Hundreds of billions worth of construction projects are on the drawing board in B.C. As a result, most construction contractors geared up for even more work this year, despite an already intense pace. This will keep the industry’s GDP and employment contributions growing at the same pace as the provincial economy.
The Workplace Health and Safety Innovation Award is presented annually to acknowledge individuals and companies for their efforts in the prevention of workplace incidents, injuries and illnesses. By honouring safety leaders and sharing their ideas ICBA and WorkSafe BC hope to encourage new programs, policies, and projects that improve the health and safety of workers. The award recognizes the employee or team of employees who come up with an innovative program, policy, tool or project that demonstrates a proven accomplishment in the area of health and safety for the construction industry sector. There is a $5,000 prize for the best submission and will be presented at the ICBA AGM on Monday, October 3 at the Executive Hotel & Conference Centre Burnaby. Eligibility All employees of ICBA member companies are eligible for the Annual Awards for Innovation in Workplace Health and Safety for Construction.
Once again, the review process for major projects has come under scrutiny as the vocal minority ramps up last-ditch efforts to halt projects like Pacific NorthWest LNG and Trans Mountain expansion. These project reviews exist to ensure that only responsible resource development projects are recommended for approval, and that the project meet the goals of the environment, economy, and social sustainability.
Throughout July, we will debunk the top 4 myths plaguing the project review process.
MYTH 1: Reviews do not adequately study impact to wildlife and the ecosystem
The suggestion that project reviews do not sufficiently study the environmental impact of a project devalues the expertise of scientists and engineers who spend thousands of hours documenting and researching the water, air and land around a project. These experts study the local ecosystems and wildlife, documenting and reporting on their findings, and present their research to the Environmental Assessment Office. Read more
In the debate over energy infrastructure and other major projects, one common question recently has been whether proposals are being rigorously enough reviewed. The public clearly has some doubts about how much confidence it can place in these reviews.
So in this issue of the Monitor we take a close look at what major project review processes actually consist of. What we find is that they are in fact rigorous, science-based, highly responsive to public and Aboriginal input, and much more comprehensive than many people have been led to believe. The environmental considerations alone that get assessed are vast in scope – everything from local frog habitat to global greenhouse gas implications. And all that work is supplemented with equally demanding assessments of economic, community, and social impacts.
Throughout these processes, the scope of stakeholder outreach and consultation is vast. Every single query and concern requires a response, and timelines frequently get paused when significant new issues or revisions are put on the table. Approvals are commonly granted only after years of ongoing review. And they are invariably based on conditions, sometimes over 100, designed to ensure that identified impacts are moderated. Strong enforcement mechanisms ensure all those conditions get acted on. Read more
While many in the construction industry rely on existing forums to discuss best practices and to resolve common issues of concern, those in financial leadership positions within our industry do not have such opportunities.
ICBA and CPA BC are filling this void by creating a regular forum for those with financial leadership roles.
At this inaugural dinner event we will host:
- Peter Guo, BC Leader of Enterprise Risk Services with MNP
- Scott MacDonald from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skill Development
- David Chiang, VP of Member Services with CPA BC
Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Time: 5:30pm – 6:00pm Registration and Networking
6:00pm – 8:30pm Dinner and Presentations
Location: Delta Burnaby Hotel & Conference Centre, 4331 Dominion Street, Burnaby, BC V5G 1C7 (Complimentary Parking in South Parking Lot)
To register and for more information, please click here
In 2009, the TFSA was created to encourage Canadians to save money where it could grow tax free and be free from taxes when withdrawn. Let me get this straight, I can invest money that can grow over time, take it out whenever I want and pay no tax? It seems too good to be true? While yes, there are limits to the account, but when used properly it is by far the best investment vehicle in Canada. For many Canadians however, it is still one of the most misunderstood investment tools.
Let’s look at some of the most common mistakes made with these accounts.
Canadians don’t use them. Despite the benefits, only 38% of eligible Canadians have a TFSA. In 2009, the contribution limit was $5,000 for any person over the age of 18 living in Canada. The initial criticism was that this limit was too low to bother. Fast forward to today, most people could have contributed up to $46,500. For a couple, that is a total of $93,000 in tax free investment room.
