Friday, July 30, 2010

How Canada can cash in on the U.S. economic malaise.

The Winspear Business Reference Library buildi...Image via Wikipedia
By Harvey Enchin and Fazil Mihlar, Vancouver Sun
"Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open."
-Alexander Graham Bell
---
Canada has the opportunity of a lifetime waiting to be seized.
Non-financial institutions in the United States have almost $2 trillion US in cash on their balance sheets but have no desire to invest there. Luring some of that money to Canada will help further modernize our economy, create jobs, generate more tax revenue and raise our standard of living.
This window of opportunity won't be open for long, so Ottawa and the provinces should launch a major marketing effort now to turn American apprehension into economic gain for Canada.
What does Canada have to sell to those holding the $2-trillion US purse strings? A comparative advertising strategy would focus the minds of American investors on the advantages Canada offers, including some of the following:
- Lower corporate income tax rates. The U.S. statutory federal corporate income tax rate is 35 per cent, a number that is more likely to go up than down given the country's debt burden. Canada's is 18 per cent, down from 19 per cent in 2009. Scheduled tax cuts will bring Canada's rate to 16.5 per cent in 2011 and to 15 per cent in 2012, giving Canada the lowest statutory tax rate in the G7.
- Competitive personal income tax rates. It may comes as surprise for Americans to learn that Canada's federal personal income tax rates are lower than those in the U.S. The U.S. rate on income between $34,000 US and $82,400, US for example is 25 per cent. In Canada the rate on income between $40,970 and $81,941 is 22 per cent. On income from $171,850 US to $373,650 US the U.S. rate is 33 per cent. Canada's rate reaches a maximum of 29 per cent for all income over $127,021.
Of course, most of Canada's provinces and territories impose personal income tax as well, but so too do many U.S. states and some municipalities. It is true that Canada obtains slightly more personal tax revenue per capita than the U.S. does -$5,800 US vs. $4,700 US -but this difference is easily offset by the cost of health care that Americans incur privately and Canadians cover through taxation. It's worth noting that the U.S. has inheritance taxes and Canada does not.
- Lower capital gains tax rates. Canadians pay tax on 50 per cent of their capital gains at their marginal rate. On a gain of $1,000, for instance, only $500 would be subject to tax. At a combined federal-provincial rate of, say, 35 per cent, the tax payable would be $175. Americans pay tax on the net total of capital gains. More importantly, the reduced rates introduced in 2003 by then president George W. Bush, initially due to expire in 2008 and extended until 2011, will finally sunset, raising the discounted rate of 15 per cent to 28 per cent. So, on that same $1,000 capital gain, an American investor would pay $280.
- Canada can maintain low tax rates: Because Canada is in better fiscal shape than the U.S., Ottawa can keep taxes low while Washington will have little choice but to raise them. The U.S. national debt is $13.6 trillion US, or $42,942 US per capita. Canada's is $534.7 billion, or $15,715 per capita.
The ratio of debt to gross domestic product stands at about 93 per cent in the U.S., and the U.S. Treasury Department sees it rising to 102 per cent when debt is expected to reach $19.2 trillion US in 2015. Canada debt-to-GDP ratio is 33 per cent.
Government spending as a percentage of GDP has declined in Canada since hitting a peak of 53 per cent in 1992 and recently slipped below 40 per cent. In the U.S., it has turned sharply higher, rising to 42.7 per cent in 2009 from 39 per cent in 2008. It is expected to reach 45 per cent next year.
The White House has forecast the U.S. deficit for 2010 to be $1.6 trillion US or 10.6. per cent of gross domestic product, the highest level since the Second World War. Canada's deficit is seen at $49.2 billion, or 3.7 per cent of GDP. Canada should be able to manage its debt and still lower taxes. The U.S. clearly cannot.
- Canada's universal health care system is good for business. In Canada, health care is paid for mainly by employees through their income taxes. In the U.S., most companies pay for health benefits for their full-time employees. In 2002, automotive companies confirmed that Canada's health care system saved labour costs.
About 70 per cent of all health-related spending is financed by the Canadian government, while the U.S. government covers about 46 per cent. Yet the U.S. government spends more on health care than the Canadian government does -- 14.6 per cent of GDP in the U.S. compared with 10 per cent in Canada. And that translates into higher health care spending per capita -- $6,714 US in the U.S. vs. $3,678 US in Canada.
A number of studies have concluded health outcomes are better in Canada, particularly on life expectancy and infant mortality measures, but these findings are controversial.
Canada can offer the stability of a universal health care system that has been in place for many years while the U.S. faces the uncertainty of new health care legislation passed this spring that will not be fully implemented until 2014 and carries a price tag estimated at $940 billion US.
- Canada's banking system is sound. The credit crisis and recession that ravaged U.S. financial institutions caused barely a ripple at Canada's banks. A cautious business culture and tough regulation steered them away from the toxic derivatives and lax lending practices that brought down major Wall St. investment firms and countless small banks across the U.S. Moody's scores Canadian banks at the top of its ranking of the world's banks and Global Finance magazine lists them among the safest banks of the 500 it reviews. The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report ranked Canada's banking system No. 1 in the world, ahead of Switzerland's and Hong Kong's.
The number of bank failures in Canadian history can be counted on one hand, while many thousands have collapsed in the U.S. Bank regulation in the U.S. is highly fragmented with as many as half a dozen federal and 50 state regulatory authorities involved, depending on a bank's charter. In Canada, the regulatory responsibility rests with the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.
- Regulation is similarly stable and streamlined in other sectors of the Canadian economy, resulting in less uncertainty, better planning and a lower cost of capital.
- Canada is a safe country. The homicide rate in the U.S. is three times higher than Canada's, the rate of aggravated assault is double and the incidence of robberies is 65 per cent higher. Seventy per cent of murders in the U.S. are committed with firearms, compared with 30 per cent in Canada.
Canada has first-class infrastructure. Road, rail and air, power grids, pipelines, fibre optic and wireless networks are all the equal of any in the world. Put it all together and, in the final analysis, the unit cost of doing business is lower in Canada than the U.S.
Some studies attribute Canada's low -- and falling -- crime rate to social cohesion; a multifactor measure that gauges trust in people, confidence in institutions, respect for diversity, and a sense of belonging, along with more common indicators of poverty, income distribution, employment, health, mobility, literacy, education and housing.
- Canada has an educated workforce. In fact, it boasts the highest proportion of postsecondary graduates (46 per cent) in the 25-to-64 age group among member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the G-7.
- Arguably, Canada is more welcoming to immigrants than the U.S. and newcomers to Canada have higher levels of education attainment than native Canadians. By comparison, the quality of the U.S. workforce may suffer, given the desperate budget problems many states face. If these fiscal challenges result in cutbacks and layoffs, school performance may suffer.
- Canada has abundant resources. The availability of affordable energy, rich mineral deposits, fresh water, arable land and thousands of kilometres of forests offers benefits to any company, whether a producer or consumer of commodities.
- Canada has first-class infrastructure. Road, rail and air, power grids, pipelines, fibreoptic and wireless networks are all the equal of any in the world.
Put it all together and, in the final analysis, the unit cost of doing business is lower in Canada than the U.S.
The 2010 KPMG study of 95 cities across 10 countries concluded that Canada was the best place to invest, with a five-percent cost advantage over the U.S. Out of the 35 major cities with populations of more than two million, Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto ranked in the top 10 in terms of cost of doing business.
We could provide further inducements by setting up processes that put out the red carpet for businesses -- not wrap them in red tape -- by having one number to call or an e-mail address that would deal with any problems firms encounter at the federal, provincial or local levels of governments.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Canada+cash+economic+malaise/3340011/story.html#ixzz0vDShCeV9
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management - NOC 1122

HSBC World Headquarters at 8 Canada Square in ...Image by FromTheNorth via Flickr
Professionals who provide business services to management are on the list of 29 eligible occupations under the Federal Skilled Worker program.

To find out if you qualify for a Canadian immigration (permanent resident) visa please fill out our free eligibility assessment.

This group includes those who provide services to management such as analyzing the operations, managerial methods or functions of an organization in order to propose, plan and implement improvements, or analyzing advertising needs and developing appropriate advertising plans. They are employed by management consulting firms, advertising agencies and throughout the public and private sectors or are self-employed.

(Description from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada's National Occupation Classification, used by Canadian immigration officers, to assess an applicant's work experience.)

Management consultants perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Analyze and provide advice on the managerial methods and organization of a public or private sector establishment
  • Conduct research to determine efficiency and effectiveness of managerial policies and programs
  • Conduct assessments and propose improvements to methods, systems and procedures in areas such as operations, human resources, records management and communications
  • Conduct quality audits and develop quality management and quality assurance standards for ISO (International Organization for Standardization) registration
  • Plan the reorganization of the operations of an establishment
  • May supervise contracted researchers or clerical staff.

Advertising and promotion consultants perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Assess characteristics of products or services to be promoted and advise on the advertising needs of an establishment
  • Advise clients on advertising or sales promotion strategies
  • Develop and implement advertising campaigns appropriate for print or electronic media.

Why your employment prospects in Canada are excellent:

  • This group includes those who provide services to management such as analyzing the operations, managerial methods or functions of an organization in order to propose, plan and implement improvements, or analyzing advertising needs and developing appropriate advertising plans.
  • They are employed by management consulting firms, advertising agencies and throughout the public and private sectors or are self-employed.
  • The growing trend toward globalization and the evolving technical revolution have forced many companies to hire professionals in these fields in order to stay competitive with changing business practices.
  • This occupation is only regulated in Alberta.

Some areas of Canada where your occupation is in demand:

While there is a shortage of Professionals in Occupations in Business Services to Management across Canada, the following cities and provinces listed below have a particularly high demand for this occupation.

British Columbia
  • Employment prospects are considered to be good throughout the province.
  • While projected new jobs between 2010 and 2015 is predicted at 1,790 and job vacancies due to retirements during the same period is estimated at 2,470.

Manitoba
  • Employment prospects are expected to be good in the 2010-2014 period.
  • Most employment opportunities will arise as a result of turnover (especially retirements later in the forecast period), and the mobility between companies.
  • Jobs in this occupational group are available across the Province, although approximately 77% are located in Winnipeg.

