Empowering Your Family’s Financial Future: A Comprehensive Guide to Budgeting

Taking charge of your family’s financial well-being through effective budgeting is a crucial step in securing a brighter future. We’ll explore the significance of budgeting and provide practical tips to help you manage your money wisely while ensuring the best possible support for your loved ones, including those with disabilities and their Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

Why Budgeting Matters for Families

Budgeting is a powerful financial tool that holds importance for all families:

  1. Financial Clarity: It offers a clear overview of your family’s income and expenses, helping you make informed decisions about allocating funds.
  2. Goal Achievement: Budgeting helps you allocate funds not only for your loved one’s RDSP but also for other family financial goals, such as saving for education or a home.
  3. Expense Control: It identifies areas where you can cut back on expenses, freeing up money for your family’s financial priorities.
  4. Debt Reduction: By tracking spending, you can allocate extra funds to pay down debt faster, ensuring your family’s financial stability.
  5. Emergency Preparedness: A budget provides a financial safety net for unexpected expenses, which can be especially critical for families with additional financial responsibilities.

Steps to Effective Budgeting for Families

  1. Calculate Income: Determine your total monthly income, including salaries, government benefits, and any disability-related support for your loved one.
  2. List Expenses: Categorize expenses into fixed (e.g., housing, utilities) and variable (e.g., groceries, entertainment).
  3. Set Financial Goals: Define short-term and long-term financial goals for your family, ensuring that your loved one’s RDSP contributions are part of the plan.
  4. Create a Budget: Use budgeting tools or apps to allocate income to expenses, savings, and financial goals without exceeding your income.
  5. Monitor and Adjust: Regularly track spending against your budget, making necessary adjustments to ensure your family’s financial health.

Tips for Successful Budgeting

  1. Be Realistic: Set achievable goals and create a budget that accommodates your family’s unique needs, including the financial responsibilities associated with the RDSP.
  2. Prioritize Savings: Ensure that contributing to your loved one’s RDSP is a top financial priority, but don’t forget to save for other family goals too.
  3. Emergency Fund: Maintain an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, which can benefit all family members.
  4. Review and Cut Expenses: Periodically review expenses to find areas where you can save and allocate more funds to your family’s financial priorities.
  5. Pay Yourself First: Treat savings, including RDSP contributions, as non-negotiable expenses, just like other essential bills.
  6. Seek Professional Advice: Consult a financial advisor who specializes in disability-related financial planning for tailored guidance.

Budgeting is your family’s pathway to financial security and ensuring a brighter financial future. By budgeting wisely and prioritizing your loved one’s financial well-being, you can control your family’s finances, reduce stress, and work towards a future filled with financial peace of mind. Remember, financial success for families means making informed choices that align with your values and aspirations. Start budgeting today to achieve financial wellness for your entire family, balancing the needs of all family members, including those who rely on the support of the RDSP.

Protecting Key Talent using Group Benefits

Building a Sustainable Future Together

As a group benefits specialist, our main objective is to foster a sustainable future by working in partnership with our clients. We believe that a knowledgeable and engaged workforce is essential for any organization’s success. One of the crucial aspects of achieving this goal is protecting key talent within your company. In this article, we will explore how group benefits can play a significant role in safeguarding your organization’s most valuable asset: its people.

The Value of Key Talent

Key talent refers to those employees who possess critical skills, expertise, and knowledge that drive your company’s growth and success. They are the backbone of your organization, ensuring it thrives in today’s competitive landscape. Retaining these valuable individuals is vital as their loss can have a significant impact on your business operations, productivity, and overall morale.

Challenges in Retaining Key Talent

In today’s dynamic job market, retaining key talent can be challenging. Many factors come into play, such as attractive offers from competitors, personal growth opportunities, work-life balance, and employee well-being. As an employer, understanding and addressing these challenges are essential to protect your top performers and maintain a competitive edge.

