City of Vancouver proposing business licenses for AirBnB rentals

Source: Daily Hive

In an effort to combat a lack of rental housing in Vancouver, the City is proposing creating business licenses for short-term rentals such as AirBnB.

A report outlining the framework for such a license is coming to council on October 4, and states anyone who wants to rent out their principal homes – whether they own or rent – for less than 30 days must follow a set of guidelines to do so.

In order to get a short-term rental license, applicants have to prove that the home they live in is their main residence – empty homes or investment properties won’t be considered for short-term rentals – through a tax assessment or signed tenancy agreement that permits short-term sublets.

They must also prove that they live in the home they say is their principal residence with government ID or a utility bill.

“Vancouver is striking a balance in our approach to short-term rentals that ensures the best use of all our housing,” Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a release. “Long term rental supply will be protected and residents will be able to do short-term rentals in their principal residences.”

“Housing is first and foremost for homes, not operating a business. Both the City’s research and broad public input tell us we can have short-term rentals in Vancouver to help supplement income, while ensuring long term rentals are back in the rental market.”

The proposed plan would legalize approximately 50% of current short-term rental listings and also ban more than 1,000 homes listed for long-term tenancy.

As it stands, the city’s rental vacancy rates are at 0.6%, which is one of the lowest in Canada. The City said back in July that Vancouver has 5,000 short-term rentals, 75% of which are whole houses or apartments.

As part of the strategy to combat empty homes in Vancouver – of which there are 10,800 – and increase much-needed rental stock, the City also will implement an empty homes tax in 2017. Their aim is to get the rental vacancy rate up to 3% from 0.6%.

What to Wear When You Travel for Work

What to Wear When You Travel for Work

Decked out in a suit for a business meeting doesn’t work anymore.

It’s stuffy and off-putting. For those heading out to San Francisco or a tech conference in Las Vegas, these comfortable and style-aware products have technical features (you could use them in a workout) but help you fit in even if you’re discussing a multi-million dollar office expansion or that new selfie app.

1. Eddie Bauer Departure Tropical-Weight Packable Blazer ($149)

This blazer looks like you’d fit in at an investor confab, but it’s incredibly light and comfortable. Wearing one feels more like you might go sailing or even job on the beach. It uses a spandex outer shell and uses moisture wicking to keep you from sweating through the meeting.

2. Samuel Hubbard Getaway Shoes ($210)

If you’re not familiar with this brand, know this–these all leather dress shoes feel like you are wearing sneakers. They are comfortable enough that you’ll wear them long after the work day ends. Unlike running shoes, the interior lining is made of a plush glove leather.

3. Bluffworks Chino Travel Pants ($125)

Like the travel shoes I mentioned, these flexible pants have a decided business look but they’re comfortable and made from a stretchy and soft material. Bluffworks calls them “technical” pants which is a buzzword for being able to go for a run or do a workout in them.

4. Bead & Reel Elena Henley Blouse Tee ($125)

The material used for this blouse is called “modal” which is softer and more wrinkle-free than cotton. Buttons on the sleeves let you roll them up for a more casual look. The look serves double-duty, helping you look trendy enough for the office or the workout room.

5. Carbon38 Hassium Solid Parka ($295)

Don’t think of this “parka” as something you’d wear on an Alaskan expedition. It’s made from a custom blend of materials; a drawstring on the hoodie gives you a mysterious look. It’s decidedly unique in the cut and has the added benefit of keeping you warm on fall days.

6. Stonewear Breeze Pullover ($76)

For travel, this pullover uses a strong Tencel-poly blend material (made from regenerated wood cellulose) that makes it smooth and comfortable. There’s a pocket in front, thumbholes for keeping the sleeves stretched out, yet it has a trim business-casual look.

7. Timberland Lineman Boots ($350)

Hunting boots on a business travel trip? Yes, if they are trendy and this comfortable to wear all day. There’s also a story behind these boots — lineman used them to climb electrical poles. They’re made from hand-finished full-grade leather; the memory foam footbed cushions your step.

