Employment Insurance premiums will be lower than anticipated in 2019

OTTAWA _ The Canada Employment Insurance Commission says employment insurance premiums will be lower than expected in 2019.

The commission says the rate will be $1.62 per $100 of insurable earnings, which is four cents lower than anticipated.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Jean-Yves Duclos, minister for families, children and social development, say in a joint statement that the EI premium rate has been reduced “thanks to a strong and growing economy.”

The statement says the new rate is almost 14 per cent lower than the rates in 2015 and that it’s the lowest rate since 1980.

Randall Bartlett, chief economist at the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy says the low premium rate is a reflection of the strong Canadian job market.

The change won’t be reflected on people’s paycheques until January.

Homeowners, renters, and drivers are all hazy on the rules.

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Desjardins invests in Canada with Better Things Community Grants program

AURORA, ON, Aug. 1, 2018 /CNW/ – Desjardins Group today announced the winners of the Better Things Community Grants program. Three large grants of between $20,000 and $50,000 and 17 community grants of $5,000 will go to deserving initiatives in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick.

Earlier this year, Desjardins asked its State Farm¬ģ branded agents to nominate local charities or government organizations that work to address safety issues, promote healthy lifestyles, improve financial well-being or support education and youth for grant consideration. A total of 137 nominations were received with 20 chosen as grant recipients.

As part of the ongoing State Farm Canada brand transition to Desjardins Insurance, Desjardins and its exclusive Agents are giving back to their communities, helping people in need and letting clients know that Desjardins Insurance will always be connected, committed and investing in where our customers live, work and play.

“Being involved in communities is part of who we are at Desjardins, and no one understands the needs of our customers better than our local Agents who work and live where their clients do,” says Barbara Bellissimo, Senior Vice President, Desjardins Agent Network. “The Better Things Community Grant program is an opportunity for Desjardins Insurance Agents to connect with the issues that matter in their communities and to provide support to help these groups continue the great work they do every day.”

Grant Recipients

Three grants totaling $105,000 were awarded to the following charities:

  • Pathstone Foundation (St. Catharines, ON) received a grant of $50,000 towards the development of 10,000 square feet of greenspace for mental health disorder patients. The Natural Playground and Healing Garden will be the first of its kind to be created at a children’s mental health agency.
  • Connect Society (Edmonton, AB) received a grant of $35,000 to support their mission to help meet the needs of families affected by hearing loss, allowing them to fully participate and thrive in daily activities. Connect Society will be equipping a preschool in Edmonton with a sensory room to help young children impacted by deafness learn and grow.
  • P.R.O. Kids (Saint John, NB) received a grant of $20,000 towards matching children and teens in financial need with organized, registered recreation activities. Positive Recreation Opportunities for Kids provides youth the ability to become involved in the Sport, Music, Art or Cultural program of their choosing; regardless of financial barriers.

An additional 17 grants totaling $85,000 ($5,000 each) were awarded to the following:

  • Bellwood Public School (Whitby, ON)
  • Brockville and Area Food Bank (Brockville, ON)
  • Chatham-Kent Student Breakfast Programs (Chatham, ON)
  • Distress Centre Calgary (Calgary, AB)
  • Eden Food for Change (Mississauga, ON)
  • Essex County Community Living (Essex, ON)
  • Food4Kids (St. Catharines, ON)
  • Girls Inc. of Durham (Ajax, ON)
  • Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation (Toronto, ON)
  • Hong Fook (Scarborough, ON)
  • Kimberly Jr. Public School (Toronto, ON)
  • Linking Generations (Sherwood, AB)
  • London Cross Cultural Learner Centre (London, ON)
  • Port Perry Hospital Foundation (Port Perry, ON)
  • Sir Edgar Bauer Catholic Elementary School (Waterloo, ON)
  • Sussex Vale Transition House (Sussex, NB)
  • The Carson Foundation (Palgrave, ON)

Quotes

“It’s fantastic that Desjardins recognized Pathstone’s Natural Playground and Healing Garden, which will be the this first of its kind in Canada, as a project they wanted to support. This will be a unique, innovative and transformative initiative for the Niagara community. Research has long supported that for young people dealing with mental health issues, time spent in a natural environment is calming, reduces feelings of stress, fear, anger and aggression and improves functionality, attention, focus and self-esteem.”
Shaun Baylis ‚Äď CEO Pathstone

“As a non-profit, Connect Society has financial limitations and must make difficult decisions about how to use the government funds we receive. It’s encouraging that corporations like Desjardins have a heightened sense of social responsibility, and are willing to champion the good work of charitable organizations to effect positive change. Not only has Desjardins validated our hard work, but their financial support will provide an environment that promotes learning for the children currently in our program and for future generations.”
Cheryl Redhead – CEO/Executive Director Connect Society

“Working at an inner-city school in Saint John I have seen the challenges that youth are faced with every day. We are extremely happy that Desjardins recognizes PRO Kids as a catalyst of change for youth in our community. It provides children an enriching experience while helping to tackle barriers and allow them to break the cycle of poverty.”
Jen Brown – Vice Chair P.R.O. Kids Advisory Committee

Grant Presentations

Each grant recipient will be hosting a cheque presentation event where executives and representatives of each organization will be on hand to discuss their grant, what program or initiative the money will be supporting, and the impact it will have.  Local media, dignitaries and Desjardins Insurance Agents will also be invited to attend.

Once dates, times and locations are confirmed a detailed media invitation will be sent to local outlets prior to each cheque presentation event.

State Farm Canada is becoming Desjardins Insurance

In 2015, Desjardins Group completed the purchase of State Farm Canadian property and casualty and life insurance operations, as well as its mutual fund, loan and living benefits companies. More than 470 State Farm Agents in Canadaare becoming Desjardins Insurance Agents. They continue to offer the strength of their relationships and serve their clients’ insurance and financial needs. The brand transition will be completed by December 31, 2019. Details here – https://www.statefarm.ca/about-us/newsroom/2017/11/21/state-farm-brand-in-canada

About Desjardins
Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in¬†Canada¬†and the fifth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of¬†$276.3 billion. It has been rated one of the Best Employers in¬†Canada¬†by¬†Aon Hewitt. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across¬†Canada. Ranked among the world’s strongest banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has one of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.

Desjardins Insurance and related trademarks are trademarks of the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec, used under licence.

State Farm and related trademarks and logos are registered trademarks owned by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, used under licence by Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company and certain of its affiliates.

SOURCE Desjardins Group

 

Insurers to rely on acquisitions and partnerships to transform business

Facing sluggish industry growth and agile new competition, insurance executives are actively pursuing acquisitions and partnerships to transform and grow their businesses, according to a new report from KPMG International,¬†Accelerated evolution ‚Äď M&A, transformation and innovation in the insurance industry. In fact, 80 percent of insurance executives surveyed for the report expect to seek one to three acquisition targets or partnership opportunities over the next three years.

The majority of insurers are intending to make acquisitions that could transform their organization for the future, rather than merely enhance their current business and operating models. More than 60 percent of the 200 executives surveyed globally said transforming their business or operating model would be the key factors driving acquisitions, while just 21 percent identified enhancing their current model as the key factor.

“Insurers are competing for market share in a slow-growth environment, that is experiencing an influx of dynamic new insurtech players,” said¬†Laura Hay, Head of Global Insurance for KPMG International. “They know they can’t rely just on organic growth to meet their objectives, so alliances and acquisitions become essential as insurers look to engage with customers in new and different ways, and gain access to innovative operating capabilities and technology infrastructure to reshape their business and drive future growth.”

Cross-border deals expected to dominate
In terms of geography, a majority of insurance executives are looking for inorganic opportunities outside their country of domicile, with 66 percent expecting to conduct cross-border deals, while just 32 percent say they expect deals to be focused domestically. The distinction is particularly telling with respect to partnerships and alliances over the next three years, with 39 percent expecting these to be cross-border and only six percent anticipating domestic alliances.

North America, particularly the US, is widely expected by the insurance executives surveyed to have the most insurance M&A activity in the coming three years. Asia-Pacific is projected to be the region where insurers have the most partnership opportunities, and Western Europe is expected to drive relatively more divestiture activity.

Identifying the right, transformational deals
Intending to do more deals is one thing, but are insurance organizations up to the challenge of identifying and successfully executing the right deals? ¬†Only ten and seven percent of executives, respectively, say they are extremely likely to find a deal that is a strategic fit for their business and operating model.¬† Moreover, a majority believe their organization’s capabilities for deal sourcing, evaluation and execution are lagging, with 72 percent saying their deal sourcing objectives aren’t highly aligned with their corporate strategy and 72 percent rating their capabilities for evaluating a target’s strategic fit as moderate to low.

To accelerate their transformation goals, an emerging trend for insurers is setting up dedicated capabilities, including corporate venture capital (CVC) teams, to acquire and accelerate innovation. Eighteen percent of insurers surveyed indicated they either already had an established CVC or had plans to establish one, with the top ranked objective being acquiring innovation for business model transformation.

“To realize value from their deals, insurers need to rethink their approach and their capabilities,” points out Ram Menon, Global Head of Insurance Deal Advisory for KPMG International. “Insurers need to redefine deal success ‚ÄĒ from acquisition strategy to integration execution ‚ÄĒ set out a clear path for transformation applying holistic design thinking, accelerate innovation by standing up an inorganic innovation engine, and more importantly, resist short-term thinking. Transformation is not a ‘one-and-done’ event.”

About the report
For KPMG worked with Mergermarket to interview more than 200 global insurance executives involved in M&A, strategy and innovation initiatives at their respective organizations to learn about their outlook for the industry and their expectations as they plan to strategically deploy capital. The research respondents were divided regionally among firms in¬†Asia-Pacific¬†(33 percent),¬†Europe,¬†Middle East¬†+¬†Africa¬†(33 percent), and¬†North America¬†(33 percent) as well as by the segments Life (25 percent), Non-Life (25 percent), Reinsurance (25 percent), and Other (25 percent) (the segment ‘Other’ encompasses Insurance Brokers and Insurance Services). Companies needed to have a minimum of¬†US$1.5bn¬†in annual revenue to qualify for participation.

About KPMG International
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 154 countries and territories and have 200,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

SOURCE KPMG International

$12M GoFundMe for Humboldt Broncos to close Wednesday

CBC News

The Humboldt Broncos organization will soon be closing a GoFundMe that raised $12 million to support players and families affected by a crash that left 16 people dead and 13 injured.

The outpouring of support began 10 days ago after the team bus collided with a semi on the way to Nipawin, Sask., on April 6.

Kevin Garinger, president of the Humboldt Broncos, made a statement Monday evening about how the team plans to secure and manage the funds that have been raised.

Garinger said the Humboldt Broncos board of directors, with legal counsel from MLT Aikins, and advice from GoFundMe executives, has decided to close the campaign and take it offline at 11:59 p.m. MDT on Wednesday, April 18.

The donated funds will be transferred to a newly created non-profit known as the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund Inc.

An advisory committee is being established to make a recommendation for the allocation of funds.

‘Working to support our Bronco families’

He said the organization’s board of directors has immense love and gratitude for all those who have donated time and money to Humboldt Broncos fundraisers.

“If there is any light shining through this dark time, it has come in the form of love for one another,” he said. “Our families and our entire organization has been blessed to feel this love from people from around the globe.

“Our priority currently remains focused, as it has since day one, on working to support our Bronco families, especially now as they are celebrating the lives of their loved ones and supporting our players who are struggling to heal.”

Garinger also thanked fund creator, Sylvie Kellington. Kellington, who is from the small community, started the fundraiser in hopes of covering parking costs for the families who were at the hospital following the crash.

undraisers and donations outside of the GoFundMe will go to the Humboldt Strong Community Foundation, created with legal counsel from Robertson Stromberg LLP. Garinger said its mission will be to support Humboldt Broncos players, employees, families and volunteers as well as first responders, emergency personnel, teams, athletes, organizations and communities affected by the crash and its aftermath.

Only fundraisers and initiatives directed to the foundation will be endorsed, sanctioned by or held in conjunction with the Humboldt Broncos organization. Garinger¬†said the team’s management will not be able verify any other fundraising events.

In an update posted on the GoFundMe page on Friday night, the Humboldt Broncos announced the team was getting assistance from western Canada law firm MLT Aikins LLP law firm which is supporting the organization pro bono.

“Know that we are working around the clock with our advisers to get the funds to our families as quickly as possible,” the post said.

“We appreciate your patience as this process takes time and thoughtful consideration.”

As of the latest update, 10 people from the Humboldt Broncos crash remain in hospital, with two in critical condition, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Little is known about their specific injuries, except that 18-year-old Ryan Straschnitzki is paralyzed from the chest down.

If some suffer severe injuries, including paralysis and brain injuries, financial support could be required to pay for 24-hour care.

If someone needs to use a wheelchair, home modifications could be a large expense.

The cost of psychological and emotional recovery for team members and their families could also come out of the fund.

Insurance coverage also on the table

Because the deaths and injuries resulted from a road accident in Saskatchewan, some of the costs will be covered through SGI, the province’s public insurance company.

SGI president Andrew Cartmell said benefits available for people who are injured range from travel and accommodation costs for families visiting their loved ones in hospital to long-term rehabilitation and keeping their standard of living consistent.

No-fault insurance means that funds aren’t tied to the cause of the crash and can be distributed before the investigation is complete.

Saskatchewan insurance also covers funeral costs up to about $10,000, plus additional death benefits, including grief counselling.

Hockey Canada’s insurance program also covers the Humboldt Broncos players, coaches and staff, spokesperson Lisa Dornan told CBC News in an email.

Dornan said crisis management staff from both Hockey Canada and insurance provider AIG were on-site in Humboldt to help support the families by making funeral arrangements and organizing travel.

Both SGI and Hockey Canada said that money received by survivors and family members from fundraising campaigns would not affect their insurance benefits.

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