The Role of Group Benefits

Group benefits can be a powerful tool in attracting and retaining key talent. By offering comprehensive and customized benefits packages, you demonstrate your commitment to your employees’ well-being, security, and future. Here are some key aspects of group benefits that contribute to protecting your key talent:

1. Health and Wellness Coverage

Providing robust health and wellness benefits, including medical, dental, and vision coverage, not only promotes a healthy workforce but also demonstrates your dedication to their overall well-being. When employees feel supported in their health, they are more likely to remain loyal to your organization.

2. Income Protection

Group benefits often include disability insurance, which provides financial protection for employees who might experience an injury or illness that prevents them from working. This security helps ease financial worries during challenging times and creates a sense of stability, encouraging key talent to stay with your company for the long term.

3. Retirement Planning

A well-designed retirement plan is an attractive feature for key talent. It shows that you care about their future and are committed to helping them achieve financial security during their retirement years. Contributing to a retirement plan also reinforces a collaborative and client-focused relationship with your employees.

4. Work-Life Balance Support

Offering benefits that support work-life balance, such as flexible work arrangements, paid time off, and family leave, shows your understanding of the importance of a balanced life. Employees who feel they have the flexibility to manage their personal and professional responsibilities are more likely to stay committed to your organization.

5. Career Development

Group benefits can extend beyond traditional offerings. Consider including professional development and training opportunities within your benefits package. Investing in your employees’ growth not only enhances their skills but also reinforces your commitment to their long-term success.

Educational Approach and Collaboration

Our mission as group benefits specialists is to provide educational and collaborative support to our clients. By engaging in open discussions about your organization’s needs and goals, we can tailor group benefits packages that align with your unique requirements. Together, we can build a sustainable future by nurturing and protecting your key talent.

Protecting key talent using group benefits is not just a sound business strategy; it reflects a client-focused, educational, and collaborative approach to employee welfare. As a group benefits specialist, we are committed to working hand-in-hand with our clients to create comprehensive and customized solutions that safeguard their organization’s most valuable asset – their people. By investing in the well-being, security, and future of your employees, you are not only enhancing loyalty and retention but also building a stronger and more sustainable future for your company. Let’s continue to partner together to ensure a prosperous and thriving workforce.

Tax Tips You Need To Know Before Filing Your 2022 Taxes

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Tax Tips You Need To Know Before Filing Your 2022 Taxes

This year’s tax deadline is May 1, 2023, as April 30 falls on a Sunday this year. It’s important to make sure you’re claiming all the credits and deductions you’re eligible for. In this article, we’ll provide you with tips to help you maximize your tax refund and ensure you’re taking advantage of all the available tax benefits.

Canada Workers Benefit

The Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) is a refundable tax credit designed to help low-income working families and individuals. The credit is made up of two parts:

  • The basic amount

  • A disability supplement (if you qualify).

To determine whether you qualify for the tax credit, you’ll need to consider your net income and where you live. The CRA website provides full details about the net income qualification amounts.

The maximum amounts you can qualify for are as follows:

  • The maximum basic amount is $1,428 for single individuals and $2,461 for families.

  • The maximum amount for the disability supplement is $737 for single individuals and $737 for families.

Claiming Home Office Expenses Due To COVID-19

You can still claim home office expenses if you’re not self-employed but worked from home due to the pandemic. You can:

  • Claim the temporary flat amount if you worked more than 50% of the time from home for at least four consecutive weeks in 2022. You can claim $2 for each day worked from home, up to a maximum of $500. No paperwork or forms are required!

  • Use the detailed method and claim the actual amounts. In this case, you’ll need supporting documentation, plus a completed and signed T2200S form from your employer. You can claim various applicable expenses, including home Internet access fees.

The Tax Deduction for Zero-Emissions Vehicles

A capital cost allowance (CCA) is a tax deduction that helps cover the cost of an asset’s depreciation over time. The CRA created two new capital cost allowances, which apply to zero-emission vehicles bought after March 18, 2019.