Canadians treat them as a “Savings” bank account. For investors looking for a guaranteed return, interest earned in a TFSA on “High Interest Savings” or GIC investments is tax free. But the TFSA can be so much more than just a savings account. As an example, investors can hold Stocks, Bonds, ETFs and Mutual Funds to create a diversified portfolio suitable for their own risk tolerance and savings strategy.
Canadians haven’t factored the benefits of a TFSA along with their pension/retirement savings. Any money withdrawn from a TFSA is not taxable. Therefore, these funds are never considered as a source of income. Since many Government Benefits that you receive in retirement are income tested, this is potentially a huge savings advantage.
Now, the good news. All is not lost for Canadians and their TFSAs. That $46,500 in contributions that could have been made already, can still be made. Just like an RSP, contribution room accumulates over time. By this time next year the limit will be up to $52,000 per person. For investors locked into GICs, a long term and diversified investment portfolio can be started with any new contributions. Finally, a TFSA retirement income strategy can be made a part of every financial or estate plan. Amazingly, if you can commit to maxing out your TFSA contributions now and continue to do so for future years, 20 years from now your account could be upwards of $400,000!
1 Source: The Huffington Post May, 2015
2 Based on an annualized rate of return of 7% and maximum ongoing annual contributions of $5,500
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.
Like all major resource projects, Pacific Northwest has been through rigorous environmental reviews. The project received provincial environmental approval in November 2014 – with several significant conditions attached which the project proponents have committed to fulfill. A lengthy federal review process is also nearing its completion, with a final decision from Ottawa expected in the months ahead.
But Pacific Northwest represents much more than just a soundly designed and thoroughly reviewed project – it’s an opportunity for global environmental leadership. A BC-based LNG export industry will safely and efficiently supply growing Asian economies with responsibly extracted Canadian natural gas. LNG processing facilities here will be among the cleanest operating anywhere in the world.
Natural gas is widely recognized as an important “transition fuel” that provides the opportunity to displace coal and other fossil fuels. This makes it key to global efforts to address the climate change challenge.
Across northern and other resource-dependent areas of B.C., many people and businesses are coping with a lot of uncertainty right now. Low energy and other commodity prices have resulted in belt tightening and layoffs, and nothing could be more welcome than a major infusion of new jobs.
Construction of Pacific Northwest is expected to extend over about four years, and at peak activity it will create as many as 4,500 jobs. Those will be well-paid and highly skilled opportunities – ranging from welding and ironwork, to engineering and environmental management. The training opportunities involved will also serve BC workers and the BC economy well for decades to come.
When in operation the project will provide up to 330 direct, long-term operational jobs, and some 300 spinoff jobs just in the local area alone. Few if any other ready-to-proceed projects have as much potential to support the jobs for BC workers and livelihoods for BC families.
ICBA commends the National Energy Board (NEB) for recommending the federal government approve the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and concluding the Project is in the best interest of our country.
“Today’s decision is good news for workers, families and communities across British Columbia,” says ICBA President Philip Hochstein. “Canada needs an expanded pipeline system that will generate thousands of family-supporting jobs, provide access to new, high-paying markets, and unlock billions of dollars in benefit to our country.”
The expansion, as outlined in a report by the Conference Board of Canada, is expected to generate 802,000 person years of employment over more than 20 years and close to $50 billion in government revenues, which pay for vital public services that we all rely on. It will also generate more than $23 billion in additional local government taxes annually in BC, which is more than double the current amount. Read more
As British Columbians, we enjoy fantastic quality of life. We’ve come to expect the benefits of quality education for our children; world-leading health care services that meet the needs of an aging population; and safe, efficient and regularly renewed bridges, transit and other public infrastructure.
But none of that comes cheap, and all of it depends on tax revenues that are created by private investment and private economic activity. Pacific Northwest LNG has already contributed to public revenues through its significant spending during its proposal phase, and those contributions will ramp up significantly when construction begins.
And once in operation? Total tax and royalty contributions to all three levels of government are expected to be $1.3 billion annual. That’s a huge infusion of public revenues that will significantly improve our ability to pay for vital public services in BC without incurring debt.