Cannabis-infused foods, beverages set to become legal as of December

Read more

EI program changes leave hundreds of post-secondary students without funds

Intent of the Fast Forward education program isn’t funding full-time students, province says

Mairin Prentiss · CBC News

Many post-secondary students in Nova Scotia are scrambling to find enough money to go back to school in the fall after the federal government requested a change to a program that allows people to draw employment insurance benefits while studying.

Students in the province’s Fast Forward education program don’t have to look for work while on EI, and can instead enrol in approved programs to update their skills and training.

“I’m extremely devastated by the news, me and along with all the students I know, because a lot of us really depended on this money when we go back to school,” said Jacqueline McNeil, a science student at Université Sainte-Anne.

Employment and Social Development Canada is now requiring participants to have been in the workforce for at least 24 months, which excludes hundreds of students from accessing the program.

Under the new rule, the province anticipates 540 students will no longer be eligible ⁠— a 30 per cent reduction of the over 1,800 people who benefited from the program in Nova Scotia last school year.

Study part time or take a year off?

Without the additional funding, some students are considering reducing their course load to part time or taking a year off to save enough money to continue their programs.

In addition to her student loan, McNeil was able to draw the EI she accumulated from summer jobs to help cover her rent and expenses while she lives in Church Point, N.S., during the school year.

Now, she’s no longer eligible.

‘No other option’

She plans to try to save enough money this summer to remain a full-time student.

“If I end up running out of money and the student loan can’t cover [the balance], I’m going to have to switch from full-time schooling to part-time schooling because I’ll have no other option,” said McNeil from her Sydney home.

“It’s pretty awful honestly. I don’t think it’s right. I think if you can apply for EI and get unemployment, we should still have access to these benefits. It’s money that we earned.”

The province’s Department of Labour and Advanced Education said the federal government asked that the program’s intention be changed to ensure applicants are unemployed workers taking training during a period of unemployment.

“The program is not intended to fund full-time students,” said department spokesperson Shannon Kerr.

Before the change, Fast Forward criteria permitted people who have been out of high school for a minimum of 12 months to access the program as long as they qualified for EI, said Kerr.

The criteria for new applicants came into effect on June 7. Some current applicants will be able to continue in the program until the end of the year.

Program changes

Summer or part-time employment for people enrolled in full-time school does not count toward the 24 required months.

Employment and Social Development Canada did not say how many programs across the country the change affects.

They also did not say the reason behind the change.

Nova Scotia’s program launched in 2015. Changes to EI eligibility the following year allowed students working in the summer months to access the program, said Kerr.

Dalhousie engineering student Allen Cox doesn’t know if he’ll again be eligible to use the program.

The sudden change has left him in the lurch as he considers whether he’ll need to take a year off school to earn money.

“A year’s not the end of the world, but it wasn’t my plan,” said Cox, who used the program for the spring term once he heard about it.

Participants were notified of the change by letter on June 10.

Short notice

Cox said with school resuming in September, that “isn’t very much time to come up with money you thought you had available.”

Had the rules not changed, he estimated he would have been able to draw around $10,000 of EI in the upcoming year — a larger sum than most full-time students would earn because of his program’s four-month-long work terms.

Roughly half of his class of about 80 people are enrolled in the program, he said.

“There’s a lot of students in my degree worried about it,” said Cox.

Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada & RBC Insurance help families stay close

Today, RBC Insurance announced a $250,000 commitment to support families with sick children, becoming a National Mission Partner of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC®) Canada. All proceeds will support families with sick children staying at 31 Ronald McDonald House Charities program sites across Canada.

“We are truly grateful for the support of RBC Insurance as our newest National Mission Partner. This partnership provides much needed funding to families staying at a Ronald McDonald House or Family Room across Canada,” said Cathy Loblaw, CEO of RMHC Canada. “Every dollar raised from partners like RBC Insurance helps us create a Canadawhere all families have a place to stay together while their child is being treated at a nearby hospital.”

Every 20 minutes a family in need arrives on an RMHC doorstep across Canada and last year RMHC turned away 2,808 families due to lack of space. This new partnership provides an opportunity for RMHC and RBC Insurance to join forces in their commitment and care for Canadian families with sick children.

“We are proud to partner with Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada to help improve the lives and well-being of the thousands of families with seriously ill children that stay at the 31 RMHC program sites across Canada each year,” said Neil Skelding, President and CEO of RBC Insurance. “Our hope is to help Ronald McDonald Houses in their goal to never turn away another family, so all families will have a place to call home where they can be close to their child during these difficult times.”

RBC Insurance is one of six RMHC Canada National Mission Partners where its $250,000 investment will go towards RMHC programs across Canada to support families with sick children in times of unexpected need.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities® Canada (RMHC® CANADA)
In Canada, 65 per cent of families live outside a city with a children’s hospital, and must travel for treatment if their child is seriously ill. The RMHC network of programs in Canada helps to keep more than 25,000 families close to their sick child and the care they need each year. The 15 Ronald McDonald Houses provide out-of-town families with a home to stay at while their child is being treated at a nearby hospital, while the 16 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms provide a comfortable place for families to rest and recharge, right inside hospitals. Through the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, basic medical care is available to underserved communities in Alberta. For more information, please visit rmhccanada.ca.