New Brunswick
Fredericton, Woodstock, Grand Falls, Edmundston, New Brunswick:
  • Employment prospects are good in these local areas.
  • A large government presence, and a number of national, regional, and local firms create considerable consulting opportunities.
  • Subcontracting services, such as advertising, is becoming increasingly popular and will be creating more opportunities for advertising account executives and promotion specialists.
  • The majority of job opportunities in this occupation will be a result of attrition.
  • For consultants, those individuals who have experience or knowledge of new management theories and practices, and those skilled in computerized management tools may have an advantage over others seeking employment in this field.
  • For advertising account executives and promotion specialists, job opportunities will be greater for those skilled in utilizing the types of media outlets used to reach a diverse customer base.
  • This occupation is classified as "significant" because there is a large percentage of professional occupations in business services to management working within the area and it is a strategically important occupation to the local labour market.

Moncton, Shediac, Sackville, Richibucto, New Brunswick:
  • Employment prospects are good in these local areas.
  • A large government presence, and a number of national, regional, and local firms create considerable consulting opportunities.
  • Subcontracting services, such as advertising, is becoming increasingly popular and will be creating more opportunities for advertising account executives and promotion specialists.
  • The majority of job opportunities in this occupation will be a result of attrition.
  • Potential employment include: AL-PACK ENTERPRISES LTD, Apropos Marketing Communications Inc., Economical Mutual Insurance Co., Foresight Marketing & Design LTD., Hawk Communications Inc. and Grand & Toy.

Saint John, Sussex, St. Stephen, New Brunswick:
  • Employment prospects are good in these local areas.
  • Potential employers include: Credico Marketing, Entreprise Saint John, Irving Oil Ltd., NB Milk Marketing, and Charlotte County Development Corporation Inc.

Ontario
  • Employment prospects over the next 5 years are considered to be good.
  • Consulting and freelance work are areas of growth within this occupation.

Ottawa Region, Ontario:
  • Employment opportunities are good for this occupation and will continue to rise.
  • Factors contributing to these excellent conditions include changing management concepts and increased productivity as a response to international competition. Corporate structure and work organization methods have also changed, with a corresponding growth in sub-contracting.
  • In addition, an aging workforce, anticipated skill shortages and competition for workers have lead to a strong demand by companies for workers in this occupation group.
  • According to the most recent census, about one third of people in this occupation in eastern Ontario were over 55 years of age. As a result, a large number of people will be retiring over the next 5 years leaving a significant amount of jobs needed to be filled.
  • Potential employers include: Adirondack Information Management, Aramark Canada, Athena Consulting, Dare Human Resources Corporation, Alco Systems Inc., Horizons Renaissance Inc., and Infield Marketing Group 
 Source: canadavisa.com
Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Evaluating Canada's Economy

RBC Branch HWY 404 & HWY 7 260 East Beaver Cre...Image via Wikipedia
 
C
 
anada is America’s largest trading partner. The reasons Canada has come out of the 2008-2009 recession virtually unscathed is murky to most Canadians and all Americans. Some of it was dumb luck and/or the holding back on innovations.

Space limitation allows for a thumbnail sketch only of the differences in style of business in Canada vis-a-vis the United States.


Banking Industry

Canada’s five major banks, with thousands of branches, pleaded with the government to be allowed to merge, evolve into 2 or 3 multibillion dollar banks able to underwrite big deals, big enough to match Wall Street’s behemoths. The government said, "No, you’re likely to close unproductive branches in rural areas." The banks tried to con the finance minister, claimed they would keep all branches open. The federals wouldn’t budge. The banks got lucky.

Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto Dominion, and CIBC went into the U.S. market anyway. CIBC got badly burned in the Enron fiasco where it settled with the SEC for $1 billion dollars. RBC and TD have had better luck, with TD expanding with commercial branches in the northeast and southern United States.

The Housing Market

There doesn't seem to have been a single foreclosure in Canada. Prices are still rising in some locations, dipping in others. In the United States, folks don’t care to build up equity since mortgage interest is tax deductable. Furthermore, availability of a 30-year mortgage allows one to get by with minuscule amounts of principle being paid. When home prices rose, the tendency was to apply for a second mortgage treating one’s home like an ATM machine. In Canada, to buy a home, a substantial down payment is required, and credit worthiness is a prerequisite. One is offered a fixed rate (amortized over 20 years) mortgage for up to five years only. Interest is not deductable. The mortgage is insured for a small fee by the Canadian Housing Authority and is held by the issuing bank to maturity. All in all, it was an old fashioned way of doing business.

Living Standard

A little known fact is that, in Canada, a good three-quarters of the population is middle class. While per capita income is lower than the United States, the social safety net, including the National Health Plan, offsets the difference. The fabricated stories of mistreatment, waiting periods, death panels, and more, are just that: malicious rumours spread by those interested in maintaining the U.S. status quo. What puzzles many visitors to Canada is an absence of slums.

Climate

A good many Americans from above the Mason Dixon line retire, and establish permanent residence in the sunbelt. Naturally, Medicare services in such locales are strained, increasing costs. Canadians who wish to avail themselves of the Health Plan stay at home. There is no sunbelt to retire to, and no trailer parks. The benefit of this lower mobility is more stable home prices and adequate medical staffing.

Immigration and Government

Major cities in Canada, (about six), are a polyglot of nationalities. There are no racially segregated areas in Canadian cities, just segregation by housing costs. There is little friction, perhaps because, with the exception of some parts of the Maritimes, Canada is a country of immigrants. Canada does not have a land border with an underdeveloped country. Illegal immigrants that get in, usually by air, can apply for asylum. While they wait for an immigration panel to adjudicate their case, they are free to find work and obtain some subsidy, if needed. A costly affair, but it does provide for peaceful society.