8. Stio Eddy Check Shirt ($49.50)

This multi-colored short-sleeve shirt is the one you want to fit in with the Millennial crowd. It’s unique in that it has a unique checkered look, but also provides protection from the sun (at a 50+ UPF rating) and uses a poly-yarn blend for warmth in the coming fall season.

Source: Inc.com

RBC recognized as highest ranked Canadian big 5 bank for customer satisfaction

Press Release:

With thanks to our millions of clients and thousands of employees across Canada, RBC is proud to be acknowledged with the ranking of ‘Highest in Customer Satisfaction Among the Big Five Retail Banks’, as part of an announcement today along with the findings of J.D. Power’s 2016 Canadian Retail Banking Satisfaction Study.

“This recognition speaks to our commitment to clients and our ongoing efforts to put them first,” said Jennifer Tory, Group Head, Personal and Commercial Banking. “As our clients’ lives and routines change, we are continually working on ways to provide exemplary service and to make everyday banking easier, whether it’s in our branches or local community, on the phone or through online or mobile. Acknowledgement like this tells us we are on the right track.”

Based on feedback directly collected from thousands of Canadian consumers, the study measures seven key factors. RBC achieved the highest scores in Product, Personal Service, Communication and Financial Advisor.

“The expert advice our employees provide day-in and day-out makes us proud,” added Ms Tory. “This recognition is a demonstration of the strength of our team and their willingness to go the extra mile. To everyone who helped us reach this milestone, we say thank you for always bringing your best to every client.”

Our goal is to serve our clients where and when they want, enhancing their overall experience and building long-lasting relationships.

About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We have over 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices inCanada, the U.S. and 36 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.‎

RBC helps communities prosper, supporting a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2015, we contributed more than $121 million to causes around the world.

SOURCE RBC

Earn extra income this year through Uber or Airbnb? Remember to report it

By Craig Wong

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ People who drove for a ride-hailing service like Uber or rented out their homes through Airbnb last year earned extra income, and that needs to be reported come tax time.

“When you decide to put up the post for a room in your house or your cottage or in fact if you happen to sign up with Uber and be a driver, you’ve got I think an approach to earn income or money,” said Paul Woolford, a tax partner at KPMG.

“As such, there’s a need to report the benefits of those efforts.”

But some costs that were paid to earn the extra cash can be used to offset income and reduce taxes owing.

“In a simple context, anything that you incurred to provide that income … you can take an expense for the related cost,” Woolford said.

The complication comes in the shared aspect.

“There’s property taxes that apply to both personally and the room, there’s heat and electricity, there’s water costs, there’s potentially repairs,” Woolford said.

For example, people who rent out their cottage for one month of the year can take one 12th of the property taxes, insurance, and heating-cooling costs and expense those against the income they receive.

The profit is then rental income that must be reported on a tax return.

For those who worked as a driver for Uber, that means having kept logs detailing how much they used their cars for personal use and when they drove paying passengers to determine how much may be deducted.

“Record keeping becomes very important,” Woolford said.

Earlier this year, Airbnb agreed to email the 11,000 people in Ontario who list their homes or other spaces for rent on its site and tell them to report the income as part of a pilot project with the province.

Dale Barrett, a tax lawyer and principal at Barrett Tax Law, said he was unaware of any instances of the Canada Revenue Agency requesting information from companies like Uber or Airbnb so far.

“However, at any given time this could happen,” he said. “If these companies are American, the information could go from the American company to the IRS, from the IRS to CRA, then all of sudden they’ll know who all the Canadian players are and they can go ahead and reassess.”

Barrett noted that several years ago the agency launched a probe reviewing big eBay sellers and obtained information on its so-called PowerSellers.

“If you’re doing business with one of these sort of new economy-type of websites and you’re earning income, one way or another, the CRA will eventually find out,” he said.

