First West Credit Union Lauded for Innovation and Developing Young Leaders by Credit Union Central of Canada

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – May 5, 2016) – First West Credit Union was recognized with two National Credit Union Awards at the industry’s national conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. These awards acknowledge credit unions that exemplify the true nature of the cooperative spirit, highlight fresh and innovative programs and solutions that emphasize local economic initiatives that help to elevate the effectiveness of credit unions, and the ambitions of young leaders nationwide.

Tara Vanden Pol, who works as a lending expert with Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, was named by the Canadian Credit Union Association (CCUA) as one of five finalists for the National Credit Union Young Leaders Award. Recognizing young leaders 35 years of age or younger, this award shines a light on some of the best and brightest young leaders across the country and showcases their accomplishments in advancing Canada’s credit union system.

Secondly, First West’s DASHBAND, a new and innovative wearable payment technology that enables consumers to pay for products and services with a simple tap of their wrist at any contactless payment point-of-sale systems, was awarded with the National Credit Union Innovation Award. The award honours and recognizes credit unions that demonstrate and encourage the development of ideas and innovations in technology, process, cost savings and member services. Designed as a durable and sporty wrist band with an embedded pre-paid reloadable Visa chip card, the DASHBAND was conceptualized by the First West team and designed in partnership with DC Payments and Visa.

“As we continue to face increased competition and challenges in our industry, I’m really proud of the way the First West team has been able to consistently contribute new ideas and processes that put our members first and deliver exceptional value to our organization,” shares First West Credit Union’s CEO Launi Skinner. “We’re really proud to receive both these prestigious awards that recognize our focus and commitment to developing our young leaders and supporting their growth and our ongoing quest for innovation that enable us to bring new products and services to make a meaningful difference in the lives of our members. ”

Notably, First West has been recognized many times for its commitment to innovation and development of young leaders. As one of this year’s finalists, Vanden Pol joins a long list of First West employees who have also been named as a recipient of the National Credit Union Young Leader award. More information about the Credit Union Central of Canada’s national awards can be found here.

About First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union offers members the financial strength, comprehensive product selection and extended branch network of a large financial institution while maintaining local brand identities and a unique grassroots approach to service. Led by Launi Skinner, First West is British Columbia’s third-largest credit union with nearly $11 billion in assets under administration, close to 250,000 members and more than 1,700 employees. It operates 54 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First, Enderby & District Financial and Island Savings divisions. Visit for more information.

Follow us on Twitter @firstwestcu

Media Contact
Cheryl Shaw
Manager, Public Relations & Communications

iA Financial Group donates $50,000 to the Canadian Red Cross to help victims of the Alberta wildfires

iA Financial Group (Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.) has donated$50,000 to the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Fires Emergency Appeal relief fund to assist the people of Alberta affected by the wildfires.

The employees of iA Financial Group and its subsidiary companies, together with their distribution partners, wish to offer their full support to the residents of Alberta who have been forced out of their homes because of the wildfires.

About iA Financial Group
Founded in 1892, iA Financial Group offers life and health insurance products, mutual and segregated funds, savings and retirement plans, RRSPs, securities, auto and home insurance, mortgages and car loans and other financial products and services for both individuals and groups. It is one of the four largest life and health insurance companies in Canada and among the largest publicly traded companies in the country. iA Financial Group stock is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol IAG.

SOURCE Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.

For further information: Pierre Picard, Manager, Public Relations, Phone: 418-684-5000, ext. 1-1660, Email:, Website:


Discount Car/Truck Rentals & VIA Rail partnership to expand seamless customer travel experiences with industry leading technology


Discount Car and Truck Rentals, an official rental car partner of VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail), will soon be providing even more of VIA Rail’s customers with a seamless travel connection option when they arrive at the train station. Discount Car and Truck Rentals was selected by VIA Rail based on the company’s industry-leading technology that will provide the “last-mile” mobility solution to VIA Rail’s customers.


QuickCar™ white-blue-and-green branded rental kiosks will be installed at high-traffic VIA Rail stations across the country. Six new locations are being added to those already in operation in Ottawa, Fallowfield, Kingston and London, bringing the total to ten.

“VIA Rail is a well-established Canadian brand that is leading the way in how it thinks about its customers. We are extremely proud to expand our partnership with them and contribute to their vision of exceptional customer experiences,” said Jay Singer, President and CEO, Discount Car and Truck Rentals.

“It is through partnership and innovation that VIA Rail intends to significantly enhance the travel experience of Canadians. Today’s announcement with Discount Car and Truck Rentals demonstrates our shared commitment to providing seamless and simple integration of all modes of transportation and thus, to enrich the overall travel experience,” added Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and CEO of VIA Rail.

“This partnership brings together two great Canadian brands that are focused on innovating travel experiences. Our industry-leading 24-hour QuickCarTM car rental service kiosks offer VIA Rail passengers a convenient solution to get them to their final destination no matter what the circumstance or time of day,” adds Al Nanji, Senior Vice President, Operations, Discount Car and Truck Rentals.

Each kiosk is equipped with a credit card reader and driver’s license scanner. Once customers initiate the vehicle rental process, they are quickly connected to a live Discount agent who is trained to guide them through a fast and easy rental process. The live interactive video link lets the customer and agent confirm the rental agreement details, mobilizes the car using a smartphone and gets the customer on the road without delay. Once the rental is processed, customers quickly receive an email with instructions on how to access the rental vehicle from VIA Rail’s parking lot.

Discount’s new system also allows customers to return the rental vehicle using their smartphone or at the kiosk any time they choose – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

About Discount Car and Truck Rentals
Founded in 1980 and headquartered in Toronto, Discount Car and Truck Rentals is a nationally recognized brand operating off-airport and neighbourhood rental locations in Canada. With over 300 neighbourhood branch offices located within 15 minutes from 90 percent of the Canadian population, Discount is proud to be the largest vehicle rental company in Canada owned by Canadians. Discount is known for renting cars and trucks of all makes and models, from economy cars to luxury brands; and cargo vans to 5-ton trucks. Its commitment to quality and superior customer service is unmatched in the Canadian rental industry. Discount is proud to have originated picking up and dropping off its clients at no extra cost. In 2010, Discount was named one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate CulturesTM; was a Platinum award winner for 2011 and 2012, and was named one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures™ again in 2013. Discount has also won the Consumer’s Choice Award for Business Excellence for 14 consecutive years. For more information about Discount, visit

About VIA Rail Canada
As Canada’s national rail passenger service, VIA Rail Canada ( and its 2,500 employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country. VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and safely transports nearly four million passengers annually. The Corporation was awarded seven Safety Awards by the Railway Association of Canada over the last eight years. Visit the About Via Rail section on our website at /en/about-via-rail.

SOURCE Discount Car and Truck Rentals

For further information: Media Contacts: Discount Car & Truck Rentals Ltd, Barry Singer, Senior Vice President, Governance and Capital Management, 416-744-0123,; VIA Rail Canada, Mariam Diaby, Corporate Communications, 514-871-6010, 1 877 393-8787,

Insurance – Genetic Non-Discrimination Act passed by Senate

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Winners and losers of the 2016 federal budget

Source: Toronto Star

By: The Canadian Press

OTTAWA—Budgets giveth and they also taketh away. Here is a look at some of the winners and losers in Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s debut budget:

Winner: First Nations. The budget allocates $4.22 billion over five years for improvements, including $2.6 billion for on-reserve education, $1.8 billion for water and waste water infrastructure, $634.8 for child and family services, $969.4 million over five years for education infrastructure and $554.3 million for housing needs.

Winner: Veterans. The disability award for vets will rise to $360,000, retroactive to 2006, while the earnings loss benefit to injured vets will rise to 90 per cent of pre-release salary. The government will reopen nine veterans’ service offices across the country and add a 10th office. The government says this means $5.6 billion more in direct payments to veterans and families over five years.

