Slick roads lead to multiple crashes, including a 50 car pileup, on Calgary roads

By The Canadian Press

THE CANADIAN PRESS

CALGARY _ Roads in and around Calgary are slick, leading to more than 100 crashes _ including a 50-car pileup _ since a snowstorm went through Thursday.

Emergency crews responded around 9 a.m. Friday to a multi-vehicle crash on Stoney Trail between Chaparral Boulevard and Cranston Boulevard in the southern edge of the city.

It took five hours for crews to reopen the roadway Friday afternoon after more than 50 vehicles were involved in the pileup.

At least eight people were transported to hospital in stable condition.

Several drivers involved in the crash told CTV Calgary that a wall of thick fog made it difficult to see what was in front of their vehicle.

Roads are also extremely slippery, particularly on bridge decks, hills, intersections and exit ramps.

Officials are advising people to avoid driving, if possible, but say those who must travel should plan ahead, drive to the conditions and give crews room to work.

Food Allergy Canada posts warning about mocking scene in film ‘Peter Rabbit’

By Sheryl Ubelacker

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

TORONTO _ Food Allergy Canada is warning movie-goers about a scene in “Peter Rabbit,” which has created an online backlash for appearing to mock people at risk for the potentially life-threatening condition anaphylaxis.

In the film, based on the popular children’s book by Beatrix Potter and released on the weekend, the character Tom McGregor must use an EpiPen after Peter Rabbit and his furry comrades pelt him with blackberries _ a fruit to which he has a severe allergy.

“Any time you take a serious medical condition and it become the butt of any jokes or it’s not taken seriously, it can be quite difficult and concerning for people,” Beatrice Povolo, a spokeswoman for Food Allergy Canada, said Monday.

Food allergies are a serious public health condition that affect almost 485,000 children in Canada and millions more worldwide, she said.

“And when it is portrayed in this type of fashion, it provides an impression that it’s not as serious as it is, and unfortunately it can be a life-threatening condition for some people.”

The movie’s creators and Sony Pictures, the studio behind them, issued a joint statement Sunday apologizing for being insensitive in their portrayal, saying that “food allergies are a serious issue” and the film “should not have made light” of a character being allergic to blackberries, “even in a cartoonish, slapstick way.”

On Monday, Food Allergy Canada posted a warning about the movie to its social media followers.

“Please be advised there is a reported scene in this children’s movie where a character is knowingly given his allergen, resulting in an anaphylactic reaction, requiring the use of his epinephrine auto-injector. Sony Pictures has since apologized for the scene,” the post reads.

“If you are considering seeing this film with your children, please talk to them beforehand and again following the movie. Any inappropriate depiction of food allergy highlights the need for greater awareness and education in the wider community. We will continue to work toward raising awareness and education regarding the seriousness of food allergy and to encourage respectful and informed dialogues about food allergy.”

The U.S. charity group Kids with Food Allergies has also posted a warning about the scene on its Facebook page, prompting some on Twitter to start using the hashtag #boycottpeterrabbit.

The group said that allergy jokes are harmful to their community and that making light of the condition “encourages the public not to take the risk of allergic reactions seriously.”

Kenneth Mendez, president and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, wrote an open letter to the studio asking for the opportunity to educate the company and the film’s cast on the realities of food allergies and urged the studio to “examine your portrayal of bullying in your films geared toward a young audience.”

Millennial money dilemma – RBC Poll

As Millennials move into their 30s, they share many of the same life goals as previous generations of Canadians; where they differ is in the challenge they face in financing those goals, according to RBC’s annual Financial Independence in Retirement Poll.

Poll findings indicate several financial disconnects for Millennials aged 25-34. While almost half (48%) of these respondents cited home ownership as a top financial priority, just over one quarter (28%) reported putting money toward this goal in 2017.

Another disconnect appears in responses about saving for their future. While 46% of these Millennials included retirement savings as another top financial priority, only 38% actually put any money into retirement savings last year. In addition, half (50%) don’t have an RRSP. In fact, if they could only afford to contribute to either an RRSP or a TFSA, almost half (48%) opted for a TFSA, compared to less than one-third (30%) for an RRSP.

