Stay safe, stay alert: Labour Day long weekend could spell 2,000 crashes on B.C. roads

Stay safe, stay alert: Labour Day long weekend could spell 2,000 crashes on B.C. roads

As British Columbians ramp up to enjoy the final weekend of summer holidays, drivers are encouraged to stay safe and stay alert when behind the wheel. ICBC anticipates as many as 2,000 crashes to occur this long weekend. About six people are killed and 520 people are injured every Labour Day long weekend.

Drivers should expect more volume on highways and roads with people taking their final summer road trip.

ICBC warns drivers to watch for drowsy drivers and to look out for symptoms of fatigue in themselves. According to drivers participating in a recent poll* by ICBC, more than half (55%) reported to being tired at least some of the time when travelling long distances.

Drowsiness can cause drivers to lose focus, slow their reaction time, impair their vision, and affect their ability to make good driving decisions.

Warning signs:

  • Drifting out of your lane
  • Inconsistent speed
  • Erratic braking
  • Missing an exit or turn
  • Frequent yawning
  • Frequent blinking
  • Loss of concentration

How to protect yourself:

  • Get enough sleep. Most people need seven to nine hours of sleep to be well-rested and alert the next day.

  • Travel in the morning. Sleepiness can affect people throughout the day, but drivers are prone to drowsy driving in the late-afternoon and late at night when the body’s circadian rhythm dips.**

  • Take frequent breaks. Schedule a break at least once every two hours. Use this time to send an update to family and friends, or to check road conditions. There are currently two rest areas that have free Wi-Fi – the Britton Creek stop on the Coquihalla near Merritt, and the Glacier View rest area on Highway 16 near Smithers.

  • Share the driving with others. Split the responsibility to get to your destination safely with other drivers in your vehicle.

Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead by visiting drivebc.ca for the latest road conditions.

Regional statistics***:

  • 390 people are injured in 1,300 crashes in the Lower Mainland over the Labour Day long weekend.
  • 51 people are injured in 270 crashes on Vancouver Island over the Labour Day long weekend.
  • 63 people are injured in 310 crashes in the Southern Interior over the Labour Day long weekend.
  • 16 people are injured in 120 crashes in North Central B.C. over the Labour Day long weekend.

Labour Day crashes are calculated from 18:00 the Friday prior to the holiday to midnight Monday.

*Long weekend survey with ICBC Customer Advisory Panel, 1087 total respondents, May 2017
** Source: Transport Canada
***Fatality data is police data based on five year average (2011 to 2015). Crash and injury data is ICBC data from 2015.

Media contact

Joanna Linsangan
604-982-2480

It’s summer, the time to bury your toes in the sand, enjoy the warm breezes

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5 tips on choosing and working with a wedding photographer

By Jonathan Elderfield

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Your wedding is fast approaching and you have an un-blissfully long to-do list, from finalizing your flower selection to choosing your menu to deciding on your dress.

Near the top of that list you might want to put “select photographer.” That way, one of the most important parts of your wedding the memories will be preserved.

Think about booking your photographer soon after you have selected your venue, and make sure he or she is a good fit with your personality.

As a photographer with over 25 years of experience, including more than 50 weddings, I know the importance of selecting the right person. Not only will you be spending your entire day together, but the resulting photos will influence how you remember your wedding.

Look at potential photographers’ electronic portfolios, pricing and availability, and plan to meet several candidates to gauge their sensibility.

Below are five tips on choosing and working with a wedding photographer:

___

LOOK FOR DEPTH

Ask to see a complete portfolio from beginning to end for at least one or two weddings. You don’t want to see only a few “best” photos.

“It’s easy to show a bunch of terrific single images taken at many weddings,” says Radhika Chalasani, “but a great wedding photographer has to capture an entire wedding beautifully from start to finish.” The New York-based Chalasani has been photographing weddings since 2004.

Looking at portfolios will ensure that the photographer wasn’t just an assistant or a guest with a camera.

You can see how the photographer handles all parts of the wedding, including the preparations, ceremony, cocktails, portraits, speeches, dancing and cake-cutting.

___

GET A CONTRACT

A wedding photographer without a contract (and without liability insurance) is likely not a professional.

The contract should spell out what the photographer will provide, and whether the pictures will be on DVDs, an online gallery, a finished album, etc. It will include the hours worked, and what happens if you ask the photographer to work longer.

In addition, you want to know how things will be handled if the photographer becomes unable to work on the wedding day due to illness or injury. He or she should have a back-up.

The contract also should spell out the cost, the amount of any deposit and when the balance must be paid.

Small, casual weddings might not seem to require a contact, but having one will protect both you and the photographer.

___

DON’T BE SHY ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT

“There’s no harm in being specific,” says Chicago wedding photographer Candice C. Cusic, a photojournalist for 15 years and a teacher at Northwestern University.

Tell the photographer what the most important aspects of the day are to you, whether it’s exchanging rings or walking down the aisle.

“Brides should be realistic about their day and make every possible effort to help their photographer capture great imagery,” Cusic says. A bride or groom getting ready inside a messy hotel room, for instance, will not make for strong pictures, she notes.

___

MAKE SURE YOUR PERSONALITIES JIBE

Other than your significant other, the person with whom you’ll spend the most time on your wedding day might well be your photographer. He or she will be with you as you get ready and as you go through the emotional highs of the day. The photographer might guide you and your family through a portrait session, walk backward as you process up the aisle, and hang close by during your first dance.

So this person’s personality sense of humour, demeanour, even appearance should be a good fit with both of you.

Craig Warga, a New York-based wedding photographer, says “good photography happens when you can get close to your subjects, and they feel completely comfortable being natural and themselves in front of your lens. If you don’t like someone, you’re not going to have that level of comfort in front of them, and it will affect the pictures.”

If you like a sassy personality who will add some colour to your day, then by all means hire a vibrant, outgoing photographer who exudes energy. On the other hand, if you want a subtle documentary photographer who will capture important moments without being intrusive, go for someone who won’t talk loudly over you when you first meet, and who seems cool and composed.

The right photographer, says Warga, is someone who leaves you thinking, “it’d be nice to have that person as a guest at my wedding.”

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SWEAT SOME DETAILS

Ask if the photographer has a full set of equipment: multiple bodies and lenses with back-ups.

Will he or she be working with an assistant or second photographer? If so, what is the additional cost and does that person need to be there all day?

If your venue will be dark, can the photographer handle it?

Is the photographer able to work in adverse conditions such as rain at an outdoor ceremony?

Finally, make provisions for your photographer to eat; it’s hard to be “on” for eight to 10 hours straight. A 15-minute meal break might just be the best thing you do for the photographer.

canada-press

Warm weather leads to hot heads on Ontario roads

TORONTO, CNW – Young drivers in Ontario have plenty of gripes about other drivers on the road, and tempers could flare this summer as construction related delays add to driver frustration. According to the ingenie Road Rage Report, summer is the most infuriating driving season; 58% of young drivers are frustrated by construction related delays in the summer while only 18% are bothered by bad weather in the winter.

“Nobody likes traffic delays and cranky drivers can lead to conflict on the road. But, as a driver your top priority needs to be safety. It’s important not to let emotions get the best of you,” says Lorie Phair, CEO of ingenie Canada, a telematics based auto insurance provider for Ontario drivers aged 16 to 24. “Keep a cool head, and don’t let outside influences take over. Instead, concentrate on what you can control, which is your own driving.”

Results from the ingenie Road Rage Report

Young Ontario drivers name the top 5 annoying behaviours by other drivers as:

  • Being rude on the road (81%)
  • Using their phones (77%)
  • Tailgating (74%)
  • Failing to signal (73%)
  • Braking suddenly (70%)

Tempers flare fast – even in the drive-thru

  • What infuriates young drivers the most? City driving.
  • The most frustrating settings for young drivers are city streets (82%), highways (47%) and parking lots (32%).
    • Road rage isn’t always limited to the roads: 3% of young drivers admit they get frustrated with other drivers even in drive-thrus.
  • 60% of young drivers are also irritated by cyclists who do not obey the rules of the road.
  • One in five drivers (20%) surveyed admit their tempers flare faster when driving than in other settings.

Young drivers admit to bad behaviour

While Ontario drivers get mad at rude drivers, they don’t deny adding to the inhospitable environment on the road. Many admit they have taken frustration out on other drivers with behaviour such as:

  • Beeping at other drivers (51%)
  • Flashing their lights at other drivers (29%)
  • Making offensive hand gestures at other drivers (14%)
  • On the more extreme end, 5% of Ontario young drivers admit they have used their car to intimidate other drivers. In fact, 37% of young drivers rated their level of road rage to be medium to high.

“As a driver, you are responsible for controlling your own vehicle. It’s an important duty that requires your complete attention,” says Phair. “While you may become annoyed by other drivers’ bad habits, it’s not your responsibility to reprimand them. Don’t get emotional, just focus on the task at hand – arriving at your destination safely.”

ingenie offers the following six tips to help young drivers stay cool on the roads this summer:

  1. Plan your route in advance: If you know of one or two alternative routes, you can change course if you hit bad traffic.
  2. Leave early: It’s easier to stay calm when you aren’t worried about being late.
  3. Be considerate to other drivers: Be the change you would like to see on the road! Let someone merge ahead of you. Getting a smile or a ‘thank you’ for being considerate may restore your faith in other drivers.
  4. Get a good night’s sleep: We all get cranky when we’re tired. Not only do you need to be alert when you’re driving but getting enough sleep can help keep you calm behind the wheel.
  5. Don’t drive if you’re in a bad mood: A stressful day can contribute to road rage, so make sure you’re in a good head space before you take the wheel. Try putting on some relaxing music if you feel yourself becoming frustrated.
  6. Don’t let hungry turn to hangry: Be sure to stop along the route to eat something. This way you’ll manage frustration that hunger adds to driving and avoid getting hangry.

Take a 10 question quiz at https://www.ingenie.ca/keep-cool to rate your road rage and find out how well you keep your cool while driving. Follow the conversation about Road Rage online using the hashtag #keepcool.

About ingenie

ingenie is an innovative young driver insurance brand that uses telematics technology to reward safe driving with savings. ingenie builds a picture of a driver’s individual style, awareness and safety on the road, rewarding those who drive well with up to an extra 25% Good Driving Discount and helping those who need improvement become safer. ingenie was awarded the prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in 2013, in recognition of its work to help make young drivers safer on the road. Among a number of industry awards, ingenie has won best start-up at the 2014 British Insurance Awards and insurance innovation of the year at the Insurance Times Awards. To learn more about ingenie, or to get an online quote, visit www.ingenie.ca or call 184-ingenie-1 (1-844-643-6431).

ingenie Social Media

Like ingenie on Facebook at facebook.com/ingenieCanada
Follow ingenie on Twitter @ingenie_ca

About the ingenie Road Rage Report

Results are based on an online survey conducted for ingenie by Student Life Network between May 25 to May 26, 2015. A total of 604 interviews were collected from Ontario students who are licensed drivers.

SOURCE ingenie

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Fun in the sun? Sunburns trump drowning as top parental concern this summer

Fun in the sun? Sunburns trump drowning as top parental concern this summer

#SummerSense

TORONTO, June 25, 2015 –  Summer has arrived and families across the country are preparing for vacations and getaways that often include water activities. A recent RBC Insurance survey shows that while 96 per cent of Canadian parents agree that water safety is important, drowning only ranked number three on their list of top ‘kid-related’ worries this summer.

The greatest worry for Canadian parents heading into summer was that their child would spend too much time indoors (59 per cent). Getting a sunburn was next on the list of parental concerns (58 per cent). Parents were not as concerned about the risk of drowning (46 per cent), ranking it just ahead of bike safety and general mischief making (both at 44 per cent).

According to the Lifesaving Society, the majority of drownings happen between May and September, with 34 per cent of all drownings taking place during July and August. More than half of all fatal incidents occur on the weekend, when participation in aquatic recreation is highest.

The poll also revealed that while most parents (93 per cent) agreed that every Canadian should be able to swim, only 57 per cent agreed that their child was a strong swimmer. A quarter (25 per cent) of Canadian children over the age of 10 – an age when many children are left unsupervised – were not considered strong swimmers by their parents. Less than half (45 per cent) of 5-9 year olds were considered strong swimmers by their parents.

“Given the dangers of drowning, and the low numbers of children who are strong swimmers, swimming lessons and safety around the water needs to become a greater priority for Canadian parents,” says Rino D’Onofrio, head Canadian Insurance Business for RBC Insurance. “Water accidents happen in seconds so it’s important that parents take action to ensure their children know how to swim as they head to the water this summer.”

Last year RBC Insurance became the presenting sponsor of Canada’s Swim Team, the movement to teach every Canadian child how to swim and launched a program called ’25 metres matters’, designed to enable kids to swim at least 25 metres non-stop by the age of 12.

“We know that teaching kids to swim 25 metres can help save lives. Our goal is to raise water safety awareness and to teach children to swim at an early age so they become more water-safe, healthier and confident,” added D’Onofrio.

Water Safety Tips for Families
With the summer swimming season hitting its peak, RBC Insurance worked with Martha McCabe, RBC Olympian and the reigning Canadian champion in the 200m breaststroke, to offer the following tips for keeping families safe around water:

  • Small children should never be left alone near water. Parents should always be within arm’s reach and actively supervise. According to the Canadian Red Cross, only 10 per cent of small children who drown actually planned to enter the water.
  • Teach your children that an adult must always enter the water and provide approval before the children enter. Once children are in the water, give your full attention to supervising.
  • Always make sure your children wear Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) on boats, personal watercraft and in open bodies of water where additional flotation will provide an extra layer of protection. Remember however, that PFDs and inflatable toys are not a substitute for supervision.

**People should remember to wear proper sun protection and sunscreen, stay hydrated and keep cool. The BC Government has provided a number of tips on health-related illnesses and how you can stay healthy.**

About the RBC Insurance Poll
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between June 10 and June 15, 2015 on behalf of RBC Insurance. For this survey, a sample of 1,008 Canadian parents (with children under the age of 18 living in the home) were interviewed via the Ipsos I-Say panel. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian parents been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. About RBC Insurance
RBC Insurance®, through its operating entities, provides a wide range of travel, life, health, home, auto, wealth and reinsurance products and solutions, as well as creditor and business insurance services to individual, business and group clients. RBC Insurance has more than four million clients globally. We are one of the largest Canadian bank-owned group of insurance companies, and among the fastest growing insurance organizations in the country. RBC Insurance employs more than 3,000 employees, and is the brand name for the insurance operating entities of Royal Bank of Canada.
– 30 –

For more information, please contact:
Greg Skinner, RBC Corporate Communications, 416-294-5579
Bob Stellick, Stellick Marketing, 416-347-3191

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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