About RBC Insurance
RBC Insurance® offers a wide range of life, health, home, auto, travel, wealth, annuities and reinsurance advice and solutions, as well as creditor and business insurance services to individual, business and group clients. RBC Insurance is the brand name for the insurance operating entities of Royal Bank of Canada, one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies. RBC Insurance is among the largest Canadian bank-owned insurance organizations, with approximately 2,900 employees who serve more than five million clients globally. For more information, please visit rbcinsurance.com.

SOURCE RBC Insurance

Zurich Insurance to shift investment away from oil sands in broad carbon policy

The excerpted article was written by GLOBAL ENERGY REPORTER

Swiss-based Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. is blacklisting oil sands producers as well as the pipeline companies and crude-by-rail facilities that serve them, saying Tuesday that it will stop underwriting or investing in the companies within two years unless they can clearly show their business plans are consistent with a global effort to avert the worst impact of climate change.

Zurich said it is joining a United Nations compact to align its own business operations with the goal of limiting average global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels in order to avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change. In a report last fall, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the 1.5-degree target is necessary to avert dire human impacts and the wholesale extinction of vulnerable species.

Zurich committed to using only renewable power in all global operations by 2023, and said it will work to create financial industry standards to measure and set targets for the carbon footprint of companies’ underwriting and investment portfolio.

“As one of the world’s leading insurers, we see first-hand the devastation natural disasters inflict on people and communities,” Zurich chief executive officer Mario Greco said in a release. “This is why we are accelerating action to reduce climate risks by driving changes in how companies and people behave and [to] support those most impacted.”

The Swiss insurer has US$190-billion in investments worldwide, and is the latest institutional money manager to target the oil sands for divestment. Others include British bank HSBC Holdings PLC; France’s BNP Paribas SA and France’s giant AXA Equitable Financial Service LLC, as well as several state pension funds in the U.S. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney publicly condemned HSBC for its stand, but recently dismissed the financial industry’s increasing focus on climate risk as the “flavour of the day.”

However, an expert panel appointed by the federal government recently warned that the pressure will only increase as global financial markets respond to the growing climate emergency. The panel – headed by former Bank of Canada deputy governor Tiff Macklem – said Canada’s oil companies must scale up the pace of innovation in order to reduce their carbon footprint or see their share of the global market decline precipitously.

Companies such as Imperial Oil Ltd., Suncor Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. argue they have made great strides in reducing the greenhouse-gas intensity of their new facilities, which they say are now on par with the average crude refined in North America. Over all, the industry has reduced its per-barrel emissions by 29 per cent since 2000, the Macklem panel said.

“Canadian oil and natural gas is produced in one of the most highly regulated jurisdictions globally and is among the most sustainably produced energy sources in the world. The majority of global oil and natural gas reserves are held by nationally-owned companies accountable to little, or no climate legislation,” Jon Stringham, manager of fiscal and economic policy at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said in an e-mail.

Constraining Canadian production will only result in increased market share for companies that face little or no environmental standards, he said.

Zurich’s head of sustainability, Linda Freiner, said the company moved to eliminate coal used for electricity from its portfolio two years ago, but felt it needed to intensify its effort in line with the IPCC report that warned the world must begin to reduce greenhouse gases dramatically within a decade to have any chance of meeting the 1.5-degree goal.

The Globe and Mail

Northbridge’s Silvy Wright elected Chair of the Board of Directors for IBC

June 25, 2019 (TORONTO) – Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is pleased to announce that its Board of Directors has elected Silvy Wright to serve as Chair of the Board. Ms. Wright is President and Chief Executive Officer for Northbridge Financial, a leading Canadian commercial insurer.

“The insurance industry is changing at an unprecedented pace and facing new challenges. As the voice of Canada’s property and casualty insurance industry, IBC is uniquely positioned to help address shared concerns and forge solutions to pressing issues,” said Silvy Wright, Chair, IBC Board of Directors. “These challenges span from work advancing the country’s preparedness for severe weather events, to auto insurance reforms across Canada, to new technologies and industry disruptors. Through IBC, property and casualty insurers will continue engaging governments and stakeholders across Canada to drive changes that will benefit Canadian businesses and consumers. I look forward to continuing this important work and representing the shared values of our industry.”

Ms. Wright has been President and CEO of Northbridge since 2011. Before that, she played a pivotal role in building Markel Insurance into Canada’s premier trucking insurer, including being President and CEO starting in 2006 after holding other executive positions with the company. Prior to Markel, Ms. Wright held other senior positions in the insurance and financial services industries.