They are as follows:

  • Class 54. This class is for motor and passenger vehicles, excluding taxis or vehicles used for lease or rent. It has a CCA rate of 30%. For 2022, capital costs will be deductible up to $55,000, plus sales tax. This amount will be reassessed every year.

  • Class 55 is for leased and rented vehicles or taxis. The CCA rate is 40%.

Return Of Fuel Charge Proceeds To Farmers Tax Credit

You may be eligible for this tax credit if you are either self-employed or part of a farming partnership in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan.

This tax credit aims to help farmers offset the high cost of the carbon tax.

Eligible Educator School Supply Tax Credit

You can claim up to $1,000 of eligible supplies and expenses if you qualify for the educator school supply tax credit.

The tax credit rate for the 2022 tax year is 25%, with a maximum credit of $250.

Need help?

Do you qualify for a credit or deduction? Call us – we’re here to save you money on your taxes!

Wealth Protection – Disability Insurance

Everybody understands the value of life insurance and most of us who take our finances seriously have a solid life insurance policy in place. But what happens if you are unlucky enough to sustain a serious illness, chronic disease or disability which prevents you from working? Such a scenario could be disastrous for your family finances and this is where disability insurance comes in.

What is disability insurance?

Disability insurance provides you with a portion of your income in the event that you suffer from an illness or accident which means that you can’t work, either temporarily or on a permanent basis.

Studies show that you are actually more likely to sustain a disability during the course of your working life than to die whilst of working age. A disability can have a dramatic and long-term impact on your earning potential – in fact, the Council for Disability Awareness has found that the average absence from work for a long term disability is nearly three years.*

Types of disability insurance

There are two main types of policy – short-term and long-term disability insurance.

Short-term disability insurance generally offers the policyholder a maximum of 6 months of benefits.

Long-term disability insurance usually kicks in at the end of a short-term disability insurance. Policies differ in terms of the length of time that they offer benefits for and the criteria that must be fulfilled to be eligible.

An important factor in this regard is the definition of “regular or own occupation” or “any occupation”. A “regular or own occupation” policy covers you if you are unable to work in any capacity – meaning that, even if you could perform a role different to the one that you worked in prior to your disability, you will still receive benefits under the plan. Alternatively, an “any occupation” policy means that you will only receive disability benefits if you are unable to work at all.

It’s important to figure out which type of policy suits you better, depending on the cost of the premiums, the type of work that you do and your personal preference. We can help you with this.

Factors to consider when taking out disability insurance

  • How much do you or your family depend on your income?

Dependency is the key question here – if you have a spouse, children and/or other individuals who rely on your income contribution to the household finances, disability insurance is likely to be valuable to you.

However, it is likely that, as you age and your children become less financially dependent on you or you have saved enough retirement funds to help you through a potential early retirement due to ill health, disability insurance becomes less fundamental.

  • How much does your company plan protect you?

Some companies offer a disability policy and this is a common reason for people failing to purchase a personal plan. However, it’s important to understand the level of coverage that your company policy offers you, as it is common for such plans to only replace a small proportion of your income (often capped) across a short-term basis which is unlikely to be sufficient for your needs.

  • Work out your budget and shop around for the best deal

You could benefit from working with an independent financial advisor to help you in the purchase of your disability insurance. They will be able to search the market in order to find you a customized plan which fits your budget, rather than falling back on off-the-shelf policies which may not meet your individual requirements as well.

  • Don’t cut back on your level of coverage where possible

That said, it’s easy to underestimate the level of disability coverage that you actually need should the worst happen. Not only would you have to replace your existing expenditure, but you are likely to accumulate new expenses if you were to become disabled, such as the purchase of medical equipment, healthcare or home help, additional childcare, home renovations etc. Make sure that the benefits that your policy pays out are sufficient to cover all of your financial needs adequately.