“TSFAs offer a great savings vehicle, but Millennials can’t overlook RRSPs, particularly as they move into their 30s,” noted Richa Hingorani, Senior Director, Digital Strategy, RBC Mutual Funds Distribution & RBC Financial Planning. “While retirement can seem so far away for these younger Canadians, we want them to know that time can work in their favour. By starting to invest even small amounts on a regular basis into an RRSP now, they can build their future savings through the magic of compounding within their RRSP, with growth through a combination of interest and potential dividends.”

On the flip side, Millennials surpassed one of their financial priorities for last year – saving to reduce/eliminate debt. While under half (47%) identified reducing debt as a priority, over half (51%) actually put money toward that priority.

“Millennials have their eye on the ball – they’re saving for immediate needs. We’d suggest it’s now time they look a bit farther down the road, to save for their future needs too,” explained Hingorani. “We’re here to connect with them however they wish – including through MyAdvisor, our new digital experience, which can help them build a personalized plan online, in just a few minutes.”

MyAdvisor offers clients a way they can connect at their own convenience with a live advisor – online, by live video, by phone or in one of our branches. Clients can also track the progress they are making toward achieving their financial goals, through an interactive dashboard.

“We know Millennials have very busy lives,” added Hingorani. “We want to help ensure their finances keep up with their lifestyle, today and in the future.”

About the RBC 2018 Financial Independence in Retirement Poll
These are a selection of findings of the 28th annual RBC RRSP Poll, conducted by Ipsos from November 9 to 16, 2017 on behalf of RBC Financial Planning, through a national survey of 2,000 Canadians aged 18+ who completed their surveys online. Where appropriate, attitudes and opinions are tracked back to previous years’ surveys. Quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.4 percentage points had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population, such as among Millennials aged 25-34 (± 5.9 percentage points). All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

About RBC’s MyAdvisor and financial planning advice
MyAdvisor provides a new digital experience for RBC clients by using an online advice platform to digitally connect a client to an advisor. MyAdvisor enables both the client and the advisor to view and adjust a dynamic dashboard showing the client’s savings and investment goals and to establish actions to achieve those goals – all in real time. MyAdvisor is a product of RBC’s Toronto-based innovation lab; other labs are located in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe. These innovation labs co-create new products and services based on direct input from RBC clients and employees.

RBC Financial Planning and rbc.com/savingsspot offer planning, budgeting and savings advice and resources and the RBC Retirement Planning website can help you plan for 30 years or more in retirement. In addition, for Canadians who want to get more from their day-to-day banking, protect what’s important, save and invest, borrow with confidence or take care of their businesses, RBC Discover & Learn offers free online advice, resources and tools, including the RSP-Matic Savings Calculator.

SOURCE RBC Royal Bank

What’s love got to do with money?

A national survey, commissioned by Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) and Credit Canada in time for Valentine’s Day (February 14), reveals more than one third (36%) of Canadians are victims of financial infidelity.

The two non-profit organizations co-sponsored the Financial Infidelity Survey – a Leger poll that asked Canadians the following question: What is the worst form of financial infidelity you have been a victim of from a former or current partner?”

Here are some of the standout findings:

  • 34 percent of those in a relationship keep financial secrets from their current romantic partner
  • 36 percent of those in a relationship have lied about a financial matter to a partner
  • Younger adults who are not married, aged 18-54, tend to be victims of financial unfaithfulness
  • Women and men are equally likely to become victims of financial infidelity (men: 35% vs. women: 37%), keep financial secrets from their partner (men: 35% vs. women: 34%) and lie about a financial matter (36% both)

“Talking about money can be difficult for an individual, but when in a relationship, whatever issues each of them has is exacerbated,” said author, personal finance educator and FPSC’s Consumer Advocate, Kelley Keehn. “For example, 50 percent of Canadians are $200 away from not being able to pay their bills and we owe $1.71 for each dollar we bring in. That means we owe a lot more than we’d like to think about and that can lead to a great deal of stress and strain on a relationship.”

