Chief privacy czar ‘pleased’ with how B.C. auto insurer protects driver privacy

By Geordon Omand


VANCOUVER _ British Columbia’s public auto insurer is “for the most part” fulfilling its duty to protect drivers’ personal information, but there is still room for improvement, the province’s privacy commissioner says.

B.C.’s Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner announced in February its intention to look into the information-sharing agreements used by the Insurance Corporation of B.C. to make sure it was complying with privacy legislation.

In a report released Wednesday, acting commissioner Drew McArthur said he was pleased with the findings, which concluded that disclosures by ICBC to approved third parties were generally “reasonable and proportionate.”

“The ability for individuals to control their own personal information is fundamental to protecting privacy … and is a right that citizens value,” he added.

“Public bodies need to have appropriate controls in place to protect the personal information they hold.”

The report makes 12 recommendations on how the Crown corporation can improve its information-sharing regime.

They include better tracking and review of third-party access to information, removing duplicate and outdated access of accounts of people who no longer work with authorized third parties, and conducting internal audits of the corporation’s information-sharing systems, policies and governance.

Deputy commissioner Jay Fedorak described ICBC’s database as one of the most important in the province, after the Medical Services Plan database.

“It’s extremely valuable. It contains personal information of almost every adult British Columbian,” Fedorak said in an interview.

“We believe that it’s really important, when there is this kind of sensitive information, that the public can have trust and confidence in how this information is being handled.”

ICBC issued a statement thanking the privacy commissioner for the report and it committed to implement all 12 recommendations.

“We take the protection of personal information records very seriously and accept the recommendations made in the report,” said spokeswoman Joanna Linsangen.

“We believe they will make our procedures even stronger, and have already undertaken efforts to address the commissioner’s recommendations.”

ICBC has come under fire in recent months as successive reports forecast the need for drastic rate hikes to save the floundering corporation from economic collapse.

B.C.’s first NDP government created ICBC in the 1970s to offer affordable, universal and basic auto coverage to the province’s drivers, but critics say political government interference in the intervening years has pushed the Crown corporation into financial distress.

Since taking office earlier this year, Attorney General David Eby announced a rate increase for basic insurance by 6.4 per cent, or $57 a year for the average driver.

Eby, who is also the minister in charge of ICBC, pledged to audit the Crown corporation’s operations and look for ways to reduce collisions, including broadening the use of red light cameras and cracking down on distracted driving.

You would not go years without maintaining your car; why would you neglect your furnace?

Imagine you have spent an entire week cooking, cleaning and decorating your home for the annual family reunion. You wake up the morning of your event and notice that it had snowed overnight which left the trees glistening in the sunlight and the temperatures dropping dramatically.  Shaking off a chill, you walk to the thermostat to turn on the furnace only to be greeted with nothing but silence. You have 20 people arriving in five hours and you have no heat!  On top of getting the final preparations ready for your guests you now have to scramble to find a HVAC technician who can care for your indoor climate.

When hiring a contractor, it is recommended that you do your homework and follow these important steps

  1. Visit for a list of vetted HVAC contractors in your area
  2. Visit online review forums for contractor customer reviews
  3. Once you have decided on a specific contractor, ask them for a copy of their certificate of insurance
  4. Make sure they are registered with WSIB and that they are in a good standing –
  5. Get a contract outlining the work to be done and the costs. Ensure you receive and approve change-orders for any work that goes outside of the scope of the original quote prior to the extra work being done.

Don’t get left out in the cold – inspect your furnace annually
It is common knowledge that if you drive a car without regular maintenance or oil changes, the engine will eventually cease and only be good for its parts. The same is true for your HVAC appliances. HVAC systems are complicated pieces of mechanical equipment subject to breakdowns and repairs without proper maintenance. It is generally recommended that furnaces be maintained annually in the fall prior to starting it up to reduce the chances of it breaking down in the dead of winter when it is needed the most.

Properly maintained HVAC systems can reduce your monthly energy bills
Annual maintenance programs will inspect and test all aspects of your system to ensure it runs efficiently and safely.

Technicians will check thermostat calibrations, tighten electrical connections, inspect condensate drains, clean and adjust the blower, check fuel line connections, lubricate moving parts, check system controls (start cycle, operation and shut-off sequence) as well as inspect gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchangers. They will also check for any leaks which could cause carbon monoxide to leak into your home.

When your HVAC system runs inefficiently it needs to work harder to produce heat which increases the risk for failure, repairs and higher energy bills.  The cost of an annual maintenance program can improve your indoor comfort, extend the life of your HVAC system and ultimately save you money on your utility bills.  Find a ClimateCare HVAC retailer near you at or to learn about their maintenance programs so that you are not left in the cold this winter.

ABOUT ClimateCare Cooperative Corporation
ClimateCare is Canada’s largest network of independent heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems contractors.  They are 100% member owned and have operated that way since the cooperative was formed in 1992.  As a network of local businesses spread across Ontario, customers deal with companies that deliver the high standards associated with the ClimateCare name while supporting the local economy. Click here for a list of all ClimateCare locations.