Key questions to ask when purchasing disability insurance


There can be a lot of small-print involved in a disability insurance policy. Make sure that you understand the answers to the following, non-exhaustive questions before proceeding:

  • Terms and conditions of the policy- Including how disability is defined, which conditions are eligible and which are excluded and if pre-existing conditions are covered and, if so, to what extent.

  • Policy premiums- Including the total cost of the policy and whether contributions are still required if you are diagnosed with a disability and claiming on the plan.

  • Benefits of the plan- Including the level of benefits you will receive, whether they are adjusted for future inflation and whether they are taxable, any waiting periods for receiving premiums and how a disability is diagnosed.

  • Group plans- Including how the plan is funded (by an insurance company or self-funded by your employer), how your benefits will be affected if the company goes bankrupt and how your coverage will be treated if you leave your job.

Disability insurance is an important cornerstone to achieving your financial goals. Talk to us, we can help.

Highlights of the 2020 Federal Fall Economic Statement | Additional $20,000 CEBA loan available now

On November 30, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland provided the government’s fall economic update. The fall economic update provided information on the government’s strategy both for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its plan to help shape the recovery. We’ve summarized the highlights for you.

Corporate Tax Changes

Information on several subsidy programs was included in the update. These changes apply from December 20, 2020 to March 13, 2021.

  • The government has provided an increase in the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to a maximum of 75% of eligible wages.

  • If you are eligible for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (eligibility is based on your revenue decline), you can claim up to 65% of qualified expenses.

  • The Lockdown Support Subsidy has also been extended – if you are eligible, you can receive a 25% subsidy on eligible expenses.

Also, there were two other significant corporate tax changes:

  • Starting January 1, 2022, the government plans to tax international corporations that provide digital services in Canada if no international consensus on appropriate taxation has been reached.

  • The tax deferral on eligible shares paid by a qualifying agricultural cooperative to its members has been extended to 2026.

Personal Tax Changes

The following personal tax changes were included in the update:

  • The update confirmed the government’s plan to impose a $200,000 limit (based on fair market value) on taxing employee stock options granted after June 2021 at a preferential rate. Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPCs) are not subject to these rules.

  • If you started working from home due to COVID-19, you could claim up to $400 in expenses.

  • The Canada Child Benefit (CCB) has temporarily been increased to include four additional payments. Depending on your income, you could receive up to $1200.

  • Additional modifications were proposed to how the “assistance holdback” amount is calculated for Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP). The goal of these modifications is to help RDSP beneficiaries who become ineligible for the Disability Tax Credit after 50 years of age.

Indirect Tax Changes

GST/HST changes impacting digital platforms were included in the update. They will be applicable as of July 1, 2021:

  • Foreign-based companies that sell digital products or services in Canada must collect and remit GST or HST on their taxable sales. Also, foreign vendors or digital platform operators with goods for sale via Canadian fulfillment warehouses must collect and remit GST/HST.

  • Short-term rental accommodation booked via a digital platform must charge GST/HST on their booking. The GST/HST rate will be based on the province or territory where the short-term accommodation is located.

And some good news on a GST/HST removal! As of December 6, and until further notice, the government will not charge GST/HST on eligible face masks and face shields.

The Takeaway

A lot of changes came out of the fall update – and you may be feeling overwhelmed. But help is at hand!

Contact us to learn more about how these changes could impact your personal and business finances.


Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) $20,000 expansion available now

The Government of Canada website has been updated with the new CEBA requirements and deadlines:

  • As of December 4, 2020, CEBA loans for eligible businesses will increase from $40,000 to $60,000.

  • Applicants who have received the $40,000 CEBA loan may apply for the $20,000 expansion, which provides eligible businesses with an additional $20,000 in financing.

  • All applicants have until March 31, 2021, to apply for $60,000 CEBA loan or the $20,000 expansion.

