Christmas in Canada

Many Christians in Canada mark the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25, which is known as Christmas Day. It is a day of celebration when many Canadians exchange gifts and enjoy festive meals.

Holiday party

What do people do?

Many Canadians have a day off work on December 25 and many spend the day with close relatives or friends. It is customary to exchange gifts, enjoy a special festive meal and, perhaps, attend a special church service. However, some people, particularly in Quebec, do some or all of these things on Christmas Eve as well as, or instead of, on Christmas Day.

The traditions centered on Christmas gifts in Canada vary a lot between families. In some families, a mythical figure called Santa Claus brings gifts. He travels on a sleigh pulled by reindeer, enters homes via the chimney and leaves presents and candy in Christmas stockings or in a pile under the Christmas tree. In other families, individual members exchange carefully selected gifts. Popular gifts are toys, games and candy for children and clothes, music, alcohol and practical or luxury items for adults. Canadians may open their presents on Christmas Eve after a special church service or during the morning or after lunch on Christmas Day.

Some people consume large quantities of food and drinks on Christmas Day. The day may start with a cooked breakfast, such as ham and eggs or pancakes. Lunch is often a very large meal with a stuffed or dressed roast turkey, potatoes, a selection of vegetables and cranberry sauce and gravy to add flavor. After the savory part of the meal, plum or Christmas pudding is traditionally eaten. Some families also eat a large evening meal, perhaps based around a leg of pork or ham, or re-heat the leftovers from the lunch. During the day, many types of sweet and savory snacks are served, including candy, oranges or mandarins, nuts and butter tarts or shortbread.

Public life

Christmas Day is a national public holiday in Canada. Schools, post offices and many businesses and organizations are closed on Christmas Day. Some stores may be open. Many public transport services are closed or offer a reduced service. When Christmas Day falls on a Sunday or Saturday that is a non-working day, workers are entitled to a holiday with pay on the working day immediately preceding or following the general holiday.

Background

Many Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth in Bethlehem on December 25, although the true date and year of his birth is unclear. The tradition of celebrating his birth at the end of December may come from the widespread European tradition of celebrations around the winter solstice. Christians who follow the Eastern Orthodox tradition celebrate the birth of Jesus on January 7, while it is marked on January 6 by the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Symbols

There are many symbols of Christmas. These include images of baby Jesus and the Holy family in the stable, stars and Christmas trees. Another important symbol of Christmas is Santa Claus. This is a mythical figure with origins in European, particularly British, Dutch and German, cultures. He is a jolly man who wears a red suit, has a long white beard, lives at the North Pole and travels in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. On Christmas Eve, he travels to the homes of children and leaves them presents in Christmas stockings or under the Christmas tree.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which monitors and controls the aerospace above the United States and Canada, even “monitors” Santa’s movements during November and December. Images and models of Santa Claus and actors playing his role can be seen in many places in the lead up to Christmas.

timeanddate.com

History of Labour Day in Canada

History of Labour Day in Canada

Labour Day in Canada is celebrated on the first Monday of September. It originally gave workers the chance to campaign for better working conditions or pay. The day is now part of a long weekend for many Canadians.

What do people do?

Traditionally, Labour Day was an occasion to campaign for and celebrate workers’ rights during parades and picnics organized by trade unions. These still play a role in Labour Day for some Canadians, but many people see the first Monday in September as an opportunity to take a late summer trip, perhaps to their country cottage, or enjoy the company of family or friends at picnics, fairs, festivals and fireworks displays. For teenagers and other students, the Labour Day weekend is the last chance to celebrate with a party or to go on a trip before school re-opens for the new academic year.

Canadian football fans may spend a large proportion of the weekend watching the Labour Day Classic matches live or on television. The Labour Day Classic consists of three games between high ranking teams in the Canadian Football League. One match is played on the Sunday before Labour Day and two on Labour Day.

Public life

Post offices, many businesses, and many organizations are closed on Labour Day in Canada. Schools and other educational establishments are also closed, as Labour Day falls at the end of the summer holiday period. Many public transport services run to a reduced or “Sunday” service, although others may not run at all. There may be some local disruption to traffic around parades, particularly in Toronto, and some congestion on highways and at airports as people return form late summer vacations or trips.

Background

The origins of Labour Day can be traced back to April 15, 1872, when the Toronto Trades Assembly organized Canada’s first significant demonstration for worker’s rights. The aim of the demonstration was to release the 24 leaders of the Toronto Typographical Union who were imprisoned for striking to campaign for a nine-hour working day. At this time, trade unions were still illegal and striking was seen as a criminal conspiracy to disrupt trade. In spite of this, the Toronto Trades Assembly was already a significant organization and encouraged workers to form trade unions, mediated in disputes between employers and employees and signaled the mistreatment of workers.

