The Co-operators acquires Technicost

The Co-operators announced today that they have acquired Technicost, a technology company that provides credit management solutions, including Loan Origination Systems (LOS) to Credit Unions, effective December 31, 2018.

“This was a natural fit for us as our organizations share values with respect to serving credit unions in Canada,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO, The Co-operators. “We can now deliver a broader suite of options and capabilities in the creditor space and will continue to support our credit union partners’ choice of LOS.”

Technicost has been providing credit software solutions to Canadian credit unions for over 35 years and is a financially strong organization with room for growth.

“We’ve worked hard to successfully build Technicost and are proud of our achievements in the creditor space,” said Dominic Paquette, CEO of Technicost.  “We are in a position to continue to grow our product offering and become a market leader with the support of a strong organization like The Co-operators.”

Technicost’s current management team and staff will remain in place and it will be business as usual for clients. Technicost will operate as an independent entity as part of The Co-operators group of companies.

About The Co-operators:

The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $42.5 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies, it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit

SOURCE The Co-operators

3 money tasks you need to do right now

By Liz Weston


Most financial to-do lists focus on what you need to get done by Dec. 31, but there’s also a brief window early in the new year to save yourself some significant cash. Here are three tasks to consider doing now:


If you live in a high-tax area, have a bunch of children or otherwise take a lot of deductions, you may face an unpleasant surprise on April 15. It won’t just be a big tax bill. You may also face penalties for not having withheld enough taxes in 2018.

Some people  “are going to be in really sad shape,” says Cari Weston (no relation), director of tax practices and ethics for the American Institute of CPAs .

Taxe experts say many people are still unaware of how many tax rules have changed. Personal exemptions no longer exist, for example, which can be a problem for people with many dependents. People also can only deduct up to $10,000 of state, local and property taxes combined, when there used to be no limit.

Free income tax calculators can help you estimate your tax bill, or you can turn to a tax pro.You may face a penalty essentially interest on the amount you should have paid, but didn’t  if you’ll owe more than $1,000 on April 15 , Weston says. But there may still be time to avoid it.

Most people can dodge the penalty if their withholding in 2018 at least equaled the total tax they owed the year before (that’s the amount shown on line 63 of your 1040 form for 2017). People with adjusted gross incomes over $150,000 must have withheld at least 110 per cent of the previous year’s tax.

Those who withheld too little can still avoid the penalty by making an estimated tax payment by Jan. 15. Instructions are on the IRS’ payment page .


Scheduling routine health appointments and screenings early in the year helps make sure they get done. You could catch problems before they get bigger and more expensive.

Front-loading your costs can also help if you have big medical expenses later in the year. Most health insurance comes with out-of-pocket maximums, which is the most you’re expected to pay in a year counting copayments, deductibles and coinsurance amounts but not counting premiums. The average out-of-pocket maximum for employer-provided health plans was $3,872 for a single person in 2018, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Once you hit your plan’s limit, your insurance typically starts picking up the entire bill for medical care for the rest of the year.

If you have a flexible spending account for medical care through your employer, draining it early in the year can be a good plan. Although payments for FSAs are deducted from your paycheque throughout the year, you don’t have to contribute the money before you can spend it, says Sander Domaszewicz , principal at consulting firm Mercer. You can submit claims and be reimbursed for the full amount you’re scheduled to contribute for the year (up to $2,700 in 2019 ) at any time. If you lose your job or quit, you don’t have to pay back the difference between what you’ve contributed and what you’ve spent.


“Savings buckets” are savings accounts for a specific purpose, such as vacations, property taxes, life insurance premiums, car repairs and so on. You figure out roughly how much money you’ll need and when, then set up automatic transfers so the money is there when you need it. Having the cash on hand means you don’t have to charge it (and pay high credit card interest rates) or take out expensive loans.

Some people who do this have a single savings account at a traditional bank, using a spreadsheet to keep track of how much has been accumulated for each purpose. But online banks make it easier and more intuitive. These banks typically allow you to set up multiple sub-accounts, with labels you choose, and don’t charge monthly fees or require minimum balances.