The We Care Promise
ClimateCare’s members are committed to ongoing training and technical education so they can reliably provide great service and modern solutions.  All HVAC contractors agree to conduct business following the WE CARE promise of comfort, accountability, reliability and excellence.

ABOUT was created to help homeowners connect with contractors, trades and home service providers across Canada by helping them know what to look for. members must demonstrate a verifiable quality of work and customer satisfaction.  They submit to a screening process that includes gaining feedback from customers and companies that the applicant has collaborated with on projects.  Other screening criteria include online reviews, insurance coverage, worker’s compensation and maintaining appropriate professional certifications.

SOURCE ClimateCare Cooperative Corporation 

Economical-sponsored Relay For Life events raise $1.35 million for the fight against cancer

The Canadian Cancer Society reported that $1.35 million was raised at 11 Relay For Life events where Economical Insurance was the presenting sponsor.

Economical accepted the Relay baton by contributing $110,500 to support ten Relay For Life events in Ontario and one event in Brossard, Quebec, helping the Canadian Cancer Society go the extra mile to find a cure for cancer. This spring, hundreds of participants at the events raised funds to fight back against cancer through research and support services for those affected by cancer.

“At Economical, how we operate reflects our values and who we are as a company,” said Rowan Saunders, President and Chief Executive Officer of Economical Insurance. “Many of us have experienced cancer in some way, and for Economical to help fund cancer research and support services is important to us as an employer and an insurance provider.”

Since 2000, Economical Insurance has been involved in the fight against cancer by supporting Relay For Life and other Canadian Cancer Society fundraising initiatives in Ontario.

In 2017, Economical was the presenting sponsor of Relay for Life events at:

  • Carleton UniversityMarch 3
  • University of OttawaMarch 3
  • Wilfrid Laurier UniversityMarch 11
  • University of TorontoMarch 24
  • Brossard, QCMay 27
  • MississaugaJune 2
  • NepeanJune 2
  • OrleansJune 9
  • WoodstockJune 9
  • Downsview Park, Toronto, in partnership with Women in Insurance Cancer Crusade (WICC), June 16
  • Waterloo/WellingtonJune 16

“It’s thanks to Economical Insurance and our other valued partners that we are able to host our Relay For Life events that generate significant funds for our organization,” says Susan Drodge, Director of Corporate and Community Partnerships for the Canadian Cancer Society in Ontario. “The need for support has never been greater. Driven by an aging and growing population, the number of cancer cases in Canada is expected to increase by 35% between now and 2030, which will increase the demand for our research and support programs.”

About Relay For Life
The Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay For Life events, celebrate survivors, honour loved ones lost and raise funds to fight all types of cancer. Whether you are cheering on survivors, walking the track or joining in exciting trackside activities, Relay For Life is an unforgettable experience! Cancer changes everything. So can you. It’s as easy as registering at!

About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization dedicated to preventing cancer, saving lives and supporting people living with cancer through research funding, services and advocacy. We are Canada’s largest charity fighting all types of cancer and leading authority on cancer statistics and information. To learn more, call 1 888 939-3333 or visit

About Economical Insurance
Founded in 1871, Economical is one of Canada’s leading property and casualty insurers, with more than $2.2 billion in annualized premium volume and more than $5.5 billion in assets as at June 30, 2017. Based in Waterloo, this Canadian-owned and operated company services the insurance needs of more than one million customers across the country. Economical conducts business under the following brands: Economical Insurance, Economical, Western General, Economical Select, Perth Insurance, Sonnet, Petsecure, Economical Financial, and Family Insurance Solutions.

SOURCE Economical Insurance 

Census 2016 to illustrate how Canadians earn, or struggle to earn, a living

By Jordan Press


OTTAWA _ Statistics Canada will offer a detailed look Wednesday at the size of the gap between the country’s top income earners and those toiling at the bottom a chasm that appears to be narrowing but remains far too wide for many to easily cross.

The income data, collected as part of last year’s census, will offer an important signpost for the Trudeau government, which is looking for validation of its efforts to date to help reduce inequality and lend moral support to those in the lower income brackets.

The numbers are expected to show a 10 per cent increase in median incomes for families and single people over the last decade, suggesting a medium-term trend of positive economic news.

More broadly, however, the gulf between rich and poor in Canada remains a wide one.

The gap between the poverty line and the “one per cent” was at its widest in recent history during the 1980s and 1990s, when those at the top earned about 14 times than the average Canadian. That gap did narrow somewhat over the past decade; research shows the very wealthy now earn about 10 times more than the average worker.

In 2015, the top 10 per cent of earners pulled in $153,600 in wages, or “market income” about three times the median market income of $52,700, and roughly the total of the median incomes for the bottom 60 per cent of Canadians.

“There’s less confidence in social mobility,” said Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“There’s an increasing sense that the rules are rigged and the deck is stacked.”

That same sentiment helped propel Donald Trump to the White House and helped drive Great Britain out of the European Union. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has hinted that Liberal social policy is designed in part to counter it in Canada.

The income data is the latest in a year-long series of data dumps from Statistics Canada as it paints the country’s most recent five-year census portrait. The first broad strokes began in February with population estimates, followed by details about age and gender, linguistic diversity and evolving family dynamics.