There was enormous public support for the parade and the authorities could no longer deny the important role that the trade unions had to play in the emerging Canadian society. A few months later, a similar parade was organized in Ottawa and passed the house of Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John Macdonald. Later in the day, he appeared before the gathering and promised to repeal all Canadian laws against trade unions. This happened in the same year and eventually led to the founding of the Canadian Labour Congress in 1883.

Labour Day was originally celebrated in the spring but it was moved to the fall after 1894. A similar holiday, Labor Day is held on the same day in the United States of America. Canadian trade unions are proud that this holiday was inspired by their efforts to improve workers’ rights. Many countries have a holiday to celebrate workers’ rights on or around May 1.

Excerpted from timeanddate.com

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ILScorp Offices Are Closed for Remembrance Day

ILScorp Offices Are Closed for Remembrance Day

The ILScorp offices will be closed Monday, Nov. 12. Take the time this Remembrance Day to remember and honour those who have, and who continue to, make sacrifices for our country.

We’ll be back Tuesday morning, ready to take your calls, answer your questions and register you for online insurance programs. You can reach us from 8 a.m. – 5  p.m. Pacific Time. You can also register for our insurance training programs online, anytime, at ILScorp.com

And for subscribers to the ILSTV insurance industry newsletter, your daily dose of Canadian insurance news returns to your inbox on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

This November 11, please take a moment to remember all those who have fallen.

#LestWeForget

 

Find Out If You Are Hard Working or Working Too Hard

Many people confuse hard-working people with workaholics.

What is workaholism?

Workaholism is more than a dedication to your job. It’s a near-obsessive commitment that supersedes most, if not all, other aspects of life. For many, workaholism is a true addiction, inextricably tied to feelings of self worth and identity.

What are some characteristics of workaholics? How could a person tell that he/she is a workaholic?

A workaholic displays symptoms similar to any other addict. He/she works long hours, at the expense of personal relationships and health. When not working, they’re thinking about work. Work dictates their mood: when work is going well, they’re up; when work is going less well, they’re down. Workaholics often go months without seeing friends; put their marriages on cruise control; defend their choice to work as hard as they do (come up with justification after justification); and may use work as a distraction from other problems or aspects of life.

What are some reasons that workaholics work so hard?

Working, or simply being busy, can be a hard habit to break. Busy people are important people. They’re also often pleasantly distracted people. In an op-ed that went viral in the New York Times a few years ago, a cartoonist named Tim Kreider wrote that “Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness.” When workaholics aren’t busy working — or doing something to promote their work — they feel anxious and guilty. For both men and women, this is often a result of recession — they hang onto jobs for dear life and do everything they can to ensure they’re indispensable. For  women in particular, workaholism may stem from the lingering notion that great opportunities for women are still rarer than they are for men, and as such must be strived for with unflagging determination and drive. What’s more, today’s female employees are among the first generation to have been raised by mothers who, as a whole, placed importance not just on a job, but a career. For many of these women, the slide into workaholism seems almost predisposed.

Is there a link between health problems and workaholism?

There is. Just because work itself is a respectable pursuit doesn’t mean that an addiction to it is any less damaging than other sorts of addictions. A number of studies show that workaholism has been associated with a wide range of health problems, such as insomnia, anxiety, and heart disease.

Besides from health problems, does being a workaholic bring negative effects?

Yes. For some people, working serves as a Band-Aid for other issues, a way to numb undesirable feelings or fill certain voids, much in the way that alcohol might do for an alcoholic or sex for a sex addict. What’s more, working too much can lead to lower job satisfaction, as found in a 2008 study published in The Psychologist Manager Journal that compared overworking employees to those who maintained a better work-life balance. Also, the ill effects are contagious: A study published in the International Journal of Stress Management found that workaholics can even make their co-workers stressed.

What about the effects to the families?

A 2001 study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy found that working too much negatively impacted an employee’s marriage. This isn’t surprising, since if you’re married to your work it can be difficult to be married to anything, or anyone, else. There have also been studies looking at the impact of workaholic parents on their children and the news isn’t good. In one study, adult children of workaholic fathers experienced more depression and anxiety and a weaker sense of self. That study appeared in the American Journal of Family Therapy.

What about the positive side?

There are many positive aspects to working hard and to an increasing commitment to career. These days, more and more people, women especially, are embarking on, and staying with, careers that are personally fulfilling, identity making, and lucrative. Hard work can reap great rewards. For many, it’s how they develop feelings of self worth and confidence and purpose. This can be empowering.

Since many workaholics often deny having a problem, what are solutions for them?

It’s difficult to convince a workaholic to change their behavior if they’re not also willing. If you have a workaholic in your life you might point out the things he or she is missing out on while at work, whether it’s a child’s soccer game, a good book, or a yoga class. Seek to understand why the person feels the need to work so much and support them in finding a resolution. Perhaps they feel pressure to earn money, or they feel insecure about their performance. Work together to find ways to handle the dilemma beyond longer hours at the office. For people who wonder if they might be workaholics, I might suggest they resolve to check in every so often and ask themselves: Am I working too hard? And if so, why? What am I getting out of 60 hours that I couldn’t get out of 40? Or 35? Many who work hard are working for reasons beyond the benefits good work provides but it requires really stopping and evaluating the situation to recognize that.

Can the symptoms get better?

They can, but it almost always requires a total overhaul in perspective. The first step is acknowledging and accepting — really accepting — that work isn’t the most important thing in your life. Decide what is. You won’t be able to say “no” to work unless you are saying “yes” to something else. The second step is actually starting to say no — to working late, to extra assignments, to doing a little more ‘for the team.’ Finish one task before taking on another. Third, be firm and vigilant about the time you spend working. Decide in advance that you will work, say, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or no more than 40 hours a week. Often, you will find that limiting the time you have to spend on work will make you more efficient during those working hours. You’ll get just as much done — because you have to — and still have time to have dinner with the family.

Excerpted article written by Dr. Peggy Drexler, Huffington Post

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New Life/A&S Course Creative Uses of Life Insurance: Split Beneficiary Planning

This new course is included as part of your ILScorp LIFE/A&S Course Subscription

In this course, learn how in certain cases Split Beneficiary Planning allows for cash extractions (free of dividend tax) from the corporation in excess of actual policy premiums; how a separate and well drafted Split Beneficiary Agreement is required, including a defendable pricing model likely using NCPI as the source cost; and that specialized legal and tax advice may be needed before implementing such planning.

Part 1 – Corporations & Insurance

Part 2 – Disruptions to Corporate Owned Insurance

Part 3 – Agreements on the use of Insurance with Corporations

Part 4 – The Pricing Models

COURSE MATERIAL SAMPLE:

COPORATE INSURABILITY

1.Key Man Insurance.  In the event of the death of a key employee, a corporation could sustain material financial hardship.  Key Man Insurance provides funding to assist the corporation maintain working capital balances in the transition period after death.

2.Shareholder Agreements.  Shareholder agreements govern actions between shareholdings in the event of the death of a shareholder.  Some agreements obligate the corporation to redeem the shares in what is called a “Corporate Redemption or Corporate Repurchase”.  Insurance in this context provides the needed funds to repurchase the deceased’s shares.

3.Loan Offset Insurance.  Sometimes creditors of a corporation will ask that key people are insured.  Should they pass away, the insurance is used to repay corporate loans.

4.Buy-Out Insurance.  Similar to shareholder agreements, corporations that transition owner-managers (key people) will often insure one or both parties (acquirer and/or purchaser) so that financial exposure during the acquisition period is covered by insurance.

Corporate Funded Insurance – Benefits

While Living:

  1. A corporation (with an insurance interest) is allowed to pay insurance premiums.
  2. Corporate paid premiums are normally a “non-deductible expense” (called an “add-back” on the corporate tax return).
  3. This allows payment of insurance AFTER corporate income tax but BEFORE personal dividend tax.

Example: Personal Ownership

An insurance policy with $1000/yr premiums needs to be paid.  We assume the policy owner is also a shareholder of a corporation.

Should that policy be owned and paid for outside of the corporation, the following series of transactions would be required:

  • The Corporation deducts $1923 as a Salary Expense (T4) from its tax return
  • With $1923 in Salary, Personal Tax Will Be Required
  • At a 48% Tax Rate this means $923 in Tax is owing

Therefore, the total cost of the insurance is $1923 of corporate resources.

Example: Corporate Ownership

An insurance policy with $1000/yr premiums needs to be paid.  We assume the policy owner here is a corporation.  Following are the required transactions:

  • The Corporation reports $1163 as Income On its Tax Return
  • At a 14% Small Business Tax Rate, $163 in Corporate Income Tax will be Paid
  • This leaves $1000 of corporate funds to pay the insurance premium.

Therefore, the total cost of the insurance is $1163.  Corporate owned insurance is a more effective place to pay premiums!

This new course is included as part of your ILScorp LIFE/A&S Course Subscription

Click here to learn more about this course!

Credit Hours: 2

Credit Type: Life/A&S

Credit #: AIC 47765 MB 29960

Accrediting Provinces: BC, AB, SK, MB, ON

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