If you’re already saving for non-monthly expenses, see if you need to tweak the amounts. Property taxes typically go up every year, for example, but you may have to save less for car repairs if you recently bought a newer vehicle.

A few minutes spent on these chores now could save you money, time and stress throughout 2019.

Smart Toys And Regulating The IOT In Canada

Article by Brent J. Arnold and Kavivarman Sivasothy (Articling Student)

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has just issued a seasonal (and chilling) reminder about the dangers of internet-connected children’s toys: they may be recording your children’s voices and sharing their locations when they play.1  The FTC encourages grownups buying smart toys to investigate what kind of information the toys store, how and where the data is stored and shared, and whether parents have the ability to see and delete the data collected.  It also flags U.S. privacy law requirements around consent and disclosure with which toy manufacturers must comply (Canada has similar privacy law requirements).

The warning is timely for Canadians as well, and not just because it’s gift-giving season.  Smart toys make up a growing part of the Internet of Things (the “IoT”)—the universe of network-connected devices, ranging from smartphones to connected cars to pacemakers to Christmas lights—that bring greater convenience to daily life but that often contain little or no protection from cyber attacks.  Cisco estimates that the IoT “will comprise more than 30 billion connected devices” by 2020.2

Ensuring consumers understand the cybersecurity and privacy risks associated with connected consumer products is a key aspect of cybersecurity, but governments are also increasingly (if belatedly) recognizing that safeguards must be implemented at the manufacturing stage to effectively insulate end-users from cyber-attacks and unauthorized intrusions.

The Canadian Senate has expressed similar concerns to the FTC over the proliferation of the IoT. The Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce recently published a report about the growth of cybersecurity threats in Canada, noting that “over half of Canadian households have four or more Internet-connected devices, and each of these devices could potentially serve as a target for cyber criminals,”  and recommending that “[t]he federal government develop standards to protect consumers, businesses and governments from threats related to the Internet of Things devices.”3

Canada would not be the first jurisdiction to consider imposing cybersecurity standards on manufacturers of connected devices.

Japan has had an IoT strategy in place for some time now.  Its National Center for Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (“NISC”) released a draft General Framework for Secured IoT Systems in 20164 as part of a 2015 national strategy5 driven in part by the security imperatives arising from Japan’s hosting of the 2020 Olympic Games.6  The General Framework adopts the privacy principle of “privacy by design” and recognizes the need to develop “safety assurance standards, including statutory and customary requirements” for the IoT.7

Japan updated its strategy in July 2018,8 emphasizing the necessity of creating guidelines for industry and of promoting “efforts for international standardization of the basic elements of cybersecurity required for realizing secure IoT systems in order to develop value creation systems for IoT systems and deploy it on a global scale while utilizing Japan’s strengths of safety and security in order to contribute to the development of the global economy through spreading such secure IoT systems.”9

It is clear that Japan recognizes its leverage as a technological hub that can strongly influence global standard-setting, and is actively working to build up cybersecurity through policy.

Other jurisdictions have similarly recognized the importance of enforcing standards.  A new California law10coming into force in 2020 broadly defines “connected devices” to mean “any device, or other physical object that is capable of connecting to the Internet, directly or indirectly, and that is assigned an Internet Protocol address or Bluetooth address.”11 The incoming law requires the manufacturer of any “connected device” to:

[E]quip the device with a reasonable security feature or features that are all of the following:

  1. Appropriate to the nature and function of the device.
  2. Appropriate to the information it may collect, contain, or transmit.
  3. Designed to protect the device and any information contained therein from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.12

Meanwhile, a U.S. Senate bill not yet passed into law13 but endorsed by a number of cybersecurity experts would require that IoT devices are patchable, contain no known vulnerabilities, rely on standardized protocols, and not use hard-coded passwords.14

There is no doubt that influential jurisdictions are recognizing the risk of allowing rapid IoT growth without corresponding regulatory authority.  A Canadian approach to regulating the IoT raises interesting questions. Would jurisdiction be federal or provincial (likely both)?  What existing or new regulators would take jurisdiction?  What changes to existing privacy and other laws would be needed to implement a successful scheme of regulation and standards?