“In her new role as Chair, Ms. Wright brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to IBC, and her work in commercial insurance brings a unique perspective to the role,” said Don Forgeron, President and CEO, IBC. “We look forward to working with her to reach our goals of helping consumers and keeping Canada’s insurance industry strong and robust. With Ms. Wright’s leadership, IBC will continue to advance its strategic priorities with communities, stakeholders and governments across the country.”


About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54.7 billion.

Apollo Insurance launches online marketplace for SMEs after $1m angel round

Apollo Insurance Solutions Launches Industry-First Online Monthly Subscription Service, Following Close of $1M CAD Angel Round … an e-commerce marketplace that enables brokers and their small business clients to instantly

Vancouver, BC, June 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Apollo Insurance Solutions (“Apollo”), Canada’s largest online insurance marketplace, officially launches today, unveiling an industry-first monthly small business insurance subscription available in Canada through the groundbreaking Apollo Exchange – an ecommerce marketplace that enables brokers and their small business clients to instantly quote and purchase insurance products entirely online. The announcement follows Apollo’s angel round of funding, which, after the completion of beta testing on April 1, 2019, successfully closed at $1 million CAD with support from notable investors, including Drew Green, Matias Marquez, Kim Kaplan, and Tim Gamble. This news comes at a critical time when the existing process for insurance policies lacks efficiency and results in gaps in suitable coverage, particularly for small businesses.

“Today’s launch is a defining moment in the Apollo story, and a memorable day for the entire team,” said Jeff McCann, Co-founder and CEO of Apollo Insurance Solutions. “We wanted to make it easier for Canada’s small businesses to operate, and a major pain point with starting and growing a small business is insurance. With the small business insurance subscription, we make it fast, easy to access, and affordable, empowering insurance brokers by streamlining their workflow so that they can spend more time offering strategic advice and counsel. It seems simple considering we subscribe to almost everything else, but it has yet to exist – until today.”

Current insurance policies require long application forms and wait times for quote turnaround, manual renewal or reapproval by a broker upon expiration, and limited access given 9-5 office hours – major pain points for small businesses. Apollo offers a simple solution that streamlines the process and alleviates the labour intensive paperwork for both brokers and their small business clientele.

“Incidents of complex new risks such as cyber breaches, natural disasters, massive supply chain inefficiencies, and a lengthy application process, are having a negative impact on Canada’s small businesses,” added McCann. “As it stands, it currently takes roughly six weeks to process an insurance application through to policy issuance and payment settlement. By leveraging innovation and technology, Apollo is able to expedite the entire process to just five minutes.”

Apollo helps insurance brokers close deals faster, accelerate revenues, and reduce costs. By simplifying the insurance application, quoting, and buying process through digitization – all of which is currently done on paper or PDF – brokers can access multiple insurance products, covering over 500 classes of business (from studios, to retail stores, to accountants, and hair salons) on one central platform, freeing up to 45 per cent of brokers’ time from administrative tasks. Since launching Beta testing, over 300 registered individual broker users have signed up on the Apollo Exchange marketplace, transacted 800 small business policies, and processed over 3,600 digital insurance applications.

The company is led by Insurance Broker Magazine’s Top 10 Under 40 recipient and former broker, Co-Founder and CEO, Jeff McCann. The Apollo leadership team is made up of award-winning journalist, Co-Founder and Editor in Chief, David Dyck; Co-Founder and CTO, Justin Hamade; and 2018 Young Gun of the Year, Head of Broker Engagement, Margo Lyons. Supported by some of Canada’s top entrepreneurial talent, Apollo’s Board of Directors includes Drew Green, CEO of Indochino; Tim Gamble, Founding Partner at Thunderbird Entertainment; and Steve Albiani of Stratum Advisory Group.

About Apollo Insurance Solutions

Headquartered in Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood, Apollo Insurance Solutions is Canada’s largest online insurance marketplace. Co-founded by Jeff McCann, David Dyck, Justin Hamade, and Drew Green, Apollo was created to empower brokers to better serve small businesses by giving them 24/7 access to digital insurance.

Apollo Exchange offers Canada’s brokers access to multiple insurance providers, with over 500 classes of insurance. Unlike the traditionally lengthy insurance policy and application process – which can take up to six weeks – Apollo users can quote, pay, and have their policy documents issued online in just under five minutes, allowing them to focus on the important stuff: building trusted relationships and offering strategic, thoughtful counsel.

Following the completion of its Beta testing in April 2019, Apollo has successfully closed its angel round of funding, raising $1 million CAD with the support of notable investors, including Drew Green, Matias Marquez, Kim Kaplan, and Caliber Ventures. Acting members of Apollo’s Board of Directors are leading industry and entrepreneurial figures Drew Green, Steve Albiani, Tim Gamble, and Jeff McCann. In June 2019, the company launched a first of its kind, digital, monthly subscription service. For more information, visit: http://story.apollocover.com/

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from ILSTV

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest