The Co-operators pledges $10 million to Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund

GUELPH, ON, June 24, 2015 /CNW/ – The Co-operators has announced that they will increase their pledge to the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund (CCIF) to $10 million. The Fund, which will be launched in the coming months, will support the development and expansion of Canadian co-operatives with loans and other funding sourced from the co-op sector.

The Fund, a first of its kind in Canada, was created under the leadership of Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada to address the challenge co-operatives face in accessing capital from conventional sources. It will provide funding with favourable conditions to developing co‑operatives throughout the country. The Fund is to begin its operation once it has reached its target of $25 million committed from the Canadian co-operative and mutual sector.

“Access to capital has long been recognized as a significant challenge facing co-operatives and we’re pleased to support this solution designed by the co-op sector for the co-op sector,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “Co-operatives have a long tradition of helping one another, and this is an innovative approach that will provide a new source of funding for emerging co-op and strengthen the Canadian co-op sector as a whole.”

Because co-operatives are owned and democratically controlled by their membership, they are not able to access capital markets in the same way as investor-owned companies. A study by Deloitte in 2012 showed that 74 per cent of co-operatives around the world identified access to capital as “somewhat difficult” or “difficult.” 

The concept of the Fund is that Canadian co-operatives will invest with the expectation of a modest return on their investment, but with the additional aim of enabling a new and more flexible source of funding specifically for developing co‑operatives.

“With the commitment announced today by The Co-operators, the investment Fund has now reached a tipping point and is ready to launch” said Jack Wilkinson, the newly elected President of CMC. “Now is the time for this idea, it is a first class impact investment opportunity that will support the development of co-ops in Canada.”

The pledge by The Co-operators represents new funding, which does not replace any of its existing programs that support the co-op sector, such as the Co-operative Development Program.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $40 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 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean’s magazine. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

For further information: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators, 519-767-3937

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New online licensing system for insurance companies

Office of the Premier: FREDERICTON (GNB) – Recent changes to the Insurance Act will enable the introduction of a more efficient licensing system for the insurance industry. This will provide stakeholders with a modernized and more flexible method of obtaining their licence to work in the insurance industry in New Brunswick.

Premier Brian Gallant announced that changes to applications and forms will allow them to be completed and submitted online. The Financial and Consumer Services Commission, which regulates the insurance industry in the province, will develop an online licensing system.

Many of Canada’s top insurance firms provide services to national markets from their New Brunswick-based customer contact centres.

“The insurance industry is an important part of the contact centre sector that continues to create new opportunities and provides jobs in New Brunswick,” said Gallant, who attended the Contact NB Awards of Excellence Gala on June 18. “Together, we need to look at this sector and ask ourselves how we can expand, build, and create new opportunities for growth.”

Gallant said streamlining services will make the province more attractive to the insurance industry.

“These new efficiencies will save time and money for companies and investors, and help encourage new investment in the province,” he said.

The commission is expediting the implementation of the new licensing system to provide a more user-friendly experience and enable applicants to complete the entire application process online. The introduction of electronic filing will reduce delays and administrative costs, and increase convenience.

“We are always looking for opportunities to eliminate waste and to do things better,” said Gallant. “The creation of this new online licensing system is a prime example of how we can continuously improve the services offered and support businesses by reducing unnecessary barriers.”

The system is expected to be launched in September 2015.

How to transfer cottage ownership and reduce the tax bite

How to transfer cottage ownership and reduce the tax bite

Excerpted article written by Tim Cestnick, The Globe and Mail

If you’re visiting a friend’s cottage this summer, here are a few tips that will be sure to create lasting memories for everyone: Bring four very large suitcases (store one in each bedroom if necessary), bring at least two dogs (those with digestive problems are best), start a fire (preferably outside the cottage, and big enough to burn a picnic table), roast marshmallows (bring those mini ones with toothpicks and see who can stand the heat) and scare the kids (ghost stories to give them nightmares for three days can add to the fun).

Today, I want to talk about steps you can take to reduce the tax bill on the eventual transfer of the cottage. Consider the following ideas:

1. Use the principal residence exemption.

A gift or sale of the cottage will be treated as a disposition at fair market value. It may be possible to use your principal residence exemption (PRE) to shelter a gain from tax, whether during your lifetime or upon death. The PRE can only be used to fully shelter one property from tax if you own more than one at the same time. Be sure to visit a tax pro to determine whether you’re able, and whether it makes sense, to use the PRE on the cottage.

2. Maximize your adjusted cost base.

Keep track of all major repairs and improvements to your cottage over the years. You may be able to use these amounts to increase your adjusted cost base (ACB) of the property. A higher ACB will mean a lower capital gain, and lower taxes on the transfer of the cottage.

3. Leave it to your spouse.

If your plan is to transfer or sell the cottage after your death, consider leaving the property to your surviving spouse. This can defer the tax, if any, until the date of your spouse’s death.

4. Make a transfer today.

If you want to make a transfer during your lifetime, consider doing it today. This will move the future growth – and future tax bill on that growth – into the hands of your heirs, deferring the tax for years. You’ll still be deemed to have sold the property at fair market value today when making the transfer, but there might be little tax to pay if the property hasn’t appreciated much. You can maintain control and use of the property even after a transfer using a trust or an agreement with your heirs.

5. Claim a capital gains reserve.

If you want to gift the cottage to your kids during your lifetime, try this idea: Rather than gifting the property, sell it to the kids at fair market value and have them pay you using promissory notes. You don’t have to collect on the notes if your intention is to make this a gift; rather, you can forgive the notes upon death without tax implications. If you structure the notes properly, the tax on the “sale” can be paid over a five-year period of time rather than all in one year, using what’s known as the “capital gains reserve.” If you simply make a gift, and taxes are owing, you’ll have to pay that entire tax bill in the year of the gift.

6. Claim capital losses to offset a gain.

If you have other assets, perhaps investments, that have dropped in value, consider selling those assets to realize the capital losses. These losses can be applied to offset any taxable capital gain on the transfer of the cottage.

7. Buy life insurance to cover the taxes.

While this idea won’t eliminate the tax bill upon death, it can provide needed cash to pay those taxes where the plan is to keep the cottage in the family and not sell it after you’re gone. You might also consider buying enough insurance to help fund all or part of the annual maintenance costs for your heirs. Life insurance may allow you to fund the tax bill using just pennies on the dollar.

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The Co-operators ranked among Best Corporate Citizens in Canada

GUELPH, ON, June 15, 2015 /CNW/ – The leadership and commitment to sustainability demonstrated by The Co-operators has been recognized for the sixth consecutive year, as it has been ranked among the top ten on the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada list.

Corporate Knights is an organization dedicated to the promotion of responsible business practices in Canada and the advancement of social and environmental sustainability worldwide. The list evaluates companies’ performance on a wide range of sustainability indicators including board diversity, resource use, sustainability mandate and oversight, and percentage of women in executive management.

“We approach our sustainability journey in a comprehensive and balanced manner that reflects our identity as a co-operative,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “We continue to aspire to be a sustainability leader, and it’s through the commitment and support at all levels of our organization that we’re having success in advocating, educating and acting to create a more sustainable future.”

In 2014, The Co-operators became the first Canadian insurance company to sign the Montreal Carbon Pledge, through which it committed to measuring and publicly disclosing the carbon footprint of its investment portfolio. Ninety-eight per cent of The Co-operators assets are now managed under its Sustainable Investment Policy. Also last year, The Co-operators achieved a 50 per cent reduction in net carbon emissions compared to 2010 levels.

Co-operative values and principles are inherently linked to sustainability, and that connection can been seen with the appearance of five co-operatives on this year’s list.

For more information about the progress The Co-operators has made in advancing its sustainability goals, please see its annual Sustainability Report at www.cooperators.ca/sustainability_report. To view the Best 50 Corporate Citizens inCanada list, please visit www.corporateknights.com.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $40 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 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations inCanada by Sustainalytics and Maclean’s magazine. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

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