In the recent era, governments of all political stripes, to stave off defeat in a vote of confidence, which brings on an election, managed Canada's affairs from the center. The current right-wing, minority government is no different. Partisanship is mostly rhetoric. A law passed by the House of Commons (component of Canadian government of elected officials) gets an easy pass from the unelected Senate. There is little drama, and few surprises.

By: Manny Drukier
Source: The Epoch Times


Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, July 23, 2010

Major Canadian Immigration Changes: Summer 2010 Alert

Esplanade in Sydney, Nova Scotia, looking sout...Image via Wikipedia
Souce: www.bakermckenzie.com
The Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada ("CIC") has introduced
some substantial changes through July 26, 2010 Ministerial Instructions that
affect (i) the Federal Skilled Worker Class ("FSW"), the Canadian Experience
Class ("CEC") and (ii) the Investor Immigration Program ("IIP"). The main
changes are
1. a new list of 29 occupations in demand, down from a list of 38
occupations;
2. language testing for every CEC and FSW applicant, with no exceptions;
3. Elimination of the simplified process such that now all applications must
be submitted in full. All incomplete FSW and CEC applications will be
returned to the client;
4. Removal of FSW Stream 3 (previously working or studying in Canada for
one year); and
5. Doubling of financial thresholds for the IIP.

All of these changes are discussed in detail below.
(I) Federal Skilled Worker applications
CIC is now receiving more FSW applications than it can process and accept each
year and the backlog has been growing after an initial slowdown after the "C-50"
Ministerial Instruction of November 2008.
Background: C-50 Changes
In November 2008, the government introduced major changes to the processing
and eligibility of FSW applicants. Unless the applicant met the requirements of Bill
C-50 , the applicant would need to apply for a category other than the FSW (point
system). More specifically, prior to these changes, a foreign national could apply
under any National Occupation Classification ("NOC") O, A or B occupation
(managerial, professional, or skilled trades areas).
The 2008 Ministerial Instructions created three eligible skilled worker streams,
namely for individuals:
with at least a year of work experience in one of 38 "high demand"
occupations, which cut across numerous industry sectors and skill levels,
but all within NOC codes A, B, and O – ("Stream 1");
with "arranged employment", requiring either an existing work permit with
an established company or business, or an arranged employment opinion
("AEO") – ("Stream 2"); and
working or studying in Canada for at least a year – ("Stream 3").
Applicants meeting one of the three streams had to be pre-approved as a first
step, through the Centralized Intake Office ("CIO"). The applicant only had to
submit the full application package at Stage 2. Passing the first step at the CIO
allowed the visa office abroad to process the application. During the second step
at the visa office abroad, the candidate would still have been required to meet the
67 point threshold, along with all other regulatory requirements.
June 26, 2010 Changes:
CIC has set a maximum of 20,000 FSW applications annually (without an offer of
arranged employment), with a maximum of 1,000 in any of the 29 occupations
(see the list below). CIC argues that a cap is the only guaranteed way to limit the
number of applications it receives, and that without the cap on applications, the
backlog and processing times will only get longer.
FSW applications will continue to be processed through the CIO in Sydney, Nova
Scotia. The submission must include all documents relating to the application, as
the simplified application has been eliminated. All fully completed applications
received by the CIO must meet either of the following two criteria:
a) Stream 1 – Applications from skilled workers with evidence of one year of
continuous full-time (or equivalent) paid work experience in the last ten
years under one or more of the 29 NOC codes (up to a maximum of
20,000 new, complete applications per year with no more than 1,000
applications in any one NOC category); or
b) Stream 2 – Applications submitted with arranged employment (where
there will be no cap on applications).
Stream 3 (temporary foreign workers and international students living in Canada
for one year) no longer exists. Students and temporary foreign workers applying
under the FSW class must now meet the criteria of the two other streams above,
in order to be eligible for processing, or apply through other categories such as
CEC, or a provincial nominee program.
Eligible NOC codes as of June 26, 2010
1. Restaurant and Food Service Managers;
2. 0811 Primary Production Managers (Except Agriculture);
3. 1122 Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management;
4. 1233 Insurance Adjusters and Claims Examiners;
5. 2121 Biologists and Related Scientists;
6. 2151 Architects;
7. 3111 Specialist Physicians;
8. 3112 General Practitioners and Family Physicians;
9. 3113 Dentists;
10. 3131 Pharmacists;
11. 3142 Physiotherapists;
12. 3152 Registered Nurses;
13. 3215 Medical Radiation Technologists;
14. 3222 Dental Hygienists & Dental Therapists;
15. 3233 Licensed Practical Nurses;
16. 4151 Psychologists;
17. 4152 Social Workers;
18. 6241 Chefs;
19. 6242 Cooks;
20. 7215 Contractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades;
21. 7216 Contractors and Supervisors, Mechanic Trades;
22. 7241 Electricians (Except Industrial & Power System);
23. 7242 Industrial Electricians;
24. 7251 Plumbers;
25. 7265 Welders & Related Machine Operators;
26. 7312 Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics;
27. 7371 Crane Operators;
28. 7372 Drillers & Blasters — Surface Mining, Quarrying & Construction; and
29. 8222 Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service.

