primary focus of the increased taxation, many other policies and strategies will be affected.   If you are, or have ever considered Corporate Owned Life Insurance, now would be the time to understand the options that are available to you.

 

Is the Federal government trying to say ‘no’ to B.C. LNG?

It was one of the largest expressions of grassroots concern and opinion that we’ve seen recently in B.C. Thousands of residents in Fort Nelson, Fort St. John and Terrace held “Northern Jobs for Northern Families” rallies.

They were driven by deep concern with the impact of the resource downturn on their communities, businesses and families and by a deep conviction that the development of an LNG export industry in B.C. is a decisive turnaround opportunity.I can’t think of any better evidence that LNG projects have the coveted stamp of “social licence.” And it extends across the northern region that will be most directly involved in the industry’s development — from the gas-producing areas in the northeast to the coastal northwest where the export facilities will be located.

So it would have been hugely welcome if these rallies had been followed, as expected, by a federal decision on environmental approval of one the largest and most promising LNG proposals. Instead, on the weekend prior to the anticipated decision, federal regulators “paused the legislated timeline” in the review of the Pacific Northwest LNG project near Prince Rupert.

BC Rally Terrace supporters say YES
Terrace residents who want the provincial and federal governments to push ahead with a liquefied natural gas export industry in B.C. show their support at a recent rally.

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LNG projects are welcome news

 Responsible resource development means growing and thriving communities. It also means jobs for our kids and grandkids. And it pays for the vital services upon which British Columbians have come to rely.

Overall, our resource industries have made great progress in protecting the environment while providing jobs that support families and paying taxes that support hospitals and schools. Many companies go beyond regulation to take a balanced approach to meeting the environmental and social needs of the community.

Unfortunately, the disturbing truth is that resource-based projects face unprecedented and often unreasonable challenges from a vocal minority.

That’s why, on behalf of B.C.’s construction industry, I’m writing to provide my strong support for the Woodfibre LNG project in Squamish and FortisBC’s Eagle Mountain pipeline expansion that would deliver natural gas to the facility. Combined, Woodfibre LNG and the Eagle Mountain Pipeline involve an investment of close to $2 billion. These two projects are welcome news for families and workers in B.C. Read more

How you can access PharmaCare’s Special Authority program

One of the most important things you can do to control cost and ensure the sustainability of your benefits plan is to access PharmaCare’s Special Authority program. This program grants full benefit status to a drug, medical supply or medical device that otherwise would not be covered or only partially covered. Clickhere to view a list of Special Authority drugs.

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If you would like access to the Special Authority Program, first you will need to register online here. You will also need to talk to your doctor as they will apply to Special Authority on your behalf. Bring this form to your doctor. If you are approved for the program, PharmaCare will notify your doctor, and you may request a copy of their decision as you might be required to submit the decision document to Pacific Blue Cross if your plan requires documentation before a drug is eligible.

Once you are approved, you may fill your prescription. With a successful application, PharmaCare will cover all or a portion of your drug cost (once a deductible has been satisfied) for the duration of time indicated on your decision document.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 604-298-7795 or email info@icbabenefits.ca.

Recent developments regarding Temporary Foreign Worker Program

 

In February, the federal government announced it would conduct a full review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) with completion in Fall 2016. The review will begin in May, and although the government has not provided clarification on the scope of the review, there will be an opportunity for British Columbians perspective to be presented to the committee. ICBA will engage with you when these opportunities arise. For now, there are some recent developments you should be aware of.

One-time waiver of 10% cap on TFWs

In June 2014, the federal government capped the percentage of low-wage TFWs an employer can have at a work site. Originally, this cap was 30 per cent, and will fall to 10 per cent on July 1, 2016. They have also announced that employers in seasonal industries hiring TFWs in low-wage seasonal positions of 180 days or less are not subject to this cap. The government has also confirmed that this waiver applies to all seasonal industries across Canada. Employers can use this exemption once per work location, for applications to hire TFWs received on or after Feb. 19, 2016, and no later than Dec. 31, 2016. For more information on this waiver, click here. Read more

Getting to Yes: It’s where British Columbians want to be

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Recently, I was pleased to state ICBA’s support for the $5.4 billion Trans Mountain Expansion Project, in National Energy Board hearings held here in Vancouver. This major project is just one of many proposed right now which represent exceptional economic development opportunities for BC and Canada.

Energy infrastructure, mining and production facilities, port expansion, clean energy development… There are proponents eager to move ahead with all of these. But every single such project has its opponents, and they often see already long and complex review processes as prime opportunities to delay and derail.

There’s certainly a lot of that going on with respect to Trans Mountain. In fact, a casual observer of the hearings might have concluded that supporters like myself were in the minority. But recent polling from NRG Research Group proves that’s not the case. In fact, the results clearly indicate that British Columbians understand the importance of natural-resource and other types of major projects, and are confident we can pursue them in an environmentally responsible way. Read more

Register for Industry Outlook 2016

Following last year’s sold out Annual Industry Outlook, we are pleased to host a new panel of key experts from industries that drive BC’s diverse economy. For many of British Columbia’s industries, 2016 is projected to be a landmark year for balanced, steady growth, seizing new opportunities to grow our economy and building prosperity for our province.

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These leaders will provide brief and crisp overviews of their sector for the year ahead as well as details about what to expect in 2017. Their unique and informed province-wide perspective on capital expenditure will allow you to take advantage and plan for opportunities arising this year and next.

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In case you missed it:

News from the last 30 days that is shaping the industry

B.C. court rules against Site C dam protesters, says campers can be removed

Opponents of a hydroelectric dam in northeastern British Columbia have suffered another setback follo

wing a court decision granting a request from BC Hydro to remove protesters camped out illegally near the megaproject’s construction site. READ MORE…

Chilliwack farmer says he’s among silent majority in favour of oil pipelines

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Yarrow resident and business owner Bill Tuytel discusses the Trans Mountain pipeline right-of
-way that runs through his property. READ MORE…

 

Second pro-Ajax delegation appears before Kamloops council

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Raising the spectre of the 1980s recession, a pair of Kamloops businessmen has urged city council to keep an open mind when it comes time to state an opinion on the proposed Ajax copper and gold mine. READ MORE…

 

Opinion: Exporting natural gas to Asia a realistic opportunity

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Technological innovation has radically changed North America’s natural gas market and left the continent flush with a resource that only a decade ago was thought to be in short supply.  READ MORE…

5 tips for preventing benefits abuse and claims fraud

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Benefits fraud comes in several forms, including fraudulent claims for health services. In most cases, these schemes include claims for services not actually rendered, providers performing services outside of their practice or even unlicensed individuals performing insurable services.

The best thing any plan sponsor can do to mitigate health benefits claims abuse is to take active steps to prevent it from occurring. Here is our list of 5 tips for preventing benefits fraud:

  1. Prevention
    It is better to prevent fraud from happening in the first place. Ensure that you have strategies in place to help prevent fraud from occurring.
  2. Deterrence
    Similar to prevention, anything that can be done to deter fraudsters from acting is a good thing. The penalties involved should be made clear. Where possible, making an example out of employees who defraud your plan will help deter others from even thinking about it. Read more