Apply online at the financial institution your business banks with:

To get the full details:

Why You Should Consider Critical Illness Insurance

If I did a straw poll, I’m sure I’d find that the majority of those asked have some form of life insurance. The reasoning behind taking out this cover is usually centered around the desire to provide protection and security to their family and loved ones in the event of their death, which is clearly an admirable objective. But, if I asked the same group of people who of them had critical illness insurance – essentially, a policy that pays out if you become too ill to work – in all likelihood the number would be much smaller.

Why is this? It makes sense on paper that people would want to sustain their level of income in the event that they become disabled or too ill to work, yet some of the most common objections include the price, a preference to save themselves for such an event (often known as being self-insured) or simply a sense of denial that this could ever happen to them.

Critical illness insurance varies from policy to policy but typical conditions that it covers in Canada includes heart attack, stroke and cancer. Unlike other types of insurance that provide income replacement, if you are seriously ill, critical illness insurance provides a lump sum benefit that can be used in any way you choose.

The benefits of critical illness insurance

Whilst taking out any kind of insurance policy comes down to personal choice and one’s own individual circumstances, many independent financial experts recognize the benefits that critical illness insurance can offer. Here are some of them:

  • Whilst saving and self-insuring can seem like an attractive alternative, it simply isn’t an option for many. Even if you are fortunate enough to have the means to save for such an eventuality, you would need to be able to guarantee a solid and consistent return on your investment for it to outweigh the financial benefit of critical illness insurance – some estimates put this at a rate of around 10% return for 20 years.

  • Whilst some employers do offer company disability plans, they typically do not pay out the full amount of your pay cheque on an ongoing basis, which can have the potential to have a serious impact on your personal finances, just when you need such a worry the least. What’s more, one of the major advantages of a critical illness policy is that, if you are able to return to work and therefore begin earning again, you still have the benefit of the lump sum that has been paid out under the policy – offering you an incomparable measure of financial freedom to potentially pay off your mortgage or put your kids through university. Essentially, offering you much more financial freedom.

In short, there are no perfect answers in the area of your personal finances, but if you are looking for an option that has the potential to offer you a real sense of peace of mind to secure the financial future of you and your family, critical illness insurance is certainly an interesting avenue to explore.

Throne Speech: Recovery Plan Highlights

On September 23rd, in a speech delivered by Governor General Julie Payette, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlined the Federal government’s priorities focused on four foundations:

  • Fighting the pandemic and saving lives;

  • Supporting people and businesses through the emergency “as long as it lasts, whatever it takes”; 

  • “Building back better” by creating jobs and strengthening the middle class;

  • Standing up for Canadian values, including progress on reconciliation, gender equality, and systemic racism.

Below, we highlight the support programs that help those Canadians who are struggling financially due to the pandemic.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy extended to next summer

The Canada Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be extended to summer 2021. Under new program criteria, businesses with ANY revenue decline will be eligible. However, the amount of the subsidy will be based on the revenue drop rather than the original 75%.

Canada Recovery Benefit increased to $500/week

The day after the Throne Speech, in a bid for opposition support, the federal government announced it will increase the new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) to $500/week for up to 26 weeks.

In order to qualify for this program, Canadians must be looking for work and had stopped working or had their income reduced by 50 per cent or more due to COVID-19, but are still making some money on their own.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) will provide $500/week for up to 2 weeks for workers who are unable to work because they are sick or must isolate due to COVID-19.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

The Canada Recovery Caregiver Benefit will provide $500/week for up to 26 weeks per household to eligible workers who cannot work because they must provide care to children or family members due to the closure of schools, day cares or care facilities.

Creating a new Canadian Disability Benefit

The government pledged to bring in a new Canadian Disability Benefit (CDB) that will be modelled after the guaranteed income supplement (GIS) for seniors.

The CRB, CRSB, CRCB and CDB are pending the passage of legislation in the House of Commons and Senate.