See http://www5.hrsdc.gc.ca/NOC/English/NOC/2006/Welcome.aspx for the NOC
job descriptions and educational requirements applicable to these occupations.
Due to CIC's limit or the number of applications, Stream 1 applications should be
submitted as soon as possible. The process is now based on a "first come, first
serve" principle: as soon as the cap in that occupation has been reached, no
further applications will be processed, and all new application packages and the
processing fees will be returned. For the unique purpose of calculating the caps,
the first year will begin on June 26, 2010, and end on June 30, 2011. Subsequent
years will be calculated from July 1st to June 30th, unless otherwise indicated in a
future Ministerial Instruction.
Language requirements
Every new FSW and CEC applicant is required to include the results of an English
or French language test as part of their application. There are no exceptions to
this rule, regardless of nationality, current residency or educational background.
English language tests can be taken under IELTS (www.ielts.org) or CELPIP
(www.ares.ubc.ca/CELPIP/index.html). The CELPIP option only applies to the
FSW, not the CEC class. French tests can be taken through JEF
(www.fda.ccip.fr).
(II) Investor Class applications
The Ministerial Instructions of June 2010 propose a doubling of the investment
and net worth levels, without any charge in the process.
Background:
Currently, an applicant under the IIP must meet the definition of an "Investor", and
the minimum points required (points are rarely an issue under the IIP). An
"Investor" is currently defined as a foreign national who:
has had business experience (a test which can be met/through certain
managerial or entrepreneurial experience);
had a legally obtained net worth of at least CAD$800,000; and,
indicated in writing to an officer that s/he intended to make or had made
an investment of at least CAD$400,000 with an approved facilitator
(financial institution). The applicant's investment was returned after a
five-year period, without interest. There were alternatives to paying the
entire CAD$400,000, through facilitators financing plans . Such plans
cost approximately CAD$125,000, without any funds being returned to
the Investor after 5 years..

June 26, 2010 Changes:
The proposed regulatory amendments, anticipated to come into force in the Fall
of 2010, will double the investment and personal net worth thresholds of the IIP to
$800,000 and $1.6M respectively. CIC has placed a moratorium on all IIP
applications as of June 26, 2010. All applications and fees received by CIC after
June 26, will be returned to the applicant until the proposed charges come into
effect, (or the Minister announces otherwise).

Conclusion
The past two years have seen monumental changes to Canada's immigration
system. First, in November 2008, we moved from an open occupation list to a
closed list of 38 occupations. Now, per the June 2010 changes, we have reduced
the list to 29, but more importantly, moved towards U.S.-style limits on
applications, in a system that resembles a combination of the Green Card lottery
system, and the H-1B cap. Additionally, language testing requirements have
been introduced for permanent resident applicants -- even for Americans and UK
citizens -- whether here working in Canada, or applying abroad. Finally, Investor
applicants will have to double their money. These changes all pose both
challenges and opportunities.
Enhanced by Zemanta

The Coming Tax Increases in USA. Why americans should consider moving to Canada


video
2009 Tax Day Tea Bag ProtestImage by bvcphoto via Flickr
Source:The Economic Collapse blog

