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‘Tax The Rich’ May Be a Rallying Cry, But it’s Hardly a Fair System



With all the recent news about the Panama Papers and offshore banking, there has been a lot of desperate fingers pointing at anyone connected with offshore money. Having worked for a couple of years in offshore banking with RBC, I can assure you that there is a great deal of legal tax planning that revolves around offshore trusts.

A new tax strategy for high-income earners: Ted Rechtshaffen outlines how a family can maintain their $180,000-lifestyle on taxable income of just $30,000. Read on

The question though is whether tax fairness and legal tax planning is the same thing? There are many tax strategies that I have written about that are legal, but are they fair?  Arguably not.

What I find is that most people feel that they are taxed too much, and the other guy doesn’t pay his fair share. So what would be fair?  If things are not fair today, then how can the tax system be improved?

To help come up with a better system, let’s look at a few possible options.

  • Progressive tax rates. We have this today. Basically, as you make more money, not only do you pay more tax, but you pay a higher percentage of every dollar to tax. What tends to shift over time is how steep or flat those increases can be. Should high-income individuals pay 1.5 times, two times or three times as high a percentage of their income to tax as someone with a much lower income?
  • Flat Percentage Tax. For example, there could be a straight 20 per cent tax rate on all personal and corporate income. Alberta did have a flat personal tax rate until recently.
  • Flat dollar amount per adult. If there were only personal taxes and we divided the entire federal tax revenue by adult Canadians, this would be $10,740 per person. Of course, finding the appropriate number would be complex, but the idea would be the same — every adult pays in the same amount.

The current tax system will lead Canada further to a culture of entitlement, laziness and a stagnant economy

One of the interesting things about taxes is that the way a government collects taxes tells you a great deal about the culture and values that they are trying to encourage.  Let’s take a look at the methods above and see what it means culturally.

  • Progressive tax rates. To quote Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “We can do more for the people who need it, by doing less for the people who don’t.” This tells you that while we don’t want everyone to have the same lifestyle, we do seem to want to make sure that there is a pretty high baseline for every person living in Canada. We are notionally OK funding that — especially by those who have high incomes. But, the question remains how much more should be shouldered by those “people who don’t (need it)”? If that burden is placed too high on those with high incomes, it will definitely have an impact.  There will be less incentive to take risks, work extra hard and pursue innovation. Those who would otherwise take those risks would likely move to places where the risk/reward tradeoff was much better.
  • Flat percentage tax. This is a culture that implies people should be highly incented to make more money, take risks and be rewarded. There should be no “penalty” for success. Everyone pays the same percentage of their income in tax, rich or poor. This would still have high income individuals paying higher taxes than lower income individuals.  If applied equally to Corporations it would suggest that they be treated almost as individuals with no particular incentives.
  • Flat dollar-amount tax. This would represent potentially the biggest shift from our status quo. This tells the people of Canada, you use Government services, you should pay for them. Not quite a pay-as-you-go option, but a sense that every person must pay the same — regardless of income. While this may be distasteful to many Canadians, and it would be very difficult for the poorest of society, it can be argued that this is as fair as the grocery store charging the same for its food regardless of the income of its customers. Every other part of our life works similarly, but our tax system is the one that puts in an income test to determine how big our bill is.

In the recent budget we saw programs to help middle- and lower-income families with children under 18. We saw tax loopholes related to corporations get closed. We saw incentives continue for those with high incomes to invest in mining exploration. All of these programs take time, energy and costs when there are certainly easier ways to fairly bring in the needed tax revenue.

My personal view is that people should take responsibility for themselves and should reap what they sow, as the saying goes. In addition to this, as a society we need to take some care of those that are truly not able to take responsibility for themselves. Advertisement

While I understand how they develop, I believe that the complexities in the tax system have not only created complications but also increased the risk of unfairness. There are some who can take advantage of loopholes and others who can’t. Some who receive many benefits and others who don’t — often simply because they are single vs. married or have children vs. no children.  Under the current tax system, those with wealth are constantly searching for strategies by which to pay less tax, and who can blame them? Would you want to be paying ever higher taxes so that the next person can receive ever higher tax credits?

I recognize that tax fairness is a difficult and constantly adjusting goal, but I believe that the current system is not fair, and will lead Canada further to a culture of entitlement, laziness and a stagnant economy.

To that end I would much prefer a flat percentage tax for all adults and all corporations. To match the current revenues received, this flat tax may only need to be in the 15 per cent to 20 per cent range. While there would definitely be some winners and losers from this change, I believe that it would provide greater fairness to all Canadians, and be the foundation to drive greater growth, responsibility and efficiency.

Ted Rechtshaffen is CEO of TriDelta Financial.  He is hosting a Wealth Seminar Series in the Toronto area.  If you are interested in attending .

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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