A robust and clear technical and legal framework is critical for end-users to appreciate their rights, and for the producers of these devices to understand their responsibilities. The jurisdictions that act first and go farthest will largely shape the approach taken by other jurisdictions.  It will be interesting to see whether Canada becomes a leader or a follower in this process.

Read the original article on

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq

Here’s how CPP, EI and small business taxes are changing in 2019

Global News: By 

Your paycheque might see an adjustment come 2019 as new Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI) rates kick in.

For many Canadians, the changes will be slight, considering CPP’s cut is rising while EI is falling.

Small business owners will see additional changes: the tax rate is set to fall, but passive investment income will be taxed more heavily.

Here’s a breakdown of some of Canada’s 2019 tax changes.

EI premium rate lowers thanks to strong employment numbers

Canada’s unemployment rate has dropped to 40-year lows, resulting in reduced demand for EI and allowing Ottawa to shrink the amount it collects to keep the fund afloat.

EI rates that employees pay are dropping by four cents per $100 of insurable earnings from $1.66 to $1.62. In Quebec, the rates are dropping five cents per $100 of insurable earnings from $1.30 to $1.25.

The amount employers contribute, which is 1.4 times what employees pay, will also be reduced.

The changes, announced in September, go into effect Jan. 1.

“This will be the lowest EI premium rate since 1980 — and for most Canadian workers, the lowest they have paid since entering the workforce,” Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a joint statement.

The EI rate is set by a commission that has been in place for 75 years. The rate is adjusted according to a seven-year break-even mechanism that aims to provide stable rates as well as to ensure the premium collected goes only to EI purposes.

CPP set to increase annually 

The CPP is being “gradually enhanced” over the next seven years by way of increased contributions — meaning you gradually pay more now in order to get more later on. The overall aim is to grow the amount you will receive to one-third of average work earnings, up from a quarter.

In 2019, the amount you contribute will increase to 5.1 per cent, up from 4.95 per cent, for earnings between $3,500 and $57,400. These contributions are matched by your employer.

Here’s how much that works out to, according to a Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) estimate:

  • Someone earning $27,450 will pay $36 more annually,
  • Someone earning $55,900 will pay $79 more annually,
  • Someone earning $85,000 will pay $83 more annually.

The changes will only impact those currently paying into CPP. Eligibility for CPP is not impacted, nor is the amount people are currently receiving.

You can see how much EI and CPP you are likely to pay by using the Government of Canada’s online payroll deductions calculator.

The EI and CPP changes will likely make the biggest impact on small businesses and self-employed Canadians, says Monique Moreau, VP of national affairs at the CFIB.

“What the Canadian may see on their pay stub may not seem like a lot to them but they’re not seeing the other end of it, which is what their employer pays on their behalf,” said Moreau.

“You have to keep in mind that anyone who is self-employed actually pays it twice…so those business owners are going to be feeling it even more.”

Small business tax changes

Small business owners are set to get a tax break this year by way of a reduced overall tax rate, falling to nine per cent from 10 per cent.

This will result in annual savings of $7,500 for small businesses, according to CFIB.

Meanwhile, a businesses’ income over $50,000 from passive investments such as real estate, stocks and bonds will be hit with higher taxes. The more a business holds, the more their small business deduction limit will be reduced.

With these changes, along with new carbon taxes, Moreau predicts that it’ll be over a year from now when business owners find themselves “holding the bag” over these “complicated tax changes.”

“We know that the average small business owner doesn’t know a lot about these changes,” said Moreau.

“While it may not impact a whole many of them, the government hasn’t done a particularly great job in communicating what those changes mean to business owners who do use it.”

iA Financial Group Announces Completion of Plan of Arrangement

Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. (“IAIFS“) announces that the plan of arrangement approved at the annual and special meeting of its common shareholders held on May 10, 2018 has been completed. Effective January 1, 2019, IAIFS is a subsidiary all of whose common shares are held by iA Financial Corporation Inc. (“iA Financial Corporation“).