Unless the U.S. Congress acts, there is going to be a massive wave of tax increases in 2011.  In fact, some are already calling 2011 the year of the tax increase.  A whole host of tax cuts that Congress established between 2001 and 2003 are set to expire in January unless Congress chooses to renew them.  But with Democrats firmly in control of both houses that appears to be extremely unlikely.  These tax increases are going to affect every single American (at least those who actually pay taxes).  But this will be just the first wave of tax increases.  Another huge slate of tax increases passed in the health care reform law is scheduled to go into effect by 2019.  So Americans that are already infuriated by our tax system are only going to become more frustrated in the years ahead.  The reality is that the U.S. government will soon be digging much deeper into our wallets.
The following are some of the tax increases that are scheduled to go into effect in 2011....
1 - The lowest bracket for the personal income tax is going to increase from 10 percent to 15 percent.
2 - The next lowest bracket for the personal income tax is going to increase from 25 percent to 28 percent.
3 - The 28 percent tax bracket is going to increase to 31 percent.
4 - The 33 percent tax bracket is going to increase to 36 percent.
5 - The 35 percent tax bracket is going to increase to 39.6 percent.
6 - In 2011, the death tax is scheduled to return.  So instead of paying zero percent, estates of $1 million or more are going to be taxed at a rate of 55 percent.
7 - The capital gains tax is going to increase from 15 percent to 20 percent.
8 - The tax on dividends is going to increase from 15 percent to 39.6 percent.
9 - The "marriage penalty" is also scheduled to be reinstated in 2011.
It is being estimated that the total cost of these tax increases to U.S. taxpayers will be $2.6 trillion through the year 2020.
Ouch!
But wait, there are even more tax increases coming.
The "health care reform law" contains over a dozen new taxes that will be implemented in stages over the next decade.  When you add all of these taxes to the taxes that were mentioned earlier, the result is going to be absolutely devastating.  According to an analysis by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation the health care reform law will generate $409.2 billion in additional taxes by the year 2019.
Double ouch!
So is it any wonder why the public has such a low opinion of the U.S. Congress?
Every single major poll done on the topic shows that approval ratings for Congress are at record lows.
For example, Gallup's 2010 Confidence in Institutions poll found Congress ranking dead last out of the 16 institutions rated this year.
Of course there are a whole host of reasons why the American people are upset with Congress, but one of the big ones is the fact that we are literally being taxed to death.
However, it is not just federal income taxes that are killing us.
In a previous article entitled "Taxed Enough Already!", we listed just a few of the taxes that Americans have to pay each year....
Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
Capital Gains Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Court Fines (indirect taxes)
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel permit tax
Gasoline Tax
Gift Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory tax IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Local Income Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Payroll Taxes
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Road Toll Booth Taxes
Road Usage Taxes (Truckers)
Sales Taxes
School Tax
Septic Permit Tax
Service Charge Taxes
Social Security Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone federal excise tax
Telephone federal universal service fee tax
Telephone federal, state and local surcharge taxes
Telephone minimum usage surcharge tax
Telephone recurring and non-recurring charges tax
Telephone state and local tax
Telephone usage charge tax
Toll Bridge Taxes
Toll Tunnel Taxes
Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)
Trailer registration tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax
Are you dizzy yet?
The reality is that the American people are being drained in dozens and dozens of different ways.
But what did you expect?
Did you think that our politicians would pile up the biggest debt in the history of the world and never ask you to pay for it?
Did you think that we could run deficits equivalent to about 10 percent of GDP without ever seeing tax increases?
The truth is that the U.S. government needs a whole lot more money than even these new tax increases will bring in.
After all, it is being projected that the U.S. government will be spending $2 trillion on the interest on the national debt alone by the year 2020.
To put that in perspective, the entire budget for the U.S. government is less than $4 trillion for 2010.
Are you starting to get the picture?
In the years ahead the IRS is going to be digging deeper and deeper into our pockets and a gigantic chunk of that money is going to go directly into the pockets of those who own our debt.
But very few Americans wanted to listen when this problem was actually somewhat fixable 20 or 30 years ago.
So now we are all going to pay the price - literally.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Opportunities Ontario: Applying as an International Student (Pilot International Masters Graduate Stream)

OntarioImage via Wikipedia
If you are a graduate or will soon be graduating from a Masters program from one of Ontario’s publicly funded universities, you may be able to apply to Opportunities Ontario for nomination as a permanent resident, under the International Student Category’s Masters Graduate Stream.
Ontario’s Masters Graduate students do not require a job offer.
Here is some information that will help you complete the application process:

Who can apply as an international Masters graduate in Ontario?

In order to apply to Opportunities Ontario as an international Masters graduate in Ontario, students must:
  • Intend to live and work in Ontario.
  • Have graduated from an existing Masters program at an eligible publicly funded university in Ontario.
  • Have completed a minimum of one academic year degree program, while studying on a full-time basis.
  • Apply within two years of the date on which their Masters degree was granted, or in the alternative, during the last semester of completing their degree.
  • Currently be residing in Ontario.
  • Have legal status in Canada (i.e. study permit, work permit, temporary resident visa)
  • Demonstrate high official language proficiency (For English language proficiency – IELTS – General test with a minimum score of 7 or higher) (For French language proficiency – TEF – with a minimum score of 5 or higher).
  • Demonstrate a minimum level of savings/income to support themselves and their dependants.
  • Demonstrate at least one year of residence in Ontario in the past two years.
You will need to submit the following documents to demonstrate that you meet Opportunities Ontario eligibility criteria and to confirm your identity, family situation and education:
  • A copy of your birth certificate.
  • A copy of all the pages of your passport. All prospective nominees should ensure that their passports will be valid for at least two years from the time that they submit their nominee application.
  • A copy of your work permit, study permit, temporary resident visa, and/or any other Canadian immigration document or entry stamp you have received. If these documents are inside your copied passport, you do not need to make additional copies.
  • Copy of each dependant’s passport page which shows his/her photo and personal information.
  • A certified true copy of relevant university degree(s) if the degree has been granted. If the degree has not been granted, you will need to submit:
    • Official letter (on institution letterhead) from the university which will be granting the Masters degree confirming:
      1. all degree requirements have been successfully completed;
      2. there are no outstanding fees to be paid; and
      3. the scheduled date when your degree will be granted.
    • Official transcripts in sealed envelope sent directly from the academic institution which will be granting the degree.
  • If you are in your last semester of Masters studies, you will need to submit:
    • Official letter (on institution letterhead) from the academic institution which will be granting the degree confirming full-time registration and the current academic standing of the applicant
    • Official transcripts in a sealed envelope sent directly from the academic institution which will be granting the degree
  • A copy of your current resumé.
  • The original score of your IELTS – General test with a minimum score of 7 or higher or TEF – with a minimum score of 5 or higher (obtained within the last year).
  • Personal bank account monthly statements for the past 6 months, or (if overseas) an original letter and monthly statements from a recognized financial institution indicating personal account standing/balance in accordance with the following schedule:

  • Number of family members Funds required
    1 $11,086
    2 $13,801
    3 $16,967
    4 $20,599
    5 $23,364
    6 $26,350
    7 or more $29,337
  • A copy of ONE of the following to show proof of 1 year of residency in Ontario:
    • Monthly credit card statement, phone, hydro or energy bill in any accumulative 12 months in the past 2 years showing your full name and Ontario address
    • Leasing document or rent receipts demonstrating residence in any accumulative 12 months in the past 2 years showing your full name and Ontario address


    How quickly will my application be processed?