Winner: Students. Canada student grants will rise to $3,000 from $2,000 for low-income students, to $1,200 from $800 for middle-income students and to $1,800 from $1,200 for part-time students. Total: $1.53 billion over five years.

Winner: Families. The new $10-billion Canada Child Benefit will provide tax-free cheques of as much as $6,400, depending on the family situation.

Winner: Those seeking EI benefits. Rules will be changed to make it easier for new entrants to the job market and for those re-entering the market to qualify for benefits. The wait period for the first EI cheque will drop to one week from two. Benefit periods will be extended by five weeks in areas with the sharpest increases in unemployment.

Winner: Infrastructure plans. The document sets aside $11.9 billion for improvements to transit, water and green infrastructure and social infrastructure.

Winner: Arts and Culture. The CBC will get $675 million over five years, with another $550 million for the Canada Council for the Arts.

Winner: Canadian Coast Guard. The Kitsilano search and rescue lifeboat station, closed under the previous government, will reopen as a coast guard base with an expanded environmental response capability: Cost: $23.6 million over five years.

Winner: The environment. A low-carbon economy fund gets $2 billion over two years beginning in 2017-18. Another $1 billion over four years goes to support future clean technology investments, as well as $130 million over five years to support clean technology research and development.

Losers: Small businesses. The government will not proceed with reductions in the small business tax rate promised in the last Conservative budget. They would have dropped the rate from 11 per cent to nine per cent on the first $500,000 of qualifying income as of Jan. 1, 2019. Instead, the rate will fall to 10.5 per cent, and future cuts are being deferred.

Losers: National Defence. Billions in planned equipment spending is pushed off past the next election.

Losers: Tax breaks. The budget undoes some of the former Conservative government’s targeted tax breaks, including tax credits for tuition and textbooks and children’s fitness and arts costs and income-splitting for families with children.


The Best Canadian Credit Card With Travel Rewards

Editor in Chief of’s MoneyWise, Canada’s comprehensive financial rates comparison resource.

Is a weaker Canadian dollar clipping travellers’ wings? Would-be vacationers could find themselves paying 30 per cent more for their warm-weather getaways this year. As the Loonie hovers around US$0.75, three-quarters admit the weak currency has impacted their trip plans.

But cash-strapped travelers needn’t settle for a staycation, as a number of travel rewards credit cards can effectively offset travel costs.

However, using plastic to fund a vacation can be a point of confusion. While there are a number of fantastic travel offers available in today’s market, many Canadians aren’t aware of travel rewards best practices, and there continue to be misconceptions around the true value of rewards, and how to effectively earn and redeem them.

To help Canadians take flight faster, has revealed the Guide to Flying for Free – How to Cash in Travel Rewards Credit Card Points. The guide provides clarity on choosing the right card, and insight to the value offered by popular rewards programs.

How to Pick the Perfect Travel Rewards Credit Card





How Big is That Bonus… Really?

We’ve all seen the ads — sign up today and get 50,000 points! Seems like a really sweet deal — but how much is a point really worth? It depends on the card and the way you redeem. Here’s a breakdown of what the most popular points in Canada are worth* when cashed in for travel:

American Express Blue Sky Points
Each: $0.01
Points needed for $100 in travel: 10,000
Redemption – Great: Book any travel and apply points to your balance. A minimum 10,000 is required to redeem. Points are converted to statement credits of $100 each, which can then be applied to any travel purchase.
Blackouts or Restrictions: No

American Express Gold Rewards Points
Each: $0.01
Points needed for $100 in travel: 10,000
Redemption – Great: Book any travel and apply points to your balance. A minimum 10,000 is required to redeem. Points are converted to statement credits of $100 each, which can then be applied to any travel purchase.
Blackouts or Restrictions: No

BMO Rewards
Each: $0.01
Points needed for $100 in travel: 10,000
Redemption – Good: Travel must be booked through the BMO Rewards travel agency, either online or over the phone. You must have a minimum of 100 points to redeem. If you don’t have enough points to cover your trip, you can pay the remainder with your credit card.
Blackouts or Restrictions: No