Under the plan of arrangement, all the common shares of IAIFS outstanding at January 1, 2019 have been exchanged for newly issued common shares of iA Financial Corporation, the new holding company, on a one‑for‑one basis. The holders of IAIFS’s common shares were not required to take any action for the exchange of their shares. Issued and outstanding series of preferred shares and debentures will remain issued by IAIFS and have been guaranteed by iA Financial Corporation in accordance with the terms of the arrangement.

At the open of markets on January 4, 2019, the common shares of iA Financial Corporation will be listed and begin trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) under the existing trading symbol of IAIFS (TSX: IAG). The publicly issued and outstanding Class A Preferred Shares, Series B, G and I, of IAIFS will continue to trade on the TSX but under the new symbols “IAF.PR.B”, “IAF.PR.G” and “IAF.PR.I”.

iA Financial Corporation is governed by the Business Corporations Act (Quebec) and is not regulated under the Act respecting insurance (Quebec). However iA Financial Corporation will maintain the ability to supply capital, if it considers it necessary, to IAIFS so that the latter meets the adequacy of capital requirements under the Act respecting insurance (Quebec). Pursuant to an undertaking, iA Financial Corporation will disclose its capital position on a quarterly basis. A copy of the undertaking (to which the Autorité des marchés financiers is an intervening party) will be filed under the SEDAR profiles of both iA Financial Corporation and IAISF at

As of January 1, 2019, the members of the Boards of Directors of IAIFS and iA Financial Corporation are the same, and the normal course issuer bid program of IAIFS has been transferred to iA Financial Corporation, subject to compliance with regulatory limits and requirements.

A full description of the plan of arrangement was provided in the Management Proxy Circular of IAIFS dated March 23, 2018 that was sent to common shareholders and filed on SEDAR at The final order approving the arrangement was issued by the Superior Court of Québec on May 17, 2018. The arrangement was authorized by the Québec Minister of Finance as required under the Act respecting insurance (Quebec) on December 12, 2018.

This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities. The securities described herein have not been, and will not be, registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “U.S. Securities Act”) or any state securities laws and accordingly may not be offered or sold within the United States or to “U.S. persons”, as such term is defined in Regulation S promulgated under the U.S. Securities Act, except in compliance with the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act and applicable state securities requirements or pursuant to exemptions therefrom. It is anticipated that any securities to be issued under the Arrangement will be offered and issued in reliance upon the exemption from the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act provided by Section 3(a)(10) thereof and pursuant to applicable exemptions under state securities laws.

About iA Financial Group
Founded in 1892, IAIFS is one of the largest insurance and wealth management companies in Canada and also has operations in the United States. iA Financial Corporation trades on the TSX under the ticker symbol IAG. IAIFS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of iA Financial Corporation Inc.

iA Financial Group is a business name and trademark of Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.

SOURCE Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.

For further information: Investor Relations, Grace Pollock, Telephone: 418-780-5945,; Public Relations, Pierre Picard, Telephone: 418-684-5000, extension 101660,

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Federal tax changes come into effect as new year begins

OTTAWA _ The new year brings with it tax changes at the federal level that will affect just about every Canadian, as well as small businesses.

One of the first changes workers will see is an increase in Canada Pension Plan premiums coming off their paycheques the first of five years of hikes to pay for enhancements to the pension plan.

Employment Insurance premiums, on the other hand, will drop by four cents for every $100 of insurable earnings.

Meanwhile, the small business tax rate is going down from 10 to nine per cent. But changes to how much so-called passive income a small business can hold are also coming into effect, which is expected to push some businesses into paying a much higher corporate tax rate.

Also in 2019, low income workers can qualify for an increase in the Canada Workers Benefit. But they will have to wait until 2020 to receive the extra money.

The federal government’s new carbon pricing system will also come into effect in provinces that don’t have carbon pricing mechanisms of their own, resulting in higher costs for fossil fuels by April, and direct rebates to partly offset the increased costs.

Conservative Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer is already gearing up to make it an issue leading to the October federal election, calling 2019 the year of the carbon tax.

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