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.


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

By Craig Wong


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.”


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.

Drones, dogs and DNA the latest weapons against invasive species

By Tamsyn Burgmann


RICHMOND, B.C. _ Field technicians on the hunt for invasive species used to go on foot, by canoe or relied on satellite photographs taken from outer space.

But an ecologist who dispatched a drone to detect invaders in a British Columbia wildlife area is now recommending more remote-controlled robots do the difficult work.

“With a drone we’re looking at pixel sizes that are teeny tiny. The resolution is amazing. You can literally zoom in and see all the petals on that flower,” said Catherine Tarasoff, an adjunct professor at Thompson Rivers University.

“I’ve gotten past the steep learning curve and see the unlimited possibilities.”

Tarasoff trialled the unmanned aerial technology last June at the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area, an internationally protected wetland in south-central B.C.

The successful experiment was one of several cutting-edge advancements showcased in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday in the ongoing battle against invasive species. More than 150 specialists from across the province are gathered for three days to discuss emerging issues and learn about the latest techniques to apply in their own regions.

“There’s way more technology involved than there used to be,” said Gail Wallin, executive director of the Invasive Species Council of B.C., which is hosting the forum. “We’re in a whole new world now.”

Wallin said technology has not only empowered the experts, but is making a dent by enlisting the public. For example, there are now smartphone apps that help identify and report what’s in your backyard.

The council hopes to persuade people to take preventative actions against spreading invasives as a new social norm, just like recycling, she said.

“Now I can give you tools, and without being an invasive species specialist, you can go and find out what is invasive and what to do,” she said, noting the strategies are also being disseminated over social media.

“You don’t need to know about mussels or spartina or milfoil, or anything like that.”

Prof. Tarasoff, who also runs her own consulting firm, ran the drone pilot project after she was approached by the wildlife area’s manager, who suggested she try the increasingly popular technology.

So she sent two students and the drone out for two days to map a vast region being consumed by the yellow flag iris, a plant considered one of the province’s worst invasives. The species with garden-flower appeal was used by landscapers all along the coast before ecologists realized it was swallowing aquatic environments and decimating habitats.

Tarasoff said the camera-mounted drone soared about 50 metres above to snap thousands of photos, which were stitched together into a massive final image. When viewed on a computer, she could move her mouse cursor over any spot to find out its GPS location. The data was handed over to experts tasked with weeding out the invader.

Drones could save money over the long-term and provide an alternative to dangerous, labour-intensive foraging, she said. Her next goal is to train a “smart drone” that can determine on its own which species must be photographed.

Other novel techniques gaining traction and reducing human error include sniffer dogs and DNA analysis, the forum heard.

Cindy Sawchuk, with Alberta’s environment and parks ministry, described using canines’ ultra-sensitive nose as a “game changer” for blocking the entry of zebra and quagga mussels on boats returning to the province after visiting foreign waters.

A double-blind trial that compared dogs to trained watercraft inspectors found the animals outperformed humans in every category, she said. Dogs detected mussel-fouled boats 100 per cent of the time, while the people only caught hitchhikers 75 per cent accurately.

Canada’s federal fisheries department is also getting on board with more sophisticated detection methods, said Davon Callander, who works at its Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, B.C.

She said that invasive species can now be detected in environmental DNA, which is found abundantly in any ecosystem.

“It really is as easy as going out and getting a litre of water,” she said, explaining how the samples are filtered for the “eDNA,” which is then amplified, sequenced and matched to species’ barcodes.

“Times are changing.”


Technology In The Workplace: Top 9 Issues For Employers

Technology In The Workplace: Top 9 Issues For Employers

Technology enters the workplace in many ways and there are a number of risks and issues that employers need to consider.

  1. Cybersecurity and Data ProtectionA number of data breaches have been making headline news. These threats do not only come from criminal hackers or other external sources. Much of the risk around data security comes from the way employees manage company data. Instituting policies, practices and training around acceptable use, storage and retention of employer data, systems and property is key.
  2. Employee Misuse of Social MediaWhere there is a nexus between an employer and inappropriate content posted online by an employee, such conduct may provide a basis for employee discipline up to and including termination of employment. A number of recent cases demonstrate that terminating with just cause is possible, particularly when the post is harmful or potentially harmful to the employer.
  3. When Not to Discipline For Misuse of Social MediaWhile disciplining employees for misuse of social media is quite appropriate in many circumstances, on the other hand, we may find that Canada follows the U.S. trend in which some employees argue that social media posts are protected or that discipline is an unlawful reprisal under employment standards and other legislation.
  4. Privacy on Workplace ComputersEmployees will likely have some expectation of privacy on workplace computers where personal use is permitted. This expectation of privacy can be limited by way of computer use policies that provide for employer monitoring of workplace computers, where the employer has a legitimate need to conduct monitoring and where such monitoring is reasonable in scope. Such policies should be clearly communicated to employees.
  5. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) ProgramsIn August 2015, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner and the B.C. Information & Privacy Commissioner issued joint guidance for organizations considering the implementation of BYOD programs, where employees are permitted to use personal mobile devices for both business and personal purposes. BYOD programs give rise to privacy and security risks that warrant careful consideration prior to rollout.
  6. Social Media Background ChecksPre-hire social media background checks may give rise to privacy concerns, including in respect of issues of consent, accuracy, over-collection of information, collection of irrelevant information and collection of the personal information of third parties. Such background checks must be reasonable in the circumstances of the employer’s operations and should be carried out in accordance with guidance from Canadian privacy commissioners.
  7. Educating Employees on E-DiscoveryGiven the growth of electronically stored information and a growing tendency for employees to email or text rather than use the telephone, it is important that employees understand that what they write may be produced in subsequent litigation.
  8. Protecting Your Client List from Employees’ Online PresenceWho owns the social media account? In this era of online networking, employees may leave their employment with a social media account that functions as a client list or company contact point. This may undermine contractual non-competition and non-solicitation covenants. To help manage risk in this respect, employers should establish corporate ownership of social media accounts that are used for business purposes, including by way of the employer’s social media policy.
  9. Updating PoliciesPolicies dealing with email, Internet, acceptable use, social media, electronic devices or BYOD, travel and passwords should regularly be reviewed and updated given the changing digital landscape. Education around phishing emails and other nefarious communications is also important.

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.

Article by Andrea York and Brian Thiessen

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