Capital One reward miles
Each: $0.01 each
Points needed for $100 in travel: 10,000
Redemption – Great: Simply charge your travel expense to your card, then apply points to your balance. There is no point minimum required to redeem, and points can be used to pay taxes and other surcharges.
Blackouts or Restrictions: No

CIBC Aventura Points
Each: $0.03
Points needed for $100 in travel: approx. 3,300
Redemption – Ok: Travel must be searched for via the CIBC Aventura rewards portal, which includes all airlines. Flight types are classified as long haul, short haul, domestic and international, and require a minimum number of points to qualify per category. There is a maximum cap on the number of points you can redeem, and points cannot be used to pay for taxes and other surcharges.

Scotia Rewards Points
Each: $0.01 each
Points needs for $100 in travel: 10,000
Redemption – Great: Simply charge your travel expense to your card, then log into your Scotia Rewards account to apply points to your balance. There is no point minimum required to redeem, and points can be used to pay taxes and other surcharges.
Blackouts or Restrictions: No

RBC Rewards Points
Each: $0.023
Points needed for $100 in travel: approx. 4,300
Redemption – Ok: Redeem your points online via the RBC Orbitz portal, over the phone, or via Carlson Wagonlit Travel. Flight types are classified as long haul, short haul, domestic and international, and require a minimum number of points to qualify per category. There is a maximum cap on the number of points you can redeem, and points cannot be used to pay for taxes and other surcharges.

Each: $0.15 each (varies based on flight redemption)
Points needs for $100 in travel: Approx. 667
Redemption – Ok: Flights must be booked via AIR MILES’ Dream Rewards Centre, which prices point requirements based on mileage. Redemption costs are higher during the high season, and AIR MILES cannot be used to pay for taxes and other surcharges.
Blackouts or Restrictions: No

Aeroplan Points
Each: $0.23 each
Points needs for $100 in travel: approx. 4,300
Redemption – Ok: Travel must be booked by the Aeroplan rewards portal, and are restricted to Air Canada and other partner airlines. Point redemption is divided into two tiers: ClassicFlight and Market Fare. ClassicFlight travel can be booked for fewer points, but are subjected to limited availability and seasonality.
Blackouts or Restrictions: Yes

TD Rewards
Each: $0.005
Points needs for $100 in travel: 20,000
Redemption – Good: Book travel on any airline, or book through Expedia for TD, then log in in to your TD Rewards Account to pay with your points. Points can also be used to pay for taxes and additional surcharges.
Blackouts or Restrictions: No

*Based on value of signup bonus. Note values may vary depending on redemption method, flight seasonality and flight class).

Tips for Using a Travel Rewards Credit Card

Seek out the perfect plastic: There is a wide variety of travel rewards programs to choose from and each offers a different earning and redemption structure. It’s important to determine whether a card’s earning potential can be maximized based on your specific spending habits — for example, gas and grocery purchases, or earning on all spending.

Heed the fee:
Travel rewards cards are often packed with additional insurance, concierge and lounge benefits — and that means the majority charge an annual fee. Look for cards that waive this charge for a limited promotional period, and determine whether your annual earnings offset the fee amount. For those who are fee adverse, a non-fee card with a lower earning threshold can be a better fit.

Ask about redemption:
Those points won’t do much good if they’re grounded during your desired departure season. Seat capacity, seasonal, and minimum redemption restrictions are common pitfalls vacationers should be aware of. For the greatest flexibility, look for cards that allow points to be redeemed directly on travel purchases charged on the card.

Cover yourself:
Many travel cards come with built-in insurance benefits — but you shouldn’t assume you’re covered. At a bare minimum, ensure you have sufficient travel medical and accident insurance for yourself, spouse and any dependents travelling with you. Add-ons like trip interruption, delay and cancellation coverage can provide greater peace of mind on your journey.

* Preparing for Takeoff: Air travel outlook for 2016 –

Source: Huff Post Business Canada

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