“And if you haven’t declared it, you’re going to be subject to penalties and if the amount is great enough, prosecution.”

canada-press

March Madness Fever: Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to hiring

Source: Lou Adler

Over the past 40 years, I’ve interviewed over 10,000 people for hundreds of different jobs, from entry-level to CEO. As part of this, I’ve debriefed over 1,000 managers and tracked the subsequent performance of the people they hired and didn’t hire. Based on this, I can safely conclude these are the top 10 classic hiring mistakes:

  1. Using Presentation Skills to Predict Performance. Too many interviewers overvalue the candidate’s appearance, affability, assertiveness and how articulate the person is. These “Four A’s” don’t predict performance, all they predict is the likelihood the wrong person will be hired.
  2. Instantaneous Judgmentitis aka “Cherry-picking” Syndrome. Once a yes/no hiring decision is made (often in a few minutes) the balance of the interview is used to seek out information to confirm the initial flawed decision. For those candidates in the “yes” group, the tough questions are avoided, and for those receiving a quick “no” the toughest ones are asked. The problem can be minimized by waiting at least 30 minutes before making any hint of a yes or no decision.
  3. Using Hard Skills to Predict Performance. It’s what people do with what they have that makes them successful, yet most interviewers focus more on the depth of the having rather than the quality of the doing. It’s better to first determine how these skills are used on the job, and then use the one-question interview to figure out if the person has done what needs to be done.
  4. Thinking Soft Skills are Too Soft to Matter. Collaborating with other people in other functions, meeting challenging deadlines, changing priorities, making business tradeoffs, obtaining resources, and the like, are too important to be called soft. Yet most interviewers spend too little time on how these non-technical skills drive performance.
  5. Missing the Forest for the Trees. If you’ve ever hired someone who’s partially competent, you’ve experienced this problem. Technical people focus too much on technical brilliance and not enough on how these skills are used on the job. Intuitive people rely on a narrow range of abilities, like assertiveness and intellectual horsepower, and assume global competency. The problem can be minimized by preparing a performance-based job description defining the top 4-5 things a person needs to do to be successful. Then put them in priority order and get everyone on the interviewing team to agree. Combine this with the one-question Performance-based Interview and you’re unlikely to make this mistake again.
  6. Gladiator Voting. Putting a bunch of interviewers in the same room and deciding to hire or not hire someone by adding up the yes/no votes is a recipe for hiring the wrong person. Sharing evidence around the factors that drive success is the key to an accurate assessment. Here’s a scorecard we recommend using to collect the objective evidence needed to make an accurate assessment. When there is a wide variance of opinion around each factor, you can safely assume your company’s interview process is based on something other than the candidate’s ability to do the work that needs to be done.
  7. The Safety of No. A no vote is easier to make since those that invoke it can never be proved wrong. A “no” also rewards the weakest and the most conservative interviewers, since neither has enough information to vote yes. Worse, one no vote can override 2-3 yes votes, especially if the person voting no has more authority. This is why the talent scorecard approach mentioned above is more effective.
  8. Misreading Motivation. Motivation to do the job is essential to job success. However, doing the job is not the same as motivation to get the job. Being prepared, being on time, doing company research, or responding “correctly” to the question, “why do you want this job?” are terrible predictors of real motivation. Unfortunately, too many interviewers are seduced by these superficial displays of interest. The one-question Performance-based Interview will reveal what really motivates candidates to excel.
  9. Ignoring Situational Fit. Even if you overcome all of these relatively easily preventable hiring mistakes and measure true ability, there is one issue that is often overlooked. If the candidate isn’t highly motivated to do the actual work that needs to get done, doesn’t mesh with the hiring manager’s style, or can’t thrive in the company culture (i.e., pace, decision-making process, approach to collaboration, level of sophistication, level of support and resources available) success is problematic.
  10. Asserting the Wrong Consequent. An example best illustrates this problem. Most interviewers falsely assume that the best sales reps make good first impressions. With this viewpoint, many compound the error by concluding that everyone who makes a good first impression will be a good sales rep. (This is an example of “asserting the consequent” logic problem.) What I’ve discovered is that the only common characteristic among the best sales people is a track record of great sales performance. When I find a great sales rep who makes less than a stellar first impression, I’ve discovered the person works harder than everyone else. You can apply this same principle to any job where there’s a belief that first impressions matter. What matters is a track record of past performance doing what you need to get done.

Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to hiring. This starts by defining what you need done. If you skip this step you’re likely to fall prey to one or more of the common hiring traps described here. As someone once told me, “If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’ll use some lame excuse to justify how you found it.”

Lou Adler (@LouA) is the CEO of The Adler Group, a consulting and search firm helping companies implement Performance-based Hiring. He’s also a regular columnist for Inc. Magazine and BusinessInsider.

#WomenHistoryMonth: 11 Crucial Inventions You Can Thank Women For

#WomenHistoryMonth: 11 Crucial Inventions You Can Thank Women For

March is #WomenHistoryMonth

By Jessica Samakow | The Huffington Post

This Women’s History Month, let’s take a moment to think about where we’d be without the inventions of some brilliant female minds: Stuck in a burning building with no way out, and without a chocolate chip cookie or a beer to bring comfort in our final moments. That was morbid, but you get the point.

Here are just a few things you might not have known were invented by women: 

1. Beer, Thanks to lots of women!

We don’t actually know the individual who first created beer, but according to research conducted by historian Jane Peyton, for thousands of years brewing beer was a woman’s domain. According a 2010 Telegraph piece: “Nearly 7,000 years ago in Mesopotamia and Sumeria, so important were [women’s] skills that they were the only ones allowed to brew the drink or run any taverns.”

2. The Square-Bottomed Paper Bag, Margaret Knight

Margaret Knight realized that paper bags without square bottoms weren’t all that useful, so she invented a machine to cut and attach flat bottoms to bags. Before she could patent the iron version of her machine, a man named Charles Annan stole her design, claiming that no woman could think of something so complex. Knight filed a lawsuit against him and proved that the prototype was in fact hers. She gained the patent in 1871.

3. Dishwasher, Josephine Cochrane

In 1886, socialite Josephine Cochrane was annoyed that her servants kept breaking her china. So, she invented the first workable dishwasher.

4. The Fire Escape, Anna Connelly

The first outdoor fire escape with an external staircase was patented by Anna Connelly in 1897. In the 1900s, Connelly’s model would become part of manymandatory building safety codes across the United States.

5. Monopoly, Elizabeth Magie

Monopoly, originally called The Landlord’s Game, was invented by Elizabeth Magie in 1903. Magie was inspired to create The Landlord’s Game “to demonstrate the tragic effects of land-grabbing.”

6. Windshield Wiper, Mary Anderson

In 1903, Mary Anderson noticed drivers stopping to clear snow and ice off their windshields. She came up with the windshield wiper — an arm with a rubber blade that could be activated without getting out of your car. She applied for a patent in 1904, and it was issued in 1905.

7. Chocolate Chip Cookies, Ruth Wakefield

In 1930, Ruth Wakefield, who owned a lodge named the Toll House Inn, was making cookies for guests and realized that she was out of baker’s chocolate. She broke up pieces of a Nestle semi-sweet chocolate bar, thinking that the chocolate would mix in and melt during baking, but it didn’t.

8. The Solar Heated Home, Dr. Maria Telkes

Dr. Maria Telkes worked at MIT on the university’s Solar Energy Research Project. In the 1940s, she developed the first solar-heated home with architect Eleanor Raymond.

9. Computer Software, Grace Hopper

Dr Grace Murray Hopper, a computer scientist, invented COBOL, the first user-friendly business computer software program in the 1950s. In 1969, she was awarded the first ever Computer Science Man of the Year Award.

10. Kevlar, Stephanie Kwolek

Stephanie Kwolek’s research with chemical compounds for the DuPont Company led her to invent Kevlar — the material used in bulletproof vests — which was patented in 1966.

11. Stem Cell Isolation, Ann Tsukamoto

Ann Tsukamoto is one of two people who got a patent in 1991 for a process to isolate the human stem cell. Her work has led to advancements in comprehending the blood systems of cancer patients and could eventually lead to a cure.

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