Crumbling pavement, bumper-to-bumper traffic and poorly timed stop lights are just some of the reasons to nominate a street in the annual CAA Worst Roads Campaign.
“While winter in many parts of the province was not as harsh as other years, road and infrastructure maintenance continues to be an important issue for Ontarians,” said Caroline Grech, Government Relations, CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO). “We want to know the worst road you have driven on in Ontario. Whether the issue is congestion, potholes, road signs, traffic lights or pedestrian and cycling safety, we want to hear from you.”
You can vote for the worst roads in the province at CAAWorstRoads.com until April 29th. Nominate as many streets as you like, but you cannot vote for the same road, bridge or highway twice.
Without stable, dependable, and sufficient sources of funding, municipalities may be unable to afford the cost to maintain its roads and bridges in good repair. That’s why CAA continues to call on the provincial and federal governments for permanent dedicated funding that is essential to both repairing aging infrastructure, and allows for new road infrastructure to be built.
“Although much work has been done across the province to maintain and repair Ontario’s roads, greater investments are needed to tackle the staggering municipal infrastructure deficit in Ontario,” commented Geoff Wilkinson, Executive Director, Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA). “Eliminating the infrastructure deficit currently facing municipalities will place municipalities and Ontarioat a competitive advantage.”
CAA SCO will compile a list of the Top 10 Worst Roads in Ontario and the worst roads in seven regions across the province. The regional lists will help shine a light on the state of local roads in municipalities across Ontario.
Following the three week campaign, CAA SCO will present this year’s list of worst roads and our recommendations to local and provincial officials in an effort to have those roads fixed.
Last year, Algonquin Boulevard in Timmins was named the worst road in Ontario while three streets from the Greater Toronto andHamilton Area (GTHA) made the provincial top 10 list.
For over a hundred years, CAA has been helping Canadians stay mobile, safe and protected. CAA South Central Ontario is one of nine auto clubs across Canada providing roadside assistance, travel, insurance services and member savings for our 2 million members.
ORBA supports and promotes the growth of Ontario’s transportation infrastructure industry. As the voice of over 200 road building contractors and suppliers, ORBA members build and maintain the majority of Ontario’s provincial highway system, municipal roads, bridges and other public transportation infrastructure, employing over 30,000 workers. Visit orba.org for more information.
SOURCE CAA South Central Ontario
By Jim Bronskill
THE CANADIAN PRESS
OTTAWA _ The federal anti-money laundering agency has levied a $1.1-million penalty against an unnamed Canadian bank for failing to report a suspicious transaction and various money transfers.
It is the first time the Ottawa-based Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, known as Fintrac, has penalized a bank and it’s being billed as a warning to thousands of other businesses.
Generally, the centre tracks cash flows linked to terrorism, money laundering and other crimes by sifting through millions of pieces of data annually from banks, insurance companies, securities dealers, money service businesses, real estate brokers, casinos and others.
In this case, Fintrac spokesman Darren Gibb said he cannot legally discuss details of the bank’s infractions, and the federal agency is exercising its discretion to withhold the identity of the financial institution, which recently paid the penalty of $1,154,670.
But Fintrac wants to send a strong message that it will take whatever measures are needed to encourage compliance with the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.
The agency depends on a steady flow of reports about suspicious dealings, electronic fund transfers and large cash transactions in order to produce needed intelligence, Gibb said in an interview.
“The reporting to us is absolutely critical. Without those reports, Fintrac is out of business,” he said Tuesday.
“We’re going to be extra-diligent to ensure that entities are submitting suspicious transaction reports when they should be.”
Some 31,000 businesses across the country must furnish Fintrac with reports. The agency, in turn, provided 1,260 disclosures of financial intelligence to police and national security partners in 2014-15.
The penalty announcement comes amid heightened scrutiny of Canadian financial institutions due to publication of leaked files, known as the Panama Papers, about dubious global dealings.
The fine was levied against the bank for failing to report: an attempted or actual suspicious transaction; receipt of $10,000 or more in a single transaction; an electronic funds transfer of $10,000 or more to a destination outside Canada; receipt from outside Canada of an electronic funds transfer of $10,000 or more.
In addition, the bank was penalized for failing to apply written compliance policies and procedures that are kept up to date and approved by a senior officer.
Gibb said he could not divulge exactly how the unreported transactions came to Fintrac’s attention, nor could he discuss the nature of them.
“I can’t say to you that we’ve identified money laundering or terrorism financing. What I can say is that we’ve identified an entity that has not fulfilled its obligations” under the law, he said.
“The obligations are in place to ensure that we get the reporting that we need to provide financial intelligence to our partners.”
The Canadian Bankers Association declined to make anyone available for an interview.
In an emailed statement, the association said Canadian banks have a strong track record of compliance with the anti-money laundering regime, noting they process billions of transactions in Canada every year.
On the rare occasion when a problem arises, “a bank will take immediate steps to resolve the issue and ensure that it is in compliance going forward,” the association added.
Fintrac received 92,531 suspicious transaction reports from businesses across Canada in 2014-15, an 11 per cent increase over the previous year.
“Yes, we’ve made significant progress, and we’re pleased by that,” Gibb said. But he quickly added: “Some sectors still have some work to do.”
CANADIANS MUST NOW GET RID OF THEIR OLD WOOD-BURNING STOVES OR PAY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN FINES.
Aon plc (NYSE: AON), the leading global provider of risk management and human resource consulting and outsourcing, today announced the release of Aon Choice, a first-of-its-kind total rewards delivery system that enables small- and medium-sized companies in Canada to compete with benefit packages offered at larger corporations.
“We’ve been listening closely to Canadian employers of all sizes to better understand their challenges and opportunities and found limited benefit options mean many smaller companies struggle to attract and retain engaged employees,” said Christine Lithgow, president and CEO, Aon Risk Solutions Canada. “Aon Choice will help small business owners in Canada compete and win in the campaign for talent. Employers can now offer flexible benefit plans, giving employees increased transparency and the ability to choose the level of coverage that’s right for them and their families.”
According to the 2015 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey, 64 percent of employees would opt for a flex plan if they could, despite the fact that 77 percent currently have a traditional plan. Emphasizing choice, 91% of employees also said they would like to choose benefits that are best suited for their current personal situation. With four different generations now in the workforce, each with specific benefit needs and wants, the one-size- fits-all approach to plan design is showing a gap in value for both employers and employees.
A better benefits solution for employers and employees alike
Aon Choice removes the barriers to offer a flexible benefit solution normally available to large corporations. Through Aon Choice’s integrated online portal, employees and their families in Canada can choose health and retirement plans from multiple options offered by their employer as well as access deals on home, auto, pet and travel insurance, and legal expense insurance.
Employees will also have more transparency over their employer’s total rewards investment through easy-to-understand online rewards statements. Employees will see their compensation and contributions made by their employer toward their benefits and retirement savings plans as well as any other rewards or incentives offered to them by their employer.
“Aon pioneered flexible benefit plans in Canada and we are leveraging this expertise to help small businesses. We know benefit administration and communication can be a burden for small and mid-sized companies,” said Brian Rennie, senior vice president, Health and Benefits, Aon Risk Solutions. “With our innovative technology and expert team, we’re committed to making it easier for them with Aon Choice.”
Underwritten by Desjardins Insurance, the insurance arm of the top co-operative financial group in Canada, Aon Choice offers employers the best financial terms in the market, along with the convenience and ease of administration through Aon’s industry-leading technology and expertise in benefits consulting and administration. Companies can choose to offer traditional or flexible group benefit plans, and they can control their benefits spend through a defined contribution approach. For retirement plans, employers can choose between group Registered Retirement Savings Plans or defined contribution pensions. Aon’s benefits experts guide employers every step of the way, and handle plan administration and employee communication once the plan is set up.
For more information, go to choice.aon.ca.
Aon plc (NYSE: AON) is a leading global provider of risk management, insurance brokerage and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 72,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative risk and people solutions. For further information on our capabilities and to learn how we empower results for clients, please visit: http://aon.mediaroom.com.
New study finds insurance costs are more than six times greater for wood frame buildings than for concrete buildings
A new study of the property insurance costs for wood frame and concrete mid-rise residential buildings conducted by GLOBE Advisors and released today by the Concrete Council of Canada reveals a substantial gap in the risks and insurance rates between the two building systems.
The data for the study “Insurance Costs for Mid-Rise Wood Frame and Concrete Residential Buildings” was drawn from relevant published literature and consultations with brokers, underwriters and property managers. Interviews with three underwriters and data from the Canadian Wood Council (CWC) show that builders’ risk insurance rates per $100 monthly for comparable wood and concrete buildings are on average $0.008 for concrete and $0.053 for wood. When excluding the rate provided by CWC for wood frame insurance, which was significantly lower than the rates provided by the underwriters, the average rate for wood buildings rises to $0.06, a factor of 7.5 times greater than that for concrete buildings.
The study identified four main reasons for the higher rates:
- Greater fire peril: The fire insurance portion of property insurance is 7 to 11 times higher for wood than for concrete structures, reflecting the far greater fire peril due to wood’s combustibility. Fire damage to a wood frame structure can result in a total loss, whereas for concrete, the financial loss is only partial. Only 1% of concrete buildings are demolished due to fire, compared to 8% of wood frame buildings.
- Significantly higher moisture risk: moisture control is a difficult and expensive process for wood frame mid-rise buildings as they are much more susceptible to mold and rot, which is much less of an issue for concrete structures. Water damage is already the leading cause of residential claims costs in Canada. Water damage tends to spread more rapidly and remain undetected longer in wood frame structures compared to concrete structures, which can affect the safety of the structure or can even make it uninhabitable due to extensive rot and mold. BC’s “leaky condo” problems are well documented and known on an international scale.
- Climate Change: Payouts from extreme weather have more than doubled every 5 to 10 years since the 1980’s, and are now a leading cause of property insurance claims.
- Difficulty in obtaining insurance for wood frame structures: Many insurance companies in Canada are hesitant to underwrite wood frame structures, or will aggressively limit their risk exposure for such structures, during construction and over the life of the asset. Home warranty concerns are also highly relevant for strata owners in wood frame structures. In 2014, in BC, only 8% of claims filed under home warranties from multi-unit residential buildings were paid. Condo owners in wood frame buildings therefore carry greater individual financial risk, and the data shows they may not be covered by their home warranty.
“One of the key points about insurance rate setting emerging from this research was the importance of moisture control, both during construction and over the life of an insured asset. Indeed, the importance of moisture management could emerge as one of the most important takeaway conclusions of this research.” said Frank Came, Senior Advisor, GLOBE Advisors.
GLOBE Advisors conducted the study on behalf of the Concrete Council of Canada.
“We commissioned this study because we believe it is important for everyone to be aware of the implications of mid-rise wood frame construction in terms of public safety, municipal budgets, homeowner risk exposure and contractors liabilities”, said Chris Conway, Chair, Concrete Council of Canada. “The GLOBE Advisors study demonstrates that there is a need for a definitive comparative analysis of total life-cycle costs of wood frame and concrete structures, taking into consideration not only changing technologies and related costs of building products, but also the longer term costs of building operation, maintenance, and decommissioning. Given the high costs already associated with constructing and operating a mid-rise residential structures, a concerted effort must be made to build better awareness of the factors that influence insurance rates.”
About GLOBE Advisors
GLOBE Advisors, a subsidiary of the Vancouver-based not-for-profit GLOBE Foundation, was established in response to increasing demand to provide consulting services on a project basis. GLOBE Advisors has extended networks and extensive experience in the areas of international project management, partnership development, consulting, and market research.
About The Concrete Council of Canada
The Concrete Council of Canada is an organization of national and provincial associations bringing together representatives from the full spectrum of cement and concrete manufacturers across Canada. The Council’s mission is to advance the industry’s leadership in sustainable construction and promote the social, environmental and economic value of concrete, concrete products and concrete systems in Canada.
SOURCE Concrete Council of Canada