Details about trends in immigration, Indigenous Peoples, education and labour are due later this fall, which is when Statistics Canada will draw a more direct connection between various population segments and income levels.

This week’s release is based entirely on tax data from the Canada Revenue Agency, a sign of things to come. The idea is to one day use a variety of similar administrative data sources to build a digital portrait, all but eliminating the need to fill out a questionnaire.

Statistics Canada already makes tax filer data publicly available, which provides a fairly good idea of what the agency is likely to reveal Wednesday.

Doug Norris, chief demographer at Environics Analytics, said the median income of families and unattached individuals was $63,400 in 2015, an increase of about 10 per cent since 2005, once adjusted for inflation.

The changes in income reflect the shifting structure of the family dynamic: Among other things, Canadians are staying in school, living at home longer and delaying marriage and kids to keep their incomes on an upward trajectory.

Norris said the data will likely show women’s incomes increasing by about 18 per cent compared to a five per cent jump for men, with more women entering the labour force and male workers reeling from the 2009 recession.

There’s also likely to be signs of income gains for lone-parent households evidence that the traditional image of the single parent as a mother under age 25 with limited education and limited support is slowing being eroded.

“That’s not the typical profile of the single mother anymore,” said Nora Spinks, CEO of the Vanier Institute of the Family, pointing to previous census data showing a rise in the number of women over 40 leading lone-parent homes.

Those older women tend to be better off financially because they are deeper in their careers, Spinks said, adding that fathers who are not partnered with mothers are more likely to be paying child support or contributing to household finances either directly with cash or indirectly through in-kind help.

The gender wage gap still remains Statistics Canada will reveal Wednesday how wide it was last year.

The biggest income gains provincially over the past five years are mostly likely to be in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, the result of a boom in commodity prices that began to fade about three years ago.

The Liberal government’s first budget offered extended employment insurance benefits to those hard-hit regions, anticipating costs of $827.4 million between April 2016 and March 2019.

As of early July, however, government coffers had doled out about $1.3 billion in additional benefits for some 317,261 claimants.

Sun Life Financial’s new headquarters officially opens

Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX: SLF) (NYSE: SLF) today celebrated the official opening of its new corporate headquarters at One York Street in the dynamic south core financial district. The 35-storey, 800,000 square foot office tower, designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, provides floor-to-ceiling windows, open workspaces, 200,000 square feet of retail, and connection to Toronto’s Union Station and PATH network.

“Our new building is bright and sustainable – inside and out,” said Dean Connor, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sun Life Financial. “It aligns with Sun Life’s transformation as we leverage the latest in digital innovation, data and analytics to create solutions for our Clients. At the same time, it offers our employees more choice and flexibility in how and where they work – supporting our culture of high performance, inclusion and collaboration.”

Clients are at the heart of Sun Life’s business, and are the inspiration for the Client Experience floor and the Ignite Studio at One York. With a leading-edge Digital Canvas and spectacular views, here is what employees, Clients and external visitors can expect when they come through the recently unveiled space:

  • Home to 2,000+ Canadian based employees, on 17 of 35 floors occupied by Sun Life.
  • 400+ collaboration and meeting spaces with a “Client-first” focus, reflecting the Sun Life brand.
  • A fully agile work environment, which allows teams, spread across multiple locations to connect and collaborate using technologies that cut across time zones and space.
  • Integrated and innovative technology including; a 40-foot Skyline Video Wall reflecting Sun Life’s global operations, an interactive Wall to scroll through news, social media, entertainment and more; a People Collage Wall to take photos and display them in real-time; and a Historical Timeline featuring a touch-screen display that allows you to dive into Sun Life’s rich history.
  • The Ignite Studio – a floor committed to digital and Client innovation and created for agile project delivery, design thinking workshops and innovation activities.
  • 100% of workstations use sit/stand desks – reflecting Sun Life’s commitment to wellness.
  • Sun Life’s commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability including 300 bicycle racks, nine electric vehicle-charging stations, and two large rainwater cisterns, contributing to an anticipated annual savings of over five million litres of potable water.


“Sustainability is part of who we are as a company, reflecting our long-term commitment to employees, Clients and communities,” added Connor. “Our investment in One York is one more step along the journey of reducing our environmental impact. Leveraging technology, reducing the amount of energy we use during peak hours, and using less paper are just a few things we’re doing to keep sustainability top-of-mind.”

Called the Sun Life Financial tower, the eco-friendly property joins the Toronto skyline and is now ready to welcome Clients, advisors and employees at this bright and open business environment.

About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individuals and corporate Clients. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canadathe United States, the United KingdomIrelandHong Kongthe PhilippinesJapanIndonesiaIndiaChinaAustraliaSingaporeVietnamMalaysia and Bermuda. As of June 30, 2017, Sun Life Financial had total assets under management of $944 billion. For more information, please visit

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Media Relations Contact:
Alessandra Nigro
Director, Corporate Communications, Sun Life Financial
T. 416-979-4884

SOURCE Sun Life Financial Inc.

Autonomous Vehicle Working Group has representatives from every province and Transport Canada

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