“Often individuals going into a relationship do not discuss money matters,” states Laurie Campbell, Credit Canada CEO. “It doesn’t seem romantic. As such there may be a lot you don’t know about your partner. You may not know how they handle money, their values around money, or their thoughts on credit and debt. This leaves room for miscommunication and at worst dishonesty and possibly financial abuse of their partner.”

Kelly Keehn’s 6 Step Conversation

Use the following questions and to-dos to get financially naked with your spouse and ensure you are on the same page:

  1. What are our goals?
  2. Write a needs and wants list
  3. Where are we now?
  4. How are we going to get there?
  5. Are there any changes?
  6. Develop an action plan

Also, asking open-ended questions like: What are your financial goals in the next five or 10 years? If one wants to get another degree and travel the world while one partner wants to settle down and buy a home, there’s going to be a major disconnect. Or, ask, what does money mean to you? If one says “Freedom” and the other “Security” – you can guess which one is likely the spender and which is the saver – and can guess at the friction that will cause in the future.

Laurie Campbell and Credit Canada’s Tips to Combat Financial Infidelity

Red Flags:

  • Regular cash withdrawals
  • Unaccounted purchases and expenditures that cannot be explained
  • Partner lies about purchases and expenditures, to you and/or to others
  • A change in behaviour, either in spending habits or attitudes towards you and money, in order to deflect attention away from themselves
  • Spending more, on themselves and/or others
  • A change in mail, such as regular statements or promotions from credit cards you don’t normally use, or investment firms you have never dealt with
  • Less frequent mail from your regular financial services and creditors
  • Partner is very concerned about the mail and doesn’t let you to see it first

What To Do:

  1. No surprises. Have regular discussions with your partner about money, as well as your individual assets and debts, whether in savings, chequing or credit accounts.
  2. Keep a detailed budget and spending plan. So you know exactly how much money is coming in and how much is going out (and on what).
  3. Do not sign any document without reading it first. They say love is blind, but you don’t have to be. Read everything before signing anything. If you’re not sure what something means seek the advice from a professional or expert.
  4. Maintain separate accounts. Have one joint account for all household expenses, which each partner contributes to in proportion to their respective income.
  5. Individual credit cards in your own names. Don’t run the risk of someone else ruining your good credit. Plus, two good individual credit histories are better than one joint history when you apply for a loan. And if one of you has a blemished credit record, the other’s clean record can be an asset.
  6. Speak to a certified credit counsellor. Some non-profit credit counselling agencies can do a free soft inquiry on your credit report to check for any inconsistencies. You can also see a credit counsellor as a couple for advice on managing money together and setting future goals.

The full results of the Financial Infidelity survey can be found here.

About Credit Canada
Credit Canada is a not-for-profit and charitable organization that provides free and confidential credit counselling, personal debt consolidation and resolutions, as well as preventative counselling, educational seminars, and tips and tools in the areas of budgeting, money management, and financial goal-setting. Credit Canada is Canada’s longest-standing not-for-profit credit counselling agency, helping Canadians manage their debt since 1966.  Please visit www.creditcanada.com for more information.

About Financial Planning Standards Council
A professional standards-setting and certification body working in the public interest, FPSC’s purpose is to drive value and instill confidence in financial planning. FPSC ensures those it certifies―Certified Financial Planner® and FPSC Level 1® Certificants in Financial Planning―meet appropriate standards of competence and professionalism through rigorous requirements of education, examination, experience and ethics. With FPSC’s formal partnership with the Institut québécois de planification financière (IQPF), which is the only organization authorized to certify Financial Planners in Québec, there are more than 23,500 Financial Planners in Canada who have met, and continue to meet, FPSC’s standards. More information is available at FPSC.ca and FinancialPlanningForCanadians.ca.

About the Financial Infidelity Survey
Leger conducted a survey of 1550 Canadians between Jan 2 and 5, 2018 using its online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20. Leger’s online panel has approximately 475,000 members nationally – with between 10,000 and 20,000 new members added each month, and has a retention rate of 90%.

SOURCE Financial Planning Standards Council

www.fpsc.ca

Victoria, BC Remains the Queen of Hearts as it’s Named Canada’s Most Romantic City

Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, sits on the southern end of Vancouver Island. Typically known as the “Garden City,” this coastal island’s nickname should be changed to “Romance City”. For the sixth consecutive year, Victoria has been named Canada’s Most Romantic City, as announced today by Amazon Canada. The ninth annual ranking was compiled by comparing sales data from January 1, 2017 to January 1, 2018 on a per capita basis in cities with more than 20,000 residents. The data looks at sales of romance novels (both print and Kindle editions), romantic comedies, relationship books, jewellery and sexual wellness products.

This year, the Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in Canada are:

  1. Victoria, British Columbia
  2. Abbotsford, British Columbia
  3. WhitehorseYukon (new)
  4. Courtenay, British Columbia (new)
  5. Fort McMurray, Alberta (new)
  6. Spruce Grove, Alberta (new)
  7. North Vancouver, British Columbia
  8. Sherwood Park, Alberta (new)
  9. Surrey, British Columbia (new)
  10. Nanaimo, British Columbia
  11. Lasalle, Quebec (new)
  12. Waterloo, Ontario
  13. Prince George, British Columbia
  14. La Prairie, Quebec (new)
  15. Grande Prairie, Alberta
  16. Airdrie, Alberta (new)
  17. Welland, Ontario (new)
  18. Vernon, British Columbia (new)
  19. North Bay, Ontario
  20. Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (new)   

A closer look at the data revealed:

  • Goddess of Love: In addition to taking the top spot, Victoria also earns bragging rights for being number one in the categories of relationship books, romance books and romantic comedies.
  • The New Romantics: There are some new cities on this year’s list, twelve to be exact, vying for that number one spot. First time romantic cities hail from AlbertaBritish ColumbiaYukonQuebecOntario and Nova Scotia.
  • Big Hearts in the West: The west was surely stung by cupid’s arrow with nine of the top ten cities being from the two most western provinces.
  • Whitehorse Charges into the Top Three: For the first time ever, a Canadian territory not only makes the list, but takes the number three spot.
  • Canada’s Love Interests: 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary ChapmanPretty Woman starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, and Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Sue Johnson were among the bestsellers in the relationship books, romance books, and romantic movies categories.
  • Beyond the Top 20: Five provinces didn’t get a rose this time around and had no cities place in the top 20, but we still wanted to honour the cities that placed first in each of these five areas: Brandon, ManitobaFredericton, New BrunswickSt. John’s, NewfoundlandCharlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

To browse the Amazon.ca selection of deals and gift ideas for Valentine’s Day – and help contribute to future romantic city rankings – visit www.amazon.ca/valentinesday.

About Amazon
Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit www.amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

SOURCE Amazon Canada

The Co-operators Announces Retirement of Chief Financial Officer

The Co-operators today announced the retirement of Executive Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Bruce West, effective June 1, 2018.

West joined The Co-operators in 2007 as CFO, and over the past 11 years has made significant contributions including the implementation of the organization’s innovative approach to sustainable investing through which he further developed an impact investing strategy. With a reputation for challenging the conventional and raising the standard, he has a penchant for asking the difficult questions, and built a team with that same commitment and vision.

“Under Bruce’s guidance, we recognized substantial increases in the sophistication and efficiency in areas such as enterprise risk, portfolio and capital management, as well as staff development and succession planning,” says Rob Wesseling, president and CEO, The Co-operators. “I’m confident we’ll continue to reap the benefits of his leadership for years to come. We thank Bruce for the impactful and enduring contributions he has made to our industry, our organization and its people.”

West distinguished himself as an exemplary leader and mentor, innovator and catalyst for sustainable reporting. During his tenure he championed fresh thinking through his leadership and oversight of the financial management, strategic planning, and corporate development functions for The Co-operators.

In December 2017, his professional achievements were recognized when he was awarded the prestigious Fellow designation by the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) of Ontario. He is also a founding member of the Canadian chapter of Accounting 4 Sustainability’s CFO Leadership Network, a member of the Financial Executives International Canada (FEI Canada), sits on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, and is an Honouree of the School of Accounting and Finance at the University of Waterloo.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $48 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 www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

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