    Complete nominee application packages will be processed within 90 days, on a first-come-first-served basis.
    Opportunities Ontario will target 1,000 nominations for 2010. Priority assessment will be given to those applicants who can demonstrate the strongest potential to settle successfully and permanently in Ontario.

    What are the fees?

    Opportunities Ontario will charge a non-refundable nominee application processing fee of $1,500 for all international students.

    What happens after I am approved?

    A Provincial Nomination Certificate will be issued for all successful nominees. Successful nominees must then apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for permanent residence. A successful provincial nomination replaces the selection component under other immigration classes (such as the Federal Skilled Worker Class, and the Family Class). Provincial nominees will receive priority processing from CIC.
Enhanced by Zemanta

U.S. job seekers should move to Canada

Canada Border-R12-072-34AImage by melissambwilkins via Flickr
A popular U.S. website has a unique suggestion for Americans desperately seeking work.
The advice? Move to Canada.
There's a fluttering Maple Leaf on the homepage today of the Huffington Post, a site popular for its news and celebrity blogs.
The accompanying headline says: Need A Job? Try Canada, Where Hiring Is Booming And Home Prices Are Rising.
That article comes amid news that Canada's economy added a whopping 93,200 new jobs last month; the U.S., meanwhile, continues to struggle with unemployment woes.
The bottom of the HuffPost article carries a poll, asking people whether they would be willing to move to Canada for work.
The early results of that poll – which is by no means scientific: Fifty-five per cent said they'd move to Canada if that's where the jobs are, while 19 per cent said they'd stay in the States.
The article tells readers: “Stubbornly high unemployment rates got you down? Not sold on the economic recovery? Look no further than America's polite neighbor to the north, where jobs numbers are surging and home prices have been rising steadily for nearly a year.
“Last month, Canada, a nation with roughly one tenth of our population, created about 10,000 more new jobs than America.”
Enhanced by Zemanta

Private sector fuels surge in jobs in Canada

It Starts Here - Ottawa 02 08Image by Mikey G Ottawa via Flickr
Jeremy Torobin
Ottawa From Saturday's Globe and Mail
After weathering a brutal downturn that knocked hundreds of thousands of Canadians out of the work force, Central Canada’s job machine is back and revving into high gear.
The country’s remarkable rebound from recession gained momentum in June, as surging job growth in Ontario and Quebec underpinned an increase of 93,000 jobs and unemployment fell below 8 per cent for the first time since early 2009, Statistics Canada reported.
Ontario produced 60,000 jobs in June, and Quebec added 30,000, as employment soared in the services sector, including gains in retail, health care, trade and building services.
Importantly, the June jobs report showed the private sector continues to pick up the baton from the public sector, which has long supported the economy with a massive stimulus spending package on the order of $62-billion.
The private sector has accounted for more than 246,000 new jobs over four months, a welcome trend for Canadian policy makers who have long urged companies to take the lead on economic growth as government stimulus spending tapers off in the second half of this year.
The stunning employment gain was close to the highest on record, second only to an increase of about 109,000 jobs two months earlier. The June hiring brought the combined total of new positions created since last July to 403,000, restoring most of the jobs lost during the recession. The jobless rate dropped to 7.9 per cent from 8.1 per cent.


“The jobs picture clearly shows that the Canadian recovery hasn’t stalled yet,” said Benjamin Reitzes, an economist with BMO Capital Markets. “The handoff from public to private spending looks to be going smoothly.”
The jobs report, far stronger than expected, also lays the groundwork for another interest-rate hike later this month, following a quarter-point increase by the Bank of Canada in early June, economists said. The quickly improving jobs picture, along with rising interest rates, stands in sharp contrast with the still-sluggish economy south of the border. Only a fraction of the more than eight million jobs lost in the United States between late 2007 and late 2009 have been restored, while the U.S. Federal Reserve shows no sign of raising its near-zero interest rates any time soon.
The Canadian dollar soared by nearly a full cent against the U.S. dollar Friday, as investors bet that Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney will raise the benchmark interest rate by another 25 basis points on July 20 to 0.75 per cent.
But economists caution that Canada’s economy and job creation are not guaranteed to continue at the current clip.
Since June 1, when Mr. Carney became the first central banker in the Group of Seven to lift borrowing costs, the European debt crisis has produced a march toward austerity in the world’s rich economies, a cure which some analysts warn could prove painful. Also, the recovery in the United States, Canada’s top export market, looks increasingly fragile, as housing and the labour market sputter. And there are fears that measures to keep emerging-market economies such as China’s from overheating could cool a vital source of global demand.
For export-heavy Canada, where the housing market is already slowing down, that means it’s highly unlikely that the current pace of job creation, let alone the first quarter’s 6.1-per-cent economic growth rate, are sustainable.
“Any realistic look at what’s happening in the U.S., Europe, China, suggests that the second half of this year will be much, much weaker than the first half,” Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets, said. “This recovery is going to be the most nonlinear recovery in ages. The story will not be as pretty three months from now.”
Mr. Carney later this month will release his latest forecasts for Canada and for key countries and regions around the world. Most economists, including Mr. Tal, say things are good enough in Canada for now that the central bank will probably keep raising interest rates in 25-basis-point increments until the benchmark rate is at 1 or 1.25 per cent, but then policy makers will pause to assess how much global headwinds are affecting the domestic economy.
Michael Gregory, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto, on Friday predicted “a pattern of oscillating rate hikes and pauses” as Mr. Carney takes a cautious approach.
Another concern is the type of jobs being created. Retail and other service-sector jobs tend to be more temporary, based on flexible hours, and are often lower-paying, economists said. The goods-producing industries that make many of Canada’s exported products saw a net job loss in June.
Still, Canada’s job gains are far brighter than in the United States, where the jobless rate is still 9.5 per cent and in recent months has dropped only because discouraged job-seekers have stopped looking and thus aren’t counted as part of the labour force.
Mr. Carney started warning in April that Canada's rebound from the crisis would slow considerably starting in the second quarter because of a slowdown in housing, the impact of the loonie near parity with the U.S. dollar and the inevitable end of government support.
Pointing to those factors, plus “uneven” global growth and sovereign-debt worries, Mr. Carney has said several times that a return to more normal interest rates is not “preordained.’’
On Monday, he will release a closely watched survey of executives from across the country, which will give a sense of how worried businesses are about Canada becoming a victim of economic problems from outside its borders.
“I have doubts about whether the economy is going to be able to keep up the head of steam that it has right now,’’ said Carl Weinberg, chief economist with High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, N.Y. “The U.S. economy is questionable, Europe is in trouble, Japan is in trouble, all the major trading partners are hurting and the loonie is quite strong,” he said. “So it’s hard to look at the months ahead and draw a strong line on the chart for where GDP is headed.”
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, July 18, 2010

U.S. might pick up tips from Canada’s economic rebound

The Centre Block on Parliament Hill, containin...Image via Wikipedia
— Whatever else they’ve thought about their neighbor to the north, Americans have almost never looked to Canada as a role model.
Indeed, during the long, bitter push to revamp the U.S. health care system, opponents repeatedly warned that if we weren’t careful, we could end up with a medical system like Canada’s.


But on health care, and such crucial issues as the deficit, unemployment, immigration and prospering in the global economy, Canada seems to be outperforming the United States. And in doing so, it is offering examples of successful strategies that Americans might consider.
While the United States, Japan and much of Europe are struggling with massive fiscal deficits, Canada’s financial house is tidy and secure. Most economists say it will take years for the United States to make up the 8 million-plus jobs lost during the recession, but Canada — despite its historic role as a major supplier for the still-troubled U.S. auto industry — already has recovered essentially all of the jobs it lost.
Meanwhile, as Americans continue their grueling battle over immigration, Canadians have united behind a policy that emphasizes opening the door to tens of thousands of skilled professionals, entrepreneurs and other productive workers who have played an important role in strengthening the Canadian economy.
Granted, Canada’s problem with illegal immigration is smaller, and its economy does not match the scale and dynamic productivity of the world’s largest. But on the most troubling issues of the day, the U.S. is locked in near-paralyzing political and ideological debates, while those issues are hardly raising eyebrows in Canada.
“We did a lot of things right going into the financial crisis,” said Glen Hodgson, senior vice president at the Conference Board of Canada, a business-membership and research group in Ottawa.
One of the most important, he said: Back in the 1990s, Canada cleaned up the fiscal mess that most every developed nation is now facing.
Earlier that decade, Canada too was straining from years of excessive government spending that bloated the nation’s total debts, to 70 percent of annual economic output — a figure the U.S. is projected to approach in two years.
As with Greece, Portugal and Spain this year, Canada’s credit rating was downgraded in the early 1990s, sharply raising its borrowing costs. With its economy suffering and pressure mounting from international investors — Wall Street bankers in particular — Canadian officials slashed spending for social programs and shifted more of the cost burden to provincial governments, which almost everyone in Canada felt.
With the economic downturn, Canada pumped up public spending to stimulate growth, as other nations did. Still, its fiscal shortfall this year is projected at $33 billion, comfortably below the 3 percent-of-GDP threshold that economists consider a manageable level of debt.
Washington’s deficit this fiscal year is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office at $1.35 trillion — or 9.2 percent of projected GDP.
The United States’ larger size — its population and economy are roughly 10 times those of Canada — makes direct comparisons difficult. And many Canadians readily acknowledge that American entrepreneurship and productivity are enviably stronger.
“U.S. businesses are certainly looking at lessons learned from Canada,” said Bart van Ark, chief economist at the Conference Board in New York. “In a nutshell, Canada has been very pragmatic in dealing with the economy.”
Canada’s approach to immigration is one example. With one of the highest immigration rates in the world, Canada has been receiving about 250,000 permanent residents annually. About one-fourth of the new arrivals gain entry through family relations, but more than 60 percent are admitted as “economic immigrants” — that is, skilled workers, entrepreneurs and investors.
In the U.S., it’s basically the reverse: Most of the 1 million-plus permanent residents received annually have been family-sponsored; only about 1 in 7 are admitted based on employment preferences. That is, Washington emphasizes bringing in family members of immigrants already in the U.S. Ottawa puts the emphasis on admitting those who can contribute to the economy.